Monday, December 7, 2009

WAO Presents: "Grand Master Flash Drive"!

Set 1 (64 megs)
Set 2 (30 megs)

Here's another extremely varied, pleasantly chaotic, and occasionally brilliant Woodland Acoustic Orchestra meeting! Principals in attendance included TQ Berg (vbass and chorus pedal), "Filthy" (fretless bass), Johnny Greene (dumbek and others), Ian McKagen (guitar and voice for the first set, and misc. percussion for the second set), Donovan Raymond (Ian's guitar for the second set), Me Woods (guitar, trumpet, percussion, and voice), and a boy who I'm going to call "Piano Magic" for the time being.

I finally played another short acoustic set here to open up the evening (debuting "Hey Bean", a song I started writing about Lucy when she was a couple of months old), so this was my first WAO appearance with some steel-string playing in months. It was a pretty good set in terms of the musical performance, but I always feel that if I don't play in that format pretty regularly, I'm so confused about where to put my eyes while I'm playing and what to say between songs that the whole vibe goes in a direction that doesn't help people to enjoy the tunes...not "uncomfortable" so much...just maybe overly introspective...? I'm gonna try to keep doing a short set every 4th Weds for a while and see if I can improve some there. Anyway, While I always enjoy the way the density of the Orchestra allows me to experiment with some of my weirder instruments, it was nice to have the full-range flexibility of the traditional -- if untraditionally tuned -- 6-string. In other Andrew-centric news, I think this was *by far* my best trumpet playing at one of these yet! I've been pulling it out a couple of times a week at home and listening back here, I'm really noticing some progress. ...definitely encouraged to keep working with it.

This show was extremely fun to play, but I knew the musical coherence was hit and miss, so I wasn't sure how the files would play back. But the way the recording filters down to just the sonic-component of the evening allows an active listener to easily weave a unifying -- if ever-hue-shifting -- thread through the whole night. One of my favorite WAO recordings yet!! (Note: the momentum *does* take several minutes to pick up at the top of the night, so if you find the first bits to be too wandering, just jump ahead a few minutes.)

The Chai House had provided a typically clever theme for the show that I regretfully failed to even look-up until listening back to these just yesterday, when I realized that we hadn't addressed it at all: "Grand Master Flash-Drive".

The kid that often travels along with Filthy's entourage joined in for the whole second set on piano and was *fantastic*! In spite of being introduced to him several times, I can't remember his name now (I blame it on the weird swiss-cheese-brain-high that often accompanies these shows...but I feel like it gets mentioned somewhere in the second set there...send it along if you catch it!), but his playing was sublte, energetic and simultaneously responsive to key and rhythm. The dude has got it!! I hope he joins us again.

There's so much detail and variety in this show here, that to even begin to log the interesting bits seems like an overwhelming task, so I'll just leave it to you to discover (and call out in the comments here!). But I'd just like to note one extra-cool effect in the recording: Ian was a few minutes late returning for the second set, so Donovan -- who usually just joins in for the electric shows -- hopped on his guitar, prompting Ian to settle in on the couch with a few percussion toys, playing ever so tastefully, but only a couple of feet from the recording mics. Since the sharp attack of his playing at that distance was far above the levels of the remaining instruments, but still below the clipping threshold of the recording, my usual post-compression/limiting pass results in some fairly crazy fluttering that I for one find extremely interesting!!


iiii/ \iii said...

Drew on Piano. Me on rubber hose and tofurkey as well as v-bass.

iiii/ \iii said...

Also, what was the name of Heend song that we did in Indonesian Junk?

Hey, hey, check out the captcha word for this post: forki

The Backyard Harmonica Teacher said...

I invented a real "grand-master flash drive," just for YOU. I call it FlashHarp®. It's the world’s first and only harmonica USB flash drive and it doesn't just play. Its preloaded "Five Basic Steps" video lesson demystifies the puzzlements that confound many a would-be harmonica master. Upshot: Instead of putting it down, you start to "pick it up." The 3¼” FlashHarp is big on outdoorsy style, empowering even diehard musical klutzes foresworn to tone-deafness to feel good about carrying it. True seekers of harmonica enlightenment can even get a full-sized harmonica with the FlashHarp, in a boxed set called the “Plug ‘n Play Musical Combo.” (Bigger holes make learning single-note playing easier). FlashHarp® is cool not because it's patented (it is) but because it offers something truly righteous, that plain, old vacuous flash drives don’t: A musical soul earned through a century-and-a-half-long odyssey into the heart of the American musical landscape. Read what Gizmodo wrote about the FlashHarp at: See me, The Backyard Harmonica Teacher, perform a bit at Ecquire the FlashHarp at Demo it at: More of this inventor's harmonica-laced haranguing is at:

F R E E L A B said...

Right!! Drew...of course, that's why I can never remember! :)) Just like I can never remember when I meet people named Andy. Thanks.

I was cracking up this morning at that part where you say something like, "Hey, keep it clean everybody...we've got a piano player tonight!"

Is the hEEnD song you're thinking of "Eddy"? I know we at least played around with that one (and maybe even did it at a show...?).

F R E E L A B said...

...after further discussion in person with iiii/ \iii, it turns out he was referring to the heenD tune "wash".