Sunday, December 2, 2007

Chaos 9/10/95 New Orleans, LA

Chaos (9/10/95 rehearsal)

I found this cassette recording of a rehearsal with an ensemble I put together in New Orleans back in the mid-90's. Hearing it again is a trip. For all of my own awkwardness as a conductor back in the day, the ideas were sound and the combination of players was inspiring. The musicians you hear include:

Meghan Phillips - Voice
Saadir Williams - Turntables
Matt Perrine - Upright Bass
Dan Sumner - Electric Guitar
Louis Romanos - Drums
Rich Vogel - Organ

Around the time of this recording I was first hearing a lot of Dub sound system inspired music coming out of England - Portishead, Massive Attack and Tricky all released ground breaking CDs that really inspired me as a composer. I was also just beginning to explore the recording studio as a compositional tool - and my approach to directing the band (as best I could) came from thinking of the ensemble as if they were tracks heard via a mixing board.

There are some wonderful moments on this recording. Around 4:29 you hear a sort of tug of war duet between the turntables and drum kit. Later at around 8:30 the band lays into a groove that begins with the turntables (Saadir later drops in some voices from a Mobb Deep track that I loved...). Dan sounds great - I think I wrote a few of the lines he's playing...or just gave him a pool of notes? I don't remember...And although it's very quiet, you can hear some lovely bass soloing just before the Mobb Deep beat drops. Rich plays with complete taste and is unusually restrained in this context (and this may have been a bad direction on my can hear him these days in Galactic who are incredible and still going strong...).

Hope some of the musicians involved get a chance to give this a listen. It made me smile.

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