Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Welcome to the home of my solo project!

Welcome! This page will serve as a sort of journal for my solo compositions and performances in years to come. I have been writing solo compositions on and off for a few years but now intend to make it a regular practice. I intend to do this for the next few decades and look forward to having a huge body of compositions and to seeing all of the various patterns and tendencies in said body. Assuming that the internet is still around in 20 or 30 years and that people are still blogging, I will document much of it here in the form of show announcements, videos, pictures, words about new ideas, angry rants, discussions i've had, drunken posts about how much I LOVE this project, etc...

So, now that we have the form figured out, here's where I am now:

I want to create forward-thinking and thoroughly original music that is vibrant and fresh. A big part of what I am working on right now has an emphasis on melody, and melodies composed of pitches and durations at that. I have felt increasingly 'let down' recently by performances i've seen where so much emphasis is put on extended techniques and as a result feel more inclined than ever to rebel against it.

Don't get me wrong, extended techniques are totally cool and I plan to use a lot of them. It seems to me that if the vast majority of what you do is extended techniques then they aren't really extended any more, they are just your techniques. The danger here is to become so dogmatic about the use of these new and found sounds that you can become as conservative as someone who will only work with a traditional sound. You might be ignoring a huge part of the sonic capability of your instrument. [I guess I am talking pretty much about saxophonists.]

I was at a show a few nights ago and during the middle of the set it occurred to me that the most 'out' thing that you could do in this set would be to play a major scale at an even, medium pace. I'm not saying that the goal is to always be as 'out' as possible, but it blew my mind a little bit to think that in a performance where each musician was mining their respective instruments for new sounds, the most striking and different approach would have been one that has been around for hundreds of years.

I don't want these solo pieces to be heard strictly as reactionary or as rebellion to what I consider the burned-out avant-garde. I am just setting a little context for how I am feeling about the current musical climate in which I am composing and improvising.

I believe that my music can be bright and fun at times without sacrificing artistic integrity. Modern works can contain beauty and have clear, pre-planned form and still be absolutely cutting edge. These qualities are self-evident in outsider visual art and I often wonder why we haven't seen parallels in improvised and art music. I dare say this is one of the more forward thinking ideas out there.

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