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Posts Tagged ‘classical’

Golem Vs. DuendeThe 23rd album by Salon de la Guerre is now available in the racks of the virtual music stores of the world.

Golem Vs. Duende is my attempt to make a collage of music from environmental sounds. It’s also my attempt to show my appreciation for the microtonal music of Harry Partch while acknowledging that his music was precisely notated, and mine is not. In fact, my samples of found sounds–from my house, from wooden fences, from the New York City subway–are spontaneously created and probably more resemble the minimalism of John Cage, whom Partch hated. They were, after all, pursuing two completely different approaches. Who wants to be lumped together with their aesthetic enemies?

Also, I have not abandoned the 12-tone chromatic scale in my music, and I’d shudder to think of what Partch himself might make of me citing him as an influence. He’d probably call me a hapless poseur and beat me senseless with one of his homemade instruments.

So this new work is modernist classical–and it’s not. I hope it’s challenging but also fun. I hope it has depth but is not boring. I hope it informs the rock and pop and country albums I plan to keep making in the future. While I wish Salon de la Guerre had more listeners (and think a lot of you who aren’t hearing my more radio-friendly songs are missing out), I’m also happy to have the kind of obscurity that allows me to do whatever the hell I want with music for the time being. Because the weird stuff helps me make breakthroughs with the rocking stuff. I am currently on the same page with my small group of listeners in at least one respect: We have no expectations.

You can find Golem Vs. Duende on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, YouTube and Bandcamp. Here’s a sample:

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Golem Vs. DuendeIn a few weeks, I will release my 23rd album, Golem Vs. Duende. It comprises 10 movements of microtonal experiments and musique concrète.

For this new album, I took iPhone samples of my home environment and the New York City subway; it employs the percussive use of scissors, pots and pans, fences, doors, escalators and all other sorts of found objects that allow me to play the wannabe microtones my piano and guitar would not. I just recently discovered Maestro Harry Partch and his ingenious system of tones. However, I have not developed my own musical notation system nor have I built my own instruments with 43 pitches per octave. So I had to make due with playing the non-instruments around me. Then I mixed back into it my more traditional melodies on piano and synthesizer.

If I were to continue on this course, I would likely move it back around to pop music or work the approach into some type of roots music. I don’t have the musical training, but I have strategies. If this is your first time listening to my music, I should remind you that I’m all over the map, and that most of these experiments feed my alternative rock albums.

In this time of despair, I still see endless possibility. Though my family feels a little cooped up during the quarantine, we are creative and have plenty of things to do at home. So that’s what I’m going to depend on in these crazy times: My imagination.

The album was composed and performed by me at my home studio (and on location) in early 2020. I also did the cover art.

Listen to a sample of the album here:

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Infinity BoyThis week I hit a couple of milestones. I’ve reached one of those fun ages with a gawping new zero in it. And I’ve also released my 22nd album, containing my third symphony.

It’s called Infinity Boy. Like my other two faux-symphonic efforts Gravitas: A Life and The Widowhood of Bunny, it’s an electronic work with pretenses toward being a string orchestra piece or string quartet. It’s also the only way I can musically express my love of Prokofiev given my current limitations: I can’t play violin or write musical notation for it. I hope time is not running out for me to cure those shortcomings in the future (note my other milestone), but it’s not likely I will. I don’t usually stand up for philistinism, but I did indeed try transcribing one of my pop songs once, and it took almost two hours to get through the first verse. Considering that I’ve put out more than 16 hours of music arranged for multiple instruments, you might forgive me for not pursuing a huge musical notation project in the immediate future. I gather some people think you’re not a real composer unless you can write it down. I appreciate those who can, but no, it’s not more important than the act of simply making art by any means necessary.

Infinity Boy came about mostly because I was frustrated in my attempts to create a jazz album (who do you have to blow to rent a saxophone in this town nowadays?) With extra nervous energy and time on the train, I start putting out my classical appreciation albums. Anyway, I hope you like it, and if not, maybe just give it a listen as a way of saying happy birthday to me. As my grandparents might say, I sure am getting tall.

As usual, the piece was written, arranged, produced and performed by yours truly in Apple’s GarageBand for iPhone. The work was completed between August and November 2019 in my home studio. All performances are on keyboard.

A sample:

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I know you did not believe me when I said I had written a lot of music in the last three months, dear reader. For documentary proof, I submit to you my first symphony, which I completed over the last month. It’s called “Gravitas: A Life,” and it was my way of stress-testing my iPhone software as well as seeing if I could write a long-form musical piece. I’m happy with the results.

I’ve put the entire thing on YouTube to share it with friends and get feedback. In a month or two, I plan to put it on CD Baby after doing a bit more mastering (there are a few treble problems I’d like to fix, since I’m all about that bass).

I’m not sure if it’s a real classical piece, a pitch for me as a writer of film scores or a bit of muzak, but you might enjoy listening to it as background music or for contemplation, if nothing else. Enjoy. And if you do, please leave comments here or on YouTube and feel free to share it with your friends. Hurry, before I start charging for it!

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