From Scratch: Heart’Heart

Last night Scott and I had the immense privilege of witnessing Heart’Heart, one of six sold-out Auckland Art Festival performances from the musical group From Scratch.

This Radio New Zealand video includes the first part of my favorite piece of the evening:

 

I really appreciate all the things that other people’s sharing of their creativity brings out in my own! Some things that have come up for me, both during and since the show:

  • What a joy it is to be part of something larger than ourselves! (I felt that vicariously through their performance.)
  • It is such a treat to witness the magic that occurs as the result of both individual mastery at a craft, and dedicated practice as a group.
  • Thank goodness there are institutions that fund exhibitions+performances such as this (egad, I can’t imagine trying to fund such a thing)!
  • While I’m excited to be putting myself out there with the vlog, I do have a sense that I need to further hone my skills so I package up my own work in a way that will make me truly proud. Working on it 🙂

From Scratch has played all over the world, though I’m not sure how much they’re touring these days? If you have a chance to see them, I hope you will!

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Still Amour

We were supposed to leave for NZ at the end of October, but stayed through the 3rd so we could catch Malian singer Rokia Traoré and her sweet, super tight band at the SF Jazz Fest. Seemed like an appropriate bookend to our San Francisco existence, since that’s where Scott and I spent our first date, too…

As soon as they started playing Amour:

…I was immediately reminded of this Khruangbin song:

As is frequently the case, the studio versions of both pale in comparison to the energy and complexity of the live performances

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Influences

I’ve convinced myself that Feist’s I Feel It All video (I am in awe, I love it) influenced the first two thirds of Maggie Rogers’ video for Alaska… after which it’s no longer one take and falls apart for me, but I still love the song. I can find no evidence to support my hunch other than Maggie’s mention of Feist in this interview from 2013, have a look anyway.

Live music + visual art = yes please

I just caught a fascinating performance on KALW, a live interpretation of an essay written by an inmate comparing and contrasting two photographs of movie screens with eerie music in the background… was hoping I’d be able to Google up the photographs described and was thrilled to find a video of the entire performance:

I was quite moved by the live music / commentary + film performed during Brent Green and Sam Green: Live Cinema at the Exploratorium a month ago

and so if I weren’t going to be out of town that weekend, I would definitely be checking out Paul Dresher Ensemble’s They Will Have Been So Beautiful: The Electro-Acoustic Band In Concert with Guest Artist Amy X Neuburg at Z Space:
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4+1 ways to boggle your brain!

[Meta Method 1, Part 1] First, fall in love with this exact version of Andrew Bird’s Tables and Chairs, and listen to it at least once per week for a decade (give or take one year):

[Method 2] All the while, contemplate its lyrics, wondering in particular whether he is painting a picture of a utopian or dystopian future*… and in either case,

[Method 3] ask yourself both what this perspective might reveal about your professional calling’s current overlap with the FinTech industry, and finally,

[Method 4] debate whether either of the above matter in the short term, if at all.

[Meta Method 1, Part 2] Then, watch this video of him playing the same song (while marveling again at both his incredible talent AND how privileged we are to witness live performances):

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Appreciating the wizards behind the musical curtains

Last night I drove up to Sonoma to see, among other bands that I like, Sandy’s play in a barn at the Huichica Music Festival.

One of the things I really appreciate about live performances, and especially intimate ones like last night’s, is that we get to experience all the work that we hear the results of but never get to see on the records: the load-in, the sound checks, the broken strings and forgotten lyrics, the moments of accidental ear-piercing feedback, and the communication between the musicians and people like Jeremy Harris behind the soundboard supporting Sandy’s.

Jeremy ripped it up onstage during Vetiver‘s set later in the night. A lovely human being in general, Continue reading

Águas de Março

I love Elis Regina’s version of this Antonio Carlos Jobim song, and as is perhaps fitting for a song whose title translates to “Waters of March,” on this rainy first day of Spring, it’s been running through my head.

More than anything else, this song makes me wish I could speak Portuguese so I might be able to sing along with a better sense of the meaning behind the beautiful sounds. In the meantime, I’ll just watch Elis sing it, and laugh, and improvise… over and over.