Tag Archives: Suki O’Kane

Pearl Harbor and John Lennon

Tonight is a special show. My first conducted composition for large ensemble. It’s big. It’s beautiful. Piece to Celebrate the Proximity of Pearl Harbor Day and the Death of John Lennon on the only date it can happen – Mon Dec 7 @ The Makeout Room in San Francisco.

Rehearsal last night was very productive. I discovered that conducting is a rather rigorous affair and will continue to cling to the notion that notation software sucks in general (the sprawling score required good old scissors and glue to paste sections together properly). Aided by a stack of cue cards for the maestro to hold up, the musicians were able to get through the piece and it was fantastic to hear it come to life.

It is in four sections and scored for 10 guitars, 3 bass, 2 percussionists and 1 vocalist. It incorporates my favorite things from some of Glenn Branca, Rhys Chatham, and Moe! Staiano’s work.

The guitars are unison tuned with two low E strings, one middle E and three high E strings. Sections one and two make use of specially prepared spent bullet casings and scraping technique across specific strings to achieve the dramatic sound of planes approaching and departing.

Section 1 – The Sun Also Rises
Section 2 – TORA! TORA! TORA!/The Sleeping Giant Awakens
Section 3 – Helter Skelter
Section 4 – The Sun Also Sets
score.pdf

The piece was conceived in New York City in August of this year. After booking a gig on Dec. 7 for large ensemble and having no idea what to present, the date struck me as significant. Pearl Harbor Day followed by Dec. 8, the death of John Lennon – two events that managed to wake people from their collective stupor for a moment. More than anything else this piece is about that, but the analogies are endless.

Members of the Orchestra include:
Suki O’Kane, Pat Spurgeon, Eli Crews, Dave Jess, Geo Kitta, John Shiurba, Nils Erickson, Daryl Shawn, Wayne Grim, David Slusser, Bobby Ray, Brian Good, CD Cummings, Reid Johnston, Dylan Champagne and Katherine Copenhaver.

UPDATE:

The show was really great! Good vibe and crowd. We powered thru the piece and received so much positive feedback and encouragement. Thank you, thank you. It was a cool night of music overall – both Ross Hammond’s trio and Michael Heullits’ trio were smokin’!

Video of the first 10 minutes from Ross H (Section one, The Sun Also Rises and part of Section two, Tora! Tora! Tora!):

and a blog mention:

…off to the The Makeout Room for the Snowball Pond Orchestra performing Piece to Celebrate the Proximity of Pearl Harbor Day and the Death of John Lennon, the first conducted composition by kingtone (aka Lucio Menegon). (Some readers my recognize Lucio as the host of the Ivy Room experimental-improv series.) The piece is a a surround sound minimalist-meets-mayhem piece to celebrate the proximity of two events that managed to wake people out of their collective stupor for a moment or two.

The first two sections appeared to focus more on Pearl Harbor and the last two more on John Lennon. The opening section featured the guitars, as described above. Later on, much darker guitar and string sounds were set against snare drums that sounded at once militaristic and like a clip from a rock solo, followed by long sustained guitar unisons and complex chords. The music gradually took on more of a rock feel as the narrative moved from Pearl Harbor to John Lennon, with quotations from Helter Skelter (from the White Album) towards the end.

Nightsoil, finally

The Overdub Club is proud to announce the completion of the HD video version of Nightsoil. We have worked long and hard to bring this former performance piece to a place where it can be screened. The premier is slated for Sept 30 at the The Exploratorium in San Francisco.

Nightsoil is a single channel video by filmmakers Thad Povey and Alfonso Alvarez with music by Lucio Menegon, collectively known as The Overdub Club. Derived from a triple projection, live performance piece, Nightsoil utilizes found footage that has been physically reconstituted using hand-processing, tinting, and other hands-on filmic techniques and features a powerful new audio score and soundtrack.

Nightsoil is a layered and evocative display of humanity’s ability to create both beauty and destruction, whose title echoes the archeologist investigating abandoned human latrines. Coming at a dramatic time in America’s history and created in the spirit of this zeitgeist, Nightsoil calls out with an appeal to “think what you’re doing” before choosing violence as a solution to humanity’s problems.

The music for Nightsoil was developed in a series of jam sessions where musicians Lucio Menegon and Mark De Gli Antoni improvised over a series of test reels and live presentations, mixing and matching sounds, manipulating and exploring audio textures – taking ideas from the morphing images and giving ideas back to the film-makers – until a dynamic three section composition coalesced. The move from the live presentation format presented a golden opportunity to re-compose and fully arrange and orchestrate the original score. Along with the musical contributions of John Hanes, Suki O’Kane, Jenya Chernoff, Rebecca Seeman, Jonathan Segel and Laurie Amat, a final soundtrack and score emerged that matches the intensity and emotion of the visuals – at times in syncopation with and at other times cutting against the multiple image presentation.

Delicate & Destructive

Suki O’Kane and I have launched yet another new project: Delicate & Destructive. We played at the Sacramento ‘In the Flow’ Jazz festival this past Saturday. 105 degrees in Sacto that day and driving to the afternoon gig in a AC car sans AC, I thought I might melt. The festival featured ‘jazz’ (and the majority of the audience) in a main air conditioned fancy venue and ‘noise/improv’ in a warm, funky record store full of vinyl – quite perfect, really. We went for a completely different feel than any of our previous improvisations and sculpted a sonic build that went from, well, delicate to destructive.

Check out more of Michael Zelner’s pics from the show.

Strangelet

strangelet @ ivy roomStrangelet had its first gig last night and we decided to dress up a bit. Jonathan Segel wore a nice steampunk ensemble, Suki O’Kane a santa suit and myself, a gold lame w/ black fringe jumpsuit that Scottie Chapman scored at a clothing swap party last weekend.

‘Case you didn’t know, the Ivy Room has been transformed from the former dive it was. Now it is comfy couches and DJ’s…but on Mondays…wierd gets to take over – and it was cool.

We played a torrid 25 minute set of improv. We were gonna play longer, but it felt over – although we did forget to do the confusing ‘is the set over?’ outro that was planned. Oh well, next time. As is often the case, MZ and Matt Cora recorded it.

The next bunch of players competently jammed around for a bit, sounding like an unorganized Emerson Lake and Palmer meets Bitches Brew era Miles Davis. Their set suddenly took off when this guy came in with a l.e.d. embellished, pedal powered MC bicycle set-up and rapped about being a fool for fuel, pedaling bikes and taking public transit.

Who says experimental can’t be fun, short and sweet?!

Just so you know – A Stranglet is a theoretical particle that could possibly prove to be the realization of the infamous ‘Ice-Nine’ from Kurt Vonnegut’s, Cat’s Cradle. From Wiki:

If the strange matter hypothesis is correct, and a strangelet comes in contact with a lump of ordinary matter such as Earth, it could convert the ordinary matter to strange matter. This “ice-nine” disaster scenario is as follows: one strangelet hits a nucleus, catalyzing its immediate conversion to strange matter. This liberates energy, producing a larger, more stable strangelet, which in turn hits another nucleus, catalyzing its conversion to strange matter. In the end, all the nuclei of all the atoms of Earth are converted, and Earth is reduced to a hot, large lump of strange matter.

Apparently folks are not quite sure whether the giant new Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland will manage to loose a Strangelet (or even a Micro Black Hole) upon us all.

a hot, large lump of strange matter.

SPLITLIP

I love SPLITLIP and the people in it,
Jon Brumit,
Wayne Grim,
Suki O’Kane
and from time to time, the one and only
Jeff Hobbs.

We played in Sacramento last night at the Prescott Showcase of new, improv and jazz music hosted by our friend Ross Hammond. For some reason SPLITLIP has played more shows to fewer people in Sacto than anywhere else. But the shows are always interesting there, so the few who make it get the goods.

Things felt really great onstage and we could have played on all night or as Suki said, ‘until the electricity runs out.’

A comment overheard during a lull in one of our pieces:

‘Do these people have any talent?’

followed by this Q&A w/ Ross:

Q: ‘What do you think their influences are?’
Ross: ‘I wouldn’t know where to start.’

ALBUM next year, we should hope…(the wonderful Michael Zelner recorded this and most of our shows, so…)