lucio menegon | music•noise•art

Tree-forts of sonic fun

Check this nice show review of a set performed with Rob Wallace in Bowling Green, OH this past February. The set was part of a film/music series Rob co-hosts called, Other Musics: Four Free Films on Free Sounds, the focus of the write-up, but receives some considerable attention:

Lucio used his entire instrument in service of his art, pounding the body, sliding a magnet along the frets, even pouring lighter fluid on the neck (which I will admit made me wonder if we were in for a Jimi Hendrix moment), to achieve the just-right tone he was going for. Wallace used his whole body as well, kneeling in front of his smorgasbord of sound, sometimes using both hands and his mouth, each on separate instruments, to accompany Lucio’s play. Any attempt I might make to capture the tonal qualities of this musical performance will surely fail. Suffice to say, I was transfixed, smiling like a loon at the sheer whimsy of it all. This music is “play” in its purest form. Both musicians are professionals and well-trained (Wallace is steeped in musicology and quite a good tabla player), and they certainly needed that foundation to build their tree-fort of sonic fun upon.

tree-fort of sonic fun is my favorite new description. Totally awesome. This is why small town such gigs are worthwhile – you just never know. It is also perhaps the reason Jack Wright likes to play them.

Boise, again (and again)

david grollman & valerie kuehne

david grollman & valerie kuehne

…played the Boise Creative And Improvised Music Festival this past weekend. Did one set as Strangelet (with John Hanes on electronics) and another as Prehistoric Horse (a new collaboration with John, LM, drummer David Grollman and cellist Valerie Kuehne). The Horse did a lot of wandering about Boise and had a lot of fun just hanging out. Our intense thirty minute set on saturday night started off an evening of incendiary performances by Emily Hay/Motoko Honda, Colter Frazier/Rob Wallace, Jim McAuley and Kribophoric.

The venue for the festival was The El Korah Shriner Hall (entertainment unto itself with a kick ass grotto-bar, prop room and fully costumed group portraits). Attendance was better than past years (it was free), but slim at times and there was the feeling that most of Boise had no idea or care that this was going on. However, the audience was polite, attentive and given what must have seemed like pretty confusing music to the majority, appreciative.

john hanes & lm

john hanes & lm

We attempted some guerilla promotion tactics during an outlandish visit to the 8th street pedestrian, which was mostly met with polite smiles and the occasional offer to stop by the festival. During the promotion blitz, we were approached by a photographer for – perhaps attracted by our thrift store furry puppet accessories (that he chose a picture of just me & my monkey over one of myself, the monkey, Valerie and her Wooly Mammoth puppet is baffling).

Boise is a vanilla kind of place. It’s pretty small and it doesn’t take long to walk back and forth across the downtown and we did so several times – not much else to do. We stopped in for pizza and beer at our favorite joint and discovered the salvation of the saturday late-night streetcart shawarma guy (doing our best to safely run the gauntlet of staggering frat-party drunks filling the sidewalk).

woolly mammoth & wylie monkey

woolly mammoth & wylie monkey

All together an odd setting for such music. So how is it we end up back here in this high desert potato town playing crazy-ass improv and experimental music year after year? One: the performers. Many of the same players who made last year a highlight were there and it’s fun to hang out with them. Two: Kris Hartung & Jeff Kaiser . Kris is the guy who has made great efforts to put together the Creative and Improvised Music festival for four years running and Jeff has been responsible for curating and raising the level of talent. Bravo, guys.

Boise Experimental Music

Just returned from a week of shows with my pals Rob Price and David Grollman. It was a great run culminating with a show at the 3rd annual Boise Experimental Music Festival. I’ll be posting some more mp3s soon and lots of pics. Steady as she goes…

I’ve attended and performed at every BEMF and this one had some really great talent. Here is a quick synopsis…

It was an honor and humbling experience to twice hear acoustic guitarist Jim McAuley. His ability to perform outside music with varied instrumentation, utilizing interesting tunings and a fearless sense of composition were a revelation. Jeff Kaiser and I marveled at Jim’s ability to bring together traditional structures with avant garde techniques and composition. Jim plays melodies, he deconstructs harmonic form and he’s a badass soloist…but above all it was MUSIC. And I tell ya, sometimes these experimental festivals can test just about anyone’s definition.

Other highlights were The Transhumans rockin set, Rob Wallace, Colter Frazier, & Jim Connolly‘s mindblowing saturday night trio improvisation, Tom Baker‘s glass fretboard and fretless guitar tones, Kribophoric, The Choir Boys, and the duo of Emily Hay and Motoko Honda and their excursions of insanity.