Merce Cunningham: Common Time with John Keston and Graham O’Brien

This Thursday, March 30, 2017 I will be performing two 30 minute sets of music with Graham O’Brien at the Walker Art Center as part of the Merce Cunningham: Common Time series of events and exhibitions. Our performances start at 5:30pm and 8:00pm in the Perlman Gallery and feature former Merce Cunningham dancers. Here’s a one minute teaser recorded during a recent rehearsal. The concert is free and open to the public. Visit the Walker Art Center for more details.

Pyramid’s Euclidean Rhythms Meet Novation Circuit

In the spirit of #JAMUARY2017 (thanks to Cuckoo for having the stamina to do it everyday!) I have made a video track using the Squarp Pyramid, Novation Circuit, Moog Sub 37, PreenFM2, Rhodes, Minifooger Delay, and Korg KP3+. I’m not great at making these (hence the shaky video), but they’re fun to do every so often.

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The track starts out with a Rhodes loop that I played into the KP3+ with an LFO sweeping a resonant high pass filter. Next I start to bring in Euclidean patterns on each of the four Circuit drum parts. These are generated through individual tracks on the Pyramid. I have it setup with four Euclidean patterns per track bank for a total of sixteen. This way I can mix and match all sixteen patterns on the Pyramid and even swap them or combine them with patterns on the Circuit.

I also use Pyramid to sequence the bass and synth chords on the Circuit. In addition I have a track for the Sub 37 that I mute while soloing, and a track for the PreenFM2. The Sub 37 is in “local off” mode, so whichever track I have selected on Pyramid determines what instrument plays. I find the keybed and flexibility of the Sub 37 perfect as a controller and sound source. Thanks for listening and check out my new album Isosceles for more like it that’s actually mixed and mastered properly. ;-)

Wednesday Performance at the Triple Rock

This Wednesday I will be playing an improvised solo set of synth music at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis. I produced this teaser by crossfading a few clips from my rehearsal for the show. The bill, hosted by Hardcore Crayons, also includes Clustercuss and collaborative performances from everyone. Enjoy!

Taming of the CPU 3.0 March 12, 2016

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On March 12, 2016 the third edition of The Taming of the CPU will commence at The Nicollet (now called Reverie), 1931 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis. Music will begin at 9:00pm. The Taming of the CPU is a series of live electronic music sets paired with live video performances. Chris LeBlanc who was interviewed here recently will provide the visuals for all three musical segments. The musical artists include John Keston (that’s me), Mike Hodnick who recently wrote an article here about his experiments with the Roland System-1m, and Lucas Melchior with whom I produced Dueling Tempests and four Dueling Monotribe videos.

Photo and art by Chris LeBlanc

Each time we organize one of these events we perform new material or new versions of our material. Chris is continually evolving his techniques and refining his approach to the visuals. For this event he’ll be bringing in Michael Lund as a collaborator. Be prepared for a pyramid of gorgeous, vintage CRT displays driven by Machael’s liquid light show and Chris’ state-of-the-art, modular, analog, video gear. I always look forward to these shows, not just for the opportunity to perform, but to see and hear what Chris, Luke, and Mike have up their sleeves. What’s more is that we are planning a short collaborative set at the end of the night. More information about the event is available on the on the Facebook event page. Have a listen to Luke’s (MKR) exceptional set from last time to whet your appetite:

Interview: The Mind of Video Artist Chris LeBlanc

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Chris LeBlanc is a video artist who I have been collaborating with frequently for the last year and a half. The body of work that he has produced in this short period is remarkable. His improvised visuals for musical performances include mash-ups from rare VHS tapes of bizarre B-movies; usually of the sci-fi, horror, or fighting genres. He augments these mix tapes with circuit-bent Nintendos and a vast collection of other analog video devices to produce uncanny, audio-responsive, visual experiences that enhance musical performances and draw in listeners. Recently he added a modular video synthesis system to his rig and salvaged a nine-by-nine CRT video wall for display.

On Thursday, October 22nd Chris produced visuals for a solo performance of mine at a club with a projector and fifty-one flat screen monitors dispersed throughout the venue. Chris managed to display his video art on the projector and all of the flat screens during my performance. This lasted for about half the set until an irate bar manager found him and made him put the hockey game back on a few of the flatscreens. In addition to his performances he creates music videos and stills using the same equipment and similar techniques. After our most recent show I thought it would be great to share a discussion with Chris here on ACB. I interviewed him on what drives his decisions as an artist and how he makes his analog imagery so engaging while using content and technology from a bygone era.

Read on for the interview with Chris LeBlanc plus more videos and still photo examples of his work. Continue reading