I just had a listen to these videos of Keston and Westdal with Graham O’Brien on drums at Nublu in New York, Feb 7, 2009. The eight year old recordings were shot by my mate, Benjamin Montag, who is responsible for the majority of the art and design work for Unearthed Music, including the art on my new solo album, Isosceles.
I was using the Nublu house Rhodes, which I repaired earlier that night replacing a couple of broken tines and tuning a few notes. I brought along a laptop and interface to live-loop the Rhodes and send a click track to Graham. I borrowed the Korg MS2000 from Simone Giuliani. You may also notice distortion on the Rhodes at about 6:47. For that I brought along my BOSS DF-2 Super Distortion & Feedbacker pedal, which I have been using on Rhodes since the ’90s.
Since I had the laptop to loop the Rhodes in Ableton Live I ended up a few nice phrases that I ended up posting here on Audiocookbook. For example, in one post I shared a nice phrase and discussed my repair job before the gig and another includes a field recording inside a taxi on the way to the show. Checkout a few archival recordings from the gig below:
Here’s another example of Rhodes recorded during our set at Nublu. It’s interesting for me to hear these clips unprocessed and without the other instrumentation, not to mention the excessive crowd noise in the room. During the performance, when I record these clips, I’m usually running the Rhodes through various amounts of amp modeling, eq, compression, delay, and sometimes reverb or filtering. There’s often other loops playing while I record as well as live drums, bass and laptop added by Graham and Nils as you can hear in Segment of Recording from Nublu.
One of the nice things about playing at Nublu is the fact that they have a Rhodes in their backline. I don’t know very many clubs that do, and most of the time, if they do they are in disrepair. Instruments in backlines suffer a lot of abuse. The Rhodes is not a delicate instrument but with heavy use certain things break. Most commonly the tines. So I went to the club early just to check on the Rhodes and offer to repair it if needed.
In fact, two tines in the upper register were broken, but fortunately Nublu had a “parts” Rhodes in the basement that had both of the broken tines intact. I quickly replaced the tines and made a few other minor adjustments and the vintage keyboard was ready for an evening of music. Here’s a clip that I created while improvising during our second set to give you an idea what shape the Rhodes was in.
Here’s a nice one minute and twelve seconds long segment with very little talking from an eight minute recording inside a New York City taxi cab. I was in the taxi with my friends Simone Giuliani and Benjamin Montag on the way to Nublu from Simone’s studio where we had been listening to each others music and catching up after not seeing each other for over a year. You can hear rough roads, typical New York cabbie lead footed acceleration, the muffled sound of traffic outside the cab, and my quip at the end in response to Simone saying he was tired as well, “my [lack of] energy is bringing you down”.
I managed to capture most of both of the Keston and Westdal sets at Nublu last Saturday on my Sony PCM-D50. The recording is pretty chatty, but that’s about what you’d expect in a jam packed small venue like Nublu. Although the mix and quality is bad, these kind of recordings are good for gathering ideas. You never know what might come out of a late night, or rather early morning, jam session. This particular jam started sometime during our second set, shortly after three in the morning, with a loop of drums and synth bass Nils put together that Graham O’Brien (drums) and I joined in on.