Sound / Simulacra at Jazz Central Studios

Starting January 25, 2017 Cody McKinney and I are booking a monthly series at Jazz Central Studios titled Sound / Simulacra. The series explores musical improvisation as a “faithful and intentionally distorted” representational process. Sound / Simulacra will bring together some of the Twin Cities most unique voices to “recreate, distort, and create the hyperreal”.

Cody McKinney works with sound by actively theorizing, organizing, practicing and challenging its properties. He studied bass and improvisation under many luminaries including: Johannes Weidenmueller, Bruce Gertz, Jim Black as well as composition under Kirk Nurock, Rory Stewart, Steve Lehman and Diane Moser. Cody’s group, Bloodline, along with John Keston and Pete Hennig, have recently recorded an album due out mid 2017.

Volume 1: Wednesday Jan. 25th 2017
Cody McKinney & Jeremy Ylvisaker

Jeremy Ylvisaker is a multi-instrumentalist from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is a member of the indie rock bands Alpha Consumer (with Michael Lewis and JT Bates) and The Cloak Ox along with Andrew Broder of Fog, Mark Erickson and Dosh. He plays guitar in Andrew Bird’s touring band alongside Martin Dosh on drums and Michael Lewis on bass.

Volume 2: Wednesday Feb. 22nd, 2017
John C.S. Keston and Graham O’Brien

Graham O’Brien is a drummer and electronic music producer/composer from St. Paul, MN. His most recent work is focused on the interplay between his unique drumming and composition styles. Currently he is performing new music written for solo live performance, utilizing a customized electro-acoustic drum set concept. As he puts it, “I’m exploring ways to perform my music – or rather, conduct it – via the rhythms of my drumming, in real-time. My performance concept is a practical way to extend the range of my drum set to include control of melodic and harmonic electronic instruments.”

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!

Solo Electroacoustic Piano Teaser

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This teaser for my show tonight at Jazz Central Studios includes a handful of snippets from my rehearsals of the electroacoustic piano pieces I’ll be performing. It’s all acoustic piano with processing that includes delays, live looping, freezing reverb decay, and reverse. The last snippet also includes the use of a felt mute between the hammers and the strings. The tone is much darker, softer, and subdued.

Solo Electroacoustic Piano at Jazz Central Studios

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I feel excited and privileged to be playing a concert of original piano compositions on November 23, 2016 at Jazz Central Studios in Minneapolis. The compositions include acoustic piano pieces (unaltered by processing or electronics) and a number of electroacoustic piano pieces that will involve manipulating the signal from the piano in real-time. For example I’ll be using an analog delay to create pulsing washes of sound from the piano. There will also be examples of sampling and looping the piano and then manipulating the loops through more processing.

Although ACB readers will be more familiar with my electronic work, acoustic piano is the instrument that has stayed with me since childhood. I even had a weekly jazz piano gig that lasted eleven years! This upcoming solo piano performance will be my first in over a decade and it will be very different for me because I’ll be playing my own compositions instead of a the jazz standards I used to play.

Jazz Central Studios has a really great sounding grand piano in house that I’ll be playing during the show. I have performed at the venue a number of times recently thanks to friend, bassist, and collaborator, Casey O’Brien who is one of the current artistic directors for the non-profit organization. Here’s some more information about JCS:

Jazz Central Studios (JCS) is a tax exempt nonprofit organization committed to strengthening the Twin Cities jazz community by offering a live performance/educational environment that nurtures artistic growth. Our space consists of 1800 square feet which seats up to 50 people. It is complete with grand piano, house drum set PA, and lights.

In 2010, local jazz musicians Mac Santiago and Tanner Taylor established Jazz Central Studios as a rehearsal and recording space for Twin Cities jazz musicians. We encourage jazz patrons and musicians of all levels to become a part of Jazz Central Studios. Whether you want to develop your skills and career as a performing musician or you want to meet other jazz enthusiasts and support the local scene, there is a place for you here.

The music on November 23, 2016 will start at 8:30pm. The suggested donation is $10 for general admission and $5 for students. I hope you’ll join me! Here’s an excerpt from a recording of me (piano, electronics), Cody McKinney (bass, voice, electronics), and Graham O’Brien (drums, electronics) made at JCS by Diego Ramallo. In the recording I’m using a sampler to live-loop piano layers and then run things through delays and other processing.

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: