Sound / Simulacra: Sophia Deutsch with John Keston and Cody McKinney

This improvised performance from cellist Sophia Deutsch, myself, and Cody McKinney was recorded by Dave Kunath on Wednesday October 25th, 2017 at Jazz Central Studios during Sound / Simulacra.

Sophia Deutsch is a multi-faceted artist involved in many musical and visual art projects around the Twin Cities. As an artist, Sophia believes in an organic creation of music and art, using improvisation and emotion to drive the sounds. As a musician, her interests lie in the dichotomy of organic sound generation with cello being the genesis and the perversion of this via live distortion and/or electronic manipulation.

The series explores musical improvisation as a “faithful and intentionally distorted” representational process bringing together some of the Twin Cities most unique voices to “recreate, distort, and create the hyperreal”. Please enjoy listening!

Sound / Simulacra: Nichols/Healey/McKinney Part 1

This improvised performance from Bryan Nichols, Cory Healey, and Cody McKinney was recorded by Dave Kunath on Wednesday April 26th, 2017 at Jazz Central Studios during Sound / Simulacra.

Bryan Nichols is a pianist, composer, and educator based in Minneapolis. Often found playing jazz and improvised music, but at home in a variety of musical worlds, he leads and composes for his own trio, quintet, and nonet in addition to performing, recording, and touring with forward-thinking artists like Nicole Mitchell, Ron Miles, and Olga Bell, and groups like the Gang Font, Dead Man Winter, and Halloween, Alaska. He has taught jazz piano at MacPhail Center for Music, University of Minnesota – Morris, and University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, while presenting clinics and masterclasses at a variety of colleges and high schools around the midwest. www.bryannichols.org

Cory Healey’s unique drumming has led to collaborations with artists from many different genres. He has toured North America and Europe and had the privilege of performing with Kenny Wheeler, Dr Lonnie Smith, John Abercrombie, and David Berkman. While living in Chicago, he performed and recorded with Algernon, Fareed Haque’s Flat EarthEnsemble, W.W. Lowman, Ike Riley, and Scott Hesse. In 2013, Healey moved to the Minneapolis, where he’s worked with some of the Twin Cities’ most prominent artists including Dead Man Winter, Dosh, Marijuana Deathsquads, and Anthony Cox. www.coryhealeymusic.com

The series explores musical improvisation as a “faithful and intentionally distorted” representational process bringing together some of the Twin Cities most unique voices to “recreate, distort, and create the hyperreal”. Please enjoy listening!

Sound / Simulacra: IOSIS & John C.S. Keston

This performance of IOSIS & John C.S. Keston was artfully recorded by Dave Kunath on Wednesday April 26th, 2017 at Jazz Central Studios for the Sound / Simulacra monthly series that I have been doing with Cody McKinney.

IOSIS is ritual in the shape of gnarled dronescapes, wrestled from the back of a hardware beast made of diverse synthesizers, tangled patch cables and contact microphones snaked through space-making delay and reverb units. Sometimes verging on the edge of breaking noise, sometimes swimming in lush beauty, witnessing IOSIS is a fully enveloping ceremonial experience imbued with transmutational significance. IOSIS is the musical project and collaborative platform of artist Alex Bissen.

The series explores musical improvisation as a “faithful and intentionally distorted” representational process bringing together some of the Twin Cities most unique voices to “recreate, distort, and create the hyperreal”. Thank you for listening!

45 Delusions with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company

45 Delusions was commissioned by the Walker Art Center for an event with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (MCDC) as part of the Common Time exhibit and performance series. The piece was performed and recorded with the dancers on March 30, 2017 in the Perlman Gallery at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. My setup included Rhodes, Moog Sub 37, PreenFM2, Korg KP3+, and a Moog Minifooger Delay. Graham O’Brien performed on percussion and electronics triggered from his drums.

John Keston's Setup for the Common Time Event

My Setup for the Common Time Event

The score is two pages. The first page (pictured at top) is the timeline for both performers. The timeline is vertical and made up of cells that last between one and five minutes each. Frequently the cells correspond with each player, but they are arranged so that at times they overflow. Rests are also included as cells. Each cell includes brief instructions and/or graphics that give suggestions to the musicians. Some of the instructions are expanded on the second page of the score.

Graham O'Brien's Setup for Common Time

Graham O’Brien’s Setup for Common Time

The second page also includes a list of forty five delusions. These include terms such as alternative facts, capitalism, corporate culture, equality, freedom, fossil fuels, greed, justice, and so on. There are also a few technical delusions such as erotomania (belief that a celebrity is in love with you) and lycanthropy (belief that one can turn into an animal). The second page explains the delusions and what to do with them:

DELUSIONS
Anything that might be considered or is delusional. These are not necessarily medical or technical examples of delusions and may involve individuals, societies, or organizations. Prior to performing the piece, each musician chooses one “delusion” applied to each cell within the score.

Take a look at the PDF at the end of this article to see the complete list of delusions as well as expanded instructions for some of the cells. Obviously this is an improvised piece of music, but this approach steers the improvisation in directions that would be unlikely to occur freely. Particularly the timing. As one performs or listens to the piece it is possible to discern distinct variations as the musicians transition from one cell to the next. If you are inclined to listen to the piece in full, try following along with the score and placing a SoundCloud comment where you hear the cells change. The timing on the recording doesn’t exactly match the score, but it’s pretty close.

The reasons I took this approach are multi-faceted: (1) It keeps the piece moving. Often free improv tends to stagnate as ideas are repeated and refined. With this approach the challenge is to express ideas with concision and then move on to the next (this is possible, albeit rare, in free improv – we call it channel surfing). (2) It is possible to strictly define the length. We used a timer that counted up to 30 minutes. One quick glance at the timer illustrates the need to move on to “High Speed Arps” for example. (3) Mood, dynamics, and theatrics can be injected to create a narrative with scope and meaning. It is a way to ask questions, discover sounds, explore, and experiment. (4) It enhances my musical engagement. I am influenced by my collaborators and surroundings, but I’m also interpreting the language of the score, and hopefully to the benefit of the musical output.

45 Delusions by John C.S. Keston (148K PDF)

Sound / Simulacra: Cody McKinney & Jeremy Yylvisaker

The Sound / Simulacra series is hosted by myself and Cody McKinney at Jazz Central Studios in Northeast Minneapolis on the fourth Wednesday of every month. If you haven’t made it any of these shows you’re not entirely out of luck. They are all being recorded and I’ll be sharing excerpts here on AudioCookbook. The first event in the series was a duet with Cody McKinney and Jeremy Ylvisaker on January 25, 2017. Their gorgeous improvisations were faithfully captured by sound recordist, Dave Kunath. Enjoy!

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.

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.