new e-cd – wtfu which stands for ‘what’s the f*cking use’ – a phrase which lately i find myself saying several times a day. i’m actually quite proud of this one & i think it’s the best one on the zelwel bandcamp since ‘brucolac’. the idea here was to build each piece (all renditions of the ‘wtfu’ framework) from loops made by …. well ….. a 12 note balaphon and a bird whistle which i got many years ago when i had a little bit of credit at ‘lark in the morning’. in the making of this i had the idea of also playing these instruments through a voice box which resulted in many of the strange sounds you hear on wtfu2. i’m not having a great time with mastering these days (old software died with old computer and i’m using audacity now) so you may want to really turn it up in order to hear it. i thought chopsticks and balaphon would go together well – so i started with that before diving into the denser material.
wtfu is a framework written for balaphon, bird whistle, looper, and either electric guitar or electric bass. there are 3 versions of the piece here with a little bit of added material.
1) chopsticks / wtfu1
3) intro / wtfu3 / coda
chopsticks – balaphon
wtfu1 – balaphon, looper, whistle, fender bass
wtfu2 – balaphon, voice box, looper, whistle, telecaster
intro – balaphon
wtfu3 – balaphon, looper, whistle, telecaster, voice
coda – telecaster
so the other night i did this track – i like to call it ‘dance music’ but the only thing it has in common with ‘real’ edm is there is an electric drum beat. of course the whole track is a live improv but it gets weird (by being very non-weird) towards the end when the guitar comes in and the groove becomes almost george benson – ish. instrumentation is boss looper (which is also the drum machine), pen synth (made by tim kaiser), and guitar.
nayem sher was the first klezmer tune i figured out. i was so happy at the time! with much water under the bridge & maybe it’s now a symbol of a new form of personal surrender … like … i give up on trying to impress anyone. acoustic piano here.
ahimsa means do no harm. this is a generally calm piece of guitar improv.
for djembe –
it’s mostly a drum circle thing. my favorite drum circle to play at for many many years has been the shiviti drum circle which is still meeting once a month. i’m not there every time but i’m there a lot. here’s their page (which also has some great mi yodea and colorboration photos!)-
often you’ll find us (‘the kaplan family drummers’) other places where there is drumming around the north side of chicago.
for keyboards –
mi yodea is on hiatus. if and when it comes back it will be in a different form. the changes with the project mirror some of the changes i’ve made in life. have lost most of my interest in formal organized religion. when the project started it was partially an expression of that – something to play a saturday night melaveh malkah at the shul. but that is gone from my life now.
be that as it may i’m still working on that music. some pieces (frog song, heyser bulgar) i’m just sick of playing. others (mi yodea, 82, antiyoub) seem to be evolving. i could see developing the material further and then finding the right musicians to play it – but if and when it goes forward it will be a book of material, my benevolent dictatorship, and a paycheck.
so i’m practicing that stuff – and also working on drone piano, noise piano, and standing up piano and maybe some lounge piano versions of some kid creole tunes.
for guitar –
an unexpected thing – for me to become guitarist. it was an instrument that always scared me. also there are some earth shakingly tremendous players out there (jeff parker, mary halvorson, etc) that i’m never going to touch. but there’s something about playing guitar that resonates with me. can bend notes, do microtones, efx, etc – can hardly do any of that on keys. anyways i’m practicing every day and hope to keep improving – even if just in my own simple limited one finger typist style.
i’d love to be gigging more on all three instruments.
i haven’t been so happy lately with my home recordings – not with content so much as with recording quality (my old zoom h2). but in the tradition of putting at least one sound file (and at least one new photo) into each blog post here are some recent improvised pieces –
i will be playing a solo guitar set as part of a show at resistor chicago (5053 n lincoln) at 9 pm on dec 10 – http://www.resistorchicago.com/events.html.
also playing that night – TCB, bear pit, leopard print.
see you there!
creating this e-cd was my music therapy for the day. these improvised keyboard tracks (alternating electric keys and piano) were recorded throughout the day, morning through evening, between job hunting, grocery shopping, and watching the endless political nuttiness on the internet.