I love snow. Maybe because it reminds me of my native Switzerland.
After the 15″ overnight snowfall, here’s a picture I just took this morning of a fellow NYer excited about snow: he’s cross-country skiing (or more like cross-neighborhood skiing) through Brooklyn!
I would do the same with my snowboard if I had a friend towing me with an SUV butmy buddy Roman is kitesurfing in the carribeans and so I decided to head to the alps… if planes are taking off that is… Cross country… I mean, cross fingers!
I’ve been wanting to see Ken Butler play live forever but never had a chance and I just learned that he was batteling cancer and hence was absent from the scenes. Luckily he said that he survived it and he seemed in good health.
For those who are not familiar with him pick up his CD on Zorn’s Tzadik records or check out kenbutler.com
Ken is an amazingly creative individual who builds his own instruments out of tennis rackets, walking canes, kitchen and home utensils and a ton of other parts. He basically will put a contact microphone on anything that makes a sound and make music with it.
On this show at the Williamsburg gallery Sideshow he was accompanied by a trio of great percussion players (including Mathias Kunzli), an oud player and his artist/loft-mate on upright. All these instruments definitely gave the show a very groovy orientation and often times the tribal excitment offered by the two djambé’s made the crowd shake it a bit too (pretty unheard of for an experimental music concert, if you know what I mean).
Ken performed about a half a dozen pieces, usually a pedal on a chord with somewhat of a structured theme and a lot of improvisation. Every piece was based around an instrument and the crowd roared every time he picked up a new one. From guitar-like objects with one or two necks made from tennis rackets, canes and hockey sticks to banjo-looking objects made from pots, canes and other materials to umbrellas, knifes, paint brushes, swords, cloth hangers. Everything pretty much was either plucked or picked as if it was a guitar or bowed with an arco as if it was a violin. He even played a bow with another bow and then finished by playing his pants’ zipper and knocking on his head while teething a mic.
It was definitely an impressive and interesting array of sound-making devices from one of the most interesting artists around.
I won’t hide the fact that I think John Zorn is one of the most amazing composers out there so for me it was a real treat to be able to not only see him perform but work with him. On Wed the 17th and Thu the 18th the Lower EastSide theather Henry Street Settlement, also known as Abrons Art Center, hosted an incredible two nights of Zorn music performed by 10 different ensembles. The two evenigs were curated by Zorn who chose the music and the musicians. Every night five 20 minute sets entertained the crowds for 2 hours and showcased some of Zorn’s mighty vast and versatile body of work. Although for me as a live sound engineer it is obviously much harder and more work (10 stage changes, 20 if you consider the rehearsals) I still feel enormously priviledged to be a part of this incredible experience. Those who were present know what I am talking about and those who don’t should try to go to Montreal July 1st or Milan on Nov 8th for thr next two Zorn festivals of this kind. It’s truly the best way to experience his versatility and the vast array of differing moods, nuances, genres of his material.
My NYC based friend, kitesurfer and film/tv/video wizard Oliver has been laid off and decided to give it all up for now and live life on the road. He bought a great big old van with a bed and a kitchen (as well as an axe and a shovel on the roof and many other great features!) and is about to embark in the trip of a lifetime…
He packed his kitesurfing, surfing, snowboarding, video and photography gear and he’s all ready to go!
He’ll be blogging and adding pictures and videos at VisionQuest.me and I’ll be following what he does, where he goes, what he tweets…
I took some pics of him on his mean-looking truck tonight after his farewell party tonight in Manhattan and I wanna wish him all the best!
Oliver is looking for sponsors and is probably going to make this into a movie, which I am sure will be worthwhile watching!
Good luck out there Ollie!
PS he’s a really nice guy, I told him to pose like a red neck macho! ;-)