- Tuba recital!
This past Thursday, May 26th, I gave my first recital since my senior recital at UCLA – 6 years ago. This was a very significant moment for me. It’s been a struggle for quite literally the last 6 years to find a satisfying balance between performance and scholarship. And, as I’ve been rather unhappy with scholarship of late, this recital provided the perfect way to both find my way back to playing and feel content as a musician.
The recital program consisted of 5 all-new pieces for tuba:
SVPER-ANGRY DEATH-BLAST ASSAVLT COVNTDOWN III
by Francis Roberts
Wouldn’t Need You
by Nicholas Deyoe
for tuba and loop pedal
The Sedge Warbler, or The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha
by Carolyn Chen
for tuba, tape, and projection
by Clinton McCallum
for tuba, electronics, and drum machine
by Brian Griffeath-Loeb
All 5 pieces were incredibly fun and rewarding to learn and perform. Crapiccio was particularly special for me. It is a re-composition of Capriccio by Penderecki, which was a big part of my senior recital.
You can play through the entire program below.
- "Phases" by Claes Biehl
Oh yeah – I make music, too. Just with fewer tangible traces, I suppose, than brewing. Anyway, here is my recording of “Phases” by Claes Biehl, for tuba and electronics. Enjoy.
- The beauty of ultra-inconvenience
So Day 9 of my 12 day qualifying exam period just ended. I’m doing pretty well, to the point where I feel comfortable saying I’ve just about finished. Maybe a few revisions tomorrow, maybe not.
All three of my exam questions concern digital media in some way: a lit review/methodology of online ethnography, an ontology/phenomenology of digital music, and the changes to the musical commodity in digital media. For the last 3 years or so, this is what I’ve done. Digital media, digital music, online culture, online music, blah blah blah. And then I realized, about 6 months ago, that I’m completely sick of it. Beyond the practical difficulty of studying a moving target, I found that, quite simply, I have just stopped caring. I’ve stopped caring about the cultures popping up around digital media, I’ve stopped caring about the technologies of digital media, and most distressingly I’ve stopped caring about the music I encounter via digital media. Even music I used to love. Even music that I currently love when I see it performed live.
I can’t exhaustively explain why this is. I’m just really not totally sure. I’ve dealt with a lot of the relevant issues in my papers on ontology/phenomenology and object/commodity status. But nowhere in those papers do I attack digital media the way I find myself doing in conversations with my peers and day-to-day engagements with music.
As an experiment, a desparate attempt to reinvigorate my passion for music, I’ve been exploring the question of format in these past few days (I suppose there’s nothing like dealing with a topic you hate – and only that topic – for an extended period to get you thinking of evasive maneuvers), and the one that’s resonating with me right now is the 7″. I don’t doubt that in a few weeks, when I’ve amassed a sizeable collection of these little bastards, I’ll suddenly say to myself “WTF? Why did I think it was a good idea to invest in a format that requires constant interaction and, quite honestly, discourages extended listening sessions?” I mean, really. These things hold, what, 10-15 minutes of music at most? And still, I can’t help but feel incredibly excited about this ridiculous inconvenience.
Maybe it’s because I have to physically intervene on a constant basis to keep the music playing. Maybe it’s because the time constraints don’t let me sit back and space out. Maybe it’s because I’m a consumer whore who uses objects to make my pathetic life more meaningful. Probably a bit of them all. But regardless of the reason, and regardless of how long this infatuation lasts, I’m really excited about listening to music in a way that I haven’t experienced in far too long.
- My (apparently) semi-annual post
Just about half a year since the last post, and very similar content to report. Rather odd, that.
This past weekend was the 54th annual Society for Ethnomusicology Conference, at which I presented a slightly updated version of my IASPM-US paper, albeit with a different title (“Creative Listening: Playlists, Mixtapes, and the Virtual Ethnography of Virtual Music”). I got some really good questions, including a prompt to consider the ways I’m using the term “consumption” (spoiler alert: I used it really sloppily). That might actually end up being a major part of my qual essay on the same topic – what exactly it means to consume something without the explicit exchange of goods. Then of course there’s the issue of radio, which I’ll need to deal with in some way. We’ll see.
Amazing food was had in Mexico City, including tacos piled sky high with delectable meat (the highlight being carne asada+bacon+onions+charred queso fresco), verdolagas (my new favorite vegetable), and escamoles (which, while very tasty and fun to eat, were a bit too pricey). Other highlights include lamb with beer/tequila salsa and getting drunk from two bottles of Negra Modelo because of the altitude.
Here’s my attempt at pork & verdolagas in salsa verde. Turned out pretty well!
Aquapuke recently performed a new piece, “Aquapuke and the Reefed Victory,” at the first UCSD Grad Forum of this academic year. It was a piece less obviously related to contemporary issues of body/presence/sexuality than, say, “Industrial Transsexual” was. Rather, it drew from the mythology of sirens as seductive/destructive binary, effectively making Clint into the siren to my ocean/sailors. The sailors, conquering the ocean, are lured to and eventually destroyed by the siren, bringing about the realization that their conquest was false, unattainable from the start. Plus it was loud and noisy and I was in fishnets and booty shorts. High art indeed.
The xoconostle beer that Clint and I made is almost ready. The unconditioned beer that we tasted (right out of the carboy, prior to bottling) was incredibly tasty. Very light body, with a great balance between sugary sweetness and fruity tartness. Plus some really great yeasty flavors from the mix of Trappist and Belgian Ale yeasts we used.
And now it’s all preparation for qualifying in the early half of next quarter. Woohoo. Then I can put some of this work aside and move on to the stuff I’ve been loving lately. More to come.
- It's official, we're a band.
Yup, Aquapuke is officially a band. Not only did we play the Che Cafe, we finally got a flyer that’s not done up in Microsoft Word. The show was crazy in a good way, probably our most energetic yet (and boy, did it hurt). Turns out substituting grape juice for wine didn’t make a huge difference. Thanks to everyone who came!
Oh, the IASPM paper is over and done with. It ended up going really well. A number of people showed up just for my paper, which I wasn’t expecting at all. We had a great panel with some very interesting discussions, as well. All around a great experience. I definitely feel a lot better about myself after yesterday. Thanks to everyone for all your support! You’re the best!