general fuzz

Musing from a obsessive computer music composer with hippie-ish tendencies.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Everyone Orchestra

Last night Rachel and I went to go check out the Everyone Orchestra @ the Independent. I wanted to go for 2 reasons:

1. Tia, who I assume is the tour manager, is someone Stina recently worked with on an Artsfest event @ city hall. Tia rocks. She knows her shit. She radiates energy. She took Stina under her wing, and it was cool to watch Stina just soak up as much knowledge as possible. She's tight with Matt Butler (the conductor of said Orchestra) and has spoken very highly about the group.

2. Asher is playing keyboards in the Orchestra. He plays keys and laptop in the live electronic duo "Surrounded by Ninjas" amongst other projects. I first ran into him a year ago @ High Sierra Music Fest because my friend Noah highly recommended I check out their set. I'm glad I did - it was the highlight of my festival experience. I stuck around as they were breaking down and they seemed like really nice guys. I recently saw them for a second time at Jupiter (a great Berkeley brewery), and was again really impressed with his mad keyboard skills. I'm hoping to convince him to come into my studio sometime when he's in SF and have him throw down on a track or two. It would be sick.

So off we went, knowing virtually nothing about the ensemble. What we learned is that it is a constantly rotating cast of characters - all super competent musicians who are well versed in the art of listening. It could be completely different players every time you see them, except for the conductor. So there were maybe 11 musicians on the stage. Guitars, bass, drums, vocals, horns, etc. There was a cool looking electric harp (and rather beautiful harpist). One dude would whip out his sax every once in while to great effect, or use his looper to build interesting vocal ensembles. Every song was completely improvised. The styles ranged from jazz to funk to dancehall and everywhere in between.

This rendition of the orchestra featured Steve Kimock on guitar. Kimock is a musician's musican. He has the capacity to totally blow my mind. Fortunetly, he did that a couple times last night. I often find myself closing my eyes when he's playing.

Matt Bulter stands in the middle of everyone and uses his entire body to conduct the musicians. He has a bunch of place cards which he holds up as well a white board which he writes instructions on. Like "Speed up". Or "AHH . . . ". Then everyone ahh'd. And much like you'd expect, the results are totally varied. Sometimes amazing, sometimes a train wreck. More often then not, its fairly exciting to see whats going to happen. Matt gave lots of space for Kimock to shine, which made the whole thing often awe inspiring. The best thing is that when Kimock is really finding his groove, he has his eyes shut. So every once in while Matt would be frantically trying to get his attention. Humor.

I was also fairly honed into Asher, since I hadn't seen him play in other ensembles and was interested to see a different side to his musicality. Once again I was really impressed, but not so surprised to be so. The whole thing was a lot of fun, and I'm very glad I went. I even picked up a sweet poster.

So, at one point during set 1, I headed to the pisser. It was deserted. As I leave said deserted pisser, I run into Hawk walking in. Hawk is a flute player whom I'm going to start working with on a new general fuzz track. In fact, I'm going to start working with him on Sunday. So, that’s kinda random. Oh, and his girl friend manages Surrounded by Ninjas. Also, apparently Asher has worked with Tia many times in the past. So now there is one circle that I have weird multiple entry points into.

Unrelatedly, I just made up a new word. You just read it. It also allows me to transition to Jordan's tastefully posh birthday party on Wednesday. Jordon's former band mate Ben, who was in attendance, is the bass player for New Monsoon. Ben's wife Carolyn, also in attendance, grew up in Newton. We learned that we were in the same high school class, although she went to South, I went to North. It turns out her Aunt Lynn is Dwight Loops partner up in Marin. Dwight Loop performed with his troupe Tropozone @ Spectraball (another artsfest event) in the same room that I did. Recently, I've been working with Sara, who does vocals in Tropozone, on a couple tracks. Now there is yet another random connection into the Cobalt Sun posse. I'm going up there for the first time on Sunday to see Tropozone perform.

It really feels like my world is getting smaller, and I like it.


Blogger jordan said...

'tastefully posh'. nice. you should know how to spell my name by now though.

i think i jammed with butler a couple of years ago at high sierra. that's a very cool thing that they have going.

11:48 PM  
Blogger PVision said...


12:47 AM  
Blogger general fuzz said...

Good point. Sorry bout that.

I walked through the crowd, I heard more then one person say: "They don't need the conductor." I strongly disagree - with more then 10 people on the stage, you need some one to be in control.

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Rachel said...

I concur, EO was impressive. The eclectic instrumentation and overall randomness made this show thoroughly enjoyable. Not sold on the conductor though, I'd be interested to see what would turn out without one.

1:07 PM  

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