general fuzz

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

Monday, July 17, 2006

Tropozone

Last night I cruised up to Sausalito to take in Tropozone. It is a collection of musicians which blend electronic and organic elements to take the listener on little journeys through the mind. Or, at least that’s what I took away from it.

The show was at the Cobalt Sun gallery, which is a smallish warehouse space transformed into a performance/art space by Lynn Augstein. As I walked in, I was smacked across the head with tranquility. It was like a cartoon, where outside is a big warehouse and inside is the secret garden of serenity. People talked very quietly with each other as ambient music breezed around the room. I was feeling good. People were friendly. There was a definite sense of community – a lot of these people knew each other. I had enough entry points in to that community that I felt like I belonged there, even though I’d never been there before.

Tropozone materialized. There were 7 – 8 of them, using instruments such as didgeridoos, percussion instruments, pan flute, and a huge hollow wooden round guitar. These were nestled next to folks with synthesizers. One guy used a guitar to control a synthesizer. Dwight Loop, who is the founder of Tropozone, had a couple keyboards and a laptop, which he used to sort of conduct the ensemble. He uses Live, the same software I use to compose my tracks. This is a great demonstration of how versatile a tool Live is – it can be used in both a performance and studio setting.

Each song seemed like an improvisation on top of a bed of sound. It was chill to the extreme. I felt like I was sinking into the ground a couple times. It never got too busy with all the musicians on stage – there was a lot of listening going on. Every once in a while someone would read a poem or a chant. Occationally there was singing/breathing.

Something I haven’t mentioned is that all these performers were male. During the second song, Sara (or Stara, her performance name) joined the ensemble. This was no a small occurrence.

A little background on Sara: I was blessed to hear her perform @ Spectraball with Tropozone. I have been looking for a vocalist like her to collaborate with for many years. Fortunately for me, she was willing to do so. We have been working on an track together for the last couple months. It’s getting near done, and its a stellar track. So it’s been great fun working with her and getting to know her. An incredible lady.

Sara comes out in an insane red dress. She’s wearing a long feather out of one ear. She looks absolutely stunning. And she does her thing, along with everyone else. It sounds fantastic. I sink deeper into the ground. I’m starting to grasp the notion of sacred space – because that’s what I feel is being created. Time has no meaning. I’m able to do a lot of great thinking. I keep coming back to the idea that it would sweet to collaborate with these performers.

After the performance, I start talking with folks. I’m introduced to a violinist who’s looking to branch out. I talk to the guy who brought 20 didgeridoos with him. That how he rolls. The fact that I’m working with Sara gives me a lot of street cred with these folks. I get all inspired and excited. A fantastic Sunday, by all accounts.

We’ll see what pans out. All I know is: right now, my life is all about music, and it feels. Good. It feels so good. (I’ve been listening to Jamaroquoi’s "A Funk Odyssey" a bunch lately. You should too.) JJ came over and played some bass on Friday. Hawk brought his flute over on Sunday afternoon. I’m seriously working on 3 songs right now.

I even saw Pearl Jam and Sonic Youth on Saturday. You don’t see a big write up about that show – because it was exactly what you think it was. A huge rock show. Everyone can still sing/play. I strangely enjoyed listening to Dave SG poorly sing “alive” over and over again in the stairwell.

I can now contrast the PJ ($50) show with the Everyone Orchestra (a benifit show- $20 donation) and Tropozone ($12). The biggest difference is how you feel as an audience member. At both Everyone Orchestra and Tropozone I felt like I was experiencing something special. Something exciting. Everyone went on a journey together, sink or swim. The emotions that were evoked were more genuine – because the feelings were a direct reflection of how the artists were feeling. PJ was more about going to a big rock show – pure entertainment, which I absolutely enjoy as well. I simply don’t walk away inspired from PJ though.

It was also amazing to see two groups that had so much in common a couple days apart. The type of music created and the methodology was completely different, but the idea of organized improvised spaces were the same.

5 Comments:

Blogger PVision said...

"That's how he rolls" = Humor.

Good times with the collaboration with intersting folks.

And good times with the experience vs entertainment. They're both great in their own way.

7:33 PM  
Blogger PVision said...

Oh, and good times re: Jamiroquai. A truly underrated band. I'm also a fan of their album Synkronized, but its not quite as good as Funk Odyssey.

7:38 PM  
Blogger I am an Edu-Dame said...

I had no idea that sonic Youth still toured. Or that Pearl Jam had gone back to big shows. Did you purchase your ticket through TicketMaster?

Music on Maui is a very different experience altogether because every venue = a small venue. The biggest venue is the MACC, which can accommodate about 2,000 people. And it’s outside. Under the stars. And the palm trees. And you're super close, every time. I saw Prince there several years ago - front row. I’ve also seen Jimmy Buffet, Bonnie Raitt, and Ozomatli there. Currently, I am awaiting the next Big Show here on Maui.

There is also awesome, local music to be had around Maui, like Willy K and Hapa. Now you're talking reaaaallllly small venues!

8:03 PM  
Blogger general fuzz said...

Pearl Jam played at the SF civic center which means they are contractrally obliged to use Ticket Master. So, in short - yes. I guess they decided that battle was no longer worth fighting. Which is sad. I hate ticketmaster with a passion. Along with Clear Channel.

10:04 AM  
Blogger I am an Edu-Dame said...

Sellouts.

12:40 AM  

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