some thoughts, captured on video
part of series on canadian percussionists by ken shorely
full series here
I like to tell stories. I’ve begun to see a pattern in the many projects I undertake – a desire to tell stories. These are not always the stories that have a beginning, a middle and end – sometimes they are the stories that I carry in my body and hands.
I recently played a concert that was the kind of presentation that is more conventional than the ones I often find myself in – a large hall, filled with people and with a band on stage. I realized that even here there is a story I am telling when playing a piece of music as part of an ensemble. It is the story of the years of practice, of (sometimes) frustration and (often) joy, and the slow dawning of the realization that I cannot be all things, I can only be myself.
I used to feel bad that I was “untrained” and feel that technique was lacking. That may be true, but in the many many years that I have been working at my craft and art, a kind of understanding has arisen, an understanding that I, myself, have a voice and a story to tell as part of the accumulated experience of my heart, mind and body. And that story is one that is worth sharing, because it is unique – mine and only mine.
So the theatre work that I do, the many artists that I collaborate with, the sound art and radiophonic works I create – they are all part of this unique story of me. And while this post is in danger of sounding self aggrandizing and egoistic, this is only because I cannot put into words properly what this story means in the larger world around me. It has meaning, and it is only one small cell in the giant organism of sound and being.
I suppose that basically every blog on the Internet is going to be doing a post such as this, but anyway: happy new year, and I hope to post more regularly.
there is a lot about digital sound, a particular kind of sound world that holds much fascination for me. in many ways the fascination is expressed in the act or process of making the sound around us audible, the exposure of the mystery that is in our atmosphere all around us, every day.
but being a musician, and maybe more so a percussionist, also demands a kind of engagement when i make and construct this sound into a work. and in the end, the process is fulfilling but not visceral—an important part of my connection to creating sound is lost through the keyboard, the midi controller, the mouse.
which is why i am so happy to have built tetsuo kogawa‘s radio transmitters, thanks to the help of naisa and hector centeno. for the first time in many years i have direct access to working with this world, a way to engage my whole being in the exploration of this mysterious realm.
the 7000 oaks project (knuckleduster version) is underway. a re-mount/-imagining/-mix of the original joseph beuys installation in kassel, we decided to make it a part of the knuckleduster haus der kulturen der welt concert commission we recently did. the concert series was part of the programming HKW was doing around sustainability, and the 7000 project was meant to be part of our concept/contribution to the program, along with our concert and video.
a nice idea—interesting concept, long term life, etc., etc. fine. a minor part of our life as a band, something to keep track of and occasionally do. one of the many small things that we as artists take on in our practice—a responsibility, but not a pressing one. occasionally irritating, often neglected. not one that makes a huge difference but worth keeping alive.
until we planted the first tree.
going out into the urban wilderness, dragging our seedlings, a small shovel. some water. moving through the weeds and broken bottles, my daughter in tow. finding a place, somewhat sheltered for the little plants, but with enough room for them to grow. digging in the dirt, soil under our fingernails. the rich black colour of the earth, the smell of it. and then the trees, nestled under the bushes, drinking in the water and sun and air and our hopes that they grow and shade many small children. the trees carriers of our future hopes.
this could be one of the most important things i ever do.
knuckleduster will perform at berlin’s haus der kulturen der welt this june as part of their program of lectures, art and music uberlebenskunst. more info here: http://bit.ly/Iqsmvz
robert and i are looking forward to our show — we have some sumptuous surprises in store. do join us.
i’m sound designing a play for theatre passe muraille right now, which happens to be written by (and stars) my sister pamela. the sound design is quite complex, by which i mean building the running cues for the sound involves many abrupt cuts and changes of audio state, let alone making the actual audio. and in rehearsal today i got to thinking about how the internal pulses and arc of the sound itself can be magnified by movement and text, how it can become stronger even though it serves and is played in tandem with other elements.
it’s a beautiful dance. i hope you can come see the show.
as you may know if you are a facebook connection, i will be opening for colin stetson at the perimeter institute for theoretical physics on march 31. in honour of that occasion, i have been working on finally making a live set for anudrutam, something i have been wanting to do for a long time.
i am happy with what is happening so far—a re-visiting of the works on the cd in a way that keeps to the ideas and intent behind the original tracks but also refreshes them for live performance. have a listen, and see you in kitchener on the 31 of march.
very happy to have learned that knuckleduster received a great review in wire magazine in the upcoming april 2012 issue by none other than clive bell. robert and i are thrilled to have this going out to the world. hit us up on twitter to stay on top of news from the duo, including info on a show at berlin’s haus der kulturen der welt in june and our upcoming european tour.
don’t forget to visit the knuckleduster website for video, links to purchase the cd, and other news.
good news! the duo knuckleduster will be doing our cd release for nuukoono, our first cd on november 11 in toronto. the illustrious garrison is the venue, and we will be welcoming music lovers from far and wide.
9pm is the start time, with an opener tbc. knuckleduster hits the stage around 11. tix a very affordable $10.
hope to see you there, and stay tuned as always.