Duet for wine glass and voice

My friend Rio came by today for a collaborative dance/music session. We discussed a salon idea I’ve been developing, and the possibility of artists in Philadelphia to have a place to workshop ideas and transform the arts scene. It can be isolating working on one’s art. I spend hours (days) recording music, and sometimes I don’t say a word to anyone in person for days. It would be inspiring to me to have a place where I can take my works in progress and receive feedback on them while ideas are forming. I’m very much interested in working with artists from other fields (dance and film in particular) and creating new artforms and combinations.

Towards the end of our improvisation session (mainly Rio dancing and me playing soprano sax, wine glass, and toy piano), we sat down to perform a duet for wine glass and voice. I have decided to call it “Gargle.” What inspired it was a spontaneous decision to gargle some of the water from the glass that I had to remove to raise its pitch. It made a great sound with the droning wine glasses looping in the background. Anyway, we sat down and let things happen.

While this is more experimental than something ‘performance-ready,’ I wanted to share it with you to show the kinds of sounds I’ve been working with.

Personally, this was a study for a Kate Bush song I’m working on. I spent the weekend playing wine glasses and arranging harmonies for them. The combination of droning glasses in fourths and fifths and furniture percussion was surprisingly primal, and something that I think will work well in a song about looking within yourself when nobody else can be there for you. Use the tools at hand.


Modal Unravelling

I have been hard at work on my version of Bj√∂rk’s “Unravel.” Like I said in the previous post, I was drawn to the unfolding of the mode over time. To draw this out, I added layers of my voice gradually outlining the two major chords in the piece (Bb6 and C6), with saxophones playing the mode at the start. Currently, there are no digital effects added. Instead of using reverb, I tracked each vocal part three times. For the second take, I used a Shure SM-58 and my standard M-Audio Nova simultaneously. I found the SM-58 to have a more ‘direct’ tone, which helped give the sound a little more definition.

These tracks will serve as the backbone of my arrangement. I’m still working on blending the alto sax and clarinet for the melody, and I plan on doing some modal improvisation after the first statement of the melody. I’m going to be away from home for the next week and a half, so the finish will have to wait. But I think it will be a nice companion piece to my “Unison” cover. Hmm…maybe they will bookend my next Christmas gift album?