Jun 162005

It was over Sudanese-made hummus, falafels, and our own dry vodka martinis that the Soundroom hosted its debut Listening Salon on a blistering hot June evening this past weekend.

Muscling right out of the gate was audio engineer, musician, and proprietor of the Soundroom’s sister studio MoonDogEast, Hoby Ebert. With a nod to the then-pending U.S. release of Brian Eno’s Another Day On Earth, Hoby guided our ears through a unique set of Eno-related recordings, prompting with his selections a room of applause.

D’CuCKOO — “No One Receiving”
Eno, Moebius, Rodelius — “Tzima N’Arki”
Robert Wyatt — “Heaps Of Sheeps, Shleep”
David Byrne — “Red House”

New York composer and filmmaker Denise Anderson followed with two challenging recordings that made eyes and ears in the room open wide. Her choices resulted in much discussion—thoughtful, but not lacking emotional and even physical response. (Not to mention the mercantile reaction, such as, “Where do we get more??”—especially in respect to the Portugese composer she featured first.)

Luís Tinoco — “Invention On Landscape” (not commercially available)
Iannis Xenakis — “Hibiki-Hana-Ma”

Writer, visual artist, Red Sun Soundroom regular and near-official opinion-for-hire Kim Mitchell delivered a moving feature set. Collected and sequenced to portray a mood she described simply as “the melancholy of Summer”, Kim’s set invited us aboard a magic vessel visiting Ethiopian nightclubs, the hard American South of the 1960s, whispering landscapes of pop remembrance and “silent music”.

Federico Mompou — “Música Callada: Book 1 – I. Angelico” (perf. Herbert Henck)
Mazzy Star — “Disappear”
U2 — “Love Comes Tumbling”
Jocelyn Pook — “Red Song”
Heather Duby — “Falter”
Lhasa — “La Frontera”
Daniel Lanois — “Shine”
Wallias Band — “Muziqawi Silt”
Fanaye Tesfaye — “Tchèwata”
R.L. Burnside — “Goin’ Down South”
Nina Simone — “Black Is The Color”
U2 — “Promenade”
Ekova — “Idem Soite Done”
Keren Ann — “Not Going Anywhere”

Evening became morning before i reached into my music sack. I had three things i was hoping to play, but shortened that list to two, especially in the wake of the curatorial genius Ms Mitchell had just demonstrated. Our cups were full; one cannot fill a full cup. But i dared to let things spill a little and offered what i consider a prolegomena to North Indian classical music, followed by a new recording of an Arabic pop star covering a tune by the Clash, and featuring Brian Eno on synthesizer, to bring the evening full circle.

Zakir Hussain — “Tabla Demonstration”
Rachid Taha — “Rock El Casbah”

If you’d like more information about any of these recordings (date, label, release info, personnel, etc.), please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll get back to you with details.

Many thanks to our new friends Seif and Ayoub for cooking up such an outstanding feast. And a feast is what the whole evening was, a feast of ideas and new sounds, of laughter and awe, of emphatic gestures, then a kind of stillness to which only deep listening brings us.

Be in touch.

Jun 022005

It’s a time of transition at the Red Sun Soundroom. We’ve relocated to the “New England side of the Hudson” here in upstate New York, and have yet to settle into the perfect space to install our full-service recording facility. There is a skeletal setup, of course, enough gear to draw up sketches, but it isn’t a space to invite other musicians to map out their next artistic voyage.

So the work being done here now is personal. I’ve adjusted my work habits lately to take on the role of prep cook: cultivating fine musical ingredients, dicing them up and arranging all new purées, sautéing and marinating nibbles of rhythm and melody and atmosphere, utilizing my skill with the simplest tools to deliver these ingredients to other chefs i trust, who will then arrange and integrate them into full compositions, ready for tasting, for savoring. It is an opportunity for me to return to the fundamentals of music-making, to hone my skill with a blade and offer what is necessary for other musicians to cook up the finest entrées.

New Hampshire guitarist and composer Tim Nelson is doing just that with our collaborative piece for his upcoming record, Plays Nicely With Others. Working title, “Less Form, Then Form”.

The next Psuedophone record is being undertaken in much the same way. The brunt of the composing, recording, and mixing will be done at MoonDogEast, and i’m taking on some of the prep work here at the temporary chopping block i am affectionately calling the Red Sun Soundcloset. We’ve got so many exciting things on the burner right now it will be difficult to choose in the end which cuts make it to the final record. News of that project will be forthcoming as the pieces progress.

In the meantime, as the full recording facility of the Soundroom is in a bit of a hibernation period, the community scene of the Red Sun Soundroom continues on its course. We’re forming a Listening Salon: a regular gathering of composers, musicians, friends, and music enthusiasts coming together to share works in progress, old favorites, new releases and obscure sounds we’ve discovered on our own paths and wish to share and discuss with each other. Sharing sounds that have us juiced has been an ongoing tradition among the regulars of the Red Sun Soundroom, be it field recordings of Senegalese drummers, the latest pop music from Finland, independent film scores depicting the expansive landscapes of Australia, or revisiting the family dynamic that made that particular Bee Gees hit work. We’re continuing the tradition and conversation with the Listening Salon, and frankly, with the roster we have on board so far, i can’t bleedin’ wait.

But i won’t tell you what i’ll be playing at the first Salon just yet.

It’s a secret.

You’ll find out soon.

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