This time around on BACKTRACKS, newsroom developer and tech expert Thomas Holcomb tells us how a piece of music became his constant companion at a time when he felt cut off from the rest of his family and friends.
LISTEN to his story here:
It was the music of Argentinian saxophonist and composer Gato Barbieri that guided Thomas’ daily journey from darkness to light. Out of print until its reissue in 2007, Barbieri’s 1977 album Ruby Ruby was a romantic collection of Latin jazz compositions produced by Herb Alpert. The record moved from soothing balladry to energetic jams, driven by Barbieri’s warm-blooded sax melodies. The track Thomas talks about here featured guitar work by Lee Ritenour with drummer Steve Gadd and Brazilian percussionist Paulinho Da Costa.
Here then is the full recording to keep you company as you head out into your day:
From Emon Hassan at GUITAKADIA:
If you haven’t seen the documentary & photo essay on last year’s Tilted Axes, please check it out here. I covered this year’s event by sharing sounds, photos, and video throughout the day via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, SoundCloud, Google+ and Tumblr. Fret not, they’re all posted below. Instead of posting several video clips, I’ve compiled them into one.
At the end of the post is the photo essay making its premiere today. Enjoy!
See it all HERE
Composer and producer Patrick Grant creates and leads a parade with over a dozen electric guitarists through the East Village, ending at the newly renovated lobby of the Public Theater. The result will be a moving, polyphonic sound cloud layered in compelling, electric rhythms to honor this season’s axial tilt.
TILTED AXES 2012 – procession route, beginning and ending at
Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., NYC, Dec. 21st, 6:00-7:30 PM
The public is invited to join the procession and accompany the guitars with light hand percussion.
Interested performers should send an email to email@example.com
1. Joe’s Pub & Public Theater
2. Middle Collegiate Church
3. 9th St. & Tompkins Square Park
4. St. Marks Church in-the-Bowery
5. @ Union Square North
6. @ Union Square South
7. The Alamo (cube) & Astor Place
Finale at Joe’s Pub & Public Theater
&reviews from last year’s event HERE
TILTED AXES 2012 Musicians
more players TBA
Patrick Grant is a composer, performer, and producer based in NYC. His music is informed by his experience and work with contemporary-classical and popular music (John Cage, Philip Glass, Quincy Jones, Kid Creole), the communal music of the Balinese Gamelan, and recently with his incipient work in the Guitar Circles of Robert Fripp. He has written scores for theatrical visionaries Robert Wilson, The Living Theatre, and companies in Brazil. He is a recent recipient of the Con Edison – Exploring the Metropolis Musician Residency. He is the creator of International Strange Music Day and Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars. http://tinyurl.com/bwkchbm
Cristian Amigo is an American composer and guitarist who explores connections between art (contemporary classical music and jazz) music and American popular and roots musics. Known as an acoustic and electric guitarist, and improviser, Amigo writes and performs avant-music for chamber ensembles, orchestra, opera, theater, and film. He plays with various bands including The Gotham Roots Orchestra and Kingdom of Jones, and often performs solo and in various configurations with other improvisers and composers. His awards include the Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowhip in music composition, and the Van Leir Award from Meet the Composer. He is composer-in-residence at INTAR Theater in NYC.
Angela Babin has been performing live since she was 13 years old in a huge variety of musical styles from blues, disco, punk, new wave, R&B, jazz, rock, pop, reggae and soca, to klezmer, glam rock, instrumental, acid-jazz and more. Angela entered the downtown New York music scene playing with Off Beach and the Ordinaires while she was a teenager. She has performed with bands all across the US, Canada and Western Europe. Currently, Angela is gleefully playing guitar with the Gotham Roots Orchestra. Angela thanks her daughter for lending her a parade-worthy guitar.
Alexander Baxter was born in Detroit, Michigan and has been playing electric guitar since age 12, when he bought his first Teisco del Rey from Chuck Holzman. Not succeeding as a teenage rock god, he put it aside to pursue a career in academic medicine and now teaches emergency radiology at Bellevue and NYU Hospitals. He returned to music with enthusiasm six years ago and now practices regularly. He has performed with Robert Fripp’s Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists and is a member of the New York Guitar Circle.
Dan Cooper was born and raised in Manhattan, and educated at Columbia, NEC, and Princeton. The recipient of an Aaron Copland fellowship to Tanglewood, he has received awards, commissions, residencies, and premieres from Albany Symphony, ASCAP, Cary Trust, Engine 27, Fontainebleau, Imani Winds, NARAS, NEA, North River Music, NYNME, NYYS, and Shakespeare & Company, among others. As a multi-instrumentalist, he has performed at venues including Royal Albert Hall, Sydney Opera House, Berlin Philharmonic, Town Hall, Bunkamura Orchard Hall, The Blue Note, CBGB, Joe’s Pub, and LPR. Cooper is a music professor at SUNY-FIT, and a co-director of Composers Concordance. http://www.dan-cooper.com
Nick Didkovsky is a guitarist, composer, and music software programmer. He founded the rock band Doctor Nerve in 1983 http://www.doctornerve.org and is a member of the Fred Frith Guitar Quartet. He has composed for Bang On A Can All-Stars, Meridian Arts Ensemble, ETHEL, and others. His compositions and guitar work appear on over 50 records. His Black Sabbath Guitar Lessons on YouTube have been received with great enthusiasm by metal fans all over the world. His metal band Häßliche Luftmasken premiered in June 2011 http://www.tinyurl.com/maskenmetal
David Gould is an instrumentalist and composer who creates grand orchestral arrangements, melancholy acoustic pieces, Americana-infused soundscapes and reverb-drenched rock. David has earned degrees in Composition (B.A., Reed College) and Ethnomusicology (M.A., UCLA), and has performed and written in dozens of styles. He currently lives in Brooklyn and leads the band The Inner Banks with his wife, Caroline. “David Gould, like Sufjan Stevens, Tim Gane, and David Axelrod, is a pop auteur, a producer, arranger, and songwriter capable of turning out svelte four-minute pieces that are at once challenging and digestible.” -Copper Press
Randolph A. Hudson III
Randolph A. Hudson III is a composer, electric guitarist/Ebowist, and technologist born 1957 in Brooklyn NY. In the late 70′s/Late 80’s an active member of Downtown NYC scene with John Zorn, Kramer, Ann Magnuson, Ralph Carney, Daved Hild, Coby Batty, many others. Co-written, recorded, performed with members of Gong, The Waitresses, The Fugs, Psychedelic Furs, Captain Howdy. Recording, touring member of Bongwater with Magnuson/Kramer. Co-Founded “Bowing” with Martha Mooke http://www.marthamooke.com/Bowing.htm. Co-Founded EBQ: The Electronic Bow Quartet. Currently performs with Klyph Black, Joe Delia, and The Complete Unknowns. In 2010, founded the 2D/3D Blu-Ray department of DuArt Film and Video. http://www.rah3.com
Daniel Reyes Llinas
Daniel Reyes Llinas began his musical career at the age of 10 teaching himself how to play the guitar. He Studied Classical Guitar at Andes University in Bogota, Colombia under Carlos Castilla, Carlos Rocca Lynn & Jaime Arias Obregon. He has been an attendant of Guitar Craft seminaries directed by Robert Fripp Since 2004. Mr. Reyes Llinás studied composition with pianist and composer Fernando Otero and enjoys writing music for film and theater. Is the Co-leader of Parias Ensemble. ”Molino” his first CD is available on iTunes, His second album “En Remolinos” will be released in the spring 0f 2013. http://www.danielreyesllinas.com
Cesare Papetti is a percussionist working in and around New York City. Influenced by all sounds resonating from New York’s vibrancy, he pursues a multitude of different performing opportunities from operas, orchestras and chamber groups to rock bands and performance art theater. Recently, Cesare co-produced a concert of Art Rock Music at the Gershwin Hotel. The program included a world premiere of a drum set and piano duet by Gene Pritsker, and music by Dana Richardson and Erbium all written for a rock ensemble instrumentation. Currently, Cesare is also studying Turkish split hand dumbek technique and playing with the funk/rock band Barbaric Yawp. http://www.cesarepapetti.com
Composer/guitarist Gene Pritsker has written over four hundred compositions, including chamber operas, orchestral and chamber works, electro-acoustic music, songs for hip-hop and rock ensembles, etc. All of his compositions employ an eclectic spectrum of styles and are influenced by his studies of various musical cultures. He is the founder and leader of Sound Liberation; an eclectic hiphop-chamber-jazz-rock-etc. ensemble. Recent highlights: ‘Cloud Atlas Symphony’ premiered and recorded for SONY by Kristjan Jarvi and the Leipzig MDR Symphony, orchestrated and has original music in the movie ‘Cloud Atlas,’ the release of his piano concerto ‘Reinventions’ on Sony Records. http://www.genepritsker.com
Izzi Ramkissoon is an award-winning electro acoustic multimedia composer, performer, and sound artist. He has written works for a variety of media including theater, dance, installations, alternative controllers, and interactive multimedia. His compositions deal extensively with the use of technology in composition and have been featured at SEAMUS, NYCEMF, SPARK, Look and Listen Festival, Black Maria Film + Video Festival, World Maker Faire, MATA and numerous other venues and festivals, both nationally and internationally. The Izzi Ramkissoon Ensemble fuses media, technology, IDM, hardcore, classical, musique concrete and various other resources to perform interactive, improvisatory, and experimental works.
Larry Simon, guitarist and composer from Brooklyn, NY, has recorded and toured with many of today’s leading jazz and blues artists including John Zorn, LaMonte Young, David Sanborn, Big Jay McNeely, Lester Bowie, Rosco Gordon, George Coleman, Julius Hemphill, the Skatellites, David Amram, Ed Sanders, Leon Thomas, Eric Mingus and many others. As a composer he has written extensively for dance, film, and theatre. In 2004 Simon founded “Jazzmouth, The Seacoast poetry and Jazz Festival”, Portsmouth, NH. His latest CD is Larry Simon and Groove Bacteria’s “Old School Jams and Drones.”
Mark Stewart is a New York City-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, singer and instrument designer. He has been a member of the Fred Frith Guitar Quartet, Steve Reich and Musicians, Zeena Parkins’ Gangster Band, and Arnold Dreyblatt’s Orchestra of Excited Strings, and is a founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars band and The Jerry Wortman Nonette. Also, he has worked with Paul Simon, Anthony Braxton, Bob Dylan, Cecil Taylor, Meredith Monk, Phillip Glass, Bruce Springsteen, Edie Brickell, Don Byron, Paul McCartney, Marc Ribot, and in the duo Polygraph Lounge with Rob Schwimmer, with whom he also contributed to Simon & Garfunkel’s “Old Friends” reunion concert tour. Stewart lives in Brooklyn, New York and is an avid bicyclist.
More players TBA
TILTED AXES 2012 Sponsors
Patrick Grant‘s participation is made possible in part through The Con Edison Musicians’ Residency: Composition Program is funded by Consolidated Edison, Credit Suisse, the George L. Shields Foundation, the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation, AOH Foundation, the Reed Foundation, DJ McManus Foundation and individuals. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. We also wish to extend our thanks to the Office of Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn for their support. This program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
The Con Edison Musicians’ Residency: Composition Program is administered by Exploring the Metropolis
On this second BACKTRACKS offering, The MMiXdown’s Jocelyn Gonzales tells the story of a love song that echoes through her childhood to the present day. It’s a tune that, for her, has come to symbolize her cultural heritage and her parents’ devotion to each other.
Listen to her audio essay below:
This classic Filipino kundiman that Jocelyn remembers was written in 1938 by Miguel Velarde Jr. for the movie, Bituing Marikit. In the film, the song was performed by matinee idol Rogelia de la Rosa, known as “The King of the Philippine Movies”. In true Filipino fashion, Rosa switched over from acting to public office, later serving in the Philippine Senate and as a diplomat under Ferdinand Marcos.
In 1964, Tom Spinosa and Mike Velarde Jr released an English/Tagalog version of the song, greatly increasing it’s familiarity in the United States. On the Tri-World Records release, Cora and Santos Beloy performed the song. Of this version, the original composer Velarde remarked:
“Sometime in 1960 a famous US singer who made a personal appearance in Manila presented me a contract seeking authority to record ‘Dahil Sa Iyo’ in the States. The five figure offer was fabulous but I turned it down – simply because she wanted to change the title to an American title. I couldn’t, and wouldn’t sell the identity we are trying hard to establish. The merits of the song is its identity.”
Just what WAS that first song or instrumental you heard at an early age, when you acknowledged music’s place in your life? Where were you and how did you hear it? That’s what we asked people for our new audio project, BACKTRACKS. We’re recording conversations and essays about our most formative musical memories.
First up, let’s meet composer, guitarist and media artist Daniel Reyes Llinas, who was lured away from singing in the choir to picking up his first axe by an Argentinian new wave pop song.
Listen to Daniel’s BACKTRACKS story here:
I’m from Bogota, Colombia. My family is made up of my mother, she was a TV soap opera actress. My biological father was a famous musician, he helped to create the Colombian music industry back in 1950s, 1960s. I never got to meet him, not that I know of. I have a step-father who’s my “love” father. That’s my origins.
It’s very common in Colombia to go to Catholic school, and when you go to Catholic school, you have to become part of the choir. I was six or seven, I had a very angelic voice. I don’t know, I had good intonation. That was my first approach to music. It was a priest named Ivan, the director of the choir…and he would bring us these pop songs, from Portuguese or Argentinian pop singers, and he will change the lyrics to praise God.
Then when you were in 5th grade…you get to play the guitar. They have a room with 50 guitars hanging on the walls. They will teach us how to hold the guitar, and they say, “This is the 6th string, this is E, everybody play E! ” Fifty kids playing E – chung, chung, chung! It sounded like bees or something.
The song that Daniel discusses is called “Cuando pase el temblor” by the Argentinian band, Soda Stereo. The band was formed in the early 1980′s by guitarist/vocalist Gustavo Cerati, bass player Zeta Bosio, and drummer Charly Alberti. With a pop mixture of reggae, ska, new wave and noise rock, Soda Stereo was at the forefront of the Argentinian rock movement, and remained popular well into the 90s. After their farewell tour in 1997, they successfully reunited in 2007, three years before Gustavo Certi (now a prominent solo artist) suffered a stroke onstage in Venezuela. He remains in a coma to this day.
Daniel Reyes Llinas has a new album called Molino – listen to clips on his website: http://www.danielreyesllinas.com/
Fryday, August 24th @ SPECTRUM, 121 Ludlow St., NYC
8PM-11PM, tickets $10 at the door
The Dreamscape Floppies
Now Eleonor Sandresky
Gene Pritsker’s Cage ReUnMixed
An Intimate Moment w/ Glenn Cornett
Da Groove Commanders
Micro-Tons o’ Fun w/ Johnny Reinhard
Jolly Ramey (Steve Carter & Maddi Horstmenn)
Card Tricks with Kathleen Supove
rahrahree! (Kurt Gottschalk vs. Tamara Yadao)
Miguel Frasconi LLC
Symphony Baby & Wormhole Chili
and Jed Distleras himself…plus everybody’s favorite…
Zero BoyCheck out the Facebook event page at
Angela Babin & Cristian Amigo
Guitarist Angela Babin was a founding mother of the band the Ordinaires who received critical acclaim in the 80′s in the downtown NY music scene. She met Cristian Amigo (Guggenheim fellow, guitarist and songwriter) while playing E#’s Syndakit. During an extended wait for the subway they formed their collaboration for the Gotham Roots Orchestra via a mutual appreciation for the blues. They will be performing some of their work – strangely – and with strange stringed instruments. This particular performance will be dedicated to Pussy Riot and all other music activists.
Da Groove Commanders
Taking elements of folk, nu-metal, and crunk, and then ignoring them completely, the music of Da Groove Commanders defies meaning. Three of their members – Captain Jesse Krakow, Sergeant Dylan Sparrow, and Lieutenant Tom Shad – will be providing a demonstration as to when and how to get “lost in the groove” by pinpointing specific moments of total groove-i-osity found in popular music and updating them with an edgy sound that appeals to the contemporary urban youth market. Grade = Crucial.
Arts Houston described her vision as “captivating and true,” composer/pianist Eleonor Sandresky‘s music has been performed on three continents. She has been a composer in residence at STEIM and The MacDowell Colony, among others. Her music is available on Koch International, One Soul Records, ERM Media, and Albany Record labels. Eleonor is at the same time one of New York’s preeminent new music pianists, performing concerts throughout the world with performances of new works by composers from Egberto Gismonte to Philip Glass, with whom she has worked since 1991. The depth of her experience as a performer informs her work as a composer in a very deep way, and she mines that experience for the hybrid work that she has been creating, blending movement, the acoustic and the electronic into one unique art form.
Cage ReMixed – Gene ‘D.J. Noizepunk’ Pritsker. Short samples of music by John Cage are treated to looping, scratching, and other DJ effects. Mixed together with beats, bass lines, guitars and other instruments Di.J. Noizepunk creates a groove driven re interpretation of John Cages’ sound world.
Glenn Cornett will present a piece for electronics, etc. based in part on contours extracted from paintings of an emerging, Brooklyn-based artist. Expect some gamelan samples, and in deference to Strange Music organizer Patrick Grant, some live guitar work. Glenn will probably be making use of a 1,920-element light installation he has designed, built and programmed for use with music performances.
I’m playing two compositions of mine: the 32 Beethoven Sonatas in One Minute, and “A Dance Class In Queens” from my piano theater piece “The Gold Standard,” with text by Ed Scmidt. - Jed Distler
photo: Co Broerse
Johnny Reinhard’s DUNE for solo bassoon was first performed on the Seattle Spring Festival in 1990. The piece was the catalyst for the Raven CD, produced by Michael Thorne (Stereo Society). Its design showcases the fantastic realms of musical expression possible with the contemporary instrument. As one might travel through different worlds in a Frank Herbert science fiction novel (such as Dune), the performer takes the listener through exotic soundscapes. Another appealing metaphor is the equation of the bassoon with the sands, both shaped by wind. The piece begins with resonance juggling, proceeds to microtonal melody, glissandi, key percussion, diverse equal temperaments, and enters into musical territories rarely, if every, visited.
DIRTY TABLOID FINGERS: Songs Ripped From NY Tabloid Newspapers. Your old pals Jolly Ramey let fly with some rambling banter, tuneful bits and our special way of giving you what passes for news. Featuring Steve Carter and Madi Horstman.
My set will consist of improvised performances of graphic scores created by YOU, the audience. Beforehand, there will be paper, pencils, and crayons, so you can make a score and submit it. Or use your own materials! From the submissions, I’ll choose a few. I will have a few moments to think about it, but it’s at least 85% spontaneous! – Kathleen Supove
photo: Richard Termine
Miguel Frasconi uses laptop, controllers, electronics, and an instrumentarium of glass objects to create music from a uniquely imagined tradition. His glass instruments are struck, blown, stroked, smashed and otherwise coaxed into vibration. His electronics and controllers push and pull on the fabric of found and invented sounds. Tonight, he will present SUMPSIMUS, an exploration of correctness and beliefs in relation to our daily sonic experiences and how we are present and (re)present ourselves in the world.
Patrick Grant is a serious musician who is often mistaken for the opposite. Tonight he will most likely prove his detractors correct. His music is informed by his experience and work with contemporary-classical and popular music (John Cage, Philip Glass, Quincy Jones, Kid Creole), the communal music of the Balinese Gamelan, and recently with his incipient work in the Guitar Circles of Robert Fripp. He has written scores for theatrical visionaries Robert Wilson (of Einstein on the Beach), The Living Theatre, and companies in Brazil and Europe. He is a recent recipient of Con Edisons Exploring the Metropolis Composer Residency for the creation of a new work for large guitar ensemble, Circle-Lines.
As rahrahree!, Tamara Yadao and Kurt Gottschalk create mid-air palindromes with guitars and speaking voices. Theirs is a geometry of oratory where words and meaning are of slippery significances only as important as the listener wants them to be. Yadao and Gottschalk also co-curate the ongoing txt fst performance series which has presented performance of text-based works at Proteus Gowanus, Flushnik and on X>Triangulation>X online radio. Yadao also plays 8 bit music as Corset Lore and in the groups Frogwell, foci + loci and tū. Gottschalk plays in the duo Ecstasy Mule and hosts the Miniature Minotaurs program on WFMU.
Entertainer and “vocal cartoonist” Zero Boy is an East Village icon who recently appeared Off-Broadway in the Yllana Production of 666 at the Minetta Lane Theater Zero Boy performed regularly on NPR’s The Next Big Thing and has been seen on the television shows Fox and Friends and Good Day New York and MTV’s M2 network.
He will be seen soon as Dr. Drago In Nickelodeon’s Mission Dawn. He has written, directed and performed numerous productions on both coasts and Europe.
More to come…
International STRANGE MUSIC DAY Performance Soiree
Friday, August 24th @ SPECTRUM, 121 Ludlow St., NYC
8PM-11PM, tickets $10 at the door
August 24th is International Strange Music Day. It’s a real holiday, yes it is. To celebrate, some of NYC’s best and brightest composers and performers are getting together to have a very unserious night of music making. This as an opportunity to for them to share unusual sounds, unusual instrumentation, and unusual compositions rarely heard or new ones that will never be heard from again.
Conceived by composer/performer Patrick Grant, the evening will be held together by vocal sound FX master Zero Boy (Joel Blumsack). Highlights include an audience participatory graphic score creation and performance by Kathleen Supove, the choreographic piano of Eleonor Sandresky, the microtonal bassoon of Johnny Reinhard, the musical magic of Miguel Frasconi, the playing of odd instruments by Angela Babin & Cristian Amigo, the reunion of the duo Jolly Ramey who will create new songs from that morning’s tabloids, a DJ remix of composer John Cage by Gene Pritsker, the humorous songs of Jed Distler, a masterful deconstruction of the pop catalog by Jesse Krakow, recombinant music and text by Kurt Gottschalk & Tamara Yadao, and a very special performance by Spectrum founder Glenn Cornett.
Needless to say, other musical surprises are planned.