“IN (Key)” – New Music in Celebration of Terry Riley’s “IN C” @ 50 Years

“The IN (Key) event sounds wonderful. I am so happy my ‘1964 daughter’ is again pregnant with so many remarkable new children.” – Terry Riley


On June 21st, as part of Make Music New York 2014, Terry Riley‘s “IN C” will be celebrated with “IN (Key)”, eleven new works by leading composer-performers in a concert co-produced by ComposersCollaborative and Peppergreen Media with the support of the Cornelia Street Cafe. The event will begin with a special performance of “IN C” itself, serving as a prelude to all that is to follow.

Completing the octave, on the program will be: “IN Db” by Eleonor Sandresky (keyboard), “IN D” by Lisa Maree Dowling (double bass), “IN Eb” by David Borden(keyboard), “IN E” by Gene Pritsker (electric guitar), “IN F” by Elliott Sharp (electric guitar), “IN F#” by Adam Cuthbért (trumpet & laptop), “IN G” by Patrick Grant(electric guitar & keyboard), “IN Ab” by Brad Balliett (bassoon), “IN A” by John King (viola), “IN Bb” by Vasko Dukovski (clarinet), and “IN B” by Jed Distler (keyboard).

Other special musical guests completing the performing ensemble TBA.

The concert will take place from 1:00 to 4:00 PM on the street outside the cafe at 29 Cornelia St. and is free and open to the public.

At 6:00 PM there will be a separate event inside the cafe performed by members of the ensemble for a nominal charge TBD.

A Sharp Interactive Site

In Bb 2.0 is a collaborative music and spoken word project conceived by Darren Solomon from Science for Girls, and developed with contributions from users. The videos can be played simultaneously — the soundtracks will work together, and the mix can be adjusted with the individual volume sliders.

In Bb 2.0 – FAQ

Q. How did you come up with the idea for In Bb?

A. I was making a site with embedded YouTube videos (as a complement to this blog post) when I realized that YouTube doesn’t stop the user from running more than one video at a time. I was curious to see if there was a musical way to explore that concept, so I recorded some instrumental videos and eventually came up with In Bb v1.

Q. Are you playing any of the instruments?

A. I played the instruments in v1 – glass marimba, electric guitar, Kaoss Pad/synth, Rhodes electric piano, and the electric bass. Those are videos 1,2,3,4, and 6, counting from the top left, in the current site.

Q. How did you get the rest of the videos?

A. I sent out emails, and I put up an open call on the website for submissions, with these instructions:

-Sing or play an instrument, in Bb major. Simple, floating textures work best, with no tempo or groove. Leave lots of silence between phrases.
-Record in a quiet environment, with as little background noise as possible.
-Wait about 5-10 seconds to start playing.
-Total length should be between 1-2 minutes.
-Thick chords or low instruments don’t work very well.
-Record at a low volume to match the other videos.
-You can listen to this mix on headphones while you record.
-After you upload to YouTube, play your video along with the other videos on this page to make sure the volume matches.

Q. How did you pick from the submissions?

A. There was a lot of creative submissions. I played each one along with the other videos, in different combinations. Ultimately, it was a subjective call, certain videos just felt right to me.

Q. Are you still accepting submissions?

A. I have all that I need, but if you’re feeling inspired, do one and send it to me, and maybe I can put it in a future update.

Q. Are you still working on the site?

A. For now I’m topping off the videos at 20, which seems to be a good balance between not taxing the user’s browser, and giving the user plenty of options. I may develop the concept some more in the future.

Q. What is the spoken word piece?

A. Information, by the amazing Daniel Donahoo, read by the author. The full text is on the YouTube page.

Q. What is the Glass Marimba in the first video?

A. It’s a Chromatic Aquarion, made by Jim Doble at Elemental Design. Jim is a super cool guy who makes fantastic instruments. I highly recommend them for you creative music types.

Q. Who wrote the music of In Bb?

A. Interesting question! I think the traditional concept of authorship doesn’t really apply here. You wrote it, the participants wrote it, I wrote it. For lack of a better idea, if you need to credit the music, it would probably be best to say “by inbflat.net”.

Q. Was Kutiman an inspiration?

A. I love the Kutiman videos. I’ve watched ThruYou #3 probably 50 times, and the song that starts at 4:38 makes me melt, it’s so good. But I did In Bb v1 before I’d ever seen his work.

Q. Is In Bb a tribute to Terry Riley?

A. Absolutely. Terry Riley is one of my favorite composers. Songs For The Ten Voices Of The Two Prophets is a desert island disc for me.

Q. My computer is not happy running all those embedded videos. How can I make it work better?

A. Closing other browser windows helps, or you can try the smaller versions, with 16 or 12 videos.

Q. Can I post my own tweaked version of the site?

A. Please do. Some people have already done some cool things with the site. Here’s a Buddha Machine version that plays continuously, and here’s a version with a mixer interface. The videos also work nicely on YouCube (takes a few minutes to fully load).

Patrick Grant

P.S. – The violinist in the lower right hand corner of the grid is MMiX Festival performer Todd Reynolds.

P.P.S. – Thanks to Eeeks at Sirius/XM Radio for pointing this site out to us.

Meet the Old Boss, Same as the New Boss

All musicians have a few pieces in their lives that, when they heard it it for the very first time, it was an epiphany, it was something that said to them, “This is what you were meant to do,” almost like a memory that had been implanted since birth had been awakened. One of these moments for me was when a friend popped in a cassette tape (look it up kids) of “Who’s Next” by The Who and I heard the opening synthesizer part to “Baba O’Riley” only to end when more of the same on the albums closer “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” How surprising it would be, years later, to learn that Pete Townsend’s sequencer-driven, phase-shifting rhythm track was in turn inspired in part by Terry Riley’s minimalist manifesto “In C,” itself a study in loop-based composition though played on an indeterminate ensemble of acoustic instruments.

Previous to this I had been learning the classics through the side-door of Wendy Carlos’ and Isao Tomita’s transcriptions via the Moog. The other shoe had dropped. I could be cool now amongst my peers, always a primary concern to a teenager. The Who keep me going until, without the help of MTV or today’s internet, new bands started catching my attention on the late night Detroit airwaves (shows like Radios in Motion and The Electrifyin’ Mojo) and I moved sharply away from classic rock into a New Wave.

The personal note above has been added to show that things change quickly, one cannot get stuck in a rut. This is especially true if one wishes to stay on top of innovation. To illustrate this, here are two videos of Pete Townsend. This first one shows how the electronic rhythm track to that “Who’s Next “ album came into being:

Now compare this to the very same, if not heightened, enthusiasm he shows in a recent video, almost a tutorial really, that, camera in hand, he made himself in the studio (still his fascination of loop-based composition is thriving):

I can only hope that I’ll retain the same open mindedness 30 years down the road when I’m confronted by whatever means of music making we’ll have then.

-Patrick Grant