Friday, January 22, 2016


Hello friends,

Long time...

If you've payed close attention, you've noticed that the 12 Films with Music project is incomplete.  Yes, it's true.  It's the first of my internet projects that was not completed.  There are a couple reasons for this.  One, we had to move.  Our landlord in Brooklyn sold the house we were renting in.  Let me tell you, we really had it made in that house.  A huge amount of space, parking, garden, two floors with two pianos.  Our landlord let us host a house concert series.  It was really the best.  But all good things come to and end.  When faced with the reality of the Brooklyn real estate / renters market, shit hit the fan, so to speak.  There was nothing we could find that could compare, or even come close to meeting our needs, for our price range.  After some apartment hunting let downs, we decided to consider moving out of town.  Moving out of NYC is something that we had talked about for awhile. But our Brooklyn rental was so good, that we never would have left, even though in hindsight it really was time.  Long story short, we ended up buying a house in Beacon, NY! Beacon is a beautiful little town full of artists and young families on the Hudson River, about an hour drive north of NYC.  We are loving it!  We are home owners.  It's quiet.  We are closer to nature.  There are lichens on the trees here (Look it up).  We're definitely happy with our choice and are adjusting well.

Anyway, it was a major transition for us.  We spent a June and July staying with friends, moving around, our stuff in storage.  It was not easy.  April and May were months of scrambling to find our next home.  And moving to Beacon meant moving our teaching business.  So, it being an intense time, my creative endeavors had to take a back seat for awhile.  It taught me something about the value of society.  It was difficult for me to think about art when I didn't know where my home would be in a couple months.  By living in groups we don't all need to spend every waking moment finding food or shelter or protecting ourselves from bears.  Therefor some of us have the freedom to think about making art.   There are plenty of famous artists who seem to thrive under stressful conditions.  You know the self-destructive types.  But during our transition, I had difficulty focusing on any musical projects for more than a couple minutes at a time.   I had the idea of finishing the 12 films project after getting settled in to our new home.  But I haven't been inspired to get the camera out.  I was getting tired of the videos I was doing.  Rather than force something, I've been waiting for something to emerge.  Nothing has jumped out, so right now the project stands incomplete, with ten out of twelve videos.  We'll see if something comes up.

In the meantime, I wanted to share with you a related project.  Filmmaker Andrew Filippone Jr. saw my work on the old internet and got in touch.  We met a couple times and he proposed working together on a couple experimental films he was working on.  Last Saturday we took his film Twisted into Paul Antonell's Clubhouse studio and I improvised a piano score to it.   It was quite an experience.  An hour and 45-minutes of improvisation, non-stop.   Twisted is a frame by frame reordering of the movie Twister.  He ordered it (by hand!) first frame, last frame, second frame, second to last frame, third frame, third to last frame, and so on.  Essentially you're watching the first half of the movie and the last half of the movie (in reverse) at the same time.  Because some scenes had brighter light than others, usually one scene is dominant.  But the film is filled with really beautiful juxtapositions.  The truck door opens, and suddenly a different character gets out.  You see Helen Hunt interacting with herself.  It's really wild.  There is a flickering effect because of the lighting differences which was a bit bothersome for me at first.  But as I sat with it the flickering became less noticeable and the amazing coincidental juxtapositions became prominent.

I have experimented with long-form improvisation.  Perhaps you remember the Weekly Extended Improvisation Project in which I recorded a 60-minute or longer improvisation once a week for year.  The predominant experience in that project was that of daydreaming.  I found that by myself I was unable to stay focused on what I was doing and lapsed into long daydreams.  As I discussed in the final reflections of that project, perhaps this wasn't a problem and perhaps the music that came out during the daydreams was true and better without the direct influence of my conscious mind.  I was expecting long daydreams to come during the recording of Twisted.  But they didn't - I think because of the stimulation of the film.  The film kept me in the moment.  It was a pretty blissful state of mind to be in actually- a state that I often look for in improvised music situations.   When I was done I was exhausted, but exhausted in the best way.

Please be sure to check out Andrew's website.  He's a creative force!

Here's the film.  I encourage you to sit with it for awhile.  After a few minutes you might be tempted to turn it off.  But don't.  It's worth the long haul.  See you on the other side!

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