Loopy Layered Vocals-Lindsey Walker at Luggage Store Gallery 8/1/13

lsg 8-1-13 - 11Lindsey performed “Mathematics UK Lite Live”, a composition she had been working on for awhile, using a Digitech Jam Man, Boss Loop Station, Alesis NanoVerb, Micro flanger, and MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay.

It was sort of droney, which usually puts me to sleep, but I was captivated by the her sounds. The sounds were looped and layered and changed enough to keep me interested. Also, they were easily recognized as vocal sounds. Sometimes the vocals are so modified they sound like electronic computer music. I kept thinking of my high school days singing Gregorian chant in the church choir where we all sang the same score with no parts. Lindsey was much more interesting with her multiple layers, but had a similar appeal.

Link to Lindsey’s unedited full performance (scroll through the intro by Rent Romus)

Link to Lindsey and Doug Lynner’s (the performer for the second set who played a 1975 vintage synth) duo. (Scroll through the intro) FYI, the title “Hippy Jam LSG” is what Matt Davignon, one of the curators,  likes to call jams with both performers from both sets.

I see Lindsey sometimes as she is one of the few regular attendees at the Luggage Store Gallery and other music events. I knew she was a vocalist. But, I had never heard her perform. I figured she was doing “songs” similar to popular music. I was really wrong!

Although I don’t use looping now, I did learn quite a bit about it performed as a “newbie” at the 2011 Y2K International Live Looping Festival in Santa Cruz California. I had never even used a looping pedal.

Both Lindsey and I performed, in different years, as newbies at the Looping Festival and attended Jazz Camp West, where we both took vocal classes,. Wow, what a coincidence!!

How did Lindsey get started doing these strange vocals?

She was working (and attending) Jazz Camp West in 2007, a camp for adults held at a Boy Scout camp in the Santa Cruz CA mountains. Kid Beyond was there, teaching beat box and live looping. Lindsey had always thought you needed a band to perform and realized she could perform solo.

Later, she met Rick Walker, the Ultimate Looping Guru who is very willing to help newbies. Rick loaned her a looper if she would agree to perform at one of his Looping Festivals in Santa Cruz.

That was it. She never looked back.

Like many of us, when she was young she played clarinet in the school band and studied piano. Previously she was in a folk singing group, “Dogs in Dublin” for awhile.

Here’s her bio from the performance on Outsound Present’s Facebook event page

Lindsey Walker has a background in textiles, photography, styling, painting, classical piano, clarinet, mandolin, folk singing, digital and analog sound synthesis as well as stompbox live looping.

Regardless of her engagement in the arts, she considers herself a machine operator of sorts using transparent layers of breath and voice as input to build sonic textures. Her B.A. in Psychology from University of California, Davis informs her exploration of perception and communication where the human senses and technology meet.

Lindsey was the first artist from the United States to contribute audio to Nat Grant’s international blogging project “Momentum,” in 2012.

In 2008 at the Y2K International Live Looping Festival in Santa Cruz California she was nominated for “Newbie of the Year.”

Lindsey’s soundcloud link:

Some interesting vocal sounds there – very different from her Luggage Store performance!!

Sun Ra Arkestra at Victoria Theater in San Francisco – 8-3-13

Reprinted with permission of Mark Pino, aka Disaster Amnesiac, percussionist in Ear Spray (and other groups), from his blog posting dated 8/3/13 at http://disasteramnesiac.blogspot.com/ He is in the Ear Spray photo above.

Disaster Amnesiac feels certain that last night’s concert at the Mission District’s venerable Victoria Theater will go down as a high point for live music in the Bay Area for 2013.

Waiting in line for admission, I felt a great, freaky vibe emanating from the hundreds of music fans and Mission street people. Thankfully, the vibes were realized inside, despite lengthy delays in getting everyone seated and starting the music.

Owing to that delay, Disaster Amnesiac felt a bit inhibited as regards taking photos of the first two groups. Let me say this: Hans Grusel’s Krankenkabinet performed a great piece for strings and electronics, in which a Power Electronics blast was paired with Black Metal vocalizing and really neat costumes and props (Grux?). Their sounds gave this listener a nicely powered lift. sfSoundgroup played two long pieces, the first by Luciano Berio and the next by Krzsztof Penderecki. Berio’s sound worlds, free-standing spaces of their own, must be entered at their terms, and if this is done……yeah, BEAUTIFUL. Note to the SF Orchestral Establishment: performances of this music can make $$$$!

Standout players from this group were John Ingle and Joshua Allen, with their saxophone POWER, and equally strong bassist Scott Walton, who drove the Penderecki piece ferociously.

As for the Arkestra? Their Space Jazz music, so abstract and so warm, so swinging and so fiery. Disaster Amnesiac had not seen them since a Halloween show at Slim’s in the early 1990’s, and I wept tears of joy upon realizing that I was being treated to the amazing sounds of Sun Ra, his myth living in arrangements that he left behind, sparked by the loving mind of Marshall Allen and his big band cohorts. It strikes me that the Arkestra means a lot to a lot of people, and this shows when they play. The make people happy with their mixture of standard tunes, Ra originals, New Orleans funkiness and 21st Century space blasts. I just can’t sing their praises enough.

Above: the Arkestra lives!

Above: Travellin’ Spaceways!
Major kudos to Kirschner Concerts and their partners for putting on this great event! Space is indeed the Place!
Comment from Ann O’Rourke, the editor of this blog: I saw Sun Ra live in 1968, during his first west coast tour, in San Francisco in a marijuana smoke haze. I was living in the Haight Ashbury,  in my “hippie days”. I had never heard live jazz before. He was a fantastic composer, band leader, pianist, and Entertainer. I never forgot him. I couldn’t make it to this Arkestra performance, darn!!
Link to arkestra web site: http://www.sunraarkestra.com/

To read more of Mark’s reviews and comments, go to http://markpinoondrums.blogspot.com/ Very interesting!!

Maxine-Maxareddu Musicbots at 12th Annual Outsound New Music Summit!!

One of my favorite parts of the Summit is the “meet the artists” intro. Composer Ritwik Banerji talked about his Max/MSP-based software musicbot, Maxine, referring to it as his “child” which he was teaching. I found the statement very intriguing. Rittwik has a background of teaching children and has a young child. The other performer, Joe Lasqo used his prior Artificial Intelligence work in expert systems and natural language/speech processing, which he applies to programming Maxareddu.

(Max/MSP is very flexible software that is used for composing electronic music, and other music and video uses.)

Ritwik Banerji and Joe Lasqo used their “Improvising Agents”, “artificial-intelligence software entities that listen to, interpret, and the produce their own music in response.”

Appropriately, the set opened with a chat between two animation people in a video projection. Their “conversation” was very funny. I thought someone wrote it, but it was completely “improvised” by the two characters. I don’t hear much humor in experimental music. Way too serious!!

Here’s a link to the chatbots on youtube (much shorter than the video at Outsound): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnzlbyTZsQY

The two human musicians joined the conversation on their acoustic instruments(Banerji: sax, Lasqo: piano). Since I’m an acoustic musican (percussion) also I really liked this part.

Maxine “appeared in early 2009 as a being, deeply inspired by Banerji’s work with children in Chicago. Like one would hope of a child, this project focuses on the creation of a social agent, finding ways through sound to make its presence known, while respecting and enhancing the presence of others. Recently this project has more strongly engaged the issue of astromusicology, or the real-time musical diplomacy between human sound makers and the spectral bodies of Maxine.”

Musicbots Maxine and Maxareddu used a microphone to “listen” and then improvise to the sounds of the Banerji’s saxophone,  Lasqo’s acoustic piano, and ambient sounds in the room.

For more information Maxine Banerji, including Ritwik’s approach to teaching, go to a very interesting article by Banerji at: http://cec.sonus.ca/econtact/12_3/banerji_maxine.html

For more information on Joe Lasqo, go to http://www.joelasqo.com
For more info on Ritwik Banerji, go to http://cnmat.berkeley.edu/people/ritwik_banerji


Warren Stringer – videos and software fiend/badass programmer

Warren Stringer very seldom performs, so it was a real treat to have him there doing video projections. Joe Lasqo, the curator, invited him. Per Joe, “I met Warren through the SF Electronic Music Meetup (SF EMM), which we both belong to. I gave him a ride to a show by the SLOrk (Stanford Laptop Orchestra) that various people from this group were attending, that got us talking and one thing led to another..”

“He didn’t develop the chatbots, those were from the Cornell University Artificial Intelligence Lab. However, the original video of the chatbots from the AI lab was only about 90 seconds, so all the video transformations of their images after that were due to Warren’s software.”

“… his custom visual synthesis software/system can listen to the music and change the visuals accordingly on its own, and it can also operate under his command (i.e., both it and he can improvise the visual track along with the musicians).”

Since I’m working on getting set up to play video projections behind my group, Ear Spray, I spent a little time before the performance, chatting with Warren. He was using a webcam, iphone and an ipad and a Macbook Pro, which is what I was planning on using. So I got the names of all his equipment so I could check it out later. He was also using touchpad controller of his own design with software that he wrote using C++

I assumed he was just a ‘regular’ video person. I was really wrong!! Fortunately, Joe Lasqo told me about him.

Link to his bio (warning – very technical!)

Click here see what electronic music guru, Amar Chaudhary, said on his blog

For more details on the Summit and the artists, go to

To read Joe Lasqo’s blog writings about the Vibration Hackers sessions On Thursday, July 26, 2013, click here

Disclosure: I am not an electronic musician, but I play with one in my group, Ear Spray. Many, many thanks to Joe Lasqo for explaining it to me!!

Fuzzybunny Rocks Out at the 12th Annual Outsound New Music Summit!!

fuzzy bunny.jpg

Photo by Peter B. Kaars http://peterbkaars.com/

Last Thursday and Friday (July 26-27) were the “electronic music” days at the the 12th Annual Outsound New Music Summit in San Francisco, CA (July 31-27). I attended both days.

The last act on the second day was the most fun of the two days. It was the only time the audience clapped wildly and shouted for more!!

I was outside chatting with some musicians before the last act on the second day, when we heard some very interesting loud sounds and rushed in to hear Fuzzy Bunny. The previous group, PMOCATAT Ensemble, had been quiet.

Fuzzy Bunny is “a high-powered electronic improvisation and composition trio consisting of Chris Brown, Scot Gresham-Lancaster and Tim Perkis. All-out “carnallectual” electronic improv, rocky-roaded with pop-music fragments and sonic gags define some kind of new style, difficult to describe. Edwin Pouncey in The Wire called them “a total meltdown of the senses…a trio of smartarses with nothing to say.”

The performance was a reunion for the group, who had not played together for 10 years.

I had seen all of the electronic musicians members of Fuzzy Bunny perform many times – Chris Brown, Tim Perkis, and Scot Gresham-Lancaster, but never as Fuzzy Bunny. Tim had recently returned from a 6 month music residency in France. Scot had moved to Dallas, TX last year and was back to the Bay Area for a visit.

Chris Brown, Professor of Music and Co-Director of the Center for Contemporary Music (CCM) at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., was the ringleader. I had only seen him doing electronic music sitting in front of a laptop or conducting a group. Friday night he was standing up and moving around like a DJ!

Chris played excerpts from popular music, including “Heard it from the Grapevine”, Beatles tunes, and lots of other songs I can’t remember. I think I heard a short clip of Arnold Schwartzenegger speaking from one of his action movies. Of course, they all improvised wildly on the excerpts. For you techies, he was playing an Alesis Photon X-25 that looked well used and using Supercollider software.

Tim Perkis was in the middle of the group, in his usual role of sitting quietly at his laptop, contributing sounds from his custom electronic music software.

Scot Gresham-Lancaster was playing electric guitar and also moving to the music. Just before they were scheduled to start playing, he discovered the neck of his guitar was broken. He borrowed a guitar from David Molina, the first performer of the evening. But, he was not able to operate his pedal board with his feet, so he used one hand. The only other time I saw a guitar player doing that was Nels Cline (Wilco) last year performing in Oakland, CA. But, Nels only did it occasionally during his performance. Scot made some very interesting sounds. The Show Must Go On!!

What does this mean? I guess all of us, including electronic musicians, love to hear our favorite music with a good DJ and a guitar player!!

Disclosure: I am not an electronic musician, but have played with one for three years in my Ear Spray band, Carlos Jennings.

Click here see what electronic music guru, Amar Chaudhary, said on his blog about the two days (and the other days of the event), plus lots more info on the performers’ other music endeavours and other famous people they have played with:

For more details on the Summit and the artists, go to

Musician bios can help you get gigs, publicity, etc!

On Sunday I went to a 2-hour workshop “Communications for Independent Musicians” taught by Lisa Mezzacappa, Bay Area bassist/bandleader and arts organizer. This was on the first day of the Outsound New Music Summit.

It was the best marketing workshop I have ever attended. I have written about, and taught, business marketing classes for over 20 years. Also, I have attended many workshops on business topics.

Most marketing workshops go over way too much material, not all of it relevant to attendees. Lisa selected two specific topics: musician and band/group bios. It was for improv/experimental musicians, which also really helped focus the workship.

She focused on the basis of any business – what are you about? Why would someone book you? Why would anyone contact you to perform with their group? Describe yourself and your group in 100 words or less.

First Lisa went over sample bios for local musicans, then one person volunteered to have his bio done. Lisa and the attendees contributed ideas. Then, she did the same for a band/group bio.

She kept the workshop on track and ended on time. No attendee “speeches” about their life stories, etc. I like that.

On Sunday, August 4 from 2-4 p.m., she will have a Free workship for Independent Musican at the Center for New Music in San Francisco. Info at http://centerfornewmusic.com/calendar/

When writing up this story, where did I get her bio? From the Outsound Music Festival’s page at http://outsound.org/summit/13/schedule_details13.html ! I am a business writer and really hate it when I can’t find a bio, or have to rewrite it. Where did I get her foto? From the same place.

If I wanted to write about your group, where would I find your bio that is ready to go and needs no editing, and a good foto?

Several attendees mentioned that no one went to their web sites. Another mentioned keywords, meta tags, etc. One of the best ways to get listed near the top of a google search is to regularly have new content. I set up my band page a few weeks ago, using wordpress. I set it up as a band page, but I could also blog. I realized that I could write about any topic. Blogs are very “loose” as compared with traditional writing.

Instead of posting only on Facebook, I  first wrote this post on my blog at http://www.earspraymusic.com and then “shared” it on Facebook. Instead of subscribing to an email mailing list, a real hassle to manage, I can encourage readers to “follow” my band blog.

If you go to my blog, you can see my old bios. If you subscribe to my blog, you can see my greatly improved bios when they are posted!!

Some music topics you could write about: performances you’ve attended, a new music “toy” you just got, a youtube video, a soundcloud song, what you’re doing in your music, etc. I’m working on adding video to our performances. My first post was about that. Or, you could post more personal info, such as what is usually posted on Facebook.

I made a commitment to post something at least once a week.

Just Do It!!!

Obsessed with video!!

Back in the “stone age” of video in the 1980s I took classes and worked on documentary videos. I came from black and white still photography and did not like the relatively poor image quality, although I loved video production – recording, editing, etc. Also the equipment was very expensive to rent and the video tape stretched when played. Fortunately, editing is really, really easy now due to the software. I started taking videos of other musicians performing about two years ago, using my iphone camera. When I got an iphone 5 I recorded everything in HD. I also recorded almost all of Ear Spray’s gigs. It was ok, but not very creative.I put all the videos on youtube and used iMovie for the Mac, an very, very easy program to use. Since I was posting to youtube “quality” was not a big deal as the videos are compressed.

A few months ago I decided to use videos projected behind Ear Spray while we perform. Recording and editing is very easy. But, wow, the projectors have really changed!! My iphone records in HD, so, of course, I had to have an HD projector. I had not used a video projector for a long time, so  it took me awhile to figure out what I wanted, since I am very picky about quality of the projected images – must be HD. One of my first projects is to have live video of Carlos playing. Mark and I move around but Carlos is trapped to his table of electronics. I will have a video camera focused on his table to show what he is doing.See the foto below.

carlos 10-10 buttonsI studied science in high school and college and am working on videos using science-related footage. Hopefully by this fall I will have some video ready to go. Carlos and I attended a performance at Davis Hall in San Francisco of Phillip Glass’ live music accompanying the film Koyaanisqatsi. I got so many ideas!!

Good thing we have Mark to play percussion in Ear Spray while I am fiddling with the video stuff!!

Finally got this darn band web site up!!

Three years ago I set up a myspace page for Ear Spray, when we first started performing together. Of course, soon later myspace went kids thumbs updefunct for musicians :<  Last fall I started a business wordpress blog that is now almost 60 postings plus lots of comments. After months of working on my business wordpress blog, it didn’t take long to set this one up. It was hard going from html to learning wordpress, which is much less flexible (I had never used templates before), but it worked out well for a band page as it takes little time to manage. Of course, knowing some HTML really helps with WordPress.For setting up this blog, most of my time was spent deciding on a template.