Godwaffle Noise Pancakes 1-26-14. Lotsa fun!!

There were 5 bands, playing about 20 minutes each. I put all the videos on my blog (click below). I really liked the variety – Together (from NYC), the first group, had 4-5 players with dancers/movement, electronics, spoken word, sax, other instruments. DemonSleeper (Andrea Buschman) played various electronic devices. Slusser played a wind instrument that looked like a clarinet and electronics. Ear Spray played fourth. Liver Cancer (reunited), the last group, is a popular harsh noise group that had an encore.

After almost a year of working on videos, Ear Spray finally performed with my live videos!! It was part of a series called Godwaffle Noise Pancakes, which is usually from noon to 2pm in San Francisco, typically at a art exhibit space called the Lab in the Mission district. We had performed several times at the Lab at Godwaffle and other series.

This time Godwaffle was at Life Changing Ministry in Oakland, in a former church. It had not been held in Oakland for about 3 years. I really liked the Oakland location as it is close to Alameda, where I live. Reportedly, it had not been a church for many years but still had a church-like entrance and had been rented to tenants as a house. Over the past few years, experimental musicans, especially of the noise variety, have been scheduling events there. There is lots of equipment, including a pull down screen, which worked great for my videos.

List of perfomers
Together! (NYC)
Ear Spray
Liver Cancer

More info on the groups, with links, is below.

All the acts except Together were recorded by Kevin Hobbs, an excellent videographer.

Links to videos for 1-26-14

Together (1 minute) recorded by brutalsfx

Demon Sleeper

Slusser  –

Ear Spray

Liver Cancer

Liver Cancer
Bobby Almon
& Geordan White
White also runs Audible Disease, a popular effects pedal company in which they build and design diabolical effects pedals and synthesizers tailored to noise and experimental artists.
Facebook: Livercancer Harshnoise


Heavy sedated distorted pulses and hypnotic vocals based on nightmares and lucid dreamscapes.

David Slusser’s work history ranges from collaborations with John Zorn to music editing for Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas, and co-composing with David Lynch. Delight… demonstrates why — Slusser has a sense of cinematic composition and sound collage that is simply amazing. “Kubrick” is a wide-screen tone-poem that (like all of Slusser’s work) goes beyond any sense of “experimentalism” into something concrete and fully realized, while “Dragon” accompanies the sound of the Chinese language with cymbals, bells, and bowed metallic objects to create sounds that capture the entire image and sense of the dragon in eastern mythology. Other tracks assemble resonances and decays of piano tones into concrete compositions that are as beautiful as they are simply fascinating. An excellent collection that makes your average “experimentalist” seem completely misguided.

Together! (NYC)

Two thirty-year-old schleps performing laughable 21st century clown music for and in response to a hypercritical post-human “white” western consciousness.

Here’s the link to the facebook event page https://www.facebook.com/events/637085793016780/?ref_dashboard_filter=calendar

Videos from space station at our 10/20/13 gig!!

I saw Gravity this weekend, the new movie about astronauts in space. I’m a big science fiction fan. It was one  of the best movies I have ever seen. I have been working on video projections for the past 3 months for Ear Spray gigs. I will be using two videos with views of earth from the space station for my first time doing videos at our performance 10/20/13 at Berkeley Arts at 8pm. I didn’t know about Gravity when I first started using the space station videos. What a coincidence!!

In my college years I studied science and worked in labs for 7 years after graduating. I still really like science. Almost all the videos I am using are science-oriented – sea urchin eggs, cloud formations, water patterns, weather patterns, molecules, DNA, etc. With effects, of course ;>

I’m doing my first videos with Ear Spray on 10/20/13. Finally got set up with a projector and ipad software. I studied video production and did video documentaries back in the 80s, after doing still black and white photography for quite a while. The quality of the videos was way inferior to film and the equipment was very expensive to rent, so I quit after a few years. I really liked editing but it was way too slow and clunky. Fast forward to today. For the past three years I have been recording my performances (and a few other groups) on my iphone and posting to youtube. I use imovie for editing. Don’t need anything fancy for youtube!!

I have been practicing doing videos and vocals at the Tuesday evening free jazz/improv jam at Berkeley Arts for about 6 weeks. If I can do videos with the wide variety of instruments and playing styles on Tuesday nights, I can do them most anywhere. Fortunately, the vocals are very easy for me and I don’t have to think about them much.

I will be doing videos, percussion, and vocals at the same time. I hope my head does not explode ;>

If you’re on Facebook, here’s a link to more info.

1975 vintage analog syth-Doug Lynner at Luggage Store Gallery 8-1-13

lsg 8-1-13 - 10Lynner’s Mystery Serge looked almost new, even though it was originally built in 1975. It had been renovated and upgraded. Even the patch cords looked new. The sounds were pristine and melodic and were simple and easy to follow, which I like.
Usually when I see an old analog synth, it looks pretty beat up.

He had another “box” with knobs but I did not write down the name of it.

He also played slide guitar and synth keyboard at the same time. Interesting and unusual.

Doug is definitely an “old timer” in the synth world!!


Here’s the bio from Outsound event page on Facebook
Doug Lynner performs, composes and records using vintage and contemporary analog modular synthesizers, digital and virtual synthesizers and traditional instruments. Of special note is Doug’s Mystery Serge, an amazingly versatile analog modular synthesizer designed by West Coast synthesizer pioneer, Serge Tcherepnin.

Created in 1975, the Mystery Serge has been painstakingly conserved and upgraded and stands more than well in comparison to contemporary analog modular synthesizers. Its unique design gave rise to “patch programmability,” the ability to reconfigure a single module for many different uses by patching it differently.
Doug Lynner’s music is based upon the notion of “sound for sound’s sake”

He explores the intrinsic value of sound through mixtures of ambient, avant garde, rhythmic and soundscape genres.
In addition to his avant garde, experimental composition and music journalism, Doug is a pioneer in live rock performance with synthesizers and a founding member of the synth pop recording acts LEM, Mobius and Invisible Zoo.


From his Web site:
Doug received a BFA in Music Composition from the California Institute of the Arts where his mentors were Morton Subotnick, Harold Budd, James Tenney, Leonid Hambro and Nicholas England. There he was deeply immersed in music technology and compositional processes as well as being instructed in world music genres such as south Indian flute, Gamelan Orchestra and Pigmy and Bushmen rhythmic singing and playing.

Link: http://neatnetnoise.com/
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/doug-4

He sometimes performs in the Santa Cruz area.
Disclaimer: I am not an electronic musician but love the sound of those vintage analog synths!! My band partner in Ear Spray, Carlos Jennings, plays one regularly.

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!!