I was using a five-tone equal temperament tuning, which is a tuning that, instead of dividing the octave into twelve equal steps, divides it into five steps. It’s a really lush harmonic landscape for drones and massed sounds, with a sort of exotic feel, but not necessarily one tied to any particular ethnic tradition. Amusingly, I got started with alternative tunings back in college, when I wanted to take some independent study sessions in the music department, but didn’t want my professors to know that I’m absolutely pig ignorant of traditional music theory. Work in 5-TET or 7-TET or another off-the-beaten-track tuning and you’re freed from the mass of conventional theory on how tonality is supposed to work. And yes, that is absolutely cheating, but key and chords and all that related stuff make my head spin.
Nothing prerecorded—everything was composed on the fly.
Listen, preferably with the volume lowish and speakers with some bass:
I had the great pleasure to perform a short ambient set at Pyramid Atlantic in Silver Spring, Maryland as a part of the Sonic Circuits Broken Mic Night for July 30th, 2012. I’d just come in from a long road trip, got home in time for the derecho storms that knocked out power and generally tore up the area, and made my way south the very next day, which was no mean feat, given that every traffic light in the county was out and lines at the gas stations that still had power were up to an hour long. There was a full house, the audience were cool and properly into experimental sound, and I had a great time.
I was a bit tense, though, and there was a hum in my gear I couldn’t quite shake, so I went with it. Essence of the moment.
Had another great gig as part of the Baltimore Electronic Music Summerfest 2010, an annual 13 hour festival of electronic, DIY, and unclassifiable music at the lovely and lamented Hexagon. Great company, great music, and lots of fun. Yes, I am dressed as a nun. When your particular musical style involves long stretches of near-motionless attention to a small black box full of gear, you need a hook, don’t you think?
I performed an ambient set at the first annual Baltimore SDIY Group electronic music festival—an all-day, all-singing, all-dancing wonderment of many musicians and delighted fans held at the former lovely (and now lamented) Hexagon gallery/performance space on North Charles Street. With a constrained set of gear and a state of sweaty calm, I ran up a soothing set of improvisational ambient music, from Casio to modular. Everything you hear is done right on the spot, with no editing, prerecorded materials, or preconception (which is why there’s a glitch or two in the set to humble myself before the gods).