Bright Whistles had a blast playing on Monday with Banny Grove. We were focusing on body language as a band. Our goal was to have really positive body language throughout the performance even if the sound on stage sucked (it did). It was a blast and a bunch of cool friends were there (thanks for coming!)
This Sunday and Monday, Bright Whistles is performing "Winter Brights Printed Whistles" at RedCat Studio. It is a new piece which includes a video game (coded by our bass player/synth master/singer/bestie Luke Williams) controlled by the music we play! It's going to be lots of fun and quite possibly fail. We can't wait!
In other news, I just got a clipboard like this one:
Christian Asplund told me that this style clipboard has been his composition machine for the last twenty years or so. I have been using it and it has been so inspiring! Always use detachable pages and manuscript. Sometimes I get really concerned about form while composing and ask myself if the thing I am writing is deserved by what has come before it in the piece and it can cripple me. In attempts to combat that roadblock, I have been trying to approach each page as a section. After different pages are used, you can order the detached pages however you like and rearrange at will.
Mar 29, 2017
Lately I've been listening to Stan Getz + Oscar Peterson Trio. I especially love the first two tracks. Stan's playing blows me away. Herb's comping is unreal and Ray Brown sounds amazing. Oscar's playing can feel show-offy sometimes but is undoubtably incredible, I can only imagine what it would be like to see him play live.
I think that one thing that has ruined modern jazz is the idea that harmonic complexity is a progression in music. Obsessing over extensions and harmonic weaving through already ultra-complex harmony is really boring. Charlie Parker got to a highly chromatic but clear approach to harmony but the purpose of it was not harmony, it was the rhythmic intensity of bebop that was exciting! I think that the more exciting developments in music come in the forms of texture, rhythm, form, aesthetics, feeling, and presentation.
Some other things I'm excited about right now are:
--drums (check these ones out)
--alien music (trying to imagine and compose music from alternate realities etc)
--book of music (leadsheets, simple compositions, complex compositions, etc all in the same book that any ensemble can play)
--performing as much as possible in lowkey settings
I had such a fun time at University of Reno the past 3 days! I performed a solo set, taught some private lessons, and rehearsed and performed with an incredible group of students. Here are some of the ideas that I ended up talking and thinking about with them:
Some composition exercises:
1. Set up a performance (low stakes environment is best. Living room, coffee shop, somewhere outside. A place where you feel you can try something without too much pressure). Imagine the space and the band that you have chosen and dream of what you want it to feel, look, and sound like. Sing ideas into a voicememo recorder. Notate ideas without a piano or instrument. Edit a little (or maybe not). Rehearse it with the band. Perform it. This is a great composition exercise and the main way that I compose music. Try to work quickly and not question yourself.
2. Write a piece in 15 minutes. First 5 minutes: play a game to generate material. Second 5 minutes: Put the material together in a way you like. Last 5 minutes: edit into a finished piece. This exercise is a good way to not second guess your intuition and to just make something.
3. If you have an idea for a piece, like a melody or chord progression, don't think of it as the beginning of the piece. Maybe it's the middle, the end, maybe it's NOT a climax. Try recording 5 different improvisations of the song onto your voicememo recorder. Try making them different lengths, try putting your idea at different points in the piece, etc. Christian Asplund says that improvisation is composition in real time. Think of your improvisations in that way. See what you like about each improvisation and then try putting sections together. Make a map of the piece on a blank sheet of paper. Leave plenty of room between sections in case you want to add more things inbetween or move things around. Once you have done all of this, then you can start writing notes on manuscript paper.
The more pieces you compose, the less important each piece becomes, the less weight each piece holds. And with more pieces, chances are greater that you will love one of them, if not most of them! Don't edit pieces too much. Just compose another piece.
Very little material is needed to put together a piece/song/performance with a band. Very little material is needed even to make a really complex, athletic, virtuosic, or highly coordinated piece of music.
To a student that was frustrated with his saxophone sound: Have you been using your saxophone as a tool to make cool music lately?
I also want to give huge huge huge thanks to Bryan and Lauren McAllister for bringing me out, hosting me, driving me around, providing me with food, and being such cool and inspiring people.
Mar 7, 2017
FunCoffin 2 is now online on Spotify and other streaming sites. We also have physical copies so let me know if you want one- I usually carry some in my saxophone case. I'm really happy about this album. We recorded it in a couple summer days in July 2016 in Christian Asplund's basement in Provo, UT. We had 4 microphones, one per person. Those ran into a mixer which had 2 outputs (left/right) that went into an interface. So basically all of the mixing was done live between takes by me. The mixing is a little funny sometimes but I am so happy about the sound we captured. Here is the artwork I made for the album:
Mar 2, 2017
This month is totally wild!
-Luke Williams and I have been recording a lot in our living room. We've put some of our songs/works in progress/audio files in this google drive.
-Tonight: Playing with Joshua Payne and then heading up to CalArts to play a late night dance party with Bright Whistles.
-Tomorrow I fly to Utah to record and perform at the NOVA Chamber Series with FunCoffin
-March 7: Desert Magic show at Lot 1. I'm going to be rocking on the drums. boom boom
-March 12-15 I will be doing a visiting artist residency at University of Reno. Performing and playing with students. Going to be so cool!!
-March 21-26: World Wood Day Festival in Long Beach. Very excited about this. More details to come.
-On top of all that, I'm playing with Joshua Payne most Mondays, Wed, and Thurs this month. Yippee!
Feb 3, 2017
I just posted a pdf file of the 2015 Logan Hone's Similar Fashion album zine which includes sheet music from the album as well as extra content including notes, drafts of pieces, lists, and drawings. It was so much fun making this. Feel free to download it & read it while listening to the album on bandcamp or spotify. I hope you enjoy it!
Jan 21, 2017
Impose Magazine wrote such a nice review of the new Bright Whistles song + music video "Homeward Bound"!
Jan 6, 2017
WOW! Totally shocked and honored to have the Similar Fashion album included on this All About Jazz Best of 2016 list next to Mary Halvorson, Matt Mitchell, Henry Threadgill!, and other incredible musicians.
A note from Desert Magic about it:
"Dance of the Planets is a solar system sonification composed by Desert Magic and coded by Luke Williams. Instrumentation: Eight meantone classical guitars (the planets) and one MS20 analog synth (the sun). The piece uses the orbital speeds of the planets to determine their respective tempos, resulting in a flurry of cosmic polyrhythms. The website allows users to activate, deactivate, and randomize planetary patterns to create their own version of the piece. We have been working on this all year and are thrilled to share it. Thanks for listening and supporting!"
Nov 30, 2016
I am SO excited that I got to play on this new song by Luke Williams. It's like a slow jam anthem for the science fair:
Currently listening to:
Nick Drake: "Family Tree", Molly Drake: "Happiness", Best of Leonard Cohen, It Foot It Ears: Day Type, William Onyeabor: "Fantastic Man", Animal Collective "Painting With", I just saw Reggie Watts at El Cid and it was incredible, FunCoffin 2 (been listening a lot while doing album artwork! This will be released soon), FunCoffin 1.
Nov 24, 2016
I had a blast playing with Owen Stewart-Robertson last night in Los Angeles.
December is going to be really fun. Dec 4: BRIGHT WHISTLES is back! We are playing with Plum Professional and Banny Grove at Lot 1.
I will be going to Utah to do some shows and recording with Joshua Payne from Dec 15-18. Hope to see some friends while I'm out there!
December 18: Similar Fashion is playing at the Bootleg Theater with Evil Genius and Josh Johnson. This show is presented by Angel City Jazz Festival and we are very very excited about it!
Moondog and Moondog 2, Jordanna "The Wallet", Mauricio Kagel (How have I never heard of this??? WOW. Thanks Booker), Ian McCulloch "Candleland" (There is something amazing about this album.
It's a funny balance of bad and good that I have been really enjoying. Kindof bad songwriting with kindof uninteresting melodies but it all sounds kindof amazing at the same time? I really enjoy it)
I just had a great run at Amoeba a few weeks ago. I got Owen Pallett "Heartland" (Have been meaning to buy this ever since I got obsessed with it in highschool after opening for him at Kilby Court), The Shaggs "Philosophy of the World",
The Cranberries "Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can't We?", Rick James "Anthology", Dan Deacon
Oct 26, 2016
HOME FROM TOURS!
Touring in September and October was so much fun! So many great shows with so many great people. I am very excited to be back in Los Angeles. I am going to do a solo show, playing with Desert Magic, and coming in November and December=2 Similar Fashion shows!
In the meantime, getting a little rest and hanging out in Los Angeles! <
Sep 29, 2016
I've been on tour for the last 2 weeks with my band Similar Fashion (w Lauren Baba, Greg Uhlmann, Jesse Quebbeman-Turley). We are playing a homecoming show tomorrow in LA (Friday, Sept 30). If you are in town and able to make it, it would be incredible to see you there!! I'm BEYOND excited about the stuff we're doing and think you would really really like it. Really wild and fun. Something like avant-rollercoaster-jazz-n-roll or something. Lots of noisy grooves, singing, dancing. Saxophone, viola, guitar, drums. The band is ON FIRE and I'm just freaking out excited about it.
We're playing at Basic Flowers
242 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Starts right at 10pm and we play right at 10:40
Here is the fb event: https://www.facebook.com/events/893806410753411/
Would be incredible to see you there if you can make it!!
Sep 27, 2016
SIMILAR FASHION TOUR has been so so amazing! Thanks to everyone that has come to see us, danced along, bought shirts and CDs, put us up in their homes.. YOU ARE THE BEST! Our homecoming show in LA is going to be this Friday. It's going to amazing!! It's a late one, but a very punctual one. Grape Room plays RIGHT at 10pm and we play at 10:40. See you there!! Here is the facebook event: LINK
Sep 8, 2016
A few months ago I was asked by AllAboutJazz Italia to write a list of 10 things I had been listening to. Here it is!
Translated from English to Italian and now back to English via googletranslate=some cool translation things happening!
Similar Fashion is leaving for tour next week! Also I just posted some solo dates in the east on my shows page. Here is a little tour teaser for this Similar Fashion tour!
Sep 2, 2016
Hi! September is here! Hopefully it will cool down a little in Los Angeles. Been way too hot for me.
Similar Fashion is touring around the west coast this month! Check the shows page for details. I am also psyched to announce that I will be doing a solo
tour on the east coast in October! I'll post those dates really soon.
Lately I've been listening to Luke Williams amazing ongoing MOONS project (check it out on youtube!), Julius Eastman "Stay On It", Magnetic Fields "Strange Powers", Pat Jordache, Arthur Russell "I Like You!" (gets better every time!!), Jerron Paxton, lots of Grape Room, and LOVING Mary Halvorson's Meltframe album-it's incredible. That's most of it I think.
Aug 17, 2016
Similar Fashion goes on tour next month! See you on all over the west coast!
July 29, 2016
Adriana Crespo painted me?!
Listening list as of late:
Hannah Diamond: "Pink and Blue", James Brown 20 Greatest Hits, "Too Significant To Ignore" by AJ Cornell & Tim Darcy, more Charmaine's Names, Grape Room, Banny Grove, Deerhoof Apple O',
just started watching Arthur Season 1 on youtube. Oh! and last night I played an impromptu house show in Highland Park! A 3 song set of pieces for snare and voice based on Poems From Cave 17 by Dorothea Grossman!
Hey! I am in Utah. It's 1:55am. I just saw Deerhoof play at Urban Lounge. WOWOWOW they are so great. Their new album THE MAGIC has been blowing my mind over and over the past few weeks.
I came out here last Tuesday to record an album with FunCoffin: Christian Asplund, Stuart Wheeler, and Jesse Quebbeman-Turley.
We had a lot of fun recording all DIY to 2 track and played a fun show at the Avant Garasement.
Video time!! Here is a piece from MATCHES @ the wulf in Feb. Very excited about this. It's called MATCHES ON MOUNTAINS. Hope you love it! Bye!
June 26, 2016
SIMILAR FASHION transitions into jazz super stardom this Tuesday at the Blue Whale
After two years of emails, the Los Angeles-based quartet has succeeding at securing a date at the iconic downtown club, the Blue Whale. The band will be playing hits, new and old, such as "Portrait of Arthur Russell", "Get Away", "Melonface", "We Watched the Car", and maybe even "Snapshoot"! The concert will be at 9pm this Tuesday, June 28.
BUT! In all seriousness, this is going to be a really cool show! We are playing with Corey Fogel +2 featuring Joey Sellers and Beth Schenck. Come on out!
Here is the Facebook event
Hope to see you there! xoxo
June 21, 2016
VARIETY SHOW is released! Also Similar Fashion is playing at the Blue Whale on June 28. Gonna be a greeeeaaattt show with Corey Fogel's Trio featuring Joey Sellers and Beth Schenck. Here is the event page
June 3, 2016
On tour with Ben, in Joshua Tree. It's hot! We stayed in this very strange abandoned motel last night (not totally abandoned, but going to be remodeled soon and our friend is watching the place for a while). VARIETY SHOW comes out on June 14! Released a single today:
May 25, 2016
Similar Fashion hitting the Smell last month!
Some things I've been listening to lately:
Art Tatum with Benny Carter and Louis Bellson, Anohni: Hoplessness, Horse Lords: Interventions (saw them last week at Non Plus Ultra), Tyondai Braxton: HIVE1, Robert Ashley: Improvement, Cyndi Lauper, and spending lots of time hearing my new album Variety Show while mixing it (subtle hint)((out June 14th!))
May 23, 2016
Touring lots in the next month with my solo project and Desert Magic! Check the shows page for all the details.
April 25, 2016
Got a great review in Italian on AllAboutJazz.com for the Similar Fashion album. The google translation is hilarious and beautiful! Here is the link!
Last night some great friends (Sharon Kim, JNQT, Ryan, Ted, Garrett, Diego) performed a new living room opera I wrote called ON LIFE JUST BECAUSE. They were amazing! Hopefully some video documentation to come..
I am gearing up for a solo tour in June with California's Bellow. We are going to be touring across the southwest. Updates to come soon. XOXO
March 14, 2016
Here's a short clip of MATCHES @ the wulf!
March 7, 2016
A few things I've been inspired/reinspired by lately:
It Foot It Ears, Alice Coltrane Turiya Sings, Tyondai Braxton Grand Central Market, Nico Muhly Mother Tongue (been a huge fan of the last suite on it for a while but just now getting into the first 2 suites), Luke Williams new album, Booker Stardrum's album on NNA Tapes, THOMAS, Daniel Wohl, Xiu Xiu The Air Force, OneOhTrix Point Never R Plus Seven, Charmaine's Names, James Ferraro, Robert Ashley, Ben Babbitt, Kate Bush The Dreaming + Hounds of Love, finally checking out Scott Walker Scott 3.
Similar Fashion is playing a show on Saturday with Bad Luck (Seattle) and Oort Smog.
January 21, 2016
The Similar Fashion tour starts today!! Hope to see you out there! Details are on the shows page.
December 14, 2015
Similar Fashion is going on tour in January!
Jan 21: Bakersfield, CA
Jan 22: Oakland, CA
Jan 23: Arcata, CA
Jan 24: Seattle, WA
Jan 25: Portland, OR
Jan 26: Boise, ID
Jan 27: Provo, UT
Jan 28: Ephraim, UT
Jan 29: Las Vegas, NV
Jan 30: Los Angeles, CA
Check the shows page for updates and details!
November 19, 2015
It's here! Released November 19, 2015 on pfMENTUM! Release concert tonight at MorYork! Woooooooo
November 11, 2015
The Similar Fashion album is being released in less than 2 weeks! On November 19, the album will be released digitally and physically for the world's ears to hear. We are celebrating with a release show at MorYork Gallery in Los Angeles. I am THRILLED that Chris Speed Quartet will be joining us featuring Eyvind Kang: viola, Jeff Parker: guitar, and Matt Mayhall: drums It's going to be a great night!
September 1, 2015
I am going on a short California tour with Gregory Uhlmann this week! We are playing shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Sacramento. Check the shows page for details!
Also, we made our Kickstarter goal! Thank you to everyone for donating, it means so much!
August 23, 2015
About 2 days left and we are almost to the goal. We still need your help though so if you can, please contribute!
July 28, 2015
Similar Fashion will be releasing an album this fall on pfMENTUM. So so excited about this! But first we need help to release it.
If you can manage it, please contribute and help us finish this album. Any size contribution helps!