Details to follow. In the meantime, please enjoy these highlights from January courtesy of Ben P and Jeff D.
Highlights from the January Lounge
Temps in the 20s did not deter Kyle, Elisa, Suzanne, Tori, Bond, and Ben, from sharing Jeff’s awesome 2nd-story sound design studio in Takoma Park for some aural pleasure.
Intros were brief and after a short sonic aperitif of John Benjamin’s “I can’t play piano” jazz project, the earnest listening began with one of Jeff’s “neglected children” a delightfully arpeggiated/percussive selection that Jeff explained was a creative offshoot from his scoring of a theatrical presentation of "Holiday Memories by" Truman Capote. The group wouldn't let Jeff off the hook without playing a bit of the “real” project," which sounded completely different, but did not disappoint. He revealed that the score was created by “composing over” a stripped-down recording of a1930s gospel song. After more discussion about the challenges associated with sound designing for theatrical/dance projects, Jeff observed that it was a victory when he realized that he had the ability to compose even though “I happen to hate the project that I’m working on.”
Kyle was up next with a piece the he chose NOT to set up for us. A sonically sparse clip of softly soaring, tense, prolongednotes, punctuated with sporadic explosions. He revealed afterward that it was a 6 minute excerpt from 41 minute project called "Starry Night," a composition by Mazen Kerbaj that involved trumpet playing from a balcony in Beirut during the Israeli bombing of Hezbollah in 2006. Someone remarked how strange it is that the soundscape of war likely becomes unremarkable to those who have to live with it. Ben said that it reminded him of the sound design for the recent movie “Under the Skin.”
Elisa changed the pace a little by sharing a spoken word clip featured on her Smithsonian blogpost that is devoted to the upcoming 2016 Folklife Festival. The Festival will spotlight the Basque region as well as offer "co-hosted” concerts/presentations devoted to the "Sounds of California.”
To that end, the sound clip was of a Berkley-based storyteller, Vincent Medina, speaking in the Chochenyo language of the Ohlone Indians. It was remarked that a lack of understanding of the words didn’t seem to detract.
The next piece was presented by Alex, with noticeable glee. He had just discovered tape thought not to exist, for one of his shows from the late 70s, when he was a student host on WBFO Radio, Buffalo. And indeed his excitement was understandable considering that he is captured interviewing Allen Ginsberg. The tape included Ginsberg revealing his innermost thoughts to Alex as well as singing some not-suitable-for-public-radio lyrics while self-accompanying with a mini harmonium. Congrats Alex. (Here’s the Link to the Ginsberg Interview – scroll down to
“Reading on Stonewall Nation, WBFO-FM, October 6, 1978”;
Bond closed out the Lounge with a timely tribute to David Bowie by mining one of Bowie's more obscure works, the “1.Outside” concept album. Bond shared the spoken word track "Algeria Touchshriek” which included the line “I’m thinking of leasing the room above my shop To a Mr. Walloff Domburg, A reject from the world wide internet.”
The meeting closed with everyone putting their empty beer bottles on Jeff’s pristine work console and Kyle offering to host the next Lounge.
Let's listen again in Feb.