It was a Saturday evening when I walked onto the rooftop deck in The East Village. Armed with a jungle of audio cables and my keytar in hand, I was ready to rock. I had a set list of several tracks with jams set to weave through each of them. I planned to start the set with something new called Chill Starter: A Rainy Day in New York City. However, The God of Thunder had other plans for my set that evening. It began to rain.
Well, what's an artist to do? So, I just improvised. I played for the rain instead. Hence, the first piece, appropriately entitled, Play For The Rain.
In preparing for the rooftop set, I created a dynamic set list. I revisited several older numbers like Beyond The Jungle and Ocean Alt Version. New songs included So How Ya' Doin'? (Coming Soon) and A Song For My Friend, John. I had six days to put the song collection together and enjoyed the process of building that set list. Although, only a small degree of those songs made it up to the roof that evening, they will come back into play in a future set. So look out for them later on down the road.
I really love what TheEnd Productions is doing to bring artists together for creative collaboration. We are both interested in how experimental collectives can promote new exchanges in the arts. Building communities with intentionality. Conscious creating.
We are both in our prime, on the thrust of forming the work which we will be involved in shaping over the next several years. I look forward to working with TheEnd again. Meeting somewhere on our forward trajectory, somewhere down the line, and creating some really great work together again.
Now let's give Alessa a proper introduction. Because it's been long overdue. She loves it when I press her buttons. She usually lets out a wild synth scream just to let me know how I'm doing. Alessa is my Vortex, My keytar. I got her in New York City in 2016, my last trip for my SVA Artist's Residency and Open Studio Exhibition. See Changeling Faces for more. And we've been making sweet music ever since. And I'm loving every minute of it. Rock On!
Orchads For Mom
I scoured the East and West Villages time and time again. But the article of my visions alluded me. I wanted something flowing and dramatic. Initially, intended for a performance piece in progress, Silence: In The City, I found the culprit at The Buffalo Exchange in NOHO.
The dress was perfect for the rooftop set. A bit of Zen, delicate nature and sharp edged elegance. Blue orchids drifting across an ivory river. Just like porcelain flowers. The attire is an extension of the performance. It becomes a carrier for other visual ideas to be worked out. I grew up with my Mother's love for Japanese art and fashion as well. I think she'd like this one.
Red Roses For Mom
Flowers and flowers. I wore this shirt at The Chelsea Street Side Reception for my recent group exhibition. In the exhibit, From The Dark To The Light, my recent immersive video experience project was first featured.
In the project, there are several roses in several sequences. These sequences and the project itself are dedicated to my Mother. A rose carries so many meanings. I decorated the earth in roses on several occasions for my Mother. It can just be something beautiful. It can just be a rose.
The New Keytar Strap:
Pink Roses For Mom
This is the gold embellished pink roses strap from Guitar Center in Chelsea. The pink rose was my mother's favorite flower. I honor her and our loving bond through my work in variety of ways. This one of them. You will see the image of the rose repeated across several projects. Notably, Songs For Mom, and From The Dark To The Light: An Immersive Video Experience (Special Features Page Coming Soon).
The One Becomes The Two
The wardrobe illicited a kaleidoscopic feel for me. Then pair it with the keys and the movements in the flowing dress, it takes on a Jimi Hendrix feel to me. So, why a duplicate? Well, why not? It just seems to work to me. Like an after effect of the set. There's something in an echo. In the sounds still resonating after you hear them. So why not the player and the place as well?
Dual Epic Climax
There's Mystery In A River Flowing
Dual-Centric With Alessa
We've arrived. I honestly believe in the rain or shine sentiment of performance. But the rains are coming down on my equipment faster and faster. It'll be a short but sweet set. I will continue building the levels of the initial set list. Really get it down. So that it all works like clockwork. I think a future incarnation of it will be ready for live performance in the near future. So stay tuned.
Below are the sounds created on the rooftop. Audio, Video & Artist Commentaries. Enjoy.
Play For The Rain
This one has its origins in a song created during my last trip to New York, called The City Is Wild. This time, it factors in the rain. It's my response to the rain falling down as I am playing. It's a wild melodic jam. The song serves as a symbolic bridge from South Florida to New York City. It is my intention, once I'm back in my South Florida studio, to lay down a more clarified version of the song. It will be the evolution of the song. When that track becomes an active project, I will make it available to your listening ears.
Some locals even joined us from their rooftops. You can see them in the background. We'll get them better seats next time.
You can hear the keytar keys being played in some of the audio. It just becomes another sound in accordance with the instrumentation. You can also hear the rain falling from the sky. It's just the elements. Let's just weather the storm together. Shall we?
These are the waves between waves. A stream of alien sounds soaring into the city-scape. And now they have escaped.
Ravi Shankar used to tune his sitar on stage during the beginning of his performances. On another level, he was actually tuning the mebers of his audience into greater awareness for the concert about to unfold. Those waves of blissful sounds about to be bestowed.
For Ocean Tuning, I was tuning myself into the city's rhythms. The city as a sea. A sea of faces and energies. Also, I was also locating the precise chord range that I wanted to begin the next song with. The next song being Ocean Alt Version. It had been some time since I had played it last. And Sometimes, you just need to tune in before you go out. And the ocean will rise again to meet you in waves.
Ocean Alt Version
The rooftop version continues the evolutionary course of the track.
Rainfall offers new approaches. Does it not? I assure you that fitting Alessa with my new blue hoodie was not the plan going into this one. But we rock and roll with the rain. We just roll that way.
FUTURE OF THE FULL SET LIST
I will present a copy of the planned set list in a future blog post. That set list is still valuable in revisiting. The songs carry a particular resonance and uniqueness when paired together. By connecting songs in a set list in this way, I breathe new life into each track. Also, updating older songs and continuing to fine tune new ones; it also represents another level of evolution in the building and performance of my music.
Also, look for these audio and video recordings to be featured on the AAW Soundcloud & Youtube Channels by Fall 2021.