Tuesday, September 30, 2003

driving back from lunch today, i heard an interesting program on public radio called: American Mavericks. the program highlights american composers who are composing new music in a variety of genre's. the website is very interesting and includes a ton of links to the works of the highlighted individuals. it also includes a streaming audio link to preview many of the artists and performances. definitely worth a look.

Friday, September 19, 2003

if you've ever thought about creating your own musical instruments, you have to check out "the musical instrument makers forum". this online forum has plans, ideas, construction tips and other goodies to support you as you build an instrument. if you want to build something from a kit, i highly recommend checking out "musicmaker's kits, inc". they have a large selection of instruments that range in difficulty from easy to hard. i've purchased supplies from them in the past. they have an excellent catalog that they send out quarterly.
finally, i found a really cool site maintained by dennis havlena that has a bunch of free plans for making instruments like a bass guitar out of a washtub (not the old broomstick kind, but rather a real 4 string standup bass guitar). his site is a wealth of information for diy'ers.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

junk percussion? i discovered some interesting sites dedicated to the reuse of junk for purcussion. the drum journal has a junk percussion page with some great ideas for making purcussive instruments out of other materials. there's even a yahoo group called junkmusic dedicated to this topic. rhythm web also has a microsite dedicated to homemade instruments including some great books on the topic. finally, folkurban music is another site with plans for making homemade instruments. i'll continue to post interesting sites as i find them.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

strictly Ballroom looks to be a really interesting, avante garde concert series hosted at stanford university. check out the calendar for upcoming events (if you happen to be in the san francisco bay area). otherwise the site lists the names of various groups who have performed in the series in the past.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

on the topic of clay instruments, i have to say that one of the most interesting clay instrument makers actively making and promoting clay instruments is barry hall. you can see barry's work on his site burntearth. barry is also the creator and moderator of a yahoo group dedicated to the creation of ceramic musical instruments. on the links page there, you will find links to some of the members websites. i am really facinated by the range of possibilities in making instruments out of clay, and barry is very creative with some of the new types of instruments that he is making.
in my personal collection of clay instruments i just acquired a new udo and i am getting acquainted with it. i also own a clay flute called the "tlapitzalli" created by guilliarmo martinez (from southern california). this flute is a reproduction of a mayan temple flute and i own one of the last flutes that gulliarmo made out of white hopi clay. guilliarmo doesn't maintain a website, but you can see and buy his work from the oregon flute store.

Monday, September 15, 2003

if you happen to be in the san francisco bay area, check out the "San Francisco Found Objects Festival" this coming weekend (9/19 & 9/20). show starts at 8pm each evening in oakland at the club: "21 Grand" [449B 23rd st. near 19th street BART in oakland]
during the performance musicians will improvise/sample objects submitted by the audience.
list of performers include:
- thomas dimuzio/rent romus/lance grabmiller
- seth warren/dave river/ian yeager
- big city orchestra/coelacanth
- professor cantaloupe (from LA)/hanuman zhang
- gene ehrbar (from portland)
i just got back from a wonderful camping trip with the nothern california flute circle. we had some incredible jam sessions around the campfire and some improvizational sessions during the day. i brought along a new gamelan tuned instrument that i purchased from richard cook. richard creates these instruments that he calls freenotes and even though they are tuned in a different pentatonic scale from the native american flute, it was still a very harmonious mix between the two instruments. i bought the wing in the key of "a" and we were able to improvise along with it on a native american flute in the key of a. richard also creates a unique instrument that he call a "spinner". the spinner is a set of gemelan tuned bars arranged in a barrel pattern and then hung from a rope. you wind up the rope and then randomly strike the bars as then spin past - very cool.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

today i stumbled onto a very cool website for an instrument designer named chris forster. chris is now in san francisco and runs a non-profit callled the chrysalis foundation dedicated to the advancement of the art of microtonal music. i haven't met chris yet, but i look forward to attending a recital at their new studio. there are some very interesting intruments highlighted on his site, a definite must see.