fotofono


120115 + 120216 (an improbable tree)

One thing I really enjoy about documenting the meetings at Fotofono is the opportunity to observe firsthand the group dynamics which unfold in and around the studio. As I read the _participants abc list (here at left) I see a loose collective of artists that keeps growing and mutating like an organism. What I like is the unpredictability of its crossings and bifurcations, and the eclectic range of its sonic manifestations.


120115, first set: Doron Sadja


120115, second set: Tyler Wilcox


120115, third set: Andy Hayleck and Ben Owen

This plurality is well reflected in the present post, which includes recordings from two recent events roughly separated by a month of time. The first three tracks are from the latest open doors event of January the 15th, which featured solo sets by Doron Sadja and Tyler Wilcox and a duet by Andy Hayleck and Ben Owen.
A fourth recording was made when a nine-piece ensemble gathered again in the studio just about a month later.

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A
t work in the dark: Doron Sadja
Doron Sadja (computer) [27 min. 13 sec.].
With firm hands in the flickering candlelight and a resolute evil shine in his eye Doron tames his quadraphonic beast to a lush culmination. Wonderful opening set.

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Tyler shows the score of the piece he’s just performed

Tyler Wilcox (soprano saxophone, field recording)
In this meditative, very quiet set Tyler performs his new composition “4hk4ak 2012”. Field recordings from Coney Island and Rockaway Park Beach are looped into brief sequences, constructing a  carefully paced structure over which Tyler lays out his soprano sax playing.  A sense of fragility permeates the piece, beautifully enhanced by the absolute stillness held by the audience tightly packed in the studio during the performance [32 min. 28 sec.].
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Andy and Ben chilling during sound check.

Andy Hayleck and Ben Owen (computer and electronics)[25 min. 59 sec.].
Ben and Andy have known each other for years, but to my knowledge this is the first time that they have performed together as a duo. This low-frequency dialogue constitutes a brilliant study on poise and understatement. While the listener’s imagination (at least in my case) drifts in the mystery of the spectral elision, Andy’s and Ben’s sound creature slowly fills the room, finds a comfortable place in it and then slowly dissolves. It takes a few silent minutes before an applause follows and marks the end of the concert.

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mpld projection

Gill Arno (mpld setup), Carver Audain (computer), Mike Bullock (acoustic bass), Bryan Eubanks (electronics), Tim Feeney (percussion), Andrew Lafkas  (acoustic bass), Catherine Lamb (viola), Ben Owen (electronics), Keiko Uenishi (computer and microphone) [36 min. 10 sec.].
The last piece of this post shows the other side of fotofono – the last-minute coming together of regular “closed doors” studio sessions.

On February 16th a bunch of improvisers got together when Mike Bullock and Tim Feeney briefly stopped by in Brooklyn while on transit towards New Jersey. This is the first piece of two that were played that night, and I think  the recording translates quite well the excitement that I felt at the time for the nice group that had gathered in the studio. For a nine-participant improvised session, there is  quite some space for everybody to explore unconstrainedly. As I listen back to this recording I really enjoy finding each participant’s signature sound to define the contour of the collective exploration.

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Download all sets as zipped files:
flac [444.8 MB]
mp3 320 kbps [268.7 MB]

Recorded and prepared by Gill Arno.
Thanks for the photos to Derek Morton and Theres Wegmann.

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Brooklyn steam

As anticipated in the previous post, this summer was going to be hot at Fotofono. It’s good to think about it, now that brisk winds are blowing it away. Um.. I am probably the only one around who’s missing NYC’s summer steam…. so let’s just talk about music.

The initial idea for the event documented here came up after I listened to Andrew Lafkas and Mike Bullock playing together at Middle Press last May, at the release party for their duo release on Winds Measure Recordings. Both the release and their set were such a treat. I just wanted to try and somehow extend the scope of their collaboration, see where it would lead up to. So I asked if they were into curating together one Fotofono night. The following recordings are the outcome — indeed, more goodies came out of that encounter.

Fast forward to July 23. The tiny Fotofono studio was packed, and some people had to stay in the hallway for the concert. But the doors and windows were full open, as the heat inside was quite extreme. The boundary between the studio and the outside world became fuzzy, and the street noise overlapped with the improvised music coming from inside. Particularly in the first set one can clearly hear the various vehicles passing, a doorbell ringing, and my neighbor’s dog barking and barking, among other things. In the summer heat, everything seemed to melt together.

After the concert I tried to apologize to Vic for the noisy environment. He just replied: ‘Oh, no. We were digging it’!
I liked that. And I liked his choice of words. In retrospect, I can see how the music that he and Tim were playing was meant to open up wide expanses, allowing the sounds of the Brooklyn summer to fill the room, and their music.
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Vic Rawlings  (cello, electronics), Tim Feeney (percussion) [24 min. 36 sec.].
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Mike Bullock (bass + electronics), C. Spencer Yeh (violin/voice) [15 min. 10 sec.].
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Andrew Lafkas (bass/electronics), Bryan Eubanks (soprano sax/electronics), Todd Capp (drums) [35 min. 43 sec.].
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Download zipped files: ogg [244.9 MB]; 320 kbps mp3 [164.6 MB].

Recorded by Gill Arno at Fotofono, July 23 2010.
Thanks to Vic Rawlings for the images of this post.