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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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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110912 (September Ff)

2012 already.. whew!
The time to run Fotofono has been sharply decreasing in the last year. But not the beauty of the concerts and the warmth of the gatherings. This post covers the event of last September, with the lineup brought together by Andrew Lafkas and Bryan Eubanks. It also included Cat Lamb, Jason Kahn, Radu Malfatti and Tucker Dulin.

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First set
Bryan Eubanks (electronics), Jason Kahn (modular synthesizer) [32 min. 25 sec.].

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Second set, performing Radu Malfatti’s composition “Nariyamu”
Andrew Lafkas (bass), Cat Lamb (viola), Radu Malfatti (trombone) Tucker Dulin (trombone) [49 min. 13 sec.].
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First set: Bryan Eubanks


First set: Jason Kahn


Second set: in the studio Malfatti, Dulin, Lamb, Lafkas


and just outside…

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Download both sets as zipped files: flac [334.6 MB]; 320 kbps mp3 [180.3 MB]

First set recorded and mastered by Jason Kahn. Second set recorded by Bryan Eubanks. Thank you guys!
Additional thanks to Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council, for partially supporting Jason Kahn’s tour.



3 x 2 and 2 x 3

Once again, time has run awfully short on me, so this post will have to be a little masterpiece of conciseness. Two Fotofono events are joined here, twelve artists in total out of which four were visiting from various parts of Europe. Except for the duo Fraufraulein, which has been around for some time, the other encounters were first-off, or at least pretty new combos.

February 27, 2011 – three duos
Fraufraulein: Anne Guthrie (french horn), Billy Gomberg (synthesizers and computer) [29 min. 39 sec.].
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Maria Chavez (turntable), Daniel Neumann (piano soundboard, microphone, computer) [9 min. 40 sec.].
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Chuck Bettis (computer), Berangère Maximin (computer) [43 min. 34 sec.].
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March 22, 2011 – two trios
mpld (Gill Arno) (modified and amplified slide projectors, computer), Ben Owen (objects, electronics), Ignaz Schick (turntable, objects, electronics) [42 min. 18 sec.].
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Andrea Belfi (drums, percussion, electronics), Attila Faravelli (computer through speakers), Byron Westbrook (Korg MS-10 Synthesizer) [32 min. 20 sec.].
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Download zipped files:
February 27 (3 duos) – ogg [273.9 MB]; 320 kbps mp3 [182.9 MB]
March 22 (2 trios) – ogg [254.4 MB]; 320 kbps mp3 [164.1 MB].

February 27 recorded by Richard Kamerman, March 22 recorded by Byron Westbrook. All mastered by Gill Arno. Thanks to Richard, Byron, and everyone else who played, attended the performances, made pizza, brought wine, shot photos and in any way took part in the events. Additional thanks to Ben Owen for the photo just above. Finally, a special praise to those who during the March event made a donation to the Japan Tsunami Relief Fund (via Keiko Uenishi and Japan Society).



101003: twice good

The last Fotofono event was my favorite so far.
I always have to refrain from starting my posts like this, but this time I am not going to stop it. Eight participants were in, four locals and four from elsewhere. As good as they happened to be, the performances were preceded and I think activated by a potluck feast.

Something fundamental about Fotofono has become clear – on one side there is the high-quality music, while on the other side there is a wholehearted participatory aspect. Everybody realizes this causality, yet immediate (-ist?) relations seem to be complicated in a city like New York (or perhaps it is a matter of times rather than places).

So – cheers, everyone who has helped to make this a tangible reality, artists and audiences alike. The blog is now one year old! Starting today, all the great improvisers and friends of Fotofono will be listed in the category index under ‘participants abc’.

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Bonnie Jones (electronics, mics, cassettes), Andrea Neumann (inner piano, etc.) [22 min. 56 sec.].
The opening set was the tail end of a tour that took Andrea and Bonnie up and down on a segment of the East coast. Their performance was enhanced by a remarkably confident interaction. The use of vocal sounds and singing was startling, at least to me – for a moment I felt transported to the intimate space of their car, in that time/space bubble in which you get when touring.. one city behind you, the next one a handful of hours beyond.
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Margarida Garcia (amplified upright bass), Andrew Lafkas (acoustic upright bass), Barry Weisblat (electric piano) [27 min. 26 sec.].
Barry and Margarida have for sure a well established affinity in sound, and this is the first time that I see Andrew joining them for a trio. I think the three reached an incredible chemistry together. Spacey and kinda spooky, yet perfectly solid and attuned, this piece seems to come from another world.
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Tim Catlin (electric sitar, electronics), Chris Cogburn (percussion, electronics) mpld (amplified slide projectors, computer) [38 min. 35 sec.]
Chris, Tim and I meet here for the first time as a trio. Actually, Tim and Chris had never met before, but were nice enough to try out this combo offhand. Our set was quiet, evolving slowly, longish, and yet very focused. I think that our search for a common space is palpable. I should leave any further comments to the listeners, really… still, a big joy for me to be in this group.
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Download zipped files: ogg [284 MB]; 320 kbps mp3 [195.8 MB].

Recorded by Gill Arno at Fotofono, October 3 2010.
Thanks to Jo Jepsen for the photos of the second and third set.



More steam, and a fan

With this post, the summer series of our open doors events is entirely archived. Recordings and images this time are from the concert of  July 15, which opened with Fyxzis, the A/V project of Corey Larkin, Richard Kamerman and Steve Flato. The trio offered a great blend of digital sound (by Larkin and Flato) and analog video processing (by Kamerman).

Fyxzis was followed by a duo of Ben Owen and o.blaat (Keiko Uenishi), and by a solo set by Richard Francis.

Meeting for the first time as a duo, Ben and Keiko brought in a variety of small microphones, objects and circuits, plus Keiko’s trademark wii-controlled feedback resonator. In addition to that, they also grabbed a large fan from the living room. The fan seems to become huge in the recording, as Keiko maneuvered deftly in the crammed and sweaty Fotofono, simultaneously delivering aural and thermal delight.

Richard Francis ended the evening playing modular synthesizer and computer to create a soothing, airy drone piece. At times, the relaxed chatter of a couple emerged from the slowly shifting hum. The voices sound like an overheard dialogue, close but indistinct, adding a disembodied presence that ebbs in and out of focus through the dreamy atmosphere.




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Fyxzis – Steven Flato (electronics, sound), Corey Larkin (electronics, sound),
Richard Kamerman (electronics, visuals) [21 min. 28 sec.].
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Ben Owen (electronics, objects) o.blaat (Keiko Uenishi) (objects, computer) [17 min. 16 sec.].
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Richard Francis (synthesizer, computer) [21 min. 47 sec.].
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Download zipped files: ogg [200.4 MB]; 320 kbps mp3 [133.7 MB].

Recorded by Gill Arno at Fotofono, July 15 2010.
Thanks to Richard Kamerman for the video stills. Richard has posted a 15 minute video from this performance on Vimeo.



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.



Summertime news

I know….. we are experiencing delays with the blog updates. And yet, after quite a busy spring, our HOT studio summertime has definitely started – and will continue stepping up with more sessions and events in the months of July and August.

So this will be a loaded post. There are recordings and many images from the last event of May the 24, plus an extra recording from a recent studio session that happened on the 10 of June. The latter inaugurates a new blog category dedicated to the “closed doors sessions”. More information on this below.

Let’s start with the event of May the 24 – Ian Fraser, Jesse Kudler and Tim Albro were in town, giving us a great opportunity to have their trio to play here before Tim’s relocation to Rhode Island. Second set had Kyle Bobby Dunn and Michael Vincent Waller playing guitar over the video of Nick Zeig-Owens (not projected, but presented instead as a boxed picture in an old tv set). For a third set I joined (as mpld) Audrey Chen and percussionist Luca Marini who were just back from having toured Europe together in the previous weeks.
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Tim Albro, Ian Fraser, Jesse Kudler. [26 min. 13 sec]

Excerpt from Kyle Bobby Dunn’s and Michael Vincent Waller’s duo set. [9 min. 54 sec.]

Audrey Chen, Luca Marini, mpld. [28 min. 47 sec.]

Download zipped files: ogg [208.6MB]; 320 kbps mp3 [142.4MB].
Recorded at Fotofono by Jesse Kudler on May 24, 2010.
Many thanks to Jesse for recording and mastering help.
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Set 1: L to R Jesse Kudler, Ian Fraser, Tim Albro.


Set 2: Kyle Bobby Dunn.


Set 2: Michael Vincent Waller


Set 2: Nick Zeig-Owens


Set 3: Audrey Chen (foreground), Luca Marini’s shadow, mpld slide.

Above are a few photos of the 3 sets (by Theres Wegmann and myself). Also, to document the party before the concert I had asked our daughter Vera to ‘unobtrusively’ handle the camera duties for us – so here is an exclusive album of her fine portraiture. Thanks Vera! (now, I just hope to find out how the ‘album’ button works…)

 



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As announced above, in the second part of this posting we introduce to the blog a new category: sessions is an area of the archive set to collect the recordings from the less formally convened meetings. Since much of the action at Fotofono happens besides the concert series, there is a growing accumulation of recordings stacking up. They document the evolving dynamics of an active community of artists and sometimes offer unexpected surprises, like interesting first-time meetings and assorted chance encounters that usually happen spontaneously and go unannounced.
I have been thinking for a while about pulling out of storage this material, and this looks like the right time to set up a new blog category dedicated to these ‘regular’ sessions..

I am not even going to fret about choosing what to post here first, as the latest recording matches pretty well all the requirements. Here goes the background story: Tucker Dulin’s old friend Patrick Crossland was visiting for a few concerts in town with Swiss-based Ensemble Laboratorium. Tucker summoned Andrew Lafkas and myself for an improvised session with three of Laboratorium’s members: trombonist Crossland, trumpet player Nenad Markovic and percussionist Rie Watanabe.

It turned out to be a great match. As no photos were shot to document the meeting, the picture above shows the setup that I was using during this take – radio feedback over the piano soundboard.

Session participants:
Andrew Lafkas – double bass
Nenad Markovic – trumpet
Patrick Crossland – trombone
Rie Watanabe – percussion
Tucker Dulin – trombone
Gill Arno – radio transmitter/receivers, piano soundboard

Improvised session with all the above [35 min. 33 sec.].

Download zipped files: ogg [125.3MB]; 320 kbps mp3 [77.9MB].
Recorded by Gill Arno at Fotofono, June 10 2010.

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