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’.

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.
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.
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.


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.


Fyxzis – Steven Flato (electronics, sound), Corey Larkin (electronics, sound),
Richard Kamerman (electronics, visuals) [21 min. 28 sec.].
Ben Owen (electronics, objects) o.blaat (Keiko Uenishi) (objects, computer) [17 min. 16 sec.].
Richard Francis (synthesizer, computer) [21 min. 47 sec.].

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.

Vic Rawlings  (cello, electronics), Tim Feeney (percussion) [24 min. 36 sec.].
Mike Bullock (bass + electronics), C. Spencer Yeh (violin/voice) [15 min. 10 sec.].
Andrew Lafkas (bass/electronics), Bryan Eubanks (soprano sax/electronics), Todd Capp (drums) [35 min. 43 sec.].

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.

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.

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…)






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.


100418, b/e party

Next week Bryan and Eleanor Eubanks will be packing up and relocating to Florida. Looks like a great pretext to throw a Fotofono party and get to play together again. So — Theres bakes some pita bread, ice tea and wine flow, and after the dinner party the studio gets filled up almost over capacity with a small crowd of friends, for the most part artists themselves. The first set has Bryan with Andrew Lafkas, Tucker Dulin and myself (as mpld).
Second set is the first time as a duo for Aki Onda and Margarida Garcia. Margarida plays her electric double bass while Aki instead of the compact cassette table has a minimal setup with one tube amp, a Line Six and a hand-held radio.
Byron Westbrook ends it all with a gorgeous Corridors set. Using  multiple speakers and video projections he builds up a multidimensional space in which the perception of time becomes supple, and the audience is transfixed.


set 1 – Tucker Dulin (trombone), Bryan Eubanks (electronics), Andrew Lafkas (double bass), mpld (light and processed sound  from slide projectors).


set 2 – Margarida Garcia (double bass), Aki Onda (electronics).

set 3 – Corridors (Byron Westbrook – electronics, sound and  video projection)


Download zipped files of all three pieces: ogg; 320 kbps mp3.

The three images above are from the mpld projection.
Special thanks to Byron Westbrook for bringing down his recording equipment and documenting the concert.

100313 – lucre trio and daniel neumann
March 18, 2010, 10:23 pm
Filed under: Bryan Eubanks, Chris Cogburn, Daniel Neumann, events, Lucre trio, Vic Rawlings

Lucre (L to R: Eubanks, Cogburn, Rawlings)

The last event here was the kickstart of an East Coast tour by Chris Cogburn, Bryan Eubanks and Vic Rawlings. The three have been friends and collaborators for some time now, however the two improvisations that they recorded last week document their first time together as a trio. As Bryan wrote, “Building on lengthly playing relationships as duos and in larger groups, we’ll be discovering common ground and developing our music throughout [the tour] through improvisations”.
See the tour page for the trio here.

The evening was opened by Daniel Neumann who presented his piece titled “The Sound of 500 Speer 9 mm. Luger Shells & O Between Fans plus Modular Extensions”, a concert for stereo speakers, room microphone, computer and tape or other extensions.

In Daniel’s own words: “In the electroacoustic live concert The Sound of 500 Speer 9 mm. Luger Shells & O Between Fans two initial sounds are played back. The playback is recorded with a room microphone on to a multitrack sampling tool. From there it repeatedly processes through different modules, one being the room itself, which functions as a filter and is used as an instrument. Other Modular Extensions are carefully added as simultaneous external processes, which influence the narrative. As the two initial sounds are both very aggressive, but in opposite ways, the process of the concert is the struggle between those two sounds about which one gets established in the room. Daniel Neumann leads this struggle between The Sound of 500 Speer 9 mm. Luger Shells Dropped from a Height of 119 Inches at 550 West 21st Street New York, NY, 10011, on April 8th, 2009, 10:37 p.m. – an installation by Ben Turner and a recording of Zilvinas Kempinas’ sculpture O Between Fans.”

Daniel Neumann

1. Daniel Neumann
2. Chris Cogburn, Bryan Eubanks and Vic Rawlings (a.k.a. Lucre);
3. Chris Cogburn, Bryan Eubanks and Vic Rawlings (a.k.a. Lucre)

Download zipped files of all three pieces: ogg; 320 kbps mp3.

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