[Harp-L] Improvisational duo experiments

Shirley, John John_Shirley@xxxxx
Tue Mar 21 10:06:00 EDT 2017

Hey all.

Twice in as many months I’ve indulged in experiments with extended live improvisation as part of different duos, one playing blues, folk and classic cinema theme music… and the other duo doing avant-garde electroacoustic stuff.    - These shows were pretty far outside of my experience and comfort zone, but what a blast!

The first duo performance was an 18-minute all-harp improvisation with Jason Novak (who I met at an Annie Raines / Ronnie Shellist workshop last summer). We shuffled (danced/processed) our way in and out of the space, played through several keys and about 7 major section changes, including 1st position quotations of classic melodies and an amplified blues in E. This excerpt starts after our procession in and ends before our 1st position medley: 

The avant-garde electroacoustic improvisation was with my UMass Lowell colleague, Ramon Castillo (a fellow composer/performer/technologist). I generated harmonica sounds and melodic fragments which he manipulated through Moog processors as well as effects and long delay lines in the computer:

Ramon and I will be doing an improvisation like this again this upcoming Saturday, March 25th, at 7:30pm as part of the Bleep Blop Electroacoustic Ensemble concert (Durgin Concert Hall, 35 Wilder Street, Lowell, Massachusetts). It’s likely to be quite a bit different than our last performance, as that’s the nature of this kind of piece….  (Also, last time I used slider bass, Marine Bands, and an XB-40; this time I will be adding chord and Asiabend sounds)

This show is free and open to the public, so come on by if you’re interested in checking it out!

- John

John Shirley
Professor of Music - University of Massachusetts Lowell

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