The bass band has been rehearsing for a handful of months now, preparing for our March 8th performance with the Uncertainty Music Series in New Haven and whatever other performance opportunities I can manage to scope out. There are three core members (myself, Jon Dostou, and Jimmy Canepa) and one mercenary (Elias Mullane). This might be new territory because I haven’t heard of any other exclusively electric bass bands, and it’s probably even less likely that there are others that focus on what I tentatively call ‘new music’, ‘art music’, or whatever. But even if there are, I’m incredibly excited to be doing our thing with these particular musicians.
We’re working on good old ‘Fight/Flight’ (previously performed by three untrained voices and double basses) and have already performed ‘Ride’, which is a text based guided improvisation. This one we recorded:
For the last couple years almost everything I’ve written has been absolute music, uninterested in any narrative and invested in the sounds themselves. The last few months I feel more willing to draw from non musical sources, especially since the passing of a fellow musician back in September. I had thought he was doing ok.
Immediately after hearing the news, I had to take a half hour drive to a rehearsal in another town. Driving alone and in the dark, I felt very intensely an envelope of grief unlikely anything I had felt before. I wasn’t close with Matt and had only known him personally for a short period of time, but I had watched his successes from a distance for about six years, quietly cheering him on. We had some things in common, which are too personal for me to go into here. The point is that I had gotten better and he didn’t, and it felt terribly wrong.
A lot of music with the same impetus will focus on the bittersweetness or whatever optimism can be scraped up, which I could see making perfect sense coming from a different personality than mine. But ‘Ride’ (both a play on his surname and a ride through that ‘envelope’) is raw and cacophonous and dark in many places, with the freedom to be lighter or harmonious in places if the improvising musicians choose to be.
I want to note the piece is selfish: it’s not about him and how awesome he was (and he was really, really awesome), but about my immediate feelings about his passing. That sort of music isn’t for everybody, which is entirely understandable