Could the final frontier of electronic music be to perform its broad repertoire of composition, sound experiments and popular song acoustically?
Landmark pieces will be arranged and performed without the use on any electronic component. Video game themes, audio logos and music from electronic pioneers Raymond Scott and Kraftwerk featured. $10
To say that electronics have sneaked their way into the music world is a bit of an understatement. For decades, this music technology has pushed the electric impulse—that damn one and zero—into every corner of music performance, recording, composition and synthesis. (Exceptions being, of course, traditional world folk music, early Bob Dylan, and holiday performances of Handel’s Messiah on 18th century period instruments.)
By harnessing the sine wave, the great sonic explorers of the 50s, 60s, and 70s employed newly invented ‘sound machines’ to shape the attack, sustain and decay of pure tones. With the synthesizer, a few twists of a nob and a few patch cables later, experimental artists were able to replicate the sounds of a full orchestra just as easily (well maybe not quite in those days) as they were to birth sounds we associate with post-space-age life. Today this technology is largely used to eliminate the hassle of . . . playing actual instruments or, worse, hiring people to do so. Not long ago, recording a jingle required hiring an army of musicians and arrangers! Today this music can be manufactured at a fraction of the time and cost. Most of us simply accept this sonic substitution as part of the aural soundscape. But with so much of this music in our ears why should we ignore it? It is perfectly possible for people today to live their entire lives and never hear music in its purest form: the live acoustic performance. Not through a digital recording, not on a DJ’s laptop, and not through the MUZAK station blaring soft rock classics through tinny speakers hanging in the drop ceiling of your ‘local’ pharmacy chain. For the ‘techie,’ this is a mission accomplished! For the purist, this a frightening thought. For the Junk Kitchen Concert Series, this is yet another challenge!
In an age of digitizing the world, can this process of analogue to digital be reversed?Can music created on computers, played on electronic instruments, and recorded digitally be performed acoustically? And if so, what is lost? What is gained? Why should anyone care to do so anyway? Well, great attention has been brought to the hazards of eating processed foods; shouldn’t there be at least a dialogue about the potential risks of consuming ‘processed music’?
This program will be broken into four sections. We will take what is generally considered ‘functional’ electronic music and tear it away from its digital and midi files to perform it in the flesh, with an all-acoustic ensemble. Not only will this show allow the listener to hear some of this music live for the first time, but we are also giving this music an artistic acknowledgement that’s long overdue.
Video game music: The music of the Nintendo video game system has long been a staple of 1980s and 90s pop culture. Selections from the Mario Bro’s franchise will be performed with a live ensemble, along with a special performance of ‘Duck Hunt.’
Kraftwerk: This German group of the 1970s paved the way of the electronic/industrial music movement. Their songs, with simple melodies and strict dance rhythms recorded on an array of synthesizers, were to be the soundtrack to an inevitable singularity between man and machine.
Audio logos: What’s an audio logo? Simply put, it’s a musical motif that acts as a sonic identity, used by corporations in radio and TV promos. Think of it as the bird song of business. Isolated out-of-context, the audio logo may seem like a familiar sound never before really ‘heard,’ or a
warm childhood memory of watching public television.
Such a thing of modern beauty, the audio logo.
Raymond Scott: An unsung hero of composition and electronic innovation. We’ll perform pieces created under the Manhattan Research Inc. alias. Under this firm, Scott first commercialized musical electronics produced by his invention, the ‘electronium’: an early electronic synthesizer and algorithmic composition/ generative music machine. From the May 2012 ‘Raymond Scott Review’ the selections ‘Lightworks’ and ‘Paperwork Explosion’ will be performed.
Junk Kitchen is paying tribute simultaneously to both worlds: Electronic music played with acoustic instruments, baby!
Those who refuse to believe that this music can be performed accurately won’t go to this show. They’ll regard this description as nothing more than a just another one of our rambles about a program that puts opposites together and whatnot. They’ll stay home and spend the evening in an enclosed darkness, searching for something online that will, at best, only give them a fraction of what this show will offer. We shouldn’t blame them for their reluctance. We live in a world where the feeling of doing something is replacing the actual experience of doing it.
Ironically, defying this is at the heart of this installment’s mission. Will these pieces be acoustic imitations of electronic sounds or are they somehow the original sounds on which the electronic music is based? And upon answering this question, could a new frontier of music, or at least a conversation, be founded on the exploration between the two? How do these sounds measure up in the compassion of curious ears? How will the dark timbres of strings stretched taught over aged wooden bodies compare to the purity of the sound wave? How will a quantized pulse of time be felt against the mighty swing of the heartbeat? How will a chorus of cent-by-cent auto-tuned voices support the cry of blue notes sung out of the depths of genuine human experience? The end result will not only allow us to gain an understanding of how acoustic performances differ from electronic ones, but it will ultimately reveal what we have lost by giving way to these technological innovations. It’s quite possible that the sounds of this music might make it unrecognizable to a few or sound a bit funny to others. At minimum, the music of this night should lose its digital characteristics. Such a cost is negligible, for this night of acoustic performance may finally give electronic music back its soul.
The Lily Pad 1353 Cambridge St. Inman Sq. Cambridge
Spring can really hang you up
the most. -Fran Landesman
There’s something about the beginning of spring that really
annoys people. The longer days and mild temperatures make it feel like the budding
flower is right below us. Yet endless overcast skies often greet us with more
snowfall, forming slushy mounds on top of large tracks of mud and ice. When it seems like the weather is ready to
break, another six inches of snow falls on us and pushes back this anticipated
rejuvenation. This often keeps that first walk in the woods or that stroll in
the park just something to be desired. By April some of you may feel that spring
has turned against you, and what seems to be just around the corner is still
another month away. What you thought were songs of the Blue Jay may have been
the evil Mocking Bird mastering its art of deception.
Worry not friends, this is no “anti-Spring.”This is just a slow thaw, a time of transition
from the dormant survival of winter to the leap into the summer outdoors. For
this growth, though, all of us must first endure change. Before we can fully
indulge ourselves in the gentle pastures of lilacs and daises, we need to set
aside the time to cleanse our heads and our homes of winter’s lasting grip,
whose cold, soul-crushing fingers may stunt our growth. The Bunnies must clean
their dens to make room for expected young. The Squirrels will clean out their pantries of
acorn shells to make room in those nooks, eventually, for… more acorns. And Artists
and Musicians will need to unblock their minds of all of the old ideas that
once meant something to them so that new pieces can be conceived. As tempting
as it may be, “looking for sea glass at the beach” may be contrived at this time.
Mother nature is teaching us to be patient by forcing us to slow down and be
introspective.She wants us to make space
for future indulgences by putting behind us the memories and miseries of the
past. Music not excluded. You can’t really hum “Joy Spring” if you have “Autumn
Leaves” on your mind.
Cleaning is a night to help you achieve this change. While you’re scraping
out the snow crud from the gutters, dusting the gunk off celling fans, and Windexing ALL the windows of your
house, let this Junk Kitchen installment be your soundtrack. We will perform original
pieces that have been sitting under piles of papers for years, just waiting to
be played. Some of this music will be performed on instruments that haven’t
seen the light of day for quite some time, too. You can pretty much let your
imagination run wild of what sort of kooky things people have lying around in
their closets. For example: an autoharp duet composition performed by William
Kenlon and Ben Dicke. Audience members are strongly urged to bring their own well-wintered
pieces and dormant instruments as well!
If spring cleaning at your home seems too overwhelming, let
me suggest you “whistle while you work.” At this musical Spring Cleaning, the only work we’ll ask of you is to just… whistle. J10$
Compositions and performances by:
Brigham Hall - plus many others TBA
Special thanks to Brigham Hall for inspiring this show idea.
Anyone who would like to contribute an idea, theme or title
for a Junk Kitchen show is more than welcome to do so!!!WE WANT COLLABORATORS!
An encore performance of an original musical inspired by the songs of
THE LILY PAD - $10
1353 CAMBRIDGE STREET CAMBRIDGE
Composer Alfred Bachelorach seems to have it all: hit songs to make hearts melt, upscale gigs where top-shelf whiskey flows freely, and a new chick every night of the week. His bachelor pad is furnished with inviting fauteuils and a fully stocked bar, and the air sways with the lush arrangements and luring melodies of his songs. Many a girl has gambled all to gain entry to this palace, only to be banished again by daybreak.
Edith, an aspiring singer, proves equally unable to resist the pull of Alfred's talent and charm. However, unlike others before her, she turns the tables of the chase, and in pursuing Alfred she discovers a secret neither his loyal bandmates nor his trusted lyricist, Hal, have ever learned.
As the mystery deepens, it becomes clear that Edith's friend Faith knows more than she initially lets on. And Alfred's drummer, Max, may have developed a smoother, truer technique in playing his hand in the game of seduction. Ultimately, Alfred Bachelorach will be forced to face the fact that while a chair may still be a chair, a bachelor pad penthouse is most certainly not a home. And if he is ever to get what he really wants, he may have to relinquish his womanizing ways. The question is not how he can make this change, but who will inspire him to do so?
February 15 @10pm* Lily
Pad 1353 Cambridge St. Cambridge, MA 02139 When Sir Paul McCartney penned
the bridge for his immortal “Michelle,” he expressed his feelings
of love though the simple words “I need you.” Those who have used
these words before can sympathize with his feelings of endless
yearning fueled by a passionate heart. But for some, Love's
intentions can be less clear. Do we say we need someone as an
expression of romantic affect? Or do we need
chiefly because we are selfish people requiring constant attention?
What drives us to pine after someone so much that the phrase sounds
more like a cry for help than a call of love? In short, what can we
find behind this common feeling, beyond the urge, the want, the
desire? And what about all those other “needs?” We shouldn’t
forget about them, right?
It's February! Love is in the
air and need
is at the Lily Pad, our new host venue for the series. In classic
late-night TV format, host Ben Dicke presents I
Need You, I Kneed you, I Knead you, a
show dedicated to exploring the many facets of needing the one you
love. But this first installment of the season picks up where Paul
left off: Boston area musicians put their creative urges into
emotional tunes and venture into need's phonetic equivalents,
engaging special guests to demonstrate bread-kneading and massage, as
well as effective self-defense techniques. Please
join us as our special studio audience in this odyssey of
desideratum, this exploration of exigency. *Please note that this is
not only our first show of 2013, but also our first time in the new
venue, the Lily Pad, at a new time, 10pm. Most of all,
we need you
there to make this the most fulfilling show yet!
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8 2012 @ 8PM (RSVP to Esther or Ben)
Has it already been a year?! The Junk Kitchen is turning one year old, and we want to celebrate with you! The Outpost is where it opened its eyes for the first time, gazing into the portraits of musicians so inspirational, and unfurled its ears to the sounds of the preview show. Like any healthy, growing concert series, each night became a unique milestone in its development: Music for Toys taught Junk Kitchen how to play with others and proved that we still know how to be kids. Get Out Your Mini was short but sweet. With the clashing of pots and pans, the series made music out of Found Objects. Do You Do Duo, Too? taught us about relationships. We went through a time warp with the Raymond Scott Review, and New Music Night told us not to fear trying new things. Postcards from Brazil was a (field) trip, and Burt Bacharach was Junk Kitchen's first exposure to grown-up problems of love and loss. Reed It and Weep extemporized on the changing seasons and explored the depths of emotions. In short, it has been a great year and one that brings a tear to our eyes when we think of all the growing the series has done!
To celebrate, we are inviting past performers and patrons to a night of Junk Kitchen music, to let the concert series have its own concert for once. You provide the talent, instruments and booze, and we’ll supply the place, some leadsheets and... more booze! What will come out of it? We're dreaming of a... 7-minute "Light Works" jam, a drunken loopy-eyed “Look of Love,” and improvisations on empty beer bottles. Let's give Season One its proper send off, and ignite the flame for Season Two, which starts February 15th. Now a note from Junk Kitchen "dad," Ben Dicke: As I write this and think of earlier times, I can’t ignore the Junk Kitchen's current growing pains as it's becoming quite a destructive little devil around the house! The series is now crawling around with a full set of teeth and an appetite, pushing the limits of a baby-proof home environment: it's biting on extension cords, playing with staplers, figuring out what body positions are best for sliding down the stairs and, like all children at this age, it gets into cheerios-throwing sippy-cup-dropping temper tantrums from its high chair, shouting “NO!” (a “new” word, the understanding and usage of which I tried my best for months to delay.)
All in all, my tough love can’t hide the fact that the series needs new home. So starting next year the Lily Pad (1353 Cambridge Street, Inman Square, Cambridge) will host our shows. This will be the place where the series learns to walk, talk and get potty trained. (I spoke to Gill at length about this, and he said it was ok as long as I would take care of any “accidents.”) Also on the horizon is a new website which will post the current show updates, past shows' sound and video clips, and will help you keep informed of all our shenanigans throughout the season.
The aspirations of a growing concert series comes with growing costs. I have already spent plenty on organic formula, new baby shoes (every 6 weeks!) a few Baby Einstein DVDs, at 20 something dollars a pop! But when it comes to the cost of rent and a website (not to mention a musicians' payment fund) I just simply cannot find the coupons for all of it! So this winter we will be asking you, the Boston/Cambridge music and arts community, to help us with our indiegogo campaign, which we hope to launch with this event. I mean, what better way to celebrate the past year than to spark life into the 2013 season? With your help we can avoid malnourishment as one of next year's themes...
Your support of our series has meant a lot to me this past year, as it has given a place and a purpose for so much creative energy. Next year will undoubtedly be even better: sillier, savvier, more mature! But first, I want to celebrate our musical highlights with all of you who have been there for us by being a part of the Junk Kitchen community. Hope to see you on the 8th!
REED IT AND WEEP (an emotional coffeehouse for seasonal change)
FRIDAY SEPT. 28, 2012 @ 8PM OUTPOST 186 1861/2 HAMPSHIRE ST. CAMBRIDGE, MA $10
Melancholiness always accompanies the twilight of summer as the days become shorter and cool air breathes gently through the brittle leaves of the resplendent trees. It wasn’t that long ago when we were soothing our bodies in the warm hands of endless sunlight, losing ourselves in barefoot explorations through thickets of tall grass and chirping meadows, only to find ourselves once again crashing our bodies to the earth at dusk with hearts beating, gazing beyond the heavens as a blanket of stars comforted us with a cadence of crickets drifting us to sleep, letting our minds frolic in imaginary pastures of dreams so real...
As we awake from our sleep now, the world around us is less forgiving of such adventures. Some of us are lucky to escape the inevitable winter looming over us: the geese fly south. But for the rest of us, we have to prepare ourselves for the colder months ahead: the squirrels must gather acorns.
Like the school children who spend their last day of summer vacation holding on to those final hours of independence and freedom, we are likely to spend these days before hibernation reflecting on the months gone by, while reluctantly outgrowing them. The squirrel cannot spend his time playing games during the acorn hunt or he will not survive the winter. We shouldn’t pretend that summer will last forever, for the sight of morning frost on bare trees will soon signal the specter of icy gloom. Yet another of life's cycles is nearing its end. Autumn leaves must fall.
This installment of the Junk Kitchen is dedicated to helping you come to grips with the seasonal changing of the guard. In true Junk Kitchen fashion we are transforming the Outpost once again. This time to a mid-90s open mic coffee house complete with dim lights, small tables and a written-in-chalk chalk board menu of hot drinks and day-old half-stale pastries. Performances will feature a diverse mix of reed players who will layer their somber tones underneath reedings of poetry that will help you ponder the past and contemplate the coming winter. Sorry, no Wi-Fi available.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 24, 2012 @8PM OUTPOST 186 186 1/2 Hampshire St. Cambridge, MA
Alfred Bachelorach seems to have it all: hit songs to make hearts
melt, upscale gigs where top-shelf whiskey flows freely, and a new
chick every night of the week. His bachelor pad is furnished with
inviting fauteuils and a fully stocked bar, and the air sways with
the lush arrangements and luring melodies of his songs. Many a girl
has gambled all to gain entry to this palace, only to be banished
again by daybreak.
an aspiring singer, proves equally unable to resist the pull of
Alfred's talent and charm. However, unlike others before her, she
turns the tables of the chase, and in
pursuing Alfred she discovers a secret neither his loyal
bandmates nor his trusted lyricist, Hal, have ever learned.
the mystery deepens, it becomes clear that Edith's friend Faith knows
more than she initially lets on. And Alfred's drummer, Max, may have
developed a smoother, truer technique in playing his hand in the game
of seduction. Ultimately, Alfred Bachelorach will be forced to face
the fact that while a chair may still be a chair, a bachelor pad
penthouse is most certainly not a home. And if he is ever to get what
he really wants, he may have to relinquish his womanizing ways. The
question is not how he can
make this change, but who
will inspire him to do so?
Hope you're having a great summer! We've been traveling all over Brazil for the past few months, and it is incredible! The food is amazing, the people are so warm and friendly—we're already talking about coming back next year. But what is really blowing us away is the MUSIC!
Everywhere we go—from Bahia in the northeast, where we heard the berimbau and saw capoeira on the streets, to here in Rio, where we saw Guinga live in concert (!) and met musicians who play with Hermeto Pascoal, and went to choro rodas—everywhere there is music playing. We're trying to record all this music with our ears, because we can't wait to play everything for you!
In fact, our flight gets back into Boston on Friday, July 27th, and we're heading straight to Outpost 186 to play all this music for you! We've had all kinds of ideas, and we've been talking about things like authenticity—can we as Americans just pick up and play Brazilian music?—as well as the definition of a “classic.” As always at the Junk Kitchen, we want to play music that's got a slightly different take on the common interpretation. So we've found some great classics here in Brazil, a few even from the late 19th century! While they're quite well-known here, we think back in Cambridge they will sound fresh and new, like instant life-long friends.
We've also heard so much music that doesn't sound at all like the standard Brazilian bossa export, and yet we've also heard some “bossas” which are so fresh and infectious—we've just got to bring it all back for you! So we're going to do our best, fully acknowledging that this music is pretty new for us, we're just going to dive in and do it—just like a gringa jumping into the samba de roda and shaking her hips like she didn't know any better! Why not? Life's too short not to groove, dance, sweat and swing!
So we hope you'll join us July 27th at 8pm! And don't forget to bring some limes for the caipirinhas!