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1 February 2014 | Ken Vandermark - musician & composer

1 February 2014

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Premier of Audio One

“You know, something came to mind the other day […] Maybe not exactly what you have in mind, but I think it sums up the trajectory nicely: ‘From Malevich to Tatlin'”- Kazimir Malevich (1878-1935) and Vladimir Tatlin (1885-1953). “Those Russian Constructivists- spectacular moment, particularly between 1915 and 1920, tremendous burst of creative energy. In a way, the work itself was quite crude. It’s just as I always say: As the questions go up, the performance level goes down- and that’s natural, since people don’t yet know how to act on those questions, they’re stumbling around in a fog- whereas when performance goes up the quality of the questions tends to go down. So, while the objects these guys came up with may not have been particularly sophisticated as objects- they weren’t Stellas, or anything- they were absolutely loaded in other ways. Man, we’re still feeding off their questions. Those guys were soaring.”

-Robert Irwin, from “seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees (expanded edition): Over Thirty Years of Conversations With Robert Irwin,” (University of California Press: 2008), written by Lawrence Weschler, pg. 230.

1/18/14: I composed a 4th piece for Audio One, a type of ballad, which was originally called, “Return To Alphaville,” but which I later retitled, “Vivre Sa Vie.” Needless to say, it’s dedicated to Anna Karina. That night I went Tim Daisy’s with Ellen for nice dinner party, talked to Nick Mazzarella for awhile about photography- Eggleston, Bresson- motivated by the upcoming Christopher Williams opening at the AIC that Nick is performing at. Got home late and looked through the Wols retrospective monograph, have always been inspired by the amazing range and quality of his work.

1/20/14: Completed #5 for Audio One. Practiced charts for the quartet with Russ Johnson, Tim and Fred. Watched and finished the 2nd season of “Breaking Bad.” Stayed up late trying to catch up (HA HA HA) on email and organization- things feeling impossible, and it continually fells like I’m circling around and around on KV.com and tours and projects, instead of being able to get them completed.

1/21/14: Started work on #6 for Audio One; tackling each composition as a separate entity, each with it’s own specific goals and aesthetics. I’m writing quickly and intuitively, moving from section to section in ways that reveal themselves suddenly and effectively- ideas come to me while reading or deflecting my attention to something else that’s inspiring; I take notes and bring them to the compositional process later. Rehearsed with the quartet with Russ Johnson; Tim Daisy brought in 2 new pieces (one with radios), Fred Lonberg-Holm brought in 1; all to replace earlier pieces in the book- a solid rehearsal, but mostly reviewing parts.

1/22/14: Met with Steve Marquette to discuss Catalytic-Sound and KV.com; the discography from Justin Smith is truly incredible and will be perfect to include as an alternative discography to the timeline version of recording history; it’s in Excel so people can organize the information by different factors (date, engineer, location, etc.), FANTASTIC. After several days of frustration, the meeting with Steve made me feel like progress is being made. Finished #6 for Audio One and practiced the quartet material for the upcoming shows with Tim, Fred, and Russ again.

1/23/14: I had a dream of a legendary improvised music composition, “Whirr and Click,” that transformed options for new music and improvisation, so I start writing #7 for Audio One with this in my head. Made To Break’s trip to Brazil in May is confirmed! 2nd rehearsal with the Russ Johnson Quartet goes well, the mechanics of the pieces seem more in order, solutions to arrangement issues made. It’s very good to have this show at Constellation and the Sugar Maple this weekend, to give us a way to prepare for our show TWO MONTHS from now at the Bergamo Jazz Festival in Italy. So great to play with Fred, need to sort out what is and isn’t happening with the duo recording we made together last year. After what feels like endless work on email I watched Godard’s “Pierrot Le Fou,” and loved it. He’s so beyond being ahead of his time, he’s completely outside of it yet interacting with it, the history of cinema, the potential future of it, simultaneously.

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