B.A.M. and Explosions of Varying Types

Again, the resolve to make this web space into a useful documentation of what I do and don’t do wins out. At least, we hope it does. The next few posts might be clustered together like a fragrant bouquet of unhealthy bunions. We’ll start from the present and work backwards…..

The latest battle was myself versus Redshift Music Society. I got a chance to inflict dots on eight highly skilled percussionists and they, in turn, got a chance to celebrate their 10th anniversary with much thumping, crashing, and tweaking of mallets:

paper, paper, everywhere……..

I’ve wanted to write a piece for a while now that captured that sense of playful freedom inherent to pedal power in an urban environment. i feel at home inside the sound of bicycle tires on puddled concrete is a musical jungle gym that begins with the sound of rain prickling seductively against our windows. When we finish reeling from the rumpus which makes up the middle majority of the piece we’re left with a frozen halo that recalls the opening, having been in the rain way too long, and having gone way too fast. Here it is:

At a rehearsal…. getting into trouble no doubt…

By far, my favorite piece was by Alfredo Santa Ana. It featured none other than the most obnoxious of all percussion instruments…. the flexatone! Here’s a brief demo if you don’t know what I’m talking about:

My mind goes back to a day in orchestration class when the percussionist demonstrating the various instruments succinctly informed us, with all the tact of a sommolier asking a pack of noisy tweenagers to just please leave and ransack a seven-eleven, that we should never… EVER… write for flexatone.

The best part is that the piece before Alfredo’s ends with a sigh, emphasizing the obnoxiousness of his instrumentation choice. Alfredo’s piece starts at about 6:00 but back up a bit to get the effect:

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