Archive for November, 2011

Matsuri Crashers battle structures ver 20111127a

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

March 11, 2012 will be the SoCal debut of the Matsuri Crashers battle! More than a dozen players have signed up to participate and we’ve had a great time practicing thus far. We will each be developing a solo to fit the “battle structure” of our choosing. There are currently six structures, named after Los Angeles freeways, each designed to allow a player to focus on some aspect of slant-drumming, from basics to new movements, rhythm and timing, to playing fast.

I’m pleased to announce we have completed rough drafts of the written scores and audio recordings of the structures! You can download the individual pieces below, or the full zip file containing everything.

We’ve been working on some exciting new moves and some basic-strike research and I’ll be posting more in the coming weeks. As always, if you would like to participate, contact me at kris at On Ensemble dot org.

Happy drumming!

(The written score and audio recordings are released under the Free Art License 1.3.)

Written Score

Audio Recordings (mp3 format)

Audio Recordings (ogg format)

Graphics File (Inkscape SVG format)


A year of farmers’ market pr0n

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Hiro and I are lucky enough to live near the Torrance Farmers’ Market. We were so enamored with the beauty of the produce, we took photos of the bounty for a year. Here’s the result! (Click “Read the rest…” to see all the pics and roll-over individual images to see the dates.)


Help stop PROTECT-IP!

Monday, November 21st, 2011

A horrible bill has been introduced that would give government power to censor websites that contain copyright-infringing material. It’s a horrible idea. Watch this video and if you agree with me, please send a message to your representative. has streamlined the process. My letter is below.

PROTECT IP Act Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

Dear Congresswoman Hahn, Senator Boxer, and Senator Feinstein,

I am writing to you as a professional musician in your district. I urge you to oppose the House version of S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act. The PROTECT IP Act could do great harm to the democratic underpinnings of the internet. The House version introduced by Rep. Goodlatte is even worse.

As a performing and recording musician, I create “intellectual property” for a living. I do not want these laws. I do not need these laws. The open nature of the internet has proved a boon for me as a creator. Maintaining the essential freedoms of the internet is far more empowering to me as a creator than the increased copyright enforcement promised by these laws. I am wholeheartedly against them and urge you to join me in resisting them.

Thank you for your work and service.

Kristofer Bergstrom

Pressure Canning for Beginners – a “blast”!

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Hiro and I very much enjoyed a cooking class last weekend at Hollywood Farmer’s Kitchen. Thankfully, no actual explosions. We met Ernest Miller, one of the Farmer’s Kitchen chefs at Green Festival a few weeks ago and learned of the class. Ernie is really knowledgeable and warmly engaging. The class was taught in the cozy Kitchen by Ernie and three experienced assistant canners (including the man photographed above). The course was well-planned, with clear explanations of the equipment and procedure for safe canning. They even prepared vegan treats and canning exercises for us. Hiro and I now feel confident we could do it ourselves. And we’ve got canned black beans and split-pea soup until then! Thanks Ernie and Farmer’s Kitchen!

Learn kecak in Bali

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

On Ensemble friend and fellow taiko player, Carrie Carter, is organizing a retreat to Bali to study kecak. Shoji, Maz, and I have been practicing kecak-inspired rhythms recently as we re-work Recycled Beats. This retreat would be the perfect thing!

From Carrie…

Anyone interested in learning rhythms in a new way to help inform your taiko skills? I’m working with Yeeman Mui to organize a retreat to Bali in May 2012 at the Bona Alit Art Space specifically for taiko players. While we hope to incorporate taiko more directly in the future, the 2012 retreat will focus on the art of kecak and developing the ability to layer multiple-part rhythms.

I Gusti Rai popularized kecak as an art form with the 1992 film, Baraka. His son, Bona Alit, runs the Bona Alit Art Space ( and welcomes anyone who wants to learn the music of Bali into his home. We’ll spend 7-10 days at the resort in Bona amongst the rice paddies, eat and take lessons together in kecak with plenty of time for enjoying the vibrant local culture.

Are you interested in joining us? Send me a message (allthingstaiko -at- gmail -dot- com) if you’d like more information!

If you’ve never seen kecak before, check out this video of Bona Alit’s crew:

Some photos of the art space:

Wescom Credit Union review

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

For those of you considering dumping your commercial bank today, here is a quick overview of my experience with Wescom Credit Union.

Frustrated by the commercial banking industry’s home loan fiasco, I cancelled my Wells Fargo account and switched to Wescom Credit Union. Wescom membership is available to anyone who lives, works, or goes to school in Southern California. Having used the credit union for about two years now, I’m glad I made the switch. The in-person and phone service is good and I appreciate having my money at a local institution versus an international bank. All credit unions are part of an ATM network, allowing withdrawals across institutions. Imagine that!… financial institutions working together! Compared to a mega-bank like Chase, there are still fewer total ATMs, but once I learned a few key ATM locations, this has not been a burden for me. My debit card works through the Visa system so there was no change in making purchases by card. I lost my card once and Wescom quickly sent me a replacement. It was surprisingly hassle-free.

The switch was frustrating initially because checks I had deposited took longer than expected to clear and I overdrafted the account. And even now with the transition complete, I’m not sure that a credit union is the perfect solution to my fundamental concerns about capitalism and consumerism. Credit unions are still fractional-reserve institutions and make interest-bearing loans. But while it’s not as revolutionary as I might want, Wescom has been a good step up from Wells Fargo.

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