Archive for June, 2012

TAIKOPROJECT Home Show This Weekend!

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

I will be performing with TAIKOPROJECT this Saturday at our home show, Rhythmic Relations 2012. This year, we’re calling our second half “The Remix Show”. We’re “remixing” some of our favorite taiko songs out there in the taiko community. It’s going to be a blast!

TAIKOPROJECT, Rhythmic Relations 2012

Saturday, June 30, 8pm

Ford Amphitheatre, Hollywood, CA

Taiko Composition and the Lure of Formality

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Here is a short essay I wrote for JD. He and I are “feedback friends” and he recently posted a video of his composition, Sekaiju no koe. Rather than specific rhythm or arrangement suggestions, I thought a wider-perspective response might be most useful.

I’ve been really inspired by Twyla Tharp’s belief that your performers should be your heroes and have been trying to find ways to write music that reveres my colleague’s strengths. This essay discusses a few of the questions I’ve been posing for myself.

If you’d like to join our circle of feedback friends, let me know! kris .at. on ensemble .dot. org


Divide and Cronkite, work in progress

Monday, June 25th, 2012

For the GVJCI Carnival yesterday I prepared a (really) rough new piece, arranging some of the choreography ideas I’ve been working on recently. It’s my first attempt at using a looping pedal and I haven’t completed the end section so there’s still much work to be done. Although I don’t much like the piece yet, I’m glad to have that terrifying first performance out of the way. “Release early, release often,” as they say.

I’m embarrassed that two weeks of work have only resulted in these simple movements but it’s fun to be a beginning choreographer. I frequently have eye-opening realizations… head-smackingly obvious and useful revelations like, “wow, dynamics help!”

Divide and Cronkite initial thoughts

  • Looping
  • Dangers: 1) looping is often cheesy… masturbatory. 2) I’m not yet good enough technically to make the recorded bits sound great and feel empowering, rather than oppressive. Continued work: finished loop needs to be more groovy, could incorporate audience or other live elements, voice.

  • Single-arm movements with changing body positions
  • I think there’s potential for making motions clear through the use of a single arm.

  • Dual-independent arm movements
  • After four attempts, I found independent right and left arm phrases that were still distinct when combined.

  • “Constrained” vs “priority” movement
  • A few days ago I started thinking about a distinction between movements that use only the time available between regular hits (constrained movements) and movements that take more time and demand space in the drummed patterns (priority movements). There are also movements between these two extremes (loosely-constrained movements) which continue the regular rhythm but adjust sticking so that one hand covers the rhythm so the other is free to accomplish longer movements. The piece currently utilizes only constrained and loosely-constrained movements but I found a few compelling priority movements and imagine them at the conclusion of the piece, as though the movements have finally achieved primacy.

Jack Bazaar 2, first attempt

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

We had a great time at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Green Show. Thank you to Claudia, Jess, Ben, the helpful volunteers, and the wonderful audience in Ashland. Hope we can do it again next year!

We’re working on a new arrangement of Jack Bazaar for ShastaYama, July 28, and tested it out at the Green Show. I guess we’ll cut that dropped batchi section, but otherwise, the arrangement seems to work. :)

Jack Bazaar, new arrangement

Next up: Free concert at Levitt Macarthur Park!

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

On Ensemble free concert in LA!
Sunday, July 8, 2012
Levitt Pavilion Macarthur Park
2230 West 6th St, LA CA 90057

Levitt Macarthur Park is a fantastic venue! Join us for a delightful evening in the park and help us find proper names for our new pieces (currently called “21 koto” and “Seven”)!

Next up: Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Monday, June 11th, 2012

On Ensemble free performance!
Thursday, Jun 14, 2012
7:15pm – 7:50pm
OSF Festival Courtyard
Ashland OR

This Thursday night, On Ensemble will present an OSF Green Show, 7:15pm on the Festival Stage. This is one of our favorite places to play and we have a lot of new music. Please come!

CD review: YIJU

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

A recent road trip provided the perfect opportunity to give Byron Au Yong’s new album a dedicated listen. In short, YIJU is intimate and engaging.

The album has my ideal balance of easy-to-like-musicality and what-the-?! At a few points the screechy erhu tipped the scales but the harshness made subsequent vocals and gentle tones more dramatic. My favorite tracks at the moment are Daughter, Two Knives, and Yiju. Daughter sounds like you’ve awoken on an abandoned dock, surrounded by rusting barges and creaking rope. Close-miked Two Knives is like Gollom eating pudding in your ear. The album returns to the mysterious docks with Yiju, this time with male grunts and exclamations like a boat-hull work-song. Awesome.

Congratulations to Byron on the new album!

Thank you Nor-Cal taiko friends!

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Thank you to Stanford Taiko and the ITI 2012 participants, Kallan Nishimoto and Yukiyo Takaishi and the Oakland bon-taiko crew, and Liz Lam and Jiten Daiko for all the fun!

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