|I'm pretty sure this isn't to scale.....|
Next up was Carter Rice, who trained at a conservative college (where, in his own words, Tchiakovsky was considered 'out there'), and didn't discover electronics in music until he was in his final years. He went on to Bowling Green State University (which appears to be a common theme amongst these guys) to get an Masters in electroacoustic music. His first presented piece, "Let me See your Face" was written for flute and electronics. He used a lot of collaboration for this particular piece, and Carter himself states that he thinks the flautist deserves as much credit as him as a composer due to the amount of input she had on the shape it took. He talked about how he developed the electronic elements, and expressed that he believes all electroacoustic music, whether it has a live electronics player or one solo performer playing many parts, requires a sound engineer in order for the piece to be successful. Carter is a pretty opinionated and characterful guy, and I have to admit, I don't wholly understand Carter's music, I think it's probably about as far away in style and technique to my own. He comes out with amazing phrases like, "pitch is boring to me", which is so wildly the opposite of what I think. But, even though I personally struggle to grasp his concepts, it's really easy to understand why he does what he does, because he is so passionate about it all (as evident by his very spirited presentation). I did, however, get more into his fixed media piece 'Launch Sequence' - I don't know whether that's because I could hear the concept more, or if I was just able to visualise something in my mind along with it, but I definitely found his use of stereo sound through the use of speakers really fascinating. You can hear Carter's music here: http://carterricecomposer.weebly.com/listening.html
The afternoons presentation was Loadbang ensemble: a quartet made up of Baritone Voice, Trumpet, Trombone and Bass Clarinet, playing both acoustic and electroacoustic music. These guys started their ensemble whilst together at college (except for the Bass Clarinetist, a role which they likened to the drummer in Spinal Tap, which amused me greatly), and subsequently had to create new music for themselves to perform as very little (if any) existed for their chosen ensemble formation. They talked about both the benefits of working in an ensemble like this (e.g. you can play and write whatever you want), and the hardships (finding scores, selling your music, bringing audiences to your music etc.). The main ideal of this group (as really should be the purpose of any group) is purpose. Everything should have a purpose in music, a reason why it's there, whether it's in the way you're writing something, or the instrumentation, or putting together a concert programme / set list. It's an ideal which I think many musicians forget about, and something to consider very carefully in the future. Another great concept that they put to us was having a proof reader for everything, and not just other musicians. If you've written a score that uses insane techniques, hand it to a musician who could potentially play it, and also someone who has no idea about the instrument or the techniques, and see if and how they understand your music. I'd say the same goes for popular musicians as well. If you've written a new song with your band, get feedback on it, from a fellow musician and someone who can't play anything - it will give you tremendous insight into if/how your music is coming across.
|Social dinner with Loadbang|
Getting away from the the music for a second, I have to mention all the really good food places here in Charlotte. I'm one of those people that, when in a foreign place, I want to try local places, and try to forgo fast food places as much as possible - however, Bojangles is an amazing fried chicken place (way better than KFC) with a good convenient taste of the south (they don't say 'famous chicken and biscuits' for nothing!). Other food places I've been have been 'Nothing but Noodles', 'City Deli & Bagels', 'Crown Coffee Shop & Pub' (a combination which I think needs to be created immediately back home), 'Panera Bread', 'Diamond Restaurant' and 'Chipotle' to name but a few. Making my way round the places this city has to offer (and avoiding McDonalds at all costs) - have yet to get me some good Southern BBQ though, I'm pretty sure that is next on the agenda!
|Great Noise Ensemble|
|Nothing like a drinking game to chill out #4Kings|