On tonight’s Meander, I will be responding to requests from a bunch of people, particularly in Second Life, to make available the recordings of some recent performances I’ve done live to the RadioSpiral stream under one circumstance or another. I was a bit dubious, to be honest – many times, these live sets don’t translate well to repeated listenings, and they are marred by mistakes that can’t easily be edited out. (I record in stereo; life’s too short to pile up multitracks I’m never going to get around to.) However, in poking around, I found a couple of pieces that I think folks would like to hear. So…
Just this last Saturday night (July 25), I was kicking back in the studio and enjoying one of Darrell Burgan’s amazing Live Ambient Pirate Raids (unannounced takeovers of the stream for impromptu concerts by our staffers). At the end, he signed off the air while saying he hoped I’d follow suit, and the listeners who’d popped into Second Life and Slack chat chimed in… so I fired everything up and went from studio power-off to broadcasting in about five minutes.
The result was a slowly-evolving blend of ambient textures (with a teensy bit of Scott McGregor Moore’s fabulous Ephemeral City iOS app just to get me started) and relayed streamed content from random sources around the world, in English, Welsh, Malay, German, Swedish, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Kyrgyz, and probably some others, all processed to hell and back. I call it “City Of A Billion Voices” and I will air it as the first hour of the show, mainly as a big ol’ raspberry to Darrell, who loved it and ribbed me for “not doing drones.” (I don’t. Scott Lawlor does drones. So does Brin Coleman and so does Gordon Macmillan and sometimes so does Cousin Silas. They’re amazing at it. But I don’t. This isn’t a drone. It just isn’t. Honest.)
The second hour will be quite a bit more upbeat, and way more chaotic. On May 24, my Second Life avatar Spiral Sands was among several artists asked to play the closing gala for the 12th Annual SL SciFi Con to benefit the American Cancer Society Relay For Life. One of the other artists bailed in the middle of my one-hour set, and I ended up having to throw together two hours of music on the fly. (I should add that the event coordinator, even after two years of working together, still does not understand that what we do at RadioSpiral during live shows is not DJing prepared music but actual performance, and that it is definitely not cool to message us while we’re playing to tell us we have to keep going for another hour. Baf. Baf to her, baf to her mother, and baf to anyone who looks like her mother.)
The result was a horrific pastiche – several shorter original pieces separated by long desperate stretches of canned dance loops while I reprogrammed stuff, punctuated with not one but two long-winded improvisational storytelling slams over the top. (The second was all original, but the first was cribbed from at least three different sources and won’t ever see the light of day.) I wondered to myself if I could edit that mess down to an hour and have something worth listening to again, and the result is “The Day The World Stopped Dancing“. Let me know what y’all think, okay?
Please join me in Slack Chat and in our beachside studio at RadioSpiral HQ in Second Life, or just kick back and listen on your own. I don’t know that I’ll ever do anything else with this stuff, but it deserves at least one more airing. See you then!