Joined: Jan 31, 2003
Location: Allentown, PA
Audio files: 130
G2 patch files: 60
|Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2003 10:58 am Post subject:
Ambient Ping was a blast
|We've been back from our trip to Toronto to play at the Ambient Ping for a few days. I thought it would be a good idea to write a little about the trip before other things totally swamp out the possibility.
On Monday, Bill, Greg and I drove up to Toronto from Allentown with an overnite stop at Niagara Falls. The trip was quicker than we thought it would be; it's about seven hours to Niagara Falls from Allentown. The long drive gave us a chance to discuss what we wanted to do at the performance, and to listen to some music together. I think it is very valuable for any musical ensemble to listen to music together. Discussing the different pieces gives great insight into how the other people think about music. We listened to everything from Mozart, Bach, to Prog Rock and space music.
We enjoyed taking in the sights of the falls. We went directly to the Canadian side and check in to our B&B. The mist from the Horseshoe Falls drenched us. It was a great way to cool off on a hot day, but the water is so polluted that the net effect was unpleasant.
Xeorid Entity at Niagara Falls
On Tuesday evening, we loaded our gear at the club C'est What in downtown Toronto. The Ambient Ping event takes place every Tuesday night at the C'est What. The stage was large enough for our three person group, but there wasn't much room to spare. The house PA sounded very good. Thanks to Scott and Chrispen.
The room is long and narrow. There a bar near the rear. People who want to focus on the music sit up front and listen carefully. Others who want to engage in conversation site in the back.
We started playing at about 9:30. After a few nervous minutes trying to get the feel of the PA and the ambience of the room, we settled in to our two sets of music. The audience was small, but very appreciative and supportive. We played predefined structures, many based on those used by Mozart and Bach. Following these structures frees us up to explore new combinations of sounds without worrying so much on what comes next or where we are going. We know all that in advance. What we don't know and what we discover as the performance evolves is what it is going to sound like. There's lots of freedom in this approach for any one of the musicians to take off in new directions is they discover one while we are playing.
For example, we were playing a new piece called britney. We knew the structure of this one movement piece; basically what each of us is going to play from the sound and musical function perspective. For some reason, Bill started playing a involved Rock 'n Roll lead on the guitar. I guess the spirit moved him at the time. This is something he hadn't done before while playing with Xeroid Entity. It was OK, anything is OK, because we believe in going with the flow and we try not to throttle back anything that is spontaneous. Greg and I were playing very atonal electronic cluster sounds. You wouldn't think this would work, but the battle of the two genres progressed through the piece until it met with a strange calm resolution.
Durning intermission, and after the performance, we had the opportunity to meet many of the attendees. We loved this. The Ambient Ping is, as far as we can determine, the one of only weekly venues for ambient/electronic/experimental music in North America. The people who regularly attend The Ping are very knowledgeable and familiar with the kind of music we play. There comments were striking.
On the drive back we listened to many things, including DreamState's Between Realities, which I'll review in detail when I get a chance. Scott M2, the fellow who currently runs The Ambient Ping, is a member of DreamState.
All in all, we had a great time, and we are looking forward to returning.
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