Porch of July
The Porch of July is a folk music singalong held annually at Machine Project, your friendly Echo Park art-collective//storefront//FryBQ-headquarters. Laura Steenberge, Ezra Buchla, Adrian Tenney, and Heather Lockie put together a song book, and performed for/with about 50 people who showed up to sing, stomp feet, bang on frying pans, and have a great time. The event was like the best parts of church — and how often do folks get together in a room to sing old spirituals, tunes by Woody Gutherie, and learn the historical origins of the Star Spangled Banner.
Now, about that Star Spangled Banner. It has a history I was not aware of: it was a song used by a mens drinking club called the Anacreontic Society. The club used it as a sobriety test. If you could remember another stanza and sing this notoriously difficult melody, then you were sober enough for another round.
To ANACREON in Heav’n, where he sat in full Glee,
A few Sons of Harmony sent a Petition,
That He their Inspirer and Patron wou’d be;
When this Answer arriv’d from the jolly old Grecian
“Voice, Fiddle, and Flute, No longer be mute,
“I’ll lend you my Name and inspire you to boot,
“And, besides, I’ll instruct you like me, to intwine
“The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’s Vine.”
Ornithology Premieres: this nest, swift passerine
I often work with field recordings, but i don’t often work with chamber orchestras. I make recordings of rivers, trains, farms, cows, trees, wind, fog horns, church bells, traffic noise, and coffee shops. These mundane things yield the most rigorous and beautiful sounds that I use in installations, and compositions.
When asked to work on a piece for wild Up, I jumped at the chance to use this recording of birds that i took last year in northern California. I was at a dairy farm, and found was this giant oak filled with tiny birds all chirping. Baby cows were waking up and rattling around their pen, interrupting the recording with huffs and such. I created a speaker system embedded in bird houses to play these sounds and install them in the space as an environmental installation. The ensemble, playing within the soundscape of birds, acts to put a frame around the everyday or mundane sounds. They help us listen in a more critical and musical way. The instrumental material comes from harmonium improvisations made for the piece. Here is an early one made last May:
sketch for “Ornithology Project” — wild Up by ckallmyer
The title of the work comes from Dan Beachy-Quick’s poem of the same name: this nest, swift passerine. Beachy-Quick’s work is beautiful, and I like the sounds of the words together. Also, the birds in that oak tree were probably of the passerine genus of birds. Nests imply inhabiting, and it is with our habitation that we share a time in a space listening in humble contemplation. Hope to see you on saturday!
Chris Kallmyer is a performer, composer, and sound artist living in Los Angeles, CA who works in sound installation, composition, trumpet, and electronic music. He has presented work at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, the Hammer Museum, the Getty Center REDCAT, Machine Project, the Goldwell Open Air Museum, and other spaces in America and Europe. His work is influenced by a sense of place, architecture, field recordings, and outdoor listening.
Chris is the Curator of Sound Programming for Machine Project, is a member of wild Up, and earned his MFA in music from the California Institute of the Arts where he studied with Thomas Stevens, Vinny Golia, Wadada Leo Smith, and Edward Carroll. He holds a BA in trumpet performance from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
Two More Shows Before The End Of The World
Next week I have two shows that I’m super excited about.
1. touchy-feely // December 19th
My band touchy-feely will be playing at the Grand Star Jazz Club in Chinatown. Above is a clip from a live show we played a very long time ago. We will probably sound very different next week. For this show, touchy-feely will be made up of myself, Chris Kallmyer, Richard Vallitutto, and Brendan Carn. Also on the bill is the Kate Olson Quartet.
More info for the show can be found here
2. The Edge of Forever // December 21st
The team of Elizabeth Cline and Lewis Pesacov have created a mini-opera about the end of the world. How could you not want to go to that?
wild Up will be providing the musicians for this performance.
More info and tickets for the show can be found here