The Basement

The Basement >> Back Issues >> Issue 11, Spring 2003

OK, last month I took my marimba out for it's very first concert. It was at the Mad Art Gallery in St. Louis, a converted police station in the art-deco style. Very cool. I said last time that I wrote a piece for it, but it turned into three pieces. They are a suite based on Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon, a big thick novel that took me a good long while to read. The piece is for guitar, cello and marimba (can be played on a 4 octave model) and the movements are "The Transit of Venus," "The Eight Year Line" and "Sky Fishing." Like most of my stuff they are sort of modal and owe a certain debt to the minimalists. I'm into having different meters clashing against each other in a sort of rhythmic dissonance, which happens in the outer movments. The middle movement is almost a folksong.

My brother, Dan played the guitar and his wife Melissa played the cello, which you'd know if you read the last issue. Together we are "Trio Etcetera" and I'd love to record this music. If anyone out there is dying to hear it, I can put up mp3s of the midi version. I sampled my marimba for this project and it's not too bad. We also did a really nice Tango that Dan wrote which was fun and challenging, at least for me.

The photo is of me at the sound check for last month's show. I'm using Innovative Percussion mallets, which are pretty nice, though I think I would go one notch harder next time.

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