The solo, improvised, pieces presented below were all recorded in 2017 and 2018 “live” using delays and (for the most part) live looping.
(2020) This is a live, solo home performance. All parts (with the exception of pre-recorded beats) were first recorded and looped, then mixed live. Simple mastering followed.
The instrumentation of donso ngoni (Bambara hunters’ harp), likembe and sanza (thumb pianos) was processed through a virtual rig that employed numerous applications of the Valhalla Super Massive plugin. (Many thanks to Sean Costello and his team for creating Super Massive.)
Recorded on the eve of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. This is an aspiration of hope.
(2019) These live, solo improvised pieces each feature the 6-string donso ngoni harp and/or an African thumb piano, while altering the acoustic source instrument(s) with limited variations of spectral processing, reverb and other digital filters. As reflected in their titles, the pieces are inspired by bodies of water, whether it be swimming through surf, the reflection of the moon, tidal interactions with the shoreline, ice, or the temporal nature of both the topography of water’s surface and our thoughts.
I want to express my gratitude to the anonymous makers who crafted the instruments I’ve had the good fortune to play all these years. Additional thanks to the community of digital creators who allow me to paint with sound, with specific thanks to Michael Norris and Sean Costello.
(2018) This is an excerpt from the second of two live, solo sets I performed at a one-day group art installation in the old Fuller Brush factory in the Northend of Hartford. The show/event, produced by photographer R. Max Gavrich, was titled “The Dial II: Useful as a Glass Hammer”. This performance includes sound recordings of random Mexican radio broadcasts, custom beats, and layers of thumb pianos and donso ngoni.
(2018) After hearing Terry Riley’s “Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band” in the seventies, I sought out any opportunity to get my hands on two, four-channel, reel-to-reel tape machines to both practice and perform live tape-delay improvisations, mostly vocal, but sometimes instrumental. Decades later, I’ve begun to revisit this practice, albeit digitally. Here are a few overlapping excerpts of one such recent live improvisation with the only instruments being a donso ngoni (6-string Bambara hunters’ harp) and sanza (African thumb piano), both digitally processed.
(2018) Inspired by using Michael Norris’ spectral processing plugins, this is a simple edit of a live, solo, improvisation on a digitally-processed sanza (thumb piano). Recorded at the end of a long, New England, deep freeze.
(2017) Three overlaying loops of donso ngoni with an improvisation on sampled Chinese Erhu fiddle.
(2017) The 6 open strings of the donso ngoni (with processing) explored in a live improvisation with room to breathe.