Sunday, April 24, 2016

Skynet Online

I couldn't think of a better post for number 22, than the Toyota Robot Quartet, completely with robot tuba solo. We are replaceable when we stop being human and stop making music.

The other thing that cracks me up: you invest how many millions of dollars making robots that play brass instruments, and what do you program them to play? Lupin the III

The Loop

Though there was already a post on electronics with brass, I wanted to do a post talking about looping and the possibilities there in.

This type of video, though seems almost hokey that its all pretty much where he lives, but it also goes to show how much you can do with 2 guys and a bunch of technology.

...Or one guy with a lot of planning...ALOT.

This type of technology is changing the face of what it means to make music, and who can do it and what circumstances that happens in.

Cimbasso post

I could hardly think of doing this blog without a combos post. Cimbassi are the most gorilla-like of the brass instruments. They sound like it and they are like a rare sighting of the gorilla in the mist.

The first video is of Mattis Cederberg laying down an arrangement of Donna Lee using the Cimbasso. This was one of my earlier exposures to the Cimbasso, and it couldn't have been on a tune that shows off the full capability of the instrument.

This is actually another song produced by Andrew Bove for Toni Dolce, you'll also notice his contribution on the looped Cimbasso backing underneath the singer. It's also one of my favorite renditions of this song, don't judge.

During one of our ABEL sessions I was introduced to this group and this video, and wanted to learn more about them.

Besides being raised in a Jazz family, and being from Chicago, the website doesn't easily reveal too much background on the group. The visuals in the video bring up clear political ideology which is either informed or contrasted by the music, I'm not entirely sure yet. Obviously, the video is mocking a certain time period with a certain political theme. However, the moments of the group jamming out between the politically charged imagery seems contradictory to what the intended message might be.

In terms of marketing though, the image and the idea behind it is clear. However, you really have to appreciate the period stylings of the video, and the definitely feeling that it invokes.

Brass at the Cinema

"Brassed Off" is a 1996 film about a Brass Band in the UK, about how the Brass Brand brought together people in spite of economic hardship amongst an array of socio-economic issues. This film is unique for the brass player in that the Brass Band is a central focus and puts the movie in context. The movie also is important in that it helps us understand the cultural background of the British Brass Band and why it is in existence today.

Another kind of Brass Ensemble....

I was thinking about obscure brass groups, and one that is both infamous and unique at the same time is Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass.

Random sidenote, I got Herb Alpert and Al Hirt mixed up...don't do that...

Reverse effects: Brasshouse

Ever since a friend first shared this group with me, I have been fascinated by the phenom that is Too Many Zooz. They bill themselves as a group that plays "brasshouse," that is, combining a brass band that plays house music. In this case, it is 3 guys, The King of Sludge on Drums, Matt Doe on Trumpet, and Leo P. on Bari Sax. The sounds seem brash in the context of our classical/jazz oriented ears, but what is remarkable is how this group has pushed these two wind instruments to a point of sounding like the real electronic sound, which itself was originally modeled after these instruments. In a way it is a backwards progression in modern day society. Often times we talk about how modern technology allows sound to be synthesized with even more realism, but here is a group of acoustic musicians emulating the sounds of the imperfect imitation. What I'm trying to say: the inauthentic somehow became the authentic.

Electric Brass

This post is for the preponderance of electrified brass sounds that has made it's way into our vocabulary. While many do it, this seems to be a technique that has not yet been codified in a way that many extended techniques have already (for example John Sass and some of his books involving multi-phonics and lip percussion. In these videos you'll hear everything from silly, straight up electric guitar, and a host of other sounds.

Orenophone, Lusophone, modern deviations.

In the linked video you see Oren Marshall play his unique instrument named the "Orenophone." You can find out more about this instrument and Oren Marshall at his website:

I'm also curious how this relates to the so called "Lusophone" as seen here with Sergio Carolino...

I can't even...

I don't even know what to say about this video...

*Collects self*

This has to be the best thing I've ever seen on the internet, Congratulations you win internet.

Then there is a random trumpet?

I will return to this video...

Also is that a young Mathias Höf?

A project of passion

The more I write these, the more I ask myself, what does it mean to be a misty gorilla? Situations that take place nowhere else on earth (or at least semi-rare occurrences). This video is one of those examples of something that just couldn't happen anywhere else, not without the passion of Andrew Bove behind this low brass extravaganza. Also? Game Of Thrones returns to HBO tonight. Score.

The great thing about doing these blogs? one thing leads to another...

A moment for the hunting horn

I was searching eagerly for blog topics this afternoon, when I turned my attention once again to the hunting horn.

That jaw vibrato is so crazy, although it makes me wonder how much of this informs the European Brass Band vibrato that Americans are sometimes quick to dismiss. Is there a possible ancestral tradition coming from the hunting horn ensemble?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Down by the...Reservoir?

I mean, you really have to hand it to the Canadian Brass. The group has tackled brass musicianship in an elegant musical way, and also an incredibly entertaining and fun one. Oh but wait, they also make really beautiful looking videos. It is another level that gives them greater appeal, the scenery helps inform the music.

Tine Thing Helseth and tenThing Brass Ensemble

One newer brass ensemble playing today is the tenThing Brass Ensemble under the leadership of Tine Thing Helseth. While the group are all accomplished, professional musicians of the highest level, they also distinguish themselves from other brass groups by being comprised entirely by women. One has to acknowledge that there is a certain marketability in the all female branding of the group, but as you can see in the video below, each member is of the highest caliber and is there for a reason.

Novelty is an interesting notion in terms of the marketability of a chamber music group. How do we distinguish ourselves in an ever increasing stream of groups looking to make it in the business.

Attack Sousaphone

In searches on the internet, one can come across many things. As I was searching for brass videos from our friends across the pond, I came across this video

Yes that's right, a tv show has a tuba player that they send out to follow people (politicians and political groups). Once again, you have to hand it to the British people, they tried this another time and the sousaphone player didn't make it in time. Why? See video below:

Chiemsee Reggae: La Brass Banda

Every once in a while I come across a video on youtube that makes me rethink what we do as musicians. (See Below) It would be a stretch to call this tasteful brass playing, but does it rock, does it groove? For sure. This is a story not dissimilar to many new orleans/ska style brass bands.

But those features could be contained in the stylisms of what they are doing. What impresses me most though is the moments of call and response from the bandleader to the audience. This audience is nailing all of this and they are totally engaged. How do we engage our audiences in this way that we can make them this engaged with the music we're playing.

An Unlikely Conductor...

For this post, we take a look to brass on the other side of the pond. The British have a long tradition of Brass Bands embedded deep in their history with the first reports of a civilian brass band in 1809. You really have to hand it to the British for putting their Brass culture on display in popular culture.