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New Music: “Wind Over Water, Part I: Ebb”

This past November, I held an artist residency at Maine’s Acadia National Park, where I lived for a few weeks on the park’s Schoodic Peninsula and wrote a three-movement work inspired by the park’s geography.

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I’d originally intended to write music based upon some field recordings that I’d collect along the park’s shorelines and mountaintops, but found upon my arrival that the device I normally use to make such recordings was broken. This did seem at first to be a pretty annoying setback, but — amazingly — soon turned out to be something of a blessing in disguise. Instead of using the actual sounds I was hearing, I decided instead to focus on the patterns I observed that seemed significant to me and then try and translate those into musical sound.

The result, I think, rings truer as an expression of place than the field recordings might have. The mp3 above is a recording of the first movement of the piece I ultimately wrote: the whole thing is called Wind Over Water, and this opening section, “Ebb,” is written for accordion, trombone, and piano. It’s based on watching the patterns of waves coming up against the rocky shorelines that characterize so much of Acadia’s landscape — the waves come evenly, but hit the irregular surface and scatter into patterns that are complex and chaotic but still regular. I tried imitating that both rhythmically and harmonically here — over the course of the piece, the chords and pulses blend into each other and become a bigger thing, then fall apart again.

I’m heading out into the frigid north for my Midwestern “spring” tour (see previous post) tomorrow — hope to see you out there! And don’t forget Field Studies is still available here (and you can listen to samples here).

Spring 2014 Midwestern Tour

I’m calling it a spring tour, but maybe that’s an optimistic way of describing a trip that will be taking me through a few of the wintriest places there are. In just a week and a half, I’ll be heading out to some favorite stops in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Ontario, just to make sure I’m not missing any opportunity to enjoy the snowiest, iciest driving conditions this country has to offer.

You’re invited to come, say hi, and warm up at some of these shows though, because they should be a lot of fun. Many are at great new venues I’m excited to see, and I’ll be bringing a few cases of Field Studies outside of New England for the first time since the album’s release last month. If you don’t already have a copy, you can get the album here on this site, or download it from Bandcamp or iTunes.

Here are the midwestern dates! A very classy tour poster can be downloaded here.

3/14 GUELPH, ON: Community Music Guelph, 9:00pm
3/15 SOUTH HAVEN, MI: Foundry Hall, 7:00pm, tickets here
3/17 MADISON, WI: Crescendo, 6:30pm
3/18 ST PAUL, MN: Black Dog, 7:00pm
3/19 DULUTH, MN: KUMD 103.3 FM, 2:00pm
3/19 DULUTH, MN: Lake Avenue , 9:00pm
3/20 TREMPEALEAU, WI: Historic Trempealeau Hotel, 7:00pm
3/21 MADISON, WI: Indie Coffee, 7:00pm
3/22 BLOOMINGTON, IN: Rachael’s Cafe, 7:00pm

Field Studies Now Available

Field Studies, my first album in three years, is finally out there for the taking, and you can order your copy (with original artwork and everything) right here on this site or follow the links to download the digital version.

Thanks very much to everyone who helped me to make this thing, in particular to the Signet Society at Harvard, which hosted me as its Artist-in-Residence during the recording of the CD, to David Berkeley, whose beautiful and distinctive vocals make a prominent appearance late on the record, and all the others who lent instruments, time, talent, and/or moral support to this project. I’m extraordinarily proud of this music and look forward to hearing what you all think of it.

It is equally important to note that there’s also a sweet accompanying t-shirt available now as well.

Thanks again for all your support, everyone. Have at it!