It’s taken me a while to mentally return from this weekend’s “Circuit Benders’ Ball” in Nashville, run by Ore: Theatre Intangible host Tony Youngblood. There were a number of terrific sets; I particularly enjoyed those from Robbie Hunsinger, Thriftstore Boratorium, Tim Kaiser, and Freya West. I’m not certain my own set was quite up to par, but seemed have been well-received regardless.
Capping the evening, however, went particularly well. I was invited to participate in a group improvisation with Tim Kaiser, Thriftsore Boratorium, Jeremy Walker, and Lola Wilson. I decided early to avoid a classic “Ore” pitfall, and keep my contributions relatively simple. Given that I had taken “Lawrence Welk’s Secret Shame” to the Ball as my instrument of choice, I knew that I would only be able to go so far in battling it’s rhythmic nature in an improvisational setting. I’ve found ways to extend it’s performance capabilities, but providing a steady beat is basically the heart of this device. That’s why I was pleased to discover ways to employ its natural electrical hum in useful ways during the opening portions of the improv session. What you’re hearing deep in the background is the rising and falling swells of electrical hum of the machine, bounded by rhythmic body contact touches altering the tone in subtle ways.
Later on, some audience members helped provide some additional tonal control, helping extend my circuit through their bodies. We got some great sounds, and made the whole bending process a lot more fun.
At any rate, be sure to listen to the recording. Tony got a really good capture of the audio, and did a fine job mixing everyone live. If you like it, download a copy for free and share it with a friend. Enjoy!