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 Chuck van Zyl - live at Event Horizon 12 December 2014

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:27 am    Chuck van Zyl - live at Event Horizon 12 December 2014 Reply with quoteBack to top

Dear People of Earth,

I'm more accustomed to producing concerts for people other than myself - or writing about or airing their music on the radio, so I hope it will be OK if I (Chuck van Zyl) take up some room here to put out there my recent Spacemusical activities. Here goes...

A few weeks ago I had the extraordinary experience of playing live in Philadelphia as part of The Gatherings Concert Series. Yes, I do know that I am the founder and executive behind these events, but on Saturday 15 November 2014 I had the great privilege to personally perform my own music at our annual free show.

I have been giving concerts of Spacemusic since 1986 (solo and in collaboration) - so I have engaged in concertizing more than a few times in the past, but the November event at The Gatherings was quite unique in one particular way; I brought out so much gear! My VW Jetta Wagon was filled to capacity, and my helpful neighbor's Prius was nearly full too.

The music for this concert was to be loosely based on my new CD "Rituals" (which by the way is available through CD Baby, with "one cent shipping" worldwide for just the next few days). This meant that I was to bring along to the church sanctuary of St Mary's a: MotM modular, Synth Dot Com modular (borrowed from Mike Hunter), Adromeda, Voyager, Mopho keyboard, Minitaur, SEM Pro, 2 Dark Time sequencers, 2 Mopho modules, as well as a 1604 mixer and various other basic outboard gear (none of which was a computer).

This was way less stuff than what I saw with Node at the EMMA festival in 1994, or with Redshift at the Alfa-Centauri festival in 1999. The amount of gear was more along the lines of the Arc concert at The Gatherings in 2009, or Free System Projekt here in 2001, or even with Terry Furber and myself back in 2012.

I had the very good fortune of enlisting the help of my friend Jeff Coulter of The Tangent Project into this live work. Basically, Jeff was to provide, as needed, various sampled Mellotron pads and leads, plus modulated effects from his vintage EMS Synthi while I kept things moving with various sequencer constructions.

I've seen AirSculpture and RMI regularly enter into concert situations without any rehearsal whatsoever, so it seems that people do this all the time - but Coulter and I had never even played any music together prior to this, and I couldn't help but feel a little less than confident.

There was also the matter of having to transport, load in, set up, connect, warm up, tune up, troubleshoot and sound check a studio's worth of gear (all this activity even before the concert was to begin) - gear with which I was still becoming familiar. On this front I think I did OK, as everything seemed to function properly and there were no malfunctions whatsoever during our execution of the concert. However, it did take me about four hours to get the kit ready, which meant that the doors to St Mary's didn't open as advertised at 7:30PM. Doors opened a few ticks after 8PM, and I sincerely apologize to anyone inconvenienced by this.

I must say that it is an interesting feeling... to go from one moment, explaining to someone how to find the Gents, or with a flashlight seating latecomers during the opening act - to the next, where I found myself on stage beneath a trippy light show, and playing full-tilt through a full range sound system to a near capacity house.

The set that Coulter and I realized unfolded for about an hour. He began with a Mellotron intro, upon the resolution of which my modular's sequences were brought in layer by layer.

The two cabinet Dot Com system included one 960 sequencer, which drove three patterns: the bass and midrange lines from the MotM and an upper register line from the Dot Com. It seems that this got pretty loud (the thundering MotM was quite impressive).

After a bit of sequencer pattern manipulation and the swapping of expressive leads between Coulter and I, this section wound down into an extended free-form interlude.

Coulter took advantage of this open space to feature his capabilities with the Synthi. Sounds were shaped, expanded and contracted right in the moment. Some seemed to hover up in the church rafters while others wandered between the pews - in a continuum of hands-on analog synth shaping.

In the moments between Coulter's rolling soundspace I had an opportunity to play some of the beautiful pad patches from the Andromeda, which I felt resounded so well through the reverberant sanctuary.

Out of this unstructured play eventually emerged a second section of sequencer tone patterns, which was run by the two Dark Time sequencers. The Minitaur provided a wonderful line of low end square wave machine pulsing, with one of the Mopho modules and the SEM Pro both dancing around the midrange. The second Mopho provided a basic white noise percussive.

This part went a bit further than the first as I took time away from playing Voyager leads to try some variations with the two synced Dark Time sequencers. This device allows for "rest", "skip", "jump". "octave" and several other real time switches, so after the central part of this piece was fully explored I had a go at changing up the length and direction of each row of notes, what notes that'd play, skip or mute - all the while slightly varying the timbre and force of each synth module. I have a few more concerts set up for December 2014, during which I hope to experiment with this aspect of improvisation again. Quite intriguing!

As the energy of this part dissipated Coulter came in with a closing Mellotron resolution. Although I've heard these sounds used quite often on albums and in concerts of Spacemusic, I feel that there is something distinctive in Jeff's playing. His own voice comes through. This is hard to accomplish since the signature of this instrument has become so prolific. I believe that all the years of experience he has with original mechanical Mellotron instruments and their knockoffs has paid off in this unique concert expression.

It felt good, playing the music, and in the aftermath too - as the audience gave what felt like an enthusiastic response. I'm so grateful for this! and I hope I made clear in my closing remarks how moved I was at the great and supportive audience we have for The Gatherings concerts - but one thing I wish I'd have done better was find time to chat with some of the people who'd come out to see this show.

Our set ended some time prior to 11PM. Since it was going to be a struggle to remove all of my gear back to my house (stow the PA and stage lights there too - a group effort), and then get on with that evening's live broadcast of STAR'S END, there was just no time to have any meaningful words with anyone from the audience at the church - and I apologize to those who may have felt neglected or dealt with too briefly (how ironic, to finally be out among the people of this music, but be too distracted to have a meaningful exchange)!

I did manage to arrive at the WXPN studios somewhat ahead of the STAR'S END airtime of 1AM. These five minutes were spent helping load in Bill Fox and Howard Moscovitz, who were scheduled to play live on the air at 2AM. It was good to at last settle into the broadcast booth for the night, spin the radio show, and reflect fondly on the concert and all that had transpired earlier (there was pizza too).

Thanks to everyone who came out to see the concert of 15 November 2014 at The Gatherings! and to the gang who helped out! I really hope you found the music worthwhile - it was an amazing time for me and I hope it was for all of you too. I really appreciate your support! If there are any reviews or concert comments to be offered maybe these insights will be posted to this forum. Please be in contact if you have any photos or videos to share.

Photos by Jeff Towne and Chuck Nixon may be viewed on The Gatherings website. Anyone wishing to see these images can please access this permanent URL:

http://www.thegatherings.org/105gather.html

There will be a few more opportunities to hear me play live. Please see below for details on the three live performances remaining in 2014:

MUSIC WITH SPACE/WPRB 103.3FM Princeton, NJ
Saturday 6 December 2014 - midnight (USA/EST)
http://www.musicwithspace.com
http://www.wprb.com (live stream)

EVENT HORIZON/The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA
Friday 12 December 2014 - 8PM (free admission)
http://www.eventhorizonseries.org
http://www.therotunda.org

STAR'S END/WXPN 88.5FM Philadelphia, PA
Sunday 21 December 2014 - 1AM (USA/EST)
http://www.starsend.org
http://www.xpn.org (live stream)

Mike Hunter will be joining me for these three shows, with a Memotron rack, a MIDI keyboard controller, and yet another EMS Synthi.

Presently, anyone interested in collecting my recent CD releases may find them on CD Baby. The latest is called "Rituals" and I have been told by a respected colleague that it sounds like a newer "Rubycon" - that's high praise, so I hope it's true! Please see more on "Rituals" at:

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/chuckvanzyl3

One of the things I hope to accomplish with my music is to have an expression of my artistic sensibilities out in the world - and that those who listen will find something of me in my music, something that cannot be shared using words.

I also hope to connect with like-minded people. I thought that sharing my musical exploits in this post would be appropriate to these ends (and do hope that this post is not considered too long or frivolous). Please keep well and thanks for spending some time to take in my reflections and consider my music.

Sincerely,

-Chuck van Zyl
http://www.synkronosmusic.com


Last edited by chuckv on Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:40 pm; edited 1 time in total

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 12:49 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks for the info Chuck and all the best with the live shows.
They're a hurdle for me from the other side of the planet, I got all your recent releases but hope for some of the older tapes and The Ministry Of Inside Things CDr's reissues (lossless download would be perfect) as my new/pristine copy of Live @ the Philadelphia Museum of Art stopped playing on anything some 3 years ago before I made a rule to rip/backup every CDr...
regards, Dan.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:08 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

My greatest disappointment in moving to North Carolina from Pennsylvania is not being able to attend the Gatherings concerts. Sad For several years while living fairly close to Philly, I attended almost all of the Gatherings concerts. I made many friends with other folks who shared my love of this type of music. I have so many great memories of those concerts. Chuck has always done a great job of organizing and managing these concerts. It was even more exciting when he was also a performer. I'm eagerly awaiting my copy of Rituals. Smile

Hey Chuck, any chance of your performance with Terry Furber being released?

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 6:05 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Ordered your new cd. Look forward to it as i like your solo work alot.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 7:47 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

While I am reminding everyone about the next show I thought it'd be OK to also relate something of what went on during my concert last week...

I will be playing another free show this Friday 12 December 2014 at 8PM for Event Horizon, held at The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Details at:

http://www.eventhorizonseries.org

This concert will, for the second time this month, put Mike Hunter and myself together in collaboration. We have just last weekend done a live to air radio concert on MUSIC WITH SPACE - of which Mike is the producer/host at WPRB in Princeton, New Jersey.

The WPRB studios are over an hour's drive from where I live; so the great distance, along with the packing up of the 11 cases of gear needed for these late 2014 concerts, had me arriving at the university campus a little before 10PM (about an hour late). With Mike's help I was miraculously set up and ready to go by 1AM.

We had the opportunity to do some rehearsing a few days prior, so after a bit more strategizing and a super quick run through of the set, I managed an impromptu space interlude opening while Mike went into the broadcast studio to introduce the live segment over the air.

He returned two minutes later, at which time Mike got right into a full-on Mellotron string section solo - reminiscent of "Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares". This is also how my new CD "Rituals" opens, and our live radio set unfolded along a similar arc.

I used the same rig that I had at The Gatherings on 15 November 2014 - which you may please view photos of here:

http://www.thegatherings.org/105gather.html

Mike brought a basic MIDI keyboard controller, with which he played my Memotron rack (a basic Mellotron sample playback module). Mike also brought an EMS Synthi which he used to produce a range of modulated sounds and effects on the fly. I thought that Mike ably carried out the tasks of providing atmospheric accents and energy with the Synthi, as well as evocative leads and pads with the Memotron. An additional contribution was his idea to route the Memotron through a phase shifter - which was (in the spirit of 1970s progressive music) adjusted to bestow a subtle sonic motion upon the vintage sounds.

The set wound up lasting almost 90 minutes - and with no major catastrophes. There were a few differences between this set and the one I did with Jeff Coulter at The Gatherings last month (which clocked in at about an hour). I think the spacey interlude at the center of the set was stretched out somewhat longer, as was the second sequencer part - the part using the two Dark Times.

With each performance I am finding that the second sequencer section allows for a fair amount of improvisation. The Dark Time sequencers provide exceptional control over the implementation of rests, skips, mutes, note direction, pattern lengths and so on for each line of notes, as well as key transposing - all while the device is running. These features allowed me to adjust the patterns in intriguing ways.

Listening back to the live recording the sequence seems to be constantly expanding and contracting in an ever evolving interlocking latticework. I felt that the results were good, and that this section offered a unique energy due to the repetition and variations I explored through "in the moment" tweaking of the sequencers and synth modules.

At one point I slowly reduced the speed of the sequencer, which knocked it out of sync with its echo. When I brought the delay time back in line with the new rate the pattern achieved a paced skipping feel, a nice change from its previously racing pulse.

Later, notes were slowly replaced by rests - until only the slow open beat of just one sounding tone remained. From this minimal pulse the piece steadily grew back to its full breadth, and then way back down again into spacey spareness. Mike then came in with a resolving Mellotron chord progression to bring the set to its conclusion, at which time he ran off to the broadcast booth to wrap up the concert on mic. I held static drones and effects beneath his announcements.

After a moment to catch my breath, I had everything all packed up and got on the road. I'm not sure what time Mike and I finally departed the campus. There was a damp chill in the air as it was raining lightly and not yet dawn.

On I-95 South somewhere past Trenton I sustained a flat right rear tire - which had me briefly disabled by the side of the highway. In order to get the spare tire out of its hold I had to stack much of my gear next to my car in the breakdown lane. I got the flat tire off (completely spent), mounted the spare, and soon headed out again. I was finally at my house, unloaded, cat pet and fed, and fast asleep by 7:30AM.

A slightly edited (and in a few places overdriven) recording of our MUSIC WITH SPACE radio concert of 6 December 2014 exists. For those interested in listening to this music please find more here:

http://soundcloud.com/musicwithspace

[a better cleaner version may be available in due course of time]

Mike and I have two more concerts coming up. The one this Friday at The Rotunda will add the excitement of an attending audience and a deep sound system, while the STAR'S END radio concert of 21 December 2014 will see us at our most experienced and is likely to yield a more refined version of this set.

Thanks for your attention to this account. Maybe I will see you at Event Horizon this Friday, or be in your STAR'S END listening space on 21 December 2014. I'm looking forward to it very much!

Best Regards,

-Chuck van Zyl
http://www.synkronosmusic.com


Last edited by chuckv on Thu Dec 11, 2014 7:11 am; edited 1 time in total

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 7:49 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

[quote="Starwalker"]Ordered your new cd. Look forward to it as i like your solo work alot.[/quote]
>
Thanks So Much! I hope you like it! Any thoughts or comments? Something Good I hope! -chuckv

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:01 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

[quote="VinceL"]My greatest disappointment in moving to North Carolina from Pennsylvania is not being able to attend the Gatherings concerts. :( For several years while living fairly close to Philly, I attended almost all of the Gatherings concerts. I made many friends with other folks who shared my love of this type of music. I have so many great memories of those concerts. Chuck has always done a great job of organizing and managing these concerts. It was even more exciting when he was also a performer. I'm eagerly awaiting my copy of Rituals. :)

Hey Chuck, any chance of your performance with Terry Furber being released?[/quote]
>
Hi Vince, Thanks for checking in with this note! I really appreciate your remarks and hope you are spacing out to "Rituals" on a regular basis!

The set Terry and I did at The Gatherings (and others) in November of 2012 still needs to be evaluated. Meanwhile, everyone can listen to an excerpt of one of our rehearsal sessions here:

http://soundcloud.com/thegatherings

For this set Terry used his fully restored Moog 1P modular, along with a few MotM modules and Synth Dot Com 960 sequencers. As I recall Terry utilized the Moog 1P fixed filter bank rather than the ladder filter - which yielded a unique and impressive sound live...

I hope you are keeping well! and doing fine in NC!

-chuckv

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:05 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

[quote="phaedra2008"]Thanks for the info Chuck and all the best with the live shows.
They're a hurdle for me from the other side of the planet, I got all your recent releases but hope for some of the older tapes and The Ministry Of Inside Things CDr's reissues (lossless download would be perfect) as my new/pristine copy of Live @ the Philadelphia Museum of Art stopped playing on anything some 3 years ago before I made a rule to rip/backup every CDr...
regards, Dan.[/quote]
>
Hi Dan, I do have plans to make available the earlier music (Xisle, Xyl, MoiT & my solo material). Slow going! Plus, I'll have a word with Art about the matter of your MoiT CDr next time we get together Thanks very much for your support -chuckv

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 5:36 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Chuck nice cd, love it. great job!!!!!!! Enjoy the sequencing and atmospheres.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2014 12:57 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks for the info and hope Chuck,
Looking forward to those early Xisle, Xyle, etc. I had on cassettes only and hope some of the masters survived for better audio quality than a tape.

The MoiT Live @ the Philadelphia Museum of Art CDr gone bad is not an isolated case, I found many others in my collection degrading in time & all I want is the chance to buy it again as a flac download if possible.
Cheers, Dan

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:22 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks to everyone who attended my Event Horizon Concert Series performance with Mike Hunter this past Friday 12 December 2014. I've got another show coming up this weekend (on STAR'S END Ambient Radio), so while I make note of the on-air concert here I will also provide some commentary on how things went for us over at The Rotunda last Friday.

While The Rotunda is, on its exterior, a very impressive structure, over its many years much of its grand interior has fallen victim to neglect. Presently in a state of disrepair, the actual meeting space from which this building takes its name (a large round sanctuary) has been closed to the public for many years. I believe that there is a movement afoot to restore The Rotunda to its full grandeur. Once this welcome effort has been seen through I'm sure that this section of the city will benefit quite a bit from its attraction.

Meanwhile, when one takes part in an event at The Rotunda, it means assembling in the community space behind the formerly impressive sanctuary. I have many times over the years both attended and performed concerts in this room. The addition of a permanent full-range sound system has significantly elevated any event taking place there.

This past Friday I was to make a live concert at The Rotunda for the Event Horizon Series, and grateful to have been afforded an early building access time of 4PM (as once again I had +11 cases of gear to deal with - and my own foibles in their readying). Now that I have had some experience going through this process my set up time has been markedly reduced - if only my car's right rear tire would cooperate. When I went to load up the Jetta I found this tire (which had been dealt with earlier in the week) again deflated. I felt a bit stressed at having this unexpected delay, but after a brief spell I had the spare on again, the car loaded full, and was on my way to The Rotunda (less than five miles away).

Once the car was empty and my gear arranged on the stage Mike Hunter arrived with his instruments, which included a two cabinet Dot-Com modular. After a few hours we had everything wired together: AC, audio, MIDI, sync cables and patch cords all plugged into their respective sockets, the equipment warmed up, tuned and soundchecked (once again, no computers).

I felt too distracted to conduct a serious head count of the audience but all of the 60 chairs appeared occupied. What with the event providing three musical acts free of any admission charge, as well as a free buffet by the legendary "Chef Jeff", it was a true bargain for the hungry Spacemusic fan.

The current set (which I am giving the name "Midnight Lock") has run for as long as 90 minutes, but this evening we went on our travels for somewhat less than an hour. It really is a journey for us - one with a great deal of movement and energy, but no explainable destination. It certainly does feel as if we enter a unique and different place for the duration of the concert. Whatever this zone is it's more than just a realm without words. It's a very intense experience, one that compresses the sensation of time and even seems to shift us a tick or two off from that of the audience - whom appear to me like vague witnesses across a blurry threshold.

The set began once again with Mike playing some beautiful phase-shifted Mellotron string progressions. Once the first part of the first sequence was fully introduced he came back in with a Tron oboe solo. As the minimal bass pattern became augmented by additional lines of notes, I played a buzzy Voyager lead while Mike laid in some chirping modulated effects with the EMS Synthi.

During the free form interlude that follows the opening sequencer section I got to sound out some of the finer patches on the Andromeda. The two most notable parts were the long held chords that slowly swept this instrument's filter from dark to light - and later, a strangely harsh and interesting drone that continually rose through a grinding stretch of warm metallic frequencies. This middle section of the performance is a good spot to explore a diverse range of moods and sounds. Here in the space of a few minutes Mike and I moved from a raging sequencer riff, down to the negative space of just his moaning Synthi, on to a somber synthesizer adagio, over to alien atmospherics, and back again to structure with the introduction of a steady pulsing bass tone.

Changing things up a bit, Mike and I had agreed earlier to open the second sequencer part with all but one of the notes in the pattern muted - which provided a ceremonial feel to the proceedings. Above this regular one note Mike added chords of airy Mellotron choir. I gradually switched on additional notes until (with three lines of echoing synth notes, plus steady e-percussion) the sound field of dancing arpeggios became quite dense.

Afterwards I was grateful to have received a few positive comments from audience members on this section of the concert. I hope to continue to refine this aspect of my playing. What with the flexibility of making alterations to the sequencer patterns on the fly, I can imagine coming up with an even more interesting set of variations - as I further incorporate the pulse styles of early American minimalists and Spacemusic's Berlin-School.

You may hear an unedited recording of this set here:

http://soundcloud.com/synkronosmusic

You may view an audience video of the first half of the set here:

http://youtu.be/DU6vGQHvPOo

Mike Hunter and I will have one more opportunity to rattle our "Midnight Lock". We're doing a live-to-air concert on the 21 December 2014 broadcast of STAR'S END Ambient Radio. The program originates from 88.5FM WXPN in Philadelphia every Saturday night at 1AM until 6AM Sunday morning. More about STAR'S END may be found here:

http://www.starsend.org

If you will be accessing the live web stream, you may need to calculate your time zone's offset compared to that of Philadelphia's Eastern USA time zone (UTC -05:00). Access the WXPN live stream here:

http://www.xpn.org

Thanks for your attention to this post, for attending the concerts, or for tuning in to hear us on the radio! I am very grateful to be able to play these concerts for you, and hope they meet with your expectations - or go beyond them! I really have gotten so much out of all the concerts I have produced with The Gatherings, live on STAR'S END, and seen at various venues over the years, and hope this spacey Winter offering will contribute something unique and worthwhile to an ever-deepening field of music.

Good Times,

-Chuck van Zyl
http://www.synkronosmusic.com

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2014 10:55 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

thank you for sharing your wonderful,engaging and spaceyourneymusic.
Surely I will stay tuned for your next show

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 1:09 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

It occurred to me that now, what with having fully conducted these Autumn 2014 concerts, should this "music-thing" I'm involved in not pan out, perhaps I would have better success in the field of small appliance transport and delivery. Truly! The amount and size of all the gear I've been toting around to these recent shows has indeed provided me with a set of skills that should be transferable to this field. For example, the outlines of my MotM modular rack case are indeed similar to that of a small fridge, and the unwieldy awkwardness mastered in the moving of my Andromeda keyboard in and out of venues seems like a talent that would come in handy in delivering a love seat style sofa to an apartment or office building. Yes, I think it's good to have something to fall back on (or maybe just good to have a strong back)...

Until I establish my own moving business I shall be content in the delivery of heavy synthesizer meditations to the audience. Heavy? Perhaps, but not in the way a fridge is heavy...

This past weekend I had the pleasure and privilege to broadcast my live music to the listeners of STAR'S END - the radio show of which I have been host these many years. As with my recent past few shows, I was joined by Mike Hunter - both in deployment of gear and execution of music.

We'd agreed on the two of us arriving at WXPN studios early - with the intention of: 1) maintaining a leisurely, methodical pace in setting up, and 2) leaving enough time prior to the 1AM airing of STAR'S END for us to get through a dry-run/warm-up set of our music.

The unusual opportunity of a relatively early evening STAR'S END performance allowed us to invite a few colleagues who were of help in producing this year's several live to air radio concerts.

While the primary goal of this meeting may seemed to have been a Winter holiday social, the attendees were there truly to enhance the focus and energy Mike and I generate in the realization of our musical performances. I'm sure that were it just he and I together alone doing a practice, we would've succumbed to the call of the endless jam session - happily lost in a timeless, outsized exploration. Through the presence and encouragement of our listening friends we felt bound to move with purpose along a pre-arranged musical arc and cover the territory we'd wanted to. We eventually got through the set in somewhat less than an hour - which would be expected of us under the pressure of the 2AM to 3AM opening we were to fill on that evening's broadcast of STAR'S END.

After somewhat of an intermission I took a few moments to reset my equipment's parameters. Much of the gear I am using these days is without an internal memory or the ability to preset sound patches. After a performance where these instruments have been continually "played" (adjusted widely to produce interesting variations in sound), their settings must be brought back to their original state - in ready for the next concert outing. There is also the slight possibility of an oscillator going out of tune, the rate of one of the sequencers drifting, or something inadvertently being bumped by an onlooker - which would, once diagnosed, have to be brought back into alignment. In this down time I attended to these matters.

Resetting the instrument parameters means playing the instrument and listening to its output while tweaking and tuning the various dials and switches on its face until the desired sound is achieved. Once this task was completed I found the clock to be striking 1AM and time now to open STAR'S END - this the annual Winter Solstice broadcast (a program made up entirely of Winter themed music, with the first hour featuring a playlist of recent releases).

The time flew by and at 2AM I again opened the microphone, did the obligatory ID and track listing, then introduced Mike and myself and the live concert which was about to get under way. With all that said, from the performance space across the hall, Mike Hunter began a Mellotron elegy as I closed the mic and made my way over there too.

Earlier, Mike had pointed out to me that the middle section space interlude seemed to be expanding each time we did the set. Mindful of the time, after the overheated opening sequencer passage (within which Mike tried out some variations in rhythm and repetition with his "Dot Com" Q963 Trigger Bus module acting on the 960 Sequencer) we again entered this area. Somewhere amidst the spacious pads and icy bells from my Andromeda and the various modulated effects of the MoPho keyboard, Mike produced a beautifully evocative Mellotron passage.

This sort of spontaneous creativity brought me back to the mid-1980s, and hanging out with Peter, Tom and Dave of The Nightcrawlers. They certainly were a different kind of "Garage Band" - as nearly every weekend they'd set up all their music gear inside Tom's garage and realize expansive synthesizer space jams. Peter would record these sessions through the open mic of his lowly audio cassette boom box, which caught many hours of their momentous electronic improvisations. Having Mike's cosmic adagio passage arise out of the open middle space of our set was a pleasant reminder of those miraculous days of The Nightcrawlers - where this sort of thing seemed to occur with some frequency.

Photos from my 12.21.14 STAR'S END session with Mike Hunter may be viewed here:

http://www.starsend.org/chuckvanzyl.html

I feel that my two STAR'S END December 2014 sets came out pretty well - and that culling the very best parts of each will probably yield an even more worthwhile listening experience. It could be that an edited live album of this material would compare well against my recent solo CD "Rituals" - upon which these shows have been based. In fact, upon reviewing this concert material I find some of the music moving beyond the ideas first expressed on "Rituals", placing me on a path going even further into the Spacemusic realm.

Speaking of "Rituals", since my last post it has become available from CDS out of Scotland:

http://www.cd-services.com

Thanks to Jeff Coulter and Mike Hunter for their encouragement and help, to all the people who aided us in presenting this music, to everyone who attended the concerts or listened in on the radio, to anyone who bought a copy of "Rituals", and to you who took the time to read and/or comment on these four posts covering my concert experiences.

Thank You! I appreciate being able to share these exploits. The writing process has led me into a considerable amount of thought over the making of live concerts - which has me even more appreciative of the audience for this music. I hope that you've found these accounts at least of interest, and at most - having you more mindful of your own creative desires.

Now is the season when our hearts more warmly beat.

Happy Holidays! and Good Luck in 2015!

-Chuck van Zyl
http://www.synkronosmusic.com

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Star_Epitaph
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Age: 54
Joined: 08 Dec 2014
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 12:44 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi Chuck,
I hope you are having a great time at this time of the year and lately among other things have been enjoying listen to music you posted to you links. Except one which I miss which was last sunday morning, at least on the british time, and I was wonder if you could share it on soundcloud. It would be a pity not to always many listeners who love your music not hear your latest radio live show.
I wait for great anticipation your reply.
Meanwhiiiiiiile I seize the chance for best wishes and happy new year and sure you and Mike will make a lot more great music

Guseppe from UK

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Violet64
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:45 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Very interesting post!! I really enjoyed reading this. Well guys I was searching for traditional music NYC events. Actually I am free nowadays and want to enjoy these holidays. I think attending the music events in free time is a great idea.
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