In the world of free improv, the long form is some kind of holy grail. I’ve done it, we all have. Extended sets that morph without inturruption from one thought to another. They can be amazing examples of continuity of thought and scope of inspiration. But sometimes a five-course meal is just too much.
So I loaded up my Kaoss pad with about 30 original samples and told myself – keep it short, stick to one thought, don’t get carried away, and strive for sharp, pointed, concise ideas. Basically get in, do something interesting, and get out.
I was surprised how well the Kaoss worked. By recording my touchpad moves, it became an automated partner in the expression of these short moments. I interacted with it as I would with another performer, striving for a unity of direction which I shared with the machine.
I wanted the hardware to push me in some new directions. I wanted the Kaoss to be my running partner, to give me a different sense of pace and to show me some new possibilities. And at least to my ears, the music finds places I would not go on my own. Interesting, that it can work that way.
So these are short stories, or maybe they are poems, if I were sure enough of their beauty and nuance. I hope they are that but we’ll see. They were recorded in my studio in September, 2016. The piano isn’t perfect but it’s what I have, a 1964 Yamaha G3.