mardi 11 août 2009

The President : "Bring yr camera"

(Elektra, 1989)

First rehearsal today, just with Keith Lowe on bass and Steve Moore on keyboards and trombone. So much of this music was worked out over years of rehearsal and throwing around ideas, and now I am scoring it and teaching it to new folks in a matter of hours. Lots of small mistakes in the parts, but we accomplished a lot. It is great to be sharing this music with these folks, and I am very much looking forward to hearing Tim Young, who I have played so much music with in this last decade, dig into this material from the past.
The President is the oldest of the five projects that will be presented next month. The recorded output of the band is sort of a reverse accounting of the compositions in terms of their chronology. I may have a few details wrong, but if memory serves me, I started the band within a year or so of moving to New York in 1979. In the fall of 1979, five Santa Cruz transplants rented a small basement on Morton Street in the West Village. A few things inspired me to start this assemblage. When I arrived in New York, I was at the tail end with an all out obsession with the music of Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Ornette, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, etc. Sometime that first winter Robin (Holcomb) and I went uptown and saw The Last Waltz. I had been a fan of The Band, and many of the folks in that movie, for years, but somehow I had lost a connection. Indicative of that was the fact that in all my college years at UCSC lots of great bands came through town, and yet I rarely went to hear anything outside of the “free jazz” world with the exception of one memorable Captain Beefheart gig, and as I recall, some incarnation of the Jefferson Airplane. The Last Waltz was a wake up call though, and shortly thereafter I became aware of and part of all that was happening at CBGB’s, Danceteria, Mudd Club et al. A few other things…Bobby Previte and I met via Elliot Sharp. I became very aware of The Meters through my friend Dave Hofstra, and something was in the air. The original band was based off of a few bass lines and guitar licks. I was playing bass at the time. We rehearsed at Studio Henry and played some early gigs at CBGB’s, Studio Henry and other places. The band was myself, Previte, Dave Sewelson on sax, Kevin Cosgrove on guitar and Joe Gallant on bass. Kevin was a friend from junior high, and I have no idea where he is now. Joe Gallant I gather is a porn star and producer, and Dave remains a dear friend and great baritone player. I really don’t remember a lot, but over time Doug Wieselman replaced Sewelson. I was hearing tenor and a different concept. Dave Hofstra took over on bass, and Bobby’s friend from Buffalo, Stew Cutler, started playing guitar.
I was interviewed on radio on few years later by Tania Leon, who mentioned that I seemed to be influenced by minimalist music. I was sort of taken aback, although I suppose it made sense. The only thing I could think to say at the time was that maybe Reich, Glass and that group had some influences in common, but I didn’t see why repetition and overlapping rhythmic cycles was the property of the Minimalists. The early tunes evolved from simple riffs, working with early sequencers and drum machines, and of course DX-7. I never played Gamelan music, but I was around a lot of it in college. I suppose there was some influence from that as well, in the various cycles of various lengths that inform a lot of the music, but the most important thing I took away from Indonesian music was the role of the soloist. I was particulary taken with a tape a friend of mine had given me of Kachapi/Suling music – the place of the Suling and the Rebab.
Simply put, the “improvising soloist” was less of a featured role and more inside the texture of the music. In jazz and blues music I was hearing, the soloist was stretching farther and farther out over standard changes. I became attracted to the improviser playing relatively “inside,” particularly in a modal or blues fashion, against different harmonic ideas. I suppose it was sort of polytonal, like reharmonizing a folk song, something that I have played with ever since I first played simple Bartok pieces from the Mikrokosmos.
When I moved to San Francisco in 1985, for a year the band was on hold. I made a record with Butch Morris and William Parker that was much more open, and I had formed the HMP trio. I got a DX-7 and a drum machine and made a sort of solo record called Dinner At Eight. This later made up most of the Nonesuch release, This New Generation. Many people thought the title was a reference to our music scene, but actually it referred to the pending birth of my first child. This record started a sort of second stage of writing with certain types of beats and cycles. Back in New York I started another set of pieces, all on a Tascam 4-Track, but Previte played triggered drums. We couldn’t have drums in the 5th floor walk up in which I was recording. Both Elliott Sharp and Bill Frisell played guitars. I titled this record The President. Even though the band was now almost 7 years old, it had almost faded, but this was the start of a period of greater activity and recording that would last several years.

by Wayne Horvitz himself on his


3 commentaires:

Anonyme a dit…

the line-up looks so promising, and the music sucks so badly... maybe it's the 80's synthesizer-sound, or the often stiff rhythms and the drum machine, or maybe just the evil force of the major label??? but the earlier self-titled effort (which i have on vinyl) wasn't any better - in my HUMBLE opinion.

Zipangu a dit…

I agree with you, I guess it's linked with (often poor) eighties rhythmic sounds ! But Wayne Horvitz knew how to use keyboards differently, in a original way. This is my HUMBLE contribution !

E-mile a dit…

amen to the above, I searched for this for years, eventually found it and bought it on CD, like all stuff from Horvitz, Pipen etc etc
this one hasn't been out of the box & into my CD player many times, oh no... shit happens[:-)
peace, E-mile