Rock the Eating Club

Early Tuesday morning, GFX and Caustic Castle packed ourselves amongst our gear and drove to Princeton, New Jersey for our second collaboration as a trio. Everyone but the driver had to carry gear on their lap and wind their feet around hi-hat stands and guitars. We had to make it fit, even my 24-in bass drum.  We were trying something new to us that focused on creating gestures in time (rhythm by another name) and fluctuations of texture. We worked some structural ideas out over email amidst our busy weeks, but had never tried it face to face.

We were invited to play at Princeton University as part of FFMUP (Free Form Mash Up) series curated by Charity Chan. The set also included the cricket and fiddle drone-scape of Travis Johns and Liz Meredith as well as the dynamic free guitar/drum improv of Not the Wind, Not the Flag on tour from Toronto.

The series took place in Terrace Eating Club, which is better known for its support of alternative culture than for its food (or so we were told). Princeton organizes undergraduate dining after the second year through subsidizing private eating clubs whose social function replaces or at least references the greek fraternity system found at other universities. Our GPS first sent us to the other end of Washington Street, where we found only private houses and warehouses. We began to imagine the eating club as an underground alternative secret society. After searching for too long with that image, (and sing “Eternal Flame” a capella,) we went toward the campus and stopped at the first fancy English-style house we saw. And we were there.

After the show, Charity invited us all to hang out at a graduate student bar subsidized by the university. Debasement Bar is located in the basement of a cathedral-like grad student residence hall. We had a few drinks, some wasabi peas, and chatted about music and grad student life before driving to New Brunswick to stay with Wendy’s cousins.

We enjoyed our short time the immensely – thanks to Charity and the other bands for creating such a wonderful night.

Download audio recording (wav + mp3) from [~18 min]


Playing Snow and Ending Things in Snowpocalypse

When the Snowpocalypse hit central Virginia, our plans for an 8-piece improv ensemble representing the HzCollective fell through at the Center of the Study of the End of Things‘ Symposium Opening. The storm left no drivable conditions for our HzCollective mates – including Kenny Yates, Jennida Chase and Hassan Pitts of Pilotone – to join us for the performance from Richmond. Grapefruit Experiment and our friend Erik DeLuca decided to go ahead with the gig as a trio. To echo the apocalyptic theme of the “the end of things,” we carried minimal gear in our backpacks and trekked in the snow maxing out our creative and physical ends.

Carey sounded her ever-sustained bells that she bought in China. I played amplified snow using Erik’s hydrophone while playing back samples of snow collected on our walk to the space. Erik played back and processed sounds of snow and vibes that he recorded throughout the day. We played a 28-minute improvised set. Then our set was joined by an impromptu reading (of his elegy to Lydia Gasman) by Steven Margulies.

After a short break, we went into a second set starting with Carey’s bells, live and captured on Erik’s tape recorder. Erik and I then joined Carey with electronic sounds. I used a bit reduction pedal to noisify the sound of snow-crushing. Erik played back and manipulated sounds of Carey’s bells. Then the projected sound started to cut in and out sweeping in as low-frequencies, as Erik gestured the smell of something burning. Thus we ENDED our set. Not only that, we put an END to the speaker, a decrepit JBL dust-collector donated by UVa’s VCCM [Virginia Center for Computer Music].

Organizer Wes Milholen said that they will honor the end of the speaker by shining a spotlight on it. Maybe they will even suspend it mid air.

The End.

Playing bikes, plants, dirt, water, and combs with Erik DeLuca

Grapefruit Experiment did a two-part improvisational set with our friend Erik DeLuca at the Charlottesville Experimental Music Showcase at The Bridge PAI on 12/16/09. The first part features Wendy and Carey on amplified bikes; the second part features Carey on an amplified cactus, Wendy on mic’ed pine cones and combs, and Erik on an amplified small leafy, easy-to-care-for plant with some dirt and water.

Video by David Eklund.

Documentation from Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Insane trip. Our ride from DC to New York took 8 hours – the police along with homeland security vehicles blocked off two stretches near air force bases on I-95. We arrived way behind schedule and had to set up in 10 minutes. We didn’t even have time for refresh ourselves and say hi to our friends. We then jumped right into playing our duo noise set fully utilizing the sound, equipment, and the space of a rock venue. I thought my bike sounded great through the PA system. Jack Tung said that our set was ‘brutal.’ 🙂

Thanks to Kite Operations for inviting us play and again, congratulations to your new album Festival. It’s breathtaking. It’s a feat!

We didn’t even have to set up our recording devices. Thanks to Dave Yang of K.O. and many other for documenting our set!

pictures by Tom Lin

**Bikes bikes bikes!**


“N+1 to the Floor”

11/21 Show Poster Released!

Facebook Event page:

GFX @ Silence and Coincidence

Carey and I participated in a HzCollective improvised music event called Silence and Coincidence at The Bridge PAI in Charlottesville last night. The show was curated by our friend Jonathan Zorn. In addition to us, the participants included: Jonathan Zorn, Bob Holub, Lanier Sammons, Sarah O’Halloran, Megan England, Matt Lerner, and Erik DeLuca. The event lasted 60 minutes and our objective was to limit each of our playing time to be 30 minutes throughout the session. I performed on my new instrument – an amplified bike. Carey used a combination of Lander (built by Zach Mason) and her snare drum.

Audio documentation of the entire set [~60 min]


Shhhh! – Private Noise Show in Richmond

We played at a private show in a warehouse studio in downtown Richmond on Sunday, September 20, 2009, sharing a bill with Jonathan Zorn + Erik DeLuca; Caustic Castle (Kenneth Yates) + Philip White.  Carey posted about this show on her blog. Here’s the portion related to our set:


In our set as Grapefruit Experiment, Wendy and I were working out a new set up. Our theme was futurism of the past and our ethos was “work.” I used a new instrument built by Softpieces (Zach Mason) which is a pill bottle with a contact mic on the bottom and paper clip “feet” designed to pick up the resonance of containers. It looks like a moon lander. Wendy had a broken accordion (mailed to her from Craig’s List in a broken box without any packing materials) and she wanted to play it as a shell of a deceased instrument.


Read entire post detailing the back story about the show and the other sets on Carey’s blog.

Listen to entire set [mp3, 10:26]

The video footage here – consisting of the second half of the 10-minute set – is partially distorted due to a video recording glitch. It looks like we need to get a new camcorder.