Archive for pictures

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.

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]


In-House Collab with Soft Pieces

Our friend Zach Mason (Soft Pieces) drove down to our home in Charlottesville from Rockville, MD to jam and record with us today. We made a big meal of DIY vegan burritos to welcome him.

Zach gave us a noise-making toy that he constructed from a pill bottle, rubber bands, and a contact mic. We named it “Lander”.


We did a free improv jam. We tried various ways to set constraints such as  “playing with Lander and letting it guide us.” We also used Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt’s Oblique Strategies that Zach brought during our last take. During this take, I was to experiment with the concept of humanization (“free of error”), Carey with frame and edges, and Zach with fakery.

We had a blast! It felt really good to do some serious experimentation.

It looks like we will be playing with Zach sometime in the near future. We’re concocting a performance possibly for the Femfest at Maya Gallery later this fall in Greensboro, NC.


Queering Sound Photos Posted

Finally, I posted all the arty photos taken at Queering Sound 2009 by our friend Hong “Waldo” Nguyen. Our set was joined by Martin Terrazas on guitar. Thanks for these kicking photos, Waldo!

More from this Flickr set by Hong Nguyen.

Press on Grapefruit Experiment @ Queering Sound 09

We played at Queering Sound 09 at Pyramid Atlantic in downtown Silver Spring on Saturday. Along with a few of self-composed numbers, we played a cover of “AOS”, an instructional piece written by Yoko Ono for her collaboration with Ornette Coleman. We also played a short improvised piece with our friend Martin Terrazas. It was super fun!

This great two-day event was organized by Jim Adams and made possible by Triangle Artists Group and Sonic Circuits. The Saturday portion features experimental DC’ers including: BLK w/ BEAR + VJ Poppins, Dead Violets, Grapefruit Experiment, Nick Lopata, and Elite Barbarian.

The Silver Spring Penguin covered the event with a nice photo and description of GFX.

Two photos taken by Chester Hawkins:

Beautiful pictures taken by our friend Hong “Waldo” Nguyen will soon be posted.