Matt’s peripatetically touring in all sorts of genres and combinations, centered by his position on the cello faculty at Montreal’s McGill University. We were privileged to record our double-album CD set, Shuffle.Play.Listen at McGill’s wonderful studio/experimental sound laboratory, the MMR Studio for five days last June. In light of Montreal being the home as well for the band, Arcade Fire, it was a natural choice to include, as we did, two tracks by the band on the non-classical of the two CDs. There were two mini-HD cameras archiving most of the five days’ sessions, so we ended up with a lot of footage for live performance video (good evidence of there being no overdubbing, as one might suspect, given the complexity and sheer speed of this arrangement). Matt actually took on even more virtuosic responsibility, as he became envious of my constant 16th notes. It’s justifiably one of the more popular tracks on a recording of which I’m most proud.
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Sometimes, lo-fi is the way to go. This concert video was shot from the balcony at Weber State University in Ogden, UT, with only the camera mic officiating. The room itself was unwieldy, bright and blowsy on the main floor, with less-than-optimum help in the PA department. But with all that, the edgyness was mollified by the distance, and this worthwhile view of this climactic love scene from Vertigo was the result. The same concert video recording captured a likewise attractive-sounding performance of my arrangement for cello and piano of Radiohead’s “Pyramid Song”.
Kris Saknussemm’s new novel of the road and redemption, Reverend America, is centered on the travels and travails of a retired child evangelist albino orphan named Casper (known in his healing days as Reverend America) and his wanderings as guardian angel and inadvertent and occasional avenger. I’d become aware of Kris’ work via his first novel, Zanesville, his subsequent bizarre-noir novel Private Midnight, and his exuberant alt-historical Enigmatic Pilot. We’d become Facebook friends where I found him to be equally knowledgeable and perhaps even more impassioned about things musical more than literary. So when he asked if I would contribute some original work to fill out a CD to accompany the release of Reverend America (I’d not written anything original since high school, being presently and for decades consumed either by interpretations classical or reimaginings on the non-classical side), and with his own keen idea of how music might intersect his prose, I told him I’d have to be an idiot to NOT know how to write something for him.
This video is loaded with talent, and I am not talking about myself. Ethan Johns, who later became the record producer for Ray Lamontagne and Kings of Leon, is playing guitar behind me. Ethan is a very good drummer who played guitar for me in 1994 before starting his career as a producer. Josh LaBelle, one of my favorite drummers (and human beings), is now the executive director and vice chair of the Seattle Theater Group, who run the historic Paramount and Moore theaters. The director of this video is Carlos Grasso. Carlos has recently formed a “movie band” called Dumfuxx, which is currently making a feature film and will perform live around the world, playing music while live mixing film and audio. I am merely the chick singer here, and hope to accomplish a fraction of what these talented gentlemen have accomplished.
Live take on the tune…
Here I am playing my song “Taking Pictures” on one of my favorite episodes of The Gilmore Girls. Eric Gorfain, of the Section Quartet, is playing strohviolin on the street corner of Stars Hollow with me. Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore and their daughter also played in this episode, as well as Sparks and other special guests. Making the music for this show for seven years was a blast.
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