It’s sort of like an Exquisite Corpse…

It's sort of like an Exquisite Corpse...

There’s a long-term project I want to do with the Interstitial Arts Foundation, but it will require quite a bit of coordination and people power, so I’m not entirely sure how to get it started. However, I know I have about 7 million intelligent and creative friends who might be able to help out or point me in the right direction or give advice, so I decided to post my idea here.

So far the IAF has done several great projects to support interstitial fiction and writing about interstitiality. There are the anthologies, Interfictions and Interfictions 2, and the magazine Interfictions online. We’ve done two auctions where we asked visual artists and crafters to create art based on the fiction, but we’ve never done the reverse and not a lot with interstitial art outside of literature. This isn’t because the IAF is only concerned with lit, it’s more to do with who is doing most of the volunteering and driving the projects–i.e. artists whose focus is mainly writing.

This project will eventually grow to involve artists from all the different disciplines and will start with musicians. The idea is to invite musicians, singers, and songwriters to create songs, symphonies, sounds, or whatever else they’re moved to do based on interstitial fiction. Just as with the last auction, we can provide copies of stories from the Interfictions anthologies. Plus, there are now several available online for free. This time, we won’t limit it to interstitial writing published by the IAF — musicians can base their music on any piece of writing they see as interstitial. I know there’s a list of interstitial fiction around somewhere that we can dig up.

Once all the musicians involved are done and the music available to all, we can move on to the next artist group. My thinking is that we ask dancers and other movement-based artists to create a short performance or dance based on the music. Then, once those are complete, maybe visual artists create art based on the dances or textile artists create clothing for the dancers. And on and on until we hit multiple artistic disciplines and perhaps, way down the line, bring it back around to writers.

This could turn into quite a big project, thus the need for excellent project management. We’d need at least two people to coordinate who are musicians themselves and have contacts in that community. One of these people should be familiar with how rights work and help us craft the best way to present the idea to musicians. The IAF wouldn’t want exclusive rights to publish the music, but would like the ability to include the song on a compilation album of our own. Plus, we want other artists to be able to freely build upon the music for the next step in the project.

There are probably other considerations I haven’t thought of–please let me know your thoughts in the comments. Does this seem like a doable idea?

Inspiration | Resonance: Cellist Zoe Keating

Zoe Keating at the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival

A recent conversation with N. K. Jemisin made me realize that I have not been vocal enough about my love for musician Zoe Keating even though I’ve been a big fan for over four years. She’s one of my go-to artists when I need writing music that sets a mood or fades into the background just enough to let me work but not enough that I don’t actively enjoy it. Other than just loving the sound, I also geekily enjoy how Zeating makes music. It’s very techie.

The first time I heard Zeating’s music was on the RadioLab podcast titled The Quantum Cello, and that’s how I think of her stuff: quantum music. Using MIDI recording tools and a laptop, Zeating overlaps repeating phrases to create multilayered music all from the same instrument. It’s hard to grasp how awesome this is when listening to a recording because it’s easy to create layered music in a studio. Keating does it live. She records each phrase as she plays it, then the laptop repeats it back (controlled with a petal) while she plays and records another bit. The layers build and build into ever more complex interactions. Watching this happen in real time is more amazing than I can recount.

The other thing I love about Zeating’s music is the wide variation of sound she gets out of a cello. There are several tracks where, if I didn’t know better, I would swear a piano or a whistle or a flute was involved.

The only sadness with being a Zoe fan is that she doesn’t produce new albums all the time. Her last one, Into the Trees, came out in 2010. Before that she put out two EPs in 2004 and 2005. I can’t very well complain since she’s a label-less indie artist and thus can’t just spend all of her time composing new stuff for me (uh, I mean, for all her fans…). I am pleased to see her music getting attention all over the place. I started hearing it as interstitial music between news segments on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered a few years ago. The Elementary staff and producers love her stuff, too, and so her tracks are all over that show.

You can buy her EPs and album from her website or on iTunes. I suggest buying them all, but if you start with One Cello x 16: Natoma you’ll get a good feel for her overall style. If you listen to the EPs and album in order you’ll note that her music gets more and more complex as she goes on. It makes me excited for what she’ll produce next.

Writing Music (Suggestions Needed!)

Writing Music (Suggestions Needed!)

Those of you who follow me on Facebook may already know that I am indeed in the midst of writing a novel at the moment. One of the things I like to do when writing a novel or short story is to create a playlist to inspire me. This grouping of songs will not only get me through cafe writing sessions when truly terrible music comes over the loudspeakers, but also helps kick my writer brain into gear. It’s easy for me to associate a song with an action, so hearing the appropriate songs can put me in writer mode fairly quickly.

For this novel I need hard driving music with plenty of percussion and energy. I’ve got some appropriate music from DJs I’ve encountered in the city or music sent by friends, but I need suggestions for more stuff to acquire. House music, dance music, world music, remixes, instrumental, whatever. Suggest artists, specific albums, specific tracks. Hopefully I’ll be able to find it on Zune :)

What kind of music do you listen to while you write?

Interfictions Auction & Music Project

Interfictions Auction & Music Project

I know I mentioned the Interfictions Auction here a while ago but there have been some new developments which allow me to mention it again. I’m tricksy.

First thing is to remind people that, though this auction is mainly to benefit Interfictions 2, we’re accepting creations based on stories from the first anthology, too. We’re not offering to send free stories, but you can always buy it (tricksy!).  If you’re interested, let us know here.

Second thing is that we have a separate but related initiative: The Interfictions Music Project. Since auctioning music doesn’t make much sense, we’re going to sell music, instead. Same deal as with the auction: musicians can base songs or mixes on any story from Interfictions 1 or 2 (they can request an advance story from IF2). We’ll sell the music as downloads during the auction. If we get enough, we’ll create an EP or LP. More details and sign-up form is here.

Click and pass it on!

Jill Sobule + NYC + Tempest = Best Night Evar

Jill Sobule + NYC + Tempest = Best Night Evar

One of my favorite singers, Jill Sobule, is performing in NYC on the 14th of April. Only one show announced so far and I definitely want to go. I’ll go by myself because I love her that much but I would love to have some company.

Tickets are $18 and the concert is at Joe’s Pub, which means you aren’t guaranteed a seat unless you also make a dinner reservation which carries a $12 minimum (I know, they suck, and I would not put up with it except it’s Jill….). Anyway, I already made a reservation for two. If you buy a ticket, you can join me!

Any takers?  She’s really awesome… :)

What Media Player Do You Use and/or Suggest?

I recently had to uninstall my favorite media player: MusicMatch Jukebox.  I’ve had that same install since 2004 and absolutely loved the program.  But, sadly, it was getting buggier and buggier, and, of course, it was no longer supported.  not because it was old, but because Yahoo bought MusicMatch and proceeded to amke ti a piece of crap as they discontinued support for pre-Yahoo versions.  Yahoo ruins everything.

I used to use RealJukebox until it melded back into RealPlayer, and I haven’t seen a version that truly rocks my socks.  (I’m willing to be convinced that it’s better now.)  Everything else just seems to suck.

I downloaded Songbird, which is all right, but I think it’s not quite ready for prime time.  It crashes easily, doesn’t dig the add-ons as much as I would like (and is thus reduced to really basic functionality), and doesn’t even play or rip CDs at the moment.  How annoying is that?

I’m currently using the Creative media player that came with my MP3 player, but it isn’t as robust as I would like, either.  I do like that it plays video and music.

Windows Media Player… meh.  I suppose I could use it.  It’s better than it used to be, that’s for sure.

iTunes is a big fat NO.

What I want is to find another program as awesome as MusicMatch JukeBox.  I would prefer one that also played video.  I want something with lots of functionality, that plays and rips CDs (to MP3), that organizes tracks well and will batch process them (like updating the meta data).

What do you use to organize and listen to your media?  Suggest stuff to me, please.  My music library will thank you.

In which I am insane for about 4.5 minutes

When I was a wee one, I loved the New Kids On The Block for a minute.  I was such a dork, though, that I got into them just as everyone else was starting to realize they sucked.  But that’s okay ,because I could enjoy my love for Donnie, Danny, Joey, John and Jordon in peace.  I had all the tapes (well, not that first album, which I hear sucked), and I had two concert videos, and I had posters, but I did not have the dolls.  I had my limits.

And, of course, after a while I stopped thinking they were good and moved on to bigger and better things (Menudo!).  I remember laughing uproariously when the group came through Cincinnati as their career was on the last leg and finding out that they couldn’t even fill up a small club, whereas just a few years before the stadium tickets were sold out in 20 seconds or something.  Fame is fleeting, especially for packaged pop.

A few years ago I almost watched that VH1 reality show with the waning celebrities — The Surreal Life? — because Jordan Knight was on.  But I didn’t care enough to seek the show out and I didn’t have TiVo.  But right around then I heard rumors that some of the boys wanted to have a reunion.  I also heard (I don’t know how I hear these things) that all but John were interested.  He’d been too old for the group in the first place (originally Donnie’s little brother Mark, as in Marky Mark, as in Mark Whalberg, was supposed to be the 5th member, but he took a look at the songs and was like WTF no way, I am a hard ass!  And, as it turns out, he was.  So they recruited John.) and had settled into a normal life as an accountant or real estate agent or something.  He was now really too old for this foolishness.

But I guess they got to him.  Another VH1 show about reuniting bands decided to reunite NKOTB.  I remember hearing about that, too.  But it was a while ago.  It must have worked, or John must be feeling that mortgage crisis, because they reunioned, and now there’s an album maybe?  And also they’ll be on the Today show tomorrow.

How do I know all this?  Well, I was on a social bookmarking site and found a link to someone who has been counting down to this great moment.  When I saw the headline, I laughed, and then I thought “Hmm, nostalgia!  Maybe I should go down there and see them.  I missed out on NKOTB concerts back in the day.  And maybe they are still handsome!  And I always said I would marry Danny someday.  If Katie Holmes can do it, so can I!”

And then I saw the picture.