Monday, February 22, 2010

The Low-End Theorist visits Dandyland:






















My friend and co-conspirator Brent Olds blogged this about his visit to Dandyland, and our work on You'll Always Come Back.
It was one of the best times ever...

"From the period of Feb. 8th to Feb. 18th , I journeyed south to visit and collaborate with artist/composer/musician/anthropologist/professor/all around good guy Dan Dutton. He lives on a farm in southern Kentucky... Somerset to be exact. It's a beautiful, serene place that is in the deep country, the total opposite of the city. It's a place where time starts playing tricks on you and you pay it no attention. There were a couple of reasons for me being there. Dan had asked me to collaborate, conceptualize, and help compose the music for an opera/installation that he is writing that is going to be performed sometime this year. Also in December of last year I had a dream about Dandyland. The dream was probably due to the fact that I was thinking about the music, reading Dans Blog and me getting burnt out on Cincinnati and needing a bit of a retreat from my so called life, which isn't really stressful at all but I hadn't seen trees since Christmas at my Mom's place as well... I need trees and nature in my life!!!! So anyway, I saw this gap of time open up right before I took off for Europe and I called Dan up and he said "come on down"

I really dig talking about stuff that interests me, but other than a few people that can stand it I don't really get to talk about the stuff that I love (and I haven't been writing about it in this blog either) and not only that but long excessive conversations that last for hours, gabbing about everything under the sun, just hasn't happened in a while... pretty much the only person that I can gab for hours with is my Mom, and thats a new found pleasure that recently just happened... so based on the few previous really long phone conversations with Dan, I kind of knew I was gonna have a fun time ultra-gabbing with Dan. And we talked about everything! Art, Music, Traveling, Pop Culture, History etc. It was awesome. You see, Dan is a really good story teller and telling the story of his ancestors is one of the main threads of the opera... so he wove that in with the telling of some of the main points of his life so I could get to know him, and I realized I was doing the same thing! This back and forth of story telling and sharing was great for me because I realize I don't tell alot of stories... I funnel all that energy into telling stories on my bass.... so when I was hanging out with Dan all of my story telling skills started to come back...

So the entire time was spent, more or less, with both of us conceptualizing the performance, telling stories, us listening to each others music, watching relevant(and sometimes irrelevant) DVDs and videos, composing music, jamming out musical ideas(he's a pretty decent keyboardist).... like I said earlier time kindof just stood still and just didn't matter. Not to mention the really really good food that Dan cooked as well, it was most definitely a retreat... but not like a buddhist or yoga retreat or anything like that, because the amount of work that I got done there was alot more than I would've got done slacking in Cincinnati... so it was more of a creative retreat... sigh.. I need more of these.. HA! Once again a HUGE thank you to Dan for being a great host.

About 2 weeks before the Dandyland retreat, I had an AHA moment that involved fusing the programs Ableton Live 8(the demo version, I'm still a poor starving artist), Soundflower and Logic Pro 8... it involves like 5 steps from start to finish but it lets me overide Ableton's disabling of the save function and sync up samples just like an MPC... once I figured that out, my production started to grow a lot faster so by the time I got to Dandyland it started to become kind of transparent and I ran into very little problems... I'm rather proud of my discovery... but it's so simple once you break it down... I'm not gonna bore you with the tech details but lets just say I've been struggling with Ableton Live for like 6 years and to finally get a bit more proficient on it was good stuff... I have to keep up my super genius status you know! HA! Anyway this discovery let Dan and I work at amazing speed... the first couple of days thoughts and ideas were being thrown back and forth between Dan and I like a ping pong match and the output was actually quite amazing, then we hit the inevitable wall and the pace slowed back down to a normal amount... Man, just thinking about the amount of creative flow that happened still continues to amaze and fascinate me... also I know I'm gonna be quite salty when I run into a major writing block and think about the creative abundance that was the Dandyland retreat... oh well, such is life.

So the opera Dan's working on is called You'll Always Come Back... and it's quite a story. Dan has done several of these modern operas before and he's dealt with various subject matter in them... but to write something about his ancestors and what happened some 150 years ago, seems like it would be difficult to pull off... but the themes and characters of the story are really intriguing and it works(especially in a modern theatre setting)... It is reminiscent of what Alex Haley did with Roots, and dare I say a bit more interesting? Plus if anyone can pull it off it will be Dan. I'm definitely in his corner... though the work putting this thing together is gonna be tough. I could go into more detail it would take me writing a small novel to explain it all! I'm sure I'll be blogging about more of it the closer it comes to performing...

And a special shout out to my new friend Alf(fred).. he's one of the coolest most chill puppys I've ever met...

So that's it! That was a brief synopsis of what went down in Dandyland. Man, it feels good to write again, I guess I only write when things that are interesting come around... Nothing was happening there for a while. I was just talking to my sister and my "vacation" lasted about 3 months, I was writing, putting a bunch of thinking and playing time in but it's totally nice to start traveling and working again, plus I'm running out of dough! HA!

3 comments:

Cathy said...

What fun to read Brent's take on a Dandyland retreat!

Dan Dutton said...

It was such a good time! He's a very special guy, and one of the musical greats.

SBD said...

and he loves Alf! great
retreats always happen in the magic of Dandyland