Stories from the experimental underground in San Diego 

Meyer Hirsch is an exceptional influence on my sense of what it means to dive into the experimental field and attempt "to swim".  The experimental milieu,  as other experimenters have experienced, is a "terror" (but an interesting if not fun one).  Hirsch has a knack for turning the entire experience of choosing a gig location, setting up, rehearsing, into an experimental adventure... to wit: 

Hirsch scheduled a gig for us, 'yea, I have it all set up' he explains.  I show up at this small bar in town.  Me, able Ashes, and Hirsch set up and settle into a chaotic blend of textures: 
Hirsch: Hair raising - Electric hair trimmer waved above the guitar pickups (think incredible bee swarms of sound) 
Abel: Surgeon of sound - Acoustic guitar (very exacting and precise riff novelties) 
Randy: The Game player - Electric guit, Zoom G92tt guitar effects pedal ( a wonderland of sound) 

all 3 engaged in this raw-edged-morphing sound cloud...the bar was hopping... we weren't stopping. 
the first piece trailed off... back into the spatial box it roared from --- 

I saw bar patron mouths... ahhh ing, as in, "ah, what the f@#k was that!"  expeirmental indeed. 

Proud of our ephemeral creation, I looked at my team, ready for another go.   Spock, Kirk, and Scotty had nothing on us.  Beaming up, beaming down, any way that would have us.  That 's the way it is in the expeimental field Hirsch invites you to.  If you can hang, you wil find the edge, and sometimes, the terrible space beyond... 

We tapped it and served it up in every way for the 15 souls in this hole... what happened next is San Diego experimental underground legend: 

We are interrupted by a bar worker who announces that the next "act"  is blah blah.    Blah Blah gets up and launches into....... a love song!  I stare quizically at Hirsch with my, 'I thought this was our experimental music night' look, then at what I thought were a group of like-minded Hirschites watching Blah Blah blah blah'ing badly about love and approving, then back at Hirsch. 

Turns out that it was actually an open mic niht, love songs, bad luck tales and all.   Experimental indeed!!!!

Ripping them a new one with electricity 

 I really enjoyed playing the material with electric guitar and effects at Brick by Brick last Sunday. I think it got out to the audience.   When I played with the league of Crafty Guitarists, all 13 of us would focus quietly on having a great performance about 5 minutes before curtain call.  But, right as that ended and we were about to go on, Robert Fripp would say something to the effect, 'now let's rip them a new one'.  I finally sense some real version of that.  I could really feel my commitment to the material I was performing that night.  I had a sense that all I have are some notes and guitar effects, electricity, so I better really reach in and make something exciting happen.  It's actually not a lot (notes, effects, electricity), but committing to the act made it come alive for me.  Then, it seemed, it was getting out to the audience- Brick by sonic Brick.

You are the instrument 

Trey Gunn posted this video of a great Jazz pianist describing how your instrument is an illusion.  How your internal process is the thing that is really happening.  I have experienced where the notes I am playing "fit" with the texture of the music around me because of my perspective on them, not necessarily because of their technical place in the music (i.e. playing a major scale because a certain kind of chord is playing in the background).  An example of the notes flowing out of my "perspective" would be that when I am confident in the stream of notes (and/or silences), they flow best.  I have had my solos fall to pieces when that confident sensation is not there.  This observation has led me to beleive that it is most important to practice things like "playing from a sense of confidence" and practicing "tenacious focus".  I have caught myself in moments where these things are in abundance, and I can do no wrong whether the notes are technically "in" or "out" .  Perhaps this "perpsective effect" works like some kind of quantum mechanical law. Enjoy.

Possible approaches to improvisation 

-Throw a rock through the window of your: 


likes, dislikes 






mind set 

mind field 


thought parents 

thought children 

practiced patterns 

pitter patterns 

ponder patterns 

pain pots 

pill poisins 


let yourself understand chaos if you see it

It's about whirring though space 

 30, 2011 AT 8:33PM 
Jonathan Piper's picture on "The Garage Gig" page of me whirring in a semi-here/semi not-here moment inspired this reflection.  The image gets at what it is like to be behind the controls of the 'sound suit'.  In one sense, I am very clear on what I am going to do (I am "here"), but I am also in between knowing what I am going to do, and not knowing (the "not-here").  The image also gets at what it is like to hear what is going on while gesturing: the sound picture is aslo whirring; here, not-here, or not-quite-here- arriving just as the physical gesture arrives...sometimes as a sudden calm where sound and gesture are in the "not-here", and I am in the eye of a moment; the focus of the lens... then slamming together ,"here", like wavecrests, the photo is that moment.  Thank you Jonathan!

I become the suit man 

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2011 AT 12:47PM 

Paul Moeller from Technomania circus shot this great example of a suit composition.  This one is called, "wired". Watching this video shows an interesting compositional approach that the "suit idea" is best suited for (questionable puns notwithstanding).  It is the following cyclical relationship as composition generator: 

 The movement of the player causes the sound, then the sound influences the movement of the player, the movement of the player causes the sound, then the sound influences the movement of the player, etc. 

The player in this video is tightly linked to the sound and the sound is tightly linked to the actions of the player. 

It is that relationship that my work with the suit is exploring. 
The post called  "Watching musicians with great listening ability" is about a similar effect I found when I saw "Road Work Ahead". 

Thanks Paul!

Watching musicians with great listening ability 

THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 2012 AT 9:17PM 

I went to hear the jazz group Road Work Ahead.  Bill Mays- Piano, Bob Plank- Drums, Peter Sprague- Guitar, Bob Magnusson- Bass.  They played Jazz arrangements of some popular stuff and mostly originals.  The players made "IT" happen: separate instruments semlessly blend and create hybrid sounds coming from hybrid instruments... if you closed your eyes you might imagine that you were hearing the "Guitariano", the "Guitbass", or the "Drugitarbassiano".   I left so highly motivated to continue my ear training practices.    Listening is what does it.  They had mastererful technique but it was the sound caused by this unseen act that was tieing them together.  The players mixed eachother's sounds together in their inner ears, sent that sound out, and received a new version back.  It was similar to the feedback loop effect I describe in this blog post.     They deserved the standing ovation we gave them. Go see Road Work Ahead if you like Jazz.  They are the very real deal.  For you Jazz buffs, they are the deal inspired by Buddy Bolden back when it all got started.

The sound suit as spontaneous soundtrack generator for performer 

TUESDAY, JUNE 21, 2011 AT 9:27PM 

As I watch footage of sound suit performances I have noticed that the sounds that come out work as a soundtrack to the movements that are necessary to create them.  So far, I have been purely motivated by wanting to make interesting sound compositions: To get an impulse to make a sound, then move. 

 I wonder what would result if I am motivated to make an interesting movement sequence first: move, then see what sound results.  From this perspective it is a movement piece where the score and the choreography happen simultaneously. We shall see...

Creating a guitar suit 



I am working on the guitar suit that I will be using next Saturday, 1/22/2011 at the second annual San Diego Experimental guitar show.  I will create multi-timbral sound clusters (sound clouds if you will), by moving an amplified guitar over the various string-exciting objects adhered to the suit. The most important construction tip came from my brother.  He suggested that I use velcro to affix the components.  As I began using velcro I realized why it is the most important tip.  Now the suit can be configured for different kinds of composition:

Update on Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 8:52PM by Randy Chiurazzi 
In the coming week, I will be looking to add something mechanical like a wind up alarm bell that can trigger the strings.




Randy Chiurazzi 

More Posts 

December 2013 


Ear Training 
New Instruments 
Sound Music Suit 


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