Tag: Curious Automata

New Release: After Disobedience (Single)

This is an odd one…

An instrumental musing on the affect of mediation on rules.

This piece is divided into 5 major sections:

Structure (0:00)
The piece introduces its harmonic structure, first with a drone, then adding a synth pattern (0:15), and finally add chords on electric piano (0:31).

Stumbling (0:46)
The guitar enters, trying but failing to play the pattern. The electric piano responds to failure by skipping chords in an attempt to remain consonant.

Testing Edges (1:18)
The guitar attempts to solo on a very fast and difficult series of chords, failing yet again. The electric piano now highlights the guitar’s mistakes by shifting chords by a half step, increasing dissonance.

Breaking Free (1:53)
The guitar now solos on a ten-tone scale, avoiding only the most “out” dissonances. The electric piano doggedly plays along with the synth’s pattern, abandoning any interaction with the guitar.

New Consonance (2:21 to the end)
The electric piano shifts to a series of chords designed to allow for a (relatively) high degree of consonance between the pattern and any note on the guitar. The guitar now solos freely until the end of the piece.

It’s worth mentioning that the “Stumbling” section nearly broke me. I wrote it to be misplayed, avoided practicing it, and set the music on a stand several feet away, all in the hope of increasing errors. It worked. And I got so frustrated at my playing, even though it was wrong when wrong was intentional, that I had to take a break and come back to it another day.

The Bandcamp download includes backing tracks and a leadsheet should you wish to annoy yourself playing wrong rightly. Or practice and play right wrongly.

Also, the title is because I sketched out the piece after watching the movie “Disobedience”.

New Album: Grateful Destination by Graphite Addiction

15 years ago today Tim Carmichael, Pete Ehrmann, and I jammed together for the first time. Today, we’re releasing our 5th album.

We had planned to spend early 2020 recording a collection of originals, improvisations, and a standard or two. Obviously, plans changed. But, as Tim says in the liner notes, “In crazy times we all have to be like Jazz: learn to listen and improvise”. So here’s our album, improvised in it’s production as much as its performance.

About The Tunes

Tracks 1-3 are fully improvised jams. We recorded these on February 14th of this year with no charts, no idea what we’d play, just a lot of listening.

  1. Pete kicks things off with Groove EZ We Do. He’s been on hand percussion for most Graphite albums, so getting to hear him back on kit is a treat.
  2. If there is a best recorded example of what we do, it’s Conversations. Tim and I trade questions, answers, and punchlines while Pete lays down an unyielding groove.
  3. Traffic Saturation is a musical ode to commuting.

Tracks 4-7 are a few of the orignals we had planned. These are from our initial session in November of 2019.

  1. Message for Becky is Pete Ehrmann’s composition. Written for his wife, it’s been one of my favorite tunes to play for years.
  2. Mental Morphology started out as a odd funk groove I wrote one day while teaching. Pete decided to play it as a fast swing and Tim retitled it. Both things improved it immensely.
  3. Years ago, I stopped at Mike O’Shay’s in Longmont for a late-night dinner. Sitting at the bar was Eddie. He told a tipsy tale of catching a penguin (it was an emperor penguin!) at the St. Louis zoo. Penguin Eddie is an attempt to capture his masterful speaking cadence in musical form.
  4. And we’ll close this chapter of our musical journey with Tim’s Future Meetings, in hopes of seeing you again soon.

If you dig what you hear, check us out on the streaming service of your choice. Or, if you’re truly old school, you can buy our CDs on Amazon.

Thanks for listening,
-Vic

A World Of Light by Petimbro

a journey to highlight and celebrate the representation of Bass and Percussion in music.

Available now on all major digital music services. CDs available at Amazon

Petimbro’s new album (produced by yours truly) is out today. Check out Pete Ehrmann and Tim Carmichael’s exploration of the many roles of percussion and bass in music.

5 Years of Curious Automata

5 years ago today I started a record label to release music from a few friends. Our goal was to release 6 albums: Aspen Street’s Still, Still, Still, Graphite Addiction’s self titled 2007 debut, Tim Carmichael’s Watching Water, The Pete & Vic Duo, Richard Ellis’ Disaster Squad and one of my own.

5 years, 20 albums, and 3 books later I think we’ve overshot a bit.

Thanks to everyone who has bought music, books, or merchandise and to everyone who came out to gigs to support the bands.

And I can never say thank you enough to my wife Dani and our two long-suffering poochies, Rockett and Charlie, for putting up with an awful lot of nonsense and weird noises.