More stuff.

I was wandering around the web and found these cool Ackerman pens at Comic Artist Supplies. The Ackerman pens have this bladder system (like the old refillable fountain pens with a lever that one raises to fill a bladder, in place of a refillable cartridge) that you can fill with paint or ink. There are three types: a brush (with replaceable tips) a nib and a crow quill version of the pen. It eliminates the tedious dip,dip,dip thing. Seems like something worth trying as the cartridges seem to burn out with my pens, and I can use the divine Star Matte Black full time in this guise. There is also a brushpen in the Manga supplies at Comic Art Supplies-- the Tria Brushpen--also with a refillable ink reservoir that work with a Tria ink, Metallic ink or an Aqua ink. Need to look into that.

Great story on NPR this morning about the anniversary presentation of Music for 18 Musicians by Steve Reich performed by students and faculty of the Great Valley State University--now available from Inova, I love Steve Reich--his clean, trancelike music and sounds--and the state it can take you to--floating somewhere between here and there--a netherland of sound--that holds you in a place that imagination cannot take you away from but is very much here and now. iTunes rates this as a 4.5 stars --and the reviews confirm my thinking. I think this is a must buy. Steve Reich, in an interview on American Public Media's site with Gabrielle Zukerman said this about 18 Musicians:

So “Music for Eighteen Musicians” happened. We were living across the street, believe it or not, in a loft building on Warrant Street. We had the top floor. I rented four spinets, which I kept set up in a large room in there. And I guess about every two, three weeks we rehearsed for a period of two years.

I wrote the piece in sketches in my notebook. I was working with multi-track tape, playing things against each other and then putting down what I needed to put down. And then I transferred it out in parts without the main score. On the parts would be: “Look at Russ here,” or “Bob nods.” Essential information!

The piece was written so that a conductor would not be necessary. Now to do that you must substitute, if you have eighteen people playing, something else has got to take the place of that. The conductorial responsibilities were delegated to the vibraphone player who, every time he played, it was a cue to, “Get ready, here we [gong] go,” and everybody changes.

That was an idea I took directly from Balinese and African music, where the drummers--as you know--will make the [call]. Everybody knows, when these guys start going fast, you go with them. In African music there are what they call “changing patterns.” Very simple patterns that sort of stick out because they’re so simple. That means, “Get ready, and off we go!” Everybody changes on a dime to something else.

Then there were soft-edge changes, based on the human breath, which is a big part of “Music for Eighteen Musicians.” Pulses that are played by the bass clarinets. To people who don’t know what they are, they think they’re sort of electronic frogs or something. It’s bass clarinets played very rasping with a microphone shoved way down into the bell almost. And it’s a very characteristic sound in the piece.

NPR did a great interview with some of the musicians who spoke to the technical aspects of physically making this music--using Sol Lewitt-y type of direction (with illustrations of how the musicians should situate themselves relative to each other to the direction to do 4-8 or this sort of repetition--making the musician an active participant in the presentation and the actual music). Reich spoke about his inspiration around this trancelike, non precise music which dovetailled nicely with what the musicians spoke of. And the aspect of the spiritual plane, the trance, the suspension that this music provides for the musicians was something else surfaced....which I loved hearing as the recordings do this--imagine being within the tangible sound--it must be amazing.

Whomped out a lot of cooking and baking after dropping K and A and friend off at the 7:45 ski bus this a.m. 2 big plates of lemon/cranberry scones, some oatmeal/peanut butter/chocolate bars, and a gigantic pot of chicken chili which I modified (spicier than usual) with a sprinkling of chipotle pepper powder. A sprinkling is enough. Plans are a foot to attempt the Mount Everest of Super Bowl dining--chicken wings--this p.m. Super Bowl is a culinary event here as many of us know nothing about the a reason to eat homemade junk food is reason enough to celebrate. Sort of a pre-fat Tuesday event. We will see how this goes. I think the trick is hot fat...and I am getting skills with this with the recent eggplant parm boom that has been occurring here. We will see.

Must go as things need to get pulled out of the oven NOW!