Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Banter is dead, long live the Banter!

As I start this entry I am sitting at AS220 about two hours before performing what I'm considering to be my last Banter/3.1 show. Harry has already weighed in on the subject, so here are my thoughts, etc..

To begin with, the reasons (yes, pun intended.) I've long since felt that the b/3.1 format has had some limitations about it and I've wanted to expand into other areas. Over the last year the b/3.1 style has been greatly refined, but working in it seems like just more of the same. Lately my attention has also started drifting back towards filmmaking, and in particular to the idea of creating an integrated art work (or works) which combine film, music, and possibly even acting. And then came the "Big Coincidence." Last year I started work on the 114 Song Box Set, releasing two new songs every week for fifty-seven weeks. At the outset I stated that as soon as I was finished with the 114 songs that I was going to stop working as Banter/3.1. Now I "pressed pause" on the box set a few months ago, however, today (July 28th) was supposed to have been the last day of the fifty-seven weeks and therefore the last day of Banter/3.1. Seemed like a sign to me.

The first major downside to ending b/3.1 may not be a problem at all, and is directly related to tonight's gig. I got this specific show through no effort of my own. Having played here before I was simply asked to play tonight. This is such a major change from a year ago where it seemed like I wasn't one of the "cool Providence people" and therefore couldn't get booked.

(At this point in writing my friends started to arrive so it is now a few days later)

In one sense it seems a shame to throw away this foot-in-the-door as it were, however, hopefully by the next time they come a-knockin' at my e-door I'll have a new project in the works (more on that later.) Another downside is that the current presentation is at a pretty refined point and can be done at a moments notice. But, I'm not particularly interested in doing that. I would rather make myself scarce for a bit while I work on the new thing and then roll that out when it's ready. (And I promise, I'll talk about "the new thing" before this blog is over) And finally, I'm starting to get some recognition as "Banter/3.1"* and moving away from that may be unnecessarily confusing. But, this is a chance I take. (*two days after I wrote that I got recognized as Banter while at work)

I was very pleased with the show. One thing that struck me as funny was that the first three acts (myself included) were one guy with a keyboard and a laptop. I'm going to refrain from writing about them because I liked one and didn't like the other and I'm going to leave it at that. The final band was a duo from Amsterdam called Controllar who really need to be seen to be appreciated. There was a decent turn out for a Monday night and a good time was had by all. Yeah.

So, what's next you ask? Well, the current show is the jumping off point for the next phase of the Banter Cycle. Basically what I'm thinking about is taking all of my talents/interests, throwing them into the blender, and searching for the balancing point where it all emulsifies. It will most likely include not only music and film, but acting, narrative story telling, and perhaps even DJ-ing. I plan on taking my time developing this, so don't expect to get any previews any time soon. Perhaps if I get offered a gig before "the new thing" is ready I'll see if CockSlap can play instead.

Now, who wants to join Banter the Band! ?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Is she asking me to look at her tits?

To wit.

Heterosexual men tend to qualify themselves as being "leg men" or "breast guys" as a way of identifying which physical characteristic they find most attractive in the opposite sex. I will now use this as the basis for an imperfect metaphor for what people look for in music. Bear in mind that all my choices in this analogy ultimately reflect my sensibilities more than they unravel some deep human mystery.


"Breast Guys" are people whose primary concern is the lyrics. It's the most obvious, in-your-face asset, and the hardest to deny. I mean really, who doesn't like a good, um, lyric. Although many will disagree about what makes for a good, um, lyric, there is fortunately enough variety to keep everyone happy.

Now "Leg Men" are a more rarefied lot. I liken them to those for whom the music is most important. Legs are, after all, the support upon which we stand. There is a more subtle beauty to be found here, one that can speak to a deeper place.

As for me, the most important thing is the face, which I will liken here to the over-all sound. Why, you ask, does the face equal sound? Because it's my damned metaphor, go get yer own.


Yesterday I was listening to Joanna Newsome's Ys. The first thing I noticed was the lovely sound of the work. The way her voice weaves through her playing coupled with the wonderful support of Van Dyke Parks' production makes for a beautiful disc. However, the words, and there are a lot of them, seem to be the real focus of this work. And as I pondered this music, and this bizarre metaphor, I was left with one question. "Is she asking me to look at her tits?"

*used with acknowledged debt to K.V.jr.