by Bluebird, April 2017

Strangers & Saxophone

This month's blogpost is inspired by the wonderful experiences we've had hosting through Groupmuse. It's a service that connects classical musicians to apartments and I can't recommend it enough.

For our April show, we all sat out in the garden, with the breeze in the trees playing in the background. Saxophonist Thomas Giles played his interpretation of Meredith Monk's Hocket, using his sax as one of the voices.

The relationship Thomas showed with his saxophone is a deep one, and it made me think of some of the other historic connections men have had with their musical instruments, and machines in general. I say men here because all my examples are male; I'm working on the assumption that this is for more social reasons than biological ones. But we're spending the year on a big feminist project, and it's important to stay balanced, so I thought it would be nice to celebrate one of my favorite masculine attributes.

Author & Punisher

Author & Punisher builds mechanical masks to augment his voice into industrial metal. They're incredible inventions; it's cyborg performance art. I more often listen to relaxing music when I need to relax, but when I'm too angry for reggae, this is what I like to hear. There's something soothing about it.

Jimi Hendrix

I love everything about this old video of Jimi: the intro and sound checks, his asides, watching him play. He looks so at ease. Like B.B., one of the things that made him so special was the way his voice interacted with his guitar. Unlike B.B., Jimi was connected to electric guitars; his art was bending signals.

Bob Moog

Famous for his theremins and synthesizers, Moog was also a signal bender. He had an infectious love for the practice, and seemed driven more by sharing his technology than profiting off it.

B.B. King & Lucille

If you only play one of the videos in this post, make it this one (though it's just audio). B.B. named all his guitars Lucille, and it sounds like love to me. Maybe one day we'll write a post about the Siris and Cortanas and problematic lady-machines in the world, but not today.

Glenn Gould

Of the musicians in this list, Gould seems most detached from other people. Music was his means of interacting in the world. When he played, he became an instrument of the piano.