She Flows Like Water… new release

10 05 2017

i’m very happy to announce the release of an album of early electronic compositions by picpack label. these are tracks that range from abstract glitch to slow moody grooves all the way to electroacoustic composition. most of the tracks feature field recordings and found sounds which were digitally manipulated and sculpted to produce a variety of textures. this selection gives quite a good feel of the type of work produced over a period of time when i was experimenting with processing techniques. often, a piece of music would be composed of one single sample recording processed in various ways to extract different aspects of the sound; harmonic, textural, rhythmical etc.

i hope you enjoy listening, as much as i enjoyed working on these. the album page can be found here. and you can hear the music on archive.org as well as from the player embedded below.

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Jazz beats and sax

21 01 2017

lately, i have revisited the idea of working with backing tracks using computer. I find it is a quick way to lay down a few musical ideas.

generally, i am really not keen on using software instruments, and i really dislike spending time on the screen tweaking midi information. i much rather get my hands straight into matter and sculpt into the immediacy of sound. but still,  it is fun to improvise to some groove and it provides a change to abstraction. perhaps that’s what i do late at night when entertaining my neighbours with the horn is not an option.

using ableton live, it is easy to get a few simple ideas down and quickly move on to recording sax lines. and as it happens, i have a few project files waiting for some attention. some are just quick sketches, some tracks are more arranged. and just now, i have been wanting to put to good use the time i have spent working on new ideas with the saxophone.

 

i have been focusing on ways to develop musical narratives in improvisation. and i have been trying out various ways to find melodic or harmonic paths to navigate outside of established structures while maintaining a sense of evolving melody.

this work has come out of a desire to expand narratives in longer forms. i felt tied down by shorter cycles that keep resolving to the root, and wanted to open up the possibilities of extended melodic development such as found in classical music. however, i did not want to fall into completely random root movements. i guest i wanted a method that would be suited to support free flowing improvised narratives without being tied to a structural approach or to the predictability of a specific, limited linguistic approach. (i really do not take on the idea of limiting musical expression to the form of a language and follow on this metaphor to expression in terms of a personal vocabulary, and the implied pitfalls of predictability. ok, let’s not get too political or philosophical here.)

so to sum up my idea in a few (but rather big) words… i felt i needed to free myself from limiting structures and find an open method for the free flow development of narrative in improvisation. so i had to look outside of cyclical forms that imply repeated return to a root and this sense of continually converging back to a fixed point.

for this, i started working with musical ‘sounds’ that dissociated ‘root’ with ‘tonal centre’. this is a very interesting and important distinction, and looking into Steve Coleman’s idea of negative chords helped a lot. and then, it was just a question of finding ways to detach from the informed habit of sequencing the tonal centre in predictable ways. the only way was to follow the logic of narrative development and of course not falling into the pull of following protocol. a very good bass player once said to me the very simple rule that applies to all music, ‘harmony always follows melody’. it had to be this way, and not the opposite.

so in the development of melodic narrative, i removed the anchor, this force of attraction found in tonal centers, and instead looked for ways to follow the logic intrinsic to improvised narratives, so that the melody would keep unfolding without being tethered. i had to rethink how i looked at musical forms (and even how one looks at form… is emptiness, emptiness is form… remember?).

so i started developing modalities (rather than scales), harmonic shapes (rather than chords) and considering axis (rather than tonal centre) and therefore orbits, pathways, nodal points between orbits. we’re not lost in space here, this is not music of the spheres, nor a nihilist chromatic hell, however, i had to detach from traditional approach to tonality and think in terms of interval relationships – in order to be able to move freely between paths, while retaining a narrative logic, that is without sounding completely aleatory, chromatic or just random.

of course, it takes a long time to assimilate all this method in my playing, to be able to improvise with it, particularly as i do not have a mathematical nor analytical approach when playing. free flow is essential to creativity i believe, and one way to detach from predictable structures is to ‘walk away from the expectations of the world’, as is expressed in another article you can find in this blog.

this approach also has taken a long time to develop, and i found that some aspects of it started to show in the solo work i have been documenting as ‘sounding out‘.

 

more recently, i have taken this to the studio, and we are now back to where this article started.

so here are a few pieces that i have recorded using sets of chords and beats, which of course are all arranged in advance using live, and then improvised saxophone lines over the top.

some of these were recorded a while ago and explore simple ideas and remain very melodic.

 

 

 

and i do like messing with beats and groove, even improvising bass lines on the keyboard of my laptop (yes, right…)

 

 

 

other tracks were developed differently; for example, the following piece actually started with a saxophone improvisation, to which i later added keys and bass, allowing me to leave much space, and follow the feel of the narrative improvisation.

 

 

 

and more recently still, the saxophone is now exploring new structures over simple tonal background. i quite like the wobbly feel of that nasty reaktor synth – this is a nice change to the traditional keys set up i have been using. this is not modal music, and perhaps more open ended, as it is closer to the drone on indian raga.

 

 

 

and coming back to the more traditional quartet sound, which a live group could be playing, with drums, bass and keys, but this time using harmonic shapes more suited for the structural abstraction of saxophone improvisation… an extract from a longer piece, this track is more of a demo in a single modality, with the multiplicity of harmonic options implied:

 

 

 

to finish with, a couple more pieces hot from the press…

 


 

 

as usual, i hope you enjoy listening to this work, and would love to hear your thoughts and reactions…

 

peace,

xrv

 





get some jazz beats

3 07 2015

hello friends,

it’s been a while since i last wrote here, but do not despair, musical movements are continuously taking shape… so after a period mostly dedicated to collaborative work  (which has been very productive, with several albums and compilations released in the past few months, see previous posts), i decided that my own work and compositions had taken the back shelf for far too long.

i have so many project files with sketches, nearly finished tracks, ideas thrown around, i did not know where to start…

so to ease myself back into the swing (of things), i reacquainted my horn to the house mike, and i tell you, the luxury suite at nexTTime studios is sweet as ever.

two new pieces will perfectly accompany your summery meanderings. i posted these on soundcloud, so don’t hesitate to hit me and show some love, if you like it…

 

i decided to begin with my latest creation, which went like this. well, it was a warm day and…

ok, it’s not gonna be a once upon a time story, but there IS a happy ending, i promise.

bored with scales and having finished my practice routine, i wanted to play along to some track and have some fun. i discarded the youtube jazz scene and wanted to up-beat it. this is where live comes in.

sax in one hand, hitting some keys with the other, here goes a couple of chords. sax doodles ensue and i just had to get some ballzy bass in there. ain’t loops great. no, not really, but this one just hit the spot and man, i’m riding the wave so here goes, on the fly, some basic jazz kit ride along.

and it’s grooving down here with an added 808 kit, some pitch and granulation on the sax, even some spectral space-sines processing (that shadow the sax lines). i could swear i just heard an apparition from the great north, it’s like molvaer woz ere.

 

you know, i’m spoiled with much interesting and experimental music and so i have a very low threshold for cheese. and techno is right there with the cream of the cream. but take a listen, 4/4 can be fun AND interesting at the same time. i dunno, somehow it made some sort of sense at the time.

ain’t live great. spinning beats on the fly with one hand… and i got myself a track. a little sculpting and reshuffle later, i revisited the sax, keeping some of the processing, striping it right down, for a driving yet light feel. and the living is easy…

the phrase from plato, picked up by foucault, is one i keep referring to. the Techne Tou Biou is quite central i would say. and it resonates with me. with my current routine, practice and thinking processes – which include music and meditation – the perfect blend of science, art and spirituality just hits the spot. Techne Tou Biou refers to a science and craft of living. guidelines to a happy experience of our time on earth. this is where the buddhist teachings come handy. and well, it is common sense, logical principles that come up in many cultures.

so i think that this piece is somewhat fitting for a highly charged title. there is an easy-going complexity and beautiful depth in simple forms that touch on the concept. i hope this is how it feels anyway. do let me know!

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following on the excitement, i revisited an older track. i had drums, bass and keys laid out. this is a format i have been using for a certain type of compositions. simple structures. realistic lineup. no frills. just an excuse to lay down some sax.

the live setup and software instruments is not my sound of choice, but it’s something more immediate than the finer work that goes into electroacoustic pieces. so for the times when i feel like playing notes, when i crave for beats, when i’m in the mood for some jazz cuts, this is the place i go. it’s quite a departure from abstract extended techniques and fancy electronic processing, but it still is my sound. and as you would expect, any of the tracks i produce are just not going to fit into any of the usual boxes.

i have many hats. none of them fit. but if you want some jazz, if you want some hip hop, electronica, improv, of whatever resonates, i hope you’ll dig this. it is indeed a meeting of opposites, an impossible combination, and it is seriously fun. had to be an ‘oxymore’.

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so put on your red shoes, here’s some rainbow sax to tickle your dancing feet.

 

 

 





collaboration with joe formanek

22 08 2014

i have been working with drummer extraordinaire joe formanek for a while. the collaboration started as file sharing when joe sent me a series of sketches for which i recorded saxophone and did some processing. joe then reworked the compositions and arrangements and did a series of really cool tracks.

you can hear some examples here:

 

 

more recently, we met in person and recorded extensively over a week. we have a lot of material to work through and we are very excited by the results. meeting was very constructive and playing was easy from the start. joe is a great drummer and improviser and we just seemed to be on the same wavelength. sure enough, some of this work will surface on the net soon.

to finish beautifully this period of creation, we paid a visit to the elm collective down in bristol. we had a few recording sessions there and played a concert organised by ‘uberphonic presents’.

luckily, james (from elm records) very kindly filmed sections of our duo with joe. and with the camera joe had set up, we ended up with a good documentation of the event. so here are some edits from the duo. the sound is a bit rough, but you’ll get a pretty good idea of how it went down…

enjoy joe’s project ‘mirror shards’ with hervé perez on alto sax and joe formanek on drumset and live processing.

 

part 1

joe formanek and hervé perez live – mirror shards pt1 from hervé perez on Vimeo.

 

part 2

joe formanek and hervé perez live – mirror shards pt2 from hervé perez on Vimeo.

Hervé Perez (alto sax) with Joe Formanek (drums, electronics).
Uberphonic Presents this concert series at the Golden Lion, Bristol, 06 august 2014

 

you can hear the whole concert here:

 

 

thanks to james for the warm welcome and the elm collective for great music and setting up this gig for us.