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Music Production: Maurice Rickard
10/27/2005 Maurice Rickard: At Kiva Han

Announcement
The weather's getting colder, nights are getting longer, and we're all wondering just where the hell summer went. What to do about this? Well it's a Thursday evening, so let's belly dance, just like we used to at the Blue Light District events. This time we'll be in Oakland at the Forbes and Craig Kiva Han (so you can warm yourself up with coffee, tea, chai, vegetarian entrees, all kinds of things), and we'll be inside (so no cold bellies).

To make this clear, I myself won't be dancing--the dancers of Baya will be doing that. I'll be playing electric guitar and ukulele through the PowerBook, as well as triggering ancient and modern percussion patterns, remixing my performance on the fly (just like the recent WRCT live show), and flogging my latest CD. And Baya will be doing a special Hallowe'en dance they've worked up (for which I did a remix--good thing I'm sending this so I know to bring the remix), so you don't want to miss this.

Forbes Avenue and Craig Street, Pittsburgh (Oakland--right near the Carnegie). 7PM. FREE, though we'll be passing the hat, or veil or something. All ages. Directions here: Map.

Report
A good evening, actually, but at the time it was a struggle. The night before, I worked on expanding the rhythm tracks I was using, particularly in the remix section, and developed a fairly high level of complexity at times. I did something similar before my solo WRCT performance, which had gone well, so I thought I'd try it here, too.

I gave Mr. Funky a ride down to the venue, and we struggled with parking. What's with Craig Street? It didn't used to be this bad. So we were running a bit late, but setup would be quick--instead of futzing with the Kiva Han PA, I'd be going right into the two little battery-powered Pignoses, so that was convenient, although I'd have to worry about exceeding their bass frequency.

Once I got into the performance room, I did have to ask a couple at one table if they'd mind moving. When I mentioned belly dancers, they resolved to stay, which was nice. I set things up and tuned, which went smoothly. Now all we needed was the dancers, who did arrive one by one, and in fact we'd have a new dancer as well. Excellent! We also were joined by Ryan in the audience, and it was nice of him to drop by, especially as I couldn't make it to the show he'd done with a new band a few nights before.

We made our entrance together, and I noted that there was now a hipster woman sitting right up front, not facing the performance space. I figured she'd either move back or we'd chase her out; we'd find out soon enough. I tweaked the volume, which people said was ok, and off we went. This set was unusual compared to the Blue Light District sets, as I actually could see what the dancers were doing. On the street, they had to be to either side of me, and it was often difficult to watch what I was doing and to follow them too.

I set up some loops and textures, and observed some walkouts, including the hipster. Either the volume was too high, she didn't like the music, or she just wasn't in the mood for belly dance. Most others stayed, though, even though some of the sections got a bit too loud in my estimation, and I should have notched down the PowerBook volume a touch, or the Pignose volume. (I did pull down the volume in Live whenever it seemed high to me, but it would have been better to get it right from the beginning.)

Some sections seemed to work reasonably well, others not--notably some attempted key shifts in a bass line that just didn't work with anything else going on, some loops that I think I'd left on a bit too long. My transition to the remix section wasn't particularly smooth, either--I was hitting one or another control in Live, and it just wasn't responding. Instead, the audio froze mid-bar, and when Live recovered, parsed it all as a stop command. We got applause. Nice, but oops. Rather than have to start over in a new setup, though, I advanced to the end of this arrangement and started the remix section, clumsily. Also, some of the nifty pitch shifting sections ended up waaaaaay too loud here, so I had to crank back on them in a way I didn't have to at RCT, for some reason. Some of the new rhythms were too bassy for the amps to handle, so they farted out at times, and the new rhythm arrangements got to seem too dense to me. Overall, I was concerned that the thing didn't hold together, and was mere noodling.

There were moments of playing that I liked, though, and both Mr. Funky and Ryan seemed to be getting into it. We didn't lose any other people, also, so that helped the vibe. We got to about 40 minutes and stopped--that's long for a dancer's set, but a bit short of what would be a full set for me. One of the dancers couldn't make it, so we couldn't encore with the Hallowe'en dance, but even so, things were good. We hung out, got some coffee and desserts, and all chatted for a while. Some of our audients were with the new dancer (mother and sister), and they bought one of my CDs, which was nice. (I'd been very slow on the person-to-person sales of late.)

A bit after eight it was time to move on, so Mr. Funky and I checked out the new and promising bar in the old Penn Cafe space--now called Brillobox. Perhaps late this year or early next will see a show there. And perhaps with dancers, as well.

Contact:

You can buy my music right now over the 'net at onezero music-- instant music at sensible prices. You can check out free samples before you buy, and there's a discount for buying full albums or EPs.

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Live at Garfield Artworks, October 27, 2010
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Death Pig (Live, July 2, 2003)
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Circuits of Steel Tour 2003: Chicago, St. Louis, Muncie
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