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Stan Stewart (aka @muz4now)
Stan Stewart (aka @muz4now) thumbnail
Stan Stewart (aka @muz4now) I don't have a favorite yet. One thing I notice about improv is that when I get to listen to it multiple times (sort of messes with the improvisation moment, right?), I end up liking fleeting musical phrases even more than whole improvised pieces.
That being said, on this album, you get to listen to three masters of improvisational meandering. I'm mesmerized.
Philip Graham
Philip Graham thumbnail
Philip Graham A compilation of Artemis' vocal contributions to the Lawson/Berkman Fingerpainting sessions--a beautiful addition to these profoundly involving improvisations. Favorite track: Invocation.
Alan Hall
Alan Hall thumbnail
Alan Hall Actually these are all good. A compilation of Artemis's contributions from this fine concert series. Enjoy this, but get the rest from Steve Lawson as well. almost as good as being there... Favorite track: For Now.
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1.
Invocation 09:32
feel it in your body something getting into you feel it in your heart just might move you to begin something begin again
2.
question mark in your mind little ray of light tendril unfurl spiral unwind not looking for answers just loving the question just loving the question like a book unopened in an ancient language a friend you've never met sending a message saying come home come home you've been here all along looking up to the stars question mark in your mind little ray of light
3.
For Now 09:56
can't pull the world over my eyes got no splinter in my mind could you be anyone anyone you leave the message for me written in street signs lit up like neon like only you can turn 'em on cock crows at the break of day sometimes in the afternoon just because he feels that way just because he feels it too supernatural love supernatural the disease of this trust is mended by the silver light of silence and the blue of a boyhood sky river's flowing backwards like the child of a wandering mind slippery with forgetting feeling fine for now i walk beside you for now i walk beside you i study the method of resurrection state of grace my prize possession living like lovers do nothing can harm you for now i walk beside you for now i walk beside you for now
4.
look again at that pale blue dot that's here that's home that's us everyone you've ever loved everyone who ever was all our joys all our sorrows all our wars and celebrations everything we destroy all our creations brothers and lovers every hopeful child heroes inventors shepherds and kings dance across a speck of dust suspended in a sunbeam all our rivers of blood spilled by momentary masters of a fraction of a dot from their halls of alabaster on a tiny stage cosmic dark enveloping oh who will come to save us from ourselves only human kindness there's nowhere to go look again at that pale blue dot only home we've ever known
5.
i ascend from the moon i ascend from the night to swim the endless fluid freedom to find my delight wide as the ocean where it kisses the sky love's pure water fountain of life under the waves dreaming every molecule of me rearranging it's a chemical reaction i can't hide my resistance is low volatiilty on the rise like a fountain of life i ascend from the moon
6.
just inside the skin of this bubble i'm in all sensation smooth and warm and slippery to the touch and the taste in my mouth as i breathe in and out clouds of flowers and stars every kiss whispers its message every touch poses its riddle like a sphinx at the gate of the garden saying who do you think you are who do you think you are in between these hazy dreams i catch a glimpse of reunion there's nothing can stop us we're already flying in formation holding pattern hovering over our desire in between these hazy dreams i catch a glimpse of reunion just a little revolution a hundred million year carousel around the sun a hundred million sons and daughters rising and falling dreaming their way on
7.
Shasta 09:54

about

This album is a compilation from the January 2013 California house concert tour with Steve Lawson and Daniel Berkman. I organized the tour for Steve and Daniel, and joined them each night as a special guest for a song or two. The songs on this album are my favorites of the pieces I sat in on.

Until this tour, I'd never before done improvisation in a live performance setting. Music writing is of course an improvisational process - I've done a fair bit of that, and I've done some improv in informal settings with musical friends. But this was something else entirely. At our first gig in Altadena, when Steve and Daniel invited me up to sit in at the end of the night, I was both excited and terrified. So much so that when I opened my mouth to sing, I could hear my voice trembling. That feeling of throwing oneself off a cliff and having no idea what might come next - I was hooked. Apparently I'm an adrenalin junkie...

My approach to live improv evolved as we went along to each of these gigs. Since I'm a vocalist, beyond melody there are words to consider...I would sometimes draw on lyrics from songs I've already written - sometimes mixing up lyrics from different songs in one piece. Sometimes I'd ditch words and just vocalize. I'd also write things down that inspired me along the road, and bring those bits along to a gig - of course, I had to be ready to throw any preconceived notions out the window, as I never knew what might or might not work with the sounds emerging. But often, as seems to be the case with the forces of synchronicity, what I'd bring would flow rather seamlessly with the music Steve and Daniel were playing, as if we'd discussed beforehand what might happen. Which of course was never the case. Most of our conversation happened onstage.

What intrigues me and draws me to continue exploring improvisation is a chance it offers to get very quickly to some deep places in ourselves and in musical conversation. It requires taking risks, putting ourselves on the line, and being very present in the moment. No rehearsal, no polish, just your vocabulary, your ears, and willingness to listen and leap. It's exhilarating and I love the surprise of discovering what emerges in the context of each conversation, and what I learn along the way.

I also feel incredibly lucky to have the chance to delve into this vein of musical expression with two artists as gifted and empathic and Daniel and Steve. Very much looking forward to our future gigs and collaborations.

More soon...

credits

released November 26, 2013

Steve Lawson - fretless bass, effects, looping of bass & vocals
Daniel Berkman - kora, gravikord, electric sitar, keys, gadgets, looping
Artemis - vocals
Mixed and mastered by Steve Lawson
Album cover art by Steven Nakamura, created live at the concert at Preston's in Foothill Ranch, California - three cheers for improv music-art co-creativity :)

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Artemis San Francisco

Spectral keyboard washes and sinuous dance beats set up a feeling of warm alienation while Artemis’s voice heats things further. Over the thump and shimmer, she croons with detached fervor, the music dissolving in a storm of pixie-dust disco until a rude riot of effects snaps the tether and she vanishes. ... more

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