i wrote on these esteemed pages a year ago to talk about the incredible feeling of collaboration i was having with philip white as we embarked on a new project.
now i’m pleased to say thatR WE WHO R WEis killing it in full force, currently on a two week tour, and we’re in the midst of a really great residency program at High Concept Laboratories in Chicago. we just performed at the University of Chicago yesterday, and will be doing what looks to be a packed show here at HCL tonight.
and i’d like to announce ourN E W T U M B L R !!!!
you heard me. here it is: rwewhorwe.tumblr.com
lots of meaningful-ass content up there. check it out!
for the last few days i’ve been camped out at a cabin in gorgeous snow-covered barnard, vermont with my friend and fellow composer philip white. we’re spending our nights cooking steak and drinking bourbon — but our days are spent collaborating on a new piece we are writing and performing together.
it’s been totally invigorating. i’ve never been a part of such a successful collaboration, in that both of us are pulling each other in completely new directions, and the music we’re making is very different from anything we could have come up with on our own.
it’s caused me to think a lot about why i’m a musician.
i’m remembering that i don’t write music so i can get progressively better at “my thing,” so i can then develop a product that is easily recognizable and sellable to a wider and wider audience. i don’t want to try to manage my musical influences so they will always be combined into the most coherent package. i’m not on a quest to discover what “Works” in a composition, and then put my stamp on it.
i feel like the best way to challenge an audience might be to show them what challenges me. (not to show them what i’m so good at.) and the minute i feel like i’ve truly done something well in a piece of music, it’s time to find a new challenge to take on for the next piece. that may be a bad business model, but i think it works for art.
philip white is the technical director at issue project room. he grew up in rural south carolina and met my homies nathan koci and ron wiltrout down there in the paradise that is charleston (i think i will move there one day). he is an experimental musician in the true sense of the word — he’s redefined what he’s about several times over, following his interests as they develop — from a drummer (way back in the day) to a jazz guitar player to a composer of written music to an improvisor to an electronic musician who plays a highly volatile rig «see below» built around a triple feedback loop and several homemade circuits.
philip’s solo set at issue project room last fall was the most musical performance by a noise artist i’ve ever heard. granted, i’m not exactly a noise-music scenester, but that’s kind of the point — this music stood out to me; it was more than simply representative of a genre i wasn’t super familiar with.
we started collaborating last month, and since then, a) i’ve learned just how different his approach to composing is from mine; and b) his approach has seeped into my approach and helped me look at everything in a different light. and i’ll venture to say that my approach has influenced philip’s compositional process as well.
what’s the point of a collaboration if the person you’re collaborating with lives in the same artistic world as you?
we’ll be presenting our first collection of pieces, entitled R We Who R We, at kathy supove’s Music With A View festival, at The Flea Theatre in Tribeca, on march 26. can’t wait.
also, vermont is my favorite state.