a little song

like many musicians since lockdowns began, i have been exploring the world of producing music at home. some of the results of this exploration can be heard on the oops kitchen’s apocalypse radio soundcloud (you can listen from the beginning and hear our progression as we get better at home recording/production – or listen in reverse and hear us get more and more lo-fi). as a way of challenging myself both to learn a new side of the music-making process and to write more music, i’ve decided to start a project of writing, recording, and producing/mixing songs at home, with the idea that they will all be kind of mini-songs that don’t need to have traditional forms or pre-conceived arrangements.

without further ado, here is the first one! hope you enjoy. you can also check it out on youtube.

new album from Alex Le Blanc!

i’m really proud to say that my good friend Alex Le Blanc has released a new record! it’s called “Musique Pour Jeunes Fous” and we recorded it last fall at Breakglass Studios in Montréal. Alex is a fantastic musician and human being and i’m confident you will love the music we made together!

the album is available on bandcamp and all streaming services and there are physical CDs as well which look fantastic.

transcriptions on YouTube

Thanks so much to everyone who has checked out the videos/the album! It makes me really happy to know that people are listening and enjoying it.

I’ve decided to start posting some of the transcriptions I do on YouTube so people can check them out and follow along – I do think that the best way to learn a solo is “by ear” (ie memorizing it before writing anything down) but I also think it’s really neat to see how things look on paper. Some things that sound surprising are actually really normal on paper, and some things that sound really normal and natural are actually pretty weird when you see them written down.

There’s a few up already but here’s my lift of Steve Lacy’s solo on Petite Fleur from “Hot House,” a duo record with Mal Waldron. I love this duo – two extremely distinctive and idiosyncratic musical personalities whose music together always sounds timeless. Lacy’s solo here is a masterclass in getting the absolute most out of every single note and every single phrase while sounding relaxed and ‘vocal.’ Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

for the full sheet music, send me a message using the contact page here!

“Breakglass Sessions” is out now!!

The album is out now!!! You can find all the videos on the “videos” page of this website, and the album can be streamed on any of the major streaming platforms plus on bandcamp (where you can optionally purchase it) below.

I’m so grateful to everyone who made this possible – hope you enjoy the music and videos and stay tuned for more to come!

“Dance of the Sundog” video is out!

Please enjoy this first video of the “Breakglass Sessions” series, featuring some of my tunes played by my quartet and septet! This one features Marie Fatima Rudolf on Rhodes, Mathieu McConnell-Enright on bass, and Guillaume Pilote on drums.

I wrote this tune a few years ago inspired by a hearing a rhythm (the 3+2+2+3+2 figure you can hear at the ends of the A sections and during the interludes/outro) in a Kočani Orkestar tune and thinking it was just a very cool way of dividing up a measure of 12/8. I’ll be releasing these videos weekly for the next little while so stay tuned! Also, once all the videos are released, the music will be available on Bandcamp and all streaming platforms!

recorded at Breakglass Studio by Milo Johnson, filmed by Nick Jewell, and mastered by Jon Kaspy. thanks also to Will Bennett for guidance on the mixing.

This project is funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters.

Exciting news

I’m very pleased to announce that a selection of my compositions and arrangements are now available for purchase through Whitewater Music Publications! Whitewater is a fantastic new publishing company providing super high-quality charts of Canadian composers and arrangers that aren’t available elswehere and I’m honoured to be part of their roster!

For now there are two original compositions of mine for Octet, “A Night With No Wind” and “The Great Grasshopper Race,” as well as an arrangement of “Greensleeves” for Octet. I’ll be gradually adding more pieces to these, including some arranged for student/intermediate-level ensembles. If you are looking for sheet music for a piece of mine that’s not available through Whitewater, feel free to contact me about it directly!

On the ideological/artistic environment

ideas, whether they are political, philosophical, cultural or artistic, are like the flora and fauna that make up a forest. (or any other ecosystem, but for the sake of the metaphor, let’s stick with forest.) any individual idea can have a constructive or destructive effect on the environment and organisms around it. some are parasitic and survive by killing surrounding life. some are mutualistic and rely on others to survive, others just float above and keep to themselves, or exist primarily to nourish others.

but what characterizes something so rich and complex as a forest (or, if you follow my metaphor, a culture) is balance. the strength and stability of the ecosystem relies on a balance and diversity of all the constituent parts. if you have a garden, maybe you want to pluck out all the weeds so you can grow some flowers, but if you went to a forest and uprooted every single one of some type of plant or animal (or introduced something foreign in order to effect the same) you’d probably be doing all kinds of damage without realizing it.

i think culture works kind of the same way. these days it’s all too common to see people calling for every instance of an idea to be eliminated, implicitly because a competing idea is seen as obviously preferable.

now of course everyone thinks they know what’s good, and of course you should defend what you think is right, whether it’s a political stance or a way of blowing your horn or writing a tune – but i think this kind of idea – the “weeding” of the cultural garden, so to speak – is a trap. the world is not a garden that you can cultivate according to your own preferences. the world is a forest – WE are the forest. the strength and beauty is in the balance of diverse elements. the tree only survives if it can effectively compete for resources with other trees, but it equally only survives if the other trees are nearby, preventing soil from drying out, fertilizing the ground when they die.

we all think our own ideas (artistic, political…) are the best ones. but they only exist when we allow the richness of diversity. history shows us that any time we have attempted to destroy an idea by preventing people expressing it, the consequences have been disastrous – and conversely, allowing the expression of ideas you disagree with allows you the freedom to express ideas that others may disagree with.

people who believe they can forcibly eliminate an idea, despite the lessons of history, have probably never expressed a truly unpopular idea… but maybe now we’re a little far down the garden path!