NEEMFest 2019

Image may contain: Joe Wall, smiling, night
[photo © 2019 Bill Fox]

I was delighted to be invited to perform once more at the North-East Electro-Music Festival held at the Center for the Arts in Homer, NY. It’s a three-day festival of electronic and electro-acoustic music that brings together some of my favorite artists in the field for a diverse selection of genres and instrumentation. This was my sixth performance at one of these events, created by the Electro-Music community, now celebrating fifteen years of bringing artists and audiences together, often in a diffuse way in which players play, coalesce, and recombine into both planned and spontaneous ensembles that challenge and engage.

The event includes performances, unstructured time to just gather with other performers and composers and talk shop, and a variety of workshops ranging from the technical to the historical and instructional. We were lucky this year to have Bill Vencil, known on Youtube as Chords of Orion, with us to perform, share his technique, and conduct a great session on how to get established as a performer on Youtube.

There’s a openness and forgiving quality to audiences at EM Fests that really push a person to open up more, and experiment more, and to try new ideas and modes on an audience that is both one of the smartest and most forgiving in the field, and I’ve been gradually drifting from doing tightly scripted, fully orchestrated combinations of stories and live, improvised soundtracks that are my best approximation of what you’d get if stand-up comedy and digital jazz got together and made a noisy, chatty baby on stage. This year, I took on unresolved plotlines, half-told tales, and ruminations uncertainty and endings.

Listen:

Joe Belknap Wall at NEEMFest 2019 – “Unresolved Plotlines”
© 2019 Joe Belknap Wall

Thanks again to everyone at NEEMFest for making this happen!

In case you’re wondering about the instrument that I was describing, and which I’ve got strapped onto me in the photos above, it’s a Linnstrument 128 MPE controller from Roger Linn Design, which is a relatively new instrument that gives players the ability to control sound with velocity, pressure, movement on the X and Y axis, and release velocity, as well as controlling deep parameters in an instrument. It’s an entirely new approach to control for me, and while I joke about being mystified by it in the recording, it’s the good kind of befuddlement that proceeds rapport. It’s an amazing way to make music that’s finally able to control what synthesis can do with the right touch. It’s such a great instrument for bringing the old wandering storyteller into the 21st century with a jolt of electricity in lieu of a lute.

I used the Linnstrument to control a relatively simple analogue/FM software instrument running on a Nord Micro Modular, which I looped and processed with Electro Harmonix Superego+ and Electro Harmonix Stereo Memory Man effects processors.