Interview Day

Gino Robair stopped by the studio this afternoon to talk about I, Norton, his “opera in real time” that’s being performed fractionally at the SF Electronic Music Festival next week. Saturday the 19th, to be exact, as noted here.

(I’ll upload a picture when I get home retrieve my camera back the radio station. Unbelievable.)

I, Norton is built to be performed in pieces by varying configurations of musicians, singers, and an actor for the part of Emperor Norton. On the 19th, the audience will be treated to Tom Duff as Norton, accompanied by three electronics musicians doing live sound processing. Duff’s voice will be the only sound source they use.

The SFEMF is happening at Brava Theater (2781 24th St., SF) from Weds. Sept. 16 through Sat. Sept. 19.

The results should be really interesting. Robair described the stage setup as rather intimate, with the speakers surrounding Duff. So, rather than get sounds thrown at you from front-stage speakers, as is the norm, you get to hear the voices in Norton’s head, in a sense. Live video processing will be in the mix, too.

Robair also dropped off some recent recordings for the station’s library, including The White Album by The New Black, which is particularly exciting. Guess what color the cover is. More about this one later, when I post the playlist notes.

Later, The Bad Plus came by for an interview as well. Much different vibe; they’ve been doing this a lot, probably notching dozens of radio station stops over the years. After pausing for a coffee, they walked on in and didn’t need any directions before dutifully taking their seats at the interview table. The guys were certainly friendly, just very used to all this, and probably bracing for the same old questions.

We did go over their background: how they knew each other living in the Minneapolis area, how they decided the band would be a way for each member to play with his own voice. How Wendy Lewis does vocals on their latest album.

For a change of pace, I did ask the guys about Buffalo Collision, which led into a discussion of how Ethan Iverson (piano) and David King (drums) had grown up listening to the likes of Tim Berne and Hank Roberts, who were recording together quite often at the time.

Buffalo Collision plays Sept. 20 at the Monterey Jazz Festival, and a trio version, minus Iverson, will be at The Independent in SF on Monday the 21st.