Emily Hay: Video Clips

February 23, 2011 at 12:01 am 4 comments

Emily Hay and Motoko Honda appear Sunday, Feb. 27, at Musician’s Union Hall, 116 9th St. near Mission, San Francisco.

Southern California flutist/vocalist Emily Hay has a new quartet CD out (Polarity Taskmasters) and is coming up this way for a show. Random stuff I know about her:

I liked her self-titled trio album with Brad Dutz and Wayne Peet, on pfMentum.  Dutz, a percussionist, often improvises in a melodic and rhythmic mode, using tuned instruments such as xylophone or marimba. Peet, an organist, often works on building rhythm and groove as well. It’s a different type of improvisation, not quite groove music but less abstract than you often find as well. It’s a mix I enjoyed. You can hear some of the groove element about halfway through this video:

Hay’s improvising can be quite cutting and acidic, which complements Motoko Honda’s piano work quite well. Add in some reverb, and they make a formidable wall of sound, far from the welcoming grooves of the Dutz/Peet trio. Here’s one of their appearances at the Boise Improvised Music Festival.

What I hadn’t noticed in Hay’s bio before now was her turn in art rock, singing for Motor Totemist Guild and U Totem, circa 1990. Via YouTube, I’m getting my first taste of what that music was like, and I’m intrigued.

I guess my only point here is that I spent a lot of time on the Web last weekend. I realize some people would chalk up U Totem/Motor Totemist/5UUs as Art Bears/Henry Cow derivatives, but I’m still curious to hear more from them.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ben  |  February 26, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    The Motor Totemist Guild/5uu’s axis is pretty interesting. There’s a vague connection (via Bob Drake) with Thinking Plague, Venus Handcuffs and Hail, too.

    I never liked 5uu’s as much as MTG or U Totem, but Tel Aviv Construction Events, Hunger’s Teeth and Crisis in Clay all have some good moments (the opening track of Crisis in Clay is pretty intense). Unfortunately Dave Kerman can’t write lyrics for shit.

    The Motor Totemist Guild was a pretty multifarious band (sometimes consisting solely of Grigsby), but they did have an incarnation as a sort of mini-big band (including Vinny Golia and Rod Poole!) on the album _City of Mirrors_.

  • 2. Craig M.  |  February 27, 2011 at 12:10 am

    Thanks for the comment, Ben. I’ve seen mention of City of Mirrors out there — sounds intriguing. I’ll probably start with some of the U Totem stuff and work my way backwards (or forwards) from there.

  • 3. Emily Hay  |  April 14, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Hey! James Grigsby has been recording some new stuff with me, Motoko Honda, Richie West and Jerry Wheeler. We’ll be performing as Motor Totemist Guild at The Stone in NYC in Nov! Here’s a link to a rough mix!

    http://www.rotarytotem.com/home.html

    Also, lemme know if you want a copy of “Polarity Taskmasters” and I’ll send you one! Emily Hay (me)

  • 4. Craig M.  |  April 14, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Hi Emily — Hey, that’s awesome! Rough mix sounds good.

    Thanks for posting… I’d love a copy of “Polarity Taskmasters,” thanks. I’ll send you address details separately.

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