They’d invited some friends down to New, Improved Recording in Oakland for the session last weekend. Being an improvising duo, they’d decided the music would benefit from being played in front of an audience. So a handful of us got treated to pizza and got to hang out in the cozy environs of N,IR, as they call the place.
I missed the first set, but Michael Zelner and Suki O’Kane were saying it had an “autumnal” quality. That seemed fitting during the second set. Whenever Phillips got into a lyrical, chords-heavy place, it did have an autumnal feel — pretty sounds played at a lush place. About half the time, though, he and Mezzacappa were in a noisier mode, with the e-bow or eggbeater coming down on the guitar strings. There was a bit of electronics, too, with Phillips playing back some guitar sequences (sometimes backwards, it sounded like).
You’ll see what I mean when the recording comes out. It should be good.
N,IR itself was a treat, too. It was fun to just hang out after the session, gawking at the equipment and exploring the place. N,IR isn’t big but it’s got a lot of artifacts (some of it might good-naturedly be referred to as “junk”) lying around. So, thanks to Lisa and Noah for their hospitality, and to John Finkbeiner for being the physical-space host. (He never told us not to touch anything, but… I was afraid to touch anything.)