For those of you who have been wondering why the hell I haven't had any time to devote to blogging in the past, oh, six months or so... this concert tomorrow night -- Thursday, February 24 -- at Merkin Hall is the reason.
This show has been a very long time in the making. It represents several important firsts for us, and you have my personal guarantee that this concert will be thoroughly awesome.
First the First: Since our formation in 2005, I have very selfishly monopolized Secret Society for my own nefarious purposes. (Hey, it's my band.) But for this special occasion, we have decided to put the ensemble at the disposal of three very fine composers, none of whom are known for their bigband writing, just to see what they would come up with. The results have been thrilling and we can't wait to share them with you.
Pianist Vijay Iyer, who is by popular consensus one of the most badass musicians alive, has written a rhythm-shifting tour-de-force called "Three Fragments." Montreal composer Nicole Lizée has crafted a vertiginous and darkly atmospheric work, "Lock the Door, Swallow the Key," inspired by Stanley Kubrick's The Shining -- here, I'll let Nicole tell you about it: "The Overlook Hotel, hedge maze, room 237, the Gold Room, the Red Room, the significance of the number 12, even the patterns on the carpets and wallpaper informed the musical and structural content of the piece." And drummer David T. Little has created "Conspiracy Theory," a hard-rocking anthem of decidedly paranoid tendencies.
First the Second: In the event that you are so difficult to please that three mind-blowing premieres are not incentive enough, I will also be unveiling some new music of my own: Part I of The Sleep Room, a song cycle I'm currently developing for Newspeak, a most estimable new music ensemble (which just happens to be directed by the aforementioned David T. Little). The Sleep Room is inspired by the incredible true story of the secret CIA-funded mind control experiments that took place at a Montreal psychiatric hospital in the late 1950's and early 1960's.
This song cycle is my first time composing for an established new music ensemble, and also my first time writing actual songs with, you know... words. (To be fair, I "borrowed" some of the text from the doctor who devised these "beneficial brainwashing" techniques, Dr. Ewen Cameron -- but I also contributed some original lyrics as well.) On Thursday, Newspeak will unveil the first handful of songs from The Sleep Room. They are doing an incredible job bringing this music to life and I can't wait for people to hear it.
The musicians of Secret Society and Newspeak have all been working extremely hard over the last several months to prepare all of this outstanding music, and we know you'd just be heartbroken if you missed it.
Irregular, sporadically-updated blogging will resume following the concert.
(Last but not least: how about one more big round of applause for the excellent individuals who helped make this concert possible?)