Racer Sessions

Sundays, 8-10pm at Cafe Racer in Seattle, WA

Brennan Carter - April 6, 2014


When I set out to compose the music for this session, I didn’t have any particular concept in mind other than I wanted to view my session as an opportunity to explore the group and sound Jarred Katz created in his last Racer Session this past January.  The group is the same and features Levi Gillis, Mark Hunter, Jarred Katz and myself.   One of the pieces I consider a loose continuation of his piece. 

As I was composing, my focus steered toward writing a lot of melodic fragments and variations on those melodies.  I wanted to write a ton of stuff and not spend that much time dwelling on each thing.  The goal is a sound and style that is natural, free/open, and not “over-rehearsed.”  Hopefully the melodic content will serve as a vehicle for the musicians to explore form and timbre, and provide opportunity for their individual styles to shine. 

In addition, we will also be playing “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground,” by Blind Willie Johnson.  This piece ties into the concept of strong melody, and the use of variation.  There are also slightly amorphous improvised sections in between reprises of the main melody.  I these sections would be fun to explore, and could allow the group to create a natural and open form.

Some ideas for the session:

1) Thing and variations

Start with a “thing,” and see what ways to can tweak or alter it throughout the course of the piece.  “Things” could be a melody, sound/texture, pitch, rhythm, pitch set…

2) Thing as a reprise

Again, come up with a melody, rhythm, pitch set, etc. and use that as a reprise.  State it, explore other things, come back to it, explore again…for as long as you like.

3)Telephone game

You probably all played this game as a kid.  One person whispers a sentence or two in the ear of another, and that person whispers it into someone else’s.  This process continues until it comes full circle and the message usually has changed a lot by the end.  So how this would work for the session:  player 1 plays for a minute or two while the player 2 listens.  Player 3 waits at the bar or outside where they can’t hear player 1 and steps in when player 2 starts playing.  Maybe all in all, we could have 5 players or so.   In general, the players will try to latch onto certain aspects of the previous player’s piece and natural variation will be inevitable.