Racer Sessions

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

MetriLodic - March 17, 2013


MetriLodic’s sound came to me in my dreams.  I heard this very specific kind of music in my dreams, like nothing I had ever heard before.  It seemed very complete, with the right balance of cerebral ideas and ecstatic energy.  It was also highly rhythmic, using pulse, rhythm, and meter in unusual ways.  Lastly, it was always freely improvised, but with a lot of complex structures.  It became clear to me I needed to pursue what I heard and see if if it could really happen.

I enlisted two fantastic musicians who I trust very much; PK on electric bass and Byron Vannoy on drums.  I also expanded my instrument from saxophone only to include loops, pocket synth, and iPad.  No matter how great a musician is, nothing great happens without time, trust, and openness.  These guys were willing to indulge and entertain my ideas, step outside their comfort zones, and contribute their huge musical personalities and vocabularies.  

We started rehearsing regularly with a few goals: 1) Role independence: could we “deprogram”, turn on and off the traditional roles of our instruments served based on what we really heard?  2) Rhythmic independence: could we play one piece that had multiple levels of cycle, meter, rhythm, or tempo?  We did a lot of forced crossrhythm exercises (3/8 over 5/8 over 7/8 for example; then each of us changed parts).  3) Backdrops: working with larger textural backdrops (electronics) that have a sonic but not necessarily rhythmic relation to what the core group is doing, and be able to leverage the backdrop as a musical tool of tension, release, and form. 

My favorite musics on the planet fall into basic two categories: music that is very intellectual and complex; and music that is ecstatic and trancelike.  Most of the time you only get one or the other; exceptions include Coltrane, Hendrix, Beefheart, Indian Carnatic music, etc.  MetriLodic seeks to make music that unites these two domains but in a free improvisation setting, which require a high level of risk and failure tolerance.  Often it feels like a highwire act. We do the best we can in each set to create something we’ve never created before, and to play well together in an original way.  We progress by being more risky with the kinds of ideas we put into the mix, which challenges the trust proposition.  Success is when we feel what happened musically radically outsized our individual skillsets.  We’re excited to share our music with the Racer community and collaborate with many talented artists in the second set.

Tracks from our last set can be found here.

–Eric Barber