Racer Sessions

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

Ray Larsen - September 11th, 2011


I awoke some 6 or so months ago very early in the morning in the house where I spent the first 18 years of my life. As if acting out some surreal pre-destiny, I found myself drawn in the direction of my bathroom from which a faint and unfamiliar sound was drifting. I found it emanating from the duct in the ceiling. The sound was delicate, airy, and rich with harmonics. I was captivated for some time as I heard different portions of the spectrum morphing almost imperceptibly: throbbing, swelling and breathing.  Eventually I remembered my handheld recorder and captured the audio posted below. I’m not trying to suggest any supernatural or spiritual activity. Still, the occurrence was odd and beautiful, and I’ve never witnessed it before or since.


I will be presenting a piece of music that will attempt to impersonate this sound, recreate the hypnotic experience I found while listening to it, and allow the sound to transform further in ways it could not when it was embodied in mysterious air duct machinery. Joining me will be:

Natalie Hall, cello

Jon Hansen, tuba

Vincent LaBelle, trombone

Cameron Sharif, electric fans

Neil Welch, tenor saxophone

The remainder of the session will be unguided. I’d like to encourage more pre-improv conversation though, particularly between players who don’t know each other and in choosing directions for the improvisations (at the group’s discretion). That goes also for post-improv conversation, which I think is almost always beneficial.

Finally, it has probably escaped no one that this Sunday is the 10th anniversary of the tragedy of September 11, 2001. I think it is important for such things to be remembered and honored in the company of other people, whether anything is said or not. I will not be leading any tribute or moment of contemplation because, after much consideration, I don’t feel it is my place. Instead, we will focus this session on interpersonal connection by the intention of our music and our interactions. If anyone feels lead to dedicate an improvisation publicly or privately, feel free. Above all, please reach out to people and use this session to strengthen our community and develop our humanity—a theme as ambiguous and challenging as it is important.