program notes (solo)
(from solo performance February 18th 2005 New Sounds Downtown)
The last few months have been an exciting time for me, as I have been focusing on the how and why of documenting my solo playing. Originally, solo playing was an experiment to extend my vocabulary and concepts of form and flow. Over time, my interests in gradations of fidelity, processing acoustic instruments, amplification and electronics broadened these explorations beyond my original goals, where room acoustics prove to be as an important impetus as what instrument I am playing. Which brings us to my current paradigm - integration, priorities and honesty. Early on, much of my solo music was based around sound mass, the transition from each sonic area (often by overlapping) and texture. This music can be heard on my first solo recording - Born On Tuesday. A closer inspection of myself, date of birth, meaning of name and a few obscure references.
Currently, I find myself more concerned with issues of line (melody) and its multiples (harmony). These interests often clash (or don't quite meet) with my interests in acoustics, the possibilities of multiple rooms/environments and the resonant properties of my source material. Or do they? Setting, timing, flow, shape, point, line, plane, color - an interaction of multiple bodies in orbit.
Often, when I find myself at a breaking point, where each step seems to be in the wrong direction, I go back to the masters. I imagine this to be true of any human being. Lately, I find myself listening to my earliest memories of these possibilities - Stomu Yamash'ta, Max Neuhaus, Paul Lytton. Perhaps percussion is too easy a starting point, I should not forget Cecil Taylor, John Cage, Harry Partch, Wadada Leo Smith. And more (ever reaching out) - Paul Klee, Scot Golia, Kandinsky, Jerry Davis, the Bauhaus School. An afternoon I spent with Maryanne Amacher is still burnt vividly into memory, an extension of everything possible.
But the thought of influences and masters says nothing of thought process, dreams, conversations - how each human being reacts/interacts with their environment / past / community. Acoustic instruments - what is a drum? a resonant body. What is a room? a resonant body. Amplification - a chance to look more closely at an issue. Processing - multiple views of a subject (thru different eyes we keep looking for what we lack). And so on………
So, recording. A sticky issue, when left alone. Is it possible / necessary / needed to divide the issues of live performance and lonesome recording? During the period of 2002-2003 I presented a series of concert called 12 Steps. Much of this work was the in the divide probing - What is a performance? Is an audience needed? What is a performance venue? What is the shortest/longest amount of time needed to complete a performance? How does environment affect this performance? Many of these questions become more troublesome when applied to recording. The larger (looming) questions begin to present themselves - Date / Time / History / Place. Etc.
These recent recordings (calling themself Blind Orchid) began as a dialog with and against these questions. My love of lists and need for complete immersion in my work gave the starting option - record everything yourself, from beginning to end. This, of course, seemed a bit boring, and the thought that different friends interests could help the outcome of different tracks by engineering proved frugal. Early thoughts of multiple buildings soon narrowed down to the challenge of using every possibility of one building, perhaps with the idea of broadening that small measurement by 100' or so (easy if you have a 100' microphone snake). Off to work, off to work. As time continues, I find myself focusing on single tracks - tracking, mixing, processing. If it doesn't work, on to something else. If it doesn't hold my interest how can I expect it to hold anyone else's? With Born On Tuesday, a consistent multi-miking setup was used for the tracks, giving several options per track as well as giving the recording a unified sound. More recently, each track offers its own unique miking option - close, room, contact. Resonant bodies - piano, bass drums, large pipes, cupboards, coffee cans, etc. Processors - pedals, kaoss pad, amplifiers, outboard, etc. Computer - limited only by our dreams. Maybe all at the same time in any order.
But this is the how, not the what. Drumkit - the multitude of options from a large collection. Percussion - found, created, modified. Sampler, gig tapes, records, radio. Voice - text, sound, either/or.
So to sleep…..layers, single lines, interruptions, things left unsaid. Memory is a funny thing, eh?
(from solo performed at the New West Electro-Acoustic Organization Festival - Portland Oregon/Friday October 1st 2004, San Diego/Friday October 8th 2004)

will history be written by the victors?





(from solo concert at the San Diego Museum of Art, Balboa Park - Thursday May 23rd 2002 - 12 steps #9 - thank you Colleen Phillips)

dealing with it : the solo music i am presenting is a summation of the research i've been doing for the last 12 years - sound. The jazz tradition, electronic music, indigenous music of japan, india, indonesia, africa, and the americas. My father tells me that my great-grandfather had his entire house wired so he could control every light from his bed. My great-grandmother was a painter, a cook and a musician. i first heard Max Roach when i was 12 years old. i first heard Paul Lytton when i was 22. i am working on a sense of timing similar to the wind, a sense of density and mass similar to my fathers earth moving equipment, a sense of color from my great-grandmothers paintings, a sense of phrasing from my poetry, and above all a sense of silence. i began collecting junk and building my own instruments in my early teens. i am a rock drummer who found Coltrane. i am a jazz drummer who studied contemporary classical music. i am a composer who plays the drums. My main solo focus has been free improvisation, with an electro-acoustic set-up of percussion and found/homemade instruments. My evolving sound language is the dialect i speak with. i am fourth generation Encinitas born. Wood, skin, metal. Phaser, delay, shifter. In july of 2001 i began a program called 12 steps. 12 solo concerts in 12 months, to allow growth based upon my music, without the confines of "business". Instant composition? Non-idiomatic improvisation? Re-composition? These are questions i cannot answer. 12 steps #9 -NMH

(from solo concert at SDSU Smith Recital Hall, Monday, April 2nd, 2001)

for once can we sit down, forget everything and start anew?
forget the rent and her and anything else
erasing the palette and the connotations and everything that everything implies
-to the depths
greg told me that there are no depths, that it continues forever
the infinite meeting the infinitesimal
i've never been interested in probing that far,
but i am interested in
sound, in art, in beauty, in ugly, in food, in survival, in people
is there anybody listening?
i've made so many promises in my life that i can't even remember the details
haphazard dreams strewn across the past decade
i am in love with this world, i have slept in its seas,
embraced its mountains, wept openly in its meadows,
losted and stumbled and stopped and pushed and tried
the last year has been the most incredible time in my life
the inflow of information, joy and patience is immeasurable
stumble stumble step stumble stumble step




(from solo performance at the 2nd Concert of Electroacoustic Music, SDSU Smith Recital Hall Saturday October 28th 2000)

Solo Improvisation (Nathan Hubbard)

With my title choice, I have already set into motion several preconceptions which I am hoping to destroy. The music tonight is a continuation of the sound language I have been developing for several years. This development combines the influence of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Morton Feldman, Iannis Xenakis and many others on my music and continues that influence through Gerry Hemingway, Fritz Hauser, Paul Lytton and many others. The use of the term "improvisation" does not negate the use of the words "composition", "form" or others. On the contrary, this situation demands greater attention to these concepts as all these problems/advantages fall on a single performer. I feel that by dealing with all of this in a real-time situation, music can occur that is true to the heart and soul of the improviser as well as being true to the times in which we live. Out of the many concepts I use, tonight's performance will concentrate on the integration of acoustic and electronic instruments, extended techniques as a way of exploring new timbres and the use of these timbres to create new formal structures. I would like to thank Dr. Ward-Steinman for the invitation to play on this concert and Greg Buhlert for his continued interest and excitement over my work. -NMH October 2000

(from solo recital at SDSU, Smith Recital Hall Wednesday October 4th 1999. This was the debut of the frame and the composition Structure I)
Structure I (1999) (for amplified percussion) (Nathan Hubbard)

…is my second graphic notation piece. It was written as an attempt to expand my horizons as both a composer and as an improviser. The piece combines the musical influence of Anthony Braxton and Tony Oxley with my continuing interest in the avant-garde and my fascination with sound. The amplified percussion that the piece will be performed on is a strange conglomeration of my love of found percussion and homemade instruments and Harry Partch and Luigi Russollo's music and instruments. The instrument is directly influenced by the pioneering work of Tony Oxley and Paul Lytton, and i would like to thank them both for their music and their influence on me. At present the instrument is a metal frame containing - four kitchen knives (of various sizes), five springs (of various lengths and sizes), eleven metal rods (of graduated lengths), one egg slicer, one tomato slicer, a small (120V) motor, and various other junk. This is amplified by a contact microphone and run thru flanger, digital delay, wah-wah, volume pedal and any other effects i can get my hands on. -NMH