"Last time we played here, there were about seven people."
Friday the 13th brought some amazing New York-based musical acts to Littlefield. I'd first heard of Bing & Ruth from NPR's All Songs Considered, with the (more-or-less) eponymous track "TWTGA" from the album "Tomorrow Was The Golden Age". I was instantly hooked by the atmospheric and at times, haunting piano melodies that tied together each individual song, but also the album as a whole. I knew nothing about the opening acts, but was pleasantly surprised by their level of musical talent as well. Overall, it was a very fine showcase of musicianship.
Hubble is the stage name of Ben Greenberg of Brooklyn. His playing style was mainly finger-tapping on a very unique guitar. I believe the brand is EGC, and it had a lucite body outfitted with P90 pickups, and an aluminum neck. It allowed for very springy and crisp tones.
Hubble also had several songs featuring his vocals. It was the only singing of the night. Ben also told us that he had spent the entire week moving sinks, so his arms were sore, which made his lightning fast guitar playing even more impressive.
Next to take the stage was Christopher Tignor, also Brooklyn-based. It's hard to explain his style because it was so unique. He played violin, a kick drum, and two triangles, all connected to his laptop to process digital effects and overlays.
One of the very cool things that Tignor did was he played the violin using a tuning fork. He would hit a triangle, and then apply the tuning fork to the bridge of the violin. Not 100% sure how the logistics worked, but it seemed like the vibrations and harmonics were picked up by the mic, and fed into the computer, translating it into all sorts of ethereal sounds (which were apparently not pre-recorded samples!). Never seen anything like it before!
Of course, Tignor was also adept at playing the violin in a more traditional fashion. Even so, his ability to create a sonic landscape using just one instrument and a computer was awe-inspiring.
Here's another look at him applying a tuning fork to his violin. You can see some sort of pickup attached to the bridge.
After a late start, the lights went down and Bing and Ruth took the stage with a seven-piece orchestra. Here, we have clarinet players Patrick Breiner and Jeremy Viner in the foreground, and bass players Jeff Ratner and Greg Chudzik in the background.
Bing and Ruth's Greg Chudzik on upright bass and Leigh Stuart on cello. It was interesting to watch two bassists and two clarinetists sharing the stage.
Clarinet player Jeremy Viner with bassists Jeff Ratner and Greg Chudzik in the back. The two clarinet players definitely had their share of playing time, and went on some pretty long passages of uninterrupted playing. It helped bridged a lot of the different parts of each song. Along with piano player/composer David Moore, the dual clarinets were the main source of uneasy and sometimes dissonant chord progressions.
Greg Chudzik and Leigh Stuart again.
Composer and piano player David Moore ended the night be thanking us for coming out. He told us it was a much better turnout than the last time the band played Littlefield (hence the quote at the top of the page). The entire band was dressed in black, but Moore took it to another level with a skull cap and playing piano with his back to the crowd. It really allowed the music to speak for itself and fill the room.