My little toy piano robot survived about 20 straight hours of playing “Vexations” (see previous coverage). Though I did find a few retaining nuts in the bottom of the case that had been shaken loose by all the vexing. You can see & hear an excerpt from the performance on ustream.
I spent a few hours listening to the audio streams from both the robot performance and the human Vexations marathon in Seattle. It was kind of eerie and kind of comforting. What was it like? Like this: [19 minute mp3]
The human and robot performances were mentioned in Seattle’s weekly, The Stranger, here and here.
“In order to play the theme 840 times in succession, it would be advisable to prepare oneself beforehand, and in the deepest silence, by serious immobilities.”
In the 1890s, Erik Satie wrote a very short piece called Vexations, with a note suggesting that it should be played 840 times in a row. That’s a challenge, right? Jack Straw Productions in Seattle is putting on a Vexations marathon this weekend, starting Saturday at 4pm Pacific time, with more than 30 pianists playing non-stop through the night until they reach #840, and you can listen in on Hollow Earth Radio. It’s a great idea, but we have machines to do our dirty work for us, so the robot toy piano is going to play Vexations at NYC Resistor 840 times, or until it falls apart. It’ll start at 7PM (Eastern time) this Saturday, and you can watch and listen online, or in person on Saturday at the Halfway-to-Halloween Party, or on Sunday at the Vexations Meetup & Jam Session.
Yes, on Sunday (May 16) from 3-6PM, join other music nerds to jam along to Vexations until your head explodes, or we reach #840, whichever comes first. Bring instruments if you want. (Bring your own 1/4″ cables, if your instrument is electronic. Inputs are limited so if you can bring a small mixer to share, that would help!) Feel free to bring vexing drinks or snacks to share. NYC Resistor is at 87 3rd Avenue, 4th Floor, in Brooklyn.
As long as you’re in the neighborhood on Sunday, consider going to Share at ISSUE Project Room (3rd Av & 3rd St), a weekly open jam session for experimental music! When we get sick of Vexations, we’ll take a dinner break and head over there.
Here’s an excerpt from last night’s performance of Zachary James Watkins’ composition “Moveable” for augmented piano. (I built the piano-tickling monster for this performance.) This is just a low quality recording – a much better one will be available later. The full piece is about 75 minutes long; the excerpt is 8 minutes.