04/24/12 CSUSB "Music Tuesdays" - San Bernardino, CA
04/25/12 Music at Noon Concert Series - Santa Clara, CA
04/25/12 Saratoga Retirement Community - Saratoga, CA
04/26/12 Saratoga Library - Saratoga, CA 95070
04/26/12 CNMAT - Berkeley, CA
These have been my thoughts reflecting on Zodiac Dust, an album by Loop 2.4.3, set to be released June 16th on the Music Starts From Silence label. I would be content to simply write, "I cannot say much more; hear for yourself;"
I will repeat what I said when I reviewed Loop 2.4.3’s last album, Zodiac Dust, three years ago:
There is artistic work that is not so much simply seen, heard, felt, smelled, or tasted, as much as experienced. Hence it is something you must take in for yourself, and a critical review simply falls short.
Their newest album, American Dreamland, was released today, and with that album, that sentiment I had is even truer than ever. I would say more so, actually, because I met Thomas Kozumplik and Lorne Watson, who comprise Loop 2.4.3, in person this time. I went to a percussion clinic and recital they held last Friday (April 20) at my old university, Central Washington University, in Ellensburg, WA. I got to know them a little bit. I saw the instruments up close and personal, like the eLog and the Rose Echo. I heard them perform music from Zodiac Dust and American Dreamland. Along with the percussion students from the university, I got better explanations of the instruments, the music, and the musicians.
Listening to a studio-produced album is one thing. Experiencing a live performance and getting to know the musicians and their music is quite another.
I mentioned in the Zodiac Dust review that Music Starts From Silence (their publisher) had started offering written manuscripts of music by Loop 2.4.3. What I failed to mention is something I had learned from signing up for the group’s newsletter, and that this was part of education outreach to the schools. Being a classically schooled musician myself, I got very excited. This does not happen very often, that recording and touring musicians come back to the schools, teach about what they do, and offer their music for students to perform themselves. I suppose this is not so unusual back East, but for those of us out West, it’s huge. After the clinic, I remember Thomas talking about their appearance the day before in La Grande, Oregon. He remembered that the students there were very receptive and appreciative, and I said that was true of many of us who were much more isolated and not surrounded by metropolitan cities.
I could write and expound more on the press releases I received to describe their music, especially that of American Dreamland, but it’s much easier for me to say that Thomas and Lorne are just hard working musicians that will take any idea they can to cultivate creative work. Lorne was quite articulate on this point, explaining to the students and I that they worked with a beat/slam poet, and classical dancers, and adjusted their performances accordingly. The diversity of instruments you play is helpful, he said, especially for freelance gigs. That made sense when Thomas said he’d used the steel drum to play with chamber music ensembles (viola, bassoon, etc.). It fit somehow, he said, by using a lighter touch when playing.
I should point out that Loop 2.4.3 is not only working with university students, but with grade school students as well. I asked Lorne about the Native American flute he was playing (which is featured in American Dreamland), especially as he said earlier that he considered them easier to play than the recorders that are featured quite extensively in many elementary schools. He recommended Stellar Flutes, and in particular their flute kits, which can be carved by students to their liking. (I found the link when I got home and showed it to my 9-year old daughter, who was quite enthusiastic.)
Perhaps a video would be more illustrative of what this clinic and recital was like:
It really was something truly special. Hanging out, talking shop, and generally schmoozing afterwards at a hot wings restaurant was a nice way to end the day.
Thomas Kozumplik and Lorne Watson, dba Music Starts From Silence, are sponsored artists by NYC’s Tax Exempt Foundation, THE FIELD. All donations are tax-deductible and help to support Loop 2.4.3’s touring and outreach activities. See loop243.com/get-involved for details.