Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tour tales no. 2: "The Bee Dance"



Okay. Here's another one of my slipshod, shamefully self-promotional IJG movie productions, utilizing audio and video from our recent Pacific Northwest Tour. The audio was entirely recorded in Yakima, which, partly because it was outdoors, was the most highly-mic'd of all of our shows this go-round. So you can actually almost hear the mouthpiece buzzing part at the end of the song.

This tune has more or less been kicking my ass for over a year now. I think that maybe -- just maybe -- I finally got it right this time (this is the third version). One thing I can say for sure: it's amazing the difference a key can make. Anyway, please excuse the typical problems of live sound and etc.

So what's with the title? That's right, this is another in our song cycle of tunes dealing with the subject of animals -- an aesthetic obsession described in more detail here. If you want to know more about waggle dance (the technical term), here's a neat article. Apparently,

[t]he direction and duration of waggle runs are closely correlated with the direction and distance of the patch of flowers being advertised by the dancing bee. Flowers located directly in line with the sun are represented by waggle runs in an upward direction on the vertical combs, and any angle to the right or left of the sun is coded by a corresponding angle to the right or left of the upward direction. The distance between hive and recruitment target is encoded in the duration of the waggle runs. The farther the target, the longer the waggle phase, with a rate of increase of about 75 milliseconds per 100 meters.


And here's some truly rad footage of real bees getting down with their bad selves.

Anyway, this incarnation of the tune features: Dan Rosenboom (trumpet / piccolo trumpet), Steph Richards (trumpet), Ian Carroll (bone), Nelson Bell (bone), Cory Wright (soprano sax), Lee Elderton (soprano sax), Evan Francis (alto sax), Ward Baxter (tenor sax), Mary-Sue Tobin (tenor sax), Mieke Bruggeman (bari sax), Jill Knapp (vox), Tany Ling (vox), Dan Schnelle (drums), Oliver Newell (bass), and yours truly (conducting, composition).

Opening clip of a bee c/o Ivan Bridgewater and the Internet Archive. Other footage c/o Tany Ling, Jill Knapp, Matt Lichtenwalner, and Andrew Durkin.

More to come...

4 comments:

Jeff said...

I do enjoy your forays into aping the Stax-Volt / Savoy Truffle dense horn arrangements... I think it's the heavy bari sax in this mix... but I'm probably biased towards that instrument...

... pretty awesome groove at the top.

So when's the experimental Industrial Dance Group: "We Are Dance!" coming?

Andrew Durkin... said...

Thanks, man.

Did you notice a "Walk This Way"-ish quality to the opening groove? (I'm speaking of the version with Run DMC, of course.) Sometimes I wonder if I am ever going to escape my high school influences...

The Dissonance said...

Couldn't talk to the arranging that probably went into that song, but luv'd it all the same. Nice videographer effects too.

Say hey to Ward, the next time you see him. :o)

Andrew Durkin... said...

Hey, thanks much! Will pass your greeting along to Ward...