My buddy and hyper-talented musician ztutz (aka David Stutz) has joined the current millennium and started blogging. David was (is?) with the Seattle Opera but you’ve heard his voice on everything from the “Titanic” soundtrack to the game “Myst” to open music remixes everywhere. His current bent is toward music based on mathematics and while in most hands that would be a frighteningly stale proposal I’ve heard a preview of his upcoming album and it’s one of the most soulful, original expressions I’ve heard in a long time. In fact, while in Seattle last week I got to sit in on a mastering session for one of the tracks and it was nothing short of mesmerizing; challenging both heart and mind at once. The music for this upcoming album was done for the audio book of Neil Stephenson‘s latest book — yes the “Cryptonomicon” guy who is known for merging writing with (surprise!) higher math.
While I was in Seattle, David also happened to be participating as principle vocalist along with “water percussionist” James Whetzel in a project called “Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas” which is a cycle of 64 (!) pieces of music by Byron Au Yong. The day I tagged along David, James, Byron and crew were racing around the larger Seattle area to 8 different locations to have David and James stand in various bodies of water, including Puget Sound, performing some of the pieces while video rolled. The results will be part of an installation at Jack Straw at UW. (Of all the projects I’ve known David to have participated in, including mammoth puppet opera, I have to say this standing in the water thing was one of the more bat-shit crazier things he’s done.)
As if being a monster of an opera singer, cutting edge avant garde performer and composer of breathtaking music isn’t enough, David partners with artist Perri Lynch to perform as a laptop duo RADIUS (guess which one named the band). Their rig is really fun with Perri mounting gobs of iPods filled with ambient field recordings and selecting snippets to throw out into the ether via her laptop. David then “captures” the samples in real time in Ableton, loops them, mangles them and together they make beautiful (really beautiful) 40-60 minutes sets of cool, evocative head space. Look for them at a gallery opening or ancient church near you.
I was really psyched when David fell for my passive aggressive attempts to needle my way into their world and let me jam with them for an afternoon. We did 2 sets. One worked (!). The other didn’t.