Tag Archives: ambient music

‘Convocation’ Philadelphia Promo Tour & The Gathering 100

This weekend I’ll be in the Philadelphia area for a promotional tour supporting Convocation, my album with my good friend and collaborator guitarist Matt Borghi. It’s not as much of a “performance” tour as there’s only one “public” show in Philadelphia, but we’ll be hitting up the holy trinity of ambient music outlets: The Gatherings Concert Series, a live set on ambient mainstay Star’s End on Philadelphia’s WXPN, and an Echoes Living Room Concert. If you happen to be in the greater Philadelphia area or that region of the east coast, do check out The Gathering if you’re so inclined. We’re performing an opening set for Vic Hennegan and Dave Luxton, who’ll each be performing solo sets.


We open the show at 8:00 PM on Saturday 10.19.13 at St. Mary’s Hamilton Village, 3916 Locust Walk on University of Pennsylvania’s campus. The show promises to offer much variety, as we’re all at different points in the “ambient” spectrum and all representing different parts of the country.

Official page with artist information here.

Advance tickets are available at a discount through http://www.ticketweb.com. Proceeds benefit CIMA of PA. For complete details please visit http://www.thegatherings.org.

Following that evening’s performance, all three acts will also perform live on the overnight broadcast of the long-running Star’s End radio show on WXPN. For complete details visit http://www.starsend.org. You can read a nice review of Convocation by Chuck van Zyl of Star’s End here.

Monday morning, before our return trip to the midwest, we’ll have the honor of doing a Living Room Concert at the Echoes studios. We’re humbled and excited to be performing for the two titans of ambient radio.

[Previous entry on Convocation here.]

Earnestness or Excuses?

Lately I’ve been thinking quite a bit about artistic intention and reception. It’s been difficult to get all of my duck-like ideas in a row, and I’ll in no way fully address the issue with one post, but it’s worth planting the seed.

I’ve quietly been focused on this the last couple months, but it really came to the fore when Matt Borghi and I touched on it in conversation during one of our recent lunches (where we wax philosophically about music, comedy, politics, the internet, our neighborhoods, and all things in between). Improvisation is perhaps the cornerstone of our musical relationship, and on this particular day we got to talking about improvisation itself. He mentioned an interesting dialogue he’d recently had with another musician, and – I’m paraphrasing so I could be a little off – that, generally, music that is largely improvised suggests at least a small degree of laziness on the part of the performer(s). In some cases this is true. However, to use that as an overall guiding principle shocked me. Especially since it came from another musician in a somewhat related realm.

As one example, my ambient-based work with Matt, we improvise not out of lack of forethought but because we’re feeding off of one another in the moment. What we each bring to the table continually changes. Yes, we have “rehearsed” many times, but we’re not rehearsing content. Instead we’re rehearsing our engaging one another musically. We’re continually learning and refining how we listen and respond to one another. Conversely, while there’s much room for improvising in our Teag & PK catalogue, we rehearse and adhere to our musical forms and roadmaps, as those songs are based on set content.

[Shameless plug: please check out Convocation if you haven’t yet. We’re quite proud of it. 🙂 ]

In both aforementioned settings – ambient and folkish – the performer’s respect for the content (and how that content is created) is a key factor. Another important element is a respect for the craft of being able to make the music. This could the technical facility/mastery of an instrument and/or the craft of songwriting or improvising. So not only am I concerned with the style of music I’m performing, but how well I may execute it on a given instrument. How can I properly express myself through an instrument I can’t play? Furthermore, how can I express myself on an instrument I can play but through a style I cannot?

Much more to come on this as I start to flesh out some related thoughts…