Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hi Red Center, Assemble, Joyful Noise, 2009

Following Architectural Failures (2003), their first effort, Hi Red Center has lead us to the other side of the mirror. With Assemble, recently released on Joyful Noise, these four New York stooges propel the listener into a sumptuous and colorful wonderland where everything is falsely welcoming. Taking cues, perhaps, from the likes of Lewis Caroll and his foul-mouthed flowers, Hi Red Center conjures scenes of toothless imps and giants that aren't so giant at all. A play with off-kilter syncopation on the opening track sets the tone for what is to come: everything here may topple without warning. From song to song, logic is joyfully pushed and pulled, and common sense turned on its head; these boys cannot introduce a riff or catchy backbeat without exploding them like fireworks just a few seconds later.

Hi Red Center could not have found a better label in Joyful Noise. The group maintains a tricky equilibrium between bubblegum pop and experimental noise; they make music “for folks who like to sing, for people who like to dance," but, above all, “for everyone who likes their songs thoroughly mixed and mashed.” The sound that results is almost as puzzling and ironic as the Cheshire Cat himself. On keyboard, Russell Greenberg straddles hulking synth lines and light-footed vibraphone motifs. On guitar, Thomas Yee, a master of heavy distortion, alternates between primitive riffs and extended prog solos (“Trees in a Row,” “Los Olvidados”). On bass, Lawrence Mesich “unites the frenzy of post-punk with the dexterity of krautrock.” Finally, on drums, Mike McCurdy effortlessly navigates between Battles-style metronomic beats (“Littlest Giant”) and uncomfortable, floating rhythms (“Toothless Beau”).

The result? Songs that are fractured and unpredictable, guided by a fugue aesthetic that would please any pop baroque enthusiast: melody lines crisscross without much concern for harmonic coherence. Hi Red Center’s spastic spice comes from a commitment to musical contrariety, a pleasing do-si-do of technical opposites: fast and slow, high and low, tormented and carefully measured. The ethereal choruses that lacked accuracy and definition in Architectural Failures 
resurface as the album's most original and compelling features, providing what might be the group's new signature seal. The  between “rhythm section” (the deep synths, the furious percussion) and “harmonic section” (the aerial vocals and vibraphone) make for some of the most shocking – and, to my taste, most successful – songs of the album (“Symmetry Chameleon,” “Chicken Gorlet”).

Words: Sophie Pécaud

Translation: Khira Jordan

Originally published in French on Chronicart, Spring 2009

Continuing Education:

Hi Red Center website
Hi Red Center MySpace

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hi Red Center, Assemble, Joyful Noise, 2009

Depuis 2003 et Architectural Failures (2003), leur premier opus, Hi Red Center nous emmène de l'autre côté du miroir. Avec Assemble, tout juste sorti chez Joyful Noise, les quatre compères new-yorkais nous propulsent dans un monde brillant et coloré où tout n'est que faussement accueillant ; si chez Lewis Carroll les fleurs s'invectivent, chez Hi Red Center, les beaux gosses sont édentés (“Toothless Beau”), et les géants pas si grands que cela (“Littlest Giant”). Dès l'ouverture de l'album - un jeu de déphasage brinquebalant -, le ton est donné : tout peut basculer à tout instant. De chanson en chanson, la logique est joyeusement bousculée, le sens commun mis sens dessus dessous ; à peine un riff est-il esquissé, à peine un backbeat est-il installé, que les quatre garçons font tout exploser dans un joyeux feu d'artifice.

Lisez la suite dans Chronic'art.

Pour plus d'informations, voir :
- le site officiel de Hi Red Center
- la page Myspace du groupe

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

News : Soutenez le Farniente Festival

Fin septembre 2008, l’équipe de l’association le Sens du Poil annonçait que l’organisation de la troisième édition du Farniente Festival était mise à mal par la nouvelle municipalité de Pornichet, qui coupait brutalement toute subvention et toute aide logistique (retour sur l’affaire ici). Aujourd’hui, les acteurs de la politique culturelle de la Ville obligent l’équipe du festival à quitter le territoire communal.

L’équipe du VIP, scène de musiques actuelles à Saint Nazaire, commune voisine, a décidé de prêter main forte aux bénévoles du Sens du Poil, et d’accueillir, le 13 juin prochain, une journée du Farniente Festival en exil.

Les bénévoles de Sens du poil comptent vivement sur votre soutien. Vous pouvez assurer la continuité du Farniente Festival en assistant, nombreux, à cette soirée musicale au VIP, mais aussi en adhérant à l’association (bulletin téléchargeable ici). Pour que toutes les musiques puissent continuer à s’exprimer dans notre région, le Sens du Poil a plus que jamais besoin de vous !

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News : Capillary Action en tournée

“La prochaine étape, ce sera un ensemble entièrement acoustique – guitare classique, contrebasse, trompette, percussions, accordéon et voix –, qui mettra en avant le côté plus mélodique de Capillary Action”, nous expliquait Jonathan Pfeffer en octobre dernier, alors que nous l’interrogions à propos de ses projets. Cette nouvelle formation de Capillary Action a débuté en février dernier une gigantesque tournée mondiale (19 dates américaines, 15 au Royaume-Uni, 48 en Europe continentale), qui passera dans le coin fin avril et début mai. Un rendez-vous à ne pas manquer !

- 22 avril 2009 - Genève, CH @ Cave 12
- 23 avril 2009 - Montpellier, FR @ Le Mojomatic
- 24 avril 2009 - Bordeaux, FR @ Le Politique
- 25 avril 2009 - Nantes, FR @ Chez Fichtre
- 27 avril 2009 - Paris, FR @ Mains d’Œuvres (avec Rhys Chatham)
- 28 avril 2009 - Rouen, FR @ Cap’taine Taverne
- 29 avril 2009 - Amiens, FR @ Grand Wazoo
- 30 avril 2009 - Lille, FR @ L’Aéronef
- 1er mai 2009 - Bruxelles, BE @ La Filature
- 2 mai 2009 - Maldegem, BE @ VOX
- 3 mai 2009 - Gand, BE @ Café Video

Pour plus d’informations, voir :
- la page Myspace de Capillary Action
- notre interview d’octobre 2008

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Spirogyra, Bells, Boots and Shambles, 1973

Easily confused with the American smooth jazz nightmare by the same name (or almost: Spyro Gyra), Spirogyra were everything that their popular 1970’s alter egos were not: long-haired, musically conscientious, fiercely independent, and politically engaged. Perhaps musical celebrity is more than just a competition between analogous Google search terms, but information about the Canterbury acid folk outfit — like physical copies of their records, reissued or otherwise — is notoriously hard to track down. What we do know about the group is limited to a few vital stats: founded by singer and guitarist Martin Cockerham at the University of Kent in Southeast England and featuring a revolving cast of like-minded earthmuffins (vocalist Barbara Gaskin, bassist Steve Borrill, violinist Julian Cusack, and future Fairport Convention drummer Dave Mattacks), Spirogyra produced three stunning records between 1971 and 1973, then vanished off the face of this space-time continuum.

Read the rest on Tiny Mix Tapes

Words: Emilie Friedlander, Spring 2009

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Andrew Paine, Five Perspectives (On The Same Event), Apollolaan Recordings, 2008

"If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all." While it would be naïve to peg Glasgow’s Andrew Paine as a direct descendant of the father of experimental minimalism—ignoring everything that has happened in music in between-- John Cage’s maxim on repetition goes a long way in capturing our experience of Five Perspectives (On The Same Event), released on Apollolaan Recordings last year.

Riding on a single, twenty-eight-minute track, Paine departs from a simple leitmotif, repeats it ad finitum, and sends it flying everywhere, nowhere, and straight into the pleasure centers in your brain. His half-sung, half-spoken incarnation of the phrase “I was born in silence” may seem a bit grating at first, but it begins to grow on you after the first ten or twelve replays; once it really becomes ingrained, it is likely to summon flashes of everything from black spiritual song to Gregorian chant and Buddhist prayer. Harmonica, guitar and miscellaneous effects snake in and out of the mix, occasionally becoming animals in their own right and ousting the vocals with ominous gray cumuli of drone.

When Paine’s incantation returns further on in journey with a couple of new words added into the equation, we feel light-years away from where we started, and shocked by the amount of psychological ground we have covered with so little material to ride on. Five Perspectives (On The Same Event) is one beautiful anomaly of an album, mostly because it doesn’t actually develop. It develops inside of your head, and that is no small accomplishment.

Limited Edition of 50 (sold out!), with hand-painted cover art.

Words: Emilie Friedlander

Originally published on Foxy Digitalis, Spring 2009

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Monday, April 13, 2009

La Otracina, Woven Wanderers, Colour Sounds, 2009

La Otracina is drug music—more specifically, marijuana music. Not surprisingly, their MySpace page declares that their sound is of "cocaine riffs, mushroom freakouts, hashish metal, and fuzz-drunk jazz-rock." Personally, only a couple of those drugs come to my mind while listening to their CD, Woven Wanderers, released on drummer and vocalist Adam Kriney’s Colour Sounds imprint. And I really think that listening to this CD is best complemented by smoking a good amount of Mary Jane.

Much of Woven Wanderers consists of guitars drenched in reverb, far off choir sounds, and meandering synthesizers. These washy, outer space sound-scapes effectively summon up the feeling you get after taking far too many hits off the bong, your consciousness floating away to that world where objects are bereft of meaning. As most people—I'm sure—like to mix their musical experiences with an intoxicant of choice, this is not a bad thing at all. Occasionally La Otracina pick up the pace and do fuzzy rock jams that sounds like a jazzier, less heavy Acid Mothers Temple. Even at these moments, where the music has a harder edge, the ghost of weed-induced lethargy still hangs thickly.

It also strikes me that the type of ‘60s/’70s progressive/psychedelic/space rock music that this stuff harkens back to, particularly Hawkwind, is also couched in an anti-capitalist, stoner mentality, given form with music. One could also say that the lack of direction and deformation of structure in such songs reflect a drugged apathy of defiance. Woven Wanderers definitely wanders in this way, with little concern for its destination.

It should also be noted that I did not actually listen to this album, or write this review for that matter, while stoned.

Words: Alessandro Keegan
Photo: La Otracina

La Otracina "Woven Wanderers" Tour Dates:

Mon, 4/13, The Kickstand, Gainesville, FL w/ NOMENCLATURE, THE FUTURE NOW, TANKS IN SERIES

Tues, 4/14, X-Records, Greenville, SC w/ ORCHARD

Wed, 4/15, Dude Manch (house show, 618 E. Franklin), Richmond, VA w/ YARDWORK, CAVES/CAVERNS

Sat, 4/18, LA OTRACINA with X-RAY EYE-BALLS, PSYCHO THRILLER, and 1 more TBA, at Alphabeta, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY.

Fri, 4/24, LA OTRACINA plays the NAAM Record Release Show! Come celebrate with us and our brothers as they release their first album, location/venue still pending.

Wed, 4/ 20, LA OTRACINA at The Stone (you know, John Zorn's avant garde club?), East Village, NYC, NY. We play at 8pm sharp, it's just us playing, 1 set, $5!

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Mostly Other People Do The Killing, This Is Our Moosic, Hot Cup, 2008

“Standing on the shoulders of giants makes it easier to kick them in the teeth.” This expression, worthy of Monty Python, neatly sums up the code of Mostly Other People Do The Killing, a New York combo led by contrabassist Moppa Elliott. Indeed, Mostly Other People Do The Killing show that they have grasped (and so, can gut) jazz history to the bone: while they reveal a sturdy formal reverence with every studied lick, MOPDTK never demonstrate their knowledge better than when they mock it. And This Is Our Moosic, their third studio album, does just that.

Wearied by the platitudes of contemporary mainstream jazz—a literally evolved but artistically failed genre (see: the “neo-bop” of Wynton Marsalis and its deaf reverence to forties be-bop)—Moppa Elliott decided to take a gamble. His mission: to seriously engage the musical heritage of jazz without compromising himself. “Rather than just make music that fits within some artificial “tradition” or music that rejects jazz completely, I would rather make music that uses jazz' identity crisis against it, piling as many nonsensical musical associations together as possible to create music that is aware of its own inconsistencies, ironies, and contradictions, and likes it that way.”

To this end, the contrabassist surrounded himself with like-minded chameleons, each as knowledgeable and bold as Elliott himself: on brass, the lively duo of Peter Evans (trumpet) and Jon Irabagon (saxophone), their phrasing at once expressive and virtuosic; on drums, the pummeling Kevin Shea, his beat as punk as it is jazz. All four pay impertinent homage to the major currents that have flowed through the history of jazz—from blues (“Effort, Patience, Diligence”) to post-bop (“Fagundus”), touching on Dixieland (“Two Boots Jacks”), swing (“Biggertown”), and even boogaloo (“Drainlick”). The musicians sketch these forms rather than insist upon them, emancipating themselves before deconstruction even becomes necessary. Structures, chord progressions, and traditional scales are nothing but springboards to leap from: the brass jump joyously from pentatonic motifs into free solos; the drums patter from calm chabadas into tormented escapades, a percussive journey reminiscent of Art Taylor’s hard-bop solos, and John Coltrane’s hallucinating saxophone (“Countdown,” “Giant Steps,” 1959).

With their penchant for non-linearity, stratification, and fragmentation, MOPDTK have naturally found a tutelary figure in Ornette Coleman. The title of their third album (referring to Coleman’s This Is Our Music, 1960) and its sleeve (a perfect replica of the original) wink slightly at us, orienting our listening experience. Beyond these ornaments, however, the Mostly ensemble pays truest homage when they play. Questions of instrumentation aside (the noted pairing of Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman finding a worthy reflection in that of Peter Evans and Jon Irabagon), MOPDTK borrow the luminous composer’s radical conception of structure and liberty, their sound oscillating ceaselessly between cohesion and chaos. They also share his taste for a non-hierarchical approach to intervention: their live concert resembles an endless tug-and-pull of musical ideas, never revealing exactly who is piloting the flight. This year, Mostly Other People Do The Killing were nominated by the Jazz Journalists Association for “Small Ensemble of the Year". Also nominated, and eventual winner, was Ornette Coleman himself. Maybe next year.

Words: Sophie Pécaud
Translation: Khira Jordan

Originally published in French on Chronicart, Fall 2008

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Julian Lynch, Orange You Glad, Buffalo Songs, 2009

Is there something in the water in Ridgewood, New Jersey, or does the Garden State just happen to be coughing up a lot of blissed-out psychedelia these days? Like childhood neighbor and long-time collaborator Matt Mondanile (Ducktails, Predator Vision, Real Estate), Julian Lynch has been churning out more quality homegrown recordings than we have time to digest. His sound, a one-man patchwork of vocals, wah wah guitar, bass, drums, and kitschy synth effects, carries the happy-go-lucky quality synonymous with recent Ridgewood output into the territory of the singer-songwriter.

The eight songs on “Orange You Glad”, his most recent self-release, are not afraid to be pretty, just as they don’t seem to have any qualms about being actual “songs.” That being said, Lynch’s sleepy Saturday afternoon sketches always seem chug forward in spite of themselves, just as surprised as we are by the jolts of pure melodic pleasure they occasionally produce. Artificial tablas rhythms flirt non-committally with Saint Patrick’s Day bagpipes and 60’s baroque pop, sometimes confounding our expectations and materializing into hum-able tune. At the album's most charming moments, all of the elements in the mix (percussion and bass included) seem to be bogged down in a thick coating of molasses, struggling to keep up in the musical rat race, but always somehow landing exactly where they need to be.

Do It Yourself, Do It At Home, even Do It Out Of A Crappy Computer Mic, Julian Lynch’s music is a stunning example of making the most out good ideas and limited means. “Orange You Glad” takes full advantage of the upsides of low fidelity recording, allowing scorching guitar riffs and Lynch’s nasal John Lennon falsetto to bleed into a variety of wooly textures. Again, whether Lynch is relying on accident or sleight of hand is your guess as good as mine. But when a slip in the mastering drives home the chorus of a song with crescendo overkill, we are all too happy to go along for the ride.

Words: Emilie Friedlander

Originally published on Foxy Digitalis, Spring 2009

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Rhys Chatham's Astrological Advice for Musicians: April

Visitation Rites is proud to present the first installment of Rhys Chatham's astrology column for experimental musicians, which draws on his experience as a composer and a meticulous analysis of the geometrical relationships between the sun and other planets in monthly astrological charts. Have fun reading the predictions for your sign, and do not be fooled by cheap imitations!

Aries - The Ram - March 20 to April 20

This is a time of new beginnings and self-expression through creativity. You will want people to pay attention to you, so this is an excellent occasion to get up there on stage and strut your stuff; people will adore you. Or, if you write, this would be a good time to start work on that new song or composition.

Be careful with club owners and other authority figures during the first two thirds of the month, as you are not likely to be in the mood to renegotiate that fee or contract. You will be able to find a solution, however, if you apply diplomacy and musician's charm to the situation. Be extra careful with your equipment, especially if it is electric; breakdowns, though not terribly likely, are possible under present energies. Happily, things will lighten up during the final third of the month regarding equipment and authority figure issues.

You might find it difficult to maintain the discipline of daily practicing. If this occurs, try to use your energy more economically, always remembering that less is more. If all else fails, try practicing in front of the TV.

Taurus - The Bull - April 21 to May 21

This entire month will be a good time to go ahead with almost any project that you desire, because you will have an enormous amount of energy. Be careful not to take on too many projects during this period and avoid excess. Current influences favor any kind of research or study, so this might be a good time to dust off that jazz harmony book and burn the midnight oil!

You will be able to perform and/or negotiate with promoters with impact and make a real impression on people. Be careful not to use this energy in a ruthless or selfish way, because if you do it could come back to you, resulting in a negative outcome. It might be difficult during this period to see other people’s point of view, so make an effort to do so, particularly in your dealings with managers, booking agents, or even the other musicians in your band.

A Uranus transit during the final third of the month will serve to stimulate your curiosity and imagination. This would be a good time to put yourself in a new musical situation, perhaps a particularly kinky one-off gig, simply because it seems like a good idea at the time!

Gemini - The Twins - May 22 to June 22

During the first two thirds of this month, you'll be able to integrate your energy with that of your friends, the groups you associate with, or the bands you play in. You will have a good deal of energy, but watch out for impatience with others, and don't get irritable. You should be assertive when you need to, not just because you feel like it. This is the end of a cycle for you, so your challenge will be to complete your various projects and reap their rewards or other consequences prior to your birthday in three months.

If there are any tensions in your band, this would be a good time to resolve them because you're putting out good vibes at present and make a positive impression on people. If you need to renegotiate that contract for the project you've been working on, now would be an excellent opportunity to do so.

Because of the erratic nature of the high energy you will experience this month, you might feel a bit accident-prone, or experience impulses to do something a bit mad. The solution is to make every effort to express these impulses by doing something different or wild, as long as it does not make a shambles of your life. Lots of physical activity is recommended for this period in the form of exercise, or perhaps developing a vigorous dance routine for your act.

During the start of April, things might seem a bit discouraging and restrictive, as though you were stuck in a rut. After April 11th, however, mitigating influences enter to put you in a more positive frame of mind for the rest of the month.

Cancer - The Crab - June 23 to July 22

During the first two thirds of April, you should be on the lookout for circumstances that test you and the validity of any current projects that you are working on. Very often, the crisis will take the form of people who are working at cross-purposes to your efforts. Ideally, their actions will force you to prove that what you are doing is worthwhile. If there are tension areas in your band or with your manager or booking agent, now is a good time to listen to others and reconcile possible conflicts; energies present later on in the month will enable you to easily make compromises when the time comes to do so.

Take the time to analyze your own position to find the weak points in your own thinking and make any necessary corrections. You have the power now to make fundamental changes in your attitudes and life that you didn't have before. There is a possibility that equipment may break down during April, so if any of your stuff is just limping along, be sure to have a backup ready if you plan to be touring this month.

You will be challenged to complete any outstanding projects, for you will feel vigorous and full of vitality during the entire month, and itching to get things done. You'll probably feel a restless energy towards the end of the month and yearn to do new things, so finish up those outstanding projects, and move on.

Leo - The Lion - July 23 to August 22

At the start of the month, you will be able to work quite effectively with others, and your energy will be higher than usual. Take the time to step back from things a bit, and to review your recent achievements. Your mind is functioning clearly at present, so you should be able to use this review to prepare for future projects and think about what you can get out of them that will have lasting value. If there are elements of projects that aren’t working out, don't waste time with regrets; put all your efforts into the ones that are.

You'll feel optimistic this month, but be careful not to spend too much money on a piece of equipment that you don't really need, because you will probably be tempted to do so. You'll also feel self-confident, but be sure to stop short of arrogance, as any negative energy you put out will be a source of conflict.

This is important to keep in mind, because later on in the month, you might find that the tensions that have been building up in your band or business relationships are ready to boil over. Guard against feeling touchy and oversensitive in these situations, or reacting in a completely emotional way. As long as you keep a balance between your will and your emotions, the energy at work here can actually be a positive influence.

Virgo - The Virgin - August 23 to September 22

April will be an excellent time to take care of any obligations or responsibilities that you have been putting off. That project proposal you've been meaning to write… has it been nagging at you? How about those emails you were supposed to respond to? Or finally looking at your bank account to discover what horrors it holds? This is a good month to do a bit of spring cleaning. It doesn't have to be unpleasant. Put your nose to the grindstone, and you'll feel much better when it's done. Feeling lonely or a bit depressed? Dwelling on these feelings is pointless: bury yourself in your work instead. You'll be glad that you did.

Now is a good time to review any projects or activities that are nearing completion, determining whether your goals have been achieved or not, and making any necessary adjustments. While April favors introspection and making adjustments for your future, it is very possible that the muse will strike you with an idea for a new direction in your work, and that you will begin to implement this idea in the weeks that follow.

All in all, a challenging period offers opportunities for personal growth. On the bright side, your energy will be higher towards the end of the month, you'll start to experience more of a sense of balance and equilibrium, and things are likely to hum along quite nicely.

Libra - The Scales - September 23 to October 22

At this six-month point from your last birday, April is a good time to finish any outstanding projects initiated over the past months and to review your work with a view to preparing for your new endeavors. Now that you have finished that album or composition, a period of reflection is needed before starting your next piece.

As always, there can be tension and anxiety associated with beginning a new project. But the underlying enthusiasm and optimism that you will be feeling this entire month will help drive your affairs toward a satisfying conclusion. Under current influences, your mind is eager for new experiences; now is an excellent time for touring to promote that new album.

Scorpio - The Scorpion - October 23 to November 22

You'll have a good deal of energy this month. Your task will be to avoid draining this energy in a haphazard or non-productive way, and to use it efficiently. Be careful not to take on too much during this period of high energy, as you'll definitely need time for networking a bit further down the road. While this is an excellent time for trying out new things or pursuing unexplored directions in your work, your first priority should be to firm up activities you have already begun.

At the month's start, you will probably be better off going it alone on your projects as much as possible. This is because you won't want to feel dependent on others for encouragement and support. Lots of physical activity is recommended for this period.

As the weeks go by you'll find pleasure again in collaborating with others and want to go out with friends, for the energies at the end of the month favor socializing; in any case, you will definitely be feeling better physically and emotionally.

Sagittarius - The Centaur - November 23 to December 22

This month, especially its first few weeks, will be excellent for you in terms of initiating musical projects of all kinds, having many ideas, and feeling a certain emotive equilibrium with yourself. The only problem is that you might feel as though you were stuck in a rut, trying to break out, but finding you cannot.

If this occurs, try pinpointing what is draining your energy or holding you back; given sufficient determination and application, you should be able to do something about it.

The energies present this month particularly favor working with others. If you are in a band, now would be a good time to start work on that new song, or on any collaboration with artists in virtually any field.

Toward the end of the month, the energies will become more reflective and inward, so it is best to start any new projects at the beginning of the month.

Capricorn - The Goat - December 23 to January 21

You'll probably feel a relative lack energy at the start of the month, but if you can get yourself out of bed, practicing or other forms of discipline shouldn't be too difficult. If you make an effort, this could be a time to find that new chord or guitar sound for the song you’ve been working on. The start of the month is not a great time to pick an argument with anyone in the band because you'll probably be in a fairly lousy mood, but your outlook should brighten after the 11th and your band or business relationships should sail along fairly smoothly.

During the final ten days of April, there will be a noticeable improvement in your outlook and self-image. Any depressive tendencies will normally dissipate and your energy will peak. This will be an excellent time to embark on a new project, although you will need to apply yourself to get things off the ground initially.

Anyone whose birthday is between December 23 and December 30 will be feeling the effects of Pluto at this time. Under this influence, you might find it necessary to repair something that has broken down, be it a piece of equipment or something that has gone awry in your life. In either case, now is the time to take a careful look at the damage and look for a solution. Going on tour with "iffy" equipment is not advised under this influence.

Aquarius - The Water Carrier - January 22 to February 20

Energy, communication, and emotional rapport with band mates and colleagues should flow smoothly at the beginning of April. Your intuitive powers will be at their peak, so this is a great time to start that new song or composition, especially if it elaborates upon a direction you have already established.

If you find you are having difficulties keeping your appointment with the muse of inspiration, buckle down! Half the job is done once you fire up your computer, sharpen those pencils, or finally sit down to start that new project. If the problem is that you don't feel like practicing, but need to, then try doing it in front of the television.

You might have a tendency to buy things you don't need this month, so don't go into a music store unless you’re getting something you really need, like those guitar strings that you haven't changed in three months! But do try to avoid window-shopping during this period.

Also avoid having heavy discussions about band or business-related issues during the last half of April, as your communication skills might not be at their very best. Energy is lower towards the end of the month, so be sure to get into a work rhythm now with any project that you need to start.

Pisces - The Fish - February 21 to March 19

The beginning of the month will be an excellent time to start a new project, particularly one that takes you in a new direction or is somewhat atypical for you. At the start of April you may find yourself feeling a bit isolated or not communicating well. But don't worry: this will pass.

As the month progresses, you'll want to socialize more with your friends. Any kind of networking during this period will lead to fruitful results. This is a good time to meet people and make contacts, because you will put so much effort into being warm and friendly that others are bound to respond to you.

You will have access to a good deal of creative energy during the entire month, which you can apply to your music with a bit of effort. Try to get into a rhythm with this process as soon as possible, because later on in the month you might find it a bit difficult to keep your nose to the grindstone, due to energies favoring social interaction.

Rhys Chatham is a composer from New York who has lived in Paris since 1988.

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