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New Guitar/Cello/Koto trio

I can't wait to talk about the new ambient/experimental/free improv trio I'm playing in now.  It is with two women that I met, and who played at the Boise Experimental Music festival, both music students/graduates.  The instrumentation is me on guitar, Gretchen on Koto (a really cool sounding Japanese instrument - http://home.san.rr.com/koto/instru.htm), and Jesse on cello.  We had our first rehearsal last week and our first gig is on October 8. 

The instrumentation and contrast of the different instruments is really interesting, and I was wondering if anyone else on the list had played with a koto player - because I'd like to hear what has been done to leverage some ideas.  I found one reference to such a trio, with Henry Kaiser (guitar), Miya Masaoka (koto), and Danielle DeGruttola (cello), and the CD is called Seance by Vex Records...but I can't find the thing for sale anywere.  Any clues?   Gretchen lived in Japan for 10 years and knows a fair amount about the music and instrument.  At our first jam session, I didn't do any looping, because I wanted to just focus on the sound of my guitar and how it worked with the cello and koto.  I used my nylon string, but surprisingly, both of them requested that I play my jazz electric next time, because they think the contrast of acoustic instruments with my electric will be more unique. 

Our basic approach for playing is that Gretchen can tune the Koto to any scale....we start with a traditional Japanese harmonic structure (D Eb G A Bb D) and play with that...and then after that point, she tunes it to various modes (mixolydian, lydian, pentatonic, etc), and we play modally over a tonal center, which is great for me with my jazz background.  You can do some great things with the koto, such as scraping the plectra over the strings, bending the strings for other tones, etc. The fun one is where she tunes the koto to the chromatic scale and we play atonally...the three of us end up sounding like we're playing a 12 tone piece, though there are no rows or permutations involved.

Next rehearsal I'll be bringing my notebook system and looping. My plan is to loop some ambient textures of basic melodic motifs based on the tuning of the koto..and then we'll improvise over that...afterwhich I'll continue manipulating the loops to evolve with the performance. It should be fun.  I hope to record the Oct. 8 performance.


Krispen Hartung / Improvisational Looping Guitar
www.krispenhartung.com / www.myspace.com/krispenhartung
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info@krispenhartung.com / 1.208.724.5603
Discography - http://www.krispenhartung.com/catalogue.htm
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