Artist’s Community Orchestra Project Needs No Experience, Camera or Mic to Make Calming Melodies

I have a new article up at KCET about a collaborative music project that I also partook in. The project by Joshua-Michéle Ross is titled The Adjacent Possible: An Evolving Communal Orchestra and is a collaborative work of art between anonymous collaborators that, as I explain in the story, is an “experience [that] feels like equal doses of guided meditation, creative collaboration and a space for introspection and relaxation.”

From my article:

The project’s name comes from the work of Stuart Kauffman, a doctor, theoretical biologist and complex systems researcher, who coined the phrase “adjacent possible” in 2002. His theory is based on his work in biological evolution and is concerned with how organisms and biological systems, which he also refers to as “autonomous agents,” evolve into larger, more complex systems/organisms by seeking out numerous possibilities within their environment. His theory has been adapted in other fields, including the arts.

For Ross, the theory describes “how human beings, as parts of a very creative universe, are always pushing at the boundaries of what’s possible and how the aggregate choices that we make from that creates the kind of world we live in. It’s kind of how the future gets made and the idea of how the small choices that we make and bring to things, despite constraints, how those choices add up the reality we live in.”

Ross brings this theory to life through a communal orchestra. Up to 20 people gather to perform at each event. Ross serves as the event guide and conductor, speaking slowly, softly and deliberately as he shifts everyone away from the Zoom call where everyone first gathers and onto a website designed specifically for the experience.

Read more at KCET: https://www.kcet.org/shows/southland-sessions/artists-community-orchestra-project

Clouds Hill Notes Acquires Catalog, Masters of Artist Omar Rodriguez-López’ Vast Musical Library

Clouds Hill Notes announced today the acquisition of the catalogs and masters of musician Omar Rodriguez-López’ vast musical library. The acquisition includes the catalog of works published under Rodriguez-López Productions, including dozens of solo albums. Clouds Hill Notes, in partnership with Wise Music Group, will also handle the catalog publishing of The Mars Volta.

It’s about the right time to announce the acquisition of the RLP catalog and The Mars Volta publishing now. After being Omar Rodríguez-López’s friend and business partner for such a long time, I am honoured and proud that he decided to also entrust me with this catalogue. Our HQ in Hamburg is now responsible to push this unique catalogue back into everyone’s minds.

Johann Scheerer, Music Producer, CEO/Founder of Clouds Hill Group

The acquisition comes months after Clouds Hill released a trio of albums ORL recorded with the label: The Clouds Hill Tapes I – III.

I hope this means that many of the albums/projects ORL worked on from 2004 – 2013 under various names (The Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Quintet, The Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group, The Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Quartet, El Trio de Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, El Grupo Nuevo de Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, etc.) will see the light of day once again via official streams and reprints of physical media. This man wants a copy of Mantra Hiroshima!!

Other groups that were part of the RLP imprint include De Facto (another project I hope gets republished asap!), the dub group before TMV, and Antemasque, the band that reunited ORL with long-time friend & collaborator Cedric Bixler Zavala following the dissolution of TMV. I also hope Zechs Marquise, the defunct group from El Paso that featured ORL’s siblings, is included in the catalog as well.

Clouds Hill Notes is the publishing arm of the Clouds Hill Group, a company that includes a record label, a recording studio, a film production company, and a boutique pedal company.

The first order of business following this announcement will be the release of TMV’s Tremulant EP on streaming platforms this Friday, Feb. 26th!

First Story of 2021: Latinx In Gaming

My first published piece for the year is up at Gamecrate: How Latinx In Gaming Is Uniting A Community.

EXCERPT:

“We try our best to steer things in a direction that we think is positive for the community, but we also really want stuff to come from the community itself,” says Tirado. “We had an open call and did our best to pick out content that would benefit most people or would highlight communities that would not necessarily get as much shine.”

For three days on Twitch, that community and LIG showcased its talents in a variety of ways. There was a roundtable conversation about Afro Latinidad in the games industry community, for example. A separate 3.5-hour stream highlighted the speedruns of Speedruns Mexico, one of many members of the Latinx speedrunning community. Another video featured League of Legends Lead Animator Jose “Sho” Hernandez as he walked viewers through the creation of the Luchador skin. Yet another video featured four IGN employees sharing personal stories on how they launched their careers in games media while visiting each other’s islands in Animal Crossing. There were even food segments featuring recipes on how to make arepas & baleadas with co-founder Gomez and another on Puerto Rican tembleques.

The approach was a fun and informative way that allowed for the full expression of the diversity of Latinidad within the games community.

Read the full story here: https://gamecrate.com/how-latinx-gaming-uniting-community/26486

Vaudeville, Folklorico, and Mexican Cinema

I have three stories published on KCET this week!

The first is about the Hola Mexico Film Festival. 2020 marks its 12th year and founder Samuel Douek had to make numerous changes to move the festival to an online format.

Read about it here: https://www.kcet.org/shows/southland-sessions/the-hola-mexico-film-festival-moves-online

Next is my conversation with Adriana Astorga-Gainey and Jesenia Gardea of the Pacifico Dance Company. The Los Angeles-based non-profit company takes a serious approach to folklorico dance that centers on training professional dancers.

Read it here: https://www.kcet.org/shows/lost-la/pacifico-dance-company-sharing-the-love-of-traditional-mexican-dance-around-the-world

Finally, my favorite of the three: I delve into the history of Hispanic/Spanish-language vaudeville in Los Angeles.

Read all about it here: https://www.kcet.org/shows/lost-la/broadsides-reveal-las-once-booming-hispanic-vaudeville-scene