the musical brainchild of Wendy Spitzer
  • Updates from F.O. land

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    October 26th, 2012adminUncategorized

    Hi everyone,

    First off, pop some popcorn and go watch the Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend live soundtrack performance Felix Obelix did back in February at the Strange Beauty film festival!  Rumor has it, there may be more such shenanigans in 2013.  For now though, you can watch the entire performance on youtube.

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    Also, in August/September, my proposal was selected by CAM Raleigh (Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh), and I got to show three enormous vinyl banner murals of altered NC postcards.  This was piggybacking on a similar exhibit I had at the Open Eye cafe in early 2012. Here it is on the day it went up.  These were huge!

    for size reference, I'm five feet tall. These were 9 x 14 feet!

    for size reference, I'm five feet tall. These were 9 x 14 feet!

    Here are some of the smaller proto-versions that I put up earlier this year at the Open Eye Cafe:

    Wilson county courthouse Wilson County Court House

    Jesus warns the time travelers

    Jesus Warns the Time Travelers

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    I’ve been hard at work on the upcoming Felix Obelix album -composing and arranging (down to every last note, notated in sheet music) 30 one-minute-long ringtones.  The idea for this project was sparked when my elderly Nokia cellphone died last spring. A few days into its absence I realized that its ringtone was the one piece of music I had listened to literally the most often in the preceding three years. It dawned on me that on a subconscious level, that humble little ringtone was the music that meant someone wanted me.  I had also become conditioned to reaching for my phone when I heard it, and I could think of no other music that could compel me to perform an action in physical space.  This begged the obvious question: if a ringtone is the most often-heard music in one’s life, is the sound of humans desiring each other, and has the capacity to compel us to action, then why isn’t it a better piece of music?

    The idea for this project was sparked when my elderly Nokia cellphone died last spring. A few days into its absence I realized that its ringtone was the one piece of music I had listened to literally the most often in the preceding three years. It dawned on me that on a subconscious level, that humble little ringtone was the music that meant someone wanted me.  I had also become conditioned to reaching for my phone when I heard it, and I could think of no other music that could compel me to perform an action in physical space.  This begged the obvious question: if a ringtone is the most often-heard music in one’s life, is the sound of humans desiring each other, and has the capacity to compel us to action, then why isn’t it a better piece of music?
    Moreover, the micro-composition of the ringtone is somewhat unexplored territory for contemporary composers. The pieces I’m writing are each 50-70 seconds in length, which challenge me to consider issues of truncation, elaboration, complexity, and restraint. How sophisticated could I make each ringtone be?  How emotional? How would your life change if when your phone rang, you were audience to a complete musical thought?

    I’ve been working on this for about a year, inputing MIDI into Protools, exporting the MIDI into sheet music notation software, editing that down, and then practicing all the parts for six weeks to get ready for the recording. I  did basic tracking at the Fidelitorium in Kernersville, NC in late August and got to play their amazing instruments: electric harpischord, Rhodes, Hammond B3, grand piano, marimba, and even celesta (!).  Nick Peterson manned the boards and I knocked out 3 parts per song, 3 different instruments, 3-5 takes per instrument, in 3 days.  I’m in the middle of comping the takes together now, and doing cello overdubs with Josh Starmer (of Birds and Arrows)…I hope to have the recording done by the end of the year!

    Here I am standing on cinderblocks at the Fidelitorium to be tall enough to play their marimba:

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    and here I am at the Allen Electric Harpsichord, a wicked little instrument that almost sounds like a harpsichord if you really pretend:IMG_1766

    I look tired here because we did 10 hour days and I hate being photographed when I’m concentrating!

    Stay tuned for more!

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