Monday, September 23, 2013

detuning/retuning the guitar

This next track might not be for those with perfect pitch.

Gary Prince: Guitar
Andrew Klein: Voice
Rehearsal 9.21.13

The guitar tuning on this track is (low-high)

6 = just sharp of Bb
5 = sharp of a D
4 = very sharp of E
3 = very sharp of D
2 = almost an Ab
1 = almost a Db

This piece comes towards the end of a session in which I returned the guitar before each piece - going off whatever intervals sounded cool, or crunchy, without using the tuner (hence not landing on exact notes). I wasn't really keeping track of which exact notes of any of the strings - just the intervals and the overall sound. I found out what tuning I was in by checking with the tuner afterwards.

Retuning the guitar this way makes for an interesting problem: not being able to rely on muscle or visual memory to know where the notes are, ie, not being able to use physical patterns, not being able to predict what note will sound when you hit a particular string.

But that said, the intervallic relationships on a single string are unchanged - after all, you're not moving the location of the frets. So by playing on one string you can kind of get around being retuned (that is, you can choose pitches deliberately). This gives you the option, to some degree, of being deliberately tonal. Then, having the relationships between the strings be wildly off (especially them not being sequential or standard, ie, string 4 is a higher note than string 3, string 6-5 is a maj 3; string 5-4 is a maj2) frees you up to play atonally while still playing familiar physical shapes. Familiar licks and shapes take on completely new and interesting sounds, allowing you to think more about melodic shape and form, free from the expectation of always knowing what notes will come out, almost taking pitches as they come. To me this is very freeing.

To me, this is almost a shortcut to getting something of the very out Eric Dolphy or Anthony Braxton sound. A less deliberate choice of notes, maybe, but that kind of atonal, angular shape playing that I associate with the sound of those players - something I have always found very difficult to do on guitar, especially at faster tempos, as it is so challenging to break the muscle memory of typical scales and arpeggios, and to play 'non guitaristically'.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Nuages - from Session Concert, June 8 2013

Gary Prince: Elec Guitar
Sarah Foard: Violin
Vasily Popov: Cello
Adrian Erlinger: Bass
By Django Reindhart

 This is also from the Session Concert, June 8th 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

KleinPrince Featured in Espresso Ink V

I'm thrilled to say that one of my collaborations with Baltimore-based poet Andrew Sargus Klein will be featured in Espresso Ink V, "A collected CD of literary works complete with liner notes" from Ink Press Productions.

The featured song is our version of Andrew's poem, "You Wake Up and Walk", a poem about the streets in Ann Arbor, MI, where we both lived as students, from December 2nd, 2012. The music is improvised, and it is part of the collection of pieces we released on bandcamp under the name "Tragicosmic"

Gary Prince: Guitar/FX
Andrew Klein: Voice

You can pre-order Espresso Ink V, which features 16 additional artists, by clicking this link.

There will be a listening party at the EMP Collective in Baltimore on September 20th. Andrew and I are right now working on new recordings, hopefully to be finished this winter.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Tango Choc

Here are two versions of Tango Choc, a composition by Astor Piazzolla, arranged for guitar and violin by Ian Murphy. This first version is with violinist Sarah Foard, and comes from last April.
Sarah Foard: Violin
Gary Prince: Guitar

This second version is from the "Session" Concert, June 8th, and features our own arrangement for quartet, adapted from the guitar/violin arrangement: Sarah Foard: Violin
Vasily Popov: Cello
Adrian Erlinger: Bass
Gary Prince: Guitar

Sarah and I have been playing quite a few of these Piazzolla tangos, performing under the name Black Oranges. Hopefully you will hear more of these this fall as we record more - these recordings are relatively rough, but I wanted to share them in any case. You can hear a little more of us at

Monday, August 12, 2013

New Recordings with Matt Endahl - Time and Place

I'm very happy that my friend Matt Endhal has put together a new set of duo recordings culled from January & August of 2012, released as "Time and Place" on his label, Sound Mansion Recordings.

They can be downloaded for free at the following link:

To download for free just click download (or select "Buy Now" on the bandcamp page) and enter $0.

 As Matt mentions in his linear notes, the first two were recorded in the living room of my then-house, on Randolph St, and put together from a mixture of digital and analog recording devices (including one microphone that we stuck in my fish tank). The third track is from a performance we gave at Canterbury House.

The two recordings from January 2012 are effects pedal-free. It was in March 2012 that I bought a loop pedal and began to collect guitar effects pedals - which are heard in full force in track 3, the recording from August, which was also the first time Matt and I played together using full effects.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Black Oranges free improvisation 7.27.13

Gary Prince: Guitar
Sarah Foard: Violin

This is a free improvisation from a longer concert of tango, irish, and jazz music with Sarah Foard on violin. We will be playing much more this fall under the name Black Oranges - we have some more music online at

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How to Get There (and back)

Every so often I post on this website a version of Andrew Klein and I doing "How to Get There", a poem by Frank O'Hara, from 1960. We've been playing this piece for more than a year now.

What I've done here is assemble five different versions of this song and put them together in one bandcamp page. From April 1st, 2012, which represents both our first time playing this piece and my first time ever hearing this poem, to a recording made just a few weeks ago, on April 21st, 2013.

In that time I would hope you can hear our development, and hear how we improvise - going from familiar building blocks (the words, and certain themes and structures that I return to regularly), but in a slightly different direction each time. Over the course of the year we both added more effects and devices to our sound, which are on display here as well.

This is how we play. This is what I do. None of these versions are definitive, none of them are done - this piece will be a work in progress as long as we play it, and will grow as we do. There is a language being developed here, which can both stretch into new directions, and be familiar. And probably more important than all that noise, I am proud of these recordings. And yes, that picture of Andrew is from Midnight Special days long gone.

I don't necessarily expect anyone to listen to all these together except me and Andrew, but here they are just in case, and I'm curious to hear anyone's thoughts from anywhere in the world. We'll be recording an album in June, and are in the process of preparing for an event in Baltimore June 1st with the Syrinx Effect - more details to come.

Here again is the text to "How to Get There"

How to Get There" - Frank O'Hara, 1960, New York City

White the October air, no snow, easy to breathe
beneath the sky, lies, lies everywhere writhing and
clutching and tangling, it is not easy to breathe
lies building their tendrils into dim figures
who disappear down corridors in west-side apartments
into childhood’s proof of being wanted, not
abandoned, kidnapped
betrayal staving off loneliness, I see the fog lunge in
and hide it
where are you?
here I am on the sidewalk
under the moonlike lamplight thinking how
precious moss is
so unique and greenly crushable if you can find it
on the north side of the tree where the fog binds you
and then, tearing apart into soft white lies,
spreads its disease
through the primal night of an everlasting winter
which nevertheless has heat in tubes, west-side and
and its intricate individual pathways of white
by the ringing of telephone bells beside which
someone sits in
silence denying their own number, never given out!
like the sound of troika bells rushing past suffering
in the first storm, it is snowing now,
it is already too late
the snow will go away, but nobody will be there

police cordons for lying political dignitaries ringing too
the world becomes a jangle
from the index finger
to the vast empty houses filled with people,
their echoes

of lies and the tendrils of fog trailing softly around
their throats
now the phone can be answered, nobody calling,
only an echo
all can confess to be home and waiting, all is the same
and we drift into the clear sky enthralled
by our disappointment
never to be alone again
never to be loved
sailing through space: didn’t I have you once for my
West Side?
for a couple of hours, but I am not that person

[copyright Frank O’Hara, 1960]

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tragicosmic - New Music

Andrew and I have finally put up some new music for download, on our bandcamp page. I'll highlight some of the particular tracks in the future, but for now, please stream and download it here:

More to come soon!