And Update on Luna – Purrs Needed


Luna had her monthly check-up yesterday, and the news wasn’t good. The cancer is continuing to spread. Slowly, but nonetheless spreading, including internally. As a result, I made the decision to stop the chemo. It clearly isn’t having the effect that we wanted, and it is making her miserable. It’s tough to decide to suspend treatment, but it seems like the best decision for her.

Indeed, in the short term she will probably feel much better. And that has been born out by her more lively behavior in the past 24 hours. I even caught her running around and exploring like a kitten this morning; and she has gone back to her delightfully diva behavior of demanding her favorite foods and attention from me. She does, however, lose stamina more quickly and needs to rest a lot.

Luna behind the equipment rack.

Regular readers know I love Luna very much, and have tried to do the best for her I can. And now it seems the best is to keep her happy and comfortable and enjoy our time together. And of course spoil her rotten. She will get lots of love, attention, comfort, and the tastiest foods.

I neither believe in nor seek miracles, so our request for purrs and thoughts is to join us enjoying the time we will have together.

SFEMF Night 3: Arcane Device, Thea Farhadian, Alessandro Bosetti

Today we look at the third night of the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival (SFEMF), which took place on September 10 at the Brava Theater in San Francisco.

The evening opened with a set by Alessandro Bosetti, who performs with spoken-word vocals and electronics.

Alessandro Bosetti
[Photo by Pamela Z]

His texts are not traditionally lyrical, indeed they can be awkward or even absurd at times, or parts of imperfect translations. But he challenges himself and the audience to find the musicality within them. Most of what the audience hears are that result from the live electronic processing. The language remains audible, but it is transformed in a complex mixture of inharmonicity, noise and other types of musical sound. The performance was intense – and must have been physically exhausting for Bosetti, who is known for his work on radio.

While Bosetti’s set was intense and frenetic, Thea Farhadian’s performance was something altogether different. She performed a set featuring violin and live electronics.

Thea Farhadian
[Photo by Pamela Z]

Without straying into too-conventional territory, Farhadian’s sounds were lyrical and haunting. The harmonic qualities of violin were of course featured, but also the percussive sounds, which when combined with the electronic processing created rhythm and motion to the piece. Although there was no visual element other than the performer herself, the music had a visual quality, with long curving lines like brush strokes with thick paint punctuated by dots.

The final performance featured Arcane Device (aka David Lee Myers) on modular synthesizer with live generated visuals.

Arcane Device

He is known his creation of music from feedback and other noise sources, and so we were expecting a noise-centered performance. And we weren’t disappointed. But it was really the visuals that made this experience unique. The output of the synthesizer was fed into a special two-dimensional oscilloscope that was projected behind the performer. At first it was small, squished round elements as the sound started simply, but quickly grew complex creating chaotic textures that matched the sound. This was indeed a fun set to both watch and hear.

Overall it was a good night for this year’s SFEMF. And it was well attended. Other obligations kept we away from nights 2 and 4 this year, but I am looking forward to the festival’s return next year.

An Update on Luna

Luna on the sofa

We wanted to give you all an update on Luna and her health. But first, she wants to say hi to everyone.

She is definitely lower energy, though still very affectionate and every so often has a burst of energy and runs like a kitten. She continues to walk with a bit of a limp. Her appetite is good, though she now prefers wet food almost exclusively. It’s hard to tell changes in the cancer area – it doesn’t seem any worse, but it wasn’t good to begin with. Overall, she is better than she seemed over Labor Day weekend, when things seemed measured in days. Days have now turned to weeks. As long as she continues to seem happy and content, I am content to make sure she stays that way.

And she still gives of herself. In the midst of this perennially busy season and the current stresses, I broke down early on Saturday amidst depression and fatigue. Luna recognized this and came over to set with me and purr loudly, groom me and give head butts. She is the sweetest creature I have ever known, and I hope we can enjoy a bit more time together.

SFEMF 2016: IMA and Gen Ken Montgomery

Today we look back at the 2016 San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, which concluded two weeks ago. The opening night took place at the Kanbar Forum of Exploratorium here in San Francisco. The large rounded space featured an immersive multichannel speaker system designed by Meyer Sound, and both acts that day took full advantage of this.

The evening opened with a set by IMA, the electro-­percussion duo of Nava Dunkelman and Jeanie Aprille Tang (aka Amma Ateria). They performed with an array of percussion instruments and live interactive electronics.

IMA at SFEMF 2016

Their sounds range from quite sparse to large clouds, often mixing in bits of vocals with the heavily metallic percussion. For this set, they played with space as well, spinning sounds around the room using the speaker array. There were moments when the individual sounds could be heard as a single point in space, others that were on the edge of a noise wall. I also appreciate that their sets are quite embodied, not simply standing on stage behind their gear but moving around as the sound and space suggest.

The second set featured Conrad Schnitzler’s Cassette CONcert, performed by New York musician Gen Ken Montgomery. Cassette CONcerts are boxed sets of cassettes that Schnitzler composed with the intent that others could perform and listen without his presence. Montgomery has become a primary interpreter of these pieces, “conducting” the eight-channel work on a variety of speaker systems. It fit quite well in the space, which was darkened except for projections on the main screen.

Gen Ken Montgomery

In many ways is the opposite of IMA’s set, completely disembodied, with long stretches of sound, and made from pre-recorded materials. One could even call it sculptural or a sonic painting. But it fit quite well in the context of the SFEMF concert and was a fitting second act to this first night.

Overall, it was a good start to this year’s festival, and a more casual setting ahead of the next three concerts to come. We will have more to share on those in an upcoming article.