Last May, I had the distinct pleasure to go to LA with Andy Akiho—everyone’s favorite composer-workaholic-pan player—and an all-star group of percussionists for the West-Coast debut of Andy’s Alloy, a new take on traditional Trinidadian steel band music. The occasion was the LA Phil’s laudable Green Umbrella series; a program featuring Berio’s Recital 1, a new percussion concerto by Joe Pereira (performed by Colin Currie) and Alloy.
The piece welds (get it, “welds”?) a powerful timbral imagination (watch for the foot-operated junk metals, the scrap-heap drumkit and the creative extended pan techniques) with a fluid and intuitive rhythmic sense. You can read Mark Swed’s review, where he extols the “wonderfully engaging variety of sounds a dozen players can get from Caribbean drums (with the help of found materials, including drums made from satellite dishes),” here.
A few days before the concert, a few of the group suggested to Andy that we needed a video of Alloy. We joked that it would be just perfect to find a warehouse in which to record it, a film crew that would work for cheap, a recording engineer who knew what he was doing, and a truck (for free). We were still joking as Andy told us all to find black t-shirts (we didn’t), still kidding as pulled into LA’s warehouse district in a borrowed truck and a rented van, and maybe only a little serious as we began pushing aside cardboard boxes of imported toys to set up the pans. The result, as you can see, is wonderful!
Stay tuned for more information about New Morse Code performing Andy’s music in Jan, Feb, and beyond…