This is my ninth show with Constellation! It’s always a great pleasure to return and explore the fantasy world Allison and her team of magicians are creating!
The last time you were on stage with Constellation was last year, with Gilgamesh. What is different about this show in terms of creating the music?
In some ways “Gilgamesh” was a similar project in that it takes place in an ancient world. One big difference with this show is regarding the technology. In the past I have recorded some loops that I triggered live on stage. I have upped the ante on this production. In December I recorded a full CD worth of material. (The full CD will be available for sale with a portion of proceeds going to support Constellation). Some elements have been altered, removed and interchanged as well as mixed in surround sound. I will perform live with these tracks, creating a very unique audio experience. The goal is to have a live performance with the audio quality of a CD. My engineer, Jim Robeson, and I worked tirelessly on creating the absolutely best audio experience possible. We have also brought in an associate sound designer, Adam Johnson, to assist in merging these live and recorded worlds.there are several sets of speakers hung throughout the space to assist with the surround sound concept. As before, the largest portion of music is performed solo in real time with no accompaniment.
Where did you turn for inspiration for the music?
Allison and I went to see the Revels perform a concert that included a lot of Balkan music. This music draws heavily on odd time patterns. By coincidence I have been touring with harmonica master, Howard Levy, formally of “The Flecktones”. He is also very interested in additive time signatures. Those experiences weighed significantly in creating this music. My travel to the Middle East is also a big influence. There are selections in time signatures of 5, 7, 9, 11 and even 13. To make this even more interesting wonderful Choreographer Kelly King has created dance pieces in several of these time patterns
Are you using new or different instruments for this show?
Always! I’m playing over fifteen different instruments for this show. Some new additions are a variety of flutes, given the several bird references. Also, a hand drum synthesizer to create the
string Instrument, santoor. I’m also playing a xylophone synthesizer in addition to my assortment of ancient hand drums. There is also an interesting string instrument form North India called a gopichand that will make an appearance.
What have you been up to…have you been traveling lately where you would pick up new techniques/learn new things? I have been really busy with a variety of multimedia projects. In addition to my live performance with film I’ve been creating video art. Some of these are Dadaist recreations of existing film art by Hans Richter and others. I’ve been adding new video art in combination with my music and poetry performed by my colleague and friend, Charles Williams. I will have several exhibits this summer along with some live performances. I’ve also been collaborating with Modern as well as Middle Eastern dance. Jane Franklin Dance and I will present 5 concerts that this summer Fringe Festival at the Atlas in July. Soon after the closing of this show I will tour to Argentina for a percussion festival in Patagonia! I’ll then go to Buenos Aries where I’ll play at Notorious Jazz club before I return home.
Are you excited about being on stage again?
More about Tom’s CD
Robert Aubrey Davis – producer, critic, creator and host of Millennium of Music, wrote for the liner notes:
Bal-kan, as we are more aware than ever, is the Land of Honey and Blood; the routes of empires who have claimed and (still wish to claim) dominance in that region are perfectly reflected in Tom Teasley’s multi-cultural soundscape. On a foundation built from the most ancient instruments of drums and flutes, Tom layers with an archaeologist’s sympathies the tonal landscape that allows the word painting of a legendary tale to remind us, that even as the bards told stories in song and voiced the whims of the gods, in that very act of creation humankind gives voice not only to the creation of the gods themselves, but an even greater story: who we are, and why.
–Robert Aubry Davis, producer, critic, creator and host of Millennium of Music
Learn more about Tom and watch him play!