Another Thursday evening. Another session of the noise band. These evenings have been going on for several years now and I’ve been part of the group since the beginning. I’ve grown attached to it: the group, the camaraderie, the sounds and instruments.

The basic instrument for us is the keyboard, sometimes a piano but often an electric keyboard or two. Or sometimes three. Or, as happened several times, four. It usually depends on what someone has brought and what they want to noodle around on. We’ve had different percussion instruments, strings – violin, cello, guitar, steel guitar, mandolin. A trumpet was introduced a couple of times. Harmonicas. Voices. As I mentioned, it all depends.

The main concept is that any sound, any music, should be unstructured; no songs or tunes. We play, and play with, the sounds the instruments make. No one is formally trained on their instrument so it becomes an exploration together.

Personally, I like to play on some sort of solid foundation. On the piano or keyboard I like to find a riff, a sequence of sounds that pleases my ear and my mood, something I can repeat over and over again and whenever I like, introduce variations and small changes. This way I can also explore for myself chord structures and harmonics, little touches of melodic phrases. Besides, that gives the others a rhythm and flow to work with or against or to fly off on a trip of their own with no relation to anything else. As the name says, it’s more noise than music.

And the magic occurs. Suddenly I’ll become aware of an interplay happening between my riff and another keyboard, or strings, or whatever is sounding that evening. And everyone becomes aware of it. Whatever happens is not though anyone’s will or specific effort.The volume modulates and when enough seems to be enough we all stop together. The smiles and joy fill the place.

Sometimes I think we should do this for the public, to share these feelings we create together. We did play once during an Art Crawl; we received some compliments.

We can take the group out of the Blue Angel, perhaps. We can take the instruments. But could we carry that spirit?

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