Photos By: Dovile Sermokas

 
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LIVE

About me

Drummer - Composer 

    I was born in Galesburg, Illinois, a small town west of Chicago, but spent my formative years in New York City playing with and learning from many of the best musicians the scene had to offer. After moving to Barcelona in 2000, I was lucky enough to release two albums as a leader featuring my own compositions. Happy (2002) and Melodic Workshop (2004) which features Bill McHenry, Gorka Benitez, Guillermo Klein, Chris Lightcap and Jorge Rossy. In 2008 I formed the Asociación Libre Orkesta, a free-form Big Band which performs improvised music inspired by my poetry and projected images and which I also conduct.

    My latest cross-medium project, build-i-n-g is a duo featuring Liz Kosack on synthesizers and piano. Our debut album Muladhara Rising (2021) presents my compositions mixing forward-moving rubato melodies and improvisations above pulse without meter grooves.

    I have also been blessed to have the opportunity to perform as a sideman in many wonderful and diversely-styled groups.

 Formal EPK in English and German here

Photo By: Oliver Portratz

Author 

    As a whim I began a project in 2008 with the intension of combining short stories with original compositions with lyrics. In the end, the music side of the project was never released but it opened me up to a whole new word of creation and expression. In 2016 I published the nine stories as Nickels & Dimes and other stories and am so thankful for what they taught me about creating art and sharing ideas and emotions.

    In the last four years I have been writing a three part novel entitled Abraham. The story takes place in Berlin and tells the story of a vibrationist, a person who creates vibrations in ceremonies that take place in temples where the gathered come to drink bliss and experience the rituals.  And that's just the beginning.

    The best periods right now are when I can write consecutively everyday even if it is just a sentence. Many times I am as surprised as a would-be reader would be at what comes out. I am very much looking forward to sharing it in another few years when it is ready.

    This year I also began writing a non-fiction book called The Pyramid Ritual that will explore a warm-up and learning method that I have been developing for the last few years with some of my students. I would also like to incorporate stories and experiences from my past that directly concern drumming and music in general. So my mornings are busy. ;o)

If you're curious, you can buy a printed/ebook edition of the first set of stories here.

Book cover design and image By: Ylva Neuwmann

Video Image Creator in a Theatrical Setting

    I hold too much respect for film makers and theater artists to ever pretend to put myself in their sphere... But I can't help myself from wanting to dabble a bit. 

    I was lucky enough to have a day job in NYC in the 90's working as a stage hand and lighting technician in a theater and learned a lot of the creative tricks of the trade. Recently in my cross-medium project build-i-n-g, all of this is flooding out and my intention is to start creating short, experimental films that take place in a theatrical setting where the sets, built from recycled materials are created, destroyed and used again as each scene is filmed. The protagonists also create the sound track in the moment of being filmed. The sounds created are then layered and built upon in the editing process.

    Luckily, this past summer I was able to begin this process and am very excited to share the first fruits of this new mixture of media soon. 

 Formal EPK in English and German here
 
 
 
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VIDEOS

Muladhara : Microcosm [Build-i-n-g] Muladhara Rising (Live version)
Greta Knows [Split Bit] Live version
Castrates vince contro illuminates [Asociacion Libre Orkesta]

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© 2020 by Joe Smith