Sunday, July 20, 2008

Joshua Fried's Radio Wonderland @ The Stone 7/19/08

I was intrigued to see what this was. I had very little idea based on the description. I thought I'd do this and then Banjo Jim's, but I bailed after this show due to being sick of the heat. I'd been out all day and I wasn't sure what kind of AC Banjo Jim's has. I just wasn't prepared to find out and didn't feel like drinking.

This was very interesting. It was pretty crowded. I got my front row seat and found out that the first 2 rows on both sides were mainly taken up by NYU students in a Music Technology class. They've been having various speakers come in and now they are going to a few shows. They are going to Stomp tonight. I got a little nostalgic for my college days.

It started with Joshua Fried walking up from the back with a boombox and he was fiddling with the radio stations. He kept changing the station like he was looking for something good. He briefly got a Led Zeppelin tune and my automatic reaction was "leave it there!". Talk about flashbacks! I remember that one summer after my Freshman year in college I went back to my Mom's in the summer and my sister and I shared a car. We got along pretty well with it and we had a deal when we were both in the car. If we were searching around the stations and got a song one of us liked, we had to leave it there. I remember she was reluctant to go down to WMMR and WYSP because there was a good chance one of my songs would be on and that it would continue to be good for me until commercial. Hey, I can't help it if there was an abundance of excellent music on the radio back then. They now call it "classic rock" but back then it was just called "rock" and it was mainly the great stuff from the 60s and 70s. It was the 80s, so there wasn't very much good contemporary music then.

Anyway, besides the nostalgia element, this guy was pretty cool to watch. He eventually hooked the boombox up to his system and took a small sample of something. Then he would just keep building off of it. I think he had some other sample already in there, so he was working with 2 original recordings, I think.

He turned it into a whole DJ set with his unusual system. If he turned the steering wheel, he could adjust the tempo. Sometimes he'd get the sound of a race car zooming, I'm not sure how he did that, but maybe it was something with the speeded tempo or something already programmed in. He had 3 or 4 black shoes turned over on a stand. He hit the heels with drumsticks and different sounds would emerge depending on which sole he hit and how he hit it.

Later he took another sample from the radio. It was a classical bit. He turned that into a huge funky DJ thing.

He also had a pedal that made a different kind of sound. It seemed like he was programming all of these different sounds and the way it worked into his laptop on the spot. It was impressive.

Then he called a trumpet player to the stage. Well, this was actually 2 trumpets stuck together somehow. One had a mettle muffler thing on it. In between both was a circuit board. Everything was hooked up to a laptop. This was the most electric trumpet thing ever. It did make regular trumpet sounds, but there were also some crazy sounds that were fitting in with Joshua when he put it in a different mode and hit the valves.

Quite unusual. I think I liked it for something different. I'm glad to see I've opened up a bit, as I'm not sure I would have liked it at another point in the past.

Joshua Fried's Radio Wonderland
Joshua Fried (shoes, steering wheel, boombox, laptop, programming)
Joshua Fried's RADIO WONDERLAND turns a live FM feed into recombinant funk, all controlled by an actual steering wheel, old shoes and laptop--all LIVE.

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