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The FreeSessions by Lakebottom Sound
First Sundays at Imagine Nation Brewing Company
6:00 - 8:00pm
About:

The FreeSessions is an improvised music jam session to promote collaboration amongst musicians in Missoula across genres and ages. Our aim is to cultivate a healthy musical eco-system in Missoula. We are fostering a climate of improvisation, transcending musical styles and structures. This session is to encourage active listening among all participants and a full acceptance of all musicians. It is a place to grow your musicality and yourself.

The FreeSessions is an incubation ground for new musical projects and collaborations. Every month a curator presents a new piece of music or concept or improvisation for the first 30 minutes.

The FreeSessions occur on the first Sunday of the month at Imagine Nation Brewing Company.

How it works:

Following the curator’s presentation, participants are invited to be a part of group improvisations throughout the rest of the evening. To participate, please sign up upon arrival. Session facilitators will help arrange groups. The curator may or may not set a theme to guide the improvisations.

We encourage participants to read the curator’s blog post prior to the session.

Melanie Sehman Presents Sunday, June 6th (FreeSessions + Racer Sessions = Zoom Sessions)

On the first Sunday of every month from 6-7pm (MST), the Racer Sessions (Seattle) and the FreeSessions unite to host a collaborative session on Zoom! A new featured artist presents a short set to begin the session, followed by a free-improv-based jam session that is open to all. Each month’s opening performer will also choose a social justice organization or cause that we will learn more about and direct donations toward for the month.

ZOOM Link for Sunday’s session: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82014908204?pwd=Mmdoc1RxajQweitXbUo5dTVXNStWZz09 Meeting ID: 820 1490 8204

/ / /

Melanie’s Blog Post:

“This past year for me has been an exercise in minimalism and reduction – reducing my life down to its essentials.

At its most basic has been caring for people. It has also meant an opportunity to pause and reflect. But now, spring augurs

growth, embellishment, curiosity, listening, learning. Let us embellish.”

— Melanie Sehman

/ / /

Melanie Sehman is a drummer, percussionist and educator who enjoys performing in a wide variety of styles. A classical percussionist by training, she specializes in experimental and contemporary music that explores improvisation, gesture, the relationships between music, text and the physical experiences of sound.

Session donations this month will be directed towards the National Women’s Law Center: https://nwlc.org

Following Melanie’s set, the organizers will facilitate an open jam session until 6pm PST for anyone who would like to improvise!

Meeting ID: 820 1490 8204

Passcode: 965056

One tap mobile

+12532158782,,82014908204#,,,,*965056# US (Tacoma)

+13462487799,,82014908204#,,,,*965056# US (Houston)

Dial by your location

+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)

Meeting ID: 820 1490 8204

Passcode: 965056

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbJvVKHhZc

ZOOM AUDIO SETTINGS RECOMMENDATIONS:

0) TURN ON ORIGINAL SOUND! (details below)

1) Use a laptop if possible (not a phone or a tablet).

a. Use headphones when playing with other people.

b. Use external mic if available.

2) Preferences/Settings → Audio

a. Turn OFF: “Automatically adjust microphone volume.”

b. Adjust Input Volume. You can click “Test Mic” to hear how it sounds.

c. Turn ON: ‘Show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone.’

d. If you are using an ethernet cable, turn ON: ‘High fidelity music mode.’

e. If you are using headphones, turn OFF: ‘Echo cancellation.’

f. If you are using a stereo capable microphone or audio interface, turn ON: ‘Stereo audio.’ Ethernet cable recommended when using this setting.

3) Turn on Original Sound!

a. Turn it on in the top left of the meeting; if it’s on, it should read “Turn Off Original Sound.”

4) If possible, connect to the internet with an Ethernet cable, not WiFi.

Modality Presents Sunday, May 2nd (FreeSessions + Racer Sessions = Zoom Sessions)

On the first Sunday of every month from 6-7pm (MST), the Racer Sessions (Seattle) and the FreeSessions unite to host a collaborative session on Zoom! A new featured artist presents a short set to begin the session, followed by a free-improv-based jam session that is open to all. Each month’s opening performer will also choose a social justice organization or cause that we will learn more about and direct donations toward for the month.

ZOOM Link for Sunday’s session:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89904653148?pwd=MkREVnlhRWYwdmQ0SHZRM1h4bXVIdz09

Meeting ID: 899 0465 3148     Passcode: 878637

/ / /

Modality’s’s Blog Post:

The 4 members of Modality have been living in 3 different cities since
2013, and so we were veterans at playing telematically when the
pandemic hit. We’ve used several types of software and found that we
can write, practice, and even perform with relatively low latency.
Still, low latency is not zero latency, and it can be challenging to
hit marks at times. Our process has always involved harvesting and
developing musical ideas born from improvisations, and interestingly
the technology has yielded some happy accidents where we realize
listening back to a practice that the shift in timing adds something
more than playing it straight up and down. Much of our music moves
between beat driven, pop/rock-adjacent songs informed by electronic
and global rhythms, and more ambient, experimental sonic excursions
that rely on chance, improvisation, and technology. The performance we
are sharing with you is from the recent conference held by the Society
for Electro-Acoustic Music in the US (SEAMUS) and reflects this
duality of our approach, and features the benefits and limitations of
playing live over the internet.

In the session, we invite players to listen to the digital hiccups,
timing lags, and other issues we’ve all had with Zoom over the past
year as opportunities for creative expression and enjoyment, rather as
barriers to our expected norms for musical communication.

/ / /

Following Modality’s set, the organizers will facilitate an open jam session until 6pm PST for anyone who would like to improvise!

 

 

One tap mobile

+12532158782,,89904653148#,,,,*878637# US (Tacoma)

+13462487799,,89904653148#,,,,*878637# US (Houston)

Dial by your location

+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)

+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

Meeting ID: 899 0465 3148

Passcode: 878637

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbeAmR4283

ZOOM AUDIO SETTINGS RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. TURN ON ORIGINAL SOUND! (details below)

2. Use a laptop if possible (not a phone or a tablet)

a. Use headphones when playing with other people

b. Use external mic if available

3. Preferences/Settings —> Audio

a. Turn OFF: “Automatically adjust microphone volume.”

b. Adjust Input Volume. You can click “Test Mic” to hear how it sounds.

c. Turn ON: ‘Show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone.’

d. If you are using an ethernet cable, turn ON: ‘High fidelity music mode.’

e. If you are using headphones, turn OFF: ‘Echo cancellation.’

f. If you are using a stereo capable microphone or audio interface, turn ON: ‘Stereo audio.’ Ethernet cable recommended when using this setting.

4. Turn on Original Sound!

a. Turn it on in the top left of the meeting; if it’s on, it should read “Turn off Original Sound”

5. If possible, connect to the internet with an Ethernet cable, not WiFi

Neil Welch Presents Sunday, April 4th (FreeSessions + Racer Sessions = Zoom Sessions)

On the first Sunday of every month from 6-7pm (MST), the Racer Sessions (Seattle) and the FreeSessions unite to host a collaborative session on Zoom! A new featured artist presents a short set to begin the session, followed by a free-improv-based jam session that is open to all. Each month’s opening performer will also choose a social justice organization or cause that we will learn more about and direct donations toward for the month.

ZOOM Link for Sunday’s session: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88447984950  Meeting ID: 884 4798 4950

/ / /

Neil’s Blog Post:

Racer heads, this afternoon I have four pieces I’d like to share with you, played on soprano, tenor and bass saxes. At the beginning of the pandemic, I had high hopes for myself to create a new composition that was truly my best work possible. I thought of this as the kind of piece I could write “if I only had the time.” Well, this grand new piece remains locked up tight inside me. My mind won’t go there, my hands won’t play it and the staff paper more often than not remains blank. What has come to fruition though was a slow but steady realization that with time now retooled, I can learn to cultivate patience with my music-making, spot periods of eagerness to create, trust those inclinations, and often some small solo saxophone offering will bubble up. These improvs have started to feel like little time capsules among the gravity of the COVID era. This Sunday, I’d like to share with you 4 such examples. These are all pieces recorded in the past week or two. They are my small offering in the warping of our space/time which is right here, right now.

Your daily friend,
-Neil Welch

Neil also has provided us with a prompt idea for the jam to follow:

For our jam to follow the opening set, please consider specific artistic areas that have helped to foster your creativity during this difficult period in our lives. What specific musical concepts, personal reflections, actions or artistic mindsets have helped you weather this storm? I would love it if a few volunteers could share something specific with us that might help inform the musical direction of a handful of group improvisations.

/ / /

Neil has chosen the North Helpline as this month’s beneficiary! Read more below and please donate if you are able:

The North Helpline is a social service center and food bank located in North Seattle’s Lake City neighborhood. The North Helpline “believes that all deserve adequate food, housing, and respect. We assist our neighbors in obtaining basic needs that affirm their human dignity and worth.”
https://www.northhelpline.org/get-involved/donate-money/

Following Neil’s set, the organizers will facilitate an open jam session until 6pm PST for anyone who would like to improvise!

One tap mobile

+12532158782,,88447984950# US (Tacoma)

+13462487799,,88447984950# US (Houston)

Dial by your location

        +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)

        +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)

        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

        +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

Meeting ID: 884 4798 4950

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kb5TYo3tHN

 

ZOOM AUDIO SETTINGS RECOMMENDATIONS:

0) TURN ON ORIGINAL SOUND! (details below)

1) Use a laptop if possible (not a phone or a tablet).

a. Use headphones when playing with other people.

b. Use external mic if available.

2) Preferences/Settings → Audio

a. Turn OFF: “Automatically adjust microphone volume.”

b. Adjust Input Volume. You can click “Test Mic” to hear how it sounds.

c. Turn ON: ‘Show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone.’

d. If you are using an ethernet cable, turn ON: ‘High fidelity music mode.’

e. If you are using headphones, turn OFF: ‘Echo cancellation.’

f. If you are using a stereo capable microphone or audio interface, turn ON: ‘Stereo audio.’ Ethernet cable recommended when using this setting.

3) Turn on Original Sound!

a. Turn it on in the top left of the meeting; if it’s on, it should read “Turn Off Original Sound.”

4) If possible, connect to the internet with an Ethernet cable, not WiFi.

Jenni Long and London Bauman Present Sunday, March 7th (FreeSessions + Racer Sessions = Zoom Sessions)

On the first Sunday of every month from 6-7pm (MST), the Racer Sessions (Seattle) and the FreeSessions unite to host a collaborative session on Zoom! A new featured artist presents a short set to begin the session, followed by a free-improv-based jam session that is open to all. Each month’s opening performer will also choose a social justice organization or cause that we will learn more about and direct donations toward for the month.

ZOOM Link for Sunday’s session: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85752271101?pwd=UmxLNFZlcC83UDI1cmlYQ3p2ZVU4QT09
Meeting ID: 857 5227 1101
Passcode: 834146

This month Missoula to Portland transplant Jenni Long and Portland-based musician London Bauman will be curating. They have chosen to highlight the Black Trans Femmes in the Arts Collective as this month’s beneficiary: https://www.btfacollective.org

We encourage you to contribute if you are able!

Following Jenni and London’s set, the organizers will facilitate an open jam session until 6pm PST for anyone who would like to improvise solo or with others.

Jenni’s Blog Post:

Over the past few months London and I have been writing music together by bringing in our individual unfinished songs, which we had previously shown no one, and helping each other finish them. The resulting sound was some mixture of folk rock, lofi, and emo. I’ve noticed that just by playing and talking through a song with another person that they usually can see immediately where and how to fill in the gaps, and vice versa. What ended up happening was when we let go of a specific desired outcome, creating with another person became a pretty effortless process. In this session we invite the players to connect with the person they’re playing music with by focusing on what they’re bringing to the table, sonically and creatively.

 

One tap mobile
+12532158782,,85752271101#,,,,*834146# US (Tacoma)
+16699006833,,85752271101#,,,,*834146# US (San Jose)

Dial by your location
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 857 5227 1101
Passcode: 834146
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kcmsShKURs

ZOOM AUDIO SETTINGS RECOMMENDATIONS:

0) TURN ON ORIGINAL SOUND! (details below)

1) Use a laptop if possible (not a phone or a tablet).

a. Use headphones when playing with other people.

b. Use external mic if available.

2) Preferences/Settings → Audio

a. Turn OFF: “Automatically adjust microphone volume.”

b. Adjust Input Volume. You can click “Test Mic” to hear how it sounds.

c. Turn ON: ‘Show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone.’

d. If you are using an ethernet cable, turn ON: ‘High fidelity music mode.’

e. If you are using headphones, turn OFF: ‘Echo cancellation.’

f. If you are using a stereo capable microphone or audio interface, turn ON: ‘Stereo audio.’ Ethernet cable recommended when using this setting.

3) Turn on Original Sound!

a. Turn it on in the top left of the meeting; if it’s on, it should read “Turn Off Original Sound.”

4) If possible, connect to the internet with an Ethernet cable, not WiFi.

Ryan Beckley and Carmen Rothwell Present Sunday, February 7th (FreeSessions + Racer Sessions = Zoom Sessions)

On the first Sunday of every month from 6-7pm (MST), the Racer Sessions (Seattle) and the FreeSessions unite to host a collaborative session on Zoom! A new featured artist presents a short set to begin the session, followed by a free-improv-based jam session that is open to all. Each month’s opening performer will also choose a social justice organization or cause that we will learn more about and direct donations toward for the month.

ZOOM Link for Sunday’s session: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85481988199?pwd=TzhjSVJ4QTVFdnc4QkpEdkdXNHNhQT09

Meeting ID: 854 8198 8199
Passcode: 784810

This month two long-time friends of the Racer Sessions, Ryan Beckley and Carmen Rothwell, will be presenting.

 

https://carmenrothwell.com/

https://screeband.bandcamp.com/

They have chosen to highlight this fundraiser as this month’s beneficiary:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/welcome-home-rodney-after-40-years

We encourage you to contribute if you are able!

Following Ryan and Carmen’s set, the organizers will facilitate an open jam session until 6pm PST for anyone who would like to improvise solo or with others.

One tap mobile
+12532158782,,85481988199#,,,,*784810# US (Tacoma)
+16699006833,,85481988199#,,,,*784810# US (San Jose)

Dial by your location
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
Meeting ID: 854 8198 8199
Passcode: 784810
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbIP4GQxFf

ZOOM AUDIO SETTINGS RECOMMENDATIONS:

0) TURN ON ORIGINAL SOUND! (details below)

1) Use a laptop if possible (not a phone or a tablet).

a. Use headphones when playing with other people.

b. Use external mic if available.

2) Preferences/Settings → Audio

a. Turn OFF: “Automatically adjust microphone volume.”

b. Adjust Input Volume. You can click “Test Mic” to hear how it sounds.

c. Turn ON: ‘Show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone.’

d. If you are using an ethernet cable, turn ON: ‘High fidelity music mode.’

e. If you are using headphones, turn OFF: ‘Echo cancellation.’

f. If you are using a stereo capable microphone or audio interface, turn ON: ‘Stereo audio.’ Ethernet cable recommended when using this setting.

3) Turn on Original Sound!

a. Turn it on in the top left of the meeting; if it’s on, it should read “Turn Off Original Sound.”

4) If possible, connect to the internet with an Ethernet cable, not WiFi.

Cole Grant and Lhanna Writesel Present Sunday, January 3rd (FreeSessions + Racer Sessions = Zoom Sessions)

The first Sunday of every month, FreeSessions will unite to host a free improv opening set and jam session on Zoom in collaboration with the Racer Sessions of Seattle. Each month’s opening performer will choose a social justice organization that we will learn more about and direct donations toward for the month.

Meeting ID: 867 5640 7230
Passcode: 885690

Check out suggested Zoom settings below for optimal participation.

Cole’s Blog Post:

We’ve chosen to highlight the ACLU of Montana as this month’s beneficiary. Since 1972, they’ve consistently fought for the underserved and underrepresented in Big Sky Country. Learn more here – https://www.aclumontana.org/

///

New Beginnings: An Improvisational Duet for Alto Sax and Bass Guitar

A fresh start. A breath of fresh air. Something different. We all need it.

Stress. Joy. Uncertainty. Light at the end of the tunnel. Unexpected bright spots. These are some of the emotions Lhanna Writesel and I will touch on during our improv.

We want to say goodbye to 2020, and conjure up as much positive energy as we can for the year ahead.

We will film Jan. 2nd, to capture the spirit of the new year, and premiere the next day.

///

Cole Grant is a Missoula, MT based bassist and composer. He is a member of the bands Transcendental Express and Red Onion Purple.

Lhanna Writesel is a Missoula, MT based saxophonist. She is a member of the indie rock/ hip hop band Letter B.

 

ZOOM AUDIO SETTINGS SUGGESTIONS

(these instructions are tailored to the latest version of Zoom)

0) TURN ON ORIGINAL SOUND! (details below)

1) Use a laptop if possible (not a phone or a tablet)

a. Use headphones when playing with other people

b. Use external mic if available

2) Settings → Audio

a. Turn OFF: Automatically adjust microphone volume

b. Adjust microphone level

c. Optionally: turn ON “Enable stereo” (this options needs to be activated first on your zoom account)

3) Settings → Audio → Advanced

a. Turn ON: ‘Show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone’

b. If you are using headphones, turn ON: ‘Disable echo cancellation’

c. If you are using an ethernet cable, turn ON: ‘High fidelity music mode’

4) Turn on Original Sound!

a. Turn it on in the top left of the meeting; if it’s on, it should read “Turn off Original Sound”

5) If possible, connect to the internet with an Ethernet cable, not WiFi


ZOOM AUDIO SETTINGS SUGGESTIONS (for older version):

0) TURN ON ORIGINAL SOUND! (details below)

1) Use a laptop if possible (not a phone or a tablet)

a. Use headphones when playing with other people

b. Use external mic if available

2) Settings → Audio

a. Turn OFF: Automatically adjust microphone volume

b. Adjust microphone level

c. Optionally: turn ON “Enable stereo” (this options needs to be activated first on your zoom account)

3) Settings → Audio → Advanced

a. Turn on: ‘show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone’

b. Disable: both Background Noise options

c. Echo Cancellation: Auto

4) Turn on Original Sound!

a. Turn it on in the top left of the meeting; if it’s on, it should read “Turn off Original Sound”

5) If possible, connect to the internet with an Ethernet cable, not WiFi

Patrick Shiroishi presents Sunday, December 6th (FreeSessions + Racer Sessions = Zoom Sessions)

The first Sunday of every month, FreeSessions will unite to host a free improv opening set and jam session on Zoom in collaboration with the Racer Sessions of Seattle. Each month’s opening performer will choose a social justice organization that we will learn more about and direct donations toward for the month.

Check out suggested Zoom settings below for optimal participation.

Patrick’s Blog Post:

Since LA winters are not too bad, I recorded the set in my aunts backyard.  At this point of development/playing in quarantine, I am interested in trying to find different ways of expanding extended techniques for the horn.  Sam Newsome, who was featured as this year’s SIMF, does a fantastic job of doing this and is very inspirational during this “at home” time of listening and learning.

 

The organization that I’d like to donate to is Streetwatchers LA (https://streetwatchla.com/).  Homelessness has been increasing in LA and already up 13% percent since last year and projected to increase due to covid and the economy.  The organization’s goal is to build solidarity with other housing rights and police monitoring organizations in LA to pressure elected officials, property owners and city employees to immediately cease their inhumane treatment of low income and unhoused peoples.

 

 

Patrick Shiroishi is a Japanese-American multi-instrumentalist based in Los Angeles. He explores solo saxophone in acoustic and electronic settings, as well as in several improvising units. He leads an instrumental quintet Black Sun Sutra and collaborates in brutal prog unit Upsilon Acrux, Zeuhl Band Corima as well as the sax-drum duos in the Womb & Oort Smog. He has toured the United States as well as Europe. Shirioshi has also played at the Rock in Opposition festival alongside Magma.

 

ZOOM AUDIO SETTINGS SUGGESTIONS: (These instructions are tailored to the latest version of Zoom as of 9/5/2020 — you may want to check that your software is up to date!)

0) TURN ON ORIGINAL SOUND! (details below)

1) Use a laptop if possible (not a phone or a tablet)

a. Use headphones when playing with other people

b. Use external mic if available

2) Settings → Audio

a. Turn OFF: Automatically adjust microphone volume

b. Adjust microphone level

c. Optionally: turn ON “Enable stereo” (this options needs to be activated first on your zoom account)

3) Settings → Audio → Advanced

a. Turn ON: ‘Show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone’

b. If you are using headphones, turn ON: ‘Disable echo cancellation’

c. If you are using an ethernet cable, turn ON: ‘High fidelity music mode’

4) Turn on Original Sound!

a. Turn it on in the top left of the meeting; if it’s on, it should read “Turn off Original Sound”

5) If possible, connect to the internet with an Ethernet cable, not WiFi

ZOOM AUDIO SETTINGS SUGGESTIONS (for older version):

0) TURN ON ORIGINAL SOUND! (details below)

1) Use a laptop if possible (not a phone or a tablet)

a. Use headphones when playing with other people

b. Use external mic if available

2) Settings → Audio

a. Turn OFF: Automatically adjust microphone volume

b. Adjust microphone level

c. Optionally: turn ON “Enable stereo” (this options needs to be activated first on your zoom account)

3) Settings → Audio → Advanced

a. Turn on: ‘show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone’

b. Disable: both Background Noise options

c. Echo Cancellation: Auto

4) Turn on Original Sound!

a. Turn it on in the top left of the meeting; if it’s on, it should read “Turn off Original Sound”

5) If possible, connect to the internet with an Ethernet cable, not WiFi

Emily Silks presents Sunday, November 1 (FreeSessions + Racer Sessions = Zoom Sessions)

The first Sunday of every month, FreeSessions will unite to host a free improv opening set and jam session on Zoom in collaboration with the Racer Sessions of Seattle. Each month’s opening performer will choose a social justice organization that we will learn more about and direct donations toward for the month.

ZOOM Link for Sunday’s session: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/2412259024

Check out suggested Zoom settings below for optimal participation.

Emily’s blog post:

As a fairly recent transplant from Missoula to Seattle, Racer Sessions and FreeSessions are close to home. I treasure how this project and the community embodies acceptance and exploration. Every session I attend leaves me renewed in my understanding of presence and the art of improvisation. 

I chose to highlight the NAACP this month because of their historic, longstanding dedication to securing equality and eliminating race-based discrimination. As one of the leading civil rights organizations, it is important to acknowledge not only the work the NAACP has already accomplished but also the ways in which we can now help with the work still left to do. Learn more at: https://www.naacp.org/take-action/

///

In this curation, I explore the dynamics between isolation and ensemble in an improvised piece for midi keyboard, electric guitar, and snare drum. 

During the last few weeks, I’ve archived my sonic environment during moments when I am alone  – studying for classes, reading, cooking breakfast, sitting outside my house with a morning cup of joe, responding to emails in my bedroom.

I use those recordings to layer, sample, remix, and improvise upon moments of isolation in order to create a collective ensemble.

It is my intention to speak not only to the efforts involved in maintaining joy while subsumed in months of isolation but also to the ways in which feeling alone is still a feeling full of life even while we are apart from others in time and space. 

I ask each group in the open jam session to also consider the intersection of isolation and ensemble as they improvise. 

///

Emily Silks (she/her) was born and raised in New Mexico and is now a Seattle based musician and a graduate student in the ethnomusicology department at the University of Washington. She earned her undergraduate degree in percussion performance from the University of Montana in 2018 and is recognized both as a Presser Foundation Scholar and a University Scholar.

 

ZOOM AUDIO SETTINGS SUGGESTIONS: (These instructions are tailored to the latest version of Zoom as of 9/5/2020 — you may want to check that your software is up to date!)

0) TURN ON ORIGINAL SOUND! (details below)

1) Use a laptop if possible (not a phone or a tablet)

a. Use headphones when playing with other people

b. Use external mic if available

2) Settings → Audio

a. Turn OFF: Automatically adjust microphone volume

b. Adjust microphone level

c. Optionally: turn ON “Enable stereo” (this options needs to be activated first on your zoom account)

3) Settings → Audio → Advanced

a. Turn ON: ‘Show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone’

b. If you are using headphones, turn ON: ‘Disable echo cancellation’

c. If you are using an ethernet cable, turn ON: ‘High fidelity music mode’

4) Turn on Original Sound!

a. Turn it on in the top left of the meeting; if it’s on, it should read “Turn off Original Sound”

5) If possible, connect to the internet with an Ethernet cable, not WiFi

ZOOM AUDIO SETTINGS SUGGESTIONS (for older version):

0) TURN ON ORIGINAL SOUND! (details below)

1) Use a laptop if possible (not a phone or a tablet)

a. Use headphones when playing with other people

b. Use external mic if available

2) Settings → Audio

a. Turn OFF: Automatically adjust microphone volume

b. Adjust microphone level

c. Optionally: turn ON “Enable stereo” (this options needs to be activated first on your zoom account)

3) Settings → Audio → Advanced

a. Turn on: ‘show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone’

b. Disable: both Background Noise options

c. Echo Cancellation: Auto

4) Turn on Original Sound!

a. Turn it on in the top left of the meeting; if it’s on, it should read “Turn off Original Sound”

5) If possible, connect to the internet with an Ethernet cable, not WiFi

Nick Dunston presents Sunday, October 4 (FreeSessions + Racer Sessions = Zoom Sessions)

The first Sunday of every month, FreeSessions will unite to host a free improv opening set and jam session on Zoom in collaboration with the Racer Sessions of Seattle. Each month’s opening performer will choose a social justice organization that we will learn more about and direct donations toward for the month.

ZOOM Link for Sunday’s session: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87329512055

 

We’re excited that our second session of the season will be with Nick Dunston of Brooklyn, currently based in Berlin, Germany!

Nick Dunston is a composer, improviser, and instrumentalist. An “indispensable player on the New York avant-garde” (New York Times), his performances have also spanned a variety of venues and festivals across North America and Europe. He’s performed, toured, and recorded professionally with bands led by artists such as Vijay Iyer, Marc Ribot, Ches Smith, Imani Uzuri, Ingrid Laubrock, Tyshawn Sorey, Anna Webber, Amirtha Kidambi, Amir ElSaffar, Allison Miller, and Darius Jones.
Nick will be presenting new music on his Electro-Acoustic-Theremin (EAT) Banjo. This will be his first “performance” with that instrument, as he steps deeper into the world of instrument-building.

Nick has chosen the amazing Third Wave Fund as this month’s organization of focus! Third Wave Fund is an activist fund led by and for women of color, intersex, queer, and trans people under 35 years of age. They work to ensure that young folks are decision-makers at the cutting edge of philanthropy where they are commonly absent.

For more information on Nick: http://www.nickdunston.org
For more information on TWF: http://www.thirdwavefund.org/index.html

ZOOM AUDIO SETTINGS SUGGESTIONS: (These instructions are tailored to the latest version of Zoom as of 9/5/2020 — you may want to check that your software is up to date!)

0) TURN ON ORIGINAL SOUND! (details below)

1) Use a laptop if possible (not a phone or a tablet)

a. Use headphones when playing with other people

b. Use external mic if available

2) Settings → Audio

a. Turn OFF: Automatically adjust microphone volume

b. Adjust microphone level

c. Optionally: turn ON “Enable stereo” (this options needs to be activated first on your zoom account)

3) Settings → Audio → Advanced

a. Turn ON: ‘Show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone’

b. If you are using headphones, turn ON: ‘Disable echo cancellation’

c. If you are using an ethernet cable, turn ON: ‘High fidelity music mode’

4) Turn on Original Sound!

a. Turn it on in the top left of the meeting; if it’s on, it should read “Turn off Original Sound”

5) If possible, connect to the internet with an Ethernet cable, not WiFi

ZOOM AUDIO SETTINGS SUGGESTIONS (for older version):

0) TURN ON ORIGINAL SOUND! (details below)

1) Use a laptop if possible (not a phone or a tablet)

a. Use headphones when playing with other people

b. Use external mic if available

2) Settings → Audio

a. Turn OFF: Automatically adjust microphone volume

b. Adjust microphone level

c. Optionally: turn ON “Enable stereo” (this options needs to be activated first on your zoom account)

3) Settings → Audio → Advanced

a. Turn on: ‘show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone’

b. Disable: both Background Noise options

c. Echo Cancellation: Auto

4) Turn on Original Sound!

a. Turn it on in the top left of the meeting; if it’s on, it should read “Turn off Original Sound”

5) If possible, connect to the internet with an Ethernet cable, not WiFi

Ed Stalling & John Sporman present Sunday, September 6 – FreeSessions resume collaboration with the Racer Sessions for the Zoom Sessions Online

From the organizers:

We are excited to resume our monthly sessions this Sunday 9/6 in collaboration with Seattle’s Racer Sessions online. Online sessions will go from 6-7pm MT. We’ll feature a curator for the first 15 minutes, and open up to improvisations from the community after that. Every month we will highlight and donate to a racial justice organization, encouraging our community to support this organization as well. We are supporting racial justice organizations in order to honor and recognize the profound influence of Black music on our community and the systemic way Black people have not been properly supported by the music industry and our general society. We feel it is important to catalyze our privilege as a community to support Black people and other marginalized communities.

For September, the curators have chosen to highlight the Southern Poverty Law Center. Read the blog post below for more information. Find suggestions below the blog post for optimizing Zoom audio settings.

Sunday, September 6, 6pm MT Zoom link for the session: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82572053587

Blog post by Ed Stalling:

Combined Racer Session (Seattle) & FreeSession (Lakebottom Sound, Missoula) 

September 6, 2020

FreeSessions’ aim is to use improvisation to help bridge the different “scenes” that exist across genres in Missoula.  Sunday’s opening is just that:  two artists from different “scenes” coming together to improvise a piece they call “Through The Window.”

Ed Stalling and John Sporman are no stranger to the Montana music scene.  Combined, they perform over 250 gigs a year in a wide variety of groups, genres and settings. 

Multi-instrumentalist John Sporman creates and performs with national touring groups (currently with Wylie and The Wild West), local bands (Tom Catmull and Clerics, Shahs, NextDoorPrisonHotel, Avant-Garde Alliance), and also writes scores for films, silent movies and dance pieces.  

Percussionist Ed Stalling has been described as having “huge ears and an even larger command of subtle dynamics.”  His performance experience crosses genres ranging from pit-orchestras and big bands to traditional Brazilian combos, covering all points on the musical compass.

They will present an improvisational piece called “Through The Window”

 

Through The Window

    

Many of us across the world have loved ones in nursing homes.  We put our hands together on windows — generations separated by glass.  On one side, those at the end of their lives; having lived through the great depression, a world war, the turmoil of the 60’s.  On the other side, their grown kids, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  Unable to hug or hold hands, communications fraught by bad hearing and dementia, it’s a sad meeting of confusion, frustration, and sadness. 

I’m at such a window in Missoula with my 97-year old mother-in-law.  Pictures alone can’t express how surreal it is so we’ll try music.  We’ll have an improvisational musical conversation exploring: What is it like?  To be confused, tired, isolated, 97 years old, looking out a window at your daughter, your grandkids, your great-grandkids, not quite knowing why they can’t come in and what’s happening.

Invest in Social Justice:

We want to Spotlight and encourage donating to SPLC, The Southern Poverty Law Center.  Hate groups are using social media to grow hate, and this is a group that is a counter-balance to them.  They fight hate from three angles:

  1. They monitor hate groups and other extremists throughout the US and expose their activities to the public, the media and law enforcement.
  2. They Teach Tolerance by providing educational resources to teachers that emphasize anti-bias and social justice — encourages children and young people to challenge prejudice and learn how to be agents of change in their own lives. 
  3. They stand up for the powerless, the exploited and other victims of discrimination and hate.  With a staff of more than 100 lawyers and advocates, SPLC focuses on impact litigation in these practice areas: Children’s RightsEconomic JusticeImmigrant JusticeLGBTQ Rights, Voting Rights, and Criminal Justice Reform.

SPLC also gets the highest rating from Charity Navigator — meaning they are a well-managed, efficient, reputable not-for-profit.

 

ZOOM AUDIO SETTINGS SUGGESTIONS:

0) TURN ON ORIGINAL SOUND! (details below)

1) Use a laptop if possible (not a phone or a tablet)

a. Use headphones when playing with other people

b. Use external mic if available

2) Settings → Audio

a. Turn OFF: Automatically adjust microphone volume

b. Adjust microphone level

c. Optionally: turn ON “Enable stereo” (this options needs to be activated first on your zoom account)

3) Settings → Audio → Advanced

a. Turn on: ‘show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone’

b. Disable: both Background Noise options

c. Echo Cancellation: Auto

4) Turn on Original Sound!

a. Turn it on in the top left of the meeting; if it’s on, it should read “Turn off Original Sound”

5) If possible, connect to the internet with an Ethernet cable, not WiFi