I’ve had quite the month. For the most part, I’ve been on a bus tour of Europe with the Bedroom Community label (Iceland). This label is unique in that the organizing principle is not really style or genre so much as quality, or interest or something.
In the words of the label, Bedroom Community consists of:
“Like-minded, yet diverse individuals from different corners of the globe who all creatively orbit around an inconspicuous building and its inhabitants on the outskirts of Reykjavik Iceland- Greenhouse Studios where the music is mostly created.”
The tour consisted of four artists: Ben Frost, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Nico Muhly, and Sam Amidon, backed up by a quartet of wonderful musicians, all playing each other’s music in a big, mixed-up show. What a blast!
Also, there’s this volcano. We had to cancel four shows at the beginning of the tour, I had a crazy scenic overnight flight to the northern airport in Akureyri, and right now, I’m stranded in Reykjavik.
As frustrated as I am to be missing wonderful shows and work in New York, this is NOT a bad place to be stranded. I’m staying at Greenhouse, Valgeir’s studio. Days pretty much consist of drinking coffee, using ample internet and somehow getting a crazy quantity of work done. Sunsets this time of year last about three hours. There’s this wonderful tradition of going to the municipal geo-thermally heated pools to soak, steam and swim, and Icelanders take going out on the weekends really, really seriously.
Another positive thing about the volcano, volcanic ash sells merch! (once packaged in shady-looking baggies, apparently.) Our bass player, Borgar Magnason braved the lava and gave us a plentiful supply of ash for promotional purposes. We appropriately sold out before our final Reykjavik show.
There’s something so luxurious about touring with really excellent, diverse artists. Coming from such a classical background, my work with Bedroom Community has profoundly affected my understanding of what makes a good musician, what makes good music, and what makes for a strong collaboration. The amazing things about these artists is not simply technical strength (although they are all really wonderfully accomplished this way) but the way they are able to retain the genius of their individual voices while interacting with each other and enhancing their work by each others' knowledge and ingenuity. This music is NOT created by a committee. There is a strong sense of the artists’ voice in all of these pieces, made even better by being sort of translated by others. This has been truly a wonderful outing and I hope we continue to play and grow together!
This is a little trailer video from the last tour that’s pretty good, I think.
Hopefully, I’ll be back in NYC soon and back on the air, I miss you all! Wish me good travel mojo.