April 24, 2013
Sometimes I imagine conversations about be held out of my presence by old colleagues and friends. ‘Whatever happened to Barry?’ ‘I hear he’s been going through some shit.’ I’ve been a pretty under the radar for a while, very much missing my old friends. But now….
I’m out. It’s time. Good, wonderful things are coming. The sun is rising.
DEMOCRACY is being released in digital format on June 4th through Ravello records. Love, love LOVE leaps out of the speakers when I listen to the mixes. I can’t wait for you all to hear it.
A brand new piece of mine called MOMENT is being premiered at the Anti-Social Music show on May 9th at Douglass St. Music Collective. It will feature me playing solo on a number of instruments, kind of a New Music one man band. It will be great to be featured with those guys again, I’m very excited.
Finally, I am re-starting my podcast, below is a link to the first piece. It is a solo flute improv that I did in the middle of a mental breakdown during my darkest period. Passionate and powerful if I do say so myself, but no easy listen. Go ahead and click the link below, and if you’re interested in subscribing please click the RSS feed link at the bottom of the page. Pretty soon it will be on Itunes too.
I’ll start releasing new episodes weekly, first featuring recordings I’ve done over the past few years, then new pieces, improvisations, and collaborations, as well as work by my colleagues. If you are interested in submitting a piece for release, or doing some improv, please go ahead and comment here, and I’ll be in touch!
March 5, 2013
The rehearsal studio in LIC, Queens known as The Roxy recently closed. This may not mean much to some people, but to some it meant quite a lot. For me, Roxy had quite a bit to do with who I am today.
After joining UFK, I found myself at the Roxy every wednesday night. It was out of the way, but damn the place had CHARACTER! Our drummer, Mike, ended up working there. A few months later, I received a phone call from the manager, Dom.
DOM: ‘Hey, you wanna job?’
I worked there for the following 6 years. These were my formative years; starting in college right up until I got my masters. It was the perfect job: really only working for 20 minutes out of the hour, lots of time to study and practice, and most importantly I met the people who would shape my life. Mike Galinanes, Joe Mapplebeck, Dom Vilella, Kurt Nepogoda, Mo Kofuma, Justin Whang, Gerry Tuohy, the countless wonderful and not so wonderful bands that came through those doors and called me their friend.
And Denis. He owned and ran the place, loved it more than any other. He was the best boss I ever had, and would afterwards be the one I would compare all other bosses to (never favorably). Denis was the man I wanted to be, a man with endless kindness, generosity and love.
I went over to the Roxy the other day to see the place one last time and to say hello to Denis. To say it’s hard is an understatement, these moments of such extreme change in ones life are so difficult that it becomes impossible to be sure where you’ll be even the next day. We wonder if we’ll come out of it whole, if we have the strength to endure. Some of us don’t. Those who are true and honest, the most present in their own selves survive, no matter what they themselves might think. The Roxy’s gone, fuck it. Denis is Denis. He’s gonna be fine.
And I got my Sunn, my poor abused baby of studio A that no one knew how to use but me and Marc Ribot. She’s home, and the second I got home I set her up, plugged her in and recorded this: https://soundcloud.com/barry-seroff/for-denis. It’s slow and timeless, always drawing back to it’s source. Hopefully it will be an episode of a podcast in the near future, once I figure out how to make that happen.
February 19, 2013
It is my sad duty to report that due to extraneous circumstances in my personal life, the release of democracy will be delayed indefinitely. That being said, it WILL be released, I just don’t know when. The folks at Parma have been absolutely amazing in getting this record done and extremely patient as I deal with what needs to be dealt with. I want to thank you all for your patience, and particularly the donors. You will get your copies once its ready to go. Thank you all for the love and support in the meantime, it means the world to me and I can’t wait to get this thing out to the public. Thank you again.
It is important that we understand that we are apes. Not LIKE apes, but actual apes. Our reactions to stimuli are rooted in the thousands of years of evolution and culture that came before us. Not just the way we were raised, but the way our parents were raised, and their parents before them, onward and onward to the dawn of life. The difference between us and our furrier brethren is we are more aware of it. And we can talk. Yet we are all bound to a common seed, and from that seed was born what we are calling Holy.
All that lives is Holy. But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to see. Some people are so covered up with the armor of experience that Holiness becomes a thin sliver of what it was when we were children. In turn, it gets more and more difficult to see, until we assume it wasn’t there in the first place. We forget. And as we forget, our own sliver of holiness gets further armored, more difficult to see to those around us, even those we love the most.
The physical responses to the emotional responses are products of these thousands of years. It can be forgiven, because of the Holy. When we forgive the armor, it becomes easier to recognize the holy in others. And if we are able to recognize the holy in others, we are able to shed our armor and let our own light shine. The brighter ours shine, the easier it is for others to see it and let their’s shine brighter as well.
July 3, 2011
So the fourth of July is here, which doubles as my birthday! It’s a great time to donate to Democracy, and I encourage you all to click on the link to the democracy page above to learn about the piece. Time is running short, and we are not near our goal yet, so please make this birthday special and donate any little amount. It all helps. Thanks!
June 13, 2011
It’s official, the indieagogo page is up and accepting donations. Perks include custom T-shirts, tattoo time, keychains and a whole slew of other great stuff! Go here for more info:
Thanks for donating!
It is truly amazing how quickly the buzz is building. Thanks for stopping by! We are finishing off the indieagogo page for the fundraising and then the shirts, as well as a ton of other fantastic items, will be available. Soon, patience kind people. It will be linked right here as well as a whole lot of other places. In the meantime, go to the Democracy link above to learn what this is all about, and fan me on Facebook to stay in the loop. Also, there will be other items available on the soon-to-be-present ‘store’ page right here!
July 1, 2010
Of all the instruments I’ve played, the shakuhachi was always the most daunting to compose for. It wasn’t so much the technical aspects as much as the history and reverence for the instrument that exist in the shakuhachi community. I never felt that I had a true understanding of Zen, therefore I never felt ready to tackle a piece for the instrument that so fully embodies that mode of belief.
That being said, it doesn’t mean I never imagined what such a piece would sound like. Or look like, for that matter, for in my head the visual was very important. So picture this: The stage is empty save for one lone shakuhachi player in full fuke garb including a woven basket on their head (the basket is also traditional, it is symbolic of the loss of ego that monks must achieve). The player sits perfectly still and plays a Zen piece; on the last note the sound engulfs the room from all sides as the lights dim. From there, I imagined the piece as a journey through the mind of the monk has he seeks enlightenment, but aurally I could never make it out past the opening. The moment for this piece was not present, so I left it as it was.
One day I was speaking to Stephan Moore, and he mentioned that he had designed the 15 channel system for Issue Project Room in Brooklyn known as the Hemisphere. I immediately thought of the shakuhachi piece and mentioned the concept. He invited me to perform the piece at the Floating Points festival at Issue Project Room, and I accepted. I immediately dove into writing the piece, which turned into a theme and variations on the ancient Zen piece ‘Banji’.
The piece opens as I originally conceived it, and the search for enlightenment is still present, but the chief development of the work is now more of a movement from Western thought to Eastern. I found, in studying music of both cultures, a fundamental difference in the impetus of both musics. While Western music is more about the journey and creating a sense of movement, Zen music is more about creating a sense of stillness. This is of course a gross oversimplification, however it stood as a means to develop the piece; the variations start using Western techniques such as chorale settings and harmonic motion, but gradually moving to create a deep stillness, culminating in what I think is the ultimate expression in 21st century Zen, noise (don’t believe me? Go ahead and read Merzbow’s official bio to see what I mean). I am quite happy with the result, and I very much hope you all will join me. Here’s the info: