As part of the application for the GCG & ILBT collaboration, composers had to submit a link to a sample work. Matthew Joseph Payne‘s sample was his ‘Bleeper Bird‘ for Gameboy & Meerenai Shim on flute. You might not be able to tell if you only know Jeff online, but he’s kind of a huge nerd and was so incredibly excited by Matthew’s submission (he wasn’t the only one!). Matthew’s work is great, and Gameboy is the first ‘other instrument’ that ILBTrio has collaborated with. We’re all incredibly excited by Matthew’s piece; you should definitely head out to see it on November 15th!
My background is a little unusual I suppose. I started music with piano lessons at age 5, which is pretty typical, but then joined a youth choir and picked up trombone, bass guitar and jazz organ through middle and high school. Early on I headed down the “jack of all trades and master of none” path in regards to performance, and and its served me very well as a composer. I studied for a few years at CSU East Bay with Dr. Jeffrey Miller, but never graduated. I’ve worked in that department as a technician ever since, and as a result I’ve had a strange sideline relationship with academia through most of my music writing career.
Partly as a result of this, I’ve had a varied musical history. I’ve scored and performed music for modern dance with Nina Haft & Co., Facing East and Dandelion Dancetheater. I’ve played either permanently or as a guest with a wide array of bands like The Glowing Stars, All My Pretty Ones, The Family Crest and Slime Girls. I’ve also done some tracking work on trombone or euphonium for Radiation City, Pomplamoose and Jack Conte. I’m getting into soundtracking and sound designing for games with a Steam Greenlight project called Point Perfect, and all the while I’m working with Philadelphia based chiptuneer/tuba player ap0c, flutist Meerenai Shim, members of Judgement Day, Makeunder and other groups around the bay area to record my next solo record.
What drives a lot of my writing right now is the careful blending of socially disparate elements – in this case, chipmusic (music made with outdated synthesizers built into old computers and video game consoles) and modern “classical” music. My solo performances currently explore the same mixed ensemble and chipmusic ideas, but with a twinge of folk musics delivered through banjo and vocals. I’ve been doing a lot of work with the wonderful flutist Meerenai Shim lately, so this brass trio piece is a great opportunity to explore harmonic density that is often hard to find in chipmusic because of the limited voice count. I’m also experimenting with the relationship between the three tonal voices of the Gameboy’s synth engine and the three tonal voices of the brass trio.
I think the low brass trio layout is especially fun because the horn, trombone and tuba are all rife with quirks that interact in strange ways, which creates another major parallel to the Gameboy (and to the NES, which has a very similar set of voices). The interplay between those quirks is a big part of what I hope to draw out for display with my piece.