Sign up for our PoliticsNY newsletter for the latest coverage and to stay informed about the 2021 election in your district and across New York
You never know what’s going on with the woman walking past you on the street, or the guy behind the counter at the corner store. Take Alex Carpenter who, along with his partner Maegan Hayward, runs the East Village Vintage Collective on East 12th Street.
This is a great little store with reasonable prices and you are forgiven for not knowing that Carpenter is an accomplished musician, sound editor, videographer, sound effects maker and painter.
His New York story begins in 2007, when he left his native Australia in the hope of working with avant-garde minimalist composer Lamonte Young, who was the subject of his university thesis. Not only did this dream come true, he also won the green card lottery which is actually a complicated process and not exactly like buying a ticket around the corner.
While earning money as a freelance accountant, Carpenter continued the musical explorations he had started in Australia, with a very conscious mindset.
“I realized that I had to separate my music from my efforts to make money,” he says. Performed under the nickname “Music of Transparent Means”, the music has taken different forms, using up to 21 musicians – including strings, woodwinds, keyboard, brass, guitar, sax – for performances of solo guitar like the one he interprets. the week.
“There’s a saturation of the sound that you get with multiple players,” he explains, “and I’m trying to achieve a similar effect with a lead guitar and using multiple delay pedals”.
There’s also a saturation of ideas, as he’s absorbed a wildly eclectic collection of influences.
“I love Steve Reich, Phillip Glass, the Velvet Underground, Phil Niblock, The Beatles, Sonic Youth, Brian Eno, Glenn Branca, Alvin Lucier, Heavy Metal, John Cage – I got into it all,” he says. . “My most memorable experience was attending an 18 hour performance of Erik Satie’s ‘Vexations’. “
He goes on to note that sometimes what he takes away from certain bands – the Beatles, for example – is “the sound more than the chord progression”.
Sound itself was also a source of income, as he found a job creating sound effects for big and low budget movies. The jobs involved everything from simple bits and pieces like footsteps to a horror movie that required audio of a dog eating a person’s neck.
“I made it with a wet bagel, grapefruit and raw pasta,” he informs us, looking quite proud of his accomplishment.
Going the other way, Carpenter likes to visually accompany his music. The configuration of the videos that will be shown during his live performance is a visual mirror of sound.
While guitar performance involves playing with delayed sounds and loops, videos are created with visual loops that stack images on top of previous images, with a simple setup reminiscent of Andy’s “screen testing”. Warhol combined with a bit of Lucas Samaras and 60s event.
Carpenter films his subjects, who are sometimes still, sometimes repeating an action or turning slowly, while manipulating the three lights in various patterns.
“My mind tends to wander at a concert if there isn’t something that is visually appealing,” Carpenter explains. “I have always been in video and am looking for an experience of deep concentration. It is like focusing on a candle while meditating.
“Alex Carpenter and the Live Audio Delay System” will perform a solo guitar improvisation, accompanied by videos at 3rd and B’zaar this Thursday, October 7, to celebrate the release of some new (hand numbered, limited edition) vinyl.
Previously released on CD, “Chord From The Second Delphic Hymn” is a 2005 live band performance that has been remastered with new cover art and cover notes by Catessen Records, which is conducted by Luke Altman back to Adelaide.
As for the sounds he creates, Carpenter shies away from the usual terminology.
“Music is too busy a term,” he says. “And I don’t really like to use the word minimalism. I do not compose as long as I strive for the birth of a sound organism. You don’t need any academic knowledge to understand it or a music degree to appreciate it.
You can find more information about Alex Carpenter’s music at transparentmeans.net, on Instagram at @transparentmeans and at bandcamp.com.
The disc release night / performance will take place on Thursday, October 7, 7 p.m. at 3rd and B’zaar, 191 East 3rd St. There is a suggested donation of $ 10 per guest.