Music Performance Tonight: Nate Wooley at ISSUE PROJECT ROOM

In what is certainly a deficiently late first blog post and an unfortunately late invitation, I wanted to write here to invite everyone in the class to a music event tonight, FRIDAY 3/11 at 8PM. Most importantly, IT’S FREE! It is an event that I hope to revisit and review again on this blog after my attendance, but I wanted to write first in regards to what I know, hope for, and expect from the performance:

Nate Wooley is a talented, avant-garde trumpet player with unlikely roots in a fishing town in the state of Oregon. Throughout his young career, Wooley has made a habit of working with many other talented musicians in creative ways. To that end, the trumpeter will be bringing together many musicians in an installment in the concert series/event/becoming(?) that he calls Seven Storey Mountain. In fact, I had the pleasure of meeting Wooley recently myself while making this…

I was quickly struck by Wooley’s premise for his performance, but I realized that I was even more struck by the idea of the concert following our discussion of Deleuze vis-a-vis contemporary music. As Prof S. I-G. mentioned, the merits of a specific artistic practice’s Deleuzian influence, association, or execution is somewhat reliant on a case-by-case analysis. While I have not heard nor read Wooley cite Deleuze specifically, I will nonetheless argue that Seven Storey Mountain ought be seriously considered.

As the organizing artist, Wooley himself embodies something of a multiplicity. That is, he has been labeled and played the style of jazz music, free jazz, improvisational, minimalist, reductionist, lowercase, et cetera. It is not that these labels have disappeared nor that Wooley has shirked them in favor of not being labeled at all. Instead, Wooley seems to revel in the timbre, dynamics, articulations, and intents of each aesthetic at different times. In this way, he is not one, but several trumpeters. In all cases, though, Wooley uses his trumpet in a non-traditional way, a method that ensures the instrument itself is denatured and deterritorialized in favor of what it could be and the affective relations he and the instrument can exchange. In fact, the performer, the instrument and the music embody a confrontational difference.

What’s more, in this specific series, Seven Storey Mountain, Wooley appears to continue to participate in a becoming that is patently rhizomatic. Wooley wants to explore the notion the spiritual and the ecstatic, and he has largely done so before by utilizing a traditional drone/repetition scenario. Seven Storey Mountain begins here, but continues to build, grow, and differentiate that idea in its development. That is, Wooley creates a tape drone (recorded from his air conditioner) and offers this as this first root of the performance. In the first carnation, Wooley played with another musician, Paul Lytton, specifically chosen because Lytton does not fit a style of repetition, and so will confront he and the tape with this opposition. In the second show, Wooley performed of a similar tape score with C. Spencer Yeh and Chris Corsano. In both of these cases, the product was completely different, and Wooley (along with the others) had to transform a playing style in order to participate. In this way, each of the elements, each of the performers was a root in the becoming of the improvised performance and overall rhizome. It is important to note that the roots assemble toward rhizome specifically because of the affective relations of the performers as they play together.

It is exciting then that the next installment of Seven Storey Mountain will occur tonight at ISSUE PROJECT ROOM in Gowanus, Brooklyn. This performance will combine all the roots of his prior two shows, while adding additional performers to the mix. My hope is that the roots will again grow rhizomatically in concert, toward the ecstatic. In fact, it would be easy for Wooley to play a concert series with the same musicians to see how they grow together, but in doing so, the trumpeter would be satisifed with the striated results. The musicians would become comfortable and the musical style would be codify to something coded and territorialized. Instead, Wooley prefers to jumble the roots toward something that he hopes will be “really raw, and loud, and uncomfortable and personal.” Much of this is not the style usually associated with the ultra-precise lowercase musician. Ironically, as Wooley pursues ecstatic and mystical music, he does not do so with a transcendental plan. Instead, his plan is along the lines of Spinoza, as he insisted on affective relationships among performers. Thus, the audience may find the musicians combined in milieu of becoming, in a creative assemblage. Of course, Wooley admits that whole project allows for the possibility of failure, but I wonder too, if Wooley may find something smooth, as Deleuze would have it. Regardless, I hope to hear something irresistibly deterritorialized.

– Colin Nusbaum

3 Responses to “Music Performance Tonight: Nate Wooley at ISSUE PROJECT ROOM”

  1. immanentterrainsp11 Says:

    You are right: it is late in a number of ways (but probably worth it!). Sorry to have missed this though, because it sounds fantastic. I particularly like the reference to air conditioners. Interested in hearing more. Maybe you could develop this for your project…


  2. […] Again, though much time has passed since announcing and attending the performance of Nate Wooley at ISSUE Project Room, I wanted to follow up. You can read my impressions and expectations before the show here:… […]

  3. Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I
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