Weekend Cat Blogging: Luna’s Birthday and Quiet Weekend

It’s a quiet rainy weekend here at CatSynth HQ. Indeed, we are expecting more nasty storms today and tomorrow. That makes it a perfect time to stay inside and catch up on things, and of course to extend celebrating Luna’s Birthday. If you haven’t already done so, go check out her birthday photos.

A friend of ours send a birthday card. Here we see Luna examining it.

With the quiet time ahead of us, it might also be a good opportunity to try a recipe from Meow Chow, particularly if it something that both felines and humans can enjoy.

I always notice how much the cat on the front of the book looks like Luna 🙂

Weekend Cat Blogging #390 is hosted by Kashim, Othello and Salome. They are also announcing that the Weekend Cat Blogging round-up will be coming to an end this month. It is a bit sad, but it does seem that it’s popularity has been dwindling. We will certainly be here to mark the final one later this month.

Meanwhile, the Carnival of the Cats continues, and will be up this Sunday at .

And the Friday Ark is at the modulator. They even had Luna’s birthday up before I could post it – thanks!

Happy Birthday Luna!

November 30 is Luna’s birthday as listed in her adoption records. My ketzela is officially eight years old today. She looks all grown up and beautiful in the portrait above, but she also can still seem like a kitten, as in this photo where she receives some birthday scritches.

Please join me in wishing her a Happy Birthday!

Weekend Cat Blogging: Homecoming and Birthday

Both Luna and I returned to CatSynth HQ this week after our respective sojourns. And just in time for her 7th birthday this past Wednesday.

Luna received this birthday card from a close friend of ours in Canada.

It’s been a very busy week since returning, with both a curated show and a performance, a major application due, and a pair of shows next week as well. But we took time out to celebrate. Here Luna is enjoying some yummy food. Often she dismisses such offerings, but on this occasion she devoured it with abandon.

And then of course it’s time for play:

Good food and play. It’s just a normal day for a house cat (except for the card).

Weekend Cat Blogging #339 is hosted by Meowza.

The Carnival of the Cats will be hosted this Sunday by Samantha, Clementine and Maverick.

And the Friday Ark is at the modulator.

Happy 102nd Birthday to Elliott Carter

This evening we at CatSynth wish a slightly-belated 102nd birthday to Elliott Carter. His birthday was this past Saturday, December 11. An inspiring figure, not only has he lived to an impressive age, but continues to be a prolific composer. Indeed, as reported on Sequenza21, he attended a concert in Toronto entirely of works he has composed since turning 100. They also mention that earlier last week he attended a concert in honor of that young upstart Pierre Boulez, who turned 85 this year.

It was also interesting to see him placed in the context of the last century, from a personal connection with Charles Ives, one of the first “truly modern” American composers stretching to the current era. His work, like Ives and those that followed in that tradition, is very often very complex and often very precise in detail (and challenging to perform). Of interest to those like me who are also into mathematics alongside music, many of his formal methods with pitches and harmonies used more complex combinatorial structures than earlier serial composers, including collections of all possible pitches of a particular length – an approach that would later be categories as “musical set theory.” Many of these ideas have been collected in the Harmony Book which was published in 2002 (when Carter would have been 93).

Weekend Cat Blogging: Homecoming (temporary)

With delays in the construction at CatSynth HQ, I decided to bring Luna home for the weekend. It is nice to have her home, even though it is only temporary.

As one can see in the above image, things are a bit out of place in anticipation of the work, but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying our time here. Here we see Luna checking out a new toy (a birthday present from a friend of ours):

Note the picture frames neatly resting on the stairs behind her. Much of the artwork (paintings, prints, etc.) had to be moved as well.

Weekend Cat Blogging #287 is at Mind of Mog.

Kashim, Othello and Salome are pulling double duty this weekend, hosting both the weekly Carnival of the Cats and the monthly Bad Kitty Cats Festival of Chaos. We suspect they are going to be busy.

And the Friday Ark is at the modulator.

Happy Birthday Luna!

Today marks Luna’s official birthday.  She turns six years old either today or sometime near today.

I arrived back in San Francisco last night, just in time to celebrate with her, although not at home.  There is (once again) construction at CatSynth HQ, so Luna is staying at her boarding facility until it’s over.  I know she will not only be safe there, but she will be doted on and receive lots of love and attention.  When I went to visit her today, she came over to greet me, but then immediately settled down to nap.  But I was able to get some “relaxed” birthday photos.

Please join me in wishing Luna a happy birthday!  And thanks to everyone who has already left her comments.


This morning I brought Luna home. She immediately went about reacquainting herself with her domain:

In addition to being reunited, we marked her birthday with gifts and treats. She also received a card from a far-away friend of ours:

Doesn’t the cat on the card bear a striking resemblance?

We also had a belated Thanksgiving, complete with leftover turkey from New York:

It’s great to be home together again.

Pmocatat Ensemble and Ivy Room Experimental/Improv Hootenany

OK, so I have been delinquent in reviewing some of own recent shows. I was hoping to find photos, but so far I have not found any. It does happen once in a while even in this hyper-photographic society. In fairness, I have taken photos at many shows I attend, but then find out they were not good enough to post. So, we will just go ahead and use our visual imagination.

Two weeks ago, on the day I returned from China, I participated in Pmocatat Ensemble. From the official announcement:

The Pmocatat Ensemble records the sounds of their instruments onto various forms of consumer-ready media. (Pmocatat stands for “prerecorded music on cds and tapes and things”.) Then, they improvise using only the recorded media. Several different pieces will explore both the different arrangements of recorded instruments and the sound modulation possibilities of the different recording media.

In my case, my pre-recorded media was digital audio played on an iPhone. I used recordings of my Indian and Chinese folk instruments, and I “played” by using the start, stop, forward, rewind, and scrubbing operations.

Other members included Matt Davignon, James Goode, John Hanes, Suki O’Kane, Sarah Stiles, Rent Romus, C. P. Wilsea and Michael Zelner.

Matt Davignon, who organized the ensemble, had composed some pieces which provided much needed structure and avoid a “mush” of pre-recorded sound. Some portions were solos or duos, with various other members of the ensemble coming in and out according to cues. This allowed for quite a variety of texture and musicianship. I definitely hope the Pmocatat Ensemble continues to the perform.

The following Monday, March 16, I curated a set at the Ivy Room Experimental/Improv Hootenany with Polly Moller and Michael Zbyszynski. I know Polly and Michael from completely different contexts, so it was interesting to hear how that would work together. Michael played baritone sax and Polly performed new words as well as flute and finger cymbals. I played my newly acquired Chinese instruments, the looping Open Sound World patch I often use, and a Korg Kaos Pad.

Musically, it was one of those sets that just worked. I was able to sample and loop Polly’s extended flute techniques into binary and syncopated rhythms, over which the trio could improvise. Periodically, I changed the loops, sometimes purposely to something arhythmic to provide breathing space. Michael’s baritone sax filled out the lower register against the flute and percussion.

We got some good reviews from our friends in the Bay Area New Music community. The following comments are from Suki O’Kane (with whom I played in the Pmocatat ensemble):

Amar had been dovetailing, in true hoot fashion, into Slusser using a small
digitally-controlled, u know, like analog digit as in finger, that totally
appeared to me to be the big red shiny candy button of the outer space ren.
The important part is that he was artful and listening, and then artful
some more. Polly Moller on vocals and flute, text and tones, which had a
brittle energy and a persistent comet trail of danger.

The “big red shiny candy button of the outer space ren” was undoubtedly the Korg mini-Kaos Pad.

And from David Slusser, whom I “had been dovetailing”:

Amar’s curation seemed like a well orchestrated composition; Polly’s contribution on voice and flutes adding much to that.

Not bad for a birthday show :).