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Ramblings, etc.

My attempt to return to semi-regularly blogging is below, but if you are interested in some of my previous writing…

Here is a pdf of my dissertation, “The Interaction of Linear and Vertical Time in Minimalist and Postminimalist Piano Music,” a bit of which was turned into an article for the CeReNeM Journal, “Temporality as an Analytical Approach to Minimalist Music: Tom Johnson’s An Hour for Piano.”

I’ve also done some writing for I Care If You Listen and NewMusicBox.

Invisible Rail Series

I just wanted to offer a quick update on a project that I’m working to get off the ground. Over the last few months, I’ve been doing Facebook Live concerts under the heading Invisible Rail Series. In time, once I build up a bit of a following, I’d like to expand the roster of performers beyond myself. That probably won’t begin until the fall, but if that’s of interest to you, shoot me an email. I’ll probably want to stick to quieter music for the time being, but I’m open to ideas.

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My Gig Rig

A couple of days ago, I posted the following picture across my social media accounts, which garnered a bit more of a reaction than I was expecting

Loving my new tablet.

A post shared by Andy Lee (@andyleedma) on

There were lots of questions about specifics and functionality of my new set up, so I thought I’d list the details and offer a bit of a review now that I’ve had the chance to try it in a performance setting.

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An Attempt at an End-of-the-Year Post

I wrote this tweet shortly after learning about the death of Debbie Reynolds, who passed only a day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher. I wrote it because I’ve been trying to write this post for a little while now to no avail. It’s the end of the year, and as everyone writes about their favorite events and albums, it seemed fitting (professionally speaking) to offer a summary of what I’ve done this year. But how could I do that in the wake of tragedy after tragedy? How does one say, “Hey, things were pretty good over here!” without coming off as dismissive or insensitive. Luckily, it didn’t take me long to figure it out.

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New Website

Well, after a lot of experimentation and failure, I finally have a new website design (and cms) that I’m happy with. Please let me know if you see anything amiss (andyleedma@gmail.com).

In other news, Irritable Hedgehog is running its annual holiday sale, so you can pick up my CDs for the price of a download. That is, $4 for an EP, $7 for a full album, and $12 for a 2CD album!

Let Them Come

I’ve a number of friends and family members in England, so I’ve been following the Brexit referendum with more than casual curiosity. In the wake of the vote, I’ve seen many, many posts on social networks that mirror the Guardian article, “Racist incidents feared to be linked to Brexit vote.” Of course, here in the States, there have been more than a few similar incidents in the wake of Trump’s candidacy, and it’s been heart-breaking to see such stories.

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Recording An Hour for Piano

This post is the fourth in (what I hope will become) a long series of posts telling the stories behind my albums. An archive of all posts in the series can be found here: The Stories of Irritable Hedgehog.

My wife once asked me, as I was gearing up for a recent recording session, if I was anxious about the process. After all, if you mess up, you get a chance to go back and try it again. I though for a moment and responded that a mistake in a live performance, while annoying, is fleeting and can be forgiven. In a recording session, you have to be able to execute every note perfectly within a few takes; if you can’t do that, your imperfections become enshrined.

Intellectually, I knew this as I warmed up for my first recording session, but nothing could prepare me for that new type of performance anxiety.

AHfP Recording Session
Me at my first recording session, seemingly focused but mostly scared.

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On Being a Deer Chaser

I was asked to expand on my post about my recent encounter with Felicia Day for NewMusicBox. The title of the piece is “Good Career Hunting: On Being a Deer Chaser.” Here’s a brief excerpt:

I experienced [a tipping point near miss] with my album Dennis Johnson: November. It was reviewed in publications around the world, including sources such as The Wire and Gramophone, we quickly sold out of the first two pressings, and it helped me get my first gigs in London and New York. The icing on the cake was making a large number of “best of” lists that year, including the #1 classical album of 2013 in Time Out New York. That in turn landed me a big award from my alma mater and an interview with Colorado Public Radio, among other things.

Yet nothing I’ve done since has been even close to that successful, and I’ve spent many hours since wondering what I might have done differently to make that less of a deer chaser moment and more of a tipping point.

If you’re wondering what I mean by “deer chaser,” well, you’ll just have to give it a read. 🙂

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Becoming a Human Metronome

This post is the third in (what I hope will become) a long series of posts telling the stories behind my albums. An archive of all posts in the series can be found here: The Stories of Irritable Hedgehog.

Quarter note equals 59.225 beats per minute. That remains the oddest metronome marking I’ve encountered in my admittedly short career. The reason Tom Johnson used that tempo for An Hour for Piano is easy enough to deduce—he wrote a piece that was 3,553.5 beats long and wanted it to have a final duration of exactly one hour (3553.5 beats / 60 min = 59.225 bpm)—but to understand why the tempo remains unwavering and why an hour is important, we have to turn to the man himself.

Andy Lee and Tom Johnson
Me and Tom Johnson, Kansas City, Second International Conference on Minimalist Music, 2009

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Setting a Path for Irritable Hedgehog

This post is the second in (what I hope will become) a long series of posts telling the stories behind my albums. The complete series archive can be found here: The Stories of Irritable Hedgehog.

There must have been a point where David McIntire asked me if I wanted to start a record label with him, but for the life of me I can’t remember that taking place. I can recall several conversations we had concerning the logistics of our endeavor, but the initial question eludes me. I’m still debating what to make of that. 🙂

There are many aspects of starting a label that I could write about, but we continue to reevaluate many of those choices. Instead, at the risk of writing a less narrative-driven post, I’d like to focus on just a few decisions we made that have become essential to Irritable Hedgehog’s identity. My next post will get back to more stories with my quest to become a human metronome.

Irritable Hedgehog Logo
David’s daughter, Eileen, drew our awesome logo

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