Jun 4, 2020
What is a musician to do when he can't play in front of audiences? Or if her studio time has been cancelled? And how does he or she deal with the lack of supporting musicians?
If you are Ben Goldberg, you use this time to create "Plague Diary", a musical diary of new material posted every day to Bandcamp. Existing only as a series of digital downloads (althugh purchasers can stream it on Bandcamp as well), Plague Diary can be heard as one artist's questioning of how to express himself in difficult times. Goldberg puts himself on a daily deadline, and delivers something well worth listening to every day.
The pieces range from a little over a minute to well over ten minutes in time. Sometimes the recordings are just Goldberg on his clarinet, and others feature his treatments using delay pedals, key boards and synths. For the most part, the titles are merely the dates of the posting. One piece - posted on June 4 - is entitled "8:46" and honors George Floyd by having Goldberg struggle simply to breathe through his clarinet.
I last featured Ben five years ago when he released the deeply felt Orphic Machine, which featured him with long-time collaborator Kenny Wolleson, along with standouts like Myra Medford, Nels Cline, Ches Smith, Ron Miles and Greg Cohen. He continues to be busy making recordings, some of which we discuss in the Podcast.
Musical selections from Plague Diary include "March 23," "April 5," and "May 10 - for Elissa Goldberg."