The setting could not have been more picturesque and postcard perfect for last night's WFMU live remote broadcast of the Charlie Morrow composed maritime performance piece "Toot N'Blink" (archived here one hour into Rob Weisberg's Transpacific Sound Paradise). 630pm in Battery Park, down at the very lower tip of the island of Manhattan, looking across the Hudson River towards the Statue of Liberty and New Jersey as the large golden sun slowly set, with half an hour to go to 7pm performance/broadcast time. WFMU station manager Ken Freedman, Charlie Morrow, sound man Tyler, and another ten folks, including Joan La Barbara & Ed Herrmann (orchestrators/MC's), were busy prepping on the promenade as nine boats (of all sizes including Big G pictured above) slowly assembled out on the New York Harbor waters for this most unique sound and vision maritime performance art piece that is aptly described as, "a celebration of machines as music-of-the-people, an echo of Futurism which embraced machines as expressive instruments."
At a few minutes before 7pm it was quickly turning dark with the boats now all assembled & maintaining their positions several hundred feet off shore - each ready to toot and blink. By phone Ken touched base with on-air DJ Rob Weisberg back in the Jersey City studios. Smiling and clearly enjoying it all Toot N'Blink composer, longtime sound-artist Charlie Morrow, who has been a previous guest on WFMU on Bethany Ryker's Stochastic Hit Parade, donned his trademark bowler hat and held a big hollow seashell that he would blow a loud horn sound from at the end of the performance/broadcast. Despite a couple of digital glitches (due to WiFi signal overload) the WFMU remote went smoothly, as did the performance. And as Joan and Ed talked, both on mic and via walkie talkie's with speakers, to the captains of each of the maritime rigs, cueing each to make sounds and visuals, a curious crowd quietly surrounded the ensemble, clearly captivated by this unusual and totally unexpected, engaging waterfront happening. It was magical and further proved why I love WFMU so much. Below is video interview with Ken and Tyler just before 630pm. Tune into the archives to hear the broadcast during Rob Weisberg's Transpacific Sound Paradise show - time-coded approx 1:00:00 - 1:30:00)