SOLO WORK

While contributing to or leading a number of bands (Host Skull, Assembly, Vale and Year, DBLD, Boxstep, HiTEC), I also keep a healthy solo practice. In recent years, the solo work has been instrumental, used either for dance, theater, video game, or film scores. That said, in 2016, I will release a song-based record called The Inn

Shows
08/13 Acoustic Music Works

Discography
The Keeper (CD, 2017)
The Inn (CD, 2016)
Deep Ecology (CD, 2015)
Palm Springs Tennis Courts (2x7", 2014)
Yamsayore (7", 2014)
Denver. Cody - Just A Minute (8", 2013)
Hexagon (8", 2012)
Happener-Magicker (LP, 2009)
Mahler Box (CD, 2008)
Assembly (CD, 2007)
Graphic Scores (CD, 2007)
McQueen Bear (CD, 2007)
Word Roses (CD, 2006)

the inn (CD, 2016)

More info here.

 

Deep Ecology (CD, 2015)

Bandcamp Downloadhttps://hostskull.bandcamp.com/album/hsob008-david-bernabo-deep-ecology

There were two predominant events that informed my awareness and appreciation of music. The latter event was the joint discovery of the AllMusic website and the audiogalaxy file sharing service, which resulted in a series of cross-referencing binges that shed light on the work of Luc Ferrari, Jim O'Rourke, Stockhausen, Eberhard Weber and many in­between. The earlier event was Record Rama's acquisition of hundreds of  jazz CDs from a now -defunct local jazz radio station. Each used CD was $6, but I could buy three CDs for $15. The CDs were not placed in the CD bins, but the owner would let me browse the stacks in the large, connecting back room, which also housed one of the world’s largest 45 collections. As a high school sophomore with expendable cash from a job at Shop 'N Save, I was able to acquire a decent jazz collection. Given that this was the late 90s, the augmentation of "jazz" to include rock forms (fusion), classical influence (ECM), and world musics (third stream) had already occurred and did not seem revelatory. It was simply what jazz was/is. I should mention that my introduction to jazz was a library copy of Miles Davis' Kind of  Blue. It took a second check­out of the disc and a subsequent burning of the disc with a photocopied cover (a poor replication) to really soak it in. From there, my interest in jazz grew.    

As a child, I trained classically with Dr. Marta Sanchez for four or five years. I abandoned piano to focus on guitar in the fifth grade, eventually playing in bands like Boxstep, Vale and Year, and, currently, Host Skull. In high school, I played bass and guitar in the school jazz bands. Around this time, my interest in piano re­emerged. What came out was improvised music somewhere between my classical training and what I thought was jazz piano. A few motifs emerged, one basic bluesy concept using the minor and major 3rds  and 7ths in the scale and one faux-classical run where a major E triad descends in half­steps from the root. You can hear both of those ideas lingering on this record.     

This music is improvised, but it is improvisation with the goal of sounding like a composition. Jazz scholar David Ake coined the term "Rural American Ideal" when talking about Bill Frisell and Pat Metheny's album output. In an abstract way, this collection is trying to represent different conceptions of "nature" the idea of nature without human interference, the isolation of a new terrain, the respect needed when you are a visitor, the idealized thought of "authentic nature" generally fantasized while sitting at a computer (or a piano). Some of the inspiration for this set of music stemmed from a previously forthcoming trip to Big Sur. Unexpectedly, the beauty of Big Sur surpassed the fantasy. The cover photo was  selected from the trip's photos, so possibly "Coastal American Ideal." These thoughts on the natural world act as an input visualization to focus the playing. From that beginning point, the improvisations take their  own direction.  

Deep Ecology was recorded at HEARCorp's storage facility in Pittsburgh, PA. The piano was mostly in tune and has a twangy tone more suited to rock 'n roll. Above the facility on a second floor, it felt like someone was bowling or moving large metal containers, but the resulting sounds provide some interaction with the  environment.  

Artwork and Design: David Bernabo // Musicians: David Bernabo (piano)

Palm Springs Tennis Courts (2x7", 2014)

Bandcamp Downloadhttps://hostskull.bandcamp.com/album/hsob005-david-bernabo-palm-springs-tennis-courts

When musician and artist David Bernabo began work on the Ongoing Box documentary, the project’s scope was twenty minutes of filmed studio experiments with motors, smoke, ice, and paper. Nine months later, the film exists as a 100-minute document of eight Pittsburgh artists’ studio practices, performance documentation, and interviews on their respective “processes”. With the film comes a soundtrack. While the film includes solo piano compositions and electronic pieces, the focus of the music is on solo and duo guitars. 

Palm Springs Tennis Courts, as the collection is called, is released on a unique, hand-cut double 7” set. The lathe cut records were cut by Future Oak Records and the album is released through Wild Kindness Records and Host Skull Ongoing Box, the object-oriented imprint of the band, Host Skull. Only 25 copies of the physical product will exist in the first pressing, but a digital download is also available. 

The tools to make the music also originate in Pittsburgh. The familiar, yet odd electric guitar pieces were composed on a handmade, double-neck guitar by Jeffrey Schrekengost. The one-of-a-kind instrument includes two fretless bass strings and three doubled strings on the top neck and eight strings on the bottom neck. The acoustic pieces, usually found in duo settings, were performed on a handmade guitar by luthier Raymond Morin (who also performs in the band Pairdown). Morin is found in the documentary, making a few guitars. 

While the pieces vary in setting (with two digital-only pieces expanding with bass and percussion), there is a focus on harmonic expansion and melody. ECM and British folk influences find their way among classical structures and free improvisation.

Artwork and Design: David Bernabo // Musicians: David Bernabo (guitars, bass, percussion)

Yamsayore (7", 2014)

Bandcamp Downloadhttps://hostskull.bandcamp.com/album/hsob004-david-bernabo-yamsayore

This collection of music was created for Maree ReMalia's THE UBIQUITOUS MASS OF US. Recorded at Woolslayer Traveling Studios, Pittsburgh, PA throughout 2013 and 2014. Lathe cuts pressed by Future Oak Records

Artwork and Design: David Bernabo, Maree ReMalia // Musicians: David Bernabo (voice, percussion, electronics, editing), Maree ReMalia (voice), Ella Mason (voice) 

 

Denver. Cody - Just A Minute (8", 2013)

Bandcamp Download: https://hostskull.bandcamp.com/album/hsob003-david-bernabo-tricia-denver-cody

Originally produced as a limited edition of 50 triangular lathe cut, this CSAPGH-backed project combines narrative and harmonized song over a percussion and electronic landscape. 

Art and Design by David Bernabo // Musicians: Raquel Winnica-Young (voice), David Bernabo (voice, electronics, percussion)