Storm Garner is a New England Conservatory-trained violinist who improvises, composes, and sings. Her compositions for theatre, dance and other live performance have been heard on the stages of La Mama, ETC, Flushing Town Hall, in several of the gritty city’s public breathing spaces, and in collaboration with Hybrid Theatre Works, The Japan Society, Make Music New York, ThingNY and some environmental theatre festival whose name I can’t remember… Her film scorings and sound designs have been screened in New York, Palm Springs, and in Athens! (Ohio)… and some have somehow been sold to Nickelodeon. As a folk-cabaret art-pop singer-songwriter under the names Stormy Laughter and The Wilder Worldwide, she used to perform often in NYC to enraptured audiences mostly at the Sidewalk Café, the Slipper Room, Goodbye Blue Monday, and in many a fancy living room. Her classical violin playing has become painfully immortalized by wedding-musician roles on TV shows 30 Rock and Rescue Me, but during her one Carnegie Hall performance (Shostakovich’s 2nd piano trio with Valerie Kuehne and Theo di Castri in the Weill Recital Hall) the recording equipment was mysteriously malfunctioning. Most of her best improvisation performances (Roulette, Café Orwell, Culturefix, friends’ living rooms…) similarly live on only in the memories of Those Who Were There, which works beautifully in some ideal conceptual world, until you’re old and feel distanced from a past you suddenly yearn for. Storm has written parts for and played violin with hip-hop/electronica singer-songwriter Alyson Greenfield, performing in Webster Hall and the Knitting Factory as part of the Tinderbox Women’s Music Festival. She played violin on many a Jonathan Wood Vincent song, on Natti Vogel and Najva Sol’s EP “Let Bloom”, Afuche’s EP “Ruff Dots”, Jason Anthony Harris’s debut EP and second album, Blanton Ravine by Public Speaking, and on Valerie Kuehne’s first Dream Zoo EP. In February 2013 she composed a performance for her friend Jillian Rose’s art installation opening at Brooklyn Wayfarer’s Gallery, and continues to constantly help friends develop and arrange original musical material however she can.
Show and Tell:
Serendipitous Lips & Hymnal Hips is a sampling from my Stormy Laughter/The Wilder Worldwide song cycle (2006-2008). I wrote the first batch of these songs all at once while in hermitage in the California desert with my friend, visual artist Joey Frank. I can barely even say I wrote them. Joey was driving me half-mad one day so I took myself for a walk in the desert. It was as though a radio had turned on in my head: all these songs, I think 6 of them that first day (there are 22 total, many of which have never been recorded), just started playing in my mind, and sounded quite catchy and à propos, so I wrote them down. A month or so later I met Jonathan Wood Vincent who was to become my greatest musical collaborator, and started performing all these songs regularly in NYC, DC, Paris and sometimes elsewhere. Collaborators on these songs over the years included: Jonathan Wood Vincent (piano/keys/additional vocals), Jake Wise (clarinet), Flin Van Hemmen (percussion), and Chris Manschreck (bass), occasionally Ryan Snow (trombone), Paul Schneiter (percussion/Paris), Aurélien Barbelosi (guitar)… Sasha Weiss (additional vocals), Hannah Felt Garner (additional vocals). Sadly I have very few and poor quality records of our years of highly-rehearsed, dare I say Awesome live performances. We used to dress up in the darnedest costumes, distribute crayons and origami paper, and move grown men to tears. Somehow, some day soon, hopefully this year, I will revive these songs, and record them properly. For now, please download this album of lovable roughs for free or whatever you feel like donating:
Dream Zoo is a song-cycle by Valerie Kuehne. I helped arrange them for violin + cello, and performed them with her as a duo (I played violin, there was also some pantomime involved) in NYC & on a brief tour through Germany and France in 2010. Later she developed them for a larger band, the violinist Jeff Young took over my parts and made them his own–for fun musical comparisons go investigate the full band Dream Zoo album after you’ve heard this first duo version. They’re both great, I think, but very different. Valerie and I have also played Shostakovich in Carnegie Hall together (the 2nd piano trio), collaborated on countless free improvisation performances (at Roulette, Spectrum, Cafe Orwell back in its time, the Papacookie Salon back in its time…), we’ve even played cheesy wedding music together , both for real weddings and in TV land (30 Rock, Rescue Me…)
The next two are albums by Jason Anthony Harris aka Public Speaking. Our collaboration has been very intuitive and minimal: he sends me the basic tracks a few weeks in advance, comes over to record what I’ve come up with on my violin, directing me in wonderfully subtle and abstract ways by, for example showing me his favorite MoMA paintings (“like that, ok?” “oh! I see, yes.”) and then he mixes my sounds up with everything else so I barely even recognize my own instrument. So I have really very little to do with how beautifully these turned out, but think you should listen to them all the same, especially the most recent one, Blanton Ravine.
And this is where I’ve started keeping some of my musical sketches, old recordings, salvages from hard drives I’m afraid of accidentally erasing, since my divorce from myspace years ago. The toy piano improvisations are very nice for naptime: