Ann O’Rourke is a “natural” free improvisor. She can sing and play in Western time, but finds it very restrictive. Like many people, Ann had “traditional” music training. In high school she learned to read music and sight sing a capella Gregorian chant in her church choir and played cornet, clarinet, and flute.
She started playing classic rock drumset with her three brothers about 10 years ago and took drum lessons – rock and jazz. She played in several rock and jazz combos. When learning to play jazz she really liked "comping", inserting sort of random snare drum hits. But, she wanted to do it all the time, not just occasionally!! In jazz combos she was always trying to not "play in time" during trading 4s or 8s, which her bandmates did not like.
About 5 years ago she discovered the local improv/experimental scene by attending a free jazz open mic and was hooked!! Ann gradually added vocals, found objects, effects, Nunnish steel plate, etc. In August, 2010 she started her group, Ear Spray, with Carlos Jennings, an electronic musician. In 2014, Mark Pino, a percussionist, joined the group.
In January 2014 she first performed videos with Ear Spray. She uses touchvsc on her Ipad air. She studied science as an undergrad and uses heavily processed videos such as galaxies, cancer cells, spooky trees, amoebas, ice formations, etc. In the 1980s Ann took classes and worked on documentary videos, and really liked editing, but the hardware and software was too "clunky" so she quit doing video production.
Ann loves having a melody “instrument”, her voice. About six years ago, she took classical vocal training from a local opera singer and has been singing ever since. For three years she performed with the Cornelius Cardew Choir, an experimental/avant garde vocal ensemble, which really helped her learn to do her strange vocals. Ann has taken classes from several experimental vocalists.
Ear Spray 5-31-14 Berkeley Arts, Berkeley CA
Ann O'Rourke - Instigator, Vocals, Video, Percussion
Mark Pino - Intense Percussion
Carlos Jennings - Conduction and Electronics
We were one of the 17 groups at NextNow Festival - "All Tomorrows' After-Parties - Jazz and Experimental Music Benefit for Homeless Action Center"
Video by Charles Smith. If you see a white haired man holding a video camera on a tripod, that's Charles. He records a lot of performances. Check out his other recordings at https://www.youtube.com/user/TheHermitThrush
Ear Spray live @Life Changing Ministries in Oakland CA 1-26-2014 full set. Video by Kevin Hobbs, a Most Excellent Videographer!!! See more of his videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/roseman127