Public Dreams - Andrea Wong & Spencer Schoening: A Loud Moon

Live-off-the-floor featuring Andrea on the guzheng zither instrument and Spencer on drums

Public Dreams - Andrea Wong & Spencer Schoening: A Loud Moon
L-R: Andrea Wong, Spencer Schoening

Andrea Wong and Spencer Schoening recorded A Loud Moon, an A-side and B-side improvised music album, under the name Public Dreams. Captured at Phony Records at 951 East Hastings Street, this live-off-the-floor duo features Andrea on the guzheng zither instrument and Spencer on drumset.

The A-side wants to set out on an adventure; the B side wants to resolve conflict. The arc of the whole performance spans both sides, where the first one starts sparse and soft only to build slowly, and the second one comes in stronger but then dissipates.

The B-side is more discordant overall. When I arrived there, I realized how accessible and in-key the A-side had been. It featured plenty of pentatonics and playing around a minor key, making it easy to show to someone who doesn't listen to a lot of improvised music and garner appreciation for the duo from them.

Speaking of this duo and making things accessible, Andrea and Spencer are two of the four Improv Karaoke ringleaders (the others being Mike WT Allen and Matthew Ariaratnam). Improv Karaoke, a monthly series usually at 8EAST, just added a second-Monday session at Brentwood. That's to say Andrea and Spencer are faces of the current improvised music scene in their own right and are co-conspirators in growing that scene. Musically, they're deferential to each other, and Spencer has the opportunity to drive a lot of this set from the kit. The drums never hit too hard that you notice the compression; I only notice a couple of moments where they hit harder than usual. The bass drum sounds nice.

This is music for when you're going places – music in motion, not at all static. It's easygoing. I'd listen to it while walking through the park, with the goal to not tell whether the noises of spring birds chirping – or even people's activity in their yards and gardens – are part of the soundscape or not.

released Feb. 10, 2024 / Buy digital (Bandcamp) / available on YouTube