Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day Loops

The new practice space is amazing.  Tall ceilings, brick walls, no neighbors.  Raven left an organ in the corner too.  So many new songs to work up, write, practice, perform.  The show is going to be very different.  We bring the buckets, pans, lids, sticks, and strings in from the car.  Set up the loop and play something, anything... a riff from a yet-unhatched song or a couple of bars of rhythm from the Garbage Man himself.  And then we disappear from ourselves and dive, dive down.  Snaps, claps, voices crescendo, triangle, guiro, keyboard, dissonant beer bottle whispers, harmonica chops.  It repeats every eight seconds and I can’t get enough.  We trance ourselves in.  As soon as it feels done we erase our sound cycle from the loop and start over.  I sip tea and remember the monks who let their sand mandalas wash away in the waves.  I am learning to let go.  I say to myself often: this is just what’s happening right now.  Try not to narrate the story.


Indian style at the coffee table. I made a mix of Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Roy Orbison and Ray Charles. So far the random has favored Sam.

Just sitting in the Warehouse, waiting to work. It’s cold and rainy, so I opened the windows. I made a Vermonter Omelet. I’m thinking about songs, practice, travel. Dreaming of Europe. I haven’t been back in a couple of years. Thinking about Irish music, steam punks, jug bands. Hemingway in Paris in the twenties, writing about a gorgeous brunette woman he saw in a cafĂ© on Place St. Michel, who got away, and by now she’s grown old and died. But I glimpsed her in his words and I can see why he was compelled to write about her- to pass the message along. It’s fall. It’s internal time. I think of the winter coming on and smile warmly. Little sparkling lights in the snow. Sipping a hot totty, bundled up in a sweater. Trips to the mountains, fireplaces, evergreens. Everyone is hanging out and working now. Preparing. Dreaming up fantastic spring and summer adventures. We’re buying a van. We’ll just be gypsies for a while. See what’s going on around the this country.


It is still that same riff over and over and over.  And it never gets old.  Like watching a section of the creek carving out the clay.  The pattern is an illusion, each note completely different but passing by as if it were all the same.  One measure at a time is taken, digested. Dynamics and sustain.  Say all of the words you want, it won’t even come close to describing what is actually happening.  Who was it that said talking about music is like dancing about architecture?  Then there are the lyrics.  Yes, a new dimension is added.  He sings in a foreign language but it does not matter.  It is irrelevant.  The images are painted with the inflections of the voice.  I do not need to know the names of the colors.  They fit so well as the riff plays over and over and over.

Oh shit.
I’m late again, pack everything up.  Quick!

Even leaving at 3:30 the traffic is worse - 15 minutes to drive one mile.  I think I used to run one in 6.  Too much gear to run with.  Could just learn everything on the harmonica.  Remember to grab the List.  We still have to fill a few dates in January, start sending emails for the spring too.  Sucks the Theater is already booked that far in advance.  Oh yeah, and iTunes, need to get the songs up on iTunes.  They want us to pick a genre.  Experimental roots?  Progressive acoustic?  Indie folk?  What does that even mean?  Good God.  All they have is Country. World. Blues. Words.  Words.    Words.

We look at each other expectantly.  How to begin?  We have no seed idea, no leader, and a big dumb deadline.  This is the moment where we create something out of nothing.  Don’t try too hard.  We press our ears against stillness and wait.

Fifteen minutes later we have pulled some form out of the void and we’re rolling forward with momentum, focused enthusiasm.  And it feels.  So.  Good.  Addictive, really.  This is happening right now.  

Some Sundays we play cards, make dinner, and shoot the shit.  Sometimes we look up from our projects and say to each other ‘Let’s get the hell out of routine as soon as possible.’  Then we go back to work.  

Home since July and you start to get antsy.

 Thanks to Continental Divide Vibe for posting this video from the (turtle) release.