I came back here because the first comment I've gotten on any of these old journals in years came from a (presumed) spambot in a Spanish-speaking country. The spambot wanted to have the password for my account reset. Weird. Someone needs a hobby.
Did you have any questions?
Anyway, I hope all my old LJ friends are alive, intact, and doing well.
The Straw Bear Band: "Song of the Wandering Aengus"
Made up two compilation CDs of primarily darkwave tracks with violin parts and/or prominent female vocals, with a few Irish, Nordic, and Indian fiddle tunes thrown in to round things out a bit. Passed one off to the violinist I met at work; hung on to the other one for the time being to preview it over the weekend. Truth be, it was so I'd have something nice to listen to over the course of my drive to Essex county.
Did in fact start out listening to said compilation CD on the drive to the cottage, but was unable to make it past track six, which was "Porphyria," one of the songs C. and I recorded last summer. It's really good. I listened to it about five times in a row. It's fun getting excited about your own music, and it's cool that it's in enough of a post-production state that it sounds really nice on a good stereo, but also still in enough of a pre-production state that I can make calls like "I'm going to remix it with this part lower, some soft echo on that bit, and I'm going to re-record this part of the vocal track." That project has already taught me a lot, and it's continuing to do so. Huzzah!
On the production tip, before we dive into the intricacies of "Porphyria," we're going to finish off "Iris of Perception;" we're to discuss the latest round of production notes as soon as we can get in touch.
I'm also supposed to get together with an old friend and one-time roommate to see about playing some music in a rather different vein. That's finally going to happen tonight, after two earlier cancellations. I'm looking forward to it.
Was contacted out of the blue by a woman asking if I might be interested in making some music for her bellydancing troupe. "Yes," I said. All the more reason to buy that early Greek lute I fell a little bit in love with in Tennessee.
Was told by the metal group that I might be playing bass with them in their upcoming show here in town. I'm still a little unsure about how to progress with that. I'm not sure whether it's right, yet, to force the issue and tell them to make a decision about me versus their old bassist. I'm enjoying playing with them, but I want the shows, too, not just the practice sessions, and I can feel my interest in the project waning, what with no incentives to hold onto it. After finding out I wasn't going to be playing in last weekend's show in Fredericksburg, I opted to not make the drive up there at all, and to instead go to the beach cottage with friends, which was a lot of fun and which I don't regret for a minute but which apparently surprised them. I like the band, I like the music, I even like their original bassist, but it's hard to be impartial about the matter when, straight up, I want the gig for myself. My intuition has been to be clear with everyone about it (which I have), and then to step back and let them work it out.
So yesterday I had a good long talk with one of the women I work with. At one point, she said to me, "You know, there's this local alt-country band that wants me to play violin with them, but I'm not really into that. What I'd really like to play is heavy, dark gothic rock." So we're going to see what happens with that; after hearing that she wasn't familiar with groups like Miranda Sex Garden or Clan of Xymox, much less Mors Syphilitica or Rhea's Obsession, I told her I'd bring her some music to check out, and I think at some point we may see about playing and/or writing together. I'm always interested in meeting new musicians and new collaborators.
I'm leaving tomorrow for this year's Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, TN. Last year was a lot of fun, and this year's lineup is even more diverse, veering more pointedly away from the festival's early jam-band roots. That's still represented, but there's also bluegrass, country, hip-hop, metal, electronica, reggae, and more. We're breaking up the roughly ten hour drive with a stop somewhere around Boone, NC to stay with a friend, then making the rest of the trip on Thursday morning. The music starts at seven that night and continues almost without interruption for more than three days. Should be a blast. I'm even looking forward to the drive. We're bringing four ipods and a deck of cards from an interesting game called Tell It Like It Is. Plus four people, four bags, four sleeping bags, two tents, two coolers, a grill, three folding chairs, two boxes of gifts for the friend in NC, and possibly a guitar all crammed into a QX4. That will be a feat of spatial engineering to rival the three man cross-country expedition of '96.
I'm hoping that this will be both the first of several music festivals this summer, and the first of lots of great concerts, and the first of many travels. I'd also like to make it to Asheville, San Francisco, and a drive through New England and ultimately into central Maine over the course of the summer and early fall. Plus, they've announced the artists for this year's Nordic Roots Festival in Minneapolis, and I'm absolutely going to go back to that this year, too.
So, yeah, lots of ipods. But there's a six-disc changer up in Raheem, too. So everyone throw me some recs for six discs to start off the drive. Ready? Go.
So a week or two ago K. dropped my iPod and did the little guy in. Once before it had consumed its own soul and I had to reinstall the software, but software won't take when the hard drive no longer understands that it's a hard drive. I tried about five times anyway, though, before I took notice of the clicking sound: the arm doggedly thwapping into the casing, I suppose, as it tried to read the surface of the drive a few centimeters further over than it should've been. I even had a go at pulling the cover off and peering inside before I heard that noise and realized what it meant. (And I don't recommend that.) Then I thought, well, it's a hardware issue. I can't fix that. I'll have to take it in to the shop and pay some Apple rep $250 or so to do that. And then I thought, well, I can't break it any more than it's already broken, save by crushing it or putting a spike through it or some such. And if it's out of alignment, and it got that way by being dropped, hey, maybe being dropped again will put it back in alignment. And I fixed a printer a few years ago by throwing it a good beating, so maybe I'll give that a go. So, holding the iPod by the edges, palm over the LED, I lifted it up and gave it a good slam down on the desk. Smack, it went. I turned it over on its side, lifted it up again and slammed it down on the desk on its side. Smack, again. I pushed the button and saw the little Apple come up on the screen. For the last week, the Apple would come up and then I'd get the folder with the exclamation point icon, the one that means, "'scuse me mate, but I can't find my system folder anywhere on me, and have consequently developed severe amnesia." But instead, it went straight into disk mode, and did it with no clicking. So I had a good laugh and tried the software re-install again, and lo and behold, it worked. It's back to being an iPod now, serving me up some evil Celtic metal with flutes, a good dose of deep Latin jazz, some Nordic roots, and at the moment, some crazy turntablism courtesy of four French DJs.
So let that be a lesson. If you drop an iPod, before you shell out $250, give it another drop, or throw it a little beating. Sometimes it works wonders.
I've noticed an increase in what is essentially a bad habit: I'm forgetting the things I've written. In one way, it isn't so bad as it's been before — there have been times when music I've been involved in actually playing and recording has been played back for me and I've had no memory of any of it. Now, I remember having written something. I will even remember what it sounds like, more or less. But I will not remember how to play it. I have to pick it out anew like it's someone else's composition. The good news is that most of it seems to come back readily enough if I pay it enough attention; at least, that's been the most recent development. Still, though. I feel like if I compose something I should remember its every nuance for ever, particularly if it happens to be for an instrument I can play myself, and it irks me when it doesn't work out that way.
Writing a lot, in other news. I've really been enjoying open G tuning on the acoustic guitar.