January 29, 2012

January 23, 2012

January 13, 2012

Night Park

I wrote this piece about ten years ago, when I was immersed in one of my random spells of music. Well, nothing was actually written; it was improvised on keyboard and recorded using a digital music application. I used the EMU Proteus and Yamaha TG100 synthesizers. Yeah, I have too much talent for my own good. That's what my high school English teacher told me forty years ago. Fortunately I have very little ambition so there was never much for the "coming too easily" to undermine.

The structure of the piece, despite its density, exotic contours and effects, is an elongated 12-bar blues in G. Primary instrumentation is a basic drum kit with sand blocks and maraca, bass, rhythm guitar, piano, and pan flute, plus an assortment of semi-musical creatures lurking in the night. Astute listeners may notice the little five-shake maraca accent that occasionally appears in the rhythm section. It was lifted from the Arabian Dance in The Nutcracker, as was the shift from minor to major/dominant 7th in the closing statement, and was the poignant little shard, like so many of the striking trivialities in life that move and dilate and season us, that inspired the piece.

It's called Night Park.

January 11, 2012

January 8, 2012

January 6, 2012

January 3, 2012

On the road

A blogger I admire recently described his soul, in his customarily vivid style, as a square meter of tarmac with a dead squirrel on it. I thought he was describing mine. The popular idea that while our bodies may be feral, moth-eaten, and doomed, they nevertheless house souls that are competent, gorgeous, and intact, strikes me as wishful thinking. I think I’d prefer that eternal life, (in which, like Van and Ada, I mutely and shyly believe), includes a new soul to go with my new body. I may not have lost mine entirely, but I’m pretty sure I’ve chipped off a few choice pieces in exchange for another day of safe passage in this fascinating but “evil and multicolored” world. But what can be created can be restored. My hope for the year to come is that the road kill gets cleared away, and a wildflower or two grows up, undisturbed, through the tarmac.