I'm sitting at Table 7 at the library, reading about music and thinking about music and the people who write about it. And there's just one thing I got to know.
Do you like what we're doing here?
I'm looking for ways to mix it up over here at the Honeyeater, ways we can make it better, more interesting, more adventurous, more creative, more fun. I attribute part of the problem to simply not having time and energy for it, and more specifically the fact that I'm just not as musically knowledgeable as a writer-about-music should be -- most of my friends have a much stronger handle on contemporary stuff, and as for my awareness of older music, well, I was going to use the word "grasp" in place of "awareness" but that sounded too strong, you dig?
One thing I think might help: SEND US SONGS. We will write about the things we love. Please and thanks! I think that right there takes care of the interesting-adventurous-and-fun parts; I guess you'll still have to trust us with the creative part. (And all I can give you there is a maybe. Have a little faith, though.)
If you'd like to send me anything, I'll always -- ALWAYS -- listen to it. My e-mail is:
I'll leave it up to Will and Clay to provide theirs.
And also, please, flood this post with comments -- constructive, derisive, knock-knock, anarchic, whatever. (In other words, the only way I'll know if this is working fine, or if it might be time to retreat, is from hearing your thoughts, dear reader.)
So. HOLLER BACK --------------------
UPDATE: Yo, ANYBODY?!
The Tallest Man on Earth - "The Gardner"
This song is about things we all share, even things we'd not-so-much admit to sharing. It's the lift and the ache of knowing that being just who we are makes even one someone want to try harder. It's the thrill, the glee of a good old-fashioned killing spree. (Figuratively, of course.) It's unbridled absurdity (love), it's separating the wheat from the chaff, it's casting yourself in a winnowing sliver of light. (Borrowed that one.) It's about everything we can't quite put our fingers on. We can't because we can only be in it: you can't be on music, on air, on her eyes. Even on time. (A river is not a line.) We're in this together, when we sing together it's the same time, the same air, we're seeing with the same swirls of twilight. "There is no need for suspicion / There ain't no frog kissing your hand / I won't be lying when I tell you / That I'm a gardner, I'm a man / In your eyes, babe."
I don't know how Katy Horan would feel about me using her artwork for this post, but it's just SO PERFECT for the song; I'm almost surprised one didn't inspire the other. Though I'd assert it stands alone just fine, more than fine -- lately I'm just plum enamored with her work. Please give it a look. The piece I jacked is from her new solo exhibition (!) -- please check it out here.
If you haven't yet, check out Soirée à emporter n°2. All the videos are worth your time -- I'm partial to The Dodos and Fleet Foxes, of course, and Essie Jain was a welcome discovery -- but the real gem, the really real gem, is hidden in the really real sounds and smiles and stomps and clomps and shaking excitement of Vandaveer's all-too-brief performance. It's given me chills, welled up tears, made me miss my family. It's that good.
I wrote the man an e-mail, asking when and where a studio version of "A Mighty Leviathan of Old" might, um, surface, and here's what he said: "We actually have recorded that very tune for the next record, but we haven't set a release date yet ... most likely will be in early '09 ... but we may post it on Myspace or some other place before then to whet the collective whistle." WhoooooooOOOOooooo!
(item no. 65391)
1000 - 1099 Northern India
Buddhist Lineage, Stone
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art
(courtesy of himalayanart.org)
"Fill That World" - Oliver Ignatius
We got to talking amidst a brief break from class. Music, of course, was one of the first things we discussed.
"Do you write?" He asked.
"Kind of. Nothing I do really takes off... all really stays the same the whole time," I said between sips of lukewarm coffee.
"Sometimes, that's all you need."
I posed the same question back to Oliver, who had apparently just finished recording his second album. He'd done it all himself, he said, from recording the various harmonies and melodies, to instruments, to mixing and mastering.
About forty minutes later, after class, I asked him if he had anything he could show me.
"Sure," he said, "I guess you could call it the 'hit single' if anything." He proceeded to show me "Hop Skip and a Jump".
Decent, truly independent stuff is hard to find. Open-mic nights have lately bored me; almost as though nothing I've heard since the Summertime Potluck Hootennanies Tyler and I put on really excited me. By now you've probably heard us rant about Nicholas Beaven, Bruhder, Vikesh Kapoor, Whistle Jacket, and others. But if I may present to you all Oliver Ignatius. Someone I'll probably be ranting about often from here on out.
You can download the rest of his album, Demos for Secund here.
Mac users get unrarx to download the songs. It's free and worth it.
On an unrelated note, if you haven't heard the Fleet Foxes BBC Radio 2 Session FM on Aquarium Drunkard, I suggest you do so now.
I was changing my sheets the other evening, which is not something I do on a regular basis. Since moving to Brooklyn, my closet-sized bedroom has succumbed to my messy ways; most of my life has yet to be unpacked. It was once shoved inside the back of a U-Haul, (clothes, couch, and all) and driven every-which-way around New York (Don't use Map Quest if you're driving a truck) until I finally landed in Bushwick, somewhere off the L or the M train.
It would have been easier if most of the roads I'd been advised to take hadn't been for "passenger cars only".
Now, I find myself waking up every morning to redundant proclaimations of mediocre rappers, motorcycles, car horns, drug deals, skateboards, stick ball, arguments, and the occasional fly on my face...
Back to the other evening.
Cleaning my room, changing my sheets, putting clean clothes away and the dirty ones in a hamper; making it nice and nice for any guests that might wander in some kind of drunken haze into my bedroom (and of course the inexplicable male expectation of some lady-friend), I couldn't help hearing random beeps, rhymes, and computer-generated keyboard sounds coming from Euna's (ooh-na's) room.
Twenty minutes later, Jacob (one of my other room mates) and Euna, henceforth to be known as Cucci (pronounced like the coarse slang word for vagina) & Coco (pronounced...well, i think you get it) showed me their finished product. It goes something like this...
I think it's just absolutely hilarious, to sum it up in a word.
please remix this song if you'd like and send it back. I'll post my favorites.
Ella Fitzgerald - "Stairway to the Stars"
You shouldn't destroy what you can't rebuild,
like the earth, or the stars,
a stairway from here to there.
(Maybe we could rebuild the stairway but personally I wouldn't risk it.
That's where heaven is.
On rungs, on beams,
on hands and feet!
Perilous! Off-balance! Lovely, lovely!)
It would be heaven to climb to heaven
Up there there's a darkness so bright,
there's violence but it's not scary,
it's so blue, and it's just beginning.
And that moon (the same one, not the same as before)
and that driftdriftdrift, oh my -
and the rim of that hill, oh yes -
and the crest of that thrill, oh to be...
I hear your o-so-slow,
seductive "let's" -
for heaven's sake, LET US! but you play it cool -
and good heavens the sound of your voice:
to you, heaven to me.
Shhh - that's heaven
and I'm clean-break fresh-out of waiting.
I went to a drum show last night. There were about 15-20 drummers playing traditional folk percussive instruments, including plastic, corrugated horns, a mass of shells, lots of bass-y, big drums hit with sticks, congas, shakers, metal, wood, and pelt drums. All with a conductor in front guiding everyone.We vowed to get this whole thing started in US eventually. We were convinced it would take off back home. Songs last for half and hour; everyone sings and claps. We all dance.
There is a pterodactyl guy who climbs up pillars and flaps his wings, always clothing covering his eyes (right).
My study abroad program has recently provided us (the students) with a "Risk Matrix" based on country, with the categories, "Crime," "Terrorism," "Political," "Kidnap," "Infrastructure," and "Overall," on a frightening familiar spectrum of green, yellow, red, and black.
Argentina, the country I am currently in, ranks HIGH, with red levels of "crime" and "kidnap."
Egypt, a country two friends are studying in, also ranks HIGH, with only "terrorism" reaching the dangerous red level.
Is it really necessary to base a country's supposed security on our perception of how dangerous it is to us? Granted, common sense and knowledge of safety is important- don't walk down an unlit street in the slums of Sudan (ranked extremely dangerous overall). But nations are way too complex to say the threat of being kidnapped here is a yellow amount of dangerous to you.
I have learnt in the past month or so, that travel is about risk-taking and being unsure. You have to leave your comfort zone if you want to learn anything at all. You need to drop the guidebook; ask the locals. Walk down a road, just remember your way back.
Of course you want to be smart, but a risk wouldn't be a risk if it wasn't a risk!
Travel safety isn't about compiling data. It's about being prepared to roll with whatever comes your way. Expectations are meant to be torn to shreds (in a great way or a horrifying way) for every moment a traveller is exploring... More later.
(Unfortunately, the link to the matrix I am describing requires you to be a member of the program in order to be safe...)
"Pacific Rhythm" - Quiet Village
I was sitting across from Andrea who was cutting the vegetables we picked up at a market hours earlier as the sun set and the air debased itself even colder, the ocean breathing onto the mouth of the river, slowly overwhelming all and introducing a new sense of life, like the time it breathed on Will and I, shins given much attention, mists in our faces, looking out across a Forever shadowed by the same cold orange light from that same time of day, half way around the world in Old Orchard Beach.
Andrea finished cutting the red bell peppers and started the spinach whic
h she insisted we get, her favorite and "it makes you strong." Keith, Andrea, Andrea's friend, and I took a trip over a long weekend to Uruguay, first to Colonia del Sacremento, then hopped a bus to Montevideo. Colonia is a sleepy town on the coast of the Rio del Plata, less colonial than foretold in the guidebooks, more reliant on the port connected to Buenos Aires and the modest Bus depot that sent customers to untold locations around the country and the continent and the world, one can only hypothesize half afraid, half in awe.
Keith entered the kitchen, his mate gourd and thermos in-hand, borrowed from the funky, collective-feeling hostel we were staying in. He broke out a book I had read in high school and ended up borrowing later to reread. I resigned myself to our vino tinto and some parmesan-impersonating cheese called semi-duro. The kitchen was the warmest part of the hostel and we enjoyed spending downtime in there. I think it was agreed we all felt like strangers in Montevideo; we didn't really plan any part of the trip besides the hostels and we were cold, un-showered, in dirty clothes, poorly planned, and dumb about anything to do or see in the city.
I still feel very stressed back here in Buenos Aires. Everyday I have to actively get excited about being abroad. I need to speak more Spanish, I need to stop going to school and home the same way each day. I need to get involved in the local music/art scene, maybe get a job off craigslist for efectivo (under the table cash). I need to make local friends. I need to exercise regularly, eat healthier, meditate more, smoke less. But in a way, I am feeling more comfortable than I was when I got here, already over a month ago.
There is so much for me to do. Despite all the people who try to pickpocket me on the subte, the Great Wall of a language barrier I am slowly digging through Shawshank Redemption-style, I still have my instinctual urge to learn more and to explore more. I'm going to some shows this weekend. I'm going to try to strike up conversation with locals. I'm also going to try to keep an actual travel journal with more journey and less introspection because while I'm doing all this talking and reflecting, the world, Buenos Aires, is continuing perpetually in each moment. I need to keep jumping in, no matter how wet I get.
Riding the L train to a class you've already missed can be disconcerting, overwhelming; anxiety-inducing. There are few things today that I could say have gone right, but then again, I haven't really counted.
It's the first day of classes for most Universities in New York City.
Finally out of Connecticut, I've spent the past two weeks in Brooklyn in a drunken haze, waking in the early afternoons, many nights without power. Meeting women, yelling at kids throwing bottles off my roof.
I'm unemployed, somehow attempting to pay my way through college.