good morning ~
(click the link / caged moonrise to listen)
today's track is a subterranean banger or maybe a deconstructed banger, the kind of thing you'd eat at a fancy restaurant
the big thing I want you to know is that I am playing at the Avalon Lounge tonight. if you live within a one-hour drive of Catskill, NY your attendance is legally mandated. if you live in New York City, your closest train station is Hudson, NY. see you there!
I've prepared a statement.
This is the introduction to the set I am about to perform.
As I speak these words, a series of air vibrations travel from my throat to the microphone.
The microphone registers these vibrations as an electro-magnetic signal that is then amplified and sent to the venue's speakers.
Those speakers again agitate the air around us, and, well, basically more-or-less that wiggling air is what you're hearing now.
And since you are now hearing all of this, the set of music has begun.
So perhaps it is more accurate to say: this is the beginning of the set of music I am currently performing.
(Don't think about this part too hard but you are also breathing in and breathing out the vibrating air. That same vibrating air is making contact with your skin and clothes, too - you are awash in it, among it, your corpus is quite literally changing and interacting with the sound as it caroms around the room. Your body is an instrument, the inverse of the speaker.)
Generously, I have been granted a portion of this evening in which to present work.
I see this as a privilege and take the opportunity very seriously - not everyone is granted such a chance to perform, I know this. This is something that I get to do, and somewhat regularly, too.
I also know that I inherently benefit from certain social inequities - another form of privilege that feels important to acknowledge.
To a lesser extent, there may also be certain social inequities that in fact do not benefit me, but I am less comfortable exploring or acknowledging those things right now. Let's move on.
At my most at ease I believe that I am not any more entitled to this time or this room than anyone else, though I am proud of the work and refinement I have put into what you're experiencing now. I don't think I'm special - I've just put some thought and effort into it.
At my most unfair I am a grimy little goblin slobberingly hoarding the gold of your attention, I'll never get enough, gimme gimme gimme.
At this moment I am not at my most unfair, though I am not at my most at ease, either.
There are many things that you could now be doing with your time and attention - that you are even registering my existence - much less tuning in meaningfully - is, frankly, a little terrifying.
Aside from the wild gift that is the apportioning of this set, there is another aspect I would like you to consider.
You will never be in this room, in quite these conditions, with quite these people ever again.
No matter how familiar this particular room or these particular faces feel, make no mistake.
This gathering can never be duplicated.
You have but one fleeting sprint through this exact sequence of moments.
This blip like countless other blips flitting by the window of a speeding train that never slows and never stops.
(Don't think about this part too hard, either: everything is like that, whizzing the fuck by, scenery blurred and barely acknowledged. You are simply hurtling through time and your small slice of it. No night out is ever replicable, no single breath in or out ever exactly congruent to any other, however gasping)
This work can fairly be described as music.
Is what you're hearing now music?
Sure, why not? I'd say. You may decide whatever, that's up to you.
One thing I'm currently interested in is the valley of discomfort we are currently walking through.
Is this something I've seen before? Do I recognize its shape?
Do I trust this person with the microphone?
Are we building to a head of unpleasantness I'd rather not experience?
You may be asking yourself these questions.
Fear not, I do not have any ill intent. And remember - you can leave at any time.
At some point soon, I will ease us all back into the luxurious comfort of gently undulating tones.
Later, more scaffolding: I will sing a song or two and you will feel a warm rush of nostalgia for one verse ago when I sing a chorus for the second time.
But for now I like this middle zone, am fascinated by it - there are tones and organized sounds, but no sense of crescendo, no mounting tension that obviously requires resolution.
Where are we going?
A gentle form of purgatory, the tenderest bardo, the Matrix's plain white loading room.
The other day I was speaking to a buddy of mine about an album she's getting ready to release.
Trying to get my head around it, I asked - maybe - a ridiculous question.
What do you hope your listeners will accomplish when they hear this music?
(Her answer felt a kind of true: is it bad to say that I'm selfish? That I don't necessarily care?)
I pose the same question rhetorically to myself.
What do I hope that we'll accomplish?
I hope to rattle something loose, either within you or within myself.
I hope to provide you with something that you need.
I hope to build and then methodically demolish an impossible vesper castle.
I hope to pull off a sorta corny magic trick, to pull the rainbow handkerchief endlessly from my sleeve.
I hope to slowly rotate aloft a mirrored sphere, no strings, no welded seams.
Part of me hopes to impress you and another part hopes for those of you I don't know to earnestly become my friends.
I hope to have fun with you.
And I hope to feel a kind of calm with you.
There's an old showbiz saying that's like:
Tell 'em what you're gonna do
And then tell 'em when it's done
In a few moments more I will finish speaking.
The sounds we have gathered will continue floating in the air for some time.
Eventually we will move on to other tones, other words, other organizations.
After a time - maybe 30 minutes - we will reach the end of the set.
The end will be obvious.
I'll say something like:
But what about you? Is the air wiggling around you? What do you hope to accomplish in reading this email? What are you doing right now?