good morning ~
(click the link above to listen)
today's track is once again made from entirely recordings of my voice + breath. it was nice to force myself to inhale and exhale thoughtfully for five whole minutes.
many, many thanks to those of you who came out to the show this past sunday. it really means a lot to me.
speaking of gigs - i'm gonna be back in nyc this sunday ripping some tender little tasty guitar parts as part of the adeline hotel band at legitimately cool-guy casino-vibe venue the sultan room, tickets and info here.
and next weekend i'm going to be a part of a spooky / grateful dead gallery pop up party at a church/cemetary in hillsdale, ny...more on that next week, but let me know if you wanna join ~
The most overwhelming sensation in the room was that of attention being paid. There were so many calmly seated eyeballs, mouths nestled behind surgical masks, gently slouching bodies peering down from the second floor. And so much space between the notes, it felt like a full day passed between each chord, and in that way playing the show aged me twenty years. There was plenty going on - blown out bug wings leaping from the magnetic tape spooling through the boombox behind me, way blown-up images of myself dancing shirtless in the snow projected on the wall to my right - but stillness and patience were the main features of the set and, true to my methods, I tried to play a note less often than not. So there were cracks and fissures, breaks in the sound where the quiet got in like a leak in an old slate roof, and in the in-between spaces I could feel other people listening, other people watching, other people vibing. And I don't mean that I simply noticed the audience. What I mean is that attention paid is a physical sensation, it's something like sunlight, warm and at times too intense. And both the room and me were gently overfull of it.
Interesting to me that the phrase is "pay attention," and then sometimes "give attention to," and sometimes in a sort of grandiloquent way you can "lend attention to." Attention and currency use some of the same vocabulary, it's not hard to imagine keeping your attention in a bank, taking a high interest rate mortgage out on what little attention you do have. When someone pays attention to you, what are they getting in return? They receive you, in whatever form you've taken, in whatever interpretation this person buys when they put their eyes on you. I read somewhere that in french you say something like "do attention" which seems much more like what I want to say. In that room there was the feeling - the corporeal sensation - of attention done.
On the way home from my trip down to the city I refused - out of principal - to pay for roadways. When I clicked on the "avoid tolls" option on my phone's GPS app I felt somewhere out there that maybe I was making my dad proud saving $17.50 in exchange for 20 more minutes of my time. But the free road home winds perilously through the hills just east of the hudson river and on this particular monday night there were road crews repaving long stretches of the highway, taking 2/3rds of the available pavement. It was dark, it was topographically curved, and my knuckles got whiter and whiter as night got deeper. When I was first learning to drive I had to do it all the time - my high school was 20 minutes away, my band practiced an hour away, and my girlfriend lived an hour away in a different direction. I was in the car all the time, so much so that you start to disassociate - you feel like you couldn't possibly be driving in a 3 ton vehicle at lethal speeds, the limits seem slow, you drive with one finger or you drive with your knees as you crank tom petty on the kinda broken radio. But I haven't had my own car since I was 17 and mortality is much more real to me 16 years later. I was forced to pay attention. I felt like if my eyes left the road or even if I enjoyed a song too much I might go tumbling off the shoulder. I had to pay attention, I had to give attention, I had to lend my attention, hands at 10 and 2.
In the couple of days since it's made me wonder what it is I actually do attention to on a day-to-day basis. There are my physical needs and yens - coffee in the morning, dinner in the evening. Lately I make sure to notice in minute detail the street parking regulations. I ask my partner what she's facing, what she needs, how I can be of service. I struggle to do attention to the book I bought in Copenhagen whose last 50 pages are slogging on and on. The roving swarms of crows are back in the skies overhead and I give attention to their flightpaths in the waning daytime. I pay a terrible amount of attention to my phone, which for better or for worse tracks my exercise and my income each day and mostly stubbornly refuses to light up with the proper phone calls and notifications, digital tokens of attention being paid back to me in return. I pay attention to the tension in my shoulders and in my jaw. Encouraged by my therapist I am trying to do attention to how I speak to myself, in what regard I hold myself. I pay attention to local news headlines and to the minute changes of the town we live in (they recently opened an entire store devoted to disc golf, go figure). I notice my breath. I notice that my inboxes are more or less empty and that I am owed a lot of money in unpaid handshakes and invoices. I give untold amounts of attention to star trek and to unbearably stupid podcasts - both make me feel, I am embarrassed to admit, like I have a community in my space. And when I am at my best I pay attention to sounds, to chords, to delicious little loops of drums that make me want to hop up and down. But there is so much unpaid, such a deep debt, compounded interest loans of attention. My focus doesn't feel strong enough to hold it all in. I want to pay it all out, I want to listen to everyone I love and admire breathe, or watch them watch a movie. I want to lay my eyes on, I want to do attention.
but what about you? are you keeping your hands on the wheel? can you feel attention being paid out to you, checks in the bank? how are you doing?