August 12, 2014

arabesque and trestle

 Making music with Matt has been the most unexpectedly fun experience. Usually how it goes is this- 11 or 12 at night rolls around. We set things up on the big wool rug in the bedroom. A two foot square wooden box, two inches tall and wired internally with piezos, amplifies the wooden kalimbas that are set on top of it. We call it the "soundboard" and it's plugged into two loop pedals which are then plugged into an amplifier and speakers. A little recorder is hooked into one loop pedal, and sometimes a microphone- we've been playing around with looping whistles the past few nights.

We choose a pair of kalimbas that are tuned together, he makes a beat on the wooden soundboard with his hands, loops it, and then the endless looping of kalimba song begins. We rotate through tunings. It's best when we "talk" back and forth with them. Call and response. Or when he plays something incredibly high pitched and I play deep notes. He also built what he calls an "mboura," a blend between a kalimba/mbira and a tamboura. It has the ability to sound like a grungy banjo or a haunting Indian instrument. Sometimes we'll play really slow improvised lullabies, and around 12:30 or 1am, I start to nod off. But other times we play what we're now calling "post EDM" (post electronic dance music) and the energy keeps me awake. Flow is an amazing feeling, and communicating with someone without words is equally incredible. 

Anyway, we've made two albums. He took some of photographs from West Virginia and fiddled with them in photoshop for Arabesque. That one is a bit more lullaby-like, and Trestle has a bit more beat involved. At times it almost sounds Caribbean inspired. Both are free for you to download if you'd like!

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August 10, 2014

the best walk

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July 31, 2014

fourth of July on the last day of July

Two blog posts in a month? What's up with that? Yes, I've been neglecting this space. It's so nice to come back to though. Thank you for all of your sweet comments on my last post. Sara... that quote on your blog's sidebar is phenomenal and Isadora is not a tiny baby anymore!

We drove to a cabin in Pennsylvania for the Fourth of July. In Baltimore, there are no such things as cornfields and so I spent an inordinate amount of time taking pictures in one while I had the chance. (Some of the pictures were obviously not taken by me because they have me in them. Thanks Matt.) There was a stunning sunset, a bright star or planet lining up with the moon, and sleeping underneath the whispering leaves was refreshing.

I've been terrible at watering the plants because the rats just eat everything edible and I kind of don't care that much anymore. The wild vines and the towering trees in the backyard are enough greenery for me these days. I also have next to zero motivation to cook like I used to. Give me a food pill and let me get on with tuning kalimbas or walking down the street and running into friends or painting a picture or taking photographs of cats please. This forgetting to eat on time thing was getting bad though. It was affecting my anxiety levels and all the sudden I'd have an "oh my god I have a headache because I'm dying of a brain tumor because of my cell phone and I have so much more to create in life" kind of panic. And then I'd realize I was just hungry and would eat breakfast (at noon) and feel normal again. Note to self- eat food at a reasonable hour. Maybe water the basil in the off-chance it survives the rats. Tell me all of your human flaws! Let's wallow in them together! 

*Half hour later update after thinking a bit more: On a more serious level, I'd say a lot of these surfacing anxieties are probably not being experienced alone, and not entirely due to poor diet. There is some really devastatingly scary stuff happening right now, and on a moment to moment level I try to put it out of mind... Ebola, Palestine/Israel? It's a nightmare that I can't possibly relate to and therefore my mind is trying desperately to avoid the emotional realities of it all. I'm sitting here in safety, feeling so so lucky and simultaneously guilty at my good fortune. Aren't we all feeling that way, anyone who is safe and healthy enough to be reading (or writing) a silly little blog post this very moment? Yet all we can really do is keep going forward with good intention, right?*

Today I'm going to paint for awhile. There's chocolate chip hazelnut banana bread about to come out of the oven. My cat is sleeping on the corner of the bed and has been for about twelve hours now. I bought discount flowers from the local florist on Sunday and there's a little vase of them in each room. The girls are out of town right now and entrusted me to a Black Swallowtail butterfly chrysalis. It emerged yesterday and I let it crawl all over my hands before releasing it. 

Have a lovely afternoon. xo
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