a house in bali

i’ve always been interested in gamelan music. the first time i heard something like it was in the soundtrack to akira. there was a haunting and sad element to it but tremendous energy and beauty. in high school i had a crappy copy of the akira soundtrack and i listened to it over and over again. it was one of those albums where you lay on the floor to listen to it cuz it’s high school and yr so moved by the music that you can’t do anything. it wasn’t until a few years later when i was living in chicago that i came across a used copy of one of the nonesuch explorer series gamelan albums at reckless. i bought it for seven dollars and after i got home and listened to it i was hooked. the music was mind blowing. all the syncopated polyrhythm, the loud soft dynamics. it all killed me. and what was awesome was at the time i couldn’t even imagine what kind of instruments were capable of creating such sounds.

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improvised music is the new newness

lately. i’ve been into the band. new ideas. new modes. it’s nice. i thought i woulda been more bummed that the rories stopped. but by the end, it was feeling like too much. too much responsibility. too much being in charge. not enough being part of a group. don’t get me wrong. i loved it. it was fun. but i think it had run its course and now we’re on to the next thing. the rories had been moving in that direction anyways. freeform. open-ended. improvised. and that seems to be what this new group is. open ended. we’re working on it. figuring it out. figuring out how to play with each other. what to play with each other. what musics. what instruments.

which is fun for me. playing new things like drums. trying to figure out how they work. sleigh bells – a christmas present from h’s sister. the sleigh bells rule. a keyboard that’s been sitting in my closet for years. now i’m playing all these things. and anything i can get my hands on. like a melodica. i wish i still had my harmonica. i wonder where that got off to. and yes i’m still playing my guitar also. it’s a nice feeling to be trying new things, making new sounds (new for me) and learning to interact musically with new people.

it can be frustrating. some nights. when we’re off. not coherent. but that’s the nature of it. and it seems like we’re getting more comfortable with each other and the music and it’ll continue to improve.

we still don’t have a name yet. some terrible ideas have been thrown around. maybe i’ll write them down later. we’ll see.