Improvised Piano Rehearsal - Audrey's Dance on Yamaha PSR-248
So this is just playing around with the music from Twin Peaks on a keyboard. I love the stepping bass that goes down and up the scale, it is very cool, maybe the coolest walking bass line of all time. I am still learning this song but it is a lot of fun to play!
I learned the song mostly from seeing a tutorial on youtube but I have also been playing with the songs of Twin Peaks for a while now. "Falling" is in F/Dm while this is in C. Not Cm or some crazy chord but plain old C major. There is a humor to it all, the coolness of the bass maintaining that pulsing C, while little fireworks of dissonance go off here and there like ectoplasm disappearing in the treetops. It is an amazing piece, the original by Angelo Badalamenti.
I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry - Hank Williams Valentine's Day cover
It is another Valentine's Day alone for me. I don't know what is wrong with me, social skills, physical defects, etc. Sometimes I feel cursed to be alone. It helps to remind myself that relationship shit and traditional notions of lifestyle happiness are as arbitrary as anything. Including the life you would love to live. Society places so many roles on us, so many expectations. This shit is part of the system, part of the stomping foot of inhuman control that struggles in vain to kill the individual, beautiful, soul of a single human being just existing in life's irrefutable dignity. Against this personal striving for meaning in life, Valentine's Day can sometimes feel like psychic violence.
It is probably like this for many people on most Valentine's Days anyways. Anyways usually I don't feel so alone but today is always difficult because I am always alone on Valentine's Day. Well that is not true, the past few years I have my cat Five with me. He was sleeping in the next room when I recorded this Hank Williams cover. It's not the best performance (it's a little cartoony and out of tune) but it is what it is. Happy Valentine's Day.
Let's rock. To start I was an OG Twin Peaks fan. Well, I was a bit too young to watch but I do remember mom and dad watching and hearing that dreamlike music before going upstairs to go to sleep. This weekend I visited my dad who moved to the N Ga mountains and we watched 11 episodes of the new season. We watched the first two and he kept saying, "Let's watch the next one", and we would go through 4 or 5 a day. He didn't remember it very clearly - it was probably 25 years since the original - but he was laughing about certain scenes. For instance the famous 2 1/2 minutes of zen barroom sweeping with Jacques Renault in the background (who is dead???). My dad was like "That is classic David Lynch" and was just grinning the whole time. Lynch has wonderful command of time, and it is a thrill to see him play with that during the new season. The awkwardness of time. He gets it.
Episode 3 was my fast favorite for a while. The whole industrial glitch-Eraserhead intro where Cooper is traversing the purple tinted industrial/steampunk/art-deco fantastical world of wherever the fuck this is supposed to be. All the stuff between the Coopers and electrical outlets. When the white electricity started coming out of the power outlet in Episode 3 I just about lost it with how cool and weird and unexpected and bizarre and right this felt. What does it mean? Honestly I love not knowing right now. This is one of the great things about the revival, we can experience it in sequence, like a classical TV mini-series, and not as a binge-watch all at once. As we often do in modern times, a la "On your fucking phone". It would be too incoherent. We need time to breath, to sit and think. I love not knowing the characters in the 50s. I love entertaining the very real possibility that it may not even be returned to again, and entertaining the excitement and scariness of all the crazy theories and ideas and universes that could explain this video. To devote our full attention (and expectations?) towards each precious minute of time and the creation of meaning. David Lynch is at once a character and the creator of the universe and he is literalizing the creation of new worlds. He is introduced in front of a giant mushroom cloud. Is it the same one as episode 8?
Episodes 3 and 8 are my favorite things Lynch has ever done. Episode 8 literally dumbfounded me, as much of this has, like the dead zombie kid growing out of the car seat, like the silent glass box that is a maximalist-minimalist depiction of Lynch's Zen dive into that endless ocean of ideas he is always talking about. The atomic explosion literalizes the creation, Lynch's creation of this universe, in all of its wonderful abstract Powers-of-10-meets-2001-meets-Brackhage glory. We see alternate universes being born, Big Bangs exploding, a visual Brainstorm. Then the Experimental being -gain a literalization? Of the creation? It looks asexual, both male and female. Like humankind when first created by God. It vomits bubbles and eggs and Bob, hovering in a grey and undifferentiated Zone. Then the trip to the convenience store. If you need anything you go to the convenience store. LOL. A little bit taking the piss. Taking the cosmic piss. Then the austere black and white theater where Laura's golden sphere is sent to Earth by a man and woman performing some spiritual ritual. Unlike Eve tempting Adam, he creates from his mind (faculty of imagination/prophecy) and gives her a golden orb that when kissed by the moon (the woman wears a lunar crescent and lunar imagery is throughout this place) is Laura. Laura is the golden atomic nucleus at the heart of the atomic explosion of ideas that is Twin Peaks. Then they do something crazy and show a 50s monster movie. Somehow they have boiled down the essence of Twin Peaks and are once again creating entire new worlds. It is a miracle.
New Song From the Kiwis "We're Gonna Rob Your Bank"
I have been recording with Andrew Nicholson new music for a potential Kiwis release. There are a lot of ideas in the air and I am trying to constantly experiment. Even if I don't have a song idea in mind I will just start recording and make songs up as I record. This is one such song. I sat down to test the drums we were setting up and recorded the base track. Then I immediately added some guitars and we went from there, adding a little air organ and some synths. At that point there were no vocals so Andrew recorded some that ended up very spacey and unfocused so we reversed them and used them as backwards effect. Next I laid down some vocals and sang the first thing that came to my mind over and over again.
Later on I re-recorded the vocals and added some one-take bass. The second half was tricky and I was unsure what to do about the vocals, and at one point there were normal lyrics, but I am real self conscious about vocals and lyrics so I took them out. I wanted this to be more of a 2:40 mindfuck of abstract pop music. The perfect length for a 7" or single. It's like two songs in one. Anyways get it while it's hot I made this mix 10 minutes ago:
The Guide for the Perplexed was originally written about 1190 by Maimonides in Judeo-Arabic. It was first translated in 1204 into Hebrew by a contemporary of Maimonides, Samuel ben Judah ibn Tibbon. The work is divided into three books. According to Maimonides, he wrote the Guide:
... “to enlighten a religious man who has been trained to believe in the truth of our holy Law, who conscientiously fulfills his moral and religious duties, and at the same time has been successful in his philosophical studies”.
“This work has also a second object in view: It seeks to explain certain obscure figures which occur in the Prophets, and are not distinctly characterized as being figures. Ignorant and superficial readers take them in a literal, not in a figurative sense. Even well informed persons are bewildered if they understand these passages in their literal signification, but they are entirely relieved of their perplexity when we explain the figure, or merely suggest that the terms are figurative. For this reason I have called this book Guide for the Perplexed”.
Also, he made a systematic exposition on Maaseh Bereishit and Maaseh Merkavah, works of Jewish mysticism regarding the theology of creation from Genesis and the chariot passage from Ezekiel – these being the two main mystical texts in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible). This analysis occurs in the third book, and from this perspective, the issues raised in the first two books are there to provide background and a progression in the mystical and philosophical knowledge required to ponder the climax.
I have already wrote and recorded a bunch of music this year, and after wrapping up a song I wanted to post it to my Bandcamp. So here it is, "There Are No Words", it is made of a few usual drum loops i always use (i don't have a lot of access to my drums) and has a lot of guitar layers. I was trying to write a shoegaze song by coming up with an instrumental and trying to bend a lot of notes, blurring the thing together. The lyrics for the verse came to me and i made up the chorus on the spot. It isn't sung with real words, just vocal sounds.
Here is another song from these home sessions. "Blue Hills" is an instrumental, just some layers of multi-tracked guitar, some of it looped, some of it backwards. I may add vocals to this layer but for now i really like the mood it creates as is.
My Grandpa Hank died on Saturday, February 18, 2017. I just got back from the funeral. This week is 28 years since the death of his son, my uncle Michael, who was killed while driving to our house. He was just getting out of rehab and was going to move in with my mom, his sister, to help get straight. He never made it out of Atlanta.
His ghost has many sightings and looms large in family lore. At my house he would turn on and off the TV, flick the lights on and off, make appearances throughout the house. Once my brother woke us up screaming, saying his face was coming out of the closet. One time I remember waking up to look over and see his ghostly visage watching over my brothers as they slept. He followed us when we moved to the house next door, getting more obnoxiously poltergeisty, lights going on and off. My mother yelled for him to stop it, and was able to cast him out, and he went to Florida to live with my Grandma Pat in Tampa. Whenever we visited he would turn the TV on and grandma would complain to Mike in first person.
My mom and her sister both experienced Mike once again turning on and off the TV as they visited their dad. My grandfather lying brain-damaged, struggling to breathe, was flashing his arms in the air above, trying to catch something. Mom asked if it was Mike, and that if it was, could he show them a sign. The TV went on. It went off. It apparently did this for a moment, over and over. At the end my grandpa chuckled, the final laugh of his life. The TV was silent.
It is very difficult to comprehend all of this. This is a very close loss for all of us. It is like an out of body experience. I feel a very physical loss. It was painful to see him in his final moments, but even though he could not speak or do anything but look, he looked at me with his eyes, and I looked at him. We spent our last hour together at his house just sitting, breathing, resting. He was barely conscious and sleeping a lot, my mom shaking his feet whenever someone came to visit, saying "Wake up, daddy", reverting to a primal psychic language. To lighten the mood Mom wanted to play some music so I suggest Schubert. I found a compilation of "Music for the Angels" which had Schubert on it, popped open the CD case and took out a CD that was, you guessed it, Schubert.
After that it is a haze, a little family drama, some missed connections, getting pulled over by the cops, my 6yo neice inventing anime characters. I told my brother to watch "My Neighbor Totoro" with her, that it was by the guy who did "Spirited Away" and "Princess Mononoke". She said "I've seen that!" That's a heavy movie for a kid to see. Damn. She's going to be the coolest person ever.
I met my other aunt at the airport, she flew down and is the middle sister, still living up north. The family is from Akron, Ohio, famous for Devo, who was friends with my mom growing up, before the family moved to Boston. They knew people that went to Kent State too, they went to that same Diamond Dogs Tour David Bowie show. My aunt who flew in from Boston was getting picked up at the airport, and I don't have a car so arrange to ride out with her and a new, really awesome and caring in-law. I took MARTA to the airport and went to baggage claim. I was early so I sat down near some old lady and there was a bag under one of the seats. I asked her if it was hers, she said no, and that she had just reported it! I sat down next to her and some airport security came up to me. They had this fucking attitude and asked me "Hey sir, having a good day today?" like I was up to no good. Fuck those assholes.
My aunt's father died while she was on the airplane down to see him, and I was told not to tell her so that her sister could. I had these big purple sunglasses on so I could just cry whenever I wanted and it didn't matter. For most of the weekend I would slip into these half-hour long Slow Cries. So she was getting baggage and in her New England way throwing f-bombs and very pragmatically complaining and saying things like "I hope dad isn't mad at me for... etc" cos she didn't know. And I knew. It fucking sucked. She found out very soon, in the car. Our driver, my new uncle-in-law, was listening to Lithium radio, and it was playing Nirvana "Sappy" and Janes Addiction. This was very comforting.
While Grandpa was a awake, on Friday, we had planned on Sunday to have a "Celebration of His Life". He died Saturday around noon, so by the time I arrived, I realized it was a funeral. Only with no religion (in Grandpa's poems he wrote about God but our family is mostly ex-Catholic), just people talking in a room, a conference area we borrowed at the old folks home where he lived, and it filled up with people just sitting and hearing us talk about him. Grandpa Hank was a living legend, a walking saint upon the Earth, for us and for most everyone he knew. Born in Brooklyn, he soon moved to Akron where he lived most of his life, going into the Navy (decoding messages and playing basketball), then advertising (OG Mad Men), then through a divorce, married a 2nd time to the love of his life, into retirement and a good 20+ years of travel and charity work visiting inner city schools twice a week, giving book talks and lectures, and working to give back and help the underprivileged in one of Ohio's poorest and most troubled cities. He was an open-minded individual, a man of love, the most open-hearted person I know (next to mom). The world is a poorer place for not having him in it.
Still, he was slipping, and we watched him slip. He moved down south to be closer to us as this happened, and for that, I am incredibly thankful to have had all that additional time with him. But it was very painful in the end, and he is now given mercy. Amen. At the funeral there was a piano, so I sat down and played. I did ragtime versions of Super Mario Bros. music, some Slim Whitman, some Amazing Grace, When I'm 64, Velvet Underground, but all of it hitting wrong notes from time to time cos I am extremely out of practice, which was fine bc I was not in any frame of mind, and it was a background performance. Truth be told, I was hiding behind the piano, and didn't speak a word the whole service. The piano was a good place to cry.
That morning mom and I were crying in the kitchen and I suggested we make collages so we stopped that and started cutting out pictures of Grandpa and friends & family, remedying our afflicting with Art Therapy. These were displayed alongside a legendary cartoon of him drawn decades ago at the funeral in lieu of a body. It was a very informal, very humble affair, and I bet he would have loved it, if he wasn't actually there. He did die in that building, and if there are spirits, they tend to attach themselves to places most of all. My aunt and mom were remembering him conducting songs from the H.M.S. Pinafore as he drove them around, "What never! No never!" and nobody had set up a sound system so they were looking it up on the phone, the entire room just waiting. Mom dialed it up on youtube and put the mic up next to the phone, and we all strained to hear this crackly, distorted, electronic version of the song. It was kind of spooky tbh. It felt like she literally dialed into sound from the past and we were listening to that memory, all living that reality together, for a brief moment.
We talked about all of his famous in-jokes. Whenever we went out to eat he would always compliment the waitress on her looks (he was a ladies man from an older more elegant era) and when they asked him what they could get him he would say "A date with Sofia Loren". The man had taste. He was also a terrible flirt. Many women at the old folks home that spoke said that he made them feel beautiful and that it made them feel happy. In a very simple way, this is a good summation of what kind of person he was: he wanted to make people happy.
He will always be with me, forever and ever, amen.