Wednesday, January 17, 2018

the routine midnight hike

I spent the past five minutes thinking about what to write about. I confess that I figured this exercise (keeping a blog in 2018) would be easy; that I'd have lots to write about on a regular basis. The point of it, on a personal level, was to do something productive. I wonder if at this point I shouldn't just focus some of the time I spend blogging, on writing and playing music again. I should. I still don't have a space. Here's hoping it'll happen.

Anyway, I remember the period of about 4 or 5 years that I last spent living in Portland, Maine. The place that I rented and took care of for a time was located in a neighborhood that bordered the beautiful back bay just to the west of downtown Portland. I could walk into town in about 40 minutes. The walk was brisk in the fall, freezing in the winter, comfortable in the spring, and delightful in the summer; utterly fantastic.

Life then was a special thing. I was developing a routine. Musically speaking, this period overlapped the last SPOUSE album, Confidence, and the first, self-titled, A SEVERE JOY album. The routine went like this: wake up around 6:30, eat breakfast, work until around 1 or 2pm (I telecommuted), if possible, go play tennis, come home, shower, cook, medi-tate/cate, work on music, record, print a rough mix of whatever I was working on, and take it for a walk. Often, I'd leave the house around midnight. I'd walk as short as a few blocks or as long as a few miles. My favorite walk was from Bryant St. to Back Bay. I'd walk partially around the boulevard and back. I would last about 25-30 minutes, depending on how far I walked. It was safe. I felt safe. When I got home, I slept. Really well.

I made a really wonderful friend then. She was my next door neighbor, Carol. She passed away this past November. I was at her side to say goodbye. I loved her a ton; she was a really amazing woman and a terrific friend. I'll write more about her one of these days. I promise.

Many times, I've wanted to walk around Quito at night, but it's just not advisable. There are muggings here. It's a big city with almost 4 million inhabitants, and it isn't safe. During the day, it can be a bit safer. For instance, on my birthday last year, my sister-in-law and her boyfriend took me for a walk around the old city, which makes me feel such nostalgia, even though it's relatively new to me. I wouldn't mind living in the old historic center, but I doubt we ever will. There's a lot of activity and a lot of traffic. Lots to see and do: old churches laden in gold, cool plazas full of morning doves, little cafés, funky dives, tourist shops, restaurants, and... 

I just remembered something. Last Friday, I took my mom and my father-in-law to a concert in the old city. The event was being presented for free at what was formerly a military hospital and has been remodeled into an art museum and café/salsa venue. What a cool venue. The concert began. It was mobbed. They'd been expecting 50 people and over 400 arrived. Also, it was less 'composed work' and more 'composition of sounds'. It was super arty. One couldn't see anything. It took place in the dark, in a small courtyard, with inadequate amplification. My mother and my father-in-law wanted to leave after about 3 minutes. It was raining like crazy, too. Still, I bet it was a magical event. I wish I'd been able to stay, but we left. :( I remember thinking, "'s the responsibility of caring for older parents -sigh-".

The city at night here is beautiful. I wish we would go out more.

Back the point of this blog...

The walks in Portland, late at night, were terrific. I think all of the A SEVERE JOY songs are designed to be good for listening to when walking. That's the point. These records are meant to be taken for a walk. The tempos are built for it.

A Severe Joy is here if you're interested.

One thing you should know: it sounds the way it does on purpose. The high-end is cranked. There is a lot of sonic activity in the high end. These songs are tracked in layers. Lots of them. If you get a chance to listen to the album, I hope you will enjoy it. Thanks.

1 comment:

  1. I think about that same question often: Shouldn't I be using the time (during which I'm doing something non-musical) to work on music? I think that as long as you're interested in whatever you're doing, the answer is no. That is to say, I think it's important to go toward what we find interesting -- even if it's not our "Default Artistic Thing." So, if writing this blog feels good, it's definitely a good use of time! (Also I don't like that phrasing, "a good USE of time." As if time is to be Used. Can't it just Be?")