Thursday, June 27
I poke my head up there but it's all cut and paste in logic audio, tweaking of pan and volume and so forth - not boring, but boring. If the plan is to crank on this album with the aim to finish it in July (yes, that's the plan), and the pace doesn't pick up with subsequent tracks, I wonder about my internship. After tomorrow morning, the initial Neve tasks will be out of the way. I cleaned up the fifth of six buckets of knobs this morning - making a spatial-mathematical game out of placing the knobs on paper-towel to dry. The week settled into a routine, obviously: sleeping late (Dan and I both went to bed at 2 last night, 3 the night before, at the funny part is it feels early), lying awake in the morning before attacking another bucket. Lunch time gets later every day (today it was takeouts from Demos at around 5:00.) I spend less time in the studio as my input gets less relevant.
I'm not complaining, not yet at least. Down time gives me lots of reading time, on the remarkably comfy green couch downstairs. And I'm reading like you're supposed to do in the summertime (that is, a lot. And on the couch.) Finished Into the Wild a few days ago and I'm already deep into Reservation Blues. It's more magical realist than the other Alexie I've read, which I wasn't really expecting. But in a funny way. There are all these throwaway lines and references, about something blatantly fantastic which is brought up mid-paragraph and never mentioned again. And he uses too many dream sequences (usually literal - descriptions of dreams), which are either too blunt or too vague to be appropriately relevant. I've never been a fan of dreams in literature or film: they're usually too obviously symbolic, in nice pat ways that rarely happen in real life dreams, and at the same time are rarely as bizarre or nonlinear as real dreams. I'm enjoying the book, and it reads very quickly, but a lot of the writing seems naive and even hokey, and I wonder if some of the enjoyment I get just stems from being familiar with Alexie's basic characters and formulas (from Smoke Signals and Toughest Indian. Like how the Hardy Boys were so much fun partly because you knew exactly how they worked from the beginning. Remember their chum, Chet? Another gripe (I really don't dislike the book) - novels about rock bands, especially invented rock bands, just don't work. Consider The Ground Beneath Her Feet, for instance. When you're reading so much, sometimes one book at a time isn't enough, so today I started a book of Paul Simon articles and interviews that Dan had on the shelf.
And I'm listening. Most of the 69 Love Songs got a spin the other day. Stuff gets its all-important second-or-third-or-fourth listen (the new Imperial Teen is better than I thought, almost up there with Utopia Parkway; the Lionrock seems to have no redeeming value, even considering I only paid two bucks for it; the Jungle Brothers disc is entirely inconsequential. Oh, and the new Wilco is, I have to admit it, unbelievably good.) I paused Nuggets this morning to listen to a rehearsal in the basement as I cleaned: flute, rhodes and drums performing perfectly proficient, sickly-sweet fusion renditions of "Eleanor Rigby," "Big Yellow Taxi," "Moanin'," and so on. Music sounds good coming up through the floorboards; somebody should design speakers like that. It would be like heating.
Dan and I moved the equipment in the back door of the Kendall Cafe, set up on the tiny stage, but no table space so we slipped downstairs to the bar for dinner. Probably a smart move, temperature-wise: the half-floor-higher performance/restaurant area was roiling, to a sauna-degree, whereas the similarly non-AC'd bar area, where we ate our gazpacho and pulled pork, palled around with Autumn and Jim, was merely unbearably hot. The upper section was just ridiculous, especially with a packed crowd, still so when I returned from my movie to catch the end of the set (the second-ever performance of "Country 1-2 rhythm," "Miss Communication" finally, "Cut Off Your Head," lackluster napkin poetry, and encore "Groovy.") Hey, I'm getting to be a regular JBE fan. Egomaniacs, as they call them. Man, are they into [him/them.]
The movie was 13 Conversations About One Thing, at the Kendall Cinema right down the street. I didn't know what to expect exactly, except highly. It's certainly worthy: terrific acting, artfully framed and visually very interesting (tricky camera stuff too - like the scene of a car hitting someone where the camera shows you the scene from a dozen angles managing to miss the victim's body each time.) I spent a lot of the time appreciating the film, which I don't think is a good sign. Ultimately, it's too much in the vein of Magnolia and Lantana - intertwining lifes, heavy-handed messages (alternately uplifting and depressing.) To its credit, I cared a lot more about the characters here than those other movies. Maybe I was just unimpressed by the typical subject-matter of the stories: adultery, messed-up son, struggling student, hospitalization. I did like the office-politics stuff, though, that was nicely handled. And some of the dialogue was good, and nicely reiterated through the titles (I lost count - were there actually 13?) The whole thing was just so darn somber.
The best part was when the lights came up and I turned around to see Jav and Olivia seated two seats to my left. I thought I had recognized Jav's beard on the way in, but dismissed the thought. Funny coincidence (three swatties in as many days)! Jav seemed especially excited to see me and to suggest that we hang out - sounds like he's bored in Boston. So we exchanged numbers. And I walked back to the Kendall.
After the gig, Mami picked us up, and there was a thought to head out for ice cream. Dan was thinking more along the lines of dinner though (this was about 1:00 am), and somehow that morphed into a Japanese restaurant in Chinatown. I ordered tamago (sort of dessert-like, right?) and what turned out to be a hot and salty (and tasty) eggplant with miso. Probably didn't need to eat all that. But okay.
Well, now it's nine o'clock, and we're going to have dinner pretty soon. Chinese takeaway. Oh look, it stopped raining.
If I ever compile a list of my ten favorite concert-going moments, this has to be on there: Cibo Matto doing a full-on funky cover of Stevie Wonder's "I Wish," making it so much there own that I didn't even realize it wasn't their tune until after it was finished.
tall buildings shake
singing sad sad sings
tuned to chords