Check out the original track on the Baja Snake site.
This blog hasn’t been getting much love from me lately, and neither have my musical projects.
The blog started out as an experiment back when I lived in Japan from 2003-2006. It was a way for me to document my experiences and to keep in touch with those around me and friends and family far away. After I moved to NYC, it continued to be a public diary and chronicle of interesting things going on in my life. But with the explosive and ubiquitous rise of Facebook and Twitter (and to some extent Flickr), it was faster and easier for me to share links, photos, and other experiences through those other channels. When I was doing my masters at ITP, this blog became almost exclusively a place for documenting the work I was doing there.
I have certainly worked on music sporadically over the last few years, whether it was collaborating with JC Cassis, the Hepnova tracks Nicholas and I have worked on for transistor troubadour (an album in progress), or even the experimental pieces I composed at ITP. But I’ve had a lot going on lately since then, working full time at Purpose and taking up capoeira as well. I’ve always had many different interests and have gone through life exploring them. And I have not been as focused as I now feel like I should have been. But this is not a blog post about regret, but about moving forward. Now the various threads of interests are starting to coalesce, and I’ve realized that I should focus and take my musical interests more seriously.
Lots of disparate things have happened, but they all make sense when I look at them together. They are signs (if you believe in those, and I’m not sure I do, but any how), that music is the way forward. Nicholas from Hepnova and I talked about 2011 being “the year of music” during our last recording sessions in Phoenix in late December/early January. Joe and I had grand ambitions to start a band called Welcome Lucky Cat. We bought ukuleles, which I’ve played around with, and we even did a photo shoot. As an aside, this performance of Bohemian Rhapsody by Jake Shimabukuro is amazing. And I love his quote about how if everyone played ukulele, the world would be a better place. I mean, how can you be sad, even on a depressing rainy day like today with a ukulele.
Anyway, The band thing with me and Joe didn’t work out, but our collaborations did result in the song Petrosino Square, which I co-wrote with Joe, with musical contributions by Nicholas. I’ve really been getting into my capoeira training, not just for the physical and mental workouts, but for the opportunity to learn the musical side of the capoeira tradition as well, through learning to play the pandeiro, the berimbau, and learning to sing the capoeira songs. More recently, I was asked JC Cassis to be in her band, Xelle’s music video, “Party Girl.” Being in rehearsal and on set with the ladies from Xelle and the other fabulous party people in the video, I was inspired by their dedication and passion for their musical métier and they way they treated their work as both art and craft.
That brings us to today. It’s a grey, rainy, nasty NYC March day. I haven’t left my apartment, except to take out the trash. But I’ve finally had a day in to think, and to reflect. I spent the morning making some breakfast, and catching up on my news and RSS feeds. I love to spend rainy weekend days in, listening to music, writing, and making my own. But it has been a long time since I have had this opportunity. In particular, I was quite moved by James Blake’s “Limit to Your Love”, the part when the sub-bass drops is really amazing. I was also listening to an NPR interview with James Vincent Morrow earlier today. The opening to his track, “If I Had a Boat” is hauntingly beautiful.
Ok, I think the rains have washed away my creative block. Now it’s time to finish the transistor troubadour album.
Petrosino Square is a new track and first time lyrical collaboration with Joe Gualtieri. Hepnova co-pilot Nicholas DiBiase and I cut the track over the holidays. It’s a somber, shifting, and moody track whose title and inspiration come from the mini park at the crossroads of Little Italy, Chinatown and SoHo where Joe and I would hang out in during the warmer months. Like every Hepnova track, this one draws from various musical influences, from the strong emotional poetry of Björk, to the melodic lyricism of Radiohead, to the moody atmospherics of Massive Attack to the Automator-esque beats of Gorillaz. In any case, I’m a much better composer than music writer, so just check it out and listen already.
Far from the burning iridescence
Safe from the searchlights of the past
Witnesses no more, but outlaws at last
You start to tense, begin to brace
As I press the revolver to your face
I see you aﬂame in this love so heady
Like a bomb thrown by Sacco and Vanzetti
When I saw you there in Petrosino Square
Is this paradise or my worst nightmare?
When the workers arise
I look into your eyes, your beautiful lies
Oh your beautiful eyes/lies
Your eyes your lies
Haven’t seen you in awhile and
I’m not sure how to start
Whether to thank or to blame you
For the anarchy in my heart
Your eyes your lies
More new Hepnova tracks on Bandcamp. And even more new music coming soon.