Thursday, January 1, 2009
Song One - Underwater
Download the track: http://vermillionlies.bandcamp.mu/track/01-01-09-underwater
New Year's Eve at Fred Frith's house. I listened to people tell stories of synchronicity in their lives. Then we talked about the antarctic film "Encounters at the End of the World" by Werner Herzog, featuring Henry Kaiser who I had just met three nights previous. Henry Kaiser is (among many things) a scuba diver in Antarctica and his images of dives are very beautiful. The divers call their underwater world "The Cathedral" because the ice forms beautiful arches and the light comes from above as though through stained glass.
Carla Kihlstedt and I talked about the freedom of creativity that comes from letting go and setting a goal like 31 songs in 31 days. She told me about Suzan-Lori Parks's yearlong play cycle, "365 Days/ 365 Plays." Wow!
This morning I went through the emails suggesting song topics, I found one that suggested a piano, a red head, Antarctica, and a giant squid.
It's about an octopus, not a squid, but there is a piano, a red head, and lots of ice.
At breakfast the lyrics started to form, like ice. I jotted down ideas and couldn't wait to get home to my crooked old out of tune piano.
Recording proved more difficult than I anticipated. Garage band was too noisy with my laptop microphone so I set up the video camera which meant I couldn't do multiple tracks. I was incredibly frustrated and feeling overwhelmed and stupid for having set up this goal. Writing a song a day is one thing, but recording it myself and posting it and all that...! Ugh!
I loved the song and then I hated it. I really wanted to record the piano and voice separately because this is a hard key for me to sing. I recorded it three times and then just decided it had to be good enough because I don't have all day.
At the party I also talked to Michael Mellender, founder of ICS. In brief:
• The Immersion Composition Society is an organization for songwriters and composers who think too much - an extreme musical subculture specializing in speed-songwriting games, secret listening parties, and songwriter 'lodges'. The ICS was created to provide support and assistance to "talented basket cases and unmotivated visionaries" everywhere. Various reaching attempts to describe the Society have yielded things like:
• "those guys that try to write 20 songs in one day".
• "Fight Club for musicians"
• "Tortured Genius Anonymous" ~and~
• "an international hermetic mystery cult...with a Myspace page!"
More on ICS here: http://www.myspace.com/immersioncompositionsociety
Michael was interested in my project and agreed to collaborate with me at some point this month. He also invited me to be part of ICS at one of their lodge meetings. The Lodges are tight knit and hard to get into and I was honored to be considered for invitation.
Michael plays percussion in Sleepytime Gorilla Museum (one of my favorite bands) and also plays trumpet and probably eight million other instruments as well.
Anyway...song one is done, posted. I did it. Day one.
Trailer for Encounters at the End of the World: http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi3420913945/