This is an experiment in sampling with what I could find in my immediate surroundings. Sound hunting has long been a favorite past time. Last year I got married, and a friend gifted us a bamboo encased chime with metal tongs inside which are struck by a glass bead. I muted the resonance to produce one of the main themes for this tune. Also featured are a deck of cards, a glass of water, a Telecaster, a dice tossed on hardwood flooring, and some pens in a cup, both of which sort of stand in for a snare. Written and recorded in my living room in Olympia, Washington.
More calligraphy doodling (the doodling only really happened because I smudged the ink mid-way through).
The last line from a poem by W.H. Auden called ‘Bucolic II. Woods.’
“The trees encountered on a country stroll
Reveal a lot about that country’s soul.
A small grove massacred to the last ash,
An oak with heart-rot, give away the show:
This great society is going smash;
They cannot fool us with how fast they go,
How much they cost each other and the gods.
A culture is no better than its woods.”
Auden had a wonderful voice. I first heard it from one of The Books’ songs called “Be Good To Them Always.” Their music, and in particular their sound collage technique, changed the way I thought about and made music. Their influence is clear in this old track from high school.
A friend and I used to go “hunting” for sounds with an old Sony tape recorder. Those are fond memories. We would drive around with the Sony seeking out anything that might produce a novel sound. It changed the way we looked at things.
One sample comes from finding an empty Skoal can littered under a pavilion; you can hear it rolling across cement. Not surprisingly, playgrounds seemed to have the most interesting instruments. A swing set sampled. The hollow metal tubing banged on sometimes produced different pitches–sometimes even tuned! Whoever produced the equipment most likely had no idea. It was our discovery! At one point in this track you’ll hear a clip culled from those manic contraptions called spring riders: the horse, fish, or car attached to a massive spring in the ground.
The song is called “Funny Nostalgia.”