Memphis in August, 2012: What I Learned, Installment the First
When eliminating run-through of freshly edited digital tracks, be sure to sound-check.
When neglecting sound-check of unverified fresh tracks, act like you meant to do it.
During the performance (alleged), play it off by partially consuming a bag of chips- or, “crisps”, as they say in the UK, home of Jimi Inc., for whose benefit sounds were collected, compiled and (screw the Oxford comma, I’m in the USA) composed.
Stay up too late obsessively re-editing the entire piece, then post it on your blog, maybe throwing in some photos of the sounds, too.
Something like this: Memphis, You a Gemini, Too
More than a few have asked, “What took you so long?”
“Brushed by the hem of Death’s garment“, you reply.
The Linda Heck Experiment will perform Linda’s recently released album Transformed. Members of this iteration of the Linda Heck Experiment include (but are not limited to) Jimi Inc., John McClure, Kurt Ruleman, and Jim Spake.
Linda Heck and the Trainwreck reunites w/Jimi Inc. on drums, guitar and vocals; John McClure on bass; and Kurt Ruleman on drums.
Experimental electronic duo EXCON is an ongoing digital recording project enabling Linda Heck and Jimi Inc. to work together from different continents, swapping/altering/capturing/creating sounds in an emergent shifting game of chess-meets-Exquisite Corpse. EXCON transcends the boundaries of space and time for this debut improvisational performance.
Of all the AC joints in all the bodies in all the world, Staph walks into mine.
Hey, what the HELL? I was USING that shoulder and that hand and those fingers, ATTACHED to them, even…
But they don’t need me, they have lives of their own to live, fish to fry and birds to fly and kids to raise and bills to pay.
Ask until you get tired of the answer: “We just don’t know.”
Rinse and repeat, wrapping your self in plastic first – wound and periphery must remain dry.
Set your alarms so you don’t forget to inject yourself with antibiotics every six hours; ingest opioids every four, more if you just can’t fucking stand it another minute.
Additional anodynes may apply.
“What’s that you’re playing?”
Samuel Coleridge and Tony Visconti walk into a bar. I hear “Heroes”, but it’s just me.
Forget everything you ever thought you knew… this takes seconds or a lifetime- the choice is yours.
Might as well live.
The fundamental things apply, as time goes by.
Yesterday on the drive from Memphis, TN, to Austin, TX, I started working on some songs for the experimental album Jimi Inc. and I are trans-atlantically recording. I also decided on Experimental Connections as a working title (I hope Jimi doesn’t mind).
The main idea informing this emergent process is experimenting with Memphis-London/London-Memphis connections. There are no rules. I knew I had some free head space coming up on this journey to SXSW, and planned to work on some responses while driving. Jimi recorded “fragments” in London using his ipad and his phone, and e-mailed me the resulting mp3s. I transferred those to a cd, started listening in the car somewhere in Arkansas. Words, melodies and ideas began to surface. Nailing them down is a bit of a challenge, but it turns out that re-starting the cd over and over and singing along is good for staying awake behind the wheel. One can also jot down lyrics in truck-stop bathrooms… endless possibilities.
I saw the phrase “Dream Lodge” somewhere in Texas, and came up with this sonic sketch. I parked behind a KFC in Waco and used my Tascam digital recorder to capture myself myself singing/chanting over Jimi’s track playing through my car’s system. I imported 3 copies of the resulting field recording into Garageband, staggering and processing them a little.
Transformed cds are now available at Goner and at Shangri-La in Memphis, TN. I also left one at the WEVL station- call and ask them to play one of the non-F-word songs.
The distributor cap got heavy.
Leaving Memphis for the 12 hour drive to Austin, TX, and SXSW. I’m wearing my purple flowered thinking cap. On the way, I’ll be listening to Jimi Inc. fragments such as this one: Keyboarderline insanity, connecting the invisible dots into unknown compositions for our emergent trans-atlantic London-Memphis/Memphis-London album.
My new album Transformed is ready for your listening pleasure! Recorded with Doug Easley in Memphis, TN, with remotes in Nashville, London and Sewanee, featuring a who’s who of Memphis music: John McClure, Kurt Ruleman, Jimi Inc., Jim Spake, Jim Duckworth, Rick Steff, Doug Easley, Greg Easterly, Jonathan Kirkscey, Mark Harrison, Sean T. Faust, Adam Woodard, and Matthew Christen of Jump-off Mountain, Sewanee, TN.
Available now at cdbaby, itunes, and amazon.com.
I’m still working on posting liner notes, session photos, and contemplative musings here, so check back.
I cobbled these 2 pieces together using sounds recorded by Lauren Baulch, Jimmie Joe Boone, Bo Craig, Myles Kinkaid, Kellen Mayfield (also, didgeridoo in “Ough”), Donta Odom, Addison Willis (also, piano in “Ough”), and me during the Introduction to Guerilla Field Recording and Experimental Sound Composition I taught during Winterim at SAS.
I wore the hat of a bricoleur, rather than an engineer. It was a silly hat.
From the OED, sketch- “4) Mus. a) A short evocative or descriptive piece, usu. of a single movement.”
I’d always imagined that I’d put together the cover art for the-album- that-became-Transformed myself, but the unexpected hail damage insurance money (ASCOUM*) helped me Let Go and Let Someone Else. I already had some fancy photos taken by my friend and neighbor Stephen Alvarez not too long ago during a session that felt like a therapeutic make-over.
I took a copy of Lou Reed’s Transformer and a copy of Television’s Marquis Moon to another friend, local Sewanee graphic designer Aaron Welch, who’d never designed a cd cover. After a few days of a delightful back and forth, I love what he came up with.
Transformed looks as great as it sounds, and now I’m waiting for the UPS truck to pull into my driveway.
(*ASCOUM- A Sizable Chunk Of Unexpected Money.)
Transitions between seasons here in the south can be violent and destructive as the cold air clashes with the warm. On 10/18, my daughter and I got caught in a swift and sudden hailstorm in Tullahoma, TN. The sound of golfball-to-fist-sized hail was impressive and terrifying. We were glad when it was over, and the the sun shone on glistening drifts of ice-balls melting along the curb.
On the drive back home to Sewanee, I noticed that my windshield had been cracked. I had insurance, but couldn’t afford the deductible to replace the windshield, which couldn’t be repaired. I was in despair- until the glass repairman pointed out that my car had sustained a lot of other hail damage to the roof and the hood and every other exterior surface. With his help, I started fantasizing that maybe there was enough additional damage that I could make a larger claim, but not do all of the cosmetic repairs- that way, I could replace the windshield w/out having to pay the deductible out of pocket. When the adjustor came and warned me that he might have to declare my beloved Matrix a total, my fantasies grew: If only the damage would just approach w/out exceeding 3/4 of the value of the car, maybe I could even get a new set of tires! And then I started looking up the value of the car, and the hypotheticals continued expanding, surpassing even the fantasies and eventually catching up to the reality of A Sizable Chunk Of Unexpected Money (ASCOUM)!
ASCOUM had me thinking of my unfinished album Transformed, stalled again due to lack of funds. The check from the insurance company is enough to cover a new windshield AND a new set of tires, as well as the cover art, mastering, and manufacturing of Transformed. Wow.
And, HAIL YES!!!