Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On the plus side

I am not a summer man. Due to some genetic configuration, I generate quite a bit of body heat (I have been referred to as a furnace by bed mates) and am quite comfortable in the colds of winter. When you raise the ambient temperature above the twenties I start looking for the shade, and when heatwaves strike, I'm a pretty miserable man. That I live in a part of the world that tends towards the humid as a general rule only makes matter worse. All that to say that I pretty much require air conditioning in the summer.

We already have one small unit, but given the layout of any apartment that has more than one room, a single unit does not suffice. While setting one in the bedroom allows for comfortable night, and general comfort for the rats, the rest of the apartment will quickly turn into a sauna. SO we were considering getting our hands on a second unit for the main area. We had a deal for a large unit, near new, ready to be delivered for an affordable price. All is well, right?
All we would have had to do is bring i up four flights of stairs; easy!

Well, it turns out that it became unnecessary, as one fully functional (so far) unit was abandoned by one of the tenants who was moving out. Just a bit of tuning and its set up and operational, at a rather lower cost. Awesome.

Living in apartment buildings is a great thing for a scavenger like me. Oh sure, I like buying new stuff, but why buy new if there's free stuff that still works, just sitting there? I have saved quite a bit of cash over the years by sifting through alleys, thrift and pawn shops for little abandoned treasures. A large portion of mu furniture was salvaged and modified over the years, satisfying the thrifty man in me.

Don't left the door hit you on the way out!
And then I got fed up with mismatched bookshelves and coffee tables, so when we moved to the new place I dumped a lot of that junk and moved on to new, if low quality (hello IKEA) furniture which served my purposes better. It does have its advantages to own matching dining chairs for instance.

But I cant help it, as a walk the streets I still keep an eye out for orphan items and garbage heaps. Its sort of built in, you know? So yesterday, another tenant abandoned a coffee machine. Not one of those filter coffee machines, a freaking espresso/cappuccino machine. Of course I have learned to not expect too much out of found items, there might be a good reason why it was abandoned... but this little guy works. Seems to work just fine too. Just a bit of cleaning, and there we are, fully functional expresso machine.

Some other items become something of a quest for the Holy Grail, in my case a specific ice cream flavor from a specific maker. I went through many a grocery store and specialty shop, and no luck. I checked their website, just to see if maybe they stopped making it, but no, its still available. The problem has more to do with the little jackasses ordering the flavors. They tend to be unimaginative and stick to the stuff that everybody expects to find. Today I decide to check one grocery store where I thought that I might at least get some of the others I had discovered since then; lo and behold, my freaking ice cream is there, waiting for me.
These guys, but not that flavor. I'm a cherry cheesecake man!

Fuck yeah.

And. Because there is an and. The luck (or synchronicities?) continue. I had set my mind to a particular name for  a project I had been keeping on the back burner. I had checked before and nobody was using that name, so I was keeping it under wrap so that no one would find out I wanted to use it and jump the gun. When I finally got around to make use of it, goddamnit there were three existing bands/projects/business that were using it. That dumped something of a sandbag on my drive and I had resigned myself to assign some of that work to another project name, since that it wasn't being used anyways.

Even Mark Wahlberg agrees that its a weird happenstance.
Then, as I was watching Max Paine (shut up) while keeping an eye on the rats wandering around, something settled on my inner eye and ear, and I liked the sound and image of it. It fitted perfectly. I checked and... nobody was using it. So I set it up and its now mine.

Its a bloody four-in-four. Its awesome.

Maybe I should get to writing non-blog stuff, just to see what happens. Weirder things sure have. If a truck couldn't stop me, just slow me down, then all I have left to do is get on it and get'er done.

Texas is good for something after all.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The long and lonely road out of the wilderness

I've been making music on and off for over twenty years. Okay, not all of it was music; some of it would more accurately be described as sound manipulation, but then again, it does describe quite a bit of my musical output.

At some point I had collaborators, even a band, tho never garage, even tho we had thought about it.  It eventually burned out, but the run was nice. It ended with the most public contact with my work. Afterwards, some noodling and doodling, even that collaborative work ended, going nowhere fast. So I entered the wilderness of recording some riffs and beats, going nowhere.

While wandering the wilderness, I thought that I could just come up with my own publishing label, especially in those days of the net, where DIY was even more king than today. It didn't get anywhere, and I ended up with some material being released through a micro label, the now defunct Bone Structure. That period had its up-and-downs, but I got to put out one particular project I had been rather proud of, a full album of my work under Chapelle Nitrique, PIGGI.

At the time Myspace was still going strong, so I tried to use it to get the word and interest out, but I'm a terrible marketer and fairly proud man, so it went nowhere. Back in the deep wilderness I went. It got quite a bit darker, as while I certainly had quite a bit of instruments and tools, I just couldn't get myself to create anything. I had long periods of time when I could have done new work, but the inspirational drive was missing.

As I've ranted on about before, I thought that more toys were needed. I wasn't completely off on that one, but I was actually gunning for the wrong ones. It took some going, but eventually I hit the right item, and the inspirational drive suddenly came back from vacation abroad, so the work began anew,

And then some.

After a few years of wasting hours of computer time on online games, I now spend hours working on new material. And I do mean new material, not a rehashing of old licks and familiar tunes. Its a great time, but its a little overwhelming. I went from zero to one-hundred-twenty in a short span of time. When I have time to think my own thoughts I end up thinking about the new tracks and what work needs to be done to them.

The label has finally begun being build. The projects are getting defined. Websites are under construction and I'm starting to emerge. It took some time. Even if I don't hit some sort of commercial success (tho it'd be nice) I am still satisfied that I'm going to be heard again.

Friday, June 3, 2011

What's in a name?

First, let me start with a story: I grew up with cats, and except for exceptional circumstances, I have had little time of my existence that I have not shared with feline companions. When I struck out on my own, I was in chaotic circumstances and it took a few years for me to adopt. When my faithful companion had to be put down due to extremely difficult circumstances (10% chances of survival are not good odds) I parted with the beasts... for a short while.

I did adopt again, and then things got out of control; being in low-income jobs, spaying a female is a pretty tough thing to do, so I ended up with a slut that would get pregers as soon as it was possible. I ended up with several litters (which totally got me over the cuteness of kittens) and when I had to part with them because of tough choices, I had to get rid of some adorable and loving toms who wanted nothing more than to be loved.

Throughout all this, I have named every one of them, and never have I ever repeated or reused a name. To me, it feels wrong to do so, a sort of sacrilege and insult to the original bearer. This came to me as I was musing over getting an orange tabby again and whether I would name him after one of his loving predecessors.

It turns out that associating a name with an individual, a place, a thing is a pretty powerful thing,. something that should be done carefully, after some serious thought has been put into it, so that you don't end up with something ridiculous, or out of some sort of ironic joke. Its rarely funny for long.

When I was settling with the idea of creating my own label, or publisher, call it what you will, it took some work. Turns out that pretty much every name that I thought would be good and obscure enough that nobody would have thought of had in fact been thought of and used by somebody else. Thanks Google for messing up with my delusions.

As I was researching about setting up my own website, it was highly recommended that I don't mess around too much researching that particular name, as there are what you could call web speculators, that scoured the search engine results and buy up domain names so that if the prospective user wanted to get it, they'd have to buy it off of them at a premium. I wanted to avoid that, and so I made up my own and registered it.

I am a man of multiple outputs. I like to do play with roles and masks, so my musical output requires me to create different identities, each having their own personalities, appealing to both different crowds (or small gathering of shady loners) and different aspects of myself. Most of these aspects got their names early on and those identities got parked on Myspace; because let's be honest, after Facebook hit critical mass (right about the time Murdoch bought Myspace), it went right the hell down the drain. But it wasn't about making those name household memes, it was about keeping a presence on the web so that others couldn't use them.

All but one. There was one identity that wasn't parked, because until recently, it didn't have a voice. By the time it found itself a voice, it was too late and I could not use it without encountering some possible conflicts, not exactly something I want to bother with. I also wanted to avoid the whole "geographic tag" so that two bands could use the same name without getting confused (even if only one will ever make it far enough to be remembered, like Chameleons UK.)

So I am now in search for a particular identity. Its galling, as it now has a voice, but no name. You cant be too clever or quirky, or you'll just turn into one of those hated hipsters. The very fact that those... creatures are allowed to touch keyboards... well, maybe it'll make good pawnshop hunting in a year or two.

You've got to look at the bright side of live, or you'll turn into an emo drama queen, who in their own special way, were just as bad as hipsters.

Just... better looking. Sometimes.