Monday, September 22, 2008

Chapel Hill

On the morning of the 5th, the wind was already getting a little
blustery, and it looked like rain would soon be with us soon.. The
tail of hurricaine gustav wagging a little less, but still enough to
kinda hurt your leg.. If you'll excuse the metaphor.
Weirdly, though we knew we had a good ways to go that day, we let
ourselves drag and lag - we stopped for breakfast next to a pond that
had a gigantic wide mouth bass right at the edge that we had first
mistaken for a snapping turtle on it's side, we stopped for coffee and
Internet, a Buffett, and having only covered a third of what we were
supposed to so as the late afternoon grew dark and started to rain in
earnest, we stopped one more time at an Amish furniture store that was
outside under a pavillion between two barns... We took this stop just
so I could get out of my soaked socks, but there were no salespeople
out and we had soon made ourselves at home, pulling chairs and tables
together to make a little living room, chatting about how ridiculous
it was to be relaxing all day instead of trying to beat the pending
..Dianne soon brought out the map (she's been the map mamager and
senior navigator for the majority of the trip) and was pouring over it
when she doscovered that we were closer to our destination than we
thought, it being maybe 15 miles less than we thought! While she was
discovering this, I had taken to recording the assortment of wind
chimes that were on display, on my tape recorders... Having gotten
tired of the assorted beeps I had prepared the tapes with at the very
beginning of the trip, I had tried recording some sounds from my iPod
to them as a replacement, but the tape players reproduced their detail
poorly, with constant distortion (the reason for using clean, simple
beeps in the first place) and I had now no useable sounds for them!
The wind chimes seemed like they might ne a bit cliché or cheesy, and
would have traffic noise in the in them, but anything would be better
than just distortion... And there was a dissonance to the chimes that
was more appealing than the usual 4 notes that all go along all too
well of a single chime set... Both kurt and I, upon listening back to
the recordings after a moment, got really excited, and started talking
about ways to process them if we had a computer, and how nice some
creative removal of the traffic noise might bring out the harmonics
of the chimes and other unforseen sounds... But back to that in a bit!
Where was I? Oh yes, ..."the princess buttercup leaned against the
castle wall, fatigued from her endeavor, when a slow but sure shift in
her skull told her she'd have little time to spare if she was to make
it to the safe room that night before she became her evil husband, the
King of Disturbia, again..." oops, I got ahead of myself in the story!
Forget that stuff for now, please!
We left our Amish livingroom away from Amish livingroom and set out to
tear up the last 25 miles of pavement before safety... Which we
achieved about 15 miles of before being pulled over by a policeman who
claimed that he had recieved complaints about our being hard to see in
the rain, which I think he made up, but we told him we were getting
off the main street and going down a backroad to our destination,
which we would be at soon, which he accepted (not to mention that
we're all adorned with multiple blinking red lights and headlights)
and let us go.
About 8 miles south of chapel hill we crossed lake on a long bridge,
and the wind, warmer than usual, hinted at the closeness if the storm...
...we pulled into eaglewing farms at about midnight, mike greeted us
and we soon realized him to be a kindred spirit and fell into easy
conversation for awhile before bed.. And showers! This was the last
time I shaved, and we were without another shower until we got to
Athens almost 2 weeks later, and one of us skipped that one and is
still ripening! Though for the record, the term "ripening" actually is
more icky than any hygenic defeciencies any of us have had! About an
hour after arriving, the winds finally revealed their full force and
howled until the dawn...
We woke late (Yaay!) and Mike and Abby had made coffee, and fixed up a
large pot of oatmeal with brown sugar and currants, yum! With the sun
cimpng out and the day coming into it's own, fears that our (outdoor)
show may be rained out disissipated and we all took to our own
pleasures; kurt riding his bike (no trailer though!) into town and
exploring, eventually returning with new mint green handlebar tape,
Dianne read her book and lounged by turns, and I set about
transforming my chime recordings in mike's studio, eventually coming
up with a new set of tapes to use in our remaining shows! Mike and
Abby, both teachers, worked on school stuff for awhile and mime
eventually made a killer white bean and proscuitto stew for the show
that night! After I finished transferring my new sounds to the tape
recorders, Dianne and I went out to an adjacent field to fufill my
dream of eating grasshoppers, which were of supreme difficulty to
catch and keep! After some mild sucess with a giant mosquito net
draped over a large branch that we waved across the grass, I thought
to look up other suggested techniques on the Internet, which is where
we found out that one must leave caught hoppers overnight to allow
them to purge, as well as that some may spit blood to scare you, once
caught, and we gave up completely upon my reading that some species
have been known to bite humans! Instead of providing fried
grasshoppers for the party guests, we bought some cheap beer to share!
The people and other bands all started showing up around dusk, and
soon the first band, "felt battery" took to the stage and the duo who
make up the band played prepared guitar, nose whistle, kalimba, tent
stake, various pieces of iron and some looping pedals to create a
prarie drone that was accented well by the cicadia chorus that had
been everpresent all summer... Good stuff!
Kurt played after them, one of my favorite sets he'd done on the tour,
the amplification really allowing him to focus on microtonalities in
his sung notes as well as in the tone and texture of his voice, really
beautiful! A solo fellow called "secret boyfriend" did a noise/electro
set with singing through a mélange of pedals that Dianne enjoyed
immensly, claiming it as her favorite band she'd seen on tour yet!
Fourth up was matt bauer, a banjo playing singer with upright bass
and electric guitar backing him up.. They played bittersweet songs
with elaborate melodic interleavings, reminding me of iron and wine in
a way.
I played last, and the moisture still on the grass stretched my drums
out so the balloons only sang under close supervision, and I was
pretty sure the transducers were lost in the openness of the large
yard, but people seemed to like it and both Kurt and Dianne said that
I was wrong about the clarity of the sounds, kurt adding that he found
the new chime tapes very peacefull, ok!
After the show, the partygoers left and the overnighters bedded down
till the morning..,

Sent from my iPod

1 comment:

Andrea said...

While reading this I've been simultaneously laughing, almost snorting chai tea out my nose, and being completely in awe of you three. Thanks for sharing these wonderful full sensory 'biking it' experiences.
I've been learning about wild edibles and medicinal plants...and cooking and eating some the past month or so. For hiking or biking trips, I think it's good stuff to know. yum! hm, i don't think my books list things that go well as sides with grasshoppers.

was nice playing a show with you guys in nyc!
Happy b-day, Raub!