Back in Bleepy Land

Saturday, November 10, 2001

I’m in my room back at the Merrie Lynn house listening to Kurt construct his latest blip-collage. (Kurt’s “the Buddy System,” for those of you tracking the scene.) It’s, oh, 12:15 and I’ve been listening to the same riff slowly evolve for the past couple of hours. I like it. It’s good — and I think Kurt cranks out some damn fine work — but I have to laugh at it a little, too. I do the same thing. Any artist works like this, I suppose: concentrating on their work one piece at a time in a way that might seem agonizingly boring for the common human. One of the reasons I moved in here with Kurt was to learn some about the working habits of a musician like myself, so I’m happy. All is well.

My family’s throwing me a little party at my parent’s house this evening. My uncle Brian and parents will be there, probably. My birthday’s been a slow process more than a single event. On my actual birthday (October 27th) I spent most of my time preparing my costume for the Halloween party in San Francisco. The only “happy birthday” to it was a phone call I made to my grandparents in Pennsylvania (my mom was there, also) and one to my dad. And Melissa and Samantha singing me “happy birthday” at the house in Berkeley. Abby sent me an electronic greeting card and I got a voice mail from Claire the next day. My parents gave me their gifts when I got back from Cali Wednesday evening. Besides funding another year’s cellphone service (a good chunk of cash), they got me the sort of usual strange gifts… Two large plastic containers of chocolate-covered cashews and almonds and some scented candles and a candle holder. I must send out information that I don’t know about or something. Gifts from my family are amusing. Brian gave up a while ago (like the ninth grade) trying to buy me music that I didn’t specifically ask for and started giving me money (although one gift I remember very well was his gift to me in the eighth grade of R.E.M.’s “Out of Time” tape and an Amy Grant (heh!) tape). Mamie gives me little gifts quite often, usually something like origami paper which I’m fine with since I like to fold origami and little cranes and critters make clever adornments for cards and packages for friends. My grandparents have very strange tastes — oftentimes giving me stuff like canned soup and socks for gifts in addition to more creative paraphenalia and money. My gift from them this year was just money. Helpful, considering these times.

Anyway, I don’t know. Birthdays have never been big events for me. I’ll probably call a few close friends and try to go out and get a few drinks or something next week as a little celebration, even though by that time my real birthday will have been several weeks long gone. Oh well.

The bleeps still pour out of Kurt’s room (and now the phone’s ringing). Well, now Kurt’s on the phone and everything’s stopped except for a low resonant bonbobong. Kurt’s melodies usual sound very atonal and strange but they work — they’re catchy. I don’t know if the atonality is Kurt just putting notes together that sound interesting without worrying about making proper chords or if I don’t have the music background to understand what he’s really doing. I would hope the former because I think one of the benefits of this era of DIY music is not having to worry about the formal structures and just being able to play around with what actually feels good. (As in music, so in life…)