Zen & the Arts - Field Notes

I don’t want this to be on the internet. I feel like it’s a mistake. I think that’s kind of fun.

Here’s the story. I made this in an hour one day in 2009. I was living in a bungalow in Echo Park, Los Angeles with artists, anime salesmen, strippers, agents, etc. I was running in Elysian Park when I crested a hill. Through the trees I saw Downtown L.A. at sunset with its rose blanket of smog. The words came to me then and I went home and made the track.

It’s a constraint piece. The rules were: one hour, a bad mic, 8 tracks, no effects. I was making dense, complex, very long songs at that time on guitar—which aside from a few live shows have never seen the light of day—and this was an antidote of sorts.

I recall that I was feeling pretty lost and down at this time: post-college, post-recession, post-partner, post-a-failed-movie. But in some ways things were just starting to open up for me, including koan work. So when I sang this I meant it, which is something.

Technically, I still like that the improvised, overlapping time signatures in this piece mesh in a way that feels natural rather than forced to me. You can hear the fast 7/16 of the first voices—singing a warmup I used to hear my mother sing before shows—pull against the 4/4 pulse of the rest of the music.

Maybe fucking up is the angel’s wing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.