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What String Quartet?

This is poppanotes, the blog to help negotiate my two prevailing identities: dad and musician. Hopefully, this will not only become a place for conversation (monologue at the very least) on any number of musician, technician or fatherly topics, but will also help to satisfy my need to share some of my music.

There are, of course, many ways to share music. So why put it into a blog? Because a blog is informal. Why choose an informal venue? Because my music often remains unfinished, the in-betweenness of the blog format feels most appropriate for sharing the experiences of music potentially perpetually unfinished, if not the music itself. And/or maybe there can be conversation (monologue at the very least) sparked by the common experience of shorn art, unmade music, inspiration deferred – for even prolific writers must have pieces of projects that, for whatever reason, never see the light of day.

Take, for example, my string quartet. What string quartet? Exactly. I’ve been working on it for a bit over a year now. And, I actually finished it about half a year ago. Then I un-finished it. Why did I do that? In this particular case, I felt that most of the sections could use a considerable amount of additional development. In its present state it feels a bit banal. It says something, moves on, says something else, moves on. It plays out like: part – part – part – blah – blah – blah. As it stands it runs approximately 17 minutes. It should probably, in its to-be not underdeveloped future state, be closer to 23-25 minutes long. But discussing an unfinished string quartet in the abstract isn’t fun for very long so I’ll move on.

Partially in lieu of having the ability to share my quartet aurally, I’m posting a couple of old rock songs I recently recorded.

They were originally only to be sketches, a tool for my use only, to figure out a final arrangement for songs that had been haunting in and around my head for years. So because of that, I made no effort to approach the recording process properly. But then I kept adding and overdubbing stuff and developing it beyond what is rational for what was supposed to be a mere skeletal representation until at the end, I found myself actually making my first foray into the mastering process. This may make the technicians/engineers/people-who-know-what-they’re-doing laugh, but I “mastered” my totally amaturely recorded sketches (the first tracks were the drums recorded on my little Zoom H2 in mp3 format).

Genre wise, they could probably be described as garage rock. I’m not really sure why I’m still making garage rock, to tell you the truth. But that’s what I did. And because I don’t currently have a band dedicated to my own original songs, this may very well be their final resting place. And if that turns out to be the case, it is very well because a home is better than no home. And I no longer care if they’re too much Don Henley/Glenn Frey – not enough Bruce Springsteen/John Lennon. They’re their own songs now and I wish them well.

In any case, here they are and maybe that’s enough. In a way these songs overlap with my parenting in that respect: Just being present. Often I have no idea, no plan for what to do with my children. But it doesn’t stop me from hanging out with them.

What do you want to do? I don’t know. I’m bored. Let’s go for a walk. Where do you want to go? I don’t know. ok. Then we go for a walk.

A couple of notes on the recordings:

Turf Club features Lyrics written by Andy McCarthy, Flute played by Allegra Avila, and Drums played by Todd Mason.

Delivery In Sinkingland and Shadows Discuss feature Todd Mason on Electric Bass.