Fourty-Six and Two

Started my birthday on a conference call, waiting to unplug a rack of servers and move them to another corner of town. Four hours later, the project was a success. Wrapped up the event by driving a pair of customers to their hotel, dropping off a coworker at the office, and heading home to consume the last inch of my bottle of vodka.

Four hours later, I woke up again. Circadian rhythm can’t be beat. Made breakfast, cleared the cobwebs, put on some Tool, Sepultura, King’s X, whatever. Far cry from the electronica of late. Shaved, showered, found clean clothes. Went out.

10-meter Net went up at 3; band was noisy due to contesting. Station in central America was sitting on the net’s usual frequency, so there was a lot of interference. Still managed to log 10 stations in the Austin area, which is usual. Not bad.

Spent some time up on the parking garage to try out the 2-meter flexible J-Pole antenna I built Friday night. The damn thing works well. With my handie-talkie I was able to reach a repeater in Georgetown (30 miles north) on 7 Watts. Scratchy, but readable. That’s a massive success. Punched in my new amplifier and was Full Quieting. This makes me happy.

Reached a repeater in Marble Falls / Dripping Springs to the southwest with the amp and J-pole. Either nobody was on frequency or I was too noisy to read, so no signal report. Anyway, the repeater itself responded with its station ID and squelch tail, so I know I got in.

Bummed around, took myself out to Ramen Tatsu-Ya for a solo meal. Terrible line and noisy joint with zero personal space. Food was good, but everything around it was not what I needed that day. My birthdays are usually spent alone; space and solitude are the best gift. I blame the over-the-top birthday parties of my childhood. Now I’d rather just be left alone. For once, Austin denies solitude when I actually want it.

However, my buddy Doug did take me up the street to Workhorse for a beer, gratis. We had a decent time hanging with other Epochians on the back patio. I spied a lady sitting along the wall alone with a book, something from Vonnegut. I thought I was the only one who read in bars; glad to know there’s still others.

Got home tired and bleary-eyed. Lack of sleep keeps me mute sometimes (today especially so). Otherwise, it was an OK day. 46 is going to be more fresh Hell. Here’s hoping it’s not that terrible.

The Spaces Between

I have so many mixed feelings about SXSW this year. I had a good time; went out every night of the music festival portion, actually saw stuff. Didn’t take a usual night or two off because of “con crud” or fatigue — I just needed to get the fuck out and do things, see things. Find novelty. Seek out serendipity. Played each night by ear and generally landed on solidly entertaining path.

It was ultimately very satisfying to get out of my usual rut. Went a whole week without stepping foot inside Epoch Coffee, which is a stretch for me. Just no time, and it’s the last place I’d want to go to spend my post-show afterglow. Trying to explain what I’d seen and experienced to random acquaintances who had no common ground would just kill it. And I think my life was made better for that decision. Fresh air. Different views. A kick in the pants. I can go places that aren’t The Default. Y’know? I needed that.

There’s more to life than work, cafe, and home. So much more. JFC why have I wasted so much of my life in that triangle of locations? It’s a vortex of suck. This year’s south-by just reminded me that The Bigger World can be had right here. Austin’s a big town if you’re on foot and walk slowly enough to pay attention to the spaces in between the traffic lights.

I saw some of the most random, serendipitous stuff all the way through to the most insane. Saw Todd Lewis of The Toadies do a solo acoustic set across the street from my office. Saw Marie Davidson and her husband Pierre Guerineau perform as Essaie Pas. Discovered new bands like Boy Harsher, Automelodi, I Am Snow Angel, Emme, Museless, Sloppy Jane, Champagne Superchillin’, and so on. I have more than enough to try out and explore for months.

I spent most of the evenings on my own. Saturday night, I hung out with my buddy Doug and we had a blast. But most other nights, it was lonesome to experience these shows and have nobody to compare notes with. But whatever. My life is usually solo anyway. Turns out my calls out for companions on social media and chat were just wasted energy, wasted time. Pissing in the ocean hoping to raise the tide. Most of my friends either didn’t respond, or responded to the negative that they’d have nothing to do with the festival. Instead, I should’ve just spent that energy asking specific people directly. That’s what real adults do, y’know? Half drunk, fully lonesome, I wrote a thing between shows Friday night:

Instead of calling out into the void
I should have been calling out to you
The emptiness is echoed
The other is true

I’ve wasted so much time and effort. So much. I needed this week. With all the other shit going wrong or failing stupidly in my life and job and my social circles, I needed this. Maybe next year I’ll go back to hating on SXSW like all my fellow townies, but for now, I’m fatigued yet rested.

She’s an Algorithm, She’s the Dance

The holy algorithms of the modern web give blessings to frequency over length, and music rankings is no exception. Favorite producer PERTURBATOR has dropped a new EP, “New Model”, and it’s worth it. Definitely more of the PERTURBATOR sound you and I love.

I had hoped for a full-length album, but a man’s gotta go up against the robotic charts and win, right? This EP’s definitely got its hooks — hammered into meat hooks welded to an air ratchet fueled by MDMA, motor oil, and sin.

Get it at Bandcamp.

Space Black

You should probably know this: I secretly adore this band Black Mountain. Their Vancouver-meets-high-desert-rock sound hits me in the yes-yes place every time.

Space to Bakersfield” is the closing track on their latest album, “IV” (2016), and is arguably the best god-damned soul jam I’ve heard in a long, long time.

This live session recording in the KEXP studio in Seattle is remarkably close to their studio album. That’s quality, y’all. God, just listen to that open space, that sizzling air, the baleful riffs, that wayback Hammond B3, that Mellotron, that fluted vocal warble, that passion.

The stars are singing for you to join them. Are you listening?

Amen

Adverb for agreement and consent. Amen.
Statement of “so be it”. Amen.
Punctuation to a long prayer. Amen.
That is the past. These are our hopes. This is our intent. Amen.
Please let us move on, dream on, go forward into the dark night. Amen.
Pushing to the sunrise of our souls, of our world. Amen.
Leaving all our shadows behind. Amen.
It’s time to turn the page and love again. Amen.
Lifting up our prayers like a billion lights in the sky. Amen.
The past is gone for good. It’s time to say: Amen.
Amen. Amen.