Harvest Moon, Hiphop, Hope and Horror: an account of recent days.


The past few days have been lovely. Last night Dan Schacter from Shoot the Moon, which is now Percy Farm, came over to play Neil Young with me and Elran. I love to sing Neil Young, his songs are high enough to be satisfying to my sorta-soprano vocal chords, but his voice is twisted and loose and old and pained and full of the kind of hard rocker life high drama and sorrow that makes it hard for me to slip into my unfortunate default voice tone that comes from too many years of high warbly church singing and Christmas caroling. Yes, my family made us go door to door singing in the snow. It was fun/horrifying, but because of it I do think the world could be meaningfully improved by more friendly neighborhood harmonizing. Anyway- yesterday was about sitting in the apartment singing Neil Young, and ok, a little Van Morrison. Once the guitars are out I guess this is pretty much unavoidable… and Moondance may be cheezy but is also undeniably fun to do in a sexy crooner-girl style, with a voice like Dan Schacters and all it’s sweet scratches and wild hair and true tone to guide you.

So Dan and I were doing alright, sitting huddled around the computer screen just like how in the old days they’d sit around the fire, using way too many firefox tabs to pull up lyrics and chords, and getting frustrated in our attempts to use web based tuners because my Red Hat computer is still gummed up by pretty much all Flash, but singing loud anyway and generally having a good time. As I say, we were doing ok, but when Lil Andy came with beers and his big voice, deft knowledge of the Neil Young chords and fast fingers, we did better. Andy’s voice- if you’ve never had the privilege of attending one of his joyful, mournful, wry performances- is wide and booming like big windy country. He has that singer ability- Dan does it too- of not just hitting the notes in a song, not just getting the timing right, but of actually thinking the words, so suddenly you hear them again and it feels like he’s feeling them for the first and millionth ancient time.

The day before this miraculous come-over-and-I-get-to-sing-with-you happening, I sat in my preferred local old man bar with another friend who’s skills inspire, talking about how we want to be in bands- how, in fact, probably everybody wants to be in a band. Not just because we stand in the cast-off glow of performers every day, listening to what they made and marveling at how it travels and makes them famous, but also because we can see ourselves being happy working with others in this uniquely delicate, generous, viscerally harmonious way. Not to be too foreboding, but I think if our economy suffers the kinds of collapse predicted by the state of our environment, music making is the kind of thing that’ll be at the cornerstone of post-catastrophe economy. And I think all of us will do it, and meet with each other to celebrate it and find our small non-destructive joys together, and use these gatherings as places for trade and support. Maybe this is future fiction- I hope so- but it’s hard these days to not think about what we’ll do if if if. You know?

Anyway, Gsblott and I were meeting in the old man bar, not to discuss the future of our poor planet, or what exactly makes those black spots on the local maple leaves, but to play with the free jukebox, and share my 11th and therefore free labatt 50, and to talk about art; a potential graffiti workshop with local kids, the Mile End Mission, the YMCA, and the Museum of Fine Arts; and the music for the upcoming Indyish and POP (and Ile sans Fils, and You) holiday weekend. We’re doing the same sort of thing as last time, with two day times and one party on the Sunday night, and G and his friends will be DJ’ing throughout. (We’re also doing a 24hr music video making contest again, with groups chosen by POP Montreal who’ll be playing on the Sunday night. Dj’ing will go on around their live sounds.) I’m listening to a mix CD G made in anticipation of the weekend right now and I’ll tell you- we may find ourselves dancing with reckless abandon in the middle of the day with this guy and his friends at the helm. I was definitely shaking it irresistibly on my way down the street yesterday morning listening to it. It has weird combinations of songs by men and women in all kinds of languages, with beats matched in shockingly apt and innovative ways that turn them into drum and bass infused hiphop, though they weren’t that before, and almost make you stop dancing so you can listen closer to figure out what’s going on. Almost, but not quite.

All in all, two days of good stuff, and a perfect optimistic distraction from the darkness of world politics. Not least – the suggestion that the US, Britain and Australia might leave Iraq only to hand it over to the “care of it’s neighbors” Syria and Iran, nations who’s leaders seem often to be controlled by some of the most the most dictatorial versions of Holocaust-denying, perpetual Jihad Islam… ahh I don”t know- perhaps peace is indeed possible this way, and conversation is admittedly a generally good idea- but this particular proposal for collaboration does seem to stink of a desire to cut and run from Iraq’s tragic mess in the most deluded and irresponsible way.

Sorry, I know that’s a dark road to go down in an otherwise light and loving post about music and art. But I think most of you will agree that putting our blinkers on these days, though tempting, would be a bad move. So I try to keep an awareness in here of what’s going on out there, and hope to keep the doom balanced out at least a bit by our belief that local artist networks, and the kind of interaction that happens one on one between individuals who celebrate and make art across ideological and national boundaries, can somehow help anchor a non-violent and mutually prosperous social-political perspective. Cross your fingers, hope for it, and play nice, alright?

One Response to “Harvest Moon, Hiphop, Hope and Horror: an account of recent days.”

  1. Lickety-Split said:

    I’m so jealous:
    I have a mad crush on Lil’ Andy
    and a serious hard-on for peace.

    thanks for your thoughts,

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