Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Notes from a Hibernation Cave

One of the great things about recording an album is it affords you the opportunity to stay in one place for an extended period of time. During these stationary periods, one is truly able to take a deep breath and enjoy the little things... And as we all know, Zombieland Rule #32 of Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse: Enjoy the Little Things.

Below is a list of things for which I have grown a deep and abiding affinity during the past year of recording our new album.....

My Kitchen Window

This is the view from my kitchen window. I live in a modest, two bedroom apartment in San Francisco, for which I pay entirely too much rent. But things like this view make it worth it. Nothing spectacular, but looking at it first thing in the morning is a good way to start the day.

My Espresso Press

Don't let those archive footage clips of the Summer of Love fool you, if there's one thing modern day San Franciscans love, it's being smug. And there are few things residents of our fair city are smugger about than coffee. Recently, a number of high end local boutique coffee brands have sprung up whose beans are flown in by magic carpet every morning from places like Sumatra and Columbia. Generally, the more emotional abuse you have to tolerate while buying it, the better it tastes. When I was younger, and coffee grinder-less, I once asked my uber-hiptser barrista to grind the entire bag on site....don't....just don't do that.

I might enjoy the ritual of making the coffee more than actually drinking it. There's something about grinding the beans, heating the machine and steaming the milk that I find therapeutic. The milk steamer on this particular model is a little jenky, so you really have to pay attention to the machine to get a good cappuccino froth goin'. It doesn't always come out right, but when it does, the feeling of satisfaction is sweet indeed.

My Goddamn Xbox

You know those stories they tell about lab gerbils in a cage outfitted with two buttons, one for food and one for cocaine or something? All the poor little guys gotta do to get some life sustaining food is push the food button, but they're so preoccupied with the coke button that they end up starving themselves to damn death....that pretty much sums up my relationship with the evil contraption known as Xbox. There are times, hours into a weekend long Assassin's Creed 2 bender that I can literally feel the little bastard altering my brain chemistry, yet I am powerless to stop it. Beware the siren song of digital escapism...

Microsoft: 1, My Socially Well-Adjusted Adult Life: 0

Declaration of Dependence

Last November, I drove up to Portland by myself to finish mixing on our new album with Justin Phelps. Every morning, I would drive to his studio and the Kings would gently serenade me along the way. The Kings of Convenience are from Bergen, Norway, which to me feels like an exotic mystical land where people pay 80% income tax and take sweat baths all day. Their singing style is refined, sophisticated and very European...all qualities I'm fascinated by and envious of.

This record represents one of my favorite things about music. Portland, OR during the fall is beautiful, and I like going there in my brain sometimes even if I can 't be there all the time in real life. This record helps me do that. Music is one of the best place markers I've yet to find for those times in your life that you'd like to visit again, if only in your imagination.

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