Hi blog. How are you? I’m doing alright. But you look…different.

I’ve been having a tough time sitting back while yet another old obsession comes back to hit me in the face and then run rampant circles around me. This happens every so often. I shouldn’t be surprised.

Because this wouldn’t have happened if Buffalo Daughter hadn’t released an album recently, titled Weapons of Math Destruction (which in itself is AWESOME), and if it hadn’t been ridiculously good and demented. I’ve been particularly obsessing over this track:

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This song is either about alien life or the singularity. So good.

Buffalo Daughter does that juxtaposition between electronics and typical band instrumentation so well. I LOVE the Moog-y bass line. And that flirtation between the guitar and Moog in the very opening in which you sort of can’t tell if it’s the Moog or a guitar. And it’s all just so delightfully dissonant. HOW COULD A PERSON RESIST?

Ugh. And I know this is where I get particularly…delightfully obsessive, but I spend way too much time thinking about the music I like and why I like it, and that can be difficult! After all, if you like something, shouldn’t that be enough? Shouldn’t one be able to just enjoy something one likes without all the stupid intellectualization of that thing you like?! Not me, apparently. I blame every music theory course I’ve ever taken.

I’m trying to refrain from turning this into a post about why I love Buffalo Daughter including about six audio examples of exactly why I love them. It is proving to be difficult. I am getting all fidgety. Hurrrrr.

At the same time, though, I want to blog more. I also want to share more music, and in general talk more about music, to get it out of my system, yes, but also to encourage people’s ears. I know my ear enjoys some weird aural shit, but somebody out there is probably looking for some weird aural shit and I’d just love to be the person to help them find it.

P.S. The new WordPress full-screen entry-entering function is FANCY.

Oh, But I’m Not Done Yet!

Ways in which I am ridiculous:

Measuring parts and placements of things having to do with my cello. Yes. I am doing that. Just to have an idea!!

I love my cello. It and I get along swimmingly. And since it had that cosmic love-at-first-sight encounter with this Swiss bow back in March, we three have gotten on very very well, indeed. And then one day my cello had some intensive finger-board planing work done and lo, when it came back, things were not right. The sound was tight. The sound had some weird difficult-to-describe, gravelly surface noise…stuff. I went crazy! I whined to my mother! I whined to anyone who would listen! I moved the bridge, and while variables in the sound changed, the problem remained. WOE WAS ME.

During this workshop I learned exactly what I wanted to learn: where the bridge and soundpost need to be in relation to one another and how to get them there (it’s not so hard unless your soundpost is smaller than your f-hole, at which point you swear a lot and realize that wow, it’s easy to hear something like “put your soundpost in the f-hole” and go HURR HURR), and that’s not to say that every instrument should follow these exact measurements, as there are variables, and stuff. But through the measuring of things on my cello I’m pretty sure I know that this tight sound is soundpost-related, and I’m pretty sure I know how the soundpost should be adjusted. I am going to let my trusty luthier do this adjustment because I can’t risk causing something really bad to happen like, say, my entire cello collapse in on itself. But this knowledge of where things should be for optimal sound is empowering. My plan is to have the instrument adjusted and then yet again measure the soundpost position after the adjustment is finished to my liking, so that I can not only have my suspicions confirmed but then also know what the optimal placement for my soundpost is.


What The Hell Is Going On?!

I am looking at grinders on Woodcraft.com and BY JOVE I MIGHT BUY THIS ONE, that is what is going on.

That string instrument repair workshop kicked ass, by the way. Things I was reminded of immediately: I am not a master. I have not put in my 10,000 hours. In fact, I mostly feel like a bumbling idiot who can’t even manage to sharpen blades without also grinding my own knuckles on the slow-moving wet grinder. But by god, I have some kind of know-how I didn’t before, even if I’m going to have to practice the hell out of these skills if I want to use any of them practically and not just mess around on some junk-instruments. I know how to glue an open seam closed again. I know how to sharpen and fit pegs. I know how to set a sound-post and find the technically “correct” spot for it. I know how to plane a fingerboard. I know how to carve a freaking bridge to the right size (okay, actually, I think that by the time we got to that point my brain had reached maximum saturation, so I’m not sure I actually do know how to do that). And maybe one day, with lots and lots of patience and practice and obsessiveness, I will not just have the know-how but the ability to physically accomplish these things!

Honestly, it was a lot of trial and error and that humbling experience of being completely new to a set of very precise skills, which I think is actually a good thing to experience at times.

But more than anything? All I want to do right now is sharpen knives. I would be a little freaked out, but then I remember that I am the daughter of musicians who depend on knives and probably have some weird deep-seated obsession with them, whether it’s a good obsession or a bad obsession, so. You know.

And now I know where the effing bridge is supposed to be positioned on the front of any string instrument from the violin family!! SUCCESS!!

Also? I want to write an open letter to the city of Madison. I’m going to do that right now.

Dear city of Madison,

Thank you. For being excellent, and for showing me a good time, and for helping me to feel peace after a year of uneasy memories of you filled with anxiety and panic attacks and bro apartments and giant aquatic rats. Thank you for your hospitality and food and good people (um, and also, thank you for vastly kick-ass concerts on the Capitol Square in which the entire square is simply packed with human beings who are there to enjoy themselves and partake of LIVE SYMPHONIC MUSIC. HELL YES).