Sunday, December 7, 2008

Teleconference from Coldwater Canyon

This is a coldly technical image of what was actually a pretty Romantic (capital R) moment in life.

You see a USB key, a laptop, another laptop, a guitar (starting to get interesting, now), and a car. The car belongs to my songwriting partner (one of them) and coproducer (one of those, too), Matt Fuller. So does the guitar.

Matt also took the picture, to make a point: how high-tech our creative process has become, for two guys who made their first recording together, in the summer of 1989, live onto a cassette in a basement in Granite City, Illinois.

In this image, we are far from Granite City. We are in Coldwater Canyon, in the mountains above Rancho Cucamonga. We were fresh from visiting the house where Captain Beefheart workshopped Trout Mask Replica, and we were working on the next poetry score, to The Sydney Highrise Variations by the great Australian poet Les Murray.

Good to be in a canyon in the mountains scoring a poem about vertical space! Vertical space, modernity, and the rise (and fall) of the (post-)modern city.

I am thinking about that day in Coldwater Canyon, and went looking for the photograph, because Matt and I spent an hour and change on the phone tonight. He's in Hollywood, I'm in St. Louis County, and we need a plan of attack to finish a poetry score and print it to CD before next November.

So, we scrolled through a mockup of the score that reflects the last work he and I did together, in a hotel room in Studio City this past March, when a journalism fellowship took me to L.A. And we came up with a plan, with lots of work for Matt in L.A., for Lij in Nashville, for Robert Goetz and me in St. Louis, and a large group of us (Matt, Lij, Goetz, Adam Long, Dave Melson, me) in Nashville - a nice place to get together and make music, no?

Almost as nice as Coldwater Canyon.

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