Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Swimming, singing, and stuff.

Yesterday evening, at the suggestion of Jerrn Kern, the Philadelphia Musical Achievers Meetup leader, I checked out a Parisian Meetup group of musicians, with guitar in hand.

These people were nearly all younger than myself (the one exception, an older jazz singer from New York, left quickly after sussing out that this crowd may not be Frank Sinatra-oriented, I suspect), and several of them impressed with their performances, especially one girl with a huge blues voice, though there were others. I played "The Beat" by Elvis Costello, hung around a bit after that, and left before the last metro. These Parisians singing English blues and pop in a local bar are nothing to sneeze at.

Finally got some non-skipping-through-Metro-tunnels-exercise today. Found the local public pool, Bernard Lafay, where for 3 euros you can change into your swim tights (no surfer shorts) and swimming cap (they're very hygiene-strict in France) and swim to your heart's content in their big pool. It was good to get the muscles moving - being in water is like being in another world.



Otherwise, worked on "the wave" shot (sequence 10, shot 08), which is something of a tedious challenge, as it involves working in TVPaint 11 on this laptop, and the two don't seem to get along, with the animation program slowing everything down, including saving, the internet (somehow, the license comes from the school server?), and just making the experience a slow-motion one. Nonetheless, I aim to finish this shot tonight and get on to other things.

Spent a few hours the other evening working on recording a new song. Hoping to re-record the rhythm track and send it off to friends to help make it into a real thing.

Time's evaporating like smoke. It seems to accelerate as it passes by.

ps...and these guys are wunnerful:


Former Philadelphia (now Los Angeles) band who lost their lead singer and primary songwriter but are still coming up with new singles polished off from material previously in the can. I hope things work out for them. Benignly irreverent humor, their drummer is a throwback to mime and silent movie actors, with his Marx Brothers-like pantomime (slightly reminiscent here of the wizards scene in Magical Mystery Tour):


 ...the bass player, since having let his hair grow to old-growth forest-like proportions, an exemplar of zen-like cool, and their guitarist, an "undercurrent of angst" may be too strong, but something seems to be brewing in there. The missing member, singer/songwriter/rhythm guitarist, still present in these recent releases, seemed to be hitting his creative prime just before his unfortunate departure from the band, with more tightly-honed structures, clever harmonic shifts, and tasteful studio experimentation. Raw energy, intelligent chord progressions, creative instrumentation, increasingly interesting lyrics, completely infectious hooks, and loads of clever harmonies, and those award-winning, indie band hairdo's...why aren't they famous?! It's tough being a young band, now more than before, even, with Spotify, Apple, and the rest squeezing musicians dry to feed their own capitalist ends.

Sigh. But on the other hand, their getting "famous" may not be a path to happiness. I just hope they find a way to make music a sustainable career path for a long time. How often do you get to play music with and hang out with friends (and a cousin) you've known since kindergarten? It's cool enough being in a band - this must be even more like a marriage of sorts.

Happy to hear the new releases, and looking for new compositions from the guitarist to see if these guys can keep it going forward into the future. Here are a couple of previous strong offerings from him:

6th & Girard - live performance here of a nicely harmony-inflected tribute to Philadelphia.
Falling Out - a great potential beer commercial and smart phone crowd-waver, with ambiguous angst in the lyric.

And here's some solo demo work he posted on SoundCloud. Maybe that's what Cheers Elephant will sound like in the future.

I've never been a groupie before - it's kinda fun (though also a good way to procrastinate). These guys remind me of when I played in bands. New song in the works - demo recording stage, and enlisting the help of a few friendly.

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