Archive for July, 2010

All muses on deck

Friday, July 30th, 2010

[IMAGE] The Algae Princess, photo by visitor pal Rick Kvistad

…click to listen:

…about the music

Suite, for something extraordinarily sweet.

Greetings from your hostess de la kelp, the Princess of Algae herself.
As my toes (see prior post’s video below) and I have mentioned only in passing until now, Her Highness of the Low and Other Notes, who might have been a marine biologist had she not has sunk into the happy muck of a musical life, has finally found the perfect throne. Not just near the sea, but ON it.

(Yep, that’s me above, with a Washington State Ferry emerging from my neck).

No longer able to contain my musical chaos in the small den right off the kitchen of the lovely little home I own, this spring I rented an additional home on the island to house my studio, and give all those notes in my head more space. “More space” is a bit of an understatement, since the place is on hundreds of feet of waterfront, with 30 gorgeous acres behind it. Remember, folks: I grew up in a modest sized apartment in Manhattan that didn’t even have a balcony.

The house, built almost as long ago as I was, sits directly on the tide pools. Ebb tide means exploring and communing with the sea critters. Flood tide means living on a boat, as I did in Santa Barbara just a few years ago: the water rushes in under the deck. I have found heaven, and it is right here and smells like kelp.

The expanse in front of me in all directions correlates well to expansive, multi-directional thinking. And, to daydreaming, imagining, conjuring, laughing and many other happy gerunds. In fact, it’s so dynamic and distractingly awesomely incredibly unbelievably strikingly heart-wrenchingly beautiful here (there go those happy adverbs), it’s amazing that I get any work done at all. Otters, seals, deer, raccoons, bald eagles, oyster-catchers and the occasional Orca whales… ferries, sailboats, container ships, yachts, dinghies… currents and rip tides and wind and waves and an inescapable sense of not only being on a planet, but on the apparent edge of it, all pull at my attention. I pick up my camera or video about as often as I pick up my composing score pad, wanting to somehow capture this fascinating bliss. Looking out from Sidney, British Columbia, across many Canadian Southern Gulf islands, to the U.S. San Juan Islands, there’s always something going on. Always.

One word is worth a thousand pictures:
Outrageously stunning.
What? That’s two words?
Well that explains why I just write the notes and don’t play ’em, since I obviously can’t count.

Ok, so here you go: a few pictures I took today, in sequence from my deck, worth thousands of words that fail to adequately describe anything. Frankly, the photos fail, too, because you can’t get the 200 degree sweep nor the sweet smell of the saltwater nor the wonderful sound of the birds and the waves nor the sound of the lucky person with the house key going “Oh. My. Gawd.” But these’ll tide you over, for now.

To the west:
[IMAGE] Deck view

Looking at Canada:
[IMAGE] Deck view

To the north:
[IMAGE] Deck view

To the north-northeast:
[IMAGE] Deck view

And since you can’t see Canada’s Coast Range very well in the tiny photo above, here it is from the same place on the deck, closer:
[IMAGE] Deck view

To the east:
[IMAGE] Deck view

Which look like this when the sun hits it at the end of the day:
[IMAGE] Deck view

And the end of the day looks like this. Ahhhh….
[IMAGE] Deck view

Where some of the music is hiding

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

And where inspiration is sometimes found.

Okay, I admit it: I had a lot of open time this week to accomplish a gazillion things on my apparently-never-ending-until-I’m-pushing-up-daisies to-do list.
And far too few of them have been accomplished thus far. Except, perhaps, something rather important: sanity. Calm. Peace. Exhaling.
I think I need those things, in order to do any of the others halfway decently.

If you use slightly less than three minutes of your life to watch this very amateur video I spontaneously shot this evening from the deck of my studio when I sat outside to stop working and just exist aimlessly for a moment, you, too, may find a little inspiration for whatever’s on your to-do list.
Or at least you’ll exhale, even if you get absolutely nothing done.

Don’t get excited: absolutely nothing astonishing happens in this clip.
Unless you are constantly astonished that you stand on a rock that is constantly moving. I am.
One person’s slow, dull footage is another’s action-adventure movie. Mine!

The adventures of Net Girl

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

[IMAGE] Ferry net

…click to listen:

…about the music

A fine collaboration over the net.

As I bumble happily along in my career, one of the things I seem to have become a little bit known for is my web presence. Click and ye shall find me. Between my professional dot-org existence (more about me than anyone could possibly ever wish to know; I apologize in advance), this pixelsonic bloglet you’re currently viewing, MyFace, SpaceBook, LinkedIn, ReverbNation, YouTube, the occasional tweet and a multitude of other enpixelated mirages of my being-ness, I’m burning annoyingly bright pixels into someone’s eyes 24/7 somewhere or another on this rotating marble of a planet.

I’ve written [hopefully] helpful articles like this one about using the net for career-building, I’ve traveled the country speaking to composer colleagues about the groovy power of the web, and I’ve testified to the FCC about the importance of broadband access for all. I’ve temporarily abandoned my first life to spend a few hours here and there appearing as a guest composer on several shows for the Second Life Cable Network, where my avatar got to wear clothes that my corporeal self might not have had the guts to don in public. Why be virtuous in a virtual world?

[IMAGE] Kingfisher

Reflecting the mystical vortex (my own Holy Trinity) of serendipity, preparedness, and initiative, four of my most significant recent commissions like this one have come to me out of the blue from clients who just happened to click on my name, as well as an amazing classical music cruise for which I’ve just been booked as Composer-in-Flotation-Residence, a way-cool gig that came from my having simply posted an innocuous comment on Drew McManus’s blog about attracting audiences to orchestra concerts. Look to the right of this sentence: that’s the ad for the cruise. It’s going to be faaaaabulous.

Heck, I even met my husband on the internet way back in 1999, when we all thought ax murderers and folks who could never get a date in real life were the only saps trolling for love online. Yup, that was me! And it goes without saying that, being a chick who neither enjoys shopping nor has the time for it, I’ve perfected many surgical strike techniques when Googling my way to doorstep delivery Nirvana for every item imaginable. From Malibu to Friday Harbor, the nice folks at UPS and FedEx know my front porch and my often barely-dressed groggy morning self waaaay too well. I’m amazed the sight of me in my rather deranged-looking UnaBomberComposer state hasn’t scared ’em off by now.

[IMAGE] Bald eagles

As if all this is not enough to convince your grandmother to finally get DSL, I’ve even profited in the most post-modern, Escher-esque and unexpected of manners from being a cewebrity, a term I unintentionally coined over dinner conversation a few years ago. Before we even finished the main course, aforementioned pixel-hubby and I popped for the 8 bucks to register the URL for, since it was so dang cute (nuttin’ to see there yet, folks, move along). Two years later we giddily accepted an impressive offer to sell it, and that has kept our cats in the very, very highest grade of kitty chow ever since.

And so, in the wake of over a decade of being Net Girl (surely there’s an action figure for this), I find it ironic that I, the one who tirelessly touts All Things Online, have finally become so busy that I am having a tough time practicing what I preach in a timely manner. Witness the three week gaping space between my last kelpy post and this one. Pathetic insecurities raise their ugly little iHeads: in a globally connected world, if I do something cool and only people who were actually there in the room know about it, does it count? If I fail to post, do I cease to exist? If an MP3 is ripped in a forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?

Stay tuned for the continuing adventures of Net Girl! Upcoming episodes from just this June alone include:

• Her stunning new studio location on the sea: now, with more kelp!
• Her 30th high school reunion in New York City: reuniting with the first boy she ever kissed!
• Tales of an enthusiastic yet dreadful chick singer in a rock ‘n roll band: Net Girl’s continued NY jams with Last Mechanical Rites
• The premiere and filming of Paper Cut: a long-winded article about a short wind band piece
• The Attack of Sloth Girl: An extended walk down many San Francisco hills and a quick cab ride back up all of them
• Action Composer: The removal of a boa constrictor fang from Net Girl’s index finger after 25 years (pic for the brave)
• A lovely local premiere of her trio, Elegiac
• California’s Music in the Mountains Festival, and a hike along the Yuba River with cuddly, adorable pet mosquitos
• Immersed in Immersion, Net Girl’s watery summer consortium electracoustic concert wind band commission
• Waxing ecstatic: ear cleaning!

Being Net Girl ain’t always a pretty job, but someone’s gotta do it.
Don’t touch that dial!

[IMAGE] view from my desk