Sunday, June 3, 2012

Like Sesame "Candy"

Like any kind of art-making, recording can feel like magic. Instruments can fall like snow, together, into a rolling white drift that settles where it needs to settle and shifts where it needs to shift. We've had sessions like that on this trip -- in one, Jordan and I set up the microphones, hit record, and just up and played a fantastic version of a fairly technical song that, until that point, neither of us had ever actually gotten through successfully.

Today, recording was like trying to chew the tar-textured sesame candy that old men advertise (and cut pieces of) in the streets of Chengdu with tink-tink-thock chisels. We spent hours and hours trying to record one very simple song together, with minimal and hard-won success. It was exhausting and crushing and the only thing left to do now is to go to sleep and hope for snow tomorrow.

In other news, Tiger in a Jar arrived this afternoon, slightly bleary-eyed, and we dragged them to an absolutely incredible rehearsal of the Sichuan University's folk orchestra (folk music in China does not mean the same thing as folk music elsewhere, by the by. Their "folk" music is like our classical music in its scope and technical demand, it's just played on traditional eastern instruments). Wonderful music aside, it was worth going just to watch and listen to the conductor, who danced around like he was conjuring something, and smiled the most charismatic and constant of smiles.


p.s. Jordan likes that sesame stuff and I think he will not approve of my metaphor.

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