muted tones

october 02

today we are cartographers // i needed new units of measure / across / what's left

October is curated by Sarah Renee Bertsch of Chicago: she is atlas, and is currently working with the transaction Ensemble. She collaborated with Chicago's Tiny Hairs for this project.

curator log:

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my musician heart is black. black as the purely driven asphalt.

july 24th, 2002

somebody told me about this project they are working on. I don’t understand it, and more importantly, I can’t tell if it sounds interesting, or smart, or not. But I’ll get to it in a second. First, it made me think about all the kinds of music I don’t understand. Not even in a purely technical way. It’s more that I don’t understand it musically, and I don’t even respect some of it. That makes me really uncomfortable. I’d like to think that music is something that is inherently valuable, even if the execution or intentions of the creator aren’t in any way redeemable. The big music on the big radio stations that sell lots of Pepsi…I don’t understand it. I know this is hard to believe, but stick with me. My problem is that I don’t know where to file this kind of music. Should it make me upset? Insulted as a musician, woman, human, etc.? Should I ignore it and write it off as a comercial? Does it really matter? I want it to matter. I want it to matter that I can’t see the value in certain kinds of music. I think it matters because this goes beyond taste. I am comfortable with the fact that I don’t like certain things, but I can still respect them for their value. Like olives. But some music, I can’t do it. And that makes me nervous - like if I don’t respect certain kinds of music, then I’m one step away from not believing in free speech. If I don’t respect it, I’m not going to defend it. Is that true about me? No. And there’s the problem! Somebody stop me, before I become more confusing. As a musician, in my musician heart, I feel that all music is inherently valuable. In my head, I don’t respect the music played on commercial radio - and a few other kinds of music, too. I think this makes me a bad person, and a bad musician. Tell me I’m wrong. Please.

moving on. so this project. the person was telling me that they are taking beats, and reversing them. like a mirror of themselves. so the beat plays, and then plays backwards. that was all they said. is this interesting? I don’t know anything about manipulating beats, or the theory behind electronic music, so i can’t figure it out. somebody tell me if this actually sucks.

but SRB, why are you telling us all of this? can’t you just make your own gosh-darn weblog to rant about whether you’re a good person or not?

well, yes I could, but this makes sense here. With this project, I’m hoping to expand my musical - and personal - boundaries, and thinking about this stuff definitely falls within those parameters. exploration, people! self-discovery! and more mumbo-jumbo of the like! get with the times!


today on the SRB show: commitment! wrestling! defining thematic limitations! It’s a must see!

july 22nd, 2002

hey everyone. i just read Andy’s first two entries in the log. You should too. And if there are more than two entries there…read all of them - he’s a smart fella.

I’d hoped I could get some kind of coherent introduction together to post here today, but I’m just not feeling very well. I almost decided not to even post, but I want to keep myself in this game here. What I mean is, the project is going, even if I don’t feel well. This is a pretty big deal for me…this project, and this idea of sticking with it. Not to say that I’m a quitter, I just have problems with following through sometimes. I had planned on posting here as soon as I could. Josh just emailed all of us to say it was up and ready; so instead of putting it off, I’m here. Hi!


1.I know very little about recording. This is my fault. I’m going to learn a lot doing this project.

2.I know very little about making music that is not semi-acoustic vaguely singer-songwriter folkish music (that’s what Atlas is-if you were wondering). or whatever. Attempting to branch-out, I’ve been playing in this rock band for about 8 months, learning the keyboards, learning about electricity and amps and whatnot, and learning how to be loud. I’ve also been playing with an experimental group. This has tested my basic music skills in a way that hasn’t come up since I was singing classical stuff. Now with this muted tones project, I have the opportunity to explore new corners of the musical spectrum. Can a spectrum have corners? I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out.

3.I went to a wedding this weekend (Congratulations Lori & Jared!), and have two more (Congratulations Susie & Craig!) (Congratulations Dan & Christina!) to attend in the next few months. I’ve been thinking a lot about my own issues/questions/confusion/etc. with marriage, weddings, all that stuff…and some other issues related to them like ritual, priviledge, and uh, well, commitment. I’ve been tossing around ideas about how to tackle this with music. I’m thinking of going with a full nelson. More on this later.

4.For a few months, I’ve tossing around ideas for an exciting way to play ping-pong. One of these ideas includes maple syrup and wasps, but that’s for another project (see also: swollen, sticky, antihistamines, and Illegal Activities in the State of Nebraska). Another idea is one of those dealies where you send a recording back and forth accross the country with one of your friends and come up with something brilliant and spectacular. The problems with this are: we’d need to set some thematic as well as stylistic guidlines, I haven’t a clue what those should be at this point, I’ve never worked with this person before, and postage keeps going up. more on this later, too.

that’s all for today. I think. yes. I have work to do. If anyone wants to give me ideas, or thoughts, or rants, i’d love to hear them.

much love,

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