muted tones

march 07

try to love the questions

Pamela Martinez performs violin, vocals, harp, and piano with the music group Teletextile.

curator log:

This Muted Process

march 22nd, 2007

In the last year I have traveled and tried to put down roots a few places: Boston, Detroit, New Jersey, and soon Brooklyn. Settling down has been extremely difficult transition for me because I know that my environment will greatly influence my creativity and general happiness. (In my heart I want to go back home to Texas, but I know the influences of my past are too strong to wrestle with for now.) So I’ve been searching for the people, the place, and the energy that will support my vision. Each city or town has it’s own soul, an energy which I can only stand in the presence of. Like any good relationship I will find a city that invites me in, tells me its secrets, and lets me change it a little.

“Try to Love the Questions” is part journal, part essay, and part soundscape. As most of my work it is self-reflective and vulnerable, which I guess is how you would define my style. The narrative is compiled from long distant phone conversations with my close friends as we discussed finding our identities. As a backdrop I created a sonic scenery from two short compositions I wrote in Boston, two live recordings of a mariachi group I met while in San Antonio last month and ambience from a day I spent listening to the birds calling out to the rain of Austin, TX. Each time I create a piece of recorded music I grovel at the feet of the Recording God. I ask to make my process transparent and let the piece speak for itself. I have always found it easier to make acoustic music and let the engineer work the machines, but for the last five years I have been interpreting the machines myself and I am finally learning some of their language.

The title of my piece “Try to Love the Questions” comes from a quote mailed to me by my best friend after I moved for the third time this year.

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms, like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will gradually without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answers some distant day.

  • Rainer Maria Rilke

We all go through a search for identity. Each one of us deals with this struggle in our own way. Personally, I shape my identity by the people I surround myself with and the ideas I ingest. Every time I travel my perspective changes as I embrace a new place. I’m living new answers to the same old questions and some day I hope settle into answers I’m happy with.

Since this will be my last entry I’m inviting you to hear my band Teletextile. We occasionally tour and do radio performances so if you want to know about when we are playing live, sign up on our email list through our website or watch for myspace bulletins. Thanks for spending your time reading this. –Pamela Martinez

(The quote is from the book My Messy Thrilling Life by Sabrina Ward Harrison, which my friend highly recommends, but I have not yet read.)

Ideas part 2

march 21st, 2007

(I wrote this Feb 20, 2007)

I still haven’t actually done any work for this project. I’m only thinking about it. But if you remember my first post “What the hell am I going to do?”, well that is still my method. I ask myself that question over and over again until, I am inspired enough by an idea to actually do some work. So it can take a while. Honestly I’ve been asking myself that question since Dec of 2006 and nothing has been actualized yet. That doesn’t mean I don’t have any answer at all though, just nothing inspiring me enough to do something auditory.

However, I do know that my project will not be ‘music’ focused but ‘interview focused’, so today I…. 1. walked to the barn to find and open a box filled with my minidisk recorder and mini disc tapes, then 2. Imagined some questions I could ask my family that would be appropriate enough to broadcast to the world. I guess I want to do this because I’m in a very transitional stage and I want to know more about where I come from and how they see me, perhaps that will make me feel better about the fact that I have particular direction right now.

Questions I could ask
1. What was you favorite thing to do when you were little
2. What do you remember about me when I was little
3. How different does it feel to be a Mexican woman in the year 2007 from when you were a teenager
4. Are you happy with your life
5. What would like to be doing instead of this conversation
6. Where is you favorite place to go in Texas
7. Tell me about a time you remember from you childhood
8. Tell me about a place that no longer exists
9. What was life like when you were a kid, who did you live with, what happened

Other inspirations: Institute of Texan Cultures (museum) including the spinning wheel like the one sleeping beauty pricked her finger on, This American Life on NPR, My Oral History class at Simmons College, Godspeed! You Black Emporer, A Silver Mt. Zion, David Sedaris, South Town in San Antonio, La Villita, Mariachi Music, Basking Ridge, New Jersey, Detroit, MI, the fact that I don’t speak Spanish well.

I heard that Prince supposedly has a hard wired recording system set up in every room of his house just incase he gets inspired, you know like on the toilet. I wish that my recording could be something like that, but instead of rooms in my house, it would be bits and pieces of my life, like how they say your life flashes before your eyes. I guess it’s probably happening and I don’t even know it, it’s like the last show I’ll get to see while I’m alive…I hope it’s good.

Initial Sound Ideas

february 16th, 2007

So I’ve been thinking about what I want my piece to be about and I thought I would share them. The things that interest me most sonically speaking are and I hope to incorporate them somehow:

1. stringed instruments (I want to play them all eventuall) I think it’s because of their resonance and natural acoustics, you know how they ring out after you stop playing them or if you say something loud enough they echo back at you. (Try this with a piano.)

2. Storytelling, with or without words, complete and incomplete stories, epic or small stories, truth or lies or hidden truths. I like music because I hear a story in it or sometimes it’s a story I feel that I can’t quite repeat acurately with narration.

3. Sounds respresenting other things. This could be anything from Boom!, Click, or that fact that Minor keys are supposed to sound more sad than Major Keys, perhaps this is the same thing as a story??

Originally I wanted to interview my grandmother about our family and set it to music, however I highly doubt this will be possible. I’ll let you know what happens next.

If you are interested in the music I have already written you can check out my latest music with my new band at or my old music at
Teletextile will release our first album later this year!!!!


What the hell am I going to do?

february 14th, 2007

Hi Everyone, I’d like to introduce myself…This is what I look like, but what you are really concerned with is what I sound like or at least you should be. I suppose you are also interested in how I develop and idea into a song or an art project. Or at least I hope you are. That’s why I’m writing this shit down you know, for you.

Since I’m guessing that you don’t know who I am at all, I’ll give you a quick run down. Originally I’m from San Antonio, TX, this is an amazingly colorful and inspiring place for me. It inspires me because of the things that are good and bad about living there for 18 years of my life. I moved to Boston to go to Berklee College of Music where I studied Music Education. At music school I learned a lot of amazing things and met many of the most talented musicians in the world. (I mean that, I love them) But overal music school almost destroyed my creativity and my confidence. Soon after I went to Library School where I met some of the most amazing people in the world. I got really interested in writing and storytelling there, but I realized I didn’t want to become a music librarian as I once suspected. My new teachers, friends, and some old ones too inspired me and helped recover my creativity and ambitioun. That summer I started a new band, teletextile, with Brian Hamilton and Kristy Foye. So Brian, my BMF (bandmate forever) and I went to Detroit because I needed to make some decisions. Don’t ask me why, but I tend to make a lot of decisions while staying in Detroit. The decision I and Brian made was…“Move to New York City”. So that’s is where Feb’s Muted Tones is coming from. A recovering musician right outside of New York, Basking Ridge New Jersey to be exact.

In Regards to my Tense Form Peice it is already Feb 14th and I don’t have anything done. That is my artistic process, the “What the hell am I going to do?” Method.

Happy Valentines Day,
Pamela Martinez


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