Deep in the catacombs of the basement and somewhere sandwiched in-between the clanking boiler-room and the clinking laundry room, is the storage locker belonging to my apartment. It is a closet full of many things I am happy to not see on a regular basis. Whenever I open the door of said closet I am met with the recurring notion of taking it all to the dumpster. But today, there was a previously unseen gem that had caught the early February light just right and suddenly was ablaze with glorious promise. The Casio CT-638, a modern relic harkening back to 1993, leaned vertically against the wall amidst old art portfolios, camping chairs, and empty appliance boxes. It begged for redemption; to make music again. It is a feeling of great empowerment to fire up old electronics from the past. I imagine if those computer chips had a consciousness they would awaken as if no time had gone missing from the last time it had passed signal. I carried all 7 pounds of it upstairs. Even compared to the reasonably-weighted Nord Electro 2, the Casio was wafer-lite. After plugging it in and rendered incapable of stifling my laughter at the “strings” and “brass” patches, I settled into the default piano tone, and began playing along, in earnest, with the BeeGee’s “Nights On Broadway.” And did it not rule? Was this moment always in existence and merely waiting for a catalyst?
This winter has been marked by subzero highs, feeble furnaces, snowdrifts, slow melodies, and time swiftly marching onward. How quickly it seems, the mind forgets what it used to know; how the body acclimates itself to the frigid cold without so much as a craving for July and August.
I’ve completed only a few songs this winter, but put many in motion. A lyric here; a melody there; a bass-line or drum beat stashed away like squirrels hiding their stores. These songs are best prepared over long hours on low heat. It’s not always easy to know what the result will be, but its generally more satisfying than an impatient preparation whose sum is lesser than its parts.
My kitchen is filled with the smell of onions, potatoes, paprika, celery salt, garlic, and turkey that has been cooking together all day in the crock pot. Some things turn out better when left alone. Some songs will return unprompted like a scent in the air, signaling an unexpected development. These are what I’ll grab ahold of eventually, when the snow melts and the salted roads wash into the earth.
There seems to be so many ways of doing the same thing. Over and over again; over and under; through and throughout; the way the lines are laid out and laid out again. If I had a dollar for every time I signed up for a new convenient online service I’d have at least $643 dollars by now. How is anything private? How isn’t all the crucial information not already collected somewhere and accessed by everyone? Seems crazy. Song-worthy? Perhaps, but I’ll have to decipher the clues further to organize a semblance of melody-worthy poetry.