6/03/2010

Listening


Puttered most of the evening. Played Plants vs. Zombies (if you don't know this game, for your sanity, don't get started). Ate dinner. Surfed Facebook. And listened.

Listened to the master tracks for the CD created by hanging out with cool musicians and stepping up to a microphone once or twice.

I've never done post-production audio work before and technically still haven't. The tracking, volume control, and general engineering were all in the capable hands of my DH. Still, I listened to what he'd produced over the last few weeks of tweaking and listening and recording and repeating over and over. Listened as words weaved with music, most improv, most live. It's a kind of magic I've not known before.

It started as a lark, a theory of sorts, a Wouldn't It Be Cool If...? I tested the theory at a couple of jam sessions with friends who let me recite my poems while they played whatever came to mind at the time. I watched my words flex and shift with the notes. Didn't know that would happen. Light-hearted poems took on deeper meanings, dark poems became tinged with irony. Ironic poems became light-hearted and jazzy.

I listened too for the fear, the fear I'd held for so long, the fear of being recorded. Too many years being photographed, video-taped, and generally fixed on slices of magnetic tape without consent, displayed for others to hear and judge. I allowed the recording of my poems this year because I wanted to hear what the moments of music would do to my poems and what my poems would do to music. I dropped my gaze when it happened to move past the black microphone near the ceiling. I reminded myself I had a choice, always a choice to move forward or not even after the recordings were done.

After the jam, I was hooked on the energy of the moment, and wanted more. My friends, all incredibly generous with their time and talent, hoofed it to my house to record, sent tracks via email to layer in with my recitations. I was hardest on myself during the sessions, stumbling over words and generally being annoyed that I'd put words together that were nearly impossible to pronounce. Slow down, they told me, those seasoned musicians, take your time. You sound fine. They listened and because of that, I listened.

Cross your fingers and toes, we'll have a chapbook and CD ready for release tomorrow. Pause Mid-Flight: poems by Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor, music by Swil Kanim, Gene Tagaban, A.R. Mayor, Damon Dimitri Jones, Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo, Lia Saxton, Doug Banner, Francisco Owens, Travis Jordan, and Kelvin Saxton.

Listen. Can you hear that? That's the sound of gratitude.

No comments: