Thursday, April 02, 2009

MacDowell Piece Takes Shape

This is a regular blog post. If you’re looking for show notes or links to show audio, please check out the other entries.

Crunch time yet again! I’m applying for a residency at The MacDowell Colony, North America’s oldest artist’s colony. It’s located on 400-odd acres near Peterboro, New Hampshire. At MacDowell, they give you a studio (read: cottage, barn, or similar structure appropriate to your particular art) and between two and eight weeks to just soak in your creative juices. No phone, no pool, no pets.

A mysterious guy named Blake sneaks up to your door and leaves a picnic basket at lunch time. You head to the main house for dinner and chow down with the other artists in residence and feed off of their energies. For a really great encapsulation of the experience, check out the December 14, 2007 installment of PRI’s Studio 360 or head to the colony’s website and watch the short feature MacDowell Moments.

Anyway, I’m applying as an interdisciplinary artist to write a series of folk songs and essays imagining the first folk music of the journey to Mars and back. All composed on instruments not larger or more massive than what an actual crew member would be expected to be able to take along in his or her personal volume and mass allotment. For me, that means, travel guitar, mandolin, Ashbory bass, music box mechanism, tin whistles, xaphoon, and other small instruments.

I have to submit two pieces of my work along with the application. Sometimes Alternates Fly seems a no-brainer. The other will be a song of the kind that I intend to write there at MacDowell. The song, Eleanor Flies, finally made it into a tangible medium this weekend and I sent the tracks to Scott Cannizzaro on Sunday to mix. We’re through two mixes so far and I think Scott’s going to finalize it today. Then I burn it onto CDs, do the written parts of the application (actually, finish them – I’ve been writing pits and pieces since early 2008), and send the whole thing to Peterboro.

Shown above is Scott’s workspace for the mix. It’s kind of cool to see the whole thing as waveforms. His skills are well in excess of anything of which the music is worthy and I’m really glad to have access to his services.

I’ll post the song here and/or to the show sometime soon. Probably after the application is complete.

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