Before I derailed into writing short posts about playing Bubble Bobble and Secret Doors in Public Libraries, I had a goal for Feeled Recordings, which was to make musical and non-music constructions from found sounds that I had been collecting. This is the first piece in what I anticipate will be a slow series of music numbers. It is my take on New Orleans. With the simplest explanation possible, it contains one musical instrument, and everything is found sounds I recorded. You can listen and enjoy, or below, I will enumerate each sonic object, in order of appearance.
New Orleans Feel
- “Are You Ready? 5!” This was the build up to drum line that I heard practicing in the Bywater. The brass band came in immediately after. I actually just recorded this snippet from my open window on the second floor. There were some large banana trees that swayed lazily against the blue sky, giving the impression of being underwater. The band was getting ready for parade season.
- Guitar. I was biking home in my last week in New Orleans, and I saw some guy throw a guitar into a garbage can. I fished it out and discovered it only had three strings (one of which would not stay in tune). I think it was actually a ukulele. The guy came out when he saw me digging in his garbage can. He didn’t seem to care. He was wearing a shirt that said “City Greens”, a place I used to work at. I later played a concert for no humans in a cave in Arizona. Now garbage ukulele apparently lives in Tucson, a good home.
- Garden Club Kids. When I lived in the 7th Ward, we used to round up some kids from the neighborhood when they got back from school. They were probably in grades one-through-four, or so. My neighbor, some other friends and I would help them with homework, draw stuff, and do gardening. You can hear Jujuan, and he was my favorite. Once I got him to do math by pretending we were robots. Another time he told me he needed to pee, and said: “That’s why I’m dancing like a white person!” I got pretty stressed out generally, though, because kids are insane.
- Mardi Gras Beads in a Cup. It’s percussion. That’s all. But dang if they ain’t so jangley.
- French Quarter Parrot. There’s a parrot in the French Quarter that’s always hanging onto an open door screen, and it squawks at people. I really don’t know the story behind the mysterious and ever present bird, or the equally mysterious and ever-absent owner of the house.
- Bywater Train Signal and Train. This is a split of the low-end rumbling of a train that CONSTANTLY hangs out in the middle of town, cutting the Bywater off from the rest of town, and the warning signal. I actually didn’t alter the pitch or timing, it just fit perfectly. Later, I dude make a harmony out of the pitch. Sometimes the train would stop in town, and I’d get real zen and think about how nice it was that life in New Orleans forced us to all just slow down. Other times, I’d be trapped in a hot car or on my bike and I’d think about how life in New Orleans was surely aging us all rapidly.
- Chickens. I don’t have a great deal of experience living in many cities, but it seems to be that New Orleans has an abundance of feral chickens. I might call it the feral chicken capital of the United States. These chikens were recorded in the St. Roch neighborhood.
- Meditation Bell. It’s at Wild Lotus, a yoga studio. Yoga is where advantaged white people go to connect to the Mother Gaia. The bell sounds nice, no? It signifies a transition.
- Steamboat Natchez. What can be said about the great and dissonent siren song that splays out over the city at all hours of the day? The Steamboat Natchez is a real-deal steamboat that tourists like to ride around on the Mississippi. When it’s not cruising the river, it’s docked in the French Quarter, and some lucky soul plays “When the Saints” and other traditional songs on a calliope. A calliope is a giant steam-powered piano style instrument often found on riverboats. It’s incredibly circus-like, out of tune, and can be heard all over the city. I don’t know how one gets this job, but I assume it’s something like this:
- Krewe de Vieux band. During Krewe De Vieux, one of the first parades of the season, marching bands come out of the woodwork. Costumes shimmy down the streets, politically satirical floats are labored upon and finally revealed, and many alcoholic drinks are imbibed in quick repetition. These are all tiny fragments of drum loops that I attempted to re-work into some cogent rhythm to fit the meter. Did I succeed? Kind of!
- French Quarter Horse. The horses in the French Quarter are a subject of some reflection for me. It’s very confusing because it’s an obvious attempt to preserve and monetize the preservation of the past. But also, those horses are probably not loving standing around all day in the heat and doing monotonous rides around the city. Free the horses, I say. This is the sound of their reigns.
- Cajun Handy Man. Once, my friend Kyra had a handyman come over and take a look at her house for fixes. He had a great cajun accent which I will never even try to replicate because I would sound like an idiot and you would learn nothing in the process. He said many nice things, and often ended his sentences in “baby”, as was his very cajun wont. Kyra is also great, but she’s not featured in this audio.
- Crowd at Mimi’s in the Marigny. During Krewe De Vieux, the intersection near the bar Mimi’s in the Marigny gets clogged. The parade goes through there, and there’s some good balcony action for parade viewing. This is some drunk fools shouting, but he has just the right amount of triump in his voice to compliment the tone of the song. “Tiiiiiiiiimmyyyyyyy!”
- Simon Says. We used to play Simon Says at the school I worked out. Kids love that game, it’s pretty nuts. Who is Simon? Where did he get such vast authority? Simon says read the last thing about Cicadas.
- Cicadas. They are bugs. I actually wrote a small piece about them already, because they are actually real insane and presently being researched by the Navy, presumably to evil and/or torturous ends, regrettably.