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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

My musical mind and the Cloisters...

I've spent the past week working on the music for the dance piece. Sampling the piano tuning was a good idea and has provided me with a nice palette from which to draw ideas. I've composed the main ideas of the piece, strung it all together and gotten the music up to the right length and am pretty close to finishing a first cut. Still left to do is to smooth out some of the rougher parts, add some reverb and effects, do a final mixdown and master. Of course, the bulk of the remaining work lies in smoothing out those rougher parts.

The piece is ambient for the most part, meaning essentially sustained sounds that slowly change over time (most of the work I did tweaking the samples was time-stretching them, slowing them down and reversing them). However, I had an idea at the beginning of the piece to use silence (rests) in the music in between the first few sounds you hear. If it were a stand-alone piece that might have worked but I found that, introducing those rests hinted at a rhythm that is not present in the dance. Since, the music was never intended to mimic the rhythms in the dance, I knew the solution was to keep the piece completely and strictly ambient, i.e. no obvious or implied rhythms that would either have to sync up with the dancers or else not work. So, I have to go back to the beginning of the piece and rework some things.

Feeling pretty good about the way things are sounding though and I think the piece works well with the dance. It's eight minutes long. I haven't composed something this long since grad school.

Meanwhile, I spent Saturday at the Cloisters with a friend (the French girl) whom I also had to help file a police report at the Midtown police precint. She had her wallet stolen at a club last weekend and, before she could block her accounts, the thief had spent about 1000 Euros (read: many more dollars) between two of her cards, charges that didn't show up until Friday. In order to refute the charges, she needed a police report. So that was the first order of business Saturday, a trip to Times Square and about a half hour of sitting in the police precinct talking to a desk clerk and subsequently (and rather briefly) to a detective.

Afterward, we hopped the subway up to 81st Street to hit the Upper West Side Shake Shack, because I had been craving a burger and wanted to convince yet another person that Shake Shack has the best burgers in the world. I also wanted to investigate the allegation that Shake Shack has gluten free options (stupid gluten). They do. Unfortunately it was as I suspected...their solution to the gluten pollution? Have a burger without the bun. Be that as it may, you can be sure I had a bunless burger. Though it was chilly for a Saturday in April, the two of us scarfed our burgers outside while sitting on a bench across the street by the History Museum.

After that we headed all the way up to Claire's place in Washington Heights to regroup (and locate the Cloisters) before heading to our destination. Now, I had never been further north than 125th Street before but I have to say, it's another world up there. The call it Heights and they're not kidding. I thought I was in San Francisco crossed with the mountains of North Carolina or something. Check out some of the pics of Washington Heights and our long walk to the Cloisters (and of course pics of the Cloisters themselves):

Best of the Cloisters

The Cloisters, for those of you who don't know, are a branch of the MET Museum comprised of fragments of old Medieval and Rennaisance architectural elements, tucked away in a northern most corner of the isle of Manhattan. Complete with quiet courtyards and terraces overlooking the Hudson River and Engelwood Cliffs.

I had a great time up there. And as I sat in one of the courtyards listening to a fountain babble, meditating, I thought, "I'm never leaving this place." Not the Cloisters, because I obviously came back. I mean New York City. I have almost everything I need here. There's such a diversity of locales here in the city that I will, one, never get bored, and two, never be without a place to escape the more hectic and busy aspects of life here. And if all else fails and I really just need to get away, I can always take a train Upstate for a few days.

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