Lately I’ve been feeling intense culinary nostalgia.
When I first moved to Albany, I mostly suffered from burrito nostalgia. Not really burrito nostalgia, but hot sauce nostalgia. I can make really good beans and rice. I can make a really good roasted salsa. I can make a really good fresh salsa. But I cannot make hot sauce like they make at La Posta, which is the best hot sauce ever. I suspect it involves mash, which slightly scares me. Maybe one day I will make mash, but for now I’ve learned to live without that flavor and have found other ways to scratch that particular itch.
I take a martial arts class a couple of times a week. One of the things we do in there is Kali. Most people use plain rattan sticks. Some people tape the ends so they wear out more slowly. One of the advanced students has one stick made out of a different material: maybe rubber or plastic? So most strikes sound similar but with timbral variability, then the one stick stands out when it strikes.
Three posts in, and already I’ve got a running theme: compositional blocks. Bunita Marcus advised me some time ago to get around this by breaking compositions down into ‘discrete doable tasks.’ Which itself gave me a great idea for a piece that’s been knocking around on the meta-compositional back burner ever since.
Since falling out of academia, I’ve had trouble with follow through. I have great ideas, then I think, “Why bother? I have no means of getting my ideas out there.” It’s a huge problem for me. I’m sure it’s a huge problem for lots of people. But without audiences and deadlines and some sort of creative/intellectual exchange, how is it functionally different to just think through a musical idea rather than thinking through the idea and actually bothering to write it down? Continue reading