mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (music at the coffee shop 2)
[personal profile] mapsedge
Next week is Thanksgiving. Between the two kids and their various health issues keeping them out of dancing seriously, we're not going to Oireachtas, a fact for which I am very grateful. I hate travelling on holidays, I just hate being away from home over Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's not any sort of a "Oh, this is a sacred time!", it's "I've got to spend a four day weekend driving?" and the fact that the weekend of Thanksgiving is when we decorate the house for Christmas. I've no idea if we're going to decorate, I don't care one way or the other. I imagine the kids will want to.

Progress on The Machine is, well, progressing. I've done two wet tests, each one very instructive. I figured out it needs two speader rollers, one for each side of the photo, and my goal for today was to get it built and installed, but it didn't happen. Jami's been particularly anxious about his mother's health and his lack of relationships with other boys his age, and he's been especially demanding. He dragged me away from the work several times today. The plastic cement I need to make the roller is old and gelled, and I neglected to get a new can when I was at the hardware store today. Got everything else.

I've been listening to some of the music I composed on the keyboard lately. The old Roland XP80 I used (it's also the piano and bass for "Walkin' There") is really showing its age, and one of the circuit boards on it is shot. It includes the transpose and mode functions, and you can't exactly effective use the device without them. The keyboard was new on the market and state of the art when I bought it from St Anne's School of Music's North Kansas City store in 1996 - still is state of the art, really - a $2500 (retail) piece that I bought because the piano sound on it was absolutely indistinguishable from the real thing - and was discontinued at least ten years ago and to replace it would cost at least a thousand dollars.

Anyway, it didn't really occur to me that I could fix the thing until just lately when I started wanting to make some new music. Replacement parts are hard to come by, but I did manage to find a replacement circuit board from a company in California. The cost is a little painful, but far, far cheaper than purchasing a new keyboard and let's face it, there's some sentimental value there, too. Not to mention the fact that it's a damn fine piece of equipment.

I once gave a CD of songs from the Roland to a musician friend to listen to. She was hesitant, and I could see in her eyes that she didn't want to, and I think I know what she was anticipating: a collection of twangy, ever-so-electronic tunes with pre-programmed rhythm tracks and very little polyphony to even begin to make it interesting. I pestered her about it until she finally listened, and she was shocked. Her first comment was, "I just didn't expect it to be so lush!" (referring to the texture of the music.) I have always cherished that description.

If you want to hear a couple, give a listen here, in the "New Age Jazz" and "Music Recreation" sections.
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