My host's second-floor flat in Cambridge has a unique sound world I freshly re-experienced upon arrival Thursday afternoon. The house is adjacent a city park and across the street from a public school. Its construction filters sound in a quite warm yet distant way. Dozens or kids were playing outside and a couple of times marching band drum practice struck up a pattern briefly. Their youthful shouts, the dull smacks of balls, and cheers filled the sunlit room. Upstairs neighbors added a rare, even slower, duller thud here and there. My host sat across the room in a matching easy chair silently pivoting her bare feet on the edge of a shaft of sunlight and irregularly touching off a battery of Mac laptop keyboard clicks. She slurped coffee now and again, then once more quietly, holding it on her tongue for a breath before swallowing wetly in the ensuing silence. I breathed my coffee the way the moon fills a bay with the tide. I listened to my own breaths -- higher overtones on the inhale than the exhale, a bit more labored than usual. Closer, sharper, charged.
I wish I could say I existed in the sound world with such fervor throughout the visit. But I have no idea what to expect from an academic conference. My most memorable moments were meeting co-panelists Pavlos Kountouriotis, Matthew Cumbie, and Amanda Jackson; staring at Rachel Taranta's "quasi-monochromatic illumination" of brightly painted squiggles; chatting about the impossibility of young immigrant passing in academic and professional America with Andy Reyes; experiencing Jill Sigman's mummification-hot wax-inscriptions THE MACHINE and talking about it after the conference; and of course performing full-contact violin.
Found onstage, crumpled into a tiny ball at the end of the performance:That, and my first hustle making music. My attention deteriorated more rapidly than after any other type of performance. The needles are a fine engine for me to transcend the myth of performance so I can be myself with the instrument, but I don't come back to my rational self before a good night's sleep. That I finally got last night and I woke up lit "like a pinball machine." The Muse can make a fine lover even though she's batshit insane most of the time.
So I thank the fine presenters and audience and welcome questions and remarks.
EDIT 4/15: I've uploaded some audio selections from the performance to my SoundCloud page (right).