A Cassette Rip of My Second Piano Tape

The Sleepy EP [SET]

Yes, my archives are obses­sive­ly thor­ough, but here is proof that I was at one time will­ing to let go of any work — I “released” this tape exact­ly 5 years ago on May 22nd, 2013 — the sumer after grad­u­at­ing high school — and vowed that “ALL MASTERS WILL BE DESTROYED AFTER THE LAST PRINTING AND MEMORY OF THE WORK’S EXISTENCE ERASED FROM MY MIND,” which was more or less hon­est for at least one Spring. I don’t remem­ber the ratio­nale for rip­ping it back from one of the cas­settes four months lat­er, but I found the files, so have at it.

Side A

This side was record­ed on the ~mid-1950s-era Bald­win upright at my mother’s house. I thinnk I must’ve done so in mono with my sin­gu­lar con­denser micro­phone, but what­ev­er I used to dub and rip the tape would’ve lost any more sound data, any­way. To pref­ace any com­men­tary on its musi­cal­i­ty, I’d like to note in this first improv post that — despite my near-21 year-long rela­tion­ship with the piano - I am not a musi­cian. I play only when I want to and I very rarely choose to exhib­it any sort of dis­ci­pline. Recent­ly, I’ve been expe­ri­enc­ing dif­fi­cul­ty in con­nect­ing to my instru­ment to a for­eign degree, so I thought now would be an appro­pri­ate time to revis­it my discog­ra­phy from the begin­ning.

I took all sorts of ADHD med­ica­tions in high school but I failed to mit­i­gate a bal­ance in their side-effects, so I end­ed up unwill­ing­ly going days with­out sleep, which cer­tain­ly informed my impro­vi­sa­tion — it seems to per­form REM-like main­te­nance on my sleep-deprived brain, but that sup­po­si­tion arrives to you from 0 neu­ro­log­i­cal author­i­ty. I can’t recall, exact­ly, but I’d guess this tape was record­ed near the end of my 2-year-long break from all med­ica­tion.

Though not exact­ly rare, super­fi­cial­ly, that upright of mine has a par­tic­u­lar­ly sleepy, fuguey tone, and you’ll notice in this very lim­it­ed record­ing, expe­cial­ly, that it often sounds noth­ing like a piano. It was an impor­tant peri­od of tran­si­tion for me — in life, as you’d expect — but tech­ni­cal­ly as well in just dis­cov­er­ing some very rudi­men­ta­ry twang­ing and the desire to roll with my right-hand. In this par­tic­u­lar ses­sion, I do so more obnox­ious­ly than I’ve ever record­ed since. I can hear my pri­ma­ry child­hood musi­cal influ­ences much more than in any­thing I’ve done recent­ly — name­ly, The Spir­it of St. Louis, the 1957 Jim­my Stew­art film about Charles Lindbergh’s Atlantic cross­ing. It’s actu­al­ly sig­nif­i­cant­ly more con­fi­dent­ly var­ied and expres­sive than I expect­ed.

The Sleepy EP [Cassette Art]

Side B

Side 2 was record­ed on my Yama­ha DGX-660, allow­ing me to more eas­i­ly cap­ture a broad­er, if not entire­ly authen­tic dynam­ic range. It begins with a less-than-loose recita­tion of the Oca­ri­na of Time’s title theme and then dips to my ear­li­er vari­a­tions — even­tu­al­ly touch­ing on most of the core arrange­ments which I still play around, now. In con­trast with Side A’s delir­i­um, Side B is the morn­ing after sleep­ing for the first time in days. (For all I know, that’s actu­al­ly how it was record­ed.) Instead of my usu­al sin­gle, unin­ter­rupt­ed sit­ting, it’s split into short­er, dis­tinct, and more rea­son­able touch­stones.

I’d been ryth­mi­cal­ly caught up in a slow, 4/4 chug for years pri­or, but I think this is the best and some of the last of it. I sup­pose one’s ret­ro­spec­tion on self-expres­sion from their teens’ evening is always going to be somber, but I can hear my uncon­scious inten­tion to con­clude those old hymn and Blue’s Clues-bred tunes with a last, Best of David Blue’s Youth! hur­rah, and the dis­tance from the sound due to its wring­ing through the tape is all that much more eeri­ly sym­bol­ic: those were much bet­ter days for my soul, no doubt. I’ve lost half or more of these melodies to time, and I’m note quite sure how, hon­est­ly. I guess there are some things ya just can’t pre­serve in a .rar archive or two.

That said, if you wish to down­load this rip of The Sleepy EP for what­ev­er rea­son, feel free to do so.