Monday, August 23, 2010

Odds 'N' Sods

Just a few non-sequitors strung together to retune my synapses to typing-mode...

An oft-forgotten and neglected stop on the Yamanote beltway is Uguisudani (鴬谷), or "Valley of the Nightengales" - an appropriate name for a labyrinthine pit of iniquity populated largely by ladies of the night. Nestled within the neon smog is a claustrophobic music club called What's Up, a ramshackle dive whose construction-site decor reminded me of Toronto's Bovine Sex Club. I played an improv gig there last night with some friends. The music most often split the difference between post-rock cathartic crescendos and jam-bandy noodling - at least until the last set, when the whole thing went full-tilt-boogie batshit a la Acid Mothers Temple, complete with barefoot vixen writhing around the stage. Mercifully the "key" had become completely unhinged by the time I'd broken two strings and was struggling to play anything other than echoplexed banshee squall.

The return journey from the gig revealed that it was a strange Sunday night all around: a shirtless white man was engaged in a screaming match with several police officers at Ikebukuro station, and as I strode home there were several EMTs scrubbing spots of blood off the sidewalk outside my local station. No other indication as to what had happened.

Meanwhile, the local discount dry-goods-'n'-liquor store has stepped their game up by installing a Muzak system. But instead of golden-age easy listening or chirpy contemporary pop, they've decided that ragtime is the ideal soundtrack to purchasing overstock pasta and almost-expired yogurt. The juxtaposition between jaunty Scott Joplin tunes and the defeated ennui of the staff is cartoonishly tragicomic.

Finally, during our jaunt around northern Japan, my wife & I suddenly began communicating almost exclusively via daft slang. We're fairly fond of odd turns of phrase (e.g. "gong show" for a chaotic or unfortunate event) but it was a little strange to find ourselves quoting Gucci Mane or Dizzy Rascal ("Blüd! Kin ya heeya them sah-rens coomin?") on an hourly basis. Perhaps all that sulfur at Osorezan strangled our grey matter a bit.


TV's David Caruso said...

A pedalboard like that inevitably means that one day you will plug it in, fire up the amp, strike a chord and...hear nothing. Leading to a good two hours trying to figure out which box or cable died on you. But Kevin Shields seems like the kind of guy who'd enjoy that sort of thing.

Seb said...

Precisely why I don't use a pedalboard. Sure, it's a bit tiresome to plug in everything each time I play, but I can see the lights flicker on one-by-one.

Not to mention it's damned embarrassing to be a pedal junkie when Fugazi plug straight into their amps and Sonic Youth recorded EVOL without any extra nodes in the signal chain.