Tag Archives: Pango

Warmer thoughts

This weekend I have a few extra days to get things done. The weather has warmed considerably so on Friday I made the trek out to the farm where I keep my car over the winter to remove it from cold storage. A couple of leaks had gotten worse, unfortunately, but for the most part she was in fairly good shape.


Now that I’ve caught up on all my old blog entries and fixed the more egregious cases of code rot, I can focus on the future with a clear conscience.

Here is another little song I worked on during my recent month of music making, inspired by last June’s idyllic trip to Valencia, Spain.

A mess, but moving forward

In the wake of Design Festa, I’ve been spinning my wheels lately with a very long short list, and a lot of things have been falling to the floor, or getting worse rather than anywhere at all.

I had an idea to put the poems for the shots of last month’s exposition in the frame alongside the pictures, but I can’t get it to look the way I want right now, so rather than make you wait, I put the shots up in Gallery tonight. I will do something like list the poems under the shots here in a long post in the future, perhaps. I’m also thinking about adding borders and URLs to all images in the site, but that’s not something I can handle after a thirteen hour workday.

I also decided to break apart the postcard sets I put out for each show and make them a separate album. As I develop stronger and stronger themes in my shows, this just makes sense because the postcard sets are kind of just all over the place at this point, though they do look rather attractive when all collected in a little paper album I bought at Yodobashi over the weekend.

In any case, the postcards from Geisai 10 are now in a new album, along with the second set from Design Festa 25.

Also, I’ve made you wait long enough to hear some Pango, so I’ve encoded an MP3 for you to listen to. It’s a remix of a track from the Broadcasting Andy EP I made for Geisai last autumn; not very sophisticated but peppered with environmental samples to help connect the atmosphere of my wandering around Tokyo with my more ethereal mood. More or less this is another representation of the sort state of mind I’m often in when on my little trips across the city. It’s a very crude implementation, but everyone who listened to it at the show said it really helped and greatly augmented their ability to connect with the photographs.

Someday this will happen with Flash and things will play automatically while you’re viewing, but I can’t even keep up with basic CSS right now, so we’ll have to keep it lo-fi like this. The full version is a a sizeable MP3, so again, please be patient while it downloads. If you’re having trouble, check out the preview first.

Pango – Leonid’s Crater (Design Festa 25 Mix)
[full version (high bandwidth)] [preview (lighter)]

What Design Festa was

So, Design Festa has ended, much sooner than I expected, actually. Friday night I toiled updating my poems and assembling my concept summary until morning, returning from the Southern Tower Kinko’s as the sky grew light at 4:30 Saturday morning. After sleeping for two hours and being dead to my alarm, the impatient calls from my ride at seven threw me into a dash of assembly until 12:15, over an hour past the show opening. I foolishly thought that being the second time around I’d be more prepared and installation would go smoother, but again this time I had nearly twice the materials as the last, and my booth setup was more complicated than my previous outing. Thank the Lord I had friends with me to put it together. Without them, there would have been no show

Then with a sweat-frosted brow, I stood proudly in my skiing cowboy shirt, eyes alight nostrils flaring, continuing on energy that came from some sort of environmental tap. Balancing on my toes, rocking over my knees I smiled, beamed, and gestured. I explained what Tokyo meant to me, what my goals were for the future, how the buildings and the colors, the stories witnessed and imagined all drove me nearly insane with ardor that simply must be redirected onto these two dozen pieces of coloured paper.

I didn’t eat for thirty hours, just absently sipping plastic bottled sports drinks between the waves of young girls that drifted in and out of my booth. When I sensed someone was not in a hurry and genuinely looking at my wrinkled black canvas, I intruded making a slight bow and offered a headset playing a remixed version of Leonid’s Crater. The ambient river that I coaxed out of the microKORG mingled with samples of clacking heels, passing bicycles, and slowly withdrawing automobiles. Birds warbled and summer cicadas sang: so much shuffled and tinkling green tea powder over a sublime layer of mint cake. The sound was well-received and led to conversations, long moments where I forgot my humility and sped on feverishly, taking every question and using it as a springboard into a clammy reel of my philosophy. Perhaps too emphatic, after finishing a complete revolution of my spiel, conversation often dropped off sharply and my exhaustion precluded common sense, ending each meeting with a weak smile and a passing of my business card.

I sold a dozen or so postcards, gave away a handful more, and at the end of the day had so much in my mind of how I would improve upon it all next time, during packing up and the train ride home I was virtually catatonic.

Already a bushel of future concepts have risen up in my mind like sprouting weeds after a long summer rain. I don’t have time to enumerate them all right now, because this is the stream of consciousness post, and I don’t have the gallery assembled yet anyway. Give me a day or two and then you can see the collective fruits of my efforts (and maybe even hear them).

The return of busyness

Though I can’t really claim to have had any significant downtime in the last four years, I do have a standard that I’ve maintained for more or less half a year. A normal day starts with one hour waking up/shower, thirteen hours communting/work, one and a half hours dinner/television, one hour reading news/comics on the computer, half an hour tidying/getting ready for bed, and then roughly six-seven hours of sleep. I used to analyze it thinking I could improve it somehow, but there are constants which fighting will only exhaust you more.

After I got back from Paris last May and registered for GEISAI, I made plans for a restructured schedule, and got into it really during the summer, at which point I spiraled into an intense three months of simply work (corporate) + work (private). It was tiring, it was exciting, and it ended in a sleepless daze that I vaguely remember. Afterwards I “took a break” which meant going back to “the standard”, and not touching my camera or synth for about six weeks. It didn’t exactly get me back to like-new condition.

But, an idle mind is a crazy one, for me, so perhaps it’s best that I stay near the cusp of exhaustion fighting for something that only makes sense to me.

Now that I am “idle”, and have a lot of time on my hands, I decided I needed another improbable goal to motivate me to tighten the screws on my regimen. The next GEISAI is proported to occur sometime in the summer, and a tentative art show four months away isn’t enough of a impetus to spur me to serious action, so I made a spur of the moment decision. I squeezed through the closing door of DESIGN FESTA 25 registration and got myself a booth for Saturday the 26th of May.

My gosh! That’s less than seven weeks away! How in the world will I put together a display of artwork that’s a substantial improvement over last autumn in half the time?

Good question, let’s find out.

A Walk in Andante

After my industrious session of shopping and preparing, my fatigue got the better of me, and I ended up spending the middle of Saturday afternoon in a half-conscious daze on the sofa. However, I did manage to get some good source material from the microKORG before heading out for dinner in Kagurazaka. This week I don’t think I can afford myself any relaxation (TNG) given the amount of time remaining, so I’ll be spending my nights this week in the cycle of producing and processing audio data between Sound it! and Cakewalk (yes, I’m a ghetto rookie). The thing is, since I doubt any one person is going to be staying around my booth for more than fifteen minutes, I actually don’t need any more music than that for my audience. However, I have no doubt that I will loathe my own compositions enough to want to quit music forever if I have to listen to a twenty-minute loop for nine hours.

Thanks to some Illustrator tips I got from Risako, I managed to put together a personal business card that I don’t hate completely. Of course, after uploading it to the print shop online, I’ve already come up with a number of shortcomings (e.g. I don’t list the fact that I’m an engineer anywhere on the card). [This in itself is interesting in that I spend over seventy percent of my life being one.] Still, it really improved during last night’s power session after watching X-Men 2 on Asahi TV’s Sunday night movie.

I’m beginning to notice patterns in design that are pleasing to me. Everything seems to start out big and complicated, and I iteratively whittle away at what I want to convey until in the end I just have a condensed, subdued morsel left over from my initial delusions of grandeur. One of the key points to creation (at least for me), is to be acutely aware of my resources and limitations (time, technical skill, ability to focus), and do the best I can with that. Stretching myself to accomplish more than what is feasible is what results in half-finished and flat looking material. After flipping through the couple hundred business cards I have piled up on my corner shelf, I realized that the ones that appealed to me most were the ones that didn’t have bitmapped backgrounds, tons of text, or bold marks. To me, professional is subtle curves, thin lines, and a conservative use of space. Everyone has their own sense I suppose, but I think it’s more than chance that I embrace this kind of philosophy now after growing continually disenchanted with inefficiency, hype, and gluttonous amounts of shellac on a dearth of substance. At last, I am learning to accept this is part of a process for continual improvement, and not push myself beyond what I can adeptly accomplish. I must be content and proud of what is achievable now. To illustrate remedial concepts with prowess and exhibit the glistening promise of future potential will serve me well, I believe.

I also had several depressing reminders that Japan is small and you always have to be thinking of other people before you do something. Putting nails into pine is a very noisy process, and can’t be done in my home, in front of my house in the alley, or in fact anywhere near any number of tightly clustered buildings. I went to the park to assemble the base of my display, but ultimately succeeded only in learning that there are way too many biting insects in late summer, and nails are good for little more than hanging pictures. I have since upgraded my philosophy to screws, which, by the way, quickly show just how overpriced the low-grade lumber at Tokyu Hands really is.

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