The Free One:
Over a year ago now I went to Laos for Music as a Second Language and raised all the support through GoFundMe. A certain support level warranted you a song written in your honor, and two people met it – Lea Smith, whose song you heard in February, and Sylvia Casberg (whom I call Aunt Sylvia even though she’s my mom’s cousin). I woke up in the middle of the night halfway across the world and scribbled “Deeeee-eeeeeep…water (*!*)” in my notebook, hearing the (*!*) as a massive gong.
Then I left Laos and all its massive gongs behind me and it wasn’t until last winter working with Fort Point Theatre Channel that I discovered someone whose creative innovation rendered this song a definite candidate for the Singles Project.
I’m happy to have finally gotten the chance to work with Mitchel Ahern and his organic, electric Harrow – a.k.a. “Gong on a Stick.”
A Word on the Engineer
In addition to being the engineer and drum sampling master, Hendrik David Gideonse XIX is a carpenter, a musician, a teacher, a father, a husband, and a maker of a killer cup of coffee. He approaches problems methodically and works with you to get the sounds you want, maintaining a light attitude throughout. Hendrik is a nerd to the enth degree, and will consult details you didn’t even know existed, but are glad in the end he did.
A Word on the Studio
Indecent Music is handmade by its owner and well-equipped with a sunken floor, plenty of variegated sound insulation, double-plated windows, and an array of excellent equipment intimately known by its handler. I arrived tardy to my session, and found everything not only set up and ready to go, but some sounds already sampled from the accompanist. A pleasant and interesting selection of instruments also awaited, making my schlep much more bearable.
A Word on the Accompanist
The most appropriate title for Mitch Ahern is “Artist.” Printmaker, instrument inventor/player, musician, improvisor, performer, cocktail entrepreneur, the man seems continually to be creating his job. When you play instruments no one’s ever seen or heard before, one would think you’d have an inflated ego and penchant for loftiness and high maintenance – but not this guy. With a huge heart for collaboration, he agreed instantly to work with me on this project and gave me three takes’ worth of the most intriguing noise from which to choose. His “Harrow” makes deep, expansive, timeless sounds, both percussion and pedal simultaneously. Adjectives which lend themselves also to my Aunt Sylvia. Well-played, Mitch, and thank you.