Draft 1—7/7/1998. VS-880.
Draft 2—8/20/1999. VS-880.
Draft 2b—7/1/2012. “Mastered” in iZotope’s Ozone.
This is a dream I had. I think it was January, 1980.
I would like to remix, if I could load it back onto my VS-880 and then transfer it to ACID.
There aren’t many sonic elements to this composition yet it seems more cluttered than most because of the excessive reverb. I recorded my voice on the XR-5 cassette, then flipped the tape for playback. The primary sound—the rhythm—is an air hose hooked to a small compressor (nebulizer—my younger daughter had serious respiratory problems her first couple years and nearly died twice). The keyboard part was tracked live and saved to MIDI file. The guitar parts were played live, mainly a matter of banging the strings with my knuckles and going wild with the whammy bar.
Duluth had a shop, at the bottom of the hill, where you could feel in touch with the rest of the world. They had everything parents disapproved of: seditious rock, psychedelic and political posters, underground magazines and comic books, pornography, science fiction, drug paraphernalia, and employees who rebelled against the establishment. It was our little slice of San Francisco or New York.
The building was old and marked for death. (An ancient wooden walk arched over Michigan Street, leading you away from the storefronts of Superior Street into the mysteries of warehouses and abandoned factories, the scraps of Nineteenth Century prosperity.) It was both the center of town and the end of town. Once you passed the glass threshold there was a large showroom filled with row after row of books. To the back was a loft where the records were, both new and used, and, below, the glass cases filled with jewelry, pipes and bongs.
My business was upstairs. Almost immediately after I began flipping through the LPs my mood shifted. I had to find a certain album by Black Sabbath that very few people knew about. It was there. It had to be there. And I had to find it fast, the anxiety building with every flip of a record.
Why was I no longer in the store? I don’t remember leaving. I don’t remember finding what I wanted. What was going on? My feet and legs were making the slow trudge up Lake Avenue, my heart and lungs already working hard, the sweat flowing. I felt awful, apprehensive, maybe sick.
Then I saw it. The vertebræ had been flexed to tilt my head back, pulling my eyes up from the keen monotony of cement, I looked up the hill and saw it. Grotesque, whirling and glowing, covered with flowing patterns like a remnant of the ’60s. Though I had never seen it before, I knew it was death. A giant, dancing psychedelic baby of death. And it was there for me. Swirling, spinning, bobbing, a flurry of color and motion throbbing down the hill.
My legs gave out. Their shaking dropped me to the pavement. I tried to crawl. With all my strength I tried to crawl back down the hill, to pull and release, to propel my quaking body down so that I could crash through that lovely storefront like a car without breaks, just to return to that haven of junk. My fingers dug in. They found their way through cracks in the concrete, they dug in. Yet, like the cars parked beside me, I went nowhere. Shaking and clawing. That’s the end of me, shaking and clawing, trying to crawl away from that baby.