The instrument I have played for the longest time is a 1965 Framus 5/59-525 Sorella thinline. My dad bought it for $12 at a garage sale in 1982 and told me, “Make this sound like you mean it and we’ll see about getting you a nicer guitar.” Despite her given name, I call her Stella (though she’s not to be confused with Framus’s same-era Stella archtop line). Through the years, she fell into a state of unplayability, so in 2003 I brought her to Paul Schwartz of Peekamoose Guitars (www.peekamoose.com), who plugged it in, laughed his ass off and said, “Why not? Let’s make her sing again.” Paul took a couple months and reworked her into a ridiculous time warp. The wiring needed some updating, but the pickups, fretting, sunburst finish, inlays, etc are all still original. The bridge, also original, is not fixed to the body, so if she’s strummed too hard, the intonation goes all over the place, but that’s part of the charm. Tonight, I plugged Stella into a Line-6 Pod-XT emulator of a ’64 blackface Fender Deluxe Reverb and put a slight plate echo on the affair for the tone here.
The instrument I have played for the least amount of time is my iPhone AniMoog app. I always wanted a Moog and for $9.99, I’m carrying one around in my pocket since about May. I’ve used it in some other Junto projects and also in a track I recorded this past summer called “The 12th Step.” Still just scratching the surface of it, though, and really just jabbing at it, hoping my fingers don’t hit too many keys. The iPhone is okay for typing language, but it’s a terrible musical keyboard. On the other hand, there’s something about being restricted to 2 octaves and 1 hand that heightens the naivete, so it seems to fit the assignment.
The track itself is a loose strum of my song “AustinTown” (thereflectors.bandcamp.com/track/austintown) which appeared on my 2010 record “Hola, Sayulita” (thereflectors.bandcamp.com/album/hola-sayulita). I traveled through Austintown, Ohio, during the 2004 election cycle and I wrote the lyrics and music in a Best Western off Route 80, with a view across the highway of the town’s Quaker Steak ‘n Lube. It’s a song about the elusiveness of truth, the nature of political language and the complexity of growing up. Though it’s pretty nihilistic, it helps me find my innocence whenever I play it. Sorry it’s 8 secs too long.
Employ just two instruments in the production of this week’s track: (1) the instrument you have used for the longest period of time and (2) the instrument in your possession that is newest to you. You’ll record a backing track with the oldest instrument, and overlay on it a simple melody of your choosing performed on the newest instrument.
Definition: The term “instrument” can be interpreted as broadly as you’d like; ultimately this is a project about the restraints inherent in the gadgets, tools, and software that you have obtained or created.
Background: The inspiration for this project is the song “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” by the band Talking Heads off the album Speaking in Tongues. For that song, the band members traded instruments, each playing something they were significantly less familiar with than the instrument they normally performed on.
Restrictions: Any source material, any instrumentation, except the human voice.
More on this 42nd Disquiet Junto project at:
More details on the Disquiet Junto at: