We are heading toward the holiday season. Retailers are steeling themselves for what might be a less-than-pleasing harvest, as consumers will have to prioritize. At year's end, many Americans may be diving into the lion's mouth of celebration with a desire to forget the past 12 months rather than to recap and meditate upon them.
No matter what the situation is on the ground, as they say, I always look to music to come to the rescue, to provide balance and maintain perspective.
One bit of good news I would like to share with you is that there is a recently released album by a local band that I have been playing on my weekly radio show. (It is also hitting heavy rotation in my home quarters.) The band is called Vum -- a duo consisting of Jennifer Pearl and Christopher Badger -- and their album is called Night Sun. They make a dark and memorable brand of music; check them out. I am listening to their song "The Jungle" right now. In any case, the album has just been released, and only 300 were pressed. If you find yourself digging the music, you might want to get on that sooner rather than later.
The last several days and nights have somewhat predictable. Never a good sign. By day, I work at my office, check in with news outlets to keep up with what's happening in America and elsewhere. In the evening, it's the gym, the uploading of food and a more thorough examination of current events. This usually leads to a downturn in mood, and this is where the music usually kicks in. The jams are activated, and things get immeasurably better.
With the music, the writing starts and goes for quite a while. After that plague on the senses is neutralized, it's reading and note-taking time. The music sounds better as the night gets deeper, and that's a good thing. As of late, I have been listening and reading defensively, in an effort to keep my mental playing field level. The news, as I read it anyway, is not good, and while I cannot alter the facts, I can control my listening and reading environment.
Listening-wise, it's been a lot of Hototogisu, Vibracathedral Orchestra, the aforementioned Vum, Sun Ra and Bowie's Low album. My main book of the moment is Eric Foner's The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery -- certainly, not the most talked-about book on Lincoln at the moment and for me, a challenging read but worth every brow furrowing moment.