Friday, January 9, 2009

The Shoveller's Blog, part N

It's been one of those weeks when I really fear that thought and patient work isn't any kind of substitute at all for inspiration (which I remember as a more common occurrence when I was younger). So this morning when I rose and looked out the window to see that we'd had the first serious fall of snow for the year, a part of me was kind of cheered; at least I can do that stuff.

I took Erik Friedlander's solo 'cello CD Block Ice and Propane out with me on the iPod. Of late, I've been favoring big walls of dense buzzy stuff [The "snowplow soundtrack." Owing to my less than stellar metal collection, math rock at high volume does about as well as anything], but the openness of this modest little exercise in restraint and beauty was perfect. By accident, I'd actually set it at a low enough volume so that the sound of my breathing and Erik's were almost equally loud. The snow was that very powdery stuff that doesn't pack - for those of you who are not snow-shovellers by avocation, this means the shovelling any amount changes the angle of incline of the new and nonpacked snow, causing mini-avalanches of powdered sugar that fill half of the are you just cleared off. Normally, this is disheartening. But today, it meant that I could stay just a little longer, listening to the marvellous space between the shovel's scrape.

Now, back to work. You should take a listen to this lovely little gem.

Oh yeah - Erik Friedlander is the son of Lee Friedlander, one of my photographic heroes (no, while his album cover photographs are great, it's his series of photographs of vernacular landscapes and American monuments that I go back to again and again). What a small world.