09 January 2013

antique beats

Listening to the creation of music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was a child, it was my dark-haired father after he returned from work, hiding away in his small office, his fingers folding over the cords of guitar, and his body transported and disappearing into a world only his music knew. My mother would ask me to go and tell him supper was on the table, but when I went he would just stare at me, changing the notes on his guitars into words as if to say that he would be there soon. I'd place my fingers across the neck and demand him to stop, but he played on, his big teeth smiling sweetly at me. As I grew older I cherished the fact that my dad was in a band and bragged about it any chance I could. I treasured the times he and his friends would let me sing along with them, and when I was older, to sit and smoke cigarettes, quietly jamming to their sweet sounds in the heat of summer nights.

When I was in high school, my favorite friends were the wild ones who had bands I thought were really going to make it and I prided myself in never missing a show. I would stand, transfixed, in the audience, my large eyes soaking up their poetry and their guitars. I used my small film camera to take black and white photographs of their used instruments and would write reviews of their songs in my journals later when I was back in my bedroom. I remember feeling like music was the only religion I would ever really know.

When I got older, I met a writer in Chicago who introduced me to the writing scene. He was an incredibly influential person for me and I can’t imagine my life without him and the ways he showed me to use my passion for the written word. We began to work for the same music website, writing articles and begging editors for press passes to get into shows.
He: to write. Me: to take photographs.
We used our incredibly low-level of importance to somehow talk our way past bouncers, to slip past cover fees, and meet up with bands we believed in for their first interviews. I loved that excitement and intimacy we shared with those bands. The honesty that poured from them was to par with the music they created on stage and I made some great friends through those shows. That time when I was in Chicago writing about the music scene, I really felt like I was using the best parts of me. I’ve been away from Chicago and live music for a while now, but it writing for a music journal is still a hazy dream of mine. 

Today, B got together with some his friends in their friend Alex’s barn on top of a hill that overlooks B’s entire small town. Alex's parents are both classical musicians and their home is filled with portraits of Chopin and large rooms with thick tapestry rugs, wooden pianos, and antique chairs to sit and play music on. The boys gathered around singing songs and I found myself drifting in and out, taking their photographs and waiting for the perfect moments in which their selves as artists would emerge. When all the photos had been taken, I curled up beneath several pea coats and closed my eyes, their music fluttering in between my ears.

It was a wonderful jam sesh. B has beautifully talented friends and it was special to sit back and listen to them work through their new material. I also greatly enjoyed the inclusion of classical and unconventional instruments Alex's home provided. They were worked into each piece to create something new and spontaneous. It was excitable.

One of the wishes I have for my time in Moscow is to experience every aspect of their music scene. I have remained ignorant about it for the most part because my hope is that I stumble upon something, unbiased, and can experience a new genre, sound, band with virgin ears. Going to see shows is something that has been apart of me for as long as I can remember, but never in this circumstance and whenever I feel fearful about my life in Russia, I remind myself of this.

Here are some photographs from Alex's home, The Antique Barn. Enjoy.

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