Monday, January 28, 2013
The Assembling of a Mole Suit Choir
I haven't delved into musical collaboration or playing out live since Magic Gurney Ride rode out down South on the rails, the train car freshly tagged with "Soft Serv", but at last year's Shakemore I sang a few things accapella and the powerfully talented Liz Downing said we should get together. I've regarded Liz in the top pantheon of Baltimore mischief makers since back in the '80s when I first saw Lambs Eat Ivy and they singed the puffy scrub of my Glen Burnie fro off.
LEI performed Appalachian opera mixing Jung and mythology and Southern gothic into a wild giddy blend. Three swooping, soaring sets of lungs, brainiac but simple lyrics and homemade sets and costumes. So the idea of singing with Liz made me dust off the maple parlor guitar and hit a few verses of "End of the World".
The transmigration of Christopher Toll in October brought even more of a feeling of inevitableness and purpose to it, as one of Liz's first songs was putting "Moon Clue", a collaboration between Chris and I, to music. She also put three other pieces of mine from The Origin of Paranoia As a Heated Mole Suit to song, which blew my tiny brain. I've written a fair number of songs in my day, but for me these pieces had been ingrained as flat words on the page, their only music the rhythm of their syntax.
A few wonderful winter Sunday late afternoons went by with us hanging on the couch warbling with Kim Jong Ev, Max, Binky and Peanut as our audience and we suddenly had a set that included two other Chris Toll related pieces. The icing on the cake was Father Daniel Higgs asking us to open for him at Normal 's, an auspicious sign. It felt incredibly liberating to sing with Liz's beautiful voice and to celebrate life and comrades who had gone on beyond it.
And I bought a kickass triangle.