Log jumping with Babu Frik
A week at home.
This is a photo that my mom took of me with some new friends in LA. Midwesterners say people in LA are fake but I don’t know what they’re talking about. These were some of the kindest, firmest acquaintances I’ve ever met.
Home now, back in the floating state of freelance musicking and studio-building.
Here’s what my week was like.
On Monday, I worked on the patch baysfor my in-progress recording space with my studio partner, Jason. The process of bundling the cables into looms, preparing the cable ends, and installing “normaling” wires has been a big, final task hanging over our heads for more than a year. To have soldered our first wires on the bays feels like a huge weight lifted, even if much work remains ahead of us. (At some point, I’ll spill the whole beans about this studio project.) Here’s a short video of heat-shrink tubing doing its thing — that is, shrinking when heat is applied to it — looking like a living coral creature.
On Tuesday I visited the Loft where ████ are working with ████, creating some of my favorite music I’ve ever heard. (The quantity of super-secure redaction boxes there is arbitrary; don’t even try to decipher by counting them! We run tight op-sec around here!) In the evening, I rehearsed with my beloved Henry True, who is back from living in NYC and preparing to open for Free Range at their album release show in February.
Wednesday I recorded drums for a friend on a samba/bossa-ish song he’s working on. And collapsed afterward into a two-and-a-half hour nap.
Thursday and Friday, I worked at a storied local studio replacing their audio snakes’ EDAC connectors with DL connectors, a straightforward process that involves stripping, crimping, and pinning hundreds of little wires. Repetitive but fun with the right company, and rewarding to look at a finished cable at the end of the day. I hear the entire day’s NPR programming when I work there. The repeats, the station IDs that get cut off when All Things Considered needs to start on time. Public radio is a treasure, even when it’s boring AF.
Bogus and cool: tell the class one bogus and cool thing about your week (my family’s check-in tradition).
It was Casey’s 28th birthday last week! It occurs to me that I’ve never introduced Casey in my newsletter, only in Observations. Casey is a musician, a writer, an interior designer, a chihuahua enthusiast, and my girlfriend. If you so desire, wish Casey a happy birthday! She rules.
Three links before we go!
Wilcoworld Radio! Streaming til Jan. 24, celebrating the release of Wilco’s Cruel Country on vinyl and CD. Tune in online for DJ sets by members of Wilco, archivist Cheryl Pawelski, Paul Suwan, my brother Sammy, me, and more. Mark Greenberg and his elves devoted countless hours to putting this together. It’s really fun!
“Flashback” by Yukihiro Takahashi. The legendary Yellow Magic Orchestra co-founder died this week. He contributed so much great music to the world, and this song is one of my favorites.
Belated Jewish Christmas warmth from Kerry Cunningham, in the form of a TikTok compilation of her and her mom’s Chicago Chinese food tradition. BTW: Kerry runs a great newsletter, is a writer available for hire, AND is looking for a new roommate in Brooklyn. Get in touch with Kerry here.
Just a few more weeks til the Tweedy band heads out on Cayamo Cruise!
Thanks for being here. I hope you have a pleasant weekend.
Title explanation: Babu Frik is a tiny droidsmith who lived during the New Republic era, whom Casey and I think is our dog’s doppelgänger.
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A patch bay is the telephone-switch-board-esque device that recording engineers use to route audio signals from one piece of equipment to another. Ya heard?