Jennifer Brookes: Over the last few summers, one of my favorite pastimes has been driving as far East down Quincy Avenue as I can get. It’s the closest escape in the suburban town I grew up in; within ten minutes of driving East the houses disappear behind you and you’re surrounded by rolling hills for miles and miles. I finally made it back to Colorado for the end of 2009, and after having been here a week, I can easily recognize the reasons for which I chose to leave. Very little here motivates me. I have a hard time finding anything to stimulate my brain, in any way, so this week’s project was difficult. For old time’s sake I decided to drive down Quincy, and found an old dirt road that led to seven radio antenna towers, with an enormous satellite dish in the center of them. I can’t remember ever experiencing such overwhelming silence. The snow stifled any echoes that would otherwise carry over the isolated plains.
Eric Peterson: Every year, without fail, my sister gives me a musical instrument for Christmas–sometimes practical (like an organ, or a mandolin), and other times completely impractical (like a ukelin). This year, she gave me a small dulcimer, which I attempted to learn by putting together this week’s piece. I always feel like I’m cheating when I learn new stringed instruments, because there are certain characteristics most have in common that I can exploit: some mechanism for vibrato, harmonics, etc. Hopefully all of the pieces for this project don’t bleed together, being so heavily string-based. Thanks for the dulcimer, Sarah.
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