Thursday, December 01, 2011

Aberrant Forms

Guitierrez sighed. He looked around at the tourists at the other tables and said, “This has to be in confidence, okay?”

“All right.”

“It’s a big problem here.”

“What is?”

“There have been, uh ... aberrant forms ... turning up on the coast every so often. It’s been going on for several years now.”

“‘Aberrant forms’?” Levine repeated, shaking his head in disbelief.

“That’s the official term for these specimens,” Guitierrez said. “No one in the government is willing to be more precise. It started about five years ago. A number of animals were discovered up in the mountains, near a remote agricultural station that was growing test varieties of soy beans.”

“Soy beans,” Levine repeated.

Guitierrez nodded. “Apparently these animals are attracted to beans, and certain grasses. The assumption is that they have a great need for the amino acid lysine in their diets. But nobody is really sure. Perhaps they just have a taste for certain crops—”

“Marty,” Levine said, “I don’t care if they have a taste for beer and pretzels. The only important question is: where did the animals come from?”

“Nobody knows,” Guitierrez said.

from “The Lost World”
by Michael Crichton

Dinosaurs and hippie girls is a world
of aberrant forms, high dynamic range
and probably no wide-spread power grids.

And batteries only will last so long.

An acoustic guitar, finger-picked, plucked
or strummed, only will create so much noise.

And how hard can you blow into a flute?

Scientists will debate the important
question, Where did the animals come from?
at least, that is, until the scientists
are chased down and eaten by dinosaurs.

Somewhere, then, a gentle and pretty girl
will ask, Where is that music coming from?

The music will be very quiet but
the gentle and pretty girl will hear it.

ACOUSTIC GUITAR: Was 1979’s New Chautauqua your first serious foray into acoustic guitar playing?

PAT METHENY: In high school and even through the Bright Size Life album [1975], I don’t think I ever played acoustic guitar. Linda Manzer showed up around 1982 or ’83 with the guitar I featured on “Lonely Woman.” I didn’t know something with that kind of sound and balance even existed. It opened up a whole world for me. Around that time, I also started playing some nylon-string guitar on the record Travels. After that point, my acoustic life emerged.

But the hard reality in jazz is that the true acoustic guitar—without pickups or mics—has a very limited set of applications because of the instrument’s small dynamic range. Issues about dynamics on the guitar are pretty huge, so I kind of went at full bore on the electric side. For this record—as acoustic as it is—I still thought a lot about what mics to use and how to use the DI. All those elements are a big part of what makes acoustic guitar a viable platform for me in my day-to-day life as a musician. I spend a lot of time on mics, pickups, strings, and so forth.

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