May 11th, 2009: This weekend featured the fifth full moon of 2009. I enjoy the spring and fall moons because, from my latitude, they don’t have that crisp, overhead, out-of-reach feeling of a winter full moon, nor do they have that murky, obscured feeling of a summer full moon as it wanders vaguely between Scorpio and Sagittarius. Which is not to say that I object to any moon sighting, ever … for we have to seize life’s pleasures when they present themselves to us. But the spring and fall full moons have a perfect in-between feeling, high enough to announce themselves with pride, but low enough to still get stuck behind a tree or a cloud.
But this fifth full moon presses upon me with an urgency reminiscent of the feelings that accompanied breathing life into the Viosac corpse two years ago: what am I doing?, where am I going?, what do I have to show, to account for myself, to return as a gift in thanks for the honour of still being alive, for being allowed to live?, how do I come to terms with the frightening and terrible gears of aging which I resist and embrace in equal measure?, and, of course, the unanswerable why?
By restarting Viosac two years ago I moved from standing still, looking backwards to moving forward, looking backward. Now it’s time to move forward and look forward.
In the first week of June I expect to receive the 2nd new Viosac CD, You Are Planning to Enjoy the Apocalypse (YAPTETA), from the production house in Quebec. The CD master and artwork were shipped out last week. I find the artwork beautiful, rich, and mysterious. The inside panels are collages by Toronto/Hamilton artist Maureen Paxton made specifically for the CD. John Whyte has done a excellent job on the overall visual strategy and has chosen images which complement each other perfectly for the front and back covers. Combined with Maureen’s work and the CD image (a photo I took of some wood and a window though a bottle of scotch), the total effect, to quote John, is “a rich amber brooding”.
The music is more controlled, expressive, and disciplined than Rusty Pile. Although 7 of 8 tracks contain defined rhythms, even if merely a repeating pulse, I feel the overall effect of the album to be a more dedicated experimentation.
YAPTETA also involves more Viosac participants than Rusty Pile: Ted Wheeler performs on two tracks (as well as providing invaluable editorial advice on several others) and St. Deborah returns with a reading of the 38th Psalm. Scott Kerr, long-departed from Viosac, but still very active musically, makes a guest appearance via tapes recorded in 1987.
As with Rusty Pile I suspect that promotion will be my weak point. The approach has been to send out as many copies as possible to radio stations, distributors, reviewers, and, somewhat less so, labels. Radio station response has been pretty enthusiastic: Rusty Pile received airplay on at least 30 radio stations worldwide, including reaching number 6 on CKUT, McGill University Radio (!). On the other hand distributor and label response has been either negative or not at all. This should not be a surprise, however as Viosac is coming out of nowhere somewhat. Having been outside of things for so long, getting any response is a good sign, but I’ve always had high expectations of my work, so in some ways it is disappointing.
For now, the YAPTETA promotion will be similar. My hope is that after a number these self-released CDs, some offers from little labels may show up. It is fun doing it all myself/ourselves though …
Just two nights later and the moon is already waning. A thought of sadness passes, pondering a small flock of birds flying away, somewhere else. They say there might be some frost tonight. Small plants, just starting, will mostly pull through, I suspect.