Psychedelic Summer Improvisation: Agar Agar

It looks like a charcoal drawing outside and I haven't left the house all day. It's the furthest thing from summer now here in Chicago, but there's something sunshine-y I am excited about:

In August of 2006, I was on a break from touring and visited my dear friend Benjamin Trueblood in North Carolina. It was incredibly hot. At night, warm whisky in coffee mugs guided us down the sidewalk-less streets. Cicadas buzzed as if through a humming amplifier, its tubes glowing like glass suns - or the soft light from quiet windows overlooking overgrown, fragrant lawns. By day, driving with the car windows down was our air conditioning and a Spine Scavenger cassette was our soundtrack. We picked fresh mint for juleps, tried to drive out snakes from the walls of a friend's dusty home, and dove in a quarry with screaming teenagers to wash the heat away.

One evening, we wandered to Ben's friend Wiley's house who I had never met. He and his friend William had set up a makeshift studio in the living room. There were guitars, colorful effects pedals, a bass, a drum set with a host of jangly percussion and pans surrounding it on the carpet, and cables winding to microphones and towering speakers. Ben had brought his loop pedal and field recordings captured on his micro cassette recorder, and in the fridge was Yerba Mate soda we mixed with whisky and ice.

I sat down on the drums, instruments were slung over shoulders, Ben knelt on the floor and cued up indescribable sounds to echo and filter through tiny knobs, and someone pressed "record". This is the vestige of that summer night's improvisation, now a limited-edition, hand-numbered release on Ben's Blastocoel Sound.

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Mint for juleps

Mint for juleps