Sunday, June 28, 2015

Hayden Chisholm, The Well Tempered Sruti Box

Hayden Chisholm released The Well Tempered Sruti Box in 2013. It makes up part of the multi-album collection titled 13 Views of the Heart’s Cargo. This particular album contains three tracks, with each one referred to as "The Well-Tempered Sruti Box."

Chisholm has found a way to play the sruti box at the same time that he plays saxophone, sometimes only using one hand to play the saxophone. What distinguishes these tracks is that the first one features Chisholm on soprano saxophone and sruti box, the second one features Chisholm on alto saxophone and sruti box, and the third one is recorded live and features Chisholm on sruti box and both soprano and alto saxophone.  

The first two tracks are particularly memorable. Each track is composed of a series of vignettes in which silence serves as the transition between each vignette. Chisholm often opens each vignette with the tones of the sruti box before he adds saxophone, and these vignettes last at least up to a minute before he transitions to the next one, with the sruti box often making a reappearance during these vignettes.

The third track, recorded live in Breman, features a recording in which all ambient noise has been eliminated. This third track contains the widest variety of sounds and tones made on the saxophone, some of them less soothing than what appears on the first two tracks.

This album, as a whole, enchants.  It gives voice to those melancholic moments, not depression or sadness but those moments of contemplation and wonder. This album is highly recommended.

Personnel: Hayden Chisholm, sruti box, soprano saxophone, and alto saxophone.

Tracks: 1) The Well-Tempered Sruti Box (soprano) 12:34; 2) The Well-Tempered Sruti Box (alto saxophone) 11:53; 3) The Well-Tempered Sruti Box (Live in Bremen) 28:36.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Earlier in June, I was at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, which contains almost 11,000 acres of unspoiled prairie, for the Symphony in the Flint Hills.  Held annually, the Symphony in the Flint Hills changes its location within the Flint Hills every year. This event began at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve ten years ago and returned to that location for this year's concert. I wasn't there so much for the music as I was to enjoy the scenery. Although the weather forecasters were calling for rain, the event organizers decided to hold the concert regardless. My wife and I encountered rain during our trip to the Emporia area and wondered whether we would need to return home early. Fortunately, the skies cleared, and we had a pleasant afternoon and evening overlooking the prairie.

Dredging the Missouri River

During my birthday this spring, I managed to get outside and picnic with my family. I am not the kind of person who enjoys eating overpriced food at restaurants very often.

There isn't usually much barge traffic on this part of the Missouri River. I have only once seen a barge during my seventeen years in this area. A tugboat, or the equivalent, was pushing it downriver at the time.

Union Pacific moves most of the coal used for the power plants located nearby. The coal trains loaded with coal strip-mined in Wyoming head south early in the week and return empty, starting around Wednesday or so.

Nonetheless, someone has decided that it is necessary to dredge the channel. I certainly hope that the oil extracted in North Dakota doesn't end up getting shipped downriver.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Late Posting of Magnolia Blossoms

Unlike previous years, I have not been as prompt in posting my pictures of the flowering magnolia in my yard. Usually, its blossoms are an early sign of spring. My pictures this year are not as good as in previous years. These blossoms withstood thunderstorms, strong winds, and sudden shifts in temperature. I caught them when they had not yet fully opened and did not get the chance to take any more pictures.