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Ghost and Hemispheres Cover Vol. 1I am proud to announce that my seventh novel, The Ghost and the Hemispheres, Vol. 1, is now available as an e-book on Amazon. This is the first of three volumes, and my plan (hope) is to release the other two later this year and then to release them all in paperback form, maybe in 2021.

Superficially, this is a book about a Central American family coming to grips with change amid political upheaval and revolution. But it’s about a lot more than that. It’s also about science, chaos, narratology, the way consciousness is created, the way memory is stored, the way history is written. It is about the ways people pursue insanity to restore reality. It’s about the ways competing narratives come to define our history, and how truth by itself never seems to be good enough in that regard. Again, superficially, it’s about somebody else’s country, but it’s increasingly about my own.

I’ve been working on some version of this book for a really long time (don’t even ask). Finishing it feels a bit like a part of me is dying. Given our fraught political landscape, I’m a bit wary of how the book and its approach are going to be received, though. I worry it could get attention for the wrong reasons. So you, Beauty Is Imperfection readers, are probably going to be the first (and only) people to hear about it from me.

From the Amazon description:

A mountain town in Central America lives half in reality and half in dream. In Volume 1, Humberto Albedo, an adventurer and thrill-seeker, tries his hand at coffee farming in the early 20th century. His success leads to the formation of a town, and though he had run away from home to escape politics, the locals force him to become their mayor at gunpoint.

You can buy the book here. The book’s cover design and awesome paint were done by my friend Corey B. Sanders.

Infinity BoyThis week I hit a couple of milestones. I’ve reached one of those fun ages with a gawping new zero in it. And I’ve also released my 22nd album, containing my third symphony.

It’s called Infinity Boy. Like my other two faux-symphonic efforts Gravitas: A Life and The Widowhood of Bunny, it’s an electronic work with pretenses toward being a string orchestra piece or string quartet. It’s also the only way I can musically express my love of Prokofiev given my current limitations: I can’t play violin or write musical notation for it. I hope time is not running out for me to cure those shortcomings in the future (note my other milestone), but it’s not likely I will. I don’t usually stand up for philistinism, but I did indeed try transcribing one of my pop songs once, and it took almost two hours to get through the first verse. Considering that I’ve put out more than 16 hours of music arranged for multiple instruments, you might forgive me for not pursuing a huge musical notation project in the immediate future. I gather some people think you’re not a real composer unless you can write it down. I appreciate those who can, but no, it’s not more important than the act of simply making art by any means necessary.

Infinity Boy came about mostly because I was frustrated in my attempts to create a jazz album (who do you have to blow to rent a saxophone in this town nowadays?) With extra nervous energy and time on the train, I start putting out my classical appreciation albums. Anyway, I hope you like it, and if not, maybe just give it a listen as a way of saying happy birthday to me. As my grandparents might say, I sure am getting tall.

As usual, the piece was written, arranged, produced and performed by yours truly in Apple’s GarageBand for iPhone. The work was completed between August and November 2019 in my home studio. All performances are on keyboard.

A sample:

Love Now

She went to the window

And her perimenopause turned on the air conditioner

“Not tonight. It hurts and I don’t want to be touched.”

It’s OK. A young lover lies on you; an old lover lies with you.

She lay with calm nose breaths

While he came up with some new jokes

The one last night really killed.

Yellow

The magazine was dripping with innuendo

It promised nipples and betrayal

The moon and Page 6 asked my hormones to dance

“You’ll never guess where Tom Kaulitz and Heidi Klum ….”

Began the headline I didn’t finish.

Participation Medal

The train coughed off its riders

Who would watch hockey or meet a friend

Or hoped to meet a girl

Some had been drunk on the train

To get ahead of the way they hoped they’d feel

A young teen explained to his friend

How to mug Long Islanders

“They’re so stupid, when you stare at them,

They just give you their money.”

Another woman chatted

As loud as she could

In the quiet car

And for a while it was enough,

For me to just watch the city

The firework box of surprises

 

Then I went to the street corner

And yelled “fuck” as loud as I could

 

I heard once the bulls of Pamplona

Like to knock spectators off the walls sometimes

And gore them.

And I remembered, no matter what city you’re in,

You really should participate.

 

 

From Sour To CinnamonMy 21st album, From Sour to Cinnamon, is now available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, CD Baby, and other places where music is (still) sold. As I’ve written previously, it’s an album of pop songs with some dark undertones.

The album art was provided by my 8-year-old son Xander.

While the last Salon de la Guerre album displayed my recent obsession with country music, this album is all pop, and most of it was generated with keyboards in Garage Band (though I play guitar on the  the song “A Kid’s Inside,” an ode to youth and play and silliness and joy).

Again, all songs written, performed and produced by yours truly.

Enjoy one of the latest tracks here:

Piano

The little boy played
The piano
Sad and cold and blue
Like he was on a ferry pulling out
Leaving you behind on the pebbly North Fork
Dressed in clouds hiding their tears