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Music Production: Circuits of Steel Tour 2003
07/26/2003 Circuits of Steel Tour 2003: Live in Muncie: Circuits of Exotic Pennsylvania Meat

Once again, I was the first to wake up, joined in the shower by one of the many mosquitos that had got into the room. I looked into connecting to the 'net (no dice; the phone jack was of the old, non-modular school), and waited for everyone else to get it together. We ultimately did, and Kerry took the wheel again while I got to work on the tour journal. During load-out, a number of opportunistic mosquitos joined us, and we spent the morning killing them and being sucked dry by the survivors. The tour was taking its toll in exhaustion, blood loss, and overall misery (see photo). We reached the Mississippi; the second time I'd been over it at driving level. On the other side, we could see the pyramid where they've interred Elvis's sarcophagus. (Some people seem to think that this is a sporting arena.) I got a few decent photos of Memphis squalor as we sped on.

We got through Tennessee without getting out of the van, crossed the Ohio River (yay! Home was at the other end of it!), and stopped for gas and water somewhere in Indiana (see the panorama from the parking lot), and got on the road again...only to be pulled over minutes later for speeding. Kerry had been doing his 10-miles-or-more above the limit, and Indiana's finest wanted to have a word with us. "We clocked you going a little fast there, and we wanted to check you out." I dug out the rental agreement, and Kerry was removed from the van while the officer checked out his record (clean), and did the same with Jason (also clean), gave us a talking to, and we were on our way.

Onward we pushed, doing the speed limit this time (much to my relief), and we attempted to find Muncie. For a city that, like, appears on maps and stuff, the connection between it and Indianapolis is very obscure. Our directions were reasonable, but the road itself was so empty that I was sure we weren't going the right way. Eventually we did enter Muncie, and only then got lost from the poor signage, but a bartender set us straight, and we pulled up at the collective house where we'd be playing. Not many people were around, but it was still early yet (8:00 or so). I'd been concerned about our timing, but we lucked out--Indiana doesn't acknowledge Daylight Savings Time, so we didn't lose the hour I'd thought we'd lose. We loaded in, hung out a bit, talked on the back porch. I got a chance to chat with Bobby Vomit, who had played Re:Pulse a few months back, doing an interestingly lowercase turntablism, and also with Bobby's uncle (and father of one of the citizens of the house), who apparently was a picker from a number of years back, and told me some stories about how he raised his sons to be better guitar players than he.

After a while, I headed to the basement and got connected to the 'net for the first time all day on dialup (thanks, guys); meanwhile, Stallio started playing his plunderphonic metacommentary on current (and past) pop. None of us had had anything to eat all day, so we were getting a bit desperate to figure something out, and we ultimately sent Kerry over to a Chinese place for a menu. He returned some time later with his takeout and our menus, and we ordered (Hunan tofu for me; very low price for a pint). I'd been pouring myself glasses of water from the Brita pitcher, and then later saw one of the house citizens swigging directly from the Brita's spout. I switched to the tonic water I'd found in the fridge, which was nice--particularly after having been an hors d'ouvre for the many mosquitos in the van.

Jason and I were the most likely candidates to perform after Stallio, so we decided to set up and see who got finished first. Tables were assembled and cleaned (thanks again to our hosts), and Jason broke the ice. This ended up being good for me, as our food arrived during his set, and I was able to park myself in the kitchen and eat for the first time that day. I'd been looking for a friend who lives in Muncie, and finally made phone contact, but he'd had a number of things to deal with that day and wasn't up to attending. It would have been nice to see him, but I was already very tired by this point, and it was going to be increasingly difficult to be appropriately social. He'd made an offer to put me up, back when he thought he might be coming to the show, but now that we were in the house and I was this tired, the thought of going elsewhere seemed like far too much labor.

Eventually I wandered down to see the end of Jason's set and get ready for my own, starting with the poem, and getting a few giggles from the audience. The subsequent set was more of the same stuff I've been dishing up for the last few nights, starting with drones (this time achieving a melody of some mild interest, making this drone part most similar to my Guitar Clouds disc, although faster), moving to clicky guitar-based percussion, then messing that up a bit and bringing in the Bush samples. I'm actually getting kind of tired of these, in part because if I'm going to fit them in, I have to change the mood to dystopian, which isn't necessarily the mood I want to build. To mitigate this somewhat, I selected some samples I haven't used quite as much lately. I added in some more aggressive E-bow string bends over the movie samples and a breakbeat, which worked nicely; then I granulated the break and messed with the delay for a more Xanopticon-like effect toward the end. I ultimately went out on an ominous string loop that I've lately been inclined to drop into pieces, leading into a drone in which I messed with the delay. Some nice abstract textures came out of that.

The few people who were in the basement seemed to dig it. I'd forgotten to snap photos of my audience, so what you'll see in the photo section was about half of what I had. Also the PA was rather loud for what was, in fact, a house, so any number of people upstairs could hear it as well. Xanopticon said it was his favorite set of the ones I'd done to date, which was nice. At this point, I was pretty well spent, so I headed upstairs to get some air, and sit down for a while. I chatted again with the father of one of our hosts, who approvingly checked out my guitar, and played it a bit (he did indeed have some chops).

Eventually everyone had played, and it was quite late. All of the couches in the living room folded out into beds, and there was an IKEA seat that folded into a single bed, which I claimed. Bobby Vomit came by to chat, but he quickly reached the point of retiring. At about this time, Jason came in to ask if he could borrow the digital camera, to photograph "an interesting crack" in the concrete across the street, on the barrier separating the sidewalk from the river. While I appreciated his taking shots of my sets, and certainly trusted him with it at the shows, there was a disquieting enthusiasm about this request. While I'm sure he wouldn't have intended for something bad to happen, I could foresee a chain of events resulting in the camera coming back damaged or not at all. So I declined, to his disappointment.

So a new idea was suggested, and Greg, Kerry, and Jason went off to skinny-dip in some pond adjoining a municipal park. I drifted off, but was awakened by one of them returning, and telling Manny that the others had been arrested. It turned out not to be true, but at this point I found it believable, until the others came back. Then, finally, all was darkness.

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