equivocality — Jeff Ngan's collection of thoughts, experiences, and projects, inspired by pretty much everything
22 Jul 10

Collab

This is pretty much the most awe­some sit­u­a­tion I can think of. A jam ses­sion with Nic on beats and bass, Jesse rap­ping and on organ + glock­en­spiel, Audra on clar­inet, and me on ukulele. Figuring out what sounds best, mod­i­fy­ing arrange­ments, prac­tic­ing until it feels right.

The night was actu­ally a rehearsal for Jesse’s upcom­ing Canadian liv­ing room tour, the last stop of which is in Ottawa, at the same place I first met Jesse and Audra and Jacob.

Rehearsal

 

Because Jesse’s sis­ter is only avail­able on the east­ern tour dates, that left a spot for one instru­ment on the final tour date, which I’ll excit­edly be fill­ing with my ukulele. It’s only for three songs (and singing one part of a three part har­mony) but it’s going to be so much fun.

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Here’s Jesse singing and rhyming and con­duct­ing us and play­ing the glock­en­spiel at the same time. It’s a new track off his upcom­ing album with an obvi­ous theme about video, except in this ver­sion he made an arrange­ment of Video Tape by Radiohead and VCR by The XX to book­end the verses. I’d never heard VCR, so Jesse had to teach me the chords on the fly.

I recorded this on my iPhone so I could prac­tice on my own; I won’t have a chance to see them for another rehearsal before they go on tour. I’d never heard the song before, and it was our first time play­ing it through together but every­one knew when to stop. It felt com­pletely nat­ural. We were com­mu­ni­cat­ing with­out words, our instincts cul­mi­nat­ing in that won­der­fully solid unison.

Even though I’m still rusty, it felt amaz­ing to be play­ing an instru­ment with other peo­ple again. And this time with mate­r­ial that’s fuck­ing genius, not the same old con­ser­va­tory pieces some teacher chooses for you. At one point I was play­ing around on the ukulele when Jesse had to get the phone, and Nic started putting beats to what I was doing and it made me want to steal Nic for all my practicing.

See Jesse Dangerously in your town:

Friday, July 23rd — The Bird House in Halifax, NS — 6156 Duncan Street, 10:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 24th — The Galley in Fredericton, NB — 1–178 Westmorland Street, 7:00 p.m (with feminist/anti-capitalist gum­boot troupe Rebelles).
Sunday, July 25th — Gallerie Rye in Montreal, PQ — 1331a Rue Ste Catherine Est, 8:00 p.m (with the vegan ukulele of Nicola IV).
Monday, July 26th — 160 Workshops in Ottawa, ON — 160 Primrose Avenue, 8:00 p.m. (with electronic/acoustic singer-songwriter Jacob Earl).

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13 Nov 06

Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend: Introduction

An ex e-mailed me out of the blue the other day. She blamed it on the fall weather, caus­ing her to rem­i­nisce and Google my name. We hadn’t seen or spo­ken to each other in over five years.

After feel­ing each other out for the first part of the exchange, we caught up on each oth­ers lives. She’s been mar­ried for three years. Moved out to Kingston after liv­ing through the pol­lu­tion and over-stimulation of down­town Toronto. She has a full-time job while work­ing toward her Master of Education part-time. Her husband’s an artist at heart, she says, try­ing to make a liv­ing off cre­ative writ­ing. No kids yet, but instead, two cats, Emily Wednesday and Shadow.

Me? I moved to Ottawa for uni­ver­sity, bought a house, recently got out of a rela­tion­ship, been work­ing as the mar­ket­ing and IT man­ager at a den­tal lab­o­ra­tory. Oh, and I have one cat, but I’m think­ing of a second.

There were some things I’d been mean­ing to ask her for a while. Going through a series of rela­tion­ships since ours has changed my per­spec­tive, and I’ve always won­dered whether she’s grown in this way as well. I put a few ques­tions to her, but she told me, in an ami­able way, that she wasn’t com­pletely com­fort­able indulging my curiosities.

What she had no prob­lem talk­ing about before was now taboo and off lim­its. Was she afraid of upset­ting her hus­band by dis­cussing such per­sonal things with an ex-boyfriend, or did she sim­ply change so much?

There are a lot of things I’d like to say to my ex-girlfriends, but the nature of a break-up can be that of ran­cor. Communication breaks down. People lose per­spec­tive. I’ve always had a tremen­dous need to express myself, per­haps to the detri­ment of my rela­tion­ships, but dig­ging up what’s past and buried for the sake clo­sure seems a bit self­ish. After hav­ing this ex tell me that she was uncom­fort­able, I real­ized that it may have been rather inap­pro­pri­ate of me.

It’s only here that I can say what I want.

The Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend series

  1. Introduction
  2. Ashley
  3. Michele
  4. Christie
  5. Jackie
  6. Louise
  7. Bronwen
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