"David took a deep breath and walked into an interior of round glass tables and metallic lamps emitting a subdued blue light, framed by a nighttime panorama of Tokyo. As he settled back in his seat, David admired the city lights amid a buzz of skyscrapers and traffic. At the center Tokyo Tower, lit-up and serene. With effort he pulled his eyes from the view and looked around the room. Scattered dissipation in the form of expensive dresses, hands draped casually over shirts with loosened ties––lighting cigarettes, pouring whiskey, picking out ice cubes with slender tongs from silver buckets and clinking them into glasses.
The woman who floated toward him had a blend of Japanese and Latin features, her face tan and slender, eyes and hips wider than the Tokyo norm. “Good evening,” she said in a voice with depth, a little the worse for wear. “My name is Lise––you requested me?”
“Yes,” he said, his throat suddenly very dry. As Lise draped herself on the seat beside him, he struggled to avoid and yet was drawn to thighs framed by painfully short skirt. This felt strangely intimate, and not in a false way. Whoever had designed this experience was working on a higher level––sex had gone from the last thing on his mind to the only thing that really mattered."
What is most interesting to me at this point is creating a tone poem with each section posted. The thriller narrative structure has been around for considerable time (Shakespeare?). If you are reading to find out what happens next, that is valid. But I also encourage readers to look within.
The real challenge involves using the cloud novel format as a way of elevating my art. I am not posting this work simply because I have been spurned by editors at literary imprints. If I was after trad publication and other yesteryear signifiers, I would have made the agent-recommended changes years ago (significant line-by-line cutting). I am as stubborn as a Number 2 pencil in an era of algorithm-affixed marketing missives.
If you read my prose, it could only be by me––that is what I am claiming. Thanks loyal readers, I should have the next section up within a day.
Snapshot of a five-hour session:
We listen to the spontaneous version of UFOs* I recorded in March, pierside at Make Waves in Puerto Gallera with Ralph, a student of Master Jing. After we listen a few times to this field recording, I ask if John and M–– if we can create a high-fidelity version.
M–– "sure, but I will need to set it into standard tuning." He plays something bright and not at all what I heard.
"I prefer the chord as it was played at the time."
Shrug and look of dismissal. “The guitar is way out of tune on the recording.” Translation, this cat can’t even tune a guitar.
"What I like is the out of tune-ness. I like the off minor sound that is somehow blues rooted. It matches the tribal flute, which is also not in a Western scale."
"Even if I could tune the guitar down, John could not make it work on the bass. Too difficult."
"Do you have an unfretted bass, an acoustic?" At that point they get wind of the stubborn will behind what I am saying and get to work detuning by ear. Within five minutes we have a very close simulacrum to the sound on the tape.**
We then go into a jam created out of the chords, a free interpretation with new words on my part. The result is fresh to the point that M––– thought I was singing a different song. Which it might just be.
We then run through three straight unedited flute, bass, and acoustic renditions of "UFOs and Labyrinths," with me giving simple directives… sustain that note.. no that one… build up the tension, leave out the rythmic sway, make it edge and choppy… follow that with a little minor jazz embellish, ala Pork Pie Hat.
Well, M–– and John get it down quick once our communicative lines are established––musicians really can speak a universal language––and the third take is close to perfect. I have M––capture a little guitar tapping percussion thing he was doing during the playback, on tape, and we are done.
I think the song is original and it works. Future guitar players are going to have a lot of fun detuning their strings to figure it out.***
**What John came up with is similar to the bass line to Walk On the Wild Side, though he does not know the song. It is sampled in a lot of hip hop, maybe it has percolated down.
***I am not sure if I will put up the current versions of UFO, before official release of the album. I would like the songs to be presented as a unified "song cycle." (With 12 Soundcloud listens a day, one may argue, what's the diff?)