No Real Beginnings or Endings

The music we made in Genie Boom was not unlike the music made by the pumps and steam lines and reactors of Firmenich. Michelle drummed on garbage cans, a red school bell, a gas tank, whatever banged. Todd pressed buttons on his Casio synthesizer and Roland drum machine. I plugged five cheap guitars—old Silvertones and Kays, before they became popular—into whatever amps I could find, turned the knobs on my effects pedals all the way up, and screamed the lines from my poems into the guitars’ pick-ups.

We’d start slow and build, various noises working towards a certain goal—a moment of togetherness, mutual understanding, clear communication, a perfect rhythm—just before everything fell apart again. Seconds of quiet beauty were surrounded by car crashes and avalanches.

There were no real beginnings or endings. And still, to this day—if you haven’t already noticed—I am horrible with introductions and exits. I don’t know which is worst. Both are awkward; too fast or too slow, abrupt, strange, indefinite. Just like in life, maybe, it seems to me now, these things just come and go. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, we find the perfect rhythm again. Sometimes we don’t. Chances are probably 50-50—maybe a little bit better—but it seems you can’t really know when things will go the way you want them to. You can only try to appreciate it when they do.

I’m a pretty lucky guy, I tend to believe. Not only lucky, but hopeful.

I’ve never been much interested in understanding how or why things work.

I have to stop now, as I write this here in my apartment, because the people in the apartment below me are playing their music too loud. Actually, I can only just barely hear it. It’s some kind of South American dance music. What’s bothering me is the bass. Deep, deep thumps pounding their way through my wood floor and into my flesh. It’s the same kind of thump I heard earlier today coming from a little Toyota that vibrated down my street. The car itself sounded as though it would soon collapse under the pressure of the absurd beats, the fenders would soon fly right off. I like to think that I’m open-minded about most things, but I can’t imagine how in the world this sounds good to anyone. And now: there is rap music playing, a motorcycle howling, the blind pop opera singer reaching a climatic phrase, a plane passing by, many dogs barking, many children hollering. This is Jersey City.

I think I should tell you something about how I listen to music.

Donald's picture

Genie Boom reminds me of Yo La Tengo (one my favorite groups).

Stephen Mejias's picture

>Genie Boom reminds me of Yo La TengoThat's funny; in ways, we were A LOT like them, but without even being aware of them. I didn't become fammiliar with Yo La Tengo until much after Genie Boom. For awhile, they were my very favorite band, also.