CatSynth pic: Cat and Toy Piano

Cat and Toy Piano

By changeandsassy on Instagram. Submitted by Torley via Twitter.

In the words of Catwerk, “MEOWSIC NON STOP!” HUGS AND PURRS TO YOU AND LUNA =^_^=

chanceandsassy #catpiano #Tuxedocat #catsofinstagram #kittiesofinstagram #bestmeow #cat_features #excellent_cats #topcatphoto #weeklyfluff #mygreatcat #petphotography #adorable #furbaby #ilovemycat

torley #catsynth fo sho… a true virtuoso of the keys 😻🎹

We appreciate the shoutout and thoughts for Luna 💕

CatSynth pic: Cat on Modular Synthesizer

Cat on Modular Synthesizer

From flohrdumal on Instagram.

“Cat on Synthesizer #synthcat #catsynth #modular #synthesizer #cat #catsofinstagram #gato #chat #katze #kätzchen #tabby #tabbycat #tabbycatsofinstagram #wunwun”

A few of the modules are identified in the tags, but we leave full identification as an exercise to the reader.

An Update on Luna (and myself)

Luna close-up portrait

Luna appears to have bounced back from the brink. She is eating regularly again, which an improvement from just a week ago. As a result, her energy and vigor have increased and she is moving around like normal.

Luna walking on the sofa

Her energy is still not as high as it was a month ago, but it is a great improvement over last weekend. And while it doesn’t change the fundamentals of the cancer and its seriousness, it does suggest that we will have some more time to enjoy together.

Luna’s small but significant improvements have helped me as well as I continue to recover. Things are starting to feel normal again. Indeed, look for some more music reviews in the coming week, now that I have resumed attending concerts. And we will get back to more of our regular “CatSynth pic” posts after a break this past week.

In the meantime, thank you everyone for your continued purrs and thoughts.

Purrs Needed for Luna

Luna on her pillow.

The news from Luna’s checkup this Friday was not good. After a couple of months where the cancer seemed to be in check, it has increased again. And she has lost considerable weight. This was itself pretty distressing, though I decided that we should continue the medication in the hope that is slowing cancer down. Over the weekend, however, she has seemed to go downhill. She has become very lethargic, and she has mostly stopped eating crunchy foods – though she still devours her wet food with a fair amount of enthusiasm.

On Saturday night, she seemed to be in a bad state, lying down next to me and refusing to budge – it almost felt that she was saying goodbye. She has rallied a bit since then. Under the theory that her eating problems and lethargy might be caused by nausea, I reintroduced the nausea medication on a regular basis. It will take a few days to know if nausea was in fact an issue. But it seems there is more going on that that – since mid-day today, she has started to walk with a bit of a limp. Though she does get up and move around, and even reasserted herself on her throne. And she can still project that modern elegance.

Luna looking artsy on her throne.

I have to prepare for the realization that we are in the twilight of Luna’s life. It could be a few months, it could be a few days. The goal is, as it has been all year, to give her the best quality of life I can for as long as I can. But I do feel somewhat powerless in that regard. I care for her, talk to her, and comfort her, but can’t fully understand what she is experiencing. And my own health issues over the past month – recovering from major surgery and its effects – have left me wondering if I missed warning signs that could have helped her because I was so focused on myself. I know Luna has been invaluable to me during this, even up through today providing love and comfort.

Luna providing comfort.

Through all of this, she hasn’t stopped purring loudly, giving me head buts, and kisses, and lending a paw like she did in the picture above.

We at CatSynth are not really the praying type, but we are the purring type and welcome your purrs and healing vibes for Luna. ❤️

Herbie Hancock: Possibilities

Healing after a major medical procedure leaves one with quite a bit of time for reading. This was the case for me in July and August. Today we look at the first of a few books I completed during that time.

Herbie HancockPossibilities is Herbie Hancock’s autobiography released in late 2014, not long after I saw him accept his lifetime achievement award at the SFJAZZ gala. Like the gala event, the book attempts to weave together the earlier (and in my opinion best) work with his continuing to be vital and creative artist. It didn’t change my over all assessment of his music – I revere what he did in the 1970s with The Headhunters and Mwandishi as close to musical perfection, but shrug at what most of what he did in the 1980s through the end of the century (with notable exceptions like Rockit).

Throughout the book, Hancock and his co-writer Lisa Dickey weave together personal life with several different aspects of music – the music itself, the engineering, the business, and relationships. It is the mixture of all of these that makes for an interesting read, especially when placed in the context of the music. Hancock’s Buddhist practice permeates the entire story. One sees how it was a beneficial force for him personality and also affected his music, particularly with the open structure of Mwandishi and then in Head Hunters and Thrust. One of the fun anecdotes here was the naming of Actual Proof, and a discussion of how the piece got its confounding rhythm. The language is detailed enough that it gives me insight into the musical process – but not so overly technical that non-musicians should be able to get something from it as well.

He also goes into great detail about his dive into music technology through synthesizers; and his collaborations with engineers to push the instruments. I of course knew the story of the Fender Rhodes entering his music via Miles Davis; and the use of the Arp Odyssey in Head Hunters. I didn’t realize just how much he was involved in customizing the instruments for his live performances, taking advantage of his own electrical-engineering background and numerous long-time collaborations. I was particularly intrigued by the story of the vocoder (a Sennheiser VSM201) and prototype “keytar” featured in Sunlight. I also have seen that some of these sounds and elements are used by critics against him as “selling out” or some such thing. Such criticisms have long bothered me because it dismisses is best work, and the work I most love. Hancock himself seems unbothered by that and focuses on his need to explore new musical styles, ideas, and technologies – like Buddhism, this a theme that keeps recurring throughout the book. After delving into deep technical and musical detail about one song or one performance, he then simply moves on to the next.

The personal details are of course part of the story, but sometimes difficult to read. There is tragedy in his family. And he struggled at various times with drugs – the candid story about his being a closeted crack user in the 1990s was unexpected. But it is primarily the music and “story of the music” where my attention settled, and where I got the most from the book. It has in a way added to my enjoyment of the music.