A black cat posing with several vintage small keyboards, including some familiar ones from Casio and Yamaha. From Milomi Studio on Instagram.
Some of these keyboards may be considered “toys”, but they are still musical instruments. I coveted some of these small keyboards before I discovered synthesizers. I do now have a Casio SK-1 that gets used in live performance.
One of our CatSynth TV episodes this week featured a close-up demonstration of the Wicks Looper by Rarebeasts, a tiny musical instrument that can make beats, loops, and all sorts of noises. We also added a Korg Delay Monotron for filtering and delay effects in the last portion of the demo.
The Wicks Looper is a fun instrument that I have used in several live performances, though less so lately. Its audio jack is a bit fussy at times, but as long as I remember I know how to make it work reliably. Both it and the Monotron should see more use again this year as I plan out new ideas for solo performances. And we still love that cat logo that looks so much like our dear Luna. But there is also a (non-black) Luna who lives with the human who created the instrument, a fact involved in our discovering it in the first place.
Rarebeasts has moved on to newer custom electronic instruments that are quite sculptural in nature. You can see their work at their Etsy shop.
It’s been a year since Luna passed away. And so today we mark her yahrzeit, or anniversary of death. Over the past year, the grieving process has continued in its complicated and chaotic pattern, sometimes raw and at the surface, sometimes just a fond memory now tinged with melancholy. Perhaps if one plots the grief over the course of a year. it will trend downwards, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t moments of deep loss and sadness.
We began observing the yahrzeit at sundown yesterday. After repeated heatwaves and the worst fires and air quality that I have experienced in California, the skies and air suddenly became chilly, crisp, and damp, signaling the real arrival of autumn. The palpable chill in the air brought memories of Luna’s last week back into focus and set the tone for the evening. We switched on the memorial candle – I only use electrical candles for this purpose. A glass or two of red wine, some comfort food, and David Bowie on the stereo. The songs “Dollar Days” from Blackstar and “Prettiest Star” from Alladin Sane are particularly tied to Luna’s passing, along with the chill.
Sam Sam seemed to sense my state – exacerbated by an unusually stressful workday on top of everything else – and provided a lot of extra comfort last night, breaking her night-time wanderings around HQ to come and lay on my chest and purr. She does this most days, but not as long or as deep. Indeed, her presence has been a great source of love and comfort as I continue to move forward. I will always miss Luna, but my current and future cats need me in the present.
A tribute to John Cage on his birthday (September 5), by the Merce Cunningham Trust. The photo is courtesy of the John Cage Trust.
John Cage’s beloved black cat was named Losa Rinpoche. From the John Cage Trust (on his 101st birthday in 2013):
John Cage had a very close relationship with his second black cat, Losa. (His first black cat, Skookum, was tragically set loose on the streets of New York by a well-meaning worker on the roof. John was so bereft, Andy Culver told him we were going to have to send him back to Zen School.) One of their favorite games together was for John to put Losa under a cardboard box. Losa would then move around the loft, the box on his back, weirdly animated. I was horrified the first time I saw him do this. “He must be scared!” I cried. John just laughed. He said Losa liked it, and, furthermore, his new name was now Losa Rinpoche Taxi Cab. Of course, Losa would, after a time, simply shrug the box off, look disdainfully at us both, and calmly walk away.
Another from our friends at Eevo Lute Music & Technology, this time featuring a black cat and a classic Roland TR-808. This was post for last week’s “808 Day”. My favorite comment: ” I only have full sized analog cats!” 😸 🎹
Another from our friends at Eevo Lute Music & Technology, via Instagram and Facebook. You can see their previous contributions here. This one features their black cat with a Korg MS-20 synthesizer and sundry household items.