Love Set

photo by Emily Esperanza at Her Environment #3

I often make art about sex and sexuality. I tend to come at it from an awkward angle (absurdism, as in Dirty Birds; horror, as in Go Down; non-human fetish, as in House Fuck and Cat Tongue) to slow down the shock value, or cover my ass, perhaps? Regardless I'm not often forthright when it comes to the dirty stuff. But I love dirty stuff, and it inspires me, and the more confident I become in my creative voice the less shits I give about letting it all hang out. So I wrote some songs about lust, frustration, and longing. I put together three pieces and called it a Love Set. I performed it first at Her Environment #3, and soon after, at Helltrap Nightmare #4, both in Chicago.

Here are the parts, polished for the internet:

Pervert in the Workplace is about being a human in an office environment, in a service environment, in an academic environment, really in any environment where the collective is oriented towards production, and regards propriety as essential to success. In this setting, the exhibition of any strong emotion apart from loyalty and enthusiasm is usually frowned upon, meaning natural and inevitable feelings like anger, despair, and lust are unwelcome and sometimes cause for dismissal. Every lyric in this chant feels familiar to me. Most have been said by me or to me. Sometimes I think I'm so good at hiding my feelings in a professional setting that I'll end up sucking everyone around me into a bottomless pit of nihilistic resentment - if not everyone, then at least the object of my envy or desire.
Don't get sentimental
There's no room for that here, there's just no room for that here
Don't get sentimental or you'll be labeled mental
I used to want to fuck my boss but now I'm the one in charge
Whether or not you are aware, the customer is watching you
Business like. Positive. (high five / thumbs up / take charge)
Protect your heart
What do I do with all these feelings?
I'll bury them in you
What do I do with all these feelings?
I'll bury them with you
I'll bury you, my boo
I'll lead you to your doom
I'll leave you there, entombed.

Oiling the Weaponry is an erotic poem (and breathy soundscape) about intense, sustained sexual desire and lack of climax. This feverish state of cumulative arousal can be both ecstatic and maddening, especially when combined with romantic negotiations. Do I sound removed enough? Reading this piece makes me real nervous.
I hold more inside my body than fits inside a body
so I'm swollen, like a fat dick
at attention, hot, thick
full of blood
building tension
in my hard head and my soft skin
a tunnel with a tight hole, clenching
a trap door
I'm fenced in
Why don't you trigger the latch
take stock, finger my clasp
I walk a fine line
A tight wire, up high
A trip wire
one false step and I'll plunge inside
get all wet
Where does a wave go when it cannot crest?
The waves within me hard pressed
surging against my dense flesh
The wash of brine creeps higher yet
Each time a salty stain is left
Stains are caking down my legs
my clothes are all a sloppy mess
I'm soaked through, like a hot compress
my bones too
better yet
my armature
it's come unglued
It's sediment
My blood has pooled
The pressure's out
I'm under you
in seizures, screaming
I see you squeezing a clotted cloth over my open mouth
juice comes out
I need it
I push you down
I bite your neck
I suck it out
We're not just friends
I leave a mark
your gooseflesh marred
The earthquake starts.
The pilot lights and bombs are dropped
The fire builds and can't be stopped
I'm oiling the weaponry
My hose is long and full of grease
I wait too long to douse the flame
my body burns
it's all the same

Somewhere is a beautiful song written by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim in 1957 for West Side Story. I love musicals and this one has been really important to me (especially in seventh grade, shout out to Zella). In the movie, Maria sings it to Tony as he's dying in her arms. This song is so sad, dreamy, and romantic, a soaring illustration of impossible longing. It's appropriate for all kinds of situations. It's both optimistic and non-committal. It can be sung to an individual or a demographic. This rendition with the held tones (on choice words such as open, wait, time, and hold) is intended to evoke in its building the same sensation of fantasy and suspension the lyrics promise. It felt like a fitting way to end the set.

I'm still unsure of my abilities as a musician, which is why, as I venture into this territory, I continue to put finger quotes around the words 'music' and 'song' when referring to my own work. All of the above were composed solely on my vocal effect loop pedal. I hope to add some more complex tools soon. Maybe you'll see a post in the near future with a similar opening sentiment, but in regards to freedom of musical as opposed to sexual expression. I want both.

photo by Ryan Greenlee at Her Environment #3