step back

I woke without any sense of having dreamed. The night I'd left behind felt normal, bland, and undisturbed.

grass patterns in the park

However, as the day progressed, I remembered I had been dreaming about how to make electronic rhythms swing and move in a more human manner; dreaming about how I was incapable of engineering such rhythms in my own music. I was left with a lingering sense of flatness, of being unable to make sound stand out.

a tree being propped up by a plank

On a recent walk, I encountered a tree overlooking a churning bend in a tiny stream. It was a vaguely disordered piece of ground in an otherwise tightly manicured public park. Someone, perhaps the park authorities, had propped up the drooping trunk with a small, rigid plank. At the other end, wooden slats led down to the muddy water, above which someone had tied a skinny, unconvincing rope swing.

a churning part of the park's stream

Elsewhere on the walk, I encountered some ornamental grass with seed heads hanging perpendicular to their stalks. This creates a curious visual effect. If you crouch down and peer closely at the seed heads, it's like your staring into a galactic projection, short beams of starlight travelling towards you at odd angles. It's an effect I failed to capture on camera. On the sidewalk, a child in space-themed pyjamas soared ahead of his parents on a scooter. He looked at me briefly as he zoomed past. In my memory, he's wearing aviator goggles, protecting his eyes from warp speed.

grass with strangely angled seed heads

In the afternoon that followed my almost forgotten dream, I drove between shopping centres in the heat, completing various errands in an inefficient order and thinking about dequantization. Dequantization involves nudging musical notes or drum hits marginally off their tempo grid to better simulate the subtle imperfections and small, fragrant lapses of human musicians.

succulents on the sidewalk

At a traffic junction, I watched as a straight file of Canada geese flew across the interstate towards town. Even though each individual bird wavered and dipped with the shifting prairie winds, they retained an impressive geometry.

a bound wall with a small cricket

I was thinking about all this now, no longer asleep, not really remembering my dream but thinking about it nonetheless, as if it had been nudged into the waking half of the planet's turn. I thought about gently destabilising stuff to make it feel human, trying to keep things spinning slightly off their axis, allowing them to slant and shimmer and skip, in the hope they might provide deeper, more meaningful grooves.

Twin Silo Park 030823