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When not outdoors in the hot summer sun these past few weeks to work on some chore in either one of our several gardens or in a field, I’ve kept myself occupied by cutting leaves with a pair of scissors.

Not the real, green, on the tree variety of leaves, but dozens and dozens of charcoal grey, Xeroxed leaves of mostly maple, the main elements in a collage project I’ve been planning and, I have to admit, avoiding for several years after I’d thought it up.

Like just about everything else in life, the execution is a lot more tedious than the bright idea at first believes it will be. If one wants to experience the intricacies of leaf design, there’s no surer way than trying to cut out the forms, again and again.

Late last week, I had reached what I thought was about the halfway point in the current phase of the project (mounting the individual leaves on paper posts will present its own set of challenges), and I was feeling a bit enervated.

I needed a break: something fun, creative and far removed from the tedium of cutting. So I went back to a thing I hadn’t done in ages, making a little music.

It has been many years since music was central to my creative activity, and aside from a series of EPs I made and that I have stored on my iPod (yes, it has been a long time), my music making has ended. Most of the once cutting edge music production software I’ve owned has become not only outdated but also marooned on old desktops with damaged hard drives, and the hardware has long been mothballed.

So, dealing with the little I now had at hand, I went hunting for audio loops, which I found without much trouble, located a couple of old vocal samples that were on an external hard drive, and fired up the music production software that came with my laptop, learning how to use it as I stumbled along.

After spending many weeks in the bucolic countryside, I had been thinking about, and actually missing, the city–all its people, activity and stimulation, visual and aural. And also the repetition, seemingly both random and organized, that produces the pulse of urban life.

One music producer that artfully evokes the repetitive urban pulse is Theo Parrish, and I thought about his style while trying to mold a tune out of the truly disparate building blocks I’d assembled.

Parrish’s productions are highly polished, finely crafted pieces, and he has serious recognition, while what I banged out in glorious anonymity over a few days was a basic tracked tune that simultaneously provided me with renewed creative energy while letting me express my still emotional attachment to city life.

I called the tune Neon Lights, and decided to post it on SoundCloud (https://soundcloud.com/bobdi/neon-lights).

And, yes, today I found myself back cutting paper leaves.

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