Boston, MA

Boston! Home of roughly 3.2 billion universities, the city is basically a giant college campus with occasional children.

“Haha!” laughs Attractive Girl, revealing some very attractive creases at the corners of her mouth. “I bet you met many musicians to record there, eh?”

Hey Attractive Girl, are you by chance from Minnesota?

“No, I’m from Tennessee. But I have been to Minneapolis several times.”

Oh, OK. The ‘eh?’ threw me off. Anyway, I have begun to notice an odd phenomenon — the larger the music scene in a city, the more silent its musicians. I have gotten more responses from smaller cities than I have from larger cities — perhaps because the musicians are busy working in larger towns and aren’t looking for more gigs. Or perhaps it’s been just pure chance.

So, I didn’t find many musicians to record in Boston. In this paper I will discuss the trip to Boston, recording in Boston, sightseeing in Boston, and my noise-finding expedition in Boston.

I. The Trip to Boston

The trip to Boston was very scenic, as the highway we followed was very near the coast (see Figure A).

Figure A

II. Recording in Boston

When we arrived in Boston, I met fellow Couchsurfer and guitarist Chris Hughes. He plays guitar, and his roommate is from Omaha.

Would you believe this picture is candid?

Chris recorded some guitar for me for a tune, then we had to be off to meet our host, a very fun girl who goes by the name of Liz Pratt. Probably because that is really her name. Her father’s name is Lance. She lives with a handful of others in a long, narrow, tall house.

They were all of them fun and gracious hosts, and we had a great time chatting with them before we all hit the hay.*

III. Sightseeing in Boston

Next day, I still had no bites from the ads. A whole day in Boston with no one to record — I feel some sightseeing coming on!

We went walking all over Boston. There were buildings there.


There were also some other buildings there.

In addition to buildings, Boston featured numerous pedestrians.

Not to mention scenic sidewalks.

They don't make sidewalks like this anymore.

And parks.

Chillin' like a villain in the park.

Boston is “America’s Walking City,” and cars everywhere pretty much give pedestrians the right of way. Boston’s streets go every which way, with diagonals and curving streets and train tracks largely interfering with any type of organized grid idea. But, oddly, the alleys were remarkably straight:

A remarkably straight alley.

I thought perhaps I could find some sweet dudes over at Berklee to record, so we headed in that direction. I chatted up some peeps and talked to some people that looked like they were in charge, but didn’t end up securing any recordings. Part of the problem was that I had somehow managed to get one of the only parking spots in the city remotely near my host, and I was loathe to leave that spot, so we hadn’t driven, just walked, which meant I didn’t have my equipment.

Musician in paradise.

I did buy a Berklee hoodie so I could spy around the school better though. I walked around and checked out the equipment, classrooms, and practice rooms. Pretty sweet place. Made me want to go back to music school again.

IV. My Noise-Finding Expedition in Boston

A delightful girl named Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati had contacted me earlier about finding noises in Boston, and I was all about that. So we arranged to meet up that evening. I couldn’t take all my gear with me, so we used her little handheld voice recorder, for suboptimal but usable results.

We walked all around hunting for noises to record. First: the subway station!

“Oh, that’s a great idea!” says Attractive Girl. “Trains and whistles and air brakes and announcements!”

Are you really from Tennessee? You don’t really have an accent.

“I sometimes say ‘y’all.'”

Hmm. Anyway, yes, but we actually didn’t go for those. See, we didn’t go to just any subway station. We went to a special station with fun interactive noisemaking devices. Evidently a project by students at MIT or some such, some of the stations have levers on the walls which operate various devices, all of which make various interesting noises. There was one that flexed a giant sheet of metal, yielding a big wobbly wowowow sound. There was also this:

Bong! Bong! Bong!

Alisa had to be careful to retract her arm before the next train, which she fortunately managed just fine.

Then we surfaced and went about recording city noises like trains, traffic, that little beeping sound the crosswalks made, car horns, etc.

Here comes a taxi!  Maybe it will honk! Wait!  Here comes the taxi again!  I wonder why taxis keep stopping...

(I’d give a dollar to someone who makes those into a funny animation.)

We also frolicked on a playground in Frog Park! There were many cutesy anthropomorphized frog statues there. There was also a sign, which some clever person had vandalized.

These rules were handed down through generations of ruling frogs.

In this paper I have discussed my trip to Boston, recording in Boston, sightseeing in Boston, and my noise-finding expedition in Boston. Thank you.

NEXT: An island that is actually part of a continent! Like, contiguously part of the continental landmass!

* “Hit the hay” is an American idiom meaning “go to sleep”. So far as I know there was no actual hay in their house.

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