New 12" LP, two events, new photos

Good morning, friends—

I have two virtual events coming up in the next couple of weeks and would love for you to attend. The first is in conversation with the novelist Dana Spiotta, and is hosted by McNally Jackson Books in New York; the second is a Books in Common NW event with the fiction-writing Spokanites Sharma Shields and Leyna Krow. These are all great writers and I can’t wait to talk with them. Details here (and always at jrobertlennon.com):

Wednesday, May 19, 4 PM Pacific / 6 PM Central / 7 PM Eastern. In conversation with Dana Spiotta. Presented by McNally Jackson Books, register here.

Thursday, May 27, 6:30 PM Pacific / 8:30 PM Central / 9:30 PM Eastern. In conversation with Sharma Shields and Leyna Krow. Presented by Books in Common NW, register here.

If you haven’t read Subdivision and Let Me Think yet, please buy a copy at those links or from your favorite store! For a good description of the books, check out this review in the New York Times.

Limited Edition Bemus Point 12” LP

I’m proud to announce a new album of ambient/downtempo electronic music, Pand Andia Mor, from The Bemus Point, my longtime project with James Spitznagel. It’s available on our Bandcamp page as a $10 download or a $24 limited edition LP, pressed on red vinyl and shipped anywhere in the world.

This record was created over about 12 hours of live improvised sessions, performed remotely in Ithaca, NY and Rochester, NY, using the online music-collaboration software Jamkazam. Jim and I typically try to reinvent our composition methods with each new album (starting with Infra Dig in 2006). Some of them have been assembled from clips and samples, some of them from passing audio files back and forth and overdubbing. This one is all live, with no overdubs; we’ve curated and edited the performances significantly, but it’s what we played, as we played it. The record was an effort to remain active during the pandemic. For a typical session, we agreed beforehand on a key and tempo, and often on style and mood. I programmed new sounds and sequences for each composition, mostly using an Elektron Digitone, Teenage Engineering OP-1, and a small modular synth. Jim primarily used software instruments.

This is the first time we’ve done a run of vinyl, and it sounds great and looks cool. We only printed 100, so grab one now if you’re interested!

Back to film

I’ve been trying to carry a film camera with me everywhere, of late; I’ve wandered away from various cameras and lenses over the years but keep coming back to Leicas and Pentaxes, with their compact, elegant designs. This last roll was shot with a Pentax MX and 50mm f/1.4 lens, on Kodak Tri-X film. My developer of choice, the miraculously forgiving Diafine, seems to be backordered everywhere, so I used LegacyPro L110 at 1:31.

I scan my film photos with a digital camera and macro lens. Last month I built this little device for keeping the negatives illuminated and flat; it’s basically a wooden box made to fit a phone, with an old film carrier screwed to it. I make the phone display a white background, set the screen brightness to high, and drop it into the slot. You can’t just lay the negatives flat on a phone screen—the marco lens will reveal the screen’s pixels and give the photos a weird texture! This box puts some space in between the light source and negatives, so that only the film is in focus.

This set of pictures was taken around the west end and commercial district of Ithaca. We fared better than some towns during the pandemic, but it’s still been a struggle for a lot of people. Many businesses closed and local infrastructure has suffered. Now the vaccines and warm weather are bringing things back to life.

Thanks for reading, everyone—and please join me this week and next at the final book events of the virtual tour.

Take care—
John