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Big Bear Lake, California

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom Thailand yesterday, we travel far across the world to California, and the shores of Big Bear Lake, courtesy of local artist Shawn Jimmerson. He explains how he interpreted his involvement with Cities and Memory: Oblique Strategies:

“I have many field recordings and I was having a difficult time choosing which one to use for this idea. In the spirit of this project, I pulled two Oblique Strategies cards to help decide. At that moment I had two files open – one was a recording of cicadas at my grandmother’s house in Michigan and a pleasant but not-very-exciting recording I made a few years ago of lapping waves on the shores of Big Bear Lake, California. The two cards I pulled were:

Do something boring

“Well, that seemed pretty overt.
After submitting my Big Bear Lake recording, the two cards I was assigned by Cities and Memory for the new track were:

Use fewer notes
Don’t avoid what is easy

“I decided to use the field recording as a template and that the original recording would persist throughout the new piece, and this would mean the new piece would be the same length as the field recording. I also re-recorded the first half of the field recording slowed down to half speed and blended that back into the new piece. To honor the ‘Don’t avoid what is easy’ card, I decided to look through some short musical pieces I had already recorded to blend with the field recording, rather than starting from scratch. I found two pieces that fit the mood and were in the same key, which also seemed to work with the ‘Use fewer notes’ card. I recorded some simple guitar synth chords in key with the existing parts I had added and did some voice overdubs using only several notes, again sticking with the’ Use fewer notes’ card.”

“The structure and mood of the piece represents what Big Bear Lake is for me; a great place to get away from Los Angeles in order to return to the city relaxed and with a fresh perspective. The piece starts off in one place, goes to another more sparse and mellow place, then returns where things are the same, but slightly different and perhaps more clear.”

City version:


Memory version: