In the Fall of 2013 I visited New York City for the first time. I prolonged my visit into a nigh-two-month stay in large part only possible by the gracious generosity of my dear friends Nathan and Alicia who let me sleep on their couch the whole time.
They lived in Ridgewood in an apartment like a railroad car--a long string of three-ish rooms. The kitchen—painted cheery colors, large windows welcoming in ample sunlight—also had marvelous acoustics! There were a few afternoons during those weeks, when I had the chance and the mood to be left home alone—when I would practice singing and developing my songs in that kitchen. I used my iphone voice-memo tool. All of these songs are built on single take from voice-memos. On the originals, you could hear me remarking on the street traffic from below, or the hum of the fridge—but I was advised to leave that out of chosen tracks—I now wish I hadn't!—c'est la vie—for over the last couple of years I have become more aware of my growing interest in real-time recordings—recordings that transport you to a particular place and real moment, a slice of life—akin, for example, to old field recordings from the early 1900's wherein you hear an old woman weaving an ancient tune in her reedy voice, as the clock strikes ten, and the rooster crows out back. I enjoy recordings that capture a bit of the artist's physical world beyond the song—it's more like time traveling that way—an experience that includes the artpiece of the music, but can be something else too, if not something much more!
In my last few days in New York that fall, I told Nathan I wanted to make a CD from some chosen voice recordings. He got excited for me and kindly helped me edit and mix, enabled me to perform harmonies—I think I got carried away—on one particular song. He also is featured playing banjo for this recording of "Rainy Season"—one take where we shared a mic.
That winter I gave out some burned CD's to a few folks with whom I wanted to share a tiny piece of myself, a token, a symbol of the bits of my heart they already had. I am now more glad than I could have imagined at the time for making such a compilation! For the last couple of years, these seven songs are all that have been available, via Souncloud, for an online reference of my song work. And—Huzzah! I have finally made a personal bandcamp! This lil' EP—Kunk in the Kitchen (Just For Kicks)—will be the first of many compilations I hope to share on this platform, beyond my private communions with the universe in places like kitchens, twilight lit streets, or mountain paths, or the bow of a boat, bedrooms and car cabs. I do indeed have dozens of songs waiting to finished, ditties haunting my brain on the daily—I am grateful I keep hearing music wherever I do wander, and I hope I can continue to manage to capture at least a fraction of it long enough to toss out into the ether and say “Here ya go, whoever! I hope you like it!”
So raise a jar of whatever is near! Cheers to the blessing of sound! The magic of music! The wonder of the interweb! Praise to all the ways we humans can connect, explore, and support each other! I hope you like this little EP made "just for kicks"—And I hope you are able to witness my path from this early inception onward and forward! Thank you for being you. . .
Big love always,
Psssssst. . . I ended up writing a bit (or a lot) about each track. I don't know what I was hoping to do by writing about each of these songs—I suppose it is a chance for further personal reflection on the subjects which inspired each piece—but I hold no expectations that these writings will offer anyone else great enlightenment. Then again, I try not to assume anything! I'd appreciate hearing from you any reaction to these humble creations—as I write in my reflection of “Rainy Season”:
Anything I do, writing a song, sharing thoughts, making any decision on the daily, performing any action—usually is, and always should be, for myself—but none of it is done without hope that others can recognize some of themselves in it—in order to witness and validate my existence and experience, and in turn, I hope they find it useful for their own experience and existence . If my actions provide some kind of use—be it humor, amusement, validation, meaning, inspiration—in any way, no matter how tiny—I would like it.
released April 24, 2016
Karen Kunkel: all songs, lyrics, and melodies; voice, ukulele, keyboard
Nathan Oglesby (Sir KN8): sound mixing, some recording, banjo playing, soul brother
Alicia Papanek: gracious friend, supportive host, cooking lessons, exemplary womanhood
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