Ken Cormier
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THE SOUNDS OF LUNCH


I'm able to spend more time writing music now. I quit my job. I have more time now to relax. I wake up late in the morning, and when I do wake up I lie in bed for quite a while before I get out of bed. When I do get out of bed, I eat a leisurely breakfast. I enjoy my breakfast, and I look out the window at the birds and the woods. I feel better these days. I have more time to write songs.

I go into my room and I take out my guitar. I strap my guitar onto myself and I strum chords until I feel the special vibrations. Sometimes I have a glass of water when I play my guitar. I strum the chords and I sing the words that pop into my mind. I sing things like oh my, I want some food, food can make feel so good, because I know that eating makes me, eating makes me, fascinates me, every time I eat the food I like I think of other food, and pancakes are the food I like, but I like other food as well and I record it all on a series of machines in my office. I work all day on my songs.

When I break for lunch, I bring the microphone with me and I record my eating. I've built up a vast archive of the sounds of my eating. Mostly I eat sandwiches, so it sounds like a lot of soft chewing. If I use crisp lettuce on my sandwich, that changes the sound. It sounds more bright and snappy with the lettuce. BLTs have a very exciting sound, especially when the bacon is well done. When the bread is toasted, that obviously changes the entire frequency range of the recording. For a while I was interested in reverb and echo, and I added a lot of different echoes to the recordings lunch. During this period my lunches began to sound like old Phil Spector recordings. It's like the wall of sound of lunch. If Phil Spector had kept the tape rolling while the Ronnettes broke for lunch, I imagine that it would sound like this. But soon enough, I started thinking about the commercial music business and all the effects and compression and reverb and everything, and I went back to recording my lunch dry. It's not the effects that make the lunch. It's the act of eating lunch that is important. Putting a microphone next to lunch is all it takes. I will not alter the sound of lunch with studio trickery just to satisfy some record executive with a Rolls Royce and gold teeth. If the sound is different, it's because the food is different. I eat chips, and chips sound different from Twizzlers. Twizzlers sound different from fresh fruit. Drinking a glass of water is an entirely different kind of sound. When I finish my lunch, I go back to my office and record my songs.

The thing that worries me is that all my lyrics lately are about food. Nothing else pops into my mind. So I'm thinking of maybe doing a concept album with eating noises and songs about food. I don't think that would be too commercial, so it's all right. But it needs to make a little money, because I just quit my job. But it can't be too commercial. I'm thinking of calling it, “The Sounds of Lunch.”