Mid-August. A time of absence and lassitude, not helped by the smoky wildfire air that’s infesting Portland.
It’s a time of year when it’s all I can do to maintain my nine-to-five – it’s hard to raise the energy for much outside of that – or outside at all, given that temperatures are regularly hitting 35c.
Walking along Killingsworth Street in such heat last weekend I thought: what’s the perfect soundtrack for these days? One recording came to mind, one which sums up the slow, languorous nature of a hot August day.
“Aurora En Pekin” is a performance by Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos, a version of a song written by the Cuban guitarist Alfredo Boloña. Over the course of its five and a half minutes the pace, and the volume, rarely rise above a gentle whisper, the percussion slowly ticking the beat while Ribot’s guitar line meanders in and out.
It’s not urgent music, or music that draws attention to itself. It’s just there, simmering away, softly marking time until things become more urgent, more on-track, more September.