Soundtrack of memories
I want to have people who love music look back on their memories of a certain album and record the significance of everything they find.
■Your name including the names of your musical project(s): Ana Roxanne Recto
■Date of birth: April 1, 1987
■Where you live: San Francisco, CA
■What does music give you? : Music gives me the ability to express myself in ways that I cannot through talking. It gives me a space to be free. I feel most like myself when I am performing.
■Album: 『H’art Songs』 – Moondog
A memory that springs from hearing H’art Songs by Moondog is when I was living in Minneapolis, Minnesota from 2008 to 2011. I had dropped out of a jazz school in rural Iowa I had been attending for 3 years, and decided to move to Minneapolis instead of back home to California.
Minneapolis seemed like a more interesting place than my home to me and I was enjoying finding my own path away from where I grew up. But also I was feeling quite lost, in my early 20s, trying to figure out my life, living in a strange town away from family and everything familiar to me.
I was taking music classes here and there but not fully in school at first in Minneapolis. Spent most of my time working at a coffee shop and playing bass in a prog-rock/math band. I was mostly playing music with other people and not really writing anything original. I would contribute with the writing process here and there with my band, but in the end it wasn’t really my project. I wasn’t sure how to write music of my own, having been to jazz school as a singer and not too proficient at piano or other instruments. I wasn’t sure if I even had the ability to write my own music.
I think most of my conflicts at the time were based on not feeling as though I belonged. I had moved there, knowing a few friends but the majority of my experience in Minnesota felt quite lonely. I think there is something about the weather in combination with small town culture that makes people stick together in cliques and not really branch out to newcomers. I also struggled with not really having direction, and felt pressure to find a “real” job, both internally and probably from my parents.
During my time there I would often spend afternoons in bookstores, collecting poems and excerpts from books here and there. Whenever I read something that inspired me, I would write down a quote in my journal. I followed this same practice with music and lyrics. I recall sitting in a bar by myself, maybe waiting for friends to arrive, writing out the lyrics to “High on a Rocky Ledge,” as I listened on my headphones. It was loud, but I was able to tune things out.
This was the first album by Moondog I had ever heard, and probably the first example of music from this particular lineage of avant garde music (before I knew what avant garde meant) that I came across. What I love about the album is its simplicity as well as its earnest, positive and tender lyrics. From beginning to end, I think this album is really wonderful. “Do Your Thing” is an inspirational anthem, encouraging confidence in one’s individuality. “I’m This, I’m That” is a sweet little tune that reflects on the duality of human nature. But the song that has stayed with me the most from this album is “High on a Rocky Ledge.” If I were to make a list of the best love songs ever written, this would be in the top 5 or 10 perhaps. I think this song is one of those love songs that crosses over into the spiritual realm. Where the love you feel for someone is on a higher plane… it is true devotion. I found the poetry of the lyrics to be so beautiful. I recall rereading them to myself, thinking what it would feel like to have that level of devotion for someone, and wishing that I could write a song like that one day. The song helped me when I was feeling down or needing some kind of encouragement. It felt, and still feels, like a perfect song.
I eventually ended up taking a year to study early childhood education and began working with children as a way to feel grounded/stable. It was very rewarding and that experience helped me to get a job in San Francisco, so I left the midwest in the summer of 2011.
Text by Ana Roxanne
As a high school student who was active in choir, her dream of singing was further fueled when she saw Alicia Keys’ performance of “Fallin'” on MTV. After moving to Minneapolis, She went to jazz school to learn the basics of music theory and completed her EP “~~~” in 2015. The EP, initially distributed only to friends and acquaintances, was re-released by LA’s Leaving records in 2019. After signing with Chicago’s Kranky Records, she released Because of Flower in 2020. She likes to play chess and records the results on her secret Twitter account.