June 2011

Before Became After

Mowing Music


May 2011

QA - album art

Phone Phobia








6-7-2011 - Mowing Music


Last night I mowed the lawn. Nothing about that is earth shattering. Summer has come to the Midwest & in our part of the country it means that a great mugginess descends upon us until the cool of autumn comes around October.

For the record, I don't like mowing the lawn. I don't know that I ever have, but it's a task I've been doing for forty-some years. Oh, in the beginning it was something I looked forward to - Dad entrusting me to the manly job of mowing. Then the first blush of that romance died and a labor of love became simply labor.

I'm not built for heat & humidity. I love the cooler months, especially winter, but I do enjoy the change of seasons and we had a wonderful spring that lasted through May. It was wonderful. For that, I am thankful.

But, I digress.

Last night I mowed the lawn. Even doing it in the evening, the temperature was still in the 90's. We're in our rainy season and the combination of heat & rain makes the grass grow exceptionally well. That means mowing takes longer, because I bag what I cut. It was hot, sweaty work.


I look forward to not having to do this job anymore. Downsizing, selling our house and moving either to a small house with an appropriately small yard appeals to me - or even better - an apartment, with no lawn to mow at all! That will be wonderful. Or will it? As I followed the mower back and forth, back and forth across the yard, I realized something; something a bit unsettling.

Mowing has become uninterupted music listening time that I don't have the rest of the week. It seems that there is always something calling for my attention, things that interrupt my musical reverie any other time during the week. With my iPod and in-ear earbuds, mowing has become a time of enjoyment and reflection. Much as I hate to admit it, I will miss this time. The beauty of in-ear isolating earbuds is that they block out the ambient sound, so the mower sound is minimal. It's like wearing earplugs with piped in music.

Last night I got through nearly 2 albums. Lost World was my band choice. Lost World is a progressive-chamber group, led by violinist Andrii Didorenko. The music of Lost World is sophisticated instrumental progressive, as you might well expect; all of the players are classically trained musicians. The band's second album, "Awakening the Elements" was my introduction to their music. I think the title track "Awakening of the Elements" gives a good idea of the band's style by way of a gentle intro which gives way to driving guitar & violin, mixing in some flute. There's a hint of playfulness in the music and certainly a nod to the Russian composer, Shostakovich on "Schostoccata".


Lost World brings all the elements of what I love in progressive music together in high calibre musicianship, compositions that take you on a musicial journey, like the twisting turning switchbacks of driving in the mountains, never knowing what vista awaits you next. There's a sense of beauty and grace, but also of danger and adventure. It was a great way to spend a couple of hours.

OH! Before I knew it, the lawn was finished, but it happened before I finished listening to "Sound Source" and I wasn't really ready to quit.

I think I'm going to miss my lawn.




The Lost World site (kinda clunky, but...)


Prog Archives, ProgressoR, ProgGnosis, Sea of Tranquility






Ken Westphal is an illustrator/designer who lives in the Kansas City metro area. He is best known for his humorous illustration & cartooning. For a good number of years he worked with Brad Morgan (DDB Needham, Chicago), the creator of Chester Cheetah, on ads for Cheetos, which ran in a variety of publications and network TV.

Having freelanced since the early 80's, in 2003 Ken took a job with Kid Stuff Marketing as Senior Product Designer. During his 6 1/2 years with KSM, he designed character based toys for kids meals. Kid Stuff remains one of his clients.

Over the past decade, Ken has become more involved in creating art for the music industry, exploring another side of his creativity, tapping into his love of SciFi & fantasy.

Ken's clients include Frito-Lay, American Airlines, Logitech, Betty Crocker, Sports Illustrated & SI for Kids, Golf World, Citicorp, Southwest Airlines, Saatchi & Saatchi, Bozell Jacobs, Time Magazine & Nike, among others.

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