He’s never counted, but there’s upwards of twenty dildos of varying shapes and sizes in and around Mikal Cronin’s house in the mission. An old roommate used to work at a dildo factory and just left them there around the house. Mikal doesn’t even see them anymore, and there’s no reason to ditch them, he spends most of his time in the basement. It’s quiet down there, like Mikal. His bedroom is carved out of the house’s foundation –the inspired afterthought of an enterprising landlord– but it’s closest to the piano, and that matters. Some days he’ll sit at the keys and play the same long looping chord progression–a mantra, with no beginning and no ending–just starting over and over again. Mikal knows what a life without music feels like. He tried it once while going to school in Portland. It didn’t work out, Portland or a silent life. Mikal’s like his mom, he needs music to keep him grounded, centered, surviving. After trying college again (this time with a degree in composition) Mikal’s spent all of his time on his or Ty Segall’s music, and it’s working. He’s working. He’s starting over every day. Has been for a long time. And that works for him.
The performances in this piece, “Piano Mantra” and “Don’t Let Me Go” were recorded in Mikal’s basement, and are available on Mikal’s new LP on Merge. The last song “Better Man” was filmed at Bauer Mansion in North Beach, and is available exclusively on the Garage Swim compilation.