We Thought We Had More Time - or - Processing Death through Noise

On Sunday, August 18th one of our cats passed away. We had adopted her from Deb’s mother last September when she moved to a new apartment. We knew she was very old and had some health issues; three legs and a hyper active thyroid. But we thought we had more time.

Wurli was originally named Girly. She was Girly most of her life but I felt really silly calling her that. So, after a couple weeks I decided to start calling her Wurli because it seems like it would sound similar enough to not confuse her. Partially the new name was fitting because, for an elderly 3-legged cat, she whirled around our home with seemingly no effort, but mostly I was renaming her after a Wurlitzer electric piano. I told Deb, “The best Wurlitzers are old and have missing or broken parts.” George used to have a very finicky one. It was also black, like Wurli.


We aren’t really sure what happened. When we noticed her limping oddly Saturday night we decided to call the vet in the morning. Unfortunately by morning she was unable to stand on her own and started to slowly drift away. By the time we got to the vet her heart rate was down to 40bpm, her tiny lungs were barely functioning, and there was only one realistic option. The vet’s best theory is that she had a stroke, or more likely a series of strokes.

Later that evening I sat alone in the studio and punched guitar pedals on and off, twisting tone and volume knobs, no guitar plugged in, just the buzzing of an exposed cable tip hanging over a keyboard stand. I think I “played” the pedal for about 30 minutes, letting noise wash over me. I felt a little more at peace so I made dinner.

As I was cooking I decided I would write a song for Wurli with some variation of the pedal noise as its basis. I planned to do it nearly immediately, the first free night I had, Tuesday. Instead, George was ready to record some vocals for another project so we took care of that Tuesday and my ode to Wurli was slightly delayed.

Finally, this past weekend, Sunday, one week after her passing, I recorded 24 minutes of noise, then wrote and recorded 8 minutes of processed Wurlitzer. On Monday I edited both together into a nearly 11 minute track, added a bass synth, and mixed it. Today I made cover art and posted “We Thought We Had More Time” to Bandcamp.

I really hope Wurli’s last year, here with us, were as good for her as they were for us. We all miss you Wurli. The other cats, Z and Xinnia, would never admit it but I think they do. I know Deb and I do.



Jeremy WilkinsComment