Studio Tour


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Scene Title Studio Tour
Synopsis Marie d'Sarthe visits Kaleidoscope Studios for a day of music and mirth.
Date January 8, 2021

Kaleidoscope Studios

Winter on the east coast usually means a lot of melt in between those dumps of snow; at the moment, the world is mostly clumps of leftover plowing and squishy ground, pavement perpetually slick with water. It lets heels click-click across the surface unimpeded, an energized stroll up to the door of Kaleidoscope Studios. Marie d'Sarthe holds out a hand to get the door to the Studio's walk-in lobby, stopping only to briefly check on her dark-hued makeup in the blank screen of her phone. Her coat is partway cloak, a rich and warm blue material that seems to glide along with her movements. Slimness gives her a heron-like quality, long legs and sharp features, body winged.

Disregarding everything else in her life, when she absorbs the energy inside, Marie seems to find an uncertain serenity. Something about knowing that this is where art is made, perhaps; the distant warble of a melody keeps her still, hands holding a purse in front of her, eyes closing some as she waits to be met.

It's only a short wait before the sound of that warbling melody becomes clearer - it's Robyn herself, humming or singing as she approaches the lobby from one of the side hallways. It's not one of her songs, not that she would expect Marie to have heard them anyway. It's a recognisable song that sits just on the edge of memory for the moment.

The door pushes open to reveal Robyn Roux, an acoustic guitar in hand and a smile on her face as she pauses in the doorway. If it weren't for the the way her long, dyed blond hair falls behind her or the sharp looking decorations on her fingers, she might look like she walked out of a goth pop version of a Siouxie and the Banshees cover band, wearing a long back skirt with lace frills, paired with dark eyeshadow and lipstick to match.

"Marie," is a pleasant greeting as the door closes behind her, guitar set down on the nearest couch in the waiting room. "Bonjour, comment ça va?" comes with a motion for Marie to step further in; she is no longer waiting, she is now officially a guest of Kaleidoscope Studios.

There is familiarity in Robyn's appearance, listing away any lingering second thoughts on the wind. Marie pivots to round on her hostess, smile wide and eyes set with that naturally lidded expression. Sometimes that smile can edge sardonic in her day to day, but right now it is an earnest one that touches at the rims of her eyes.

"Mieux maintenant." Robyn earns an equally pleased little answer, and Marie follows wherever she is led within the studio.

"You've got quite a location here, haven't you?" Passive admiration in the studio itself, interest explained away in a weak wave of hand and, "Ha… sorry, I've got realty on the brain. I haven't quite transitioned out of work mode." Surely this is something that Robyn can understand.

Robyn can't help but laugh, shaking her head. "Depending on who you ask, I never leave work mode. I'm either overanalyzing things, or self promoting myself without even realising it." She smiles wide, walking up to Marie and offering her a hand. "I'm glad you were able to make it out."

Turning back to the door she came through, she nods once. "It's a great location because it used to be a studio before I bought it, back before the war. When I was looking to move out of an apartment finally, I put thought into starting a business. This was available and…" There's a bit of a nervous laugh, more at herself than anything else. "I bought it. And most of the rest of the block. The entire upper floor's been renovated into living space."

With a little wave, Robyn moves back to the door she came through, holding it open for Marie. "It's handy to have already had two rooms perfectly suited for a studio. C'mon, I never miss an opportunity to show them off."

Marie seems to doubt the assessment of Robyn never leaving work mode, though also refrains from a commentary on it. Something about them is all too similar- - just that Marie is the one who tries to convince herself of a Line. She takes the offered hand with a polite nod, bag sliding into the crook of elbow.

"Fate, then, that this was here. And the whole block to boot? Any aspirations there?" The mix of color in Marie's eyes shifts in the light as she follows Robyn back inside, chin up so that she can inspect the presumed repairs. Her laugh stays more gentle than not, though it is quite easy to spot the playful portions in her voice. "So you live upstairs. Anyone else? Or are you a sprawling nest type like me?"

The brunette errs curious. "It must have been a small fortune, the buildings and the renovations."

"Not the whole block." The correction comes with a mirthful laugh as Robyn takes lead. "About half of it. Though I am considering getting the money together to buy the rest of it." The hallway is lined with paintings, all of which seem to be by the same painter, or at least in the same style. "But you're right, it certainly wasn't cheap."

A smile crosses her face as she looks back at Marie, and it's clear there's pride behind her words. "Do you remember Studio K? I worked there for almost a year, and by the time it closed I was the majority shareholder. When it was liquidated, the people I worked with made sure I got my fair share."

Her smile takes a bit of a sad quality as she thinks of Kincaid and Russo, one gone and the other largely busy and absent on SESA work. Quickly she looks back ahead, pointing to the two doors ahead. "Two studio rooms, for now. They're mostly the same, so unless you'd like to see both…"

Reaching one of the doors, Robyn pauses and pulls out her phone, holding a key card up to a reader on the door - the first sign that security is of the utmost importance. "Me and my son," she shares in a lower voice, one marked with a bit of uncertainty. "In the upstairs. It's quite cozy."

The paintings are given a short study, Marie's expression searching. Some of them seem… familiar, in the way of the muddied modern art scene. What is it about them? There's no time for her to stop and inspect canvasses for signatures. Perhaps another time.

Robyn's security isn't too shocking, for what Marie understands. Hers is a life fraught with danger and the studio building is secured according to just that.

"Ah… your son? I had no idea that you had any children."

"Just the one." There's a silence of consideration are Robyn decides how much she should share with Marie, someone who is still rather new in her life. "He's adopted, I took him in a few years back. It's been good for both of us." That seems like it'll suffice for the time being, at least. "His name's Matthew, he's a good kid."

A part of her had been expecting a bad reaction, for reasons she couldn't quite place her finger on. But so far, things seem fine.

A glance is given back to the paintings - Robyn caught that lingering interest of Marie's, bringing a smile back to her face. "I'm a collector. Of art, music… lots of things. I used to frequent the antique shops and go looking for strange finds all the time. Less so much now."

Finally, she pushes the door open and steps into a square room with two couches, a mini fridge, a coffee table, two guitares (one electric and one acoustic), a bass, and an electric drum pad at various points against the walls. "I call this the Green Room," she remarks, motioning to the very, very green walls. "People who aren't recording, or folks taking breaks, can hang in here and relax, revise, practice, whatever they'd like within reason."

"Oh, adopted? It's a gracious person who takes in someone else like that." Negativity doesn't seem particularly abundant when talking about kids, less even for this one. Marie nods as Robyn partly explains the paintings back in the hall, appreciative. Seal of approval. "I do a little collecting of my own… usually antiques. Most recent, some rare piano rolls…"

The Green Room is simple of course, yet Marie seems just as pleased as if it were a top of the line space. There are some things that expensive equipment can't buy. "It already has your energy to it, Robyn. That 'comfortable cool'." It's a compliment which comes with a chuckle, polite in its flattery. "I love a good jam session, even if I'm just soaking it in. That's usually how it is, I'm not much of a keyboardist as opposed to pianist…" Siblings, still different.

"Have you ever been to the Vault?" The topic of antiques seems to have piqued Robyn's interest, turning her attention from the tour back to Marie. "They always have good items. Just don't- break stuff while you're there. I've done that twice now, they don't like it terribly much." At least her chances of running into her ex-fiance there were much lower now.

Turning to the far end of the room, she looks at the two doors out of the Green Room. Slowly, she makes her way over to the left one, pushing it open with a smile. "This is the control room. I don't have the most top of the line equipment, but for the money spent it's still probably one of the better setups on this coast."

The control room is a small part of a larger room, the walls lined with ridged patches of foam to act as sound proofing, a control board on one wall and a desk with a computer, monitor, and mixing board on the other. At the wall against the control board is a window into a big room and a hanging boom mic. "It's not much, but the few clients I've had have liked how the sound has come out, so. I consider that a win."

"I've seen advertising for it, but I've never been." Marie's tone by itself seems to imply time conflicts; the sound of someone who wanted to go, but couldn't at the time. When it comes to the Control Room, it's one of those places where it's easy for people to lighten up at the sights of screens and buttons in a strangely human way.

Like sitting in a cockpit, right? Marie was never into the tech, but she can still appreciate the efforts made even if she can't navigate the setup as well as someone like Robyn could. And she knows quality in goods when she sees it, besides.

"Oh, definitely a win." A smile crooks on Marie's face as she steps nearer to the studio window, studying the reflection of her shape in the glass. "Local talent? The clients, I mean."

"Yeah. Nothing big yet. Not even any releases yet, just… demos and CD-R EPs so far." There's a moment where Robyn pauses, looking thought as a finger taps at her cheek. "I wonder if the CD printing place in Jersey I went to for my record is still in operation. I could strike up a deal with them…"

That thought drifts off, Robyn looking over at Marie apologetically as she turns and backs out of the room. "A distressing amount of my life decisions and business deals come off whims like that," she notes with a small laugh. "I've never been sure if other people operate like that."

Walking over to the other door in the Green Room, she pulls it open to reveal a much, much larger half of the room, the one the Control Booth looks into. This is clearly where the music is made and played, the far end of the room having a full traditional band setup, along with a piano, a keyboard, and a stand up bass. "Where the magic really happens. I like to come in here and just… mess around. Not for any real reason, but I don't know. It's nice. Familiar."

Her voice takes a sheepish turn at the end, before looking back at Marie. "What do you think?"

"Even if they aren't still there, I'm sure someone could fill that gap…" Once Robyn opens the door to the rest of the room, the presence of a piano as well as the keyboard gets Marie to set her bag down at the door and zero in on the former. An expression that can only be described as 'yessss' curves at her mouth and the corners of her eyes.

"I think it's lovely in that cozy way you never get in the newly minted studios- -" The brunette seems to search for a better word, eyes roaming toward the ceiling and back. "I suppose that's because… it's lived in?" Robyn did say that she comes in and tools around, just to do so. It's that feeling, except …tangible.

"May I?" The question is asked, though Marie doesn't seem to wait for an answer, begging an odd forgiveness even as she slides onto the piano bench.

"What stories do you have for me?" She's gone from talking to Robyn, to talking to the piano, slender hands brushing over well-loved keys. A wistful gesture, the accompanying feeling sitting down onto her shoulders, a tiny weight to an otherwise straight posture.

Robyn lights up - both figuratively and ever slow slightly literally - when Marie asks if she can take a seat at the piano. "Of course, Marie. Please, to your heart's content." There's a wide smile on her face - this is what she lives for, if their conversation at Rossignol's opening was any sort of indication.

As Marie runs her hands over the keys, Robyn turns and makes her way over to the drum set.Slipping behind it, she pulls out the throne stool and makes her way back over towards Marie, setting it down near but not too close. As she settles down into, her smile widens even more, waiting to see what Marie has in store for her.

In the atmosphere of the recording room, Marie can see the tiny aural halo, though only a moment is spent considering it; it could just as well be her eyes.

With no band, the piano takes on the main role for her; the start is slow, as if she is debating where to go from the testing of the keys. The melody that Marie settles on is a middling energy one, slow to start, jogging up the further it goes, a downplayed break between highs and lows. It's not the lounge jazz from Rossignol, the taste of blues- - the kind in a dim bar, a bit smoky and a bit ragged with neon at the edges- - far stronger than anything from the night they met. This is where tickling the ivories came from, isn't it? Hazel-green eyes close partway, head moving to an unheard beat.

No lyrical additions just yet; there is a sense that Robyn's visitor is taking her time and enjoying the plink of an average piano's keys, like the crackle on vinyl for someone with the right ear.

At first, all Robyn does is sit and listen. This is Marie's moment, after all. She's had plenty of afternoons in this exact room plinking away at the exact same keys, forming whatever melody found its way into her heart. Sometimes old ones, sometimes new ones, occasionally mimicked ones. To her, playing the piano was a right of passage for any serious musician coming through her studio.

Not that she requires it, that would be silly.

There's certainly appreciation on her face as she turns on the throne, slowly rising up from it as to not disturb Marie in her moment. Around the drumset she makes her way as carefully as ever. It when she reaches the bass that she stops and lifts it from it's resting place and slings it over her shoulder. She doesn't do any more yet, a smile as she appreciates what Marie has in store.

There is a clear sense of delight from Marie as she plays, steady-handed, though shoulders loose and hair shifting to frame her face when she starts looking down to the keys. Her eyes follow along with a familiarity to the song, something reminiscent, not quite distinguishable. A mimick, of a fashion. More blended than that.

For a short spell she is quite lost in her playing, lifting her brows after another moment to give Robyn a pleasantly surprised smile; then, a single nod and a laugh, the tip of a chin to coax the other woman into playing along.

"Are you worth your salt playing the blues?" Those can hit anyone, but only so many can speak truth to it.

"It's not really my discipline, no." That admittance comes in a low voice, though Robyn still musters up a smile. "But I was in jazz band in high school, and some of what I do play has roots reaching back to blues." Long story short, Robyn can fake it until she makes it.


She waits as she listens to Marie play her impromptu song, waiting for what feels like an appropriate down beat before plucking at a string. It resonates in the room and against the piano notes. As it rings out, Robyn is quick to turn her attention to the knobs, adjusting the tuning on the fly as she seeks out an open D tuning.

Playing against the piano sounds a bit awkward at first, but once she finds her tuning and rhythm, she picks a capo up from off an amplifier and slips it on to her second fret - open E, technically - and she begins to play along much more coherently when she comes back in on the next phrase.

Jazz band seems good enough for Marie, who only looks up to keep an eye on Robyn when she tunes or shifts gears; for her own part, this has more or less turned into an impromptu jam session. Her playing is organic, even if at times it changes on the wing, it always goes back to the original, enough to catch the wave again. Piano interludes are many, cemented in between by the bass.

Marie goes on with her lyricless amalgam for a time, visibly charmed by what the other woman uses to keep in step with her. The music winds down slow, keys moving to a crawl and ending in a punctuating sequence.

"…Normally," The woman at the piano turns her head, hair framing her face and smile. "I'd give it a sing, but you seemed to enjoy the sound so much." That Marie was content to lead a dance, so to speak.

As Robyn plucks at the thick bass strings - clearly opting not to use any sort of pick, playing just as she would in a rock show - she lets out a low chuckle. "Marie, I'd love to hear you sing. I'd figure you'd know. This is rather nice, though. It's been… a while since I just played music, much less with someone else."

Able to hold her own against Marie and mostly able to meet all of her subtle changes with a compelling bass line, there's only a few sour notes to be heard. "So you take lead, I'll follow," confirming what Marie already had. "Not a privilege everyone gets, much less when it comes to music you know!"

There's a matter of fact tone punctuated with a smirk and a wink at that, turning her attention back to the guitar hanging at her front. Clearly, she's enjoying herself.

"We've all got busy lives, full heads, forget to just. Do something for the sake of doing it. I hate realizing that, myself." Marie runs her fingers over the piano keys, not pressing down until she seems to choose a low note. When she does, she sighs through her nose and begins anew. There's no doubt that someone like Robyn knows the music- -

I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees,

I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees,

Asked the Lord above, "Have mercy, now, save poor Bob if you please"

Everyone knows the blues whether they know it or not. Marie's singing voice is a soft but full thing, more chest than throat and more haunt than jaunt. Something soothing moves with it, giving the aura of something like part lullaby. A power in it, though not belted off the cuff.

Standin' at the crossroad, tried to flag a ride,

Oooh ohh, I tried to flag a ride,

Didn't nobody seem to know me, babe, everybody pass me by

Blinking, something about what Marie says seems to resonate with Robyn. Her smile is soft but full, swaying as Marie starts to sing. She certainly recognises the song, which oddly has her setting down her bass guitar and crossing across the room to where two others sit on stands. Reaching down, she picks up a restored cherry red EB-3 - the exact same kind of bass Jack Bruce himself would've played for this song, and just like one she owned before the war.

It's even already tuned, just a matter of turning on it's Orange amplifier.

As Marie hits the second verse, she comes back in with a resonating pluck of an open string. She doesn't replicate Jack Bruce's bassline from Cream's version of the song, but the inspiration in how she approaches playing against Marie's voice and piano is clearly there. Resuming her sway, she closes her eyes and makes her way back closer to the piano with a widening smile on her face.

Standin' at the crossroad, baby, risin' sun goin' down,

Standin' at the crossroad, baby, eee-eee, risin' sun goin' down,

I believe to my soul, now, poor Bob is sinkin' down,

Marie's animation behind the song slows some with the shift of instruments, her eyes briefly studying Robyn between verses that take a more plodding sound, a low dive in her song.

You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown,

You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown,

That I got the crossroad blues this mornin', Lord, babe, I'm sinkin' down…

The depth settles in her voice, the piano mellowing with long notes, picking back up into the tempo familiar to the blues classic; a smile breaks out when the brunette looks back to Robyn and her guitar, just as her playing picks up.

I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees,

I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees,

Asked the Lord above, "Have mercy, now, save poor Bob if you please"

For the longest time it feels as if the duet could go on and on, the soft element of Marie's vocals like clouds against the back of one's mind- - almost ambient, rather.

For once, Robyn doesn't join in on singing the lyrics with Marie. She's never been great at sharing the spotlight, but she's more than able to acknowledge that this is Marie's moment, her lead. That leaves her to sway and pluck on the strings of her bass, eyes closing as she loses herself even further in the music.

It's not a feeling she experiences much anymore, sinking into the music like this. Much less does it get to happen with someone as skilled as Marie. But she's clearly into it, beginning to improvise more and more as the moments pass.

No longer is she emulating Jack Bruce. This is all her now, complete with flourishes she was sure she'd forgotten how to do.

And I went to the crossroad, mama, I looked east and west

I went to the crossroad, baby, I looked East and West

Lord, I didn't have no sweet woman, ooh well, babe, in my distress…

Marie allows the last verses to linger, playing at length to give Robyn those moments leading to the end.


I didn't have no sweet woman…

The piano winds down, the length of instrumentals closing up.

Ooh well, babe, in my distress…

Marie's voice lingers again, this time with the echo of the keys going out with it. An easy slide to finish everything up, a cool drink of a kind. Once the vibrations seem to really dissipate is when Robyn is receiving one of the biggest grins from her guest, the naturally narrowed look of Marie d'Sarthe's eyes seeming like the mirror of a pixie.

It isn't until her last plucked string begins to fade that Robyn reopens her own eyes, looking over towards Marie with a grin wide and mischievous. She holds her guitar in hand for a moment longer, eyes locking with Marie's in a shared moment of delight.

"It's been a long time since I've felt this… satisfied after playing music." Despite the choice of wording, there's no double entendre behind those words, just a smile and a glint in Robyn's eyes. "What an absolute treat!"

Finally releasing the guitar, she claps her hands together twice, moving over back closer to the piano, and to Marie. "I knew you had an amazing voice, Marie, but I wasn't expecting you to be good at keys, too. Have you got another one in you?"

The answer to Robyn's beaming is a small bow from Marie's seat on the piano bench, hands a small flourish. Her own grin blooms through it and cements itself. She turns her head back to the keys and runs fingertips over the surface without depressing any.

"Hmm. I think I could swing one more." Both dark brows lift up as Marie tips a look back to Robyn; her eyes carry more mirth than her smile. It's been nice, anything else aside. "I'll let you choose this time?"

"A dangerous turn of events," Robyn notes as her smile turns thoughtful, but no less mischievous. "I'm curious how much our musical interests actually overlap, but I figure we can start at an easy one, if you know how to plya guitar or can render a rhythm part on the piano."

Pulling the bass up and off her shoulders, she sets it back on it's pedestal, before making her way over to a guitar case leaning against the far wall. Setting it down, she kneels over it as she pops open the locks and opens the lid. Slowly, carefully she lifts out a beautiful Duesenberg Starplayer TV, its pink finish inlaid with matching pieces of pink pearl.

"How well do you know your Fleetwood Mac?"

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