Category Archives: words

Happy Hostilidays

I hate the holidays. They max out my schedule, max out my credit cards, and just generally do whatever they can to piss me off for two months a year. Then, my birthday comes and just lays a whole layer of funk on the whole thing.

A facebook discussion on this lead to my development of an idea for an alternative and, I think, more honest version of the Holiday season, I call “the Hostilidays”. Here is my (early) vision for this.

1. Festivities start the Wednesday before Thanksgiving when we file frivolous lawsuits against all of our nearest and dearest.
2. Instead of sending xmas cards, we serve papers. Beware carolers.
3. Mediations will be held at all the most inconvenient times between then and xmas eve when we all get together and agree to settle for bottles of alcoholic beverages.
4. Then we drink around a burning xmas tree, while exchanging neuroses.

Symbols of the holiday:
Aside from the tree to be burned, decorations also include a half burned xmas wreath and wine stained carpet.

Who wants to celebrate with me next year?

oh..and instead of “happy holidays” or “merry christmas”, the greeting for hostilidays are either “talk to my lawyer” or simply “fuck you”. I also like “You’ve been served, mother fucker!”. I think you get the point.

Your thoughts?

Deep Diving on Select Gear

It has occurred to me that I don’t really know my instruments. It has also occurred to me that some of my most popular posts from my previous blog sight were synth reviews. In the spirit of killing two birds with one stone, I’ve decided that I’m going to start doing a series of deep-dive reviews of each instrument I currently have. It seems like a fun idea and one I think will be well received.

The hard part is choosing where to start. In the spirit of being somewhat interactive, I’ll let the readers/friends decide.

Pick One:

Korg Kronos X
Roland V-Synth GT
Novation UltraNova
Roland JP8080
Studio Electronics SE1
Emu Command Station XL7 (with ROMS)
Korg Prophecy
Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2
Access Virus TI2 DarkStar
Dave Smith Instruments PolyEvolver
Ensoniq EPS16+
Emu E6400
Kurzweil K2500
Elektron Analog Rytm
Elektron Octatrack
Aka MPC1000

Vote in the comments.

Hibernation Instinct

Every year, as the days get shorter, I feel the urge to withdraw. This force compelling me to hunker down in my studio and create. This also happens after I've had my dragon raised out of my control (if you're lucky, Ill tell that story soon). It's a response by the machine in me to reassert itself – shut down emotions, temper your pasions and shrink into self. Let the purely logical guide you for a time. Feel only what you must.

This state has upsides. My creativity surges, I get a lot of work done and I feel accomplished for a time. Unfortunately, it also comes with signficant down.

I sink away from those I care about and who care about me. I hide in my hole. I am distant and unreachable. I feel a million miles away even when I am right there.

I am quick to anger because everything feels like a distraction from internal work that needs to be done. I snap. I bark. I bicker.

I feel overwhelmed by the urge to stay on the path of least resistance. Stay home. Don't go out. Break dates. Avoid social interaction. Listen to the machine.

I've been searching for the solution to this my whole life. None has presented itself.

This morning, I feel it. I feel it deep. That urge to hide. To withdraw. To sink. To fall into the temporary madness of winter and hope for spring. It's like a temporary death, you know. A dark and warm place.

I am writing this because I need help. I need understanding. I need to be open about it in order to confront it and change it. I need people to draw me out and not let me sink…to not let me hide.

I will fight you. I will. 42 years is a long time to live with something. You get to know it and embrace it, and even to think it's 'just how you are'. I can't accept that anymore. I can't do this again.

I'm going to need some help with this. I don't want to sound whiney or needy or anything. I just want to get this out so people understand.

 

Lessons learned

So where have I been? I promise a blog a day and then I disappear. Typical…

Well, I've been pretty sick, actually. I had a wonderful experience with an immediate care doctor who was certain I had something that could kill you and sent me to the ER. It all went down hill from there to eventually be found days later to be a 'non-specific viral infection' (so they don't even have a clue what it was). In any case, its over.

Its odd to say it, but I think I really *needed* that illness. I get the feeling that a big part of why I got sick was because I have been pushing myself too far. Too much work, family and general life stress mixed with definitely not enough sleep and heathy physical activity is sooner or later going to bring on a crash in someone who isn't 25 anymore (not by a long shot). I was doing too much and giving too much of myself without stopping to think about how much I had left in the tank. Last week was the crash.

So now it's a new week, and the most important part of any experience is what we learn from it. Ive taken a few lessons:

  1. I have to limit myself and take more time for activities that rejuvinate and replenish me.
  2. I have to better focus on who and what I give my time to. My priorities need some shifting
  3. I need to take care better care of my health and get more sleep in general. I just have to.

It's easy to state these things but not always so easy to follow through with them. Feeling like I have no choice in the matter helps….If I don't, next time I may not get well as quickly. I'm also sure I can count on some others to help hold me accountable to my statements.

 

 

 

Improvisation

I had a brief improvisation last night on my virus. I was just programming a patch when this sort of ambient pad piece started flowing out of my fingers. In my head, I could hear a machine loop and drums and a sort of drone off the modular..maybe a simple pulsing bass sound to push it forward..but my audience of one only heard the one part.

“I like that. It gives me images in my mind.” she said.

If only she could hear the piece as I do. What images would it draw?

The Well

For the past two years, I have found it impossible to write (music or words). Months would pass and I wouldn’t even look at my gear, or I’d turn it on and just spend time mucking about the internet instead.

Now…Its like an unbeatable force pullling me. I have to write. I *have to*. I have things in my head…lots of things…and I need to get them out. My well is full again.

So how did I go from having an empty well to a full one? What was it that triggered the the floodgates to open and replenish me?

Honestly, I have no fucking clue. It is a complete mystery why I had nothing in my head and now its full. The way it happened, you’d think aliens abducted me and uploaded these thoughts and ideas right into my brain. One day, I woke up and they were just *there*.

I wish I knew how it happens. It happened when I wrote ‘Dust‘. Out of no where, I was compelled to write and to do so at th exclusion of everything else. It was a drive that I had. I had something in my head, and I needed to get it out or my head would explode Scanners style all over the living room. What triggers it, I don’t think I will ever know.

But why isn’t important anyway. What is important is that I have a full well to draw on for the first time in a long while. I need to respect that gift by using it and not squandering it. This means some difficulties for the people around me as I become a moody bastard and lock myself in my studio for long hours. It means my mind may not always be ‘in it’ when we are discussing other things. It means that sometimes, I may be late to appointments becuase I had an idea that just had to come out RIGHT FUCKING NOW. It means that I must write, record and release this album I have within me. I must. If not, I risk running the well dry and having nothing to show for it.

 

Inspirations

I have this thing I do where I want to find ways to get everyone I know involved in my music projects. Already, the new album involves sounds that my son and I recorded and some sounds my dog made. In the past, Ive gotten friends to dub vocals over tracks or to send me sounds from their environment (yes, L, your cat is going to be on my album). I have one track, though…the first that I’ve started writing since choosing my album’s theme, which is giving me the urge to invite everyone to the party.

I started this one about a week go now. I think it’s going to be the second song on the final release…it has that feel anyway. The intro is right for it. It’s definitely not the starter, but something to follow it. Interestingly, I have words for this one which are half my own and half those of someone I recently met (call her J). I was inspired to write my half for someone I’ve known for a while (E). J read the words I posted to a forum I am a member of and replied in the comments with an extension of her own. It’s an intersting situation to be sure. One of the reasons I posted in the first place was because of J’s encouragement to continue my writing.

I’ve texted to J and asked if she would possibly read her piece and let me record it. I am considering reading my part and (for the first time ever) letting my voice appear on one of my recordings. I have a feeling Ill take one listen to my vox and find someone else to do them, but for this particular track, it will be important to have a strong male vox to contrast the female. I think J’s voice will work well, though the voice someone speaks does not always translate well to recording even when care is taken. I think it would be OK. I’d like at least one of our voices to appear on the recording.

I am hoping to possibly get E involved as well. She has been present for some of my meditational performances, and I’d like to incorporate one of her meditation chants into my recording (perhaps not on this song, but certainly on this album).

And then also there is asking A to get involved by possibly doing some photography work. I have a cover in mind for the album and I am definitely not equipted to capture it properly. I’d also need 3 models, and another pair of friends immediately sprung to mind along with E. I don’t know why, but for a guy who likes to make solo albums, I sure do seem to want to have a lot of collaboration.

Really, though, this goes with the theme of the album. All of these people, via some mechansim or other, have crossed paths into my life right at a time when I am starting to (finally) feel the urgency of creation in myself again. Through our interactions we have become entangled particles floating through this current moment.

I am not someone who believes that things happen for a reason. An ‘reason’ or ‘fate’ is simply that part of our brains that wants there to be patterns finding them. I will say, however, that I am grateful for the cast of people who have entered my life recently. With everything that’s going on (and those that need to will know what I am talking about) I am damn lucky to have find that web of entanglements to help keep me afloat. Without them I’d be as dark matter – adrift and invisible.

Maybe my choice of title and theme should not seem so mysterious to me after all?