Wednesday, April 29, 2009

reactions and contemplations

Jeremy, thanks for sharing so much on this blog! I wonder if others will see the opportunity in it that you have. If not, no big deal I guess. Sometimes my hopes become expectations and that's never a healthy thing, but I guess its always important to try, right?

I think spring is a powerful season - actually the most powerful season, because its an obvious phase of change for us and our surroundings, and obviously a time of growth and rebirth. I wonder sometimes how we are so intrinsically connected to the world in this way, that when new plants are born, we feel some sort of urge to be reborn too. As people who pursue art and music, it resonates that part of our world all the more I think.

I had a walk that turned into a meditation last night, which I was reminded of when I read the quote that John shared with you. Finding balance between experiencing the world and acting in it can be difficult, but I think that is where some significant meaning lies.

While I was walking, my head was spinning, probably in spiral-like forms, transcending further into a rather esoteric, and thus, pointless matter in my head. I've recently found a new passion in songwriting, but immediately feel frustrated because I don't have as much expressive skills on piano and guitar as I wish I had. Its one of those situations where I want all my musical abilities to be on par with my most expert musical abilities. Which is obviously silly, and I consciously realize that. But what can you do?

While I was coming to some powerful realizations about my musical past, trying to connect the dots and come to new, more profound conclusions, my mind seemed so cluttered, it just wanted to shut off. And I realized, then and there, that that was the most important step I could come to. My mind has been getting in the way of my music. As it does more often than not.

So as I was walking along the street, I just shut my inner dialogue completely down (over time of course, meditation is a slow process obviously) but it was so beautiful to experience the simplest of surroundings in the most deep and meaningful way. We all have this happen in moments of our life, but its when you prolong those moments when you come to know bliss, you know?

And I realized that all the artists and musicians who have really found the deepest levels of their self-expression, they weren't sitting there thinking "I need to do this" or "perhaps I will sound like this" or any intellectualization of their work. They just do. They feel the calling, they don't question it, and they just do. they act. Don't judge, don't question, don't doubt, don't fear, just do.

And as simple as that is... its surprisingly difficult to manifest in your life, in the things that you care deepest about. But its like that quote iterates - open yourself to the world, and it will present itself to you in all its beauty. There is inner beauty that can come out too, and express itself in countless ways, but only if you are able to open yourself fully to it. Here's to spring!

Monday, April 27, 2009

an april treatise

Taking long walks in the rain. Deciding that the rain is not assaulting me, but caressing me. April can be great practice. Rain can be beautiful tactilly, sonically, and visually. I tried to listen to everything on the outside and quiet the voice on the inside that vacillated between a running commentary of what I was experiencing and my inner voice singing "Ooh, Baby Baby" by Smokey Robinson. The sound of trains and cars swishing through puddles, the sound of drops hitting my coat lapel, random bits of conversation - all of it motion. Then my inner voice started recalling wave length. One size creates light, another size produces sound, another is radio waves, another is atomic vibration, another is a second, another is a year, another is a millenia. When I looked hard at the lights I saw, I could hear a pitch - somewhere, somehow. Not a pitch you can recreate with the voice, but a vibration that can be heard in the eyes. I don't think it was synethesia. I'm not gifted in that way. After a long walk in the rain, I got to a show. It was improvised dance and music. Unfortunately, I take that shit seriously and have very high expectations. I couldn't feel the communication between the dancers and the musicians. The musicians were playing and the dancers were moving to a soundtrack. I could not sense dialogue or communication. Or love. Everyone seemed very talented and maybe that worked against them. Screechy apocalyptic noises and me having to FIGHT not to fall asleep. Of course, I also credit the Mexican food with making me a little sleepy, but the performance didn't help. There is a part of me that appreciates the creative process and adores the risks involved in experimental improvisation. There is another part of me that wants to be moved by the expression of others. That part craves the creation of a contemporary mythology in art and needs work that inspires me - not just to create, but to get out of bed in the morning, to have faith in life and love and the passionate pursuit of whatever the fuck you pursue. It's a lot to put on myself and it is a lot to expect from other performers. I get it. But seriously. Isn't that what this is all about?

Once Again

The first time I ever did psychedelics, John Nipper called from the beach and told this to me:

You don’t need to leave your room.
Remain sitting at your table and listen.
Don’t even listen, simply wait.
Don’t even wait.
Be quite still and solitary.
The world will freely offer itself to you.
To be unmasked, it has no choice.
It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

It is a quote from Franz Kafka. I lost my shit, needless to say and I still feel it every time I reread it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My Favorite Things

I just want to share the fact that I'm having a day worth remembering. And it just occurred to me a few minutes ago that I've had almost no human interaction, excepting a few text messages and a couple brief exchanges with the floor staff of the Handlebar. Wonderful lunch, bass clarinet practice, "So What" on the rhodes with stacked 4ths, two hours of walking on a sunny/cloudy day and getting caught in a perfect spring shower, becoming acquainted with Ramsey Lewis, and looking forward to seeing the Brad Mehldau solo piano show with a beautiful woman I'm totally smitten over. Reading Siddhartha and Ishmael, cleaning my bathroom and just fucking ENJOYING EVERYTHING! Oh yeah, and I recently discovered my zipper has been down pretty much all day. Hoorah!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Favorite Classic Soul Singer

A. Marvin Gaye
B. Sam Cooke
C. Al Green
D. Otis Redding
E. Smokey Robinson
F. Other