Flaming Lips are led by an endless fount of creativity in Wayne Coyne. They have been at it for nearly 30 years and don’t seem to be slowing down. In fact, “The Terror“, is being called one of their best albums ever. With over 15 studio albums and many more compilations and extended singles, that says a lot. When I first heard this album I wasn’t in a good space to hear it and I thought it seemed abrasive and confrontational. But, when I returned to it a few months later, the depth of its rhythms and sound textures and its angelic/demonic vocals took me to another more beautiful place. Theses guys are as good as they’ve ever been with their collective music making. I can’t say enough how much this album in particular has become a source of inspiration and delight.
Tim Hecker doesn’t appear before you but the sounds he inhabits work their way from the inside out to complete a part of you that was unknown to even you. The sonic landscapes are more than textures. They are stories that somehow unfold from within. He is more than an architect of sound, an invisible puppeteer of evolving sonic histories. His album, Virgins, has quickly become a fixture in my world.
Laura Marling sings from an amazingly stable place in her heart. She sings of love and of personal awakenings. She is a fiery feminist with a preternatural self-awareness. She knows both of her instruments, her voice and her guitar, as if they were one. Her album, Once I Was An Eagle, is one of my favorites of 2013. It happens to be her fourth studio album and she’s only 23. I look forward to many more works of art from her.
This is part of my list of favorite albums of 2013. I don’t like lists, but I like to share what moved me.
The making of it, the experience of it, the sharing of it, the possibility of it.
I’m really excited about a new discussion/form service called “Branch“. They’ve been in private beta for awhile but I just got the invite saying it’s now open for me to be able to start branches. I just started one on a subject that is dear to me: Is poetry relevant in America anymore?
I read poetry regularly. I love to read it out loud. To hear the rhythms of the language to be taken to (internal) places I’ve never been before. To co-create with the text an experience that matters to me. It energizes me, it excites me, it regenerates me. Do you read? Does it do anything like this for you?
<a href=”http://branch.com/b/is-poetry-relevant-in-america-anymore”>Is poetry relevant in America anymore?</a>
I woke up one morning last week out of a dream I don’t remember, but my immediate thought was, “what is my assignment today?”. That simple question reconfigured my entire stance to the day. Not as if I was going to be told what to do but more with a sense of openness and fascination about the possibility of the day… in fact, it opened up the possibility inherent in me, and created an energy and fascination about how things, no how I would unfold within the magic of the day.
And it dawned on me how I have been out of sync at work, and how that resistance I had there (too detailed to go into here) was infecting everything else in my life: relationships, creativity, passion, writing, music, physical engagement and on and on. I have since poured myself into work and counter intuitively have since opened up the channels, gates, electric conduits in so many other areas of my life. Wow.
This isn’t new. I’ve “known” this all along but had never really “understood” it at a cosmically visceral level. So, there it is, this energy and passion that never went away but had been buried in frustration.
Unleashed now, things are moving, things are opening up. I’m engaged, I’m together, I’m being, just being. A good thing I’d say.
Having fun improvising with my son… these are two little gems from last night. Just me on guitar (via my little pignose amp and the vox mini3) and my son on drums. Whatcha think
The Palo Alto World Music Day is just a couple of weeks away! I’ll be playing at 540 Ramona (next to Coupa Cafe, a couple doors down from the Cardinal Hotel, across from NOLA). Looking forward to setting up shop there and playing my heart out. I hope to see you there!
Schedule for the Day: http://www.pamusicday.org/program.html
Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/156463397819066
I explored some other ways to compose and improvise songs this last weekend. I’ve been so focused on perfecting the acoustic fingerpicking and live singing sound that I’ve ignored creating the kind of music that I also love to listen to. The following three tracks are pretty different from I normally do. I’d love to hear what you think.
the sound of same
A (somewhat) fully realized piece as it is, but I will probably work with the middle section of the song and go somewhere different harmonically. I also feel like the latin-style percussion in parts is distracting and doesn’t quite fit. I love the solo/lead guitar in this (uses almost entirely a single note throughout the song).
if the sky
A live, improvised solo guitar piece. Created in one session using my loop pedal.
one last remembrance
Another live, improvised solo guitar piece. Created in one session using my loop pedal. I had meant to start out with a simple IV-V-I loop but somehow only a part of the IV-V piece was recorded and looped on a short few-second cycle about 30 seconds in. I went with it and created something else entirely…
I’ve been sitting in for a performance workshop class at my kids’ high school. I’m helping with their songwriting assignments by coming in to talk about my approach to songwriting, introducing music that relates to what they’re covering at the time.
Today, I came in and turned in my take on their assignment from last week: write an 8-bar melody over a I to IV vamp. I took it up in the key of G and found a nice groove at about 66bpm and started improvising some melodies over it. Eventually one solidified and I went with it. Here’s the recording I did last night that satisfies the assignment
There’s two acoustic guitar setting the rhythm, one electric guitar adding some texture and then a big solo electric guitar with the melody. Nothing too fancy, but I wanted a bit of a alt-country feel with a tiny bit of epic thrown in. I would love to hear what you think!