Saturday, July 18, 2015

Hotter than July

So far this summer I've been very fortunate. My good fortune has been determined by the run of cool temperature days that have been accompanied with rain. It has spared me from enduring extremely hot temperatures in a home without air conditioning. Thankfully I have an attic fan, so on these hottest days I can use nights to cool my house a few degrees and make it tolerable.

Now the temperatures have decided to take an uptick & I'm sweating guilty party an interrogation room. It's fitting that the worst of it didn't hit until the middle weeks of this month. By my recollection, since 1997 in particular, the middle of July has been an ominous season for me. The summer heat usually presages vivid dreams containing elements that hint at precognition. Take that for what you will but from my experience it's unwise to ignore omens and disregard patterns of behavior and circumstance.

For me, looking at life cyclically is essential to prevent me from making the same emotional and pragmatic decisions that have led to upset and tumultuous times in my life which I would prefer to not repeat. These are hard lessons, but important ones to heed. When you've paid sweat equity and bear the scars of Love's Labour's Lost it's better to acknowledge all that's come before and be wiser for it, than to look forward constantly with no sense of perspective and someday find you've been going in warped ellipses.

To be stuck in the middle of July perpetually, sweating bullets trying to figure out how to carry on, without autumn or winter, without the spring, without the cold of the night to relieve the heat of the day, is nothing short of condemnation.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Might As Well Face Facts...

As an occasional journalist, I take an interest in listening to or reading interviews with artist I'd otherwise deem enigmatic.  My own experiences meeting artists and performers, and my own experiences as an artist and performer have taught me that people are people, their variances in personality having little to do with how we categorize or laud them.  But still, there's the mystique, the artifice or creating an aesthetic, a persona for people to be intrigued by or identify with, which engages us.  Actively undermining or reinforcing that is something of a gamble, because, as I said, people are people, and not all people are decent.

All that said, I heard an interview from someone who is very good at conjuring mystique, possibly in part because it's projected onto them to begin with?  Regardless, in what can be considered a very "down to earth" and humanizing interview the artist acknowledged having a rough childhood.  There was no specification on just what that entails, but from what's known about the artist, and what our standards are in this day and age, as far as dysfunction and trauma, I'm sure it was nothing to scoff at.
In the past, a part of me actively identified with the notion of having a "rough childhood" because, regardless of how I choose to orient my attitude towards it, my childhood was far from ideal.  There was violence, cruelty, dejection, perversion, and confusion from the onset of my capacity to remember.  My understanding or rationalization of the idea of being "born into sin" is a direct reflection on my experiences as a child. I thought myself innocent, but I was not surrounded by innocence. At best I was too young, and thus naive and ignorant of just how damaging and potentially corrupting the things I was exposed to were. When it's common place for people who ought to love each other to be cruel and sadistic towards each other, behavior you learn to model before you can recite the alphabet that doesn't bode well for future developments.

I have a good memory, as most of my friends can attest.  I don't think this is some biological endowment. It's a check on my character.  My moral compass isn't oriented on some arbitrary good like true north, it's shattered into bits, and rests on one side of a scale with stones that ought to have been cast at me for my indiscretions from my childhood onward. By process of elimination the correct moral path was made apparent, no longer obscured by those who undermined their own authority with behavior that was contrary to it.  I don't think anyone should be forced to discover their conscience by broaching what they later find to be unconscionable. A lifetime spent tip-toeing around the line that ought not be crossed increases the likelihood that it is.  It's better to put as much distance between yourself and that line as possible. For that to be possible it has to be made clear.  For that to happen most people need to have it pointed out to them by someone they trust, who has gotten close enough to the line to say definitively, "This is the point of no return, do not go beyond this point."  It's a little paradoxical, because would that person have to exercise judgement contrary to conventional wisdom, as I defined it, to get close enough to make out that moral line clearly?

I like to think our lives are the summations of the choices we make, but they are also the summation of choices that were made for us when we lacked the power or knowledge to make them. It's up to us how we reconcile the consequences of those choices.  Nevertheless, there's a weight that comes with that grounds us.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Sans Prompts

Dropping the musical prompts pretty much derailed this blog.  That and eliminating a number of stressful thought processes from my life.  There are plenty of other things that could prompt me to write, but without having a song to veil my emotions and disclosures I'm inclined to keep those matters to myself.  It's strange how easy it is for me to document the stability in my life by my compulsion to write about it.  Some of that may be the impact of ambivalence.

I remember telling someone close to me that life doesn't have to be complicated.  Things are simple and straight forward, and it's our own behaviors and rationalizations that complicate things.  An inability to be honest, with our selves and others is one of those key sources of frustration.  The desire to change the will of others to satisfy our own is another.  The lack of respect and appreciation for life creates so much turmoil.  A lack of respect and appreciation for innocence is just as damaging.

I try to be pragmatic and think about what causes so much complexity in life.  Asking the question, "Why?" seems like scapegoat.  I don't think that's the issue.  If you've ever been around a 3-4 year old kid, the question "Why?" comes up a lot.  Rather than view it as a sign of just how perceptive and curious a child is, a lot of people respond with exasperation. They respond in a way that makes it seems like explaining is a burden, or being questioned is a challenge.  I just think it's a manifestation of intelligence.  We are made to wonder.  This is what sparks the imagination.

There is no crime in not having all the answers, and there should be no shame in it.  We have our limits, and given the complications we make for ourselves, they encroach on us further with every new thread we spin. The acceptance of these limits is an acknowledgement of the horizon. We have a depth of field, and that's okay.  Our limitations aren't set by what one person can do, or one generation. The potency of humanity comes from the power of the collective becoming more efficient and productive over generations.  We approach life like a 100 meter dash, when it's a relay race to infinity.  We run the risk of falling out of the running if we don't take care of ourselves, and the baton we're meant to hand off to our successors.  The goal isn't to win the race, it's to never stop running.  Our only competition is our attitude towards the value of living as a whole.

If life is worth perpetuating, shouldn't our focus be on taking every measure available to ensure that it is?  Our aspirations within our epochs should be balanced between improving the quality of life for the whole of humanity, and all life on Earth during our time, while advancing our capacity to preserve life when this epoch ends.  As it stands, we are locked in a mental trap such that the value of living, and life is mutable.  Relativism in regards to the value of life undermines our progress and threatens the existence of life as we know it. It has become the fundamental complication in our existence, from which most others descend.  Our hierarchies and inequality are first and foremost justified by the idea that some lives are more worthy than others.  That is an unsustainable orientation for humanity.

Alone, a rising tide will sweep you away never to be seen again, lost to the sea. Together, we have changed the course of those very seas. Now if only we could harness that collective energy towards productive means.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Music on the Horizon...

2015's Notable Releases

Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love


Fiction Plane - Mondo Lumina (Europe)

Jose Gonzalez - Vestiges and Claws
Steve Earle - Terraplane
Juliana Hatfield Three - Whatever, My Love

Death Cab for Cutie - Kintsugi
Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell
Bjork - Vulcinara
Noel Gallagher & the High Flying Birds - Chasing Yesterday


Dustin Kensrue - Carry The Fire

Other Lives - Rituals

Van Hunt - The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets

Paul Weller - Saturn's Patterns


James Taylor - Before This World


Thundercat - The Beyond/ Where Giants Roam
Wolf Alice - My Love Is Cool

The Velvet Teen - All Is Illusory

Highly Suspect - Mister Asylum


Jill Scott - Woman

Chelsea Wolfe - Abyss

P.O.D. - The Awakening


Rising Fawn - Sifting Through Sadness

Gary Clark Jr. - The Story of Sonny Boy Slim


Chris Cornell - Higher Truth
Metric - Pagans In Vegas
Meg Myers - Sorry
Lydia - Run Wild
Say Hi - Bleeder's Digest


The Dears - Times Infinity Vol. 1
Los Lobos - Gates of Gold
Patty Griffin - Servant of love
Sexwitch - s/t
The Dead Weather - Dodge and Burn


Des Ark - Everything Dies
Duncan Sheik - The Ledgermain

Dave Gahan & Soulsavers - Angels & Ghosts

The Neighborhood - Wiped Out
Ian Fletcher Thornley - Secrets
Jerry Gaskill - Love & Scars

Seal - 7


Chris Isaak - First Comes the Night

Coldplay - A Head full of Dreams

Eliot Sumner - The Information
Besnard Lakes - A Coliseum Complex Museum


Bloc Party - Hymns


Trixie Whitley - Porta Bohemica

Lissie - My Wild West
Sanctus Real - This Is Love
Lacey Sturm - Life Screams


Kula Shaker - K2.0


Rob Crow's Gloomy Place - You're Doomed. Be Nice
Esperanza Spalding - Emily's D+Evoluition
Nada Surf - You Know Who You Are

Pete Yorn - Arrangingtime

Damien Jurado - Visions of Us On the Land

The Joy Formidable - Hitch
O'Brother - Endless Light

Andrew Bird - Are You Serious
Explosions In the Sky - The Wilderness
Tancred - Out of the Garden

Deftones - Gore

PJ Harvey - The Hope Six Demolition Project


Prince - Hit N Run Phase 2
She Makes War - Direction of Travel

David Bazan - Blanco

Mudcrutch - 2
Saosin - Along the Shadow

Beth Orton - Kidsticks
Band of Skulls - By Default
The Jelly Jam - The Profit
Thrice - To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere
Project Nfidelikah
Travis - Everything At Once

Tegan & Sara - Love You To Death
Judy Collins & Ari hest - Silver Skies Blue
Gates - Parallel Lives
The Kills - Ash & Ice
Paul Simon - Stranger to Stranger

Shawn Colvin & Steve Earle - Colvin & Earle
Angelo Moore & The Brand New Step - Centuries of Heat

The Tragically Hip - Man Machine Poem
Margaret Glaspy - Emotions & Math
Radiohead - Moon Shaped Pool
Starflyer 59 - SLOW

Bat For Lashes- the Bride
Maxwell - blackSummersnights

Switchfoot - Where the Light Shines Through


Owen - King of Whys
Spill (Marc Walloch) - Through the Seasons

Brendan Canning - Home Wrecking Years

John Paul White - Beulah
Alex Cameron - Jumping the Shark

Joseph - I am Alone, No You Are Not

Local Natives - Sunlit Youth
Anthony Green - Pixie Queen
The Dear Hunter - Act V: Hymns With the Devil In Confessional
Wilco- Schmilco

Taking Back Sunday - Tidal Wave

D.A.R.K. - Science Agrees
Jonatha Brooke (Pledgemusic) - Midnight Hallelujah

Krief - Automatic
Bon Iver - 22, A Million
Doyle Bramhall II - Rich Man

Balance and Composure - Light We make
Norah Jones - Day Breaks
Phantogram - Three

Barcelona - Basic Man

American Football (II)
Jimmy Eat World - Integrity Blues
Kevin Devine - Instigator
Joan As Police Woman - Let It Be You
Tom Chaplin - The Wave

Nada Surf - Peaceful Ghosts


Sting - 57th & 9th

Highly Suspect - The Boy Who Died Wolf

John Legend - Darkness and Light
Childish Gambino - Awaken, My Love

Makari - Elegies

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A post just doesn't seem like a post if it doesn't have a song link.

The ubiquitousness of tangental music references in my life is weighing heavily on me right now because I just can't find a sense of peace with myself without having some music associated with this ramble.  That's a proof of a problem if ever I needed one.  How am I going to get over it?  I guess I am just going to have to figure out how to let go of the gimmick and speak my mind when I am inspired rather than invoking a prompt to justify some faux focus for my thoughts that will be mangled by being shoehorned into alignment with a song, or shoehorning a song to mean what my rambling requires. The stream of consciousness is forking and I am trying to reclaim my mind as a unique synthesis of influences that recognizes resemblances rather than adopting looks to portray my aspirations of actualization. If anything this will be a vocabulary workout the way Freestyling and writing BAD poetry was when I began my journey as a musician, and keeping a journal prepped me for editorializing in music journalism.  Anyway, one down...