Hunting the groove

Well now, I've been at a loss for words.

My life seems to be dominated by music or sound. It seems to take up a very large portion of my free time. But even so, I have a very limited amount of time for it. I can live with that. Survival must come before self-indulgence.

The last year has been one of revelation for me, musically. It began when last August I got some quite crushing critique on my playing, especially the rhythmic sense of my playing. It was crushing for the reason that I couldn't even understand the points that the critiquers were making. For a couple of months I pondered and tried to listen, but understanding just would not come. I just could not hear the rhythmic points that I was supposed to hear, at least according to these people for whose musical understanding I have not a little respect.

The funny thing was that I DID finally grasp what they were getting at. It was small nuance, but it took ages to understand. And when that understanding came, it came in a moment, on a Wednesday evening. One of those little moments of illumination. And afterwards I have understood and been able to correct that part in my playing at least mostly. I now have a little more understanding of the feel of rhythm.

From there I continued on with musical introspection. The main questions at this time being rhythm and feel. And after spending quite a while in the spring recording and mixing a two-song CD, I feel that I have gained some more illumination. But it is an uphill battle for one who has so little time these things.

The greatest thing about these small points that I have understood is the increased understanding of the rhythmic feel of music. Self-analysis is easier as is the channeling of emotion into my playing. And that last part is a BIG thing. I get more out of playing than I did before and I also feel that I am able to put more of myself and emotion into my playing.
  • Current Music
    Porcupine Tree: What Happens Now?

Another book list

To continue an old habit:

1. Books I've recently read:
Martin: Hellenistic Religions - An Introduction
Cornwell: The Alfred the Great series
Pinch & Trocco: Analog Days - The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer
Burkert: Babylon, Memphis, Persepolis - Eastern Contexts of Greek Culture

2. Books I'm currently reading:
Abrahams: Hawkwind - Sonic Assassins
McCauley & Lawson: Bringing Ritual to Mind - Psychological Foundations of Cultural Forms
Erickson: Brief Lives of the English Monarchs - From William the Conqueror to Elizabeth II
Boardman et al.: The Oxford History of Greece and the Hellenistic World
Gazzaniga et al.: Cognitive Neuroscience - The Biology of the Mind
Huysmans: The Damned (Là-Bas)
Herodotus: Histories
Womack: Elvissey
Dawkins: The God Delusion


3. Book waiting in line:
Turcan: The Cults of the Roman Empire
Sorensen: A Cognitive Theory of Magic
Kerenyi: Eleusis


4. Books I want to read:
Witt: Isis in the Ancient World
Trappenberg: Fundamentals of Computational Neuroscience


5. Book I last left unfinished:
Errr, ummm, Crowley: Wicca :)
Dumezil: Archaic Roman Religion
Herodotus: Histories
  • Current Music
    Skyclad: Quantity Time

Silly grin

I wore a silly grin for most of the weekend.

It seems that our gig on friday went down really well with the audience. Friends and strangers liked us and had a good time. I had a good time and the whole group felt really great.

It was quite a rush. It was fun to play, although there were problems too. Like thinking that I was playing out of tune because I couldn't hear the guitarist and the stage resonated strangely. But, locking with the drummer and playing myheart out. Loving the songs.

I've come down now and resumed my normal life. But the taste lingers. I'm getting ready for next weekend's recording session. I'm thinking about how to record the bass. I'm thinkin about synthesizer-sounds. I'm also concentrating very much on other aspects of my life, like work and loved-ones.
  • Current Music
    Radio Kuu - Pieni tekokuu

Jitters

We're playing a gig tomorrow. The second one with this group. I'¨m feeling tingly and jittery. Anticipation.

Even more fun is the fact that we're going to start recording two songs after the gig. I really like recording. Even though playing songs live is great and the songs get a feel to them, I still am more excited about recording. About making a "definitive" version of a song. Of being able to add all those little bits that really can't be done live. Of aiming for some sort of momentary perfection. Oh yes, that is so much fun. And hard work.
  • Current Music
    Lento - Subterrestrial

Another new year?

And I just can't stop hearing the Meat Puppets singing: "Whoever made up the calendar was wrong, it's new year's all year long". So there.

An arbitrary date.

All the same, enjoy it!
  • Current Music
    Meat Puppets: Leaves

Brighter notes

I decided to write something more positive than my previous message.

Lately I've been listening to interesting music. Namely two artists come to mind: the early 80's American punk/hardcore trio The Minutemen and jazz-fusion bassist Jonas Hellborg.

Though musically totally different, it does seem that these two have something in common: a total, uncompromising attitude towards their music. I enjoy that in music, though by no means do I mean that it is the ony way etc. But these artists do show me how great things can come out of relentlessly pursuing your ideals. It brings a sense of power and drive to the music. The gleam in the eye of the musician is visible through the music. This I like.
  • Current Music
    Jonas Hellborg - Kali's Son

Work is the curse of the drinking classes...

I've been working. Quite a bit. It feels like work is bleeding out of my ears and other orifices. I'm too tired to do anything but work and some music related stuff. Actually, the music part is what gives me energy.

The really negative part of this is that I seem to be retreating into my own head. I'm even less sociable than usual. I only seem to think about work and music, and even those thoughts are not very creative, rather just observing or performing under outside pressure.

Next week a new course starts, so maybe that will bring change? I hope so, because feeling numb like this is strange.

Today I'm going swimming. Two weeks ago swimming felt good. I'm tryingto pick up the habit of swimming at least once a week.

We'll see. I'm hopeful, as I am not feeling bad, just a kind numb. And quite often while playing music I feel exhilarated too.

And on a more humorous note, though relating to all this, one of my customers remarked that have I noticed that we're all working so much that we don't have the time or energy for drinking anymore. That got me thinking. Not that I drink so much anyways, but the fact that I've drunk absolutely no alcohol for months. (One nightcap last weekend). Strange.
  • Current Music
    The Minutemen - Beacon Sighted Through Fog

Working in a coal mine...

Going down, down...

Lots of work.

When stressed and tired from work I usually get terrible pangs of G.A.S. (= Gear Acquisition Syndrome). It's very strong right now.

Oh well...

Surfing the low frequencies...om mani padme BOOOOM!
  • Current Music
    Jonas Hellborg: Kali's Son

Books...

About a year ago I posted a list like this in Finnish. I felt it was interesting idea, so I'm doing an updated (or maybe not as updated as i would like...) version of it.

1. Books I've recently read:
Mithen: Prehistory of the Mind
Burkert: Ancient Mystery Cults
Moore (?): Strangers in Paradise series

2. Books I'm currently reading:
Crowley: Wicca (yeah, I know, I know)
Beard&North: Religions of Rome, vol. 1 History
A few Lobo comics

3. Book waiting in line:
Martin: Hellenistic Religions, an Introduction
McCauley&Lawson: Bringing Ritual to Mind, Psychological Foundations of Cultural Forms
Turcan: The Cults of the Roman Empire

4. Books I want to read:
Too many to list.

5. Book I last left unfinished:
Errr, ummm, Crowley: Wicca :)
Dumezil: Archaic Roman Religion

Vacation! Feels almost like a holiday!

So, I'm on vacation. Two weeks! Only a couple of calls per day from customers. Freedom!

I'm really enjoying the time. Spending relaxed days with my beloved, playing lots of music, thinking about music, photographing rabbits and looking for mushrooms. What's there not to like? The rain is great, the sun is great, the lake is great.

I've actually been sleeping very poorly: nightmares and just plain insomnia. But it doesn't really matter. I can't really be arsed to care, I'm on vacation.

More bass! More overdrive! More flanger!
  • Current Music
    Meat Puppets - Swimming Ground