Sunday, March 22, 2009

Voltron got promoted?

Back in 8th Grade my childhood-friend-turned-not-friends-in-elementary-school-turned-we're-in-the-same-junior-high-school-hooray!-friends-again-friend Michael was up to some classroom mischief as he usually was, drawing comic strips on the backs of worksheets, and single-handedly created Voltron: Dungeon Warrior, a figure who would follow us through the rest of High School. I'm pretty sure between Michael, Phillip, and I, Voltron's name was at the top of more assignments turned in to that establishment than some of the students (Adam...?). 

Anyway, this is just a little post to say that none of us could've ever imagined a greater future for our friend. Voltron is not just a Dungeon Warrior anymore. He is The Defender of the Universe
And also to say that I will be watching this instead of doing any of my homework tonight. Thanks a lot, Alec Baldwin.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Simon just turned me on to this
which is currently blowing me away.
What an incredible project.
My hat's off to you, Kutiman.

Now it's Davey's turn to say all the wonderful insightful stuff I'm thinking
about how great this is.

p.s.  is it just me, 
or does the bass player on the first video look a lot like Moby?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Everything has Changed

Music just punched me in the face with the most beautiful gift it could muster for one glorious weekend. 
As if a rebuttal and a re-affirmation of the previous post, Music broke down and rebuilt my understanding of her in two days.

Friday I wrote the Deep Musicality post and then went immediately to the Fictionist show at Velour in Provo.
I had vague expectations of a really good local show, mostly from the video on their website, but I had no idea I would be swept away into the most enthralling psychedelic indie rock I've ever heard. Really, these guys cover everything from Pink Floyd to Cold War Kids like it's nobody's business (their show was actually a lot better than Cold War Kids'...). Their sound is so full and wonderful, so many beautiful, weird noises and so much musicianship. Fantastic bass/drum synergy. Go see them if you ever get the chance.
I went home with a smile, couldn't sleep, hell-bent on making music for the rest of my life, but wanting more than anything to put together a band to create the kind of fullness and richness of sound that Fictionist gets with their six-member ensemble. Until...

Saturday I saw Bobby McFerrin (see last post) at Kingsbury and had every neural circuit in my brain completely re-wired. He is truly one of the great creative innovators of our time. And he does it all by himself, no band, no instruments, just his voice and his body. There is truly nothing like it. I came out of that show with more than a smile on my face. McFerrin burst me open with playfulness.
There is 
in his craft.
I went home and goofed around with my guitar and my voice until about 2 in the morning. And I was so happy.

Look forward to a very different live show coming from me in the future. I owe it to this weekend, and these two groups. I feel like they perfectly combined two diverging musical desires that I've had into a single attainable musical vision. And it feels so good.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Deep Musicality

I recently read Arne Naess' "Deep Ecology", an essay (and subsequent branch of philosophy) based on the idea that humans are intrinsically connected with ecology and vice-versa. For humans to flourish, everything else must flourish as well, and for the earth to flourish so must humans (although humans flourishing from a Deep Ecological standpoint may someday include not existing). The essay wasn't just about ecology and sustainability for me. It was about music.

Soul, raw humanity, earthiness, are all things I've been trying to get back to musically. Having finished the album, a work in most cases of my desire to showcase myself as best I could, I was told by a friend that I needed to rediscover what first drew me to live performance and translate that into my recording. I haven't performed in an embarrassingly long time.

I began thinking about what connects people to music. What makes music so human and humanity so musical. And so I began thinking about musicians who exemplify for me that humanity so essential to the very best raw live performances. The first that came to mind was Richie Havens' semi-improvised Woodstock performance of Freedom. Then I thought of John Martyn's May You Never. Both are wonderful examples of live performances which emanate humanity through some kind of raw connection that these performers have with what Music has to say.

The seminal example for me, however is this:
Background: Bach, in his time, was a rock star. He was cool. People, non-musicians, related to what he had to say. Today musicians study him, but his music isn't really palette-able to the general public anymore. I believe though, that because Bach had a real and deep connection to what Music had to say, that it is mostly a matter of the performance. Solo piano with no vocals is no longer palette-able to the general public.

Point: There is a way to make Bach cool. But it's not this. The use of electric guitar in classical music is replicated ad nauseum on youtube... and it hasn't stopped being annoying yet.
It's this
Bobby McFerrin has, through his connection to the practice of Deep Musicality, connected to an audience of 21st Century Americans through an improvisation on a Bach piece. And it's real. And it's beautiful.

Most people know Bobby McFerrin only through his single "Don't Worry, Be Happy," a song which is actually pretty cool considering it is still the only #1 Billboard Hit to be entirely a cappella, using only overdubs of his own vocals (take that Bjork). However, it's hardly his crowning achievement. He has taken the study of the voice to a transcendental level unheard of in modern music, and people connect to it. He possesses obvious virtuosity but it doesn't make his music inaccessible to the non-music-playing public. Because it's just plain awesome.

I'll post more about this later. Deep Musicality is something I plan to explore hopefully for the rest of my life. And the fact that I got through this whole thing without talking about live shows I've actually been to means this is definitely not over.


p.p.s. He's at Kingsbury tomorrow (Saturday March 7th, 2009). And I'm going.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Once every month or so 
I run into a song that I describe to people as unstoppable,
meaning mostly that it's just really really good,
but also that it transcends musical borders
and possesses infectiousness without resorting to catchiness.

One thing I plan to do with this blog is throw a lot of music out,
and so for my first post,
I'll point you to my latest unstoppable song,
British band Tunng's Bullets.
I'd recommend not watching the video though, 
as weird and great as the visuals are.
just close your eyes and listen.
And dance if you feel so inclined.