Introducing my TuneBlog: a collection of recent instrumental works, reflecting new directions and attitudes I’ve started channeling through music. The lead-up to all this was a realization that if I had to narrow down to one thing all that I excel at creatively, it would be music, and that’s the only thing I have any business devoting my mental energy and physical effort towards. A pretty extreme notion, certainly, and probably not completely achievable (yet), but I decided to give it a shot, at least approaching work from that skewed perspective, and see how close I could get. Just release the mind and all practical considerations, and let the music be all that it is from the deepest recesses of the subconscious, guided by a balance of pure intuition and technical methodology. From this concept materialized the creative module, SchizoBrainiac.
In short, Music is not my profession. I have a day job that enables me to function so I can do this. Nothing else supports it, nothing else rationalizes the creation.
NOTE: The following tracks are linked to the SoundCloud.com music site, and occasionally might not display correctly. If this is the case, please just try reloading the page. Many, many people use the site and it is sometimes prone to traffic jams…
Sometimes you just need to scream at everyone.
A few years back I overheard a conversation, between two ex-musicians, about how they’d decided to move on into more acceptable and productive lifestyles in the working world. Playing in bands, or even on one’s own, can be very discouraging after a period of time, especially when it appears no personal progress is made from all that time and effort. “I just decided: Stop Dreaming,” one of them said. I thought about another guitarist I’d worked with around 1981, an enormously gifted musician with a great ear (never needed any key charts, picked up on melodies and harmonies instantly), who let his wife talk him into giving it up so he could go into real estate. I also thought about my own discouragement, coming from intimates and fellow band members alike, and how I’d allowed it to hold me back and stifle many original pursuits. Feedback is significant for an artist, but it can also be a suffocator. As a result, I believe I wasted years trying to find a more “practical” way to live, an exercise in futility because my heart could never be in anything else sufficiently enough to be productive, let alone prosperous. This opening track is about breaking through the imaginary barrier I’d allowed to form over my personal release, and my commitment to express all ideas regardless of incomprehension on the part of others that could result, and even regardless of the reality that no prosperity may result. And go even further than that. If what I’m doing is too beyond the scope of available listeners, I’ll continue to create music for FUTURE listeners, who may not be in the immediate vicinity, but I imagine that they are. Sometimes, in order to create art, you have to conceive an entire non-existent world for it to dwell in.
This is about fulfillment in one’s life, and how that takes priority over material gain or social status.
EL TORERO ARROGANTE
Speaking of social status…..
Once upon a time (can you tell I’m making this up?), there lived a bullfighter who was more well known for his extravagant moves in the ring than he was for his success at fighting, though he was pretty good at that too. People traveled far and wide (as well as near and narrow) to watch the brave torero fling his magnificent red cape, twirling it skywards and catching it as it returned to madden the already tormented bulls… the sequins in his vest flashed blindingly as he would hop and pirouette like a human disco ball, flinging roses to the ladies and pouting arrogantly at the delirious animals charging at him. The screams of his female admirers frequently drowned out the mariachi band accompanying the event; he was never concerned about having a place to sleep at night so much as if he was going to GET any sleep, with all the women he bedded on a regular basis. Ah, the rigors of celebrity! Sadly, one day it all caught up to him…. the guys in the mariachi band were getting tanked on tequila, since no one listened to them anyway, and one of them carelessly spilled half the bottle into the bull pen. The thirsty bull lapped it up and became instantaneously hammered. The torero had spent the last 13 nights getting laid, and (semi-delirious from sleep deprivation) was so focused on showing off his new cape-shaping stunt he didn’t notice the furiously intoxicated bull roaring up behind him until he turned around…. a bit too late. The bull caught him up in his horns and, blinded by the surprised torero covering his eyes, galloped full speed and collided into the wall of the bull pen, killing both instantly.
Okay, enough of this barbaric incivility, let’s take a look at more enlightened culture…
WOLFERS AND TWEETERS
An internet fable. This scenario opens with a gruff, grumpy troll stomping along the web highway, in search of someone to invalidate. Along comes the twittering little Bluebird of Happiness, merrily posting snippets about every little thing she did this morning, all her favorite foods and songs on YouTube, all her little insights and philosophical quotations…. Troll is irritated to the bounds of sanity by all this, becomes obsessed with making Bluebird his next prey. But as he raises his spiked club to strike, she suddenly swoops down, pecks him, and infects him. After a brief head spinning moment, he becomes a full-on internet addict, surfing website after website, starting accounts, making online purchases for 30% below retail, downloading movies, books, music ….. all these things infuse him with a giddy sense of power he’d never known before. He goes on like this for days until he collapses from mental exhaustion…. but Bluebird brings him a cafe mocha grande (with a triple shot) from Starbucks, and he’s up and running again, this time gathering all manner of information from news sites, WikiPedia, Snopes and posting multiple blogs in WordPress…. he has evolved from a brutal troll to an enlightened internet geek, and lands a well paying career as a tech support manager. He marries Bluebird, and they spend many happy days thereafter in the park, texting each other on their smart phones and 4G WiFi tablets.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the park…
THE HARPSCOTCH BUTTERFLY PUDDING EFFECT
Señor Gamboa knew when he awoke that morning this was to be his final day of life, and he chose to spend it in the city park with his 5 year-old great-granddaughter. He watches her dancing hopscotch, her favorite recreation, and as his life slowly ebbs away, he enters a state outside of the bounds of time. He sees the little girl grow into an adult woman, experiences life through her eyes, all the joys and pain and changes — His last vision is of her as a great-grandmother, watching her own successor dancing on into the unknown future.
THE PRINCE OF TEXARKANA
My tribute to the amazing player piano studies of composer Conlon Nancarrow. Originally I’d wanted to transcribe one of the actual studies, a daunting prospect to be sure. A bit too daunting, though I’m sure I’ll get to it at some point. Meanwhile, consider this little impression sort of a simplified emulation of the actual thing… and while you’re at it, you might as well check out his work.
Another tribute, this one somewhat more personal. The original version of this was created as a semi-spontaneous improv on 4-track around spring of 1983, shortly after the birth of my son. Before he was born, his mother and I had attended natural childbirth classes and I learned, among other things, three new words: vernix, lanugo and muconium. Feel free to look them up for the exact definition — suffice to say the emergence of this piece on THAT recording absolutely lived up to the name. I had always wanted to do a proper, more solidly structured version, and in October of 2009, I finally got around to it. As before, dedicated to my son Jorden Wray Goodspeed, with a perspective on the years’ passing since its (and his) initial emergence.
And yet another dedication —
STARCHILD 4 4E
This piece seemed to come out of nowhere one weekend in early December 2008. The idea, structure and arrangement were completed inside of about six hours, as if it had composed itself with a little assistance from me. After it was completed, I found out about the recent passing of Forrest J Ackerman, the Godfather of Sci-Fi; a man who had been an enormous influence as a catalyst for my imagination, so it seemed right to dedicate the piece to his memory and his name (“4E” was one of his nicknames). The music itself doesn’t really suggest the sci-fi / fantasy / horror realm he has dedicated himself to, so much as acknowledge an abundant life of experiences and accomplishments, and the peaceful satisfaction of releasing it all.
And on the subject of release…
…as well as on the subject of music coming out of nowhere — This curiosity was created as a study in absolute randomness, from a blank page, with no preconceived themes, little if any ideas of development, a spontaneous outburst whose only rule was to avoid repeating themes/events as much as possible… as close as I could come to improvising with sequential structure. In short, composed entirely utilizing dream logic. No scenarios or dedications here; the source of this work will always be a mystery, as well it should be.
A fanfare for the uncommon — A finale to wrap this set, but to leave with an implication that I’m just getting started. Again.
Throughout the creation of much of this material, there was always a sense of trying to reach beyond what I’d (up until now) been capable of. I think about the future a lot… not so much a future with me in it, but a world way beyond that, with different thoughts, different ways of expression, and of course different music. That’s what keeps me the most interested in continuing to compose. If I thought all I’d be able to do is create music that’s comfortably familiar, current, nostalgic, with more popular potential, I’d lose interest and probably find something else to do. Overall, things are quite stagnant in popular American music right now, and most people seem satisfied with that, but some of us are very hungry for change, some manner of evolvement. I know I am. So I’ve stopped waiting for enough others to take steps and do something about it. There ARE others, don’t get me wrong. Just not enough. Yet.
“A Revised History of the Future” is an exercise in Reverse Procrastination — Music I was going to create about 5-10 years from now, but couldn’t wait. All tracks are protected by copyright.