Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lately, when I find myself picking up my guitar, more often than not I will simply start improvising. Literally, I will lay my fingers down somewhere on the neck and start plucking notes with no forethought of where or what may come out. Often, while doing this, the results will be lackluster. Sometimes, however, the music will just flow, and some strange new thing will emerge much like a person out of the fog. Like a person, it will grow and mature and go somewhere and have something interesting to say. This happened to me the other day.

I almost felt like a radio receiver tuned into the airwaves around me. It felt transcendant.

Afterward, I wished I'd had the forethought to turn on my recorder to capture the moment. That does not happen very often either which, funnily, led to some doubts about whether or not the improvisation would have been as good if the recorder was on. Thoughts are funny creatures. They can be looked upon as negative or positive so easily. Some people are incredibly good at bringing themselves down with their own negative thoughts. Who needs enemies? I really try to not fall into that trap. I am a harsh critic of myself.

Looking at it from the positive angle, I have come to the conclusion that all I need to do is turn on the recorder everytime I pick up the guitar and let it roll. Regardless of what comes out, I should just record it all. Who knows? There could be some good riff or progression that I simply toss off without further ado that would otherwise be forgotten. Who know?

The flipside to this is obvious though. To find the diamond, you have to wade through the rough, and I am not always fond of wading. Oh those thoughts. Like my 5th grade teacher, Mr. Glass, once said, I need to stop thinking so much. He was a very wise man, and I still look to him, believe it or not, for inspiration and knowledge all these years later. Thank You Mr. Glass.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Long day today. Long, long day. Which culminated in me turning pages for a pianist during an epic piano quartet by Schumann. I am not a pianist, and I warned them of this short coming. I blundered it a bit, and it was tough. Everyone could see the difficulties, and the occassional fucked up-edness of it all, but we all got through it all. I was actually complimented by a patron for my calm and professionalism amidst the difficulties that were obvious to all. I have to give credit to the pianist, Makiko Ooka, too. She was obviously frustrated by some of the difficulties during the performance, but she was very gracious afterwards. I was mortified a couple of times by my own gaffes, but I did keep a calm demeanour as I knew from the outset that things might go awry. I've studied a little piano, but I've never played a piece of music like this.

Thank you Makiko, for your understanding.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I seem to be in a highly receptive period for creative ideas. I almost feel like an antenna. Several kernels of songs seemed to float my way. One really took some serious shape tonight. When they come at me like this, it is almost completely impossible to look at it realistically to decide whether or not it is even good. These particular songs somehow seem to defy the notion of good or bad for me. It does not mean, of course, that anyone else will actually think they're good, but that is the subjective nature of creativity and personal taste. I figure, if I get the idea down into a tangible form and find a way to put it out into the world (so easy nowadays) then eventually the right someone's will find it (or it will find them as it seemed to find me).

I am drinking a Toasted Head Alexander Valley Barrel Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from 2006 that my coworker, Jen, recommended (and even set aside for me{thanks Jen}. It is really good. It lives up to its name, I think, of being rather toasty and warm. It has a nice spiciness to it that I enjoy in wine sometimes with dark fruit, nice tannins and a long, luxurious finish. Some hearty food would really draw this wine out as it has a lot of character and layers, but it is also enjoyable on its own which is how I am drinking it since I am, unusually, not terribly hungry tonight.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Writing, writing, writing, reading, playing, writing, writing and more, well, writing. Will anyone want to read? What will it become? How ambitious am I? Good questions all, but it is all moot if a story isn't finished. So I keep writing. I know how I think it will end although stories, as they develop, often have their own ideas. So, we'll see.

It was a rare, hot, day in San Francisco, and I missed it due to pressing engagements inside. Writing, writing indeed. I will share bits and pieces when the time is right, and I hope someone will enjoy and encourage further development. Happy Saturday night to all and to all a good Saturday night.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

So busy! In a good way. Lots of work and lots of creative ideas are flooding my brain right now. I have not been getting a lot of sleep as a result, but hopefully some of the ideas will actually bear interesting fruit that may even taste good to those inclined to take a nibble.

I started writing an outline of a story. I don't have any idea how the final shape will look, but I have an idea how it will end though sometimes stories have their own ideas about how they should end. So, who knows? Then I also intend to record a disc of my solo guitar music, and I want to finish an album I started in 2008 that sort of stalled for various personal reasons I won't go into now. Long story.

Plus, I am kind of jonesing to play some live music with some like minded musicians. I really like the idea of finding some people to play with who love to play something melodic and pretty one moment and something dischordant and/or atonal the next. They would be people who aren't afraid of mixing prog and goth and folk and classical and noise and whatever I can't think of into a blender. I don't know. It would be free and precise; loose and concise in equal measure and at the right moments. Everything in its right place and everything wrong fitting in just so too and sounding so right.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I have not been sleeping well for several nights now. My brain simply will not shut up. I've been trying to make myself sleep, but I think it is time to just listen to the cogs spinning in my head. I have a few burgeoning ideas floating around, taking shape that may take the form of what. . . short stories? My friend suggested that maybe one idea could make an interesting opera-which intrigues me. I've never written an opera, and there is the very serious question of whether or not I could even get an opera published and performed. Well, hey that's akin to putting the cart before the horse (before the horse is even born), so that's silly.

On another musical note, I am enjoying 'False Flag' by Rangda which is Sir Richard Bishop, Chris Corsano and Ben Chasny. I really love Bishop's guitar playing on his recent solo records, and the interplay, here, between the two guitars and drums is riveting and often unexpected. It is even more impressive when one knows that it was all improvised on the spot during a live performance. The spontaneity is truly apparent. I hope this is not a one off project.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

So, today is my first blog. I feel a bit late to the game, and I am sure few will read this at first. It's like the pilot episode of a soon to be beloved television show where the viewers wish to retroactively view what came in the early days because of what came later. I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer the TV show, and I retroactively, loved the opportunity to see the original pilot online--different as it was.

I love music. I love wine. I love food. I like to cook, and I work in a store where I sell, stock and order wine for the time being. Cheese is a favorite though I have cut most dairy out of my diet, and will, getting back to the first part, talk about music for ever if you let me. I've been called a snob of music before, but I do not think that is quite it. I know what I like. I am willing to listen to the new. I either like it or I don't. I am not afraid to say, and in return, I like a lot of sounds and songs and recordings that the vast majority of humans may not like. My mind is open until it is closed, and I don't really want it to be closed prematurely because life is about openness and honesty and those can't happen without life having its way with each and every one of us.