Friday, 3 June 2005

Recovery - Moving On

Something else has been happening as well. Like a defining undercurrent to all of this.

The intense networking of the past couple of months has flipped a few switches in my own mind as well. I have met so many people and had so many experiences lately that something just snapped within, like a critical threshold was crossed. I began to think more seriously about moving on from the past experiences - it was time to start thinking about the next volume of the personal mixes.

I took a break because I wanted to learn how to mix properly. It took time to find the right tools and I played with a few. I knew that vinyl was not the answer - I wanted to keep working with digital music. The first serious affair was with the PCDJ FX but it quickly became obvious that it was not enough. That's how I met Traktor. My God. What an amazing piece of software that is.

Learning to digitally mix was extremely frustrating - I just could not match up the beats properly. But Traktor changed all that. Despite the rather daunting learning curve, I kept persisting and mixing and annoying myself at the lack of synchronisation. But one late night, while totally off, I opened the decks and just started mixing. I just got it. Just like that. With the first mix I thought it was a fluke. But then the next one happened, then the next one - and it became obvious I was getting it. Maybe I was too far gone to notice the mistakes but it sounded pretty good to me and I was getting that goose-bumpy sensation on the skin when things just synch for ya. Then the ecstasy came.

I have been practicing ever since, nearly non-stop annoying friends that would show up in this apartment. They don't seem to run away but some days are better than others. I have noticed that in order to get better results you really have to turn down the internal dialogue. I just get nervous otherwise and start making mistakes. Also, you cannot really plan the playlist out. I have done that so far and took notes as to what mixes with what at what intervals and where to insert the loops. But that is just giving me shits to be honest. You cannot intellectualise the creative process either.

A couple of hours ago I realised that the cue sheet is ok for the track you wanna play but to dissect the loops and the time intervals is just plain silly. It makes me nervous. It is much better to just tune in to the music and just let go, stop thinking (that infernal internal dialogue is the biggest curse). And in fact, each time you play the set, the mixes will be slightly different, you just don't standardise the creative process.

Having said all that, the observational exercises have been happening on other levels as well - but that's a story for another late night...

The Recovery volume in the Seeker Series will thus be completely mixed in. Like I dreamed before. I am working on the first instalment now - it will be called Moving On. For a reason to be described later. It will be a whole series of mixes as the road to recovery is a bit more intense than one CD can cover...

Decomposed Special K

Just a quick note on the reaction from Special K. She loved it. As far as I could tell.

She was blown away that somebody would spend their time choosing tracks for her, ones that could possibly describe her emotions from various perspectives. The whole concept seemed so alien to her but she was sold on the idea.

We ended up driving over to a friend's house and I put the CD on. From the very beginning I could hear little squeals of pleasure coming from the back seat. Special K announced that she would now sit quiet for a bit to shut us all up. The atmosphere in the car suddenly changed and became very surreal. The drive morphed into a subtemporal adventure where everyone in the car tuned into the sounds coming out of the speakers. It was rather overwhelming. From the little attempts at singing I gathered that not only did Special K know the tracks, she also liked them...

It was never hard to choose the music for her. We have spent quite a few weekends together and the story is always the same. She takes over the computer and becomes a recovery DJ. It's amazing what can happen when an artist sits in front of a massive collection of music where virtually all of the songs need to be played right there and then. Most of the time she doesn't even finish listening to one before starting the next one. Cute.

We are all sick of life at the moment. The trouble, the hassle, the issues. We are all taking it easy too despite being able to party like there is no tomorrow. But our get-togethers are different. Some people even think they are freaky. We simply get wasted, all danced-out and then the best part of the night begins - The Recovery.

This is when we sit down in a circle, somebody takes care of the music - usually yours truly or Special K and we just talk. However, we talk the raw, the painful, the hidden. We will drag out the most difficult and festy subjects that sit on our minds and network about solutions. There could be anger and tears but somehow we find it healing. There was just too much drama in our lives to hide it anymore. And the benefit of doing it in a group setting is that we can get various perspectives on the topic. Albeit, we don't always agree on the offered points of view.

There is no need to glorify or sugar-coat any of this though. That would not even be true. Each and every one of us can be a real prick at times. A real lier. A double-crosser. I have turned so many times before on people, especially when the body craved rest. But by the middle of the week, we miraculously revive and yearn for more. It seems to work.

I don't anticipate too much from any of this. Life seems to carry on in the most mysterious of ways. I wouldn't be surprised if I lost touch with these people in the future, like has happened so many times before. Yet, there is no need to worry about that elusive "future time". There is no time like present and just being in the here-now suffices.

Track listing for the first in the series of "Decomposing I AM" is available in the usual place. As outlined in the other posts.

Wednesday, 1 June 2005

Decomposing I Am

I took a bath today. Not so certain if simply to clean the body, to relax or maybe to crystallise a few ideas in my mind. Tension and the feelings of obsession were very strong indeed.

I emerged with a clear idea of what had to be done – a new compilation was born – “Decomposing Special K”. In fact, this is the first issue in the whole series of releases that I can already see queuing up. The events of late were a mere prelude to this idea – there is a string feeling of continuity here.

Remembering that, to me personally, putting music together is merely a shallow expression of what is going on deeply underneath is the key here. I don’t do these things to impress or show off. I am really not all that good at it. But I need to sit in front of the computer occasionally and explore the gigabytes of music in order to relieve this inexplicable tension that builds up within from time to time. It is also the reason why I called the whole endeavour Creation Industries. It is exactly what the whole exercise is all about – release of the creative tension within. When it builds up it can be unbearable when blocked – sooner or later it will find a way out. The trick is to channel it in constructive rather than the destructive ways.

I have not really written anything down in this blog for quite a while. However, it took exactly this long for the tension to build up. In the meantime, I was busy surviving, observing others and self, comparing notes with people – and most importantly NETWORKING. It is amazing how much a person can learn from interacting with others. It is like seeing yourself in a mirror of life. The trick is to align the way other people see you with own perceptions of self.

I’m a stubborn smartarse bastard so personally this is quite a challenge. (I mean well but)

Last weekend I had an experience with a female friend of mine and her partner that left a lasting mark in my psyche. I was obsessing on it ever since. Basically, the girls have a very nasty quarrel with this other couple that forms a part of our group. It is festing rotting and affecting everyone around. I hate my friends fighting like this and so I sat the girls down and basically started talking facts and asking what was up.

It pushed too many buttons even though we were discussing the issues as honestly as possible. Tears, yelling, laughing all of the above happened. And in the end while we agreed to disagree and left the issue to resolve itself in time, there was a feeling of incompletion. I was left with the following questions in mind. Did I push too hard? Was it even my duty to get involved? To what extent is this a mere exercise in self-importance…

All childish and silly. And even these questions themselves are irrelevant. When closely investigated, none of it forms a major part of my personal universe. The more important question is that of Truth - The Objective Truth. Seeing things as they are and not as the filters of our minds delude us into perceiving.
Without blowing my own horn, being able to stand on the sidelines and observing people in their interactions is fantastic. But when you try to perhaps indicate that they might want to re-examine their approaches – it’s like you hit a major wall, a block of some sort that cannot be defeated.

Fair enough. The girls are not the only ones that are facing these issues. I am just as guilty of building the walls of perceptions. At the moment, this is the major aspect in my personal path that I endeavour to address – honesty with self, seeing things as they are and not as I wish them to be.

What a tremendous challenge this is. In my sheepish optimism, while struggling with these issues personally, I hoped I could help others realise the same. It ain’t easy. And the derivative question is to what extent am I even allowed to impose on others in this way. Shall I just sit idle on my hands and allow the tears and emotions to overflow while the solutions are apparent while you take a step back…

So this was the basic root of the obsession I was facing today. Lucky for that bath – it really helped me crystallise these questions.

“Decomposing I Am” has thus been born. Rather than run around with a hammer and whack heads at random (rather than my own), I decided to take a more loving approach. Through observation of people I build up a very interesting creative tension within. One that previously I endeavoured to release by sitting people down and talking issues. An infinitely more loving way to convey my feelings and emotions is to actually burn music compilations for friends. Stuff that reflects my own set of filters through which I perceive others. The rest can just be left to Free Will. There is no intention to manipulate or change anyone’s mind about issues. Music is very generic in that way. However, I can at least relieve the creative tension formed within in a constructive manner – one that will not antagonise anyone.

The Universe can take care of itself. Nevertheless, I also have the prerogative not to self-harm - something that can easily take place by directing energies through the wrong channels.

So who is Special K? She is the first “victim” of this new approach. Well, not really a victim but since the events of late put us very close together, she is worth to make an effort for, an effort to get things right. She is such a special girl.

Imagine an actress. A diva with Audrey Hepburn glasses, a scarf, dressed in black, running around in high heel shoes because that is all she feels comfortable in. A large girl with an even larger heart. A girl that has been beaten down and yet refuses to fall. A girl that sees with her eyes closed. A girl that – much like a river – soothes you with her gentle flow but can also rip you apart if you tread carelessly. That’s Special K.

We just spoke on the phone. She has been obsessing over me as well in the last couple of days. This indicates unresolved issues. We are still getting used to each other. I still mistrust her acting skills. She still mistrusts her mysterious Polish Prince that nobody really knows anything about. One that has taken her best friend under his wing and offered his heart to.

We’ll see what happens. It seems that a good triad of open eyes helps here. I have never before approached life with awareness, with full attention. The story is still being written. This compilation may be done but there are many more to come…

Wednesday, 11 May 2005

The Wolf and the Lamb

WOLF, meeting with a Lamb astray from the fold, resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but to find some plea to justify to the Lamb the Wolf's right to eat him.

He thus addressed him:
"Sirrah, last year you grossly insulted me."
"Indeed," bleated the Lamb in a mournful tone of voice, "I was not then born."
Then said the Wolf, "You feed in my pasture."
"No, good sir," replied the Lamb, "I have not yet tasted grass."
Again said the Wolf, "You drink of my well."
"No," exclaimed the Lamb, "I never yet drank water, for as yet my mother's milk is both food and drink to me."

Upon which the Wolf seized him and ate him up, saying,
"Well! I won't remain supperless, even though you refute every one of my imputations."

The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny.

Quote from: "Aesop's Fables"

Friday, 11 March 2005

A Quote

Reality is what it is. Contrary to the views expressed by the mysterious senior Bush official, there IS a discernible reality, and studying it can be quite useful. In fact, this is why we create the Signs page each day. It is not surprising that someone who believes in creating his own reality would declare that observing reality as objectively as possible is useless - if one does exactly that, one discovers the reality of the delusional thinking of those in power.

Thursday, 3 March 2005

New Chapters - New Beginnings

Well I finally got my gear together and released the compilation for the dinners. Actually, this has been finished for quite a few weeks but I have been too busy to update the website. A lot of stuff happened between then and now.

The restaurant has gone out of business even though it was a trendy hub of activity in New Farm. A lot of people were sad to hear the news but probably not as sad as us – the staff. We really enjoyed working there. The social interaction that we all shared was fantastic. We got along tremendously even if we got excited once in a while during the shifts. It’s sad to see such a big piece of history go. The restaurant has been in business for 30 odd years under different management here and there. No doubt somebody else will pick up the pieces and take off from there. This happened over and over again and no doubt, the place will continue in a different incarnation soon enough.

For me personally, working there was life changing. The work ethic, the way I interacted with people etc. – all of these things underwent amazing changes. For the better, most likely. I became more outgoing and honest – with myself and others. I stopped hiding and pretending even if wearing a mask was necessary with some of the customers at times. But not very often. I feel like I had grown tremendously in those couple of months that I had the privilege of working at the Rosatis Restaurant.

Burning the “Dinners” compilation was also an expression of deeper changes that went on in my psyche. After months of heartache after the breakup, I began to live again. Perhaps in a manic sort of way where fun fun fun was the main course of the day. Around the time when the compilation was born (mid February), I began to get tired. I realised that it was time to slow down a little, that recovery would not take place by escaping the past but by dealing with it.

The only obvious way to do it was to slow down. In a big way.

So I started to take time off from fun and friends and just spend some time alone – well, with Adam, the inner Adam. The process of healing began. The music was just the parallel to what was going on deeper inside.

I began the research by looking for Goldfrapp tracks – after all how can you not be in love with “Strict Machine”! Soon enough I realised that the whole album was fantastic – “Black Cherry” made me so emotional a few time that I just began to cry. The tears were not really those of sadness but those of cleansing and recovery. It is difficult to convey this process in words, I guess you just have to be there to experience it, to feel it.

As the research went on, more and more tracks came to light and it was just amazingly synchronistic. Discovering Death In Vegas was a fluke and a lucky one at that too. Their work is just enlightened – much like Goldfrapp’s, Royksopp’s etc. I recommend for anyone on the similar path to make the effort and find those tracks. It is really worth it.

The events kinda closed one chapter and opened another one. I am forever delaying entering the professional workforce in IT, even though I really really want to ultimately make it my career. But instead, for the time being, I decided to carry on with this mysterious theme of social interaction in an upmarket and busy hospitality environment. I got a job supervising a bar at the Performing Arts Centre, here in Brissie.

I now run a bar in a trendy restaurant for people who come to watch ballet, theatre, concerts etc. I must say I really do like it and am torn between the two aspects of my life – the professional one and the hospitality. Taking one day at a time seems to be the way to go. But at least I can further apply the skills I learnt at Rosatis and convey the professionalism and enthusiasm for the profession to the kids that are just beginning their life adventure. It’s amazingly healing, exciting and rewarding.

I feel the Creation vol. 4 – “Recovery” coming on…

Saturday, 12 February 2005

A Quote

Q: (L) Is there anything we can do with our thinking patterns or with our bodies, or anything we can do to accelerate the receiving of assistance?

A: Unite.

Monday, 31 January 2005

Oh No More Functions

The final release of the "Rebound" CD has really dissolved some creative blocks in me. It is a very interesting feeling to just be devoid of misery to a large extent. Like I suspected these CD burning exercises are basically parallel to my internal state of being, the way I feel about life and things in general. The next volume of Creation will be called "Recovery" which is the other meaning of the word rebound - the more positive one.

As I can't help myself and be linear about just about anything I do, of course there are other projects stewing on the backburner while the seeker's soundrack gets researched. It's nice to bring some of the music to work in the local restaurant. It's interesting to observe people's emotions and behaviour while you play some of these tunes. Most of the music is extatic in nature and some people seem to enjoy it. Of course, you have to suss out the crowd on the night, their age and what sort of atmophere prevails on the night.

For example, the thumpier sort is better for the nights when there are functions on. Then people are more relaxed, the floor is loud and everyone wants to have a good time - including the staff. Then the "Functions" series fits in really well.

On the other hand, if the floor is quiet and people want to just relax and chew their food, something slower is more appropriate. I have tons of tunes that are good for quick and fun times but the slower ones, more appropriate for dinners are a whole different cup of tea. Working on it right now - have quite a few choices to play with, just gotta get my crap together.

"Oh No More Functions" is the second volume in the "Functions" series. I was getting bored of playing the same tunes over and over. Since the research never stops I had already collected some real nice music and it begged to be released into the wild. Funny how it all happened right after the "Rebound" was born.

I wouldn't mind to produce those cool CDs with the tracks fully mixed in - no gaps between the songs. It would be awesome. If I don't keep shooting myself in the foot all the time, it just might happen. More networking is necessary still. DJ's are a very peculiar and fickle bunch...

Friday, 28 January 2005

Creation vol.3 - Rebound

Well, it's finally happening - the third incarnation of the Creation series is being born as I am typing this. The third volume is called "Rebound"; it is the hardest compilation that came out of this CD-burner to-date.

What are these compilations all about? Good question that. There's a bit of a long story behind it all even though the whole affair took off only in the last few months. Basically, it is a means of self-healing, self-therapy. I am using sound to heal my soul. 'Sounds' kinda weird, doesn't it . And yet it is so effective.

After the last relationship I hit it low pretty hard. Yeah, I will always add, "But I broke up with him!" and yet it doesn't really make me feel any better. It was very intense and so very educational. Towards the third month after the break-up I just started going nuts. It was impossible to reconcile some issues that were replaying in my head - it just wasn't sticking together very well.

This is also around the time when my friend Chris gave me a CD that he had burnt himself. The music kinda sucked (sorry Chris, it did!) but the concept was just so interesting. What he did was to choose a song for every boy in our group and put them all together on a CD. There was even one for me in there! And I was only a new addition to the group! What a way to make a person feel included and liked and accepted and all those fuzzy and warm things with the big shiney Japanese cartoon eyes that make you go aaaahhh. He gave a copy to everyone asking to guess which song was theirs. I don't think I got mine right but guessed Chris's instead. LOL.

And that's how it all started. It was perfect. This was the way to express my inner feelings and emotions, to release the pent-up energy constantly building up inside with no way out. After all while I was going through the hardest times imaginable, I still listened to music, right? So what was that music? What was the stage I was in while those tracks were being played? Perfect. It’s like my life’s soundtrack!

It seemed kinda easy to identify the stages I was in at the time. With a little third-person skill, anyone can do it. So while I was boiling my eyes out and cursing the Universe for being so mean (really I was just cursing myself for being so stupid and retarded), I would pike up and yell, “Well at least I fucking know what to call the next Creation! Rebound! Fucking Steven!”

It was funny at the time. You had to be there.

This is heavily paraphrased in time and space, of course and yet the basic idea is the same. You get into a stage that you name under the most peculiar and crazy circumstances – the name just comes, and then just delve into music and choose the stuff that tickles your fancy. In my case, I call it “cathartic release” or “ecstatic arousal”. Then you put it together and annoy your friends with it while you exhibit the most sickening expressions of pride and satisfaction from your achievements.

And of course the whole thing gets addictive after a while. You just cannot stop. After a while you realise that you can annoy the customers in your restaurant and so a whole new series is born – Creation Industries. That you can unleash on the masses while they have their expensive dinners or functions. Well, at least you are having fun! But then you notice wagging feet and smiles and the noise level goes up – and so do the tips. Hmmmm… Maybe that marketing degree did work… Lucky uni is nearly finished…

Oh, by the way, "rebound" has two meanings. One is to bounce back, return and the other one is to recover. I meant the former meaning here. I was freaking out and wanting to go back to the ex for some reason - well I can kinda see the reasons now. "Recovery" is the next compilation that I am currently researching...

"Rebound" was the hardest because it took the longest to get over it and hence complete the research for the soundrack. Cool, hey.

Tuesday, 18 January 2005

The rending has begun...

I have finally decided to take up the challenge and join the masses of bloggers.
This is an intriguing exercise and I can feel it - it's gonna be a bit of a challenge.

I have chosen the title to be "Rending The Veil" after my favourite book by William W. Aber published in 1899. This is probably the oldest book that sits on my bookshelf. Incidently, this is also the book that a stray possum chose to attack when he broke into the apartment looking for bread. Go figure...

The book contains direct transcripts from a series of spiritist sittings way back then. There are quite a few interesting statements that have been made by the "spirits", some of them rather mind-blowing. Yep, ghosts are retro but they're making a comeback!

The front page of the book is rather peculiar. It is kind of representative of what the end of the 19th century was all about and how the issue of spiritism was treated. Here it comes:

The Mystical Quadruple Interrogatory

How? What?? Whence??? Whither????

Concerning the Existence of Man, and all Things, and all Being, and all
Life, so far answered by the Contents of this Book as to
suggest for an appropriate Title, to-wit:

Rending The Vail

This Volume is compilation by J. H. Nixon of Psychic
Literature, mostly given by Spirits through
and by means of

Full-Form Visible Materializations,

At Seances of a certain Psychic Research Society known as the

Aber Intellectual Circle,

The Medium being

William W. Aber.

It is believed that

Rending The Vail

Is the only book in the World, as a Scientific Treatise of Phenomenal
Spiritualism, claiming its principal matter to be uttered
condition of VISIBLE REINCAR-

Hudson-Kimberly Publishing Co.
Kansas City, MO.

Well, what can one say - after that intro it's rather hard not to have a peek inside.

I am not exactly sure how to apply myself through this blogging exercise. We'll just have to wait and see. The good thing is that this is a perfect medium (ahem) for expressing your feelings and reporting on the observations of the day.

Yes, I think this is what I'd like to do here. At least the first steps have been made...