Friday, December 17, 2010

The Conduit

At the end of Last Night A DJ Saved My Life, Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton eloquently distill the DJ's essence, what in my opinion every DJ should constantly aspire to be: a conduit; a channel through which pure creative energy flows.

"The disc jockey has been with us for almost a century now. In that time he has been ignored, misunderstood, despised, worshipped and adored. He has stayed in the forefront of music, twisting and shaping it into fresh forms, perverting technology and forcing from it stunning new sounds. He has conjured a series of novel genres in his endless search for material to keep his dancers moving. In the U.S. the DJ created amazing music, then the UK gave him a home and made him a star. He continued his magic and around him there grew a musical culture more revolutionary and more enduring than any before.

"Having forged music more truly universal than any preceding it, the DJ is arguably a conduit for celebration and communion on a global scale. It's possible that the DJ is the ultimate expression of the ancient shamanic role; that the DJ is the greatest witchdoctor there has ever been, unmatched at shaking us out of the drudge of the day and into the life of the night.

"Why do we worship at the knees of the record-slinger? Because he is occasionally capable of divinity. When it all connects in a club, there's nowhere you can have more fun.

'A really great DJ is capable of making a bad record sound okay, a good record sound great, and a great record sound fantastic - by the context they put them in, and what they put around them. How they steer them. They can do all kinds of tricks. A great DJ can make people spontaneously cheer just for a little squelchy noise. Which is quite insane really. A little noise like wha-wha-wha and people go, 'Yeeeaaah!' They can have people clapping along to a cymbal, just by the way they're bringing it in. When it's done well, it's fantastic. If it's done really well, it can be quite transcendental.'

"It's a mystic art indeed. It seems so banal, but it holds the potential of phenomenal, inexpressible power. A great DJ can arouse more raw emotion in his audience than the composer of the most bittersweet opera, or the author of the most uplifting novel, or the director of the most life-affirming film.

"When you're DJing and you're great at it, you're not playing records, you're playing the dancefloor. You're not just mixing tunes, you're mixing energy and emotions, mixing from surprise into hope and happiness, cutting from liberation to ecstasy and love. When it goes right, you're inside the bodies of everyone in the room, you know what they're feeling and where they're going, and you're taking them there. You're sweeping them off the earthly plane and transporting them to a higher place. You're moving their bodies and their souls with the music that flows from your fingertips.

You're putting them in the moment."

Quotes from the Electric Kool Aid Acid Test

Recently finished reading Tom Wolfe's book The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test and it was pretty awesome. His manner of writing, that sort of stream-of-consciousness method really made an impression on me. So I've included some of my favorite passages from it...

While these are not necessarily stances that I fully agree with, I think they're worth taking into consideration.

We begin with Ken Kesey's introduction to psychedelic drugs as a willing test subject in the covert CIA-run Project MKULTRA at Menlo Park Veteran's Hospital, in California.

"And you don't even know, bub... with these drugs your perception is altered enough that you find yourself looking out of completely strange eyeholes. All of us have a great deal of our minds locked shut. We're shut off from our own world. And these drugs seem to be the key to open these locked doors. How many? Maybe two dozen people in the world were on to this incredible secret! One was Aldous Huxley, who had taken mescaline and written about it in The Doors of Perception. He compared the brain to a 'reducing valve'. In ordinary perception, the senses send an overwhelming flood of information to the brain, which the brain then filters down to a trickle it can manage for the purpose of survival in a highly competitive world. Man has become so rational, so utilitarian, that the trickle becomes most pale and thin. It is efficient, for mere survival, but it screens out the most wondrous part of man's potential experience without his even knowing it. We're shut off from our own world. Primitive man once experienced the rich and sparkling flood of the senses fully. Children experience it for a few months - until 'normal' training, conditioning, closes the doors on this other world, usually for good. Somehow, Huxley had said, the drugs opened these ancient doors. And through them modern man may at last let go, and rediscover his divine birthright...

But these are words, man! And you couldn't put it into words... But don't you see? - the visual stuff was just the d├ęcor... The whole thing was... the experience... this certain indescribable feeling... Indescribable, because words can only jog the memory, and if there is no memory of... The experience of the barrier between the subjective and the objective, the personal the impersonal, the I and the not-I disappearing... that feeling!... The very miracle of creation itself and your own dreams... A miracle... an experience..."

And before Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters embark on their cross-country bus trip...

"'Here's what I hope will happen on this trip,' he says. 'What I hope will continue to happen, because it's already starting to happen. All of us are beginning to do our thing, and we're going to keep doing it, right out front, and none of us are going to deny what other people are doing.' 'Bullshit', says Jane Burton... 'That's Jane', he says. 'And she's doing her thing. Bullshit. That's her thing and she's doing it. None of us are going to deny what other people are doing. If saying bullshit is somebody's thing, then he says bullshit. If somebody is an ass-kicker, then that's what he's going to do on this trip, kick asses. He's going to do it right out front and nobody is going to have anything to get pissed off about. He can just say, 'I'm sorry I kicked you in the ass, but I'm not sorry I'm an ass-kicker. That's what I do, I kick people in the ass.' Everybody is going to be what they are, and whatever they are, there's not going to be anything to apologize about. What we are, we're going to wail with on this whole trip.'"

More on the doors of perception...

"[Carl Jung] put forth the hypothesis that the unconscious perceives certain archetypical patterns that elude the conscious mind. These patterns, he suggested, are what unite subjective or psychic events with objective phenomena, the Ego and the Non-Ego, as in psychosomatic medicine or in the microphysical events of modern physics in which the eye of the beholder becomes an integral part of the experiment. Countless philosophers, prophets, early scientists, not to mention alchemists and occultists, had tried to present the same idea in the past... Every phenomenon, and every person, is a microcosm of the whole pattern of the universe, according to this idea. It is as if each man were an atom in a molecule in a fingernail of a giant being. Most men spend their lives trying to understand the workings of the molecule they're born into and all they know for sure are the cause-and-effect workings of the atoms in it. A few brilliant men grasp the structure of the entire fingernail. A few geniuses, like Einstein, may even see that they're all part of a finger of some sort - So space equals time, hmmmmmm... All the while, however, many men get an occasional glimpse of another fingernail from another finger flashing by or even a whole finger or even the surface of the giant being's face and they realize instinctively that this is part of a pattern they're all involved in, although they are totally powerless to explain it by cause and effect. And then - some visionary, through some accident - through some quirk of metabolism, through some drug perhaps, has his doors of perception opened for an instant and he almost sees - presque vu! - the entire being and he knows for the first time that there is a whole... other pattern here... Each moment in his life is only minutely related to the cause-and-effect chain within his little molecular world. Each moment, if he could only analyze it, reveals the entire pattern of the motion of the giant being, and his life is minutely synched in with it..."

Though perhaps a better description of these modes of perception would be windows rather than doors, as it is not something one can pass through or enter, but can only look through temporarily... or is it?

"Beyond acid. They have made the trip now, closed the circle, all of them, and they either emerge as Superheroes, closing the door behind them and soaring through the hole in the sapling sky, or just lollygag in the loop-the-loop of the lag. Almost clear! Preque vu! - many good heads have seen it - Paul telling the early Christians: hooking down wine for the Holy Spirit - sooner or later the Blood has got to flood into you for good - Zoroaster telling his followers: you can't keep taking haoma water to see the flames of Vohu Mano - you've got the become the flames, man - and Dr. Strange and Sub Mariner and the Incredible Hulk and the Fantastic Four and the Human Torch prank about on the Rat walls of la casa grande like stroboscopic sledgehammer Cassadys, fons et origo ::::: and it is either make this thing permanent inside of you or forever just climb draggled up into the conning tower every time for one short glimpse of the horizon :::::"

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Axis

So I made a goal for myself about a year ago, that I wanted to have a release confirmed by the end of this year... proud to say that I have reached that goal, only a few weeks before the deadline! December 8th 2010.. just sent a wav file of Axis to Paul to be mastered, and it'll be coming out on Hotflush around March next year. There is something about the track that stands out, I'm not quite sure what exactly.. but people seem to like it, as do I. It has personal significance for me too. So it's a good day! And a satisfying end to the year for me. On to 2011, I say... bring it.

Axis [forthcoming Hotflush] by incyde

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Live from the Lab

Inhale, exhale...

To me lately, the longer time goes on, the less it means. If its passages are only neuronic separations, then it's no surprise why a moment can feel like an eternity, a year can go by like a month, a night's sleep can pass like an instant, or sometimes things can seem to move so fast we can barely keep up, or even begin to make any sense of it all before the next thing's come and gone.

More and more, amidst this sea of creation, the created, and the yet to be imagined, often the things we create have already been made a hundred times in a hundred other ways, so why bother, I ask? Is a hundred too much, or not enough? Or just right?

Lately I try to live like I breathe. In and out, in and out, the inner transformation turning inhales into exhales, working on the theory that what we take in affects what we expel, and how we experience life, so if we dine on a diet of ancient wisdom, will our experience become less confused, more clearly focused? Of course it will. These days I consume music like food, going from the wildest jazz ramblings to the darkest broken rhythms, spiritual disco and techno-psychedelia, rocksteady dub, nerdy electronica, fringe-Reich-Glass-Cage-music, and everything in between (especially the things in between). I read the cream of the crop of teachings and realizations that took thousands if not millions of years of cosmic evolution to reach, things that people way back when, people would have died to know, or only were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of, or even understand, things that you can now buy for $15 or less on Amazon or wherever. This is where we're at now. Always trying to keep up, keep up.

These days it feels like everything's already been figured out for us by our predecessors. If we can breathe in words of wisdom and the most superb compositions of music, years and years of trial, error, and persistent effort, prepared for us to now consume so easily, what do we DO with it? What CAN I do? What's the POTENTIAL?? What remains to be done that is worth doing, that hasn't been done a hundred times in a hundred other ways? And does that matter? Should I care? Is a hundred forms or more enough for the world, or not enough? Since everything keeps expanding, time seems to move a tiny bit faster every moment, but we don't notice since everything remains proportionally equal, perhaps these realizations have some purpose to serve, to provide a little mental solace in the ever-reaching unknown, or to help us sleep at night. In the end, it's okay, in the end we're minuscule and gigantic all at once, we're a cosmic eyeblink, and the slowest time-drag ever known. After all time is just neurons to us, stretched out by gravity. In the end, we're so insignificant in this ever-expansive multiple-dimensional ocean, yet everything we do is significant to US, we control our lives, our destinies, with every neuronic twitch, we control the present and react to it, to the best of our ability. We do and we don't. We're the biggest paradox ever known. Try to keep up...

Again, this has probably been said before, many times, in many other ways. So I'm not sure why I bother. If I understand what I mean, that should be good enough for me. Either way, it's been a while since I let my thoughts expel into words, so maybe it's about that time.

I suppose that's what I'm getting at... it's all about time (and it's not). Some days I FEEL time, other days I feel an eternal singular moment, the trees reaching up into the sky, splitting off in fractal branches are simply creeping along through their time slower than us, if you sped up the playback of the life's movie, you see how they develop just the same as our veins, lightning, rivers, and a million other things, some of which we know about, and a lot of which we don't. When you take time out of the equation, it's everything-happening-everywhere-all-at-once. And isn't that just great? If that doesn't help you sleep at night, I don't blame you. We're still ACTING things out here, still figuring out how to make A meet B, X pair up with Y, and always trying to keep up...

It's been said by many a wise man that in the end, all that's left to do is have a good laugh. That's why I try to never take anything too seriously, and laugh often. Because in the end, everything is ridiculous. A + B does not equal C, everything is getting weirder, weirder all the time. What is X now is the same as Y later. Our words are feeble at best. Our bodies show us what we need to see in order to survive, to continue seeing it, NOT what's always there beyond our everyday human spectrum of sensitivity. Beauty is always just around the corner, perfection is just over the next hill, if we could just grab onto something, if we could just get there a little faster, we're catching glimpses of it from time to time, if we're lucky, if we could only just keep up, always keeping up...

I think my cat gets it more than most. He sleeps when he's tired, eats when he's hungry, looks for warmth when his bones are cold, rolls in the grass when he's got an itch, and chases things he knows aren't really mice, just because life would be all the more boring if he didn't. And that's why I love him.

Getting back to the global cosmic thing. Or just.. getting to it. One thing we can do, and are doing, with all of this music and convenience in our lives now, is having more time to just get down on it, get high off of it, rock out, shake your groove thang, come meditate on bass weight, or just chill out man, sit back and relax and enjoy the ride, go out of your mind, go insane, go a thousand miles in a jet airplane, cuz pretty soon it'll all turn to dust, and we'll see you in the next life...

Yet, it appears this... act... is something we've either had time to do, MADE time to do, or hell, just done, ever since the beginning. Something about the methodical, repetitive, tribal, group-minded nature of THE DANCE itself is too natural to be invented. I venture to say it's been there all along, the party element, the tribal dance around the fire, the joy of the hunt, the mating ritual, the religious sacrifice, the universal rhythm, the synchronicity, the cosmic groove, the throw your hands in the air like you just don't care, there's a party over here, a party over there... THE RELEASE... RADICAL ACCEPTANCE.... SHAKE OUT YOUR DEMONS.... GETTING IT ALL OUT FRONT...

After all, that's all we can do. We need to just keep up, but then again we don't. Just stay with it, just ride it out, ride it all the way, all the way home, it will all be okay...

I for one think we can do great things with what we have now. We can, and we should. Because who else is gonna do it, but us, so it might as well be me. or you. Then again, if you don't do it, I'll do it, or the next guy will. Up to you, your loss, or gain. The choice is yours.. do what you will, do what you feel... we'll be OK, we'll see you in the by and by... the next transformation, the next mutation, just stay with it, always further, always forward.

To me, we must always be asking the question, how far can we take this? How weird can we get? Can we reach something new, something unprecedented? To me, that's all we can do. Always finding new ways to get down on it, get on that groove. Finding ways for us to sync up. Sure, there will be creations worth keeping and things worth forgetting, but that's life. Otherwise we're just one of the hundreds and thousands repeating ourselves, over and over, and is that even enough, or too much.... or does it even matter....

Breathing in musical, literary, and spiritual wisdom, what can I exhale with my own level of articulation and if I'm fortunate enough, grace, to the best of my ability, that will take this thing of ours, this thing we're doing, just a little bit further? How far can we take it, and what will that SOUND like? How much can music HOLD, how much can it transfer, and ACHIEVE? It can inspire movement, but can it inspire thoughts? States of consciousness? Is there a universal message to be found among the threads? What's there that we haven't even been listening to, that's been there ALL ALONG? Can it make you say to yourself, oh, I gotta keep up, gotta keep up with this right here...

I say yes. For me, that's what's to be done, so that's what I'm doing. if you want to keep up, keep up, if you don't, it's OK, I won't mind, I'll stay on my groove, I'll keep doing my thing, you do yours, and we'll see you in the by and by, see you around the bend, and just within your reach, stay with it, you understand, you can stay on the bus or get off it, just along for the ride, all along... all aboard... next stop, wherever, whenever... when we finally catch up with ourselves, we'll be home, until then, inhale, exhale, think think think think....

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Expansions

"...the thing I was really interested in was the ultimate experience on the dance floor. How high can we go? How far can we take this? I was looking for the ultimate spiritual experience. What form that was going to take, when it was going to happen, and how we were going to go about it, I didn't have a clue."

"I distinctly remember experiencing it for the very first time... All of a sudden it just manifested itself. We all came as one, and I said, 'This is it!' In my mind I literally had to stop myself. I said, 'What is this higher source of energy that I am able to tap into now?' ... I was so liberated I just let go of myself, but it was very fleeting, almost like an introduction. It made its presence felt for a moment, and that was enough for me to be completely intrigued by it. I was totally mesmerized by the experience of this higher force. It was friendly, it was loving, it was great, and it wanted to help. It was a welcoming but overwhelming experience... The new experience was polymorphous... Sexuality dissolved. It just became energy. It wasn't particularly male or female."

"The music was becoming more electronic, more beat-driven, and more tribal. That definitely had something to do with the change. It allowed your mind to travel. If you don't have vocals to anchor you to the dance floor it's easier for your mind to go to a different place."

"Drugs made it easier for you to lose your inhibitions and to become less aware of your immediate surroundings... I don't think it had much to do with what drug you had done or how much of it you had done. The main thing was that you had done something... to remove yourself from everyday reality and travel to a different realm, or at least to be open to that possibility. If other people were high then you could tap into this source and make it a shared experience. It could be enjoyed as much by someone who did very few drugs or a lot of drugs."

-Jorge La Torre, quotes taken from Love Saves The Day

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sounds familiar.

"The organizers of the downtown party network also looked on in dismay at the disfigurement of a culture they had once claimed as their own ... they were effectively powerless to intervene, lacking the infinite finances and the critical mass that would have been required to shape these new venues in their own image. Not that a massive amount of money and a captive audience of millions would have made much difference given that their organizing principles ... meant that they would always spread more slowly than their less discerning competitors. Then there was the obscure yet persistent problem of political isolation ... New York's most radical and visionary party people were operating in an ideological vaccuum, thanks to the fact that politicians and union leaders were not exactly open to the field of progressive pleasure ... 'That ... moneymaking attitude contributed to the demise of disco.' "

-Tim Lawrence, Love Saves The Day

"I knew that if it became more commercial this positive statement that I was trying to make would be harder to maintain. I didn't decide to stay in because it was awful outside but because I knew what I wanted to do. Change comes from within."

-David Mancuso, Love Saves The Day

==

So as you might guess I have been reading from this book a lot lately. And I can't help but notice how many parallels can be drawn between what happened then and what is happening now. Some of it is reassuring, but some of it, particularly the above quote, leaves me feeling dismal about the whole process that occurs whenever art join hands with business. Is every major art form doomed to experience a beautiful golden age before it spreads too quickly across a massive population, facilitated by those who are eager to market it, serve "consumers" with what is "next", and in turn make more money than they need? The source of the problem seems to be to be fundamental. When entering into a business venture, we expect and do anything we can to achieve profit, and steady growth. Unfortunately the world does not work like that, so we are left with a mass of distortion. This phenomenon will clearly continue to accelerate, due to the internet and the progression of global communication and connectivity.

There is a clear distinction that must be made between two angles. First, the natural dissemination and progression of a manifestation of culture, one who shares something beautiful with others for its own sake. On the other hand, a speedy expansion and over-saturation of something "next" that is viewed as a means to provide a "product" to a faceless consumer, and in the end, profit. The difference is between making enough, and more than you need. Unfortunately, this is the reality that we live in, and apparently these are two poles in the same spectrum. I suppose the difference comes down to each and every individual. Do you have dollar signs in your eyes? If not, then what is the alternative? Hearts? Gifts? Love? Maybe there isn't a symbol for it...

I realize that dissemination and variation is a natural and ever-present phenomenon. But it's undeniable that it is only us humans who attempt to put a price tag on its results, exploiting them, in turn stretching and reshaping them, in vain expectation of a constantly increasing payoff.

Is my entire reason for writing this, my dismay for the loss of true quality in the midst of marketable or "good enough" quality, an inevitable result of a capitalism? I'm afraid so.

Boom

"Note by note, beat by beat, the music becomes more intense and rhythmic until everyone and everything is drawn into a dizzying display of movement. The source of the music, however, remains a mystery: party host David Mancuso is placing records on his AR turntables but his inspiration comes from the dancers, who in turn are inspired by the music. The messages are untraceably complex - no physicist could hope to calculate the unfolding relations of energy, force, and motion - but the communication is unmistakable."

"In Mancuso's terms, a 'third ear' - the aural equivalent of the all-seeing 'third eye' - had started to beat, directing the path of both the music selector and the crowd according to sonic trajectories that had acquired a supernatural momentum. 'There was neither the DJ nor the dancer. Someone would approach me to play a record and I would already have it in my hand or it would already be on the turntable. We would look at each other in recognition. It got very psychic because we knew we were following a sonic trail.' The path manifested itself with a bewildering kinetic energy. 'When a plane takes off there's a moment when the pilot decides that the speed is right, he pulls back and - boom! - you leave the ground. The party was like that. There was a point at which it just went up. It didn't happen right away. It took time. But it happened.' The experience was enlightening. 'Om is the source of all sound ... and I felt as though we had returned h-om-e. It was very childlike, very peaceful, very liberating ... Music helped us reach that place. Music was the key to get back h-om-e.' "

-David Mancuso from Love Saves The Day by Tim Lawrence

Somazonked

"[Discos] provided an environment in which alternative sexual and bodily identities could be explored. [The masses] were trance-sexuals who, having submerged themselves in the destabilizing sound-light-space environment of the nightclub, tripped out for hours at a time, slipping into a state of semi-forgetting that did not simply represent an act of political abandonment but also provided a potential platform for experimentation ... Women and men choosing the primeval tremors, vibrations, and pulsations of the collective dance above getting it on? Makes a change ... A denaturalized sexual environment? Perfect. Throw a "cloak of nonthreatening anonymity" over someone and shock, horror, look what happens. S/he starts to behave differently."

-Tim Lawrence, Love Saves The Day

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Black Noise

"For music is always already there, even without humans. Music slumbers in all matter; any sound, even silence, is already music. The mission, then, must be to render audible what is unheard and unheard of: black noise, a frequency that is inaudible to man. Black noise often presages natural disasters, earthquakes or floods; only some animals perceive this 'calm before the storm.' Black noise is something archaic and earthy."
-Aram Lintzel

Many Faces



"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts."

-Shakespeare, As You Like It

Recycled



We wanted to blast the world free of history.... picture yourself planting radishes and seed potatoes on the fifteenth green of a forgotten golf course. You'll hunt elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center, and dig clams next to the skeleton of the Space Needle leaning at a forty-five degree angle. We'll paint the skyscrapers with huge totem faces and goblin tikis, and every evening what's left of mankind will retreat to empty zoos and lock itself in cages as protection against the bears and big cats and wolves that pace and watch us from outside the cage bars at night.

"Imagine," Tyler said, "stalking elk past department store windows and stinking racks of beautiful rotting dresses and tuxedos on hangers; you'll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life, and you'll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower. Jack and the beanstalk, you'll climb up through the dripping forest canopy and the air will be so clean you'll see tiny figures pounding corn and laying strips of venison to dry in the empty car pool lane of an abandoned superhighway stretching eight-lanes-wide and August-hot for a thousand miles."

~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 16

Monday, July 26, 2010

Two Roads

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

- Robert Frost

Friday, July 9, 2010

RDJ Interview

"... I got addicted to making noises. That was the buzz for me. At that point, I'd never really listened to music. Most people get into music and then decide they want to make it, but I started making sounds, and only later got interested in listening to other people's stuff. I didn't really listen to my own stuff, either, I just liked making it, making new stuff constantly."

"When I was little, I decided sleep was a waste of your life. If you lived to be 100, but you didn't sleep, it'd be like living to 200. But , originally, it wasn't for more time to make music, it was just that I thought sleep was a bit of a con. I'd always been able to get away with four hours a night, but I tried to narrow it down to two. And you do get used to it. I reckon it'd take you three weeks to whittle down from eight hours to two. But it's fucking excellent, not sleeping, you really should try it. It’s sort of nice and not-nice at the same time. Your mind starts getting scatty, like you’re senile. You do unpredictable things, like making tea but pouring it in a cereal bowl."

"It's weird, cos it's hard to say why one track is good where the others are shit. You could make a great record or a shit record using the same riffs, it's all in the production and the mixing."

"Richard James is polite and far from laconic throughout, but it's clear that being interrogated is a chore, a distraction from the only thing he truly cares about: the moment of creation. As for the rest, he says repeatedly: 'I just don't give a shit'."

- Richard D James, taken from this Simon Reynolds interview from 1993

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

In Passing

Where to begin. It's been ages since I've written much... mostly because I haven't felt confident in language's ability to express truth. But alas, we must try. Now is the time.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the universal love energy, how it expresses itself in the world, and most prevalently, how it transfers between us living, impermanent, transient beings.

Love has its own path, its own self-organizing method. Love flows through us. It is greater and more powerful than us. That said, it is our responsibility to let it take its course. The best thing we can ever do is trust in it. When we resist love, and resist change, ultimately we suffer.

Love takes a myriad of forms. Sometimes it is clear and obvious, others it disguises itself in ways that hardly anyone can recognize. But at root, love abounds.

Love is what gives us life. In order to live, we must love ourselves, first and foremost, and we must also love our fellow beings, and feel their expressions of love too. Love must be shared, and it grows and multiplies with its transference.

I have always made a constant effort to show my love for all beings, living and inanimate. But given a recent event I fear I have failed in some regard in this. A dear friend has passed, one who once was very close to me but who I let drift away, because of a mistake that I couldn't bring myself to fully forgive him for. Now he is gone, and I can't help but feel that I could have helped him if I hadn't resisted the force of love. It saddens me deeply to see him gone, and to know that we will never see him again as Josh Marshall. I fear that he did not love himself, and that he didn't know how much he was loved. It is tragic, and the only solace is the knowledge that he is at peace now. His energy will be recycled, it will stay alive in us, the people whose lives he affected, and who affected him. It will change us in ways that we will never fully comprehend.

This is what I mean about energy transfer. If a troubled friend passes away, his energy must also pass on. We will have our memories of him, but most importantly, we have his true spirit living in us now. If we nurture it, the energy melds with ours, and we will never be the same. We must become better lovers, and thus better livers. We must be stronger, and we must be closer. It is the natural balance of the universe. This is what has been happening for billions of years, and will continue to happen for billions more. It is what makes the world what it is today.

I believe this is the best way we can define time: in passing. How does the world change, how does it gradually become closer to itself, more aware of its interconnectedness and interdependence on itself, despite matter's continuous spatial expansion? In the passing of what we call time. I often wonder what the final result is. At the beginning, all was identical, a pure infinite weight packed into a space smaller than a single atom. At the end, will we reach that again? Will the unifying force of love that everything is made of finally find itself again in ultimate, singular peace? If it did, it would be beautiful. But we won't know. Fortunately, not knowing is beautiful too. All we can do is trust in the force of love, let it continue to be us, shape us, drive, teach, and guide us to wherever we are heading.

What we must do is feel it, and express it as truly as possible. For me, this is best done with music. When we dance together, we feel love. It is the ultimate energy transfer. And I know that is what he would want us to do.

Monday, May 24, 2010

REVIEW: Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma [Warp Records]

Here is my review of Flying Lotus' new album Cosmogramma on Warp Records, written for Big Up Magazine's Issue 7.

===

Flying Lotus // Cosmogramma // Warp Records



Flying Lotus returns on the mighty Warp Records with his second full-length, Cosmogramma, undoubtedly his strongest and most original work yet. From the first second of the record, it immediately grabs you by the shoulders and like the force of gravity, you plummet into his world with an intense sixty seconds of electro-acoustic hybrid mash, quickly followed by a two minute jam-out of fractured drum & bass and fretted bass noodlings. The third track shoves you even further, pummeling your ears with an ascending fat bass pulse, chopped-up drums and spacious strings. Try to think of this as your (dis-)orientation, clearly intended to knock you off your conventional shoes and prepare you for what’s to come, as it should have.

At track four, you’re plunged into a beatless space, carried forth by celestial violins and cascading harps, cueing the album’s actual beginning. It kicks off into a series of bass-heavy hip-hop machinations, showing us the Flying Lotus that we’ve come to know so well. Its highlights are “Computer Face//Pure Being”, a phantasmagorical derivation of bitted Nintendo music, seamlessly traversing into the 4/4 roller, “And The World Laughs With You”, caressed by the soothing vocals of Thom Yorke, growing progressively glitched-out as it putters along. Other standout tracks are “Mmmhmm” featuring the tranquil lyricism of Thundercat, and “Satellliiiiteee”, a crunked-out opus with pitch-shifted Lil Wayne-style vocals.

What’s really impressive about this album is not only how Steven Ellison has further perfected his signature sound electronically with mysterious synthesis and sampling, but has also enhanced it with organic flavors such as fusions of jazz saxophone and guitar, as well as original vocalists. The result clouds the contour between electronic and traditional acoustic music, begging you simply to simply let your brain absorb it, without a thought of “what” or “how”. This is a true sign of an accomplished musician. It doesn’t seek to elude classification, but effortlessly does so of itself. A great example of this is “Do The Astral Plane”, a somewhat house-like track beginning with straight up scat-talk, a spirited square-wave bassline, and a vivid string arrangement.

Flying Lotus’ tracks are enriched by sounds that can’t even be described; soft layers that don’t grab your attention, but you hear only when you’re blasting it loud and listening closely, almost playing tricks on your mind. The energy flow of this record is rather irregular too, beginning at full throttle, and progressing downwards, as if you’ve taken a toke of some amazing substance and are listening to the soundtrack of it being gradually processed by your receptors until you return to waking reality. The only problem is the album feels too short; each track leaving you wishing it had lasted a little longer. Still, that’s the beauty of being able to experience it all over again, and perhaps encounter something that you hadn’t before.

-Alex Incyde

===

Buy it HERE.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Quote from Stephen Hitchell (of Echospace)

Taken from this interview...
"We don’t think very much. That’s the beauty of music, or the beauty of art, once you walk into the studio you turn off all the thought process. I think that if you have preconceived ideas or preconceived notions it changes the direction of what’s naturally meant to take place, I think that’s the beauty of art in itself."

Quote from Mala

From this interview in FACT Magazine...
"For me, releasing music isn’t the most important thing; it’s the process, it’s about being there in the studio building tunes, it’s not the end product but how you get there, and even if you don’t get there it doesn’t really matter because… well it’s just about doing, isn’t it? For me it’s just about doing."

Music Curation vs Music Criticism

From this article in Wired magazine...
2) Music curation vs. music criticism
In the old days all music fans actually had to pay for albums, which meant they had to be careful with their choices. They turned to people called “music critics,” which publications hired to help guide purchasing decisions, because there was no way to find out how something sounded on your own unless you stumbled across it on the radio or stood in line at record stores that allowed free previews on headphones.
Today, you can discover in seconds how nearly any band in the world sounds, assuming it wants to be heard, on YouTube, MySpace, Spotify, The Pirate Bay and other services. At that point, the role of the music critic shrinks considerably and becomes more about curation than criticism.
The fact that your favorite MP3 blog mentions something at all is more important than what they say about it, because you can then download or stream the song and decide for yourself.

Friday, April 9, 2010

I really do mean to write.

I really didn't mean for this blog to just be me posting various things about my DJ and review activities and such. Seems like just doing that would make it a diary or something. But no, this is a BLOG!

The last few months have been a period of internal growth, change, and reflection, which has taken up most of my time and effort generally, which probably explains the brief updates on this thing. Also because I prefer to spend my free time working on music and expressing myself aurally rather than verbally, and I think one should only write when they feel they have something worthwhile to say, with a healthy amount of confidence and conviction behind it.

Eventually this time will come.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

REVIEW: F - Energy Distortion / Untold Remix [7EVEN]

And here is my review of F's "Energy Distortion" album sampler for Big Up Magazine, with an Untold remix on the flip, out on 7EVEN Recordings. I must say that since writing this review, I've grown to favor the Untold mix much more than before. But it's already been printed, so whatever.

==

F / Untold - Energy Distortion (Album Sampler Part 1) [7EVEN Recordings] (12")



Another quality release from the 7EVEN camp out of France. This one is built by my favorite of the crew: the producer simply known as F, backed with a great remix by the man of 2009 – Untold. If you haven’t heard anything from this label yet, I highly recommend doing so NOW. 7EVEN has released some brilliant techno-dubstep crossover material by the likes of F and Helixir over the last year, for fans of Headhunter and 2562.

“Energy Distortion” may be the best one on the label yet – and I have to say, despite my expectations when receiving the promo, the original is the real killer. Relentlessly throwing shuffling, syncopated rhythms to your face while spraying you with beeps, bloops, and warm filter mods from the very start, once it fully drops in, it’s all over. Not literally… but if you don’t lose your s&!t at that point, maybe you’re not paying attention. I’m not kidding, you’ll want to check your pants. It’s a delight to the ear from start to finish, whether at home or on the dancefloor, but subwoofers are highly recommended for maximum effect.

On the flip, Untold takes the tempo down a bit, with a slightly more meditative version, which is a welcome surprise given the near-silliness of his recent releases. It’s still got his characteristic sound – fat, subby percussion underneath, complemented with imaginative re-workings of F’s musical textures. It’s not quite what you’d expect of an Untold remix, but it totally works in its own right.

- Alex Incyde

==

Buy it HERE.

REVIEW: Asusu - Small Hours / Taurean [PSQ001]

Below is my review of the new single from Asusu on Project Squared, taken from the new issue of Big Up Magazine.

==

Asusu - Small Hours / Taurean [Project Squared] (12")

Here’s a brand new label focusing on dubstep’s mutated evolutions. Kicking it off on the first release is Asusu, bringing some quality production to the fore, taking bits and pieces from techno, breakbeat, and garage, then reformulating it into a wonderfully deep, yet upbeat and tasty pair of tracks, for fans of Scuba, Jus Wan, and Spatial.

“Small Hours” is a warm roller, utilizing skipping hi hats, a subalicious kick and punchy snare to deliver the goods in full force, served over a bed of sub-bass, laying the foundation for its dubbed-out synth lines dancing about over the top. The melodies are pleasing to the ear and complement each other perfectly, enticing you to just close your eyes and bob your head. It stays interesting throughout, not falling victim to the standard “copy and paste” technique after the breakdown, instead making subtle changes and shifts between the sonic layers.

On the flipside, “Taurean” is on a similar tip but errs more toward the UK garage side of things, especially in the drums. The synth lines are delicious, and carry the flow throughout with just enough variation, a bit reminiscent of Untold’s “I Can’t Stop This Feeling” and “Sweat”. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not a rip-off, but you can hear the influences clearly.

Overall a very strong release, with two carefully crafted tracks that are well paired, like two leaves coming from the same branch of the tree. Out in December on Project Squared, this is definitely a label to watch out for in 2010.

- Alex Incyde

==

Buy it HERE.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chaos Theory

"In Chaos Theory, forms emerge, dissolve, and reform through the creative process known as self-organization. These forms resonate with our spirit and foster a cultivate of connection. Healing originates in the chaotic consciousness and emerges as the process of creative self-organization. Chaos is ubiquitous in nature. It reveals in its own depths, hidden degrees of order and structure that resonate with the soul and reveal to us the basic forms and structures repeated throughout nature and throughout our nature. It underlies the fundamental laws of nature and natural processes, and implies a universe of evolution and constant re-creation. Structure arises in the moment and is in resonance with its environment. But in a universe of constant evolution each form eventually becomes dissonant as the evolving environment surrounding it changes.

Chaos Theory restores the balance to the entropic forces which lead to the decay and death of outworn systems. It is the means of creative self-organization which arises from the undifferentiated disorder that lurks within the processes of creation. Chaos holds infinite possibilities of new form, and these forms are eventually revealed and emerge from chaos as new structure. This also applies to consciousness dynamics, such as thought, spontaneous behavior and creativity. Reality is neither structure nor chaos, but a process in which structure and chaos dance between form and formlessness. This is the eternal cycle of death and renewal, the dance of Shiva.

Emergence is a process by which order appears “spontaneously” within a system. When the mind lets go of its rational order and enters into unstructured chaos, it emerges later with a new structure or form. Since order arises spontaneously from disorder through self-organization, healing is an ever-present potential."

-Lori Gardi

Friday, January 8, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Arabesque

"The conventional duality of subject and object, knower and known, feeler and feeling, is changed into a polarity: the knower and the known become the poles, terms, or phases of a single event which happens, not to me or from me, but of itself. The experiencer and the experience become a single, ever-changing, self-forming process, complete and fulfilled at every moment of its unfolding, and of infinite complexity and subtlety. It is like, not watching, but being, a coiling arabesque of smoke patterns in the air, or of ink dropped in water, or of a dancing snake which seems to move from every part of its body at once."

-Alan Watts