8/40 Lyra

On my walk home tonight, Fripp and Eno’s “Lyra” from “The Equatorial Stars” came up. An interesting series of events occurred: my first reaction was to consider this album perfectly useless. I found there was a profound lack of interest in it, a lack of gems to mine. Actually, the piece before it was “Altair” from the same album, and I would have to say that my opinion on that one holds. Continue reading

7/40 Emoting in music

Walking through any grocery store these days is an interesting exercise in listening – most establishments put on the radio and we are subjected to a mix of “classic rock”, “80s favourites”, and of course the modern one hit wonders. A closer listen to the modern songs has me reflecting on an issue that’s been on my mind for several years: emoting through music, especially singing. Continue reading

6/40 Zeppelin [Masked + Dreaming]

I have always wanted to write more songs, believing that the “pop song” is probably one of today’s most powerful and compact modes of communication.

However, I’m not a “pop” artist. And, I have not been gifted with what most would call a “good voice”. So, I endeavoured to find a way to create songs that would somehow allow me to be true to my artistic preferences, come up with a vocal sound that would work, and allow me to do it without feeling self-conscious. Continue reading

5/40 Future Farmers

Recently, I put out a Call for Submissions for cover artwork. I’m going to make “Future Farmers”, a single from “Masked and Dreaming”, available for free for 1 day on April 22nd Earth Day.

Here are a few tidbits of information that inner listeners may find interesting:


  • science fiction short stories and novels from my childhood by Ray Bradbury and Frank Herbert.
  • A certain historical figure was famous for saying that followers would be “fishers of men”. I’d always been a bit uncomfortable with that wording – after all fishing is just another word for hunting. I had been thinking of the idea of “cultivation”, and I realized that I could use the theme in an esoteric and an exoteric sense: the cultivation of the self, the cultivation of a new life, of participating in the co-authoring of a future. All of that thinking suddenly came together in a simple phrase: “farmers of men”. Continue reading

4/40 Art and Language

I’ve recently been perusing the book “The Conspiracy of Art” by Jean Baudrillard. His famous declaration in the late 1980’s was that “art is dead”, and that it was “confiscating banality, waste, and mediocrity to turn them into values and ideologies”.

This is a topic that I’d like to tackle more fully at another time, but there is one aspect of the argument that I would like to talk about today. It is that art, when talked about, is often very difficult to justify, to understand, to grasp, to appreciate, to care about. Music especially is subject to this because it is even less tangible than visual art, and takes longer to absorb. That is, you can look at a Rothko painting in it’s entirety in 1 second, notwithstanding how long it might take to really come to be in relationship with it. But, it takes a full hour to sit through all of Beethoven’s 9th or Eno’s “Neroli”. Further, you can’t put Bach, Iron Maiden, and Ryuichi Sakamoto all in the same room playing simultaneously and hope for acceptable results, though museums do it frequently with visual art. Continue reading

3/40 On the future of algorithmic music

I was at a friend’s house some time ago and he showed me his iTunes library. Proudly he announced that there were nearly 15,000 tunes to be found there. I couldn’t help but be simultaneously impressed by the sheer commitment of his collection impulse and dismayed at the prospect of owning so much music with a very slim chance that it would ever be heard in its entirety.

I wondered then about “what is music for?” It’s a big question, and I don’t think it can be answered easily, but I want to try to address some aspects. Continue reading

2/40 Ambient music

I saw this posting via Reddit on a forum today, and I thought I would like to write about it:


Regardless of the authenticity of the forum (it’s been suggested it is a fake), it does raise some worthwhile questions.

I’d like to start with a note about ambient music. I believe there is a misconception in the public as to what ambient music actually is. These days, nearly anything “soft and light” is ambient. Even many musical artists use this word for styles of music that are not actually ambient. I personally subscribe to Brian Eno’s early treatise on ambient music as found in Ambient 1: Music for Airports and his subsequent musings on the topic in interviews and writings. I think the best analogy for this is to think of it in terms of light e.g. “ambient light”. You don’t notice that you are noticing it, but give it some attention and suddenly the world becomes a very different place. Continue reading