Yes, I’ve been ensconced in my office-slash-recording studio, concocting more strange music with no audience or venue in mind.
Just fucking around on my MIDI keyboard and seeing what I can come up with.
Quite pleased by this latest batch o’ tunes, especially the very first cut, “Ominous IV”, which wouldn’t be out of place as the main title track of the next “Alien” movie.
Here’s the tune in question and if you want to listen to the entire EP, go to my BandCamp page (everything there is FREE, no strings attached, honest) and download away.
Coming soon to our fair town, the Free Flow Dance Company from Saskatoon.
I’ve had the good fortune to be involved with the group for several years, furnishing them with some of my oddball, ambient music…and watching in amazement as Jackie Latendresse and the gals come up with unique, mesmerizing performances that somehow perfectly capture the essence of what my music is all about: futuristic, dystopian, mechanical.
Here’s the info, hope you can check out one of the performances or take in their workshop.
You’ll be blown away…
The Free Flow Dance Company (Saskatoon) will be holding their annual gala performance in November (23-25th).
This year, Jackie Latendresse and her amazing troupe of dancers will be employing around 40 minutes of music from my “Pensees” release (listen to it on BandCamp). They’ve used my stuff before and I’m always amazed by their creativity and insight. They intuitively draw meaning from the work, using movement and visualizations to express so much more than the music could manage on its own.
I’m honored to participate in such a worthy event.
Here are the details:
Actually, there are a couple of milestones to mention:
I turned 55 this past week and this happens to be my 500th blog post.
Time to celebrate.
Today I’ve posted a new album on my BandCamp page, over forty minutes of original music, titled Non nobis solum (“Not for ourselves alone”). You can find the new tunes here.
If I had to choose one of the new pieces to highlight, it would have to be “Drowning, Not Waving”. Have a listen:
This new batch of music seems more spiritual than spacey, a welcome change of pace.
Besides creating music, I’ve been doing lots of painting, spending part of the summer setting up a mini artist studio in our cold, stone basement. Ensconced in my wee grotto, I daub and smear, accompanied by music and podcasts, working without fear, philosophy or prejudice, just…creating. Making shit up. That’s when I’m happiest.
I employed one of my recent paintings as cover art for Non nobis solum. See what I mean? That’s the kind of weird crap I get up to when I’m left to my own devices.
Thanks to one and all, for hanging out here for the past 10+ years, continuing to support an irascible, uncompromising indie guy with a taste for satire and a propensity for giving offense.
Love your notes and messages, your praise and brickbats.
Keep ’em coming…
My personal sales copies of The Algebra of Inequality have arrived and I’ve been signing like a madman, getting my orders out, packaging up review copies, etc. Folks are buying multiple copies, gifts for friends and family, perhaps encouraged that this selection of poetry isn’t as dark and brooding as previous efforts.
Wanted to post the flier Sherron designed to send out to booksellers and libraries. If this doesn’t draw some interest, I dunno what will:
And one last reminder that the Free Flow Dance Company will be performing a number of new works, based on some music I sent them earlier this year. Director Jackie Latendresse promises an evening of sublime entertainment, set to some of the oddest, er, “melodies” you’re likely to hear.
The show is in Saskatoon on Saturday night (June 16th) and doors open at 7:30. Ticket info, etc. can be found in a previous post, just scroll down and you’ll find it…
Every year I try to come up with something special to post on this blog during the holiday season.
It’s my way of saying “thank you” to the freaks and geeks and shoe-gazers who pop in between trips to their shrink and long, meandering walks going nowhere.
At last count, this blog had something like eight hundred (800) followers and tons of other folks who drop by when the mood strikes them. To hear my latest rant on some personal or professional pet peeve.
National Novel Writing Month…
Don’t get me started.
This year I’ve decided to post a batch of new music on BandCamp, stuff you can, needless to say, listen to and download for absolutely nuttin’. We’re talking about forty minutes of my ambient work, short snippets I’ve assembled into an album I’ve dubbed Pensées.
You can find the album in its entirety here.
Here’s the first cut, just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about:
Coming up in Saskatoon, a night featuring original, innovative performances, courtesy the Free Flow Dance Theatre Company.
One of the pieces will incorporate some of my strange ambient music—it will be fascinating to see what Jackie Latendresse and her troupe have come up with. I’ll definitely be attending and hope there will be a good turn-out for what promises to be a remarkable evening, an audio-visual feast:
I purchased a MIDI keyboard about a year ago—handy little gadget, plugs into my Garageband software, no problem, offering me a new range of bloops and blips to play with.
Whenever my writing process starts to feel stale or contrived, I haul out my MIDI and noodle about for a week or two…or I’ll descend to our low-ceilinged basement to slap and flick and scrape paint onto canvas. Anything to break the cycle of futility.
I’ve uploaded one of my recent pieces, a short, two-minute number that will give you an idea of where my musical instincts lie. Just click on the link below and away you go. Feel feel to download and share it, as well.
This kind of music is not for everyone, but it’ll definitely get your attention.
Hope you enjoy “Paint the Sky Transparent”:
Recently, I wrote a series of prose poems to accompany six visual pieces I’d created.
The marriage of words and images worked wonderfully and I’m delighted with the result. I’ve always loved collage, combining text and illos, loved staring at a photo or painting and riffing on it, writing off the top of my head, no pre-planning, just letting ‘er rip. “Automatic writing”, the surrealists used to call it.
Here’s one of the prose poems, just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about (click on the image below to enlarge for reading):
Years ago I composed a series of prose bits* on the back of eight postcards I found, some of them based on famous art works, others historical photographs. Again, all I did was glance at the front, grab a mood or thought, flip the card over and commence scribbling. Worked like a charm (and a cool way to break an intractable writer’s block, hmmm?).
Just a little tip, o fellow suffering wordsmiths.
…and since I’m feeling especially cheerful and generous these days, how about some new music, an ambient number I call “Atmospheric Disturbance”:
- You can find these “postcard stories” in my Stromata collection, available from my virtual “Bookstore“…or you can order it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.
Update, March, 2017: The Oleander Review, a literary journal affiliated with the University of Michigan, has accepted “A Personal Cosmology” for publication in their Spring, 2017 issue.
My wife is pretty clever.
She snapped a picture of me while I was outside, on our back deck, trying out some wax crayon thingees she gave me. You can use them as regular crayons or take a wet brush and smear the colors on, like watercolors. Very cool. It was fun to play around for nearly 4 hours, totally oblivious to everything except the mosquitoes (bastards!). Didn’t keep the finished work, quickly shit-canned it as an interesting failure.
I was much happier with three chalk pastels I completed a week or so ago. Those I plan on getting framed…and then hiding them behind my chair in the office. My visual stuff definitely not for everyone. Call me an enlightened amateur. An idiot with a smidgeon of savant. I don’t claim to be one of those Renaissance men, equally capable in a variety of disciplines. I’m definitely a one-trick pony—a wordsmith and dang proud of it.
But every so often I have to get away from WORDS. I’ll go out and snap some photos or shoot some footage with my palm-sized digital camera. Assemble a weird collage, paint something semi-representational on an old board. Create some strange ambient music.
The end results aren’t always stellar, frequently they’re downright godawful. But they’re helpful exercises, stimulating different parts of my brain than I usually employ when hard at work on a novel or short story. These interludes also allow me a chance to play, something much under-valued in this day and age. Spending a few hours on something completely non-productive, entirely without aesthetic or commercial value, making a mess, being silly, whatever you want to call it.
Today was a welcome break for me and, as you can see from the picture, I was utterly enthralled.