musicians

Passing through Light and Into Shadow

"While writing and recording Past Life, we worked to lift layers away, strip down and distill the core elements of the songs, which is reflected in the video. I want to create a world with as little as possible and the video speaks to these minimal aspects of the album. Visually, I was really drawn to the image of individuals passing through light and into shadow, this kind of fleeting glimpse." 

~ Ari Picker, Lost in the Trees

See also: Lost in the Trees Tiny Desk Concert

The Same Source

“Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there.”

~ Henry Miller, from Sexus

Hardy Hibiscus, July 18, 2013

Hardy Hibiscus, July 18, 2013

Étude

Excerpt from "Find What You Love and Let It Kill You" by James Rhodes:

My life involves endless hours of repetitive and frustrating practising, lonely hotel rooms, dodgy pianos, aggressively bitchy reviews, isolation, confusing airline reward programmes, physiotherapy, stretches of nervous boredom (counting ceiling tiles backstage as the house slowly fills up) punctuated by short moments of extreme pressure (playing 120,000 notes from memory in the right order with the right fingers, the right sound, the right pedalling while chatting about the composers and pieces and knowing there are critics, recording devices, my mum, the ghosts of the past, all there watching), and perhaps most crushingly, the realisation that I will never, ever give the perfect recital. It can only ever, with luck, hard work and a hefty dose of self-forgiveness, be "good enough".

And yet. The indescribable reward of taking a bunch of ink on paper from the shelf at Chappell of Bond Street. Tubing it home, setting the score, pencil, coffee and ashtray on the piano and emerging a few days, weeks or months later able to perform something that some mad, genius, lunatic of a composer 300 years ago heard in his head while out of his mind with grief or love or syphilis. A piece of music that will always baffle the greatest minds in the world, that simply cannot be made sense of, that is still living and floating in the ether and will do so for yet more centuries to come. That is extraordinary. And I did that. I do it, to my continual astonishment, all the time. 

Read the whole essay...


See also:

All the Things We Couldn't See

"Fans of experimental indie rock, mark those calendars: Love, Cloud Cult’s ninth full-length, is coming out March 5 on the band’s own label, Earthology Records. Fans can pre-order the record now via the group’s site. . . The A.V. Club has the premiere of the video of its first single, All The Things We Couldn’t See. It’s lush, beautiful, and more of a visual collage than a story—so basically, perfect for a Cloud Cult song."

Attentional Fitness Training for Musicians

Attentional Fitness Training for Musicians

Athletes and musicians -- and anyone else who has committed effort over time toward the development of a specific skill -- tend to have some advantages when it comes to these strategies. But what if there were exercises and drills to add to the mix that could systematically support the development of concentration, clarity, and equanimity in the context of rehearsal and performance?

This is My Stage

"This is my audience. This is my stage. This is my life."

~ Władysław Tomczyk

A Reflection from Variable on Vimeo

This mini-doc shares the story of Władysław Tomczyk, a gentleman we unexpectedly met in Katowice, Poland after wrapping a month-long commercial project throughout Europe. His hopeful message of creating life-work by honing one's natural ability is one we value to the core at Variable. What began as an insightful conversation, motivated us to extend our trip by 3 days so we could capture this inspiring man's life.

With no pre-developed story or shot-list, we let our curiosity & conversations with Wladyslaw guide the film. As a result, his outlook on life furthered our belief that contentment through self-acceptance trumps societal approval.

Free your mind.

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Production Company: Variable

Produced, Directed and Filmed: Variable (Khalid Mohtaseb, Jonathan Bregel, Tyler Ginter)
Art Director: Joseph Sciacca
Local Coordinator & Translator: Piotr Labercheck

Editorial & Color Grade: Salomon Ligthelm - www.ligthelm.tv

Original Score & Sound Design: Tony Anderson - www.tonyandersonmusic.com 

Post Story Producer: Susan Modaress
Polish Translators: Sophia Whitman & Arkadiusz Lesniak

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www.WeAreVariable.com
twitter.com/WeAreVariable
hello@WeAreVariable.com

Breaking through the Illusion of Transparency

Breaking through the Illusion of Transparency

"You're sort of in this three-dimensional landscape of sound and that's where I really like to be with my music. Like when I'm on stage, that's where I am. I'm not on stage in front of you, I'm in this landscape of sound. I can almost see the way the music happens, but that's not seeing people playing and it's not seeing somebody conducting.

It's not seeing an audience watching it. It's very much like this feeling of, What does the sound look like?  The sweep of the sound, the way it moves up and down, or rushing forward." 

~ Zoë Keating

The Intimacy You Get From Practicing

Flamenco guitarist and Zen practitioner Ottmar Liebert, from “Intimacy Through Practice,” Buddhist Geeks Podcast, September 13, 2010:

There’s a part of practice that I think is inherent in all different practices. The type of concentration, the familiarity, the intimacy that you get to whatever you’re practicing, whether it’s archery or Zen or music or how to make a perfect pancake. You won’t get there unless you get intimate with the subject. You only get there through practice. As you become more intimate, you know more about it, where you can say “This batter is too liquid or too solid or too warm too cold. It’ll act this way.” All that comes only through practice. It comes  up often in conversations with my friends about how people go about life these days, that they’re really not willing to practice anything.

The other day we got to talking about jeans. There’s only one of the old fashioned wooden looms in America. I think it’s actually in Raleigh, North Carolina. All the other ones were shipped to Japan, and that’s in the ‘50s. And that’s where you  get the superior denim because people are willing to make things by hand and become intimate with it. Whereas a lot of people in the United States or in Europe will just go, “I’d rather buy ten pairs at Walmart than buy one pair of really good jeans, even though the really good pair will probably outlast the ten pairs they buy at Walmart.” So, there’s a lack of that—you might say depth—that comes from not practicing, from not practicing a craft.

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Raleigh Denim

Raleigh Denim: Handcrafted in North Carolina from David Huppert on Vimeo.

Listen to the Music of the Traffic in the City

“The song written by an Englishman about an American city whose promise of togetherness really yields loneliness sung by a white Parisian woman everyone thought was black.”

~ From “Pop Music: Songs that Cross Borders,” Radiolab, April 21, 2008

When you're alone and life is making you lonely
You can always go - downtown
When you've got worries, all the noise and the hurry
Seems to help, I know - downtown
Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city
Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty
How can you lose?

The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares
So go downtown, things'll be great when you're
Downtown - no finer place, for sure
Downtown - everything's waiting for you

Don't hang around and let your problems surround you
There are movie shows - downtown
Maybe you know some little places to go to
Where they never close - downtown
Just listen to the rhythm of a gentle bossa nova
You'll be dancing with him too before the night is over
Happy again

The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares
So go downtown, where all the lights are bright
Downtown - waiting for you tonight
Downtown - you're gonna be all right now

[Instrumental break]

And you may find somebody kind to help and understand you
Someone who is just like you and needs a gentle hand to
Guide them along

So maybe I'll see you there
We can forget all our troubles, forget all our cares
So go downtown, things'll be great when you're
Downtown - don't wait a minute for
Downtown - everything's waiting for you

Downtown, downtown, downtown, downtown ...

 

To Be Able to Sing

An excerpt from a Radiolab conversation between Jad Abumrad and musician Juana Molina (May 4, 2009):

Juana: I usually feel that the sounds tell me what to do with them. Every sound has its own behavior. I’m just feeling like a driver of those sounds. Little by little, my ridiculously small universe becomes huge. Anything that has a note or a rhythm, you can make music with.

Jad: Are you inspired more by a thought, like I want to say something?

Juana: No. Never! There’s absolutely nothing that I really want to say.

Jad: Really?

Juana: Really.

Jad: Well, you have lyrics sometimes.

Juana: Most of the times.

Jad: So when the song pops into your head and you develop it, you’re not thinking of  a story per se.

Juana: No. Never.

Jad: But you put the story on afterwards, why?

Juana: In order to be able to sing.

Un Día

Un día voy a cantar las canciones sin letra y cada uno podrá imaginar si hablo de amor, de desilusión, banalidades o sobre platón.

One day I will sing the songs with no lyrics and everyone can imagine for themselves if it's about love, disappointment, banalities or about Plato.

On Your Way to Wonderful

"It's okay to head out for wonderful, but on your way to wonderful, you're going to have to pass through all right, and when you get to all right, take a good look around and get used to it, because that may be as far as you're gonna go."

~ Bill Withers, from “Still Bill: Documenting a Soul Icon,” All Things Considered (March 4, 2010)

Are We Just Going to Wait it Out?

Wait It Out
by Imogen Heap, from Ellipse

Everybody says time heals everything.
But what of the wretched hollow?
The endless in-between?
Are we just going to wait it out?

And sit here cold?
Well, We'll be long gone by then.
And lackluster in dust we lay
Around old magazines.
Fluorescent lighting sets the scene
for all we could and should be being
in the one life that we've got.