Friday, November 25, 2016

Inspiration - # 1

According to a few people I know, I need to "actually blog."  This blog has more or less just been a place I've put links to my Mixcloud page.  Which is, of course, a page that anyone can just directly go to.  My attempts to post about anything else have been awkward at best.  I have no intention of blogging nakedly about my personal life or my views on politics or what I've had for dinner.  The blog was set up because I do have a musical project in the works (which I expect will be completed in the Spring) and I was told that I needed to have "web presence."  (I have very helpful friends - many of whom are actual musicians, so I try to listen to their advice.)  In thinking about what I might blog about, I thought it perhaps appropriate, if obvious, to blog about inspiration.

My musical inspirations are laid bare pretty openly within the mixes that I make - something, if you look at my Mixcloud, I've actually been doing for quite some time.  (The first one I posted is six years old - holy cow.)  I'm sure I'll talk about those as I go, but obviously, anything from psychedelia to prog to sunshine pop to baroque rock to electronic music and radiophonics to library music to soundtracks, and everything in between, are musical inspirations.

I got started collecting music as a child at the end of the LP age (smack in the middle of the cassette age, really).  I grew up in the middle of nowhere - out in the country, the Bible Belt no less.  I was traumatized by Southern American religion by one person to the point of being left with what one doctor later surmised may have been some level of childhood PTSD; in the end, I ended up fascinated by all things occult and "pagan," as well as spirituality and religion - the one and only award I was given in all of high school was for the Old and New Testament Bible class (yes, that was an actual class I took in my senior year of high school, which was 1999). I grew up in the 80s and 90s, prior to the vinyl resurgence, and was lucky enough to snag quite a bit of vinyl from the public library when they sold off their collection and also "consignment shops" (what we called thrift stores in my hometown) where much vinyl could be had for as little as ten cents.  It's how I ended up with odd prog LPs like Second Hand (and utter crap like REO Speedwagon).  I eventually worked at that public library - it was my first job - and was given first look at a lot of great stuff being sold, including educational LPs, which began my love of older (and often experimental) teaching-aid albums.  I eventually moved out of my conservative small hometown to more urban pastures, and for a while, embarked on a successful career.  Luckily, some portion of my music collection remained with my folks, who are low-level hoarders.  Unhappily, a good amount of it got donated.  Somewhere out there I hope someone got enjoyment out of some pretty rare albums that I'd rather not think about considering what I've seen them going for on sites like Discogs in recent years.

When my career disappeared along with a sizable portion of the economy in 2008, I drifted a bit.  I eventually decided that escapism was where I belonged, and for better and for worse, my music collecting began again.  Eventually, my desire to "participate" kicked in.  I was in bands in my teens and into my very early 20s - I had no desire to try to get a band together, but surely I could pick up instruments again!  Playing an instrument is not just like riding a bike (also, riding a bike is not just like riding a bike - you absolutely do kind of forget just how to maintain equilibrium and I busted my ass getting on a bicycle for the first time in a decade - but, I digress; maybe that's just me).  It took me quite a long time and a lot of trial and error figuring out what shape my musical project would take; what I would use; and if it would even be something I would share with anyone else.  At first, I had no intention of letting anyone else hear anything I did.  (An idea that, once I'm done, may turn out to have been correct.) Some chance encounters with friends and musicians and some (possibly?) well-placed advice later, and I'm surrounded not only by LPs, but musical instruments and accouterments, with a project in progress that I intend to release when it is complete (though I do not intend to ask anything for it).  As I've watched many of my favorite, life-changing bands and artists fall by the wayside, and discovered new, amazing artists, it's not much of a question for me as to what form the actual music would likely take.  But what do I have to write about?

I would never spell everything out completely.  I'm not sure I could even if I wanted to.  But, I thought, if I was going to "blog," in a space meant somewhat as a place to talk about and post music, I would talk around some inspirations.  I don't have too many questions as to what inspired the actual music on some of my favorite albums; in some cases, especially with a few of my favorite artists, it's nearly too obvious what they were listening to.  (Here are some wonderful cases in point.)  But the chords chosen, the changes and the cryptic words, the emotions - or lack thereof - behind them - that's a conversation.  Perhaps I will get into a bit of that here.  (It's not like anyone is really reading this, is it?!)  Even before any of my actual written music is laid out before ears other than mine and my poor neighbors - what moves me and inspires me says a lot about what I love and why I love it.  I suppose this is as good a place as any to dump some word salad - as someone said to me the other day, "it is supposed to be a 'blog,' isn't it?"

For now:

The quickly and shoddily thrown together page header logo thingy - which is not at all what I envision any sort of design to be for any of my later-to-come original music - was lifted from this:

I'm sure I will write more soon.  (Even though just writing all that feels incredibly pretentious.)  For now, I have a new mix to put the finishing touches on and post.

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