Monthly Archives: June 2011

Thanks For Telling Me

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Yang Hee Rocks

I was walking deeeeeeep in Namsan Forest the other day when I came across an odd kinda sculpture of rocks floating in mid air! I don’t have a camera, but I managed to do a quick sketch / watercolor painting of it. Nobody believes me. The rocks say “Yang Hee” (co-incidentally the name of a friend I was planning on doing a painting for anyway.)

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The Bandwidth of Your Life’s Experience

“I want to know God’s thoughts. The rest are details.” – Albert Einstein

The quantifiable value of our real-world experience is an energy scale which can presently not be measured in scientific terms. There’s no unit of measurement for “how much” you live. But if there were, it would certainly be based on your capacity to pay attention to the physical (and metaphysical) world. In other words, the degree to which you can pay attention, or your “cognitive bandwidth”. The physical world only seems more and more insubstantial and integrated the closer we examine it, and as we near the threshold of conclusive experiments which hint at the actual proof of multi-dimensionality of this world, our apparent position as observers within spacetime increases our apparent limitation to transcend it. If the time ever came that humankind obtained the ability (or mechanism?) to perceive “up” dimensions directly, surely the application of a greater capacity for attention would be part of that process, in the same way that having electron microscopes has increased our capacity for observation at a molecular level?

For the purposes of this completely un-researched blog post, it seems true enough. But in the absence of evidence, scientific theory is indistinguishable from faith. While it may be that the trained increase of “cognitive bandwidth” (the capacity to pay attention, what I colloquially call “bandwidth”) may give the observer a sharp eye, ear and nose for the world around them, how is an increased ability to perceive a valuable trait? Why should someone with the ability to wholeheartedly recognize present-moment events as they happen, absorbing them with undivided attention, be regarded as a fascination of scientific inquiry?

Sit still somewhere quiet for long enough and simply look around you. You notice the ordinary appearance of light and shadow, you hear sounds. After enough time, your thoughts begin to shout. They can almost become audible. Snatches of the background “white noise” of your mental processes drown out even your tactile processing of the physical world. Continue to examine your inner thoughts, you’ll notice that the process of perceiving them is the same as the process of internalizing the ‘outer world’. Experiments in MRI have shown that the brain cannot distinguish between remembered and experienced events, using the same areas to process the necessary information. The implications of this conclusion are at the least quite incredible, but at most point to an absurd undervaluing of the physical indifference with which the universe treats the “concrete”, Newtonian world of matter and the as-yet esoteric, unquantifiable world of thought and decision-making. If the result of these experiments points to a blurring of the lines between the real and the imaginary, then it follows that a major potential tool for creating change in the physical world is lying dormant in the corner of the shed waiting to be used. This tool is the ability to consciously witness and react to thought as it happens.

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Mongolian Meadow

A piece of guitar music for my friend Su Yeon. She’s going to find a meadow in Mongolia.

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The line between dead and alive is far less important than the line between living consciously and living unconsciously. Trying to define consciousness is like trying to force a watermelon into a thimble. However, until telepathy is a feasible means of communication, it’s necessary to use words to convey ideas which cannot be expressed otherwise. But never confuse the word ‘honey’ with sweetness.


Post-Gig Concepts

Gig at Roofers, just got back.

Significant moments: Steve told me I should never play for free again. Quite angrily, which I was pleased by, because he’s kinda right. I got nothing out of tonight but the awesome experience and two CD sales and two new fans. Which is all fine by me, but when other people are charging at the door for the service I’m providing for free, it’s gotta balance out. Sure I’m not the drawcard, I’m not bringing in the value of my act yet, but I’ve also gotta learn to turn down opportunistic requests. For me, playing is everything, and whether or not I’m getting paid doesn’t make much difference to me yet. Learning.

Also, people will always bother you while you’re setting up or taking down. Expect to have to either say, “sorry I’m busy” or to do both the conversation and the breakdown with 50% attention. Up to you.

There will always be advisers. People who want to steer you in the direction they think is best for you. You cannot write them off entirely, but you cannot put too much stock in what they say either. Sometimes they’re drunk. You should learn to take advantage of their lowered defenses to make the emotion impact that is the master currency of the music industry.

Don’t drink too much. I have one already, thanks.

I need a chromatic headstock tuner for the guitar (mute, tune, unmute) and good plectrums that don’t splinter.

I have a set which starts out like a CD and ends like a club. I need to go BAM from the start and set the tone. I want to finish up with Tapehiss and Jennifer, and then whack out neo-classical, violin-heavy techno dance music. Deep and dark and lovely and unique and delays.

The pig mask only works on guitar tracks, where I don’t need to see and hear the violin properly.

The act needs polishing, sharpening. I can’t expect to “find the right person” to help me, so I have to continue solo until the right person presents. I trust they will, and I pursue leads in this faith. But I have things to learn on my own first. I cannot mix and perform at the same time. Something must be done here. MIDI foot pedal? Analogue delay pedal? hmmm… Gotta sharpen it up, from the start it must be BANG.

Women will think you’re sexy. Guys will give you “who do you think you are” stares. Don’t take any of it too seriously, very seldom would you get the same treatment from someone in a sober state of mind.

When it comes to gigs, all I’ve actually ever known is being the guy who keeps playing after the event organizer’s gone home and the cleaners are waiting while you forge audio in the corner, alone, without expectation of payment, simply because it’s the one thing that keeps your life on the rails.

But at least my fuckin’ life’s on the rails 🙂 picking up speed too. truly, nothing else matters.



Action Man

Click for the full glory

I decided the world needed a picture of a guy ramping a motorbike over an exploding helicopter while smoking a cigar, drinking a beer, banging a hot chick and shooting some guy in the face.

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