Some More Thoughts About Music

It’s hard to pinpoint the moment when many vibrations and variations in sound pressure turn into music . There’s something about music when it is good that just strikes you on the deepest level and makes you say, “this is music.” Every trigger in your brain is firing at once. And it’s beautiful that so many different styles and combinations of sounds have that power. I’ve been moved to tears by a myriad of genres. Yet what sounds like music to some sounds like noise to others. I was recently with a friend who basically only listens to classical music when Radiohead came on and I asked him what he thought about it. He said he didn’t mind the singing but couldn’t stand the guitars, which blows my mind but you can’t argue with taste. I just find the many different paths people take to get to their music sacred place interesting.

In a world full of awe-inspiring endeavors, music transcends nearly all of them to me and I’m never sure how much of that is my bias as a musician or how many artists of other mediums feel the same way. Yet for something I consider a divine art form, it has been commodified by our culture, which I’m not saying is entirely a bad thing. It allowed for an entire class of professional musicians that had basically never existed before. While there are tales of traveling minstrels, for the most part the only professional musicians throughout history were court and church composers. That didn’t mean fewer people played music though. Prior to modern recording, amateur musicianship was a more common thing as people relied on it to entertain themselves. More families gathered around the piano to sing songs together, without any real consideration of doing so for a living. Attitudes shifted along the way separating the notion of professional and amateur musicians. This likely had some to do with recording music making quality musicianship, or lack thereof, apparent. Again I’m not saying anything bad about this, I’ve certainly enjoyed access to recorded music. But I also don’t think anyone that wants to play music should ever be discouraged from doing so on whatever level they have in them. Music is for everyone, and it can be something to bob your head to in line at the store or a completely immersive religious experience. There is truly nothing to compare to it and I’m thankful for it every day.

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Just put up a track I worked on with Aimes called Juked. It’s got a Zapp-stye bass line under some smooth melodies and some ripping guitar. It’ll funk you up.

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I teamed up on another one with Mr. Dos called Glow. He does some really cool sound design and I’m honored to be able to work with him on some of these tracks. This is another fun but intense piece I added a bit of groove and some melodies to.

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Mr. Dos and I have released a new track titled Neuron here and in the New Electronic music playlist. He laid the foundation and I tweaked a remix, adding some melodies and expanding the drum parts. It’s pretty intense. Feel the potency.


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What are we supposed to do?

Every action we take is because we want to, we have to, or we’re supposed to. Inevitably there are things in life one does because they have to or are supposed to, like getting a job and paying rent. But beyond that, I find myself wondering where the line is between what we want to do and are supposed to do. Perhaps the simplest scenario is spirituality. I’ve made reference before on here that as a spiritual person my understanding is to be always thinking of God and gratitude, not because one is supposed to but because the rewards are self-evident. I believe this, but of course there are times when I find myself focusing my thoughts somewhere because I am supposed to. I don’t think mindless praise is what any deity had in mind, yet sometimes that comes with the territory.

This idea extends to all activities that aren’t mandatory for survival, and even the specifics of that are debatable. We all have to make our way in the world, but is there a way we are supposed to do it? Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual, only authority figures imposing their own experiences on us. Millennials were raised with the understanding we are supposed to go to college and get white collar jobs, ideally a lawyer or something that makes a lot of money. Now in my 30s, I have witnessed people I know go on all kinds of life trajectories, from medical doctor to pizza chef. There is no real consistency I’ve found with these choices and happiness or a sense of having made the right choices. One of the happiest people I know cuts hair and knows she is living her calling, while others got pharmacy or law degrees and found themselves disillusioned with the options on the other side.

I love playing music (obviously), and this along with recording albums are some of the only things in my life I ever knew I was supposed to do. It’s provided me so much joy and I’m very thankful I was given the talent and opportunity to learn instruments. I do enjoy every moment with a guitar or piano or digital compositions, but I also always have a driving sense that I’m supposed to be working on music for some type of long-term goal. For my early 20s it was the drive to create, record and get better because otherwise I wouldn’t have a successful music career down the road. Now it’s down the road and I don’t have a successful music career. Yet I still feel like I am supposed to play music, and don’t have feelings of regret about all the nights I chose to stay in and work on music instead of going out and socializing. So in this sense, it’s what I wanted to do. I was supposed to do it because it’s what I wanted to do. Like spirituality, I don’t always feel the benefit in the moment but know that it’s contributing to something deeper. This applies to many things, whether exercise or sleep habits or any skill/hobby we find fulfilling. It’s something we do because we are supposed to, but more importantly want to.

On that note now that I’ve written this article I was supposed to, I want to go pick up a guitar.

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A great teacher of mine once explained writing as: Say what you’re going to say, say it, say what you said. I couldn’t tell you all how many times I sit down to work on music, see the Golden Braid, think about how much I have to say, then never typing a word. It builds and builds and I’d like to think it ends up in the music, but many words seem to be crushed under the wait of life’s pressures. New Years is a common time for attempting change. Of course, it’s just a day like any other. There is no open door on January 1st that is otherwise closed. There are many reasons why people might choose this time for resolution, such as the dawning realization you’ve spent another year doing the same bullshit behavior you swore off long ago.

The reality for me is I have so much discontent for the amount of blessings in my life, which are ample. Since creating the Golden Braid about five years ago I’ve had a lifetime’s worth of blessings, and even having been happy at times. Little of this is the life I imagined, and hey, who really is living the life they pictured? Sometimes visions come to reality, there’s a distinct feeling of realization that just happens. I guess most of us learn what they meant by “then one day you find, ten years have gone behind you.”

Are we still doing this? The renaissance life was a commitment, a calling, a destiny. Over time, priorities shift just like your parents said they would. Fuck! Does it have to be so simple? For as complicated as the events that lead there are, in the end it’s a simple game. We have some amount of control, and that’s about it. There’s this whole idea of putting yourself out there that I never quite got. I thought if I could control myself I could control the world around me, but it doesn’t work like that. I can force myself to run 10 miles, or touch a door knob an even number of times, and be in control of that. The bigger picture has a lot more variables, and it’s hard to admit how little control we have over so many things. We just have to control what we’re able to.

With all that, what am I trying to say? What have I been saying for the last few years on this site? My life is great by so many metrics, and I say over and over how thankful I am. But sometimes I don’t feel as thankful as I should be, because there is this huge missing gap of music at the center of my life. This is the result of many factors out of my control, but also many that were, which I must recognize. I do plan to make some changes to the site this next year. It has looked the same for quite a while, so we could all benefit from a change of view. I’ve also been thinking about integrating a Twitter feed (@dggb) to the front page and update more from there since I feel I have more fleeting one-liners than discussion articles currently. But most importantly, I will get together a live show, and do whatever it takes to get a quality lineup of musicians to perform the music I have written. The last one was now three years ago – it’s about time, yes?

Here’s to a happy and blessed 2016 for all of you, I hope to share more music and words with you than ever before.

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