Category Archives: Thoughts

The Art of Trusting (in times of terror)

Standard
The Art of Trusting (in times of terror)

Dear you,
Thanks for taking the time to read this and care enough.
It’s been a hard couple of days. So shocking. So sudden.
I can’t really say the right things about what happened in Paris. So I won’t. No words can describe the pain, the sadness, the despair, the feeling of total paralysis.
But I will say this. (And I use my words extremely sparingly, as I don’t know how else to put it.)
It’s hard to trust.
… (Wait, what, trust?! How can you talk about trust in this situation??!!)

What Hurts More?

So yes, it is incredibly hard to trust. Of course it is, because it HURTS when your trust is broken. Yes. It hurts. It hurts like hell and you cry without end when it happens. But I want to ask you and myself the following question. What hurts more? Trusting with the knowledge that it can hurt when something happens that tries to trample that trust? Or the fact of not trusting at all?
I’m sure many people would argue for the first one as it seems the more obvious one. If you don’t give something away (like in this case trust), it can’t be taken or stolen from you, and you can’t get hurt, right?
Wrong. So wrong.
It’s so wrong it even hurts thinking about possibly living in a world in which everyone thinks like this. It hurts because the first one we hurt when living like that, is ourself. And this is really ironic, because the primary reason we don’t dare to trust is self-preservation. We think we are protecting ourselves from something by withholding our trust, but we are in fact harming our own fragile little selves. Every. Single. Time.
But why does it hurt ? I think it hurt so much because that little fragile self of ours can’t possibly be whole, be happy, be elated or inspired when we block the first reflex that any living creature has as it is born into this world, the reflex of trust. Without it, we wouldn’t drink our mothers milk, ( it might be poisoned ! ), without it we would not learn to walk ( we might fall ! ), without it we would not learn to talk ( words can be so painful ! ). I would argue that without it, we would not learn. Anything.

The Radical Response to Terror (The “Good” Kind)

When faced with terror, it is of course SUPER hard, to keep our hearts wide open, trusting the world.
It hurts SO much. It’s SO sad. And of course we feel SO hurt, and SO afraid, and our first reactions are quite logically reactions of self-preservation. At least it seems rational and logical in first instance. But it is then that we have to decide if we will let terror into our hearts, if we will let the fear it induces control us.  The goal of all terror is control. And someone who fears is easily controlled. Someone who fears is predictable. Someone who fears will definitely not try anything new, anything potentially harmful, anything as messy and definitely unsafe as… trust.
As strange as it may seem, as counter-intuitive (depending on the definition of this intuition), I am convinced with all of my heart that the only thing we can do to get through things like this, as an individual AND as a community, is to increase our trust in each other.
And if you disagree, please do argue with me. It’s so important.
I’m nuanced in most everything, I think, but this one doesn’t seem to be done justice, nuancing.

I think it is of vital importance to be a radical, extremist truster. 

And will it hurt? Undoubtable. But we have to trust that there is always more love available than we could ever possibly need to heal the wounds, to pick ourselves and each other up again from the floor and to continue on trusting and loving. More fearless than before. I believe in our capacity to love and to trust and I know that if we all join hands and love and trust like we have never done before, we will thrive, we will evolve into a force that is unstoppable by anything.

Why I wrote this

I want you to know this is not an article in which I’m trying to tell you what to do. It’s an article that I needed to write, for myself. To give myself the courage to trust. More than ever before. And I ask for your help. Because it’s not easy. It’s scary. So scary. But I’m doing it. Even if it is.
So please.
Will you please help me trust? Will you please trust me? Will you please trust yourself? Will you please trust the world?
Thank you.
I love you.
I trust you.

Advertisements

Resolutions for 2015 I’m planning to keep

Standard

1. Being the most loving human being I can be, in the profound experience & knowledge that when I give fully, and hold nothing back, I am truly living, and being myself in my most natural state, beneficial to myself AND everyone around me in the best possible way.

2. Supporting, sharing and promoting wonderful ecologic and humanly economic projects.

3.  Consuming as ethically, honestly and responsibly as possible in a fun way, supporting with my money and energy the production processes I believe in, and want to see more of in the world.
Asking myself with each action (as I’ve heard it is said Native Americans used to do) : ‘What will the effect of this action be, if it is repeated for 7 generations.’ Will it be wonderful or harmful? If it is harmful, why do it?

4.  Recycling and upcycling as much as possible, making treasure out of trash and if I can’t do it myself, having it done for me by these amazing people. (Don’t want to ruin the surprise, just check it out, you seriously won’t be sorry.)

5. Asking and accepting the help & support I need when I need it in the knowledge that asking and accepting help is allowing others into our hearts, that vulnerability doesn’t make me weak but actually reveals my true strength.

6. Finding what it is I can do to benefit the world and beings in it in the best way possible.

7. Appreciating all the beauty within each and every one of us, focussing on it so it can grow.

Happy 2015 sweet people. What are your resolutions you plan on keeping this year ?
Love –
The half of the couple of weirdos called
Susan

Resolutions for 2015 I plan on keeping.

Inspiring little image.

How I became a Vegetarian thanks to “Pay what you want” philosophies

Standard
How I became a Vegetarian thanks to “Pay what you want” philosophies

PWYW

In the last couple of years our interest for “pay what you want” strategies (PWYW), crowdfunding and open-source philosophies has been growing steadily. I started with funding a significant part of SH.TG.N’s debut on MoonJune Records with a crowdfunding campaign, went on with a lot of reading, and recently Susan and I experimented with donation-based living room concerts with our new project RUNtoSEED. We also placed our own bids on crowdfunding campaigns such as Boyan Slat’s “The Ocean Cleanup”-project which managed to raise over $2M from 38000 funders from 160 countries in 100 days to clean up the ocean.

Not only did we discover new ways to consider a music career, but we were exposed to entirely new ways to look at the world, which would change us forever. But in this article I will focus on one in particular : I’ve become a Vegetarian.

Consumption

Now what do these things have to do with each other ? Well simply put : consumption. Being busy with price and consumption in a different, more flexible way, I started to take a different look on what I bought. With no obligation to pay and no set price, you start gaining consciousness of what your payment really represents : an endorsement. And that’s what any payment is, really, even with a set price. The real power of the money we spend is there. If I choose to buy something at one store instead of another, I choose to support that one store over the other one.

So that got me thinking, when I buy something, who am I endorsing ? What am I supporting ? Who am I giving a tap on the shoulder saying “keep doing what you do, this is good work!” ? And naturally I realized I had been an accomplice of a whole bunch of practices I obviously couldn’t support. Now of course I knew they existed, and in a lot of cases I knew the products I bought were unethical and sure I tried to buy, like, fair-trade coffee, organic food and avoid Monsanto or such products (these specific causes happen to be more advertised than others). But I didn’t exactly realize how far my endorsement went, or how big my power actually was.

Everyone does the best they can

Let’s cut ourselves some slack for a minute. We are trained to think fatalistically about the world. The old “this is how it is and has always been and you won’t do anything about it” song. We are trained to look at people who want to do otherwise as either disconnected idealists, crazy radicals, or both. I’m no exception. And I must say realizing it doesn’t have to be that way is a long and complicated process. For one, you start asking a lot of questions, lose one’s points of reference, and it might seem like you start saying ‘no’ too often. So I learn to say no with a radiant smile.

Because now I know, when I say no to casual meat-eating, I’m saying no to the current trivialization of massive insensitive killings, to deforestation, to objectification of animals, to global disconnection with the life-and-death cycle, etc. etc. etc. And my little ‘no’ to a little toast with, say, foie-gras on it, is a big ‘yes’ to embracing life, the world, and my own personal power to make it an even better place. Definitely worth a smile.

I’m aware that being 100% coherent is this approach is difficult and I’m absolutely not there yet. While contemplating veganism (animals are mistreated whether it’s for their meat or what they produce), I do not yet feel ready to make the step. I own clothes and electronics that have been partly created by exploited workers (I’m typing on my Apple computer right now). Even parts of my instrument probably have been. But demanding to be entirely coherent from the start is part of what’s been paralyzing me and influencing me to keep my eyes closed. Now each day they open a little more. And that also means more of the world’s beauty to see.

Passive resistance

You know in the end all this, including the whole PWYW thing, is nothing but Ghandi’s Satyagraha. Holding on to truth, not to force. So I’ll leave you with that song Susan and I wrote together a few months ago for our project RUNtoSEED, performed live at La Monnaie/De Munt (Belgium’s National Opera House), and called “Satyagraha”. With the whole personal power talk I could have as well picked my song “You’re in Charge” but I’ll let you discover that one on your own on our site.

We’ll talk about PWYW and all that again very soon : we’re busy setting up a Patreon account for RUNtoSEED.

Antoine Guenet

PS : Just to show that we have more individual power than we tend to think : here’s a PETA report showing that each vegan individually saves the lives of in average 185 (most of them mistreated) animals per year.

My first year with Univers Zero (part 2 : studio and RIO Festival)

Standard

Hi there again,

First of all thank you all for you enthusiasm around the first part of this story. Now with the album coming out in two days (!!!) it’s time for me to post the second part.

Back home : Gentse Feesten and Fluxx

Fluxx, Colliding Universes (© Susan Clynes)

Fluxx, Colliding Universes (© Susan Clynes)

After a week of great experiences in Mexico we got back to Brussels and split (to go home of course, don’t worry the band didn’t split up!). I took the train alone for an hour, looking at the pictures of that week, still a little high from the whole thing. The next day was my daughter’s very first little school show, I was still a little jet-lagged and the skin on my face is disintegrating from the giant Teotihuacan sunburn in the middle of it, but I enjoyed the day immensely. For a few months after that the band didn’t see each other and I focused on my last creation as an Artist in Residence (three years, one creation a year) for the Gentse Feesten (one of the biggest cultural festivals in Europe) . It’s called Fluxx, it’s some kind of live drum’n’bass/electro with a string quartet (the great Bl!ndman [Strings]), and I shared the composing job with Koen Quintyn, a young composer from Ghent who I chose as my successor as Artist in Residence. Three months doing strictly something else.

Let’s start recording

As soon as I was done with Fluxx and the concert was over, it was time to start recording with Univers Zero. To be fair we had seen each other a few times before anyway, to prepare the recording. It was time for the longest recording session I’d ever had. I was used to, like, 2-days recording sessions (those things are expensive ya know…). This one was 16 days, non-stop, every day, weekend included. We were going to take our time to do things well and without rushing. I told Susan it wasn’t going to be to heavy on her with the kid because anyway I was coming back home every evening, not late. She’ll tell you I was wrong : when I came home everyday I was so exhausted it was impossible for me to do anything. Well it is intense music.

In the studio (© Laura Di Tullio, Nicolas Denis or Daniel Denis)

In the studio with Univers Zero

First day, again, problems with my gear (among other things). We didn’t play that day. I spent most of my day trying to figure out why the midi signal didn’t send to the sound engineer’s (Renzo Gotto) mixing table. Again, I have no idea what the problem was but it did get fixed… Then I had to open up my Nord Stage to fix a key that was not reacting properly (I just had to clean up behind it). I fixed it but the problem moved to another key, so I opened again, fixed again, problem moved again, had lunch, opened again, fixed again, played a little, went home. The next days the band was so tight and motivated we ended up like 3 days ahead of schedule. Days that the band’s perfectionism of course made us catch up later. We particularly spent a lot of time on some parts of Kurt Budé’s composition “Danse Mécanique”. The attention was on every detail. What was hard with that groove was to find what exactly was the best feel for it. It has to feel extremely natural while it’s not. My left hand (organ) is supposed to play tight with changing time signatures (3/4-5/8-5/8) while my right hand plays piano in 4/4, extremely expressive and laid-back. We could do them separately but it’s important to me to get the feel of the band together. Meanwhile all of the band’s attention is on that tight-but-natural feel and we make close to 20 different takes that are all just slightly different. Again, I’d never worked in such detail before (the advantage of time here, usually we just have to be happy with the 2 or 3 takes we make… no time to do more!). On the solos spontaneity is the key though, so one or two takes max. About that, I just noticed that the only excerpt from the album on YouTube is a solo of mine 🙂 Here it is.

While it was hard and exhausting work it was also very exciting and at the same time a very nice and chill time. We were lucky enough to have some sun, Kurt cooked great lunches for us every day, that we ate in the garden, next to the roosters (sometimes maybe provoking them by eating chicken!)…

Rock-in-Opposition Festival – before our show (Romantic Warriors II, meeting people, the effect of the European Union expansion on Chicago)

In a gas station on the road

Picture I took from the ground of a gas station in France on our way to Carmaux.

Soon after that was the time to get back to work on a live set as we were invited

The concert hall in Carmaux

The concert hall in Carmaux

to play in Carmaux, France, for the Rock-in-Opposition Festival. A few days before leaving, Susan and I watched the Romantic Warriors II documentary about Rock-in-Opposition which extensively features the festival, and Univers Zero. That way we knew a little bit more about the whole movement. I strongly recommend watching the documentary, it’s brilliant! Besides, their makers are busy editing the third episode, which will feature The Wrong Object (we played a few songs for them, including my composition Glass Cubes, the first real vocal track I sing on a record, with Susan (who just rocks it!) – I challenge you to make the difference between our singing voices by the way, it seems that a lot of people didn’t manage… Little hint : the highest one is generally me :-P) Daniel left a couple of days before us and stayed there longer so he could enjoy a little holiday with his wife Chantal. Kurt went in the van with Present (which he was joining for a show at the same festival). And Nicolas, Dimitri, Jeremy and Susan and me went in a giant van with all our material (including Daniel’s drums). Susan came to enjoy the weekend with us and take pictures of our concert.

Rock-in-Opposition 2013 poster

Rock-in-Opposition 2013 poster

RIO Festival is quite a special thing. People come from all around the world for it, to that former mining site in the middle of nowhere, for bands that are totally unknown to the general masses. But that’s how great their dedication is to that music. It was a chance for me to meet lots of fantastic people – some of which I had already met online – and Susan and I felt at home. We arrived at night, had a couple of drinks and went straight to bed. The next morning unfortunately I was too nervous (Dimitri had warned me it was important to be on top with this concert because it was a demanding and knowledgeable audience, as well as some promoters… Pressure was the word) and taken with the installation and everything to go and see the other bands. Susan however caught Cheer Accident‘s show and photographed them (she had no zoom so for their concert as well as ours she was running around, climbing on everything she could, and the result is just awesome). She fell in love with their music. I just was able to see 15 minutes of it and understood indeed that they set the bar high. We met these fantastic people/musicians later and their drummer/leader Thymme Jones gave us a DVD of his TV-show back in Chicago. We watched it in the van on our way back, jeez what a crazy act, reminds me of Andy Kauffman’s stuff, you never really know if it’s real and you laugh at the total absurdity (about “the effect of the European Union expansion on Chicago”). I was also happy to see cd’s of The Wrong Object and SH.TG.N, two of my other bands, for sale there (and even someone with a Wrong Object t-shirt!), and to finally meet in person the Leonardo Pavkovic who released these albums for us on his label MoonJune Records in New York. Unfortunately I ran into him while I was literally running to my soundcheck so we just exchanged a few words and planned to talk to each other later but that never happened. Next time i saw him he was busy with The Soft Machine which is the band from his roster he accompanied there, and after that I didn’t find him again.

During and after our show (technical issues, interview, great community)

Faust's chainsaw

Faust’s musical chainsaw

I found it exciting to find Faust‘s chainsaw and masks on stage before we installed ourselves. Our concert went well, appart from some technical issues (little fight with the light guy who just refused to follow our light plan and ended up doing nothing like what we wanted – which got Daniel and his wife angry ; floor tom falling appart in the middle of the show). All in all that might even have helped the energy… Right after we were done we had to run to the public interview (first time ever for me). I hate talking in public so you can bet this wasn’t an easy task for me. Luckily of course it was mostly Daniel and Kurt they wanted to hear so I didn’t have to talk too much. Dimitri and Nicolas just stayed in the audience (Dimitri was late because he had other business to attend to and Nicolas really didn’t want to participate so he walked with us to the table but stopped in the audience and took a seat!).

Kurt and I (© Susan Clynes)

Kurt and I (© Susan Clynes)

After that everything was just fun and games, meeting this whole great community I just found out existed, having drinks on the terrasse, releasing the pressure and seeing a few gigs. On festivals like these I always want to see everything but when I play myself I just can’t : before the show I’m too nervous and focused, after the show I’m too saturated and I need to release the pressure and talk to people). Anyway I did catch a bit of Poil‘s show which was great, in the line of Mr Bungle and Le Singe Blanc. I also saw a part of The Soft Machine which I didn’t want to miss but did anyway… It was a little out of context to have such a straight forward jazz band like this there, plus I’m a giant fan of the Robert Wyatt era and didn’t really know what they were doing nowadays so you can imagine my surprise. Great quality blues/jazz rock though, just not the moment for me.

Quickly said, kudos to Michel Besset for the organization of this amazing festival I recommend to anybody looking for challenging music in a great atmosphere.

After : mixing the album

Univers Zéro's new album coming up!

Univers Zéro’s new album coming up!

I’m not going to get into the details for the rest but after we got back it was time to start mixing the album, again 2 weeks of uninterrupted work by mostly Didier de Roos and Daniel. I did pass by once to listen and make sure I was satisfied with the way they treated my sounds mostly. Didier has the most amazing mixing studio I’ve ever seen, and a great talent. You’ll hear it on the album : he did amazing work! Now I’m just looking forward to see the album, and get some reactions. It’s coming out in Japan (where our new label DiskUnion/Arcangelo is based) and the rest of the world (where there will be distributors of course) next wednesday. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

Thanks for reading, cheers,

Antoine

PS : I updated the first part with a video compilation of excerpts from what we did with the avant garde silent films in Mexico, and a video from a composition of mine we played at that same concert!

How it feels to release a Debut Album

Standard

1 : You get sick of your cover picture even though you love it

The thing is : you see that cover picture everywhere you look…
'Life Is...' Cover
And even if it’s the single best picture anyone has ever taken, (which is of course how I feel about my very first official album cover 🙂 ) if you see it 24/7, at some point, enough is just… ENOUGH! And in my own particular case, it is my own particular face – and not with the most  joyful expression on it either… in particular 🙂

And the album isn’t even out yet! So just to refresh my retina but still stay on topic – here’s a picture of my arm… Background-Arm-cutout

2 : You get frustrated with the Post-Man but suspect they are your biggest fans

Let me state the obvious first… so we get that out of the way. We love our Mail-Men, Mail-Women and everyone else working in the Mail around the world (We wouldn’t want to get any angry letters…). But if an American Record Label sends some nice lady in Belgium some of her CD’s, and they are sent on January 27th – doesn’t that mean there should be ample time to get them to her in time for her Release-Date on the 18th of February ? Of course – they ought to leave the costal shores at one point. Which they… didn’t yet?! Well… Dear sweet readers… I have a theory that explains everything! Here it comes. I think the people of the Mail have become my biggest fans. Because, not only did I not receive them, but I found out they are actually ‘stationed’ in New York – and have been stuck there since the 29th of January.
So : dear people of the mail : I love that you dig my music. I really do. And I understand you want to keep it ALL to yourself. But you know, dear MailGirls&Boys – I haven’t even seen my own CD’s yet! Imagine if YOU would have been deprived of the opportunity to see MY CD’s. That would make you sad, now wouldn’t it? Well… IMAGINE HOW I FEEL!
Ok… Sorry I lost my temper there. But you know – if you like my music so much, you should really do your best to make make me happy again. Then maybe I’ll send you some more CD’s to hog during more than a week!

<CRUCIAL UPDATE> The CD’s are now ‘somewhere’ – which makes more sense of course…

3 : You find out they are not your biggest fans and remain frustrated

I think this is somehow a self-explanatory statement. But I am of course delighted to elaborate. Just send me a mail – for a detailed description of my feelings about this.

4 : You spend your life on your computer

Having a hernia and being forced to sit lying down most of the time might add to this, but hey, when people are talking about you, you want to know what they are saying – right? For now it’s mostly press-releases, although there is already one review of the song Childhood Dreams which you can listen to here or just simply watch us play it on the YouTube below.

Apart from that, your PC-quality time is spent making sure your site is up to date, sharing press-releases, talking with fans and communicating quickly and efficiently with all people involved (label, PR-people, booking-agents, etc…). And of course, liking adorable selfies of dogs…

5 : Blogging about how it feels to release a debut-album

I’m not sure how much I’ve said about how it actually feels – and there is so much fun stuff to talk about – I just thought I should get this post started. Inspiration will surely strike sooner or later… Sometimes it will be romantic – all with inspirational success stories, princesses, hardship and breakthroughs. Just not today. Sorry 🙂

Until then – thanks for your interest in reading this blog and this post. And if you have no idea what I am talking about – and somehow missed my incessant spamming on the subject – here’s a video explaining it all. (I hope.) And for the ladies – the guy doing the interview is really hot, right? Hands off though – he’s mine!

What organic food won’t do for you

Standard

Picture from http://taracreel.com/10-superfoods-children/

So we’ve been eating exclusively organic food at home for a couple of months now and while we can’t deny it tastes a zillion times better and we definitely feel a difference in our way of consuming and our energy, it did however not meet all of our expectations. So here’s a few things organic food won’t do for you :

  • Organic food won’t clean up your house
  • Organic food won’t tie your shoelaces
  • No matter how nicely you ask, organic food won’t massage you (although sometimes a little from the inside)
  • Organic food won’t listen to your problems when you really need a friend
  • Organic food won’t buy you a new house (or you’d really need a lot of it and a very hungry real estate agent)
  • Organic food won’t babysit for you (we tried and ended up having to come home early after the neighbors called the police)
  • Organic food makes the work easier but it won’t actually digest itself
  • …nor will it shop itself
  • And finally, it won’t write your blog posts for you. I was hoping hoping it would and look where that got us!

So don’t listen to what they say : obviously organic food doesn’t buy happiness! What a scam!

Just one last thing it won’t do if you’re doing it right, and which might be surprising to most : it won’t create a hole in your wallet.
For health reasons, Susan is forced to avoid wheat, soy, tomatoes, asparagus, processed sugar, all kinds of milk but sheep and buffalo, all kinds of meat but poultry and fish. You’d think there’s just nothing left… Well that actually forced us make the step to 100% organic since organic shops are the ones where it’s easiest to find what he can it, and to find numerous alternatives. I thought we wouldn’t be able to sustain it financially. But turns out we’re not spending more than before. Yes, the items are more expensive. But we buy less. This change our whole way of consuming. We have more respect for our food and the work of our mostly local farmers. And we stopped filling ourselves until we can’t move anymore. We reach the point where e’ve teen enough and even if we could eat more, we stop. This way we keep our energy for more relevant things than digesting unnecessary quantities of food, we stay fit, we save money, and we consume more responsibly. And this all just happened very naturally.
Makes you question the effect that over abundance of chemically processed food has on our psyche and habits, doesn’t it?

Antoine

My message to the dear supporters of my first crowdfunding campaign!

Image

So…
Completed!

With 24 funders and 30 days of campaigning, this bunch of exceptional people that are my friends, family, and both old and new fans raised 2000$ to support this new album I am releasing with MoonJune Records, called ‘Life Is…’!
'Life Is...' Cover
I am so honoured and touched that I want to publicly make the promise that I will do everything that is in my power to keep making music and to never stop.To keep deserving all the trust these sweet people have instilled me with. And I  am so touched to know that there is support out there, for anyone who dares to ask for it, and hope this will inspire others to set up their own campaign and find out what a life transforming process this is. Not only do you get support in the form of money, but even more valuable – it creates enormous amounts of connection. People see what you’re doing and they give your their honest opinion about your art, your music, your communication, their feelings, their passions and their dreams. You get to connect with people that resonate with what you are doing and you get SO much out of it! It’s like a gift that keeps on giving. I intend to keep connecting with all these beautiful people – not only the ones who contributed financially (because that option is just not available to everybody!) but with everyone who cares and wants to connect.

Amanda Palmer was right – people don’t need to be forced into doing anything! If you just give them the chance, and ask for their support, they will gladly give it to you – and in more ways than you ever dreamed possible.
I look forward to each and every request for support of each and every one of you, and I am so happy to start spreading out all those goodies & gifts I have prepared and am still in the process of preparing…

Oh shall I say it? Yes I will… I! LOVE! YOU! ALL!!!!

Susan

How to write a piece for Baroque ensemble and not get caught.

Standard

So I’m working on a piece for Baroque ensemble. A bunch of passionate musicians playing recorder flutes, guitars, cello, harpsichord and double bass. And the greatest part is I’m really getting to learn a lot. This is because – believe it or not – I’ve never ever written for guitar. Nor have I ever written for recorder flutes. Nor is there a chapter on recorder flutes or more than half a page about a guitar in any of the books  I have on orchestration and music in my cupboard. Apart from the fact that this probably says something about the books I have in my closet, I am, to put it politely, in more than a jiffy… 🙂 Oh yeah have I mentioned it’s supposed to be for this week in Christian culture called The Good Week?  And I’m not really Christian (mom’s baptised but I’m not) … nor am I Jewish, really (dad’s Jewish, but technically I’m not because my mom’s not) … but I do have my own take on spirituality and was profoundly touched by a fabulous text which was posted on the blog called the ‘Diversity Chronicle‘. To read it click here. This text was being portrayed as speeches and other thoughts formulated by the new pope. Very inspirational words, which I hope he will actually speak for real one day. Still I do believe that this pope has more balls than his predecessors and I do believe positive change is on its way…

So anyway : this blog post of mine is about how to write this composition for amateur Baroque Ensemble – right? Well : basically I did the following :
0.  Have fun (repeat incessantly with every step)
1. Find inspiration. Yes – you read it correctly –  I didn’t say ‘WAIT until inspiration strikes’. Go get it. Find meaning in what you are doing, in what you are writing. If there’s no reason to do it, don’t do it. But I bet you there always is a connection to be found somewhere. Music should always transcend music itself. Now this may sound esotherical but it really isn’t. Transcending something to me is adding a meaning to it. When you are asked to write for cello, you should find a reason why you want to write for cello. Why there is the necessity to write a piece in the first place and second why it has to be cello.
2. When you’ve found that connection and have managed to put it into notes (more on this step later – I’m still writing a blog post and not a book here) you’re ready for the logistics.
3. Pick up a guitar and try to play what you wrote. If you can play it and you’re not a guitarist – that should mean any person having studied guitar for more than a week should be able to do it. So that’s already not bad.
4. Ask another guitar player to play it. I will ask Antoine to proof-play the harder guitar-parts I wrote – which I can’t play – but that doesn’t really mean much.
5. Realize that recorder flutes will always sound a bit off – and don’t worry too much about it. The reason for this is that apparently recorder flutes are not at all ‘uniform’ in how they were made. Recorder flutes from different ‘brands’ have different tunings and in most ensembles you will find all these brands of flutes mixed together. So that makes that even when you write notes that should sound great, technically speaking, you should be prepared for some sound waves crashing into each other.
6. Have the ensemble play your piece and listen to the recordings & live sounds. Correct where you feel it’s needed.
7. Have fun. (repeat this step at every step)

So I started this blog post some time ago – lost lots of thoughts I had written down as soon as I had hit publish the blog says like ‘oops something went wrong’. So before it does that again – and while it’s still relevant – I’ll quickly post it before re-reading. So please be compassionate with possible missssstakes – yes? Thank you oh so much…

Susan

The Secret to Eternal Life in our Vocabulary ?

Standard

It’s curious and interesting that we would use the heart as a symbol of love.

The heart is what keeps us alive, it is our battery and when it has no power left we die.

Isn’t this telling us something ? Could infinite, unconditional love be the secret to eternal life ? I most certainly think so.

Antoine.

Image

Image : José de Páez, Sacred Heart of Jesus with Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Saint Louis Gonzaga, c. 1770