Recent Real-Time Music Composition and Production:
Recent Real-Time Music Composition and Production:
It has been months since I’ve been able to sit a write, partially due to a computer failure, and mostly due to a long stretch of work and life business. The high and lowlights from the Chill:
• Patriots win Super Bowl LI with impossible comeback. Down 28-3 with 2:00 left in the 3rd quarter, it looked bleak (and that was being optimistic). But some textbook mental toughness and Tom Brady being the greatest ever, they complete the most fantastic comeback in Super Bowl history. Legendary.
• I have been dealing with a Lyme disease diagnosis and have been through several rounds of anti-biotics. I was very sick and my right knee was wildly engorged and immobile for about a week before I went to the doctor and asked to be tested for Lyme. I spend a fair amount of time in The Hudson Valley, the Lyme disease capital of the world, and have pulled ticks off of my skin at various times, so I have been somehow expecting this affliction for years and have likely had a relatively mild case of it for quite a while. While the AB treatment was effective in resurrecting me from bedridden cripple, my knee has never fully recovered and I recently visited the preeminent expert on the disease, Dr. Zhang, who prescribed me herbs in pills and acupuncture. It is, unfortunately, something I will likely have to monitor indefinitely.
• Our president is a disgraceful embarrassment, hellbent on destroying our government, our environment, our health, our science, our education, and our Truth. All of this for the price of enriching himself and corporate profiteers. It is simply horrifying and we probably have not seen the bottom yet.
• But Skiing! Big snow and great skiing in Vermont and Utah! A couple of storms brought the goods to Vermont just in time for our arrival in February and we were able to enjoy a few days of skiing. Magic Mountain was nearly perfect and for the first time in 3 years, Black Chair was carrying people uphill. I even got to ski the never-open lift-line trail, Black Magic, which is as challenging as anything on a New England trail map. We spent a few hours on Sunday at Okemo with Ivy and she was actually managing to keep herself upright on her own skis, which was a dramatic improvement from our previous attempts and made me incredibly happy to be sharing time on the slopes with her! Monday (Presidents’ Day) we went for a family hike/skin/snowshoe on Mt. Ascutney, which was closed for years but has recently been acquired by the town and reopened with a free rope-tow and backcountry access. It is a perfect place for our family to explore with the kids in backpacks and I hope to spend more time there in the future!
And then Utah! Last winter, as I came to the realization that my ski season was truly sad and unfulfilling, attributable to a new baby and some of the consistently worst conditions the East has ever seen, I proposed that Alaina and I treat ourselves to a Western ski trip next year. After roping our parents into babysitting duties, we planned three days in the most accessible spot with some of the best mountains to play in: Salt Lake City. Snowbird is as steep and burly as any lift-served terrain in the world; Solitude and Brighton have endlessly varied terrain; Powder Mountain has zero frills and infinite vibe. All three days were 50 degree bluebird days with soft spring corn. While I may fantasize about storms of snow, the carefree weather that we received was truly ideal for this easy escape and perfect date trip.
Luckily, two days after we returned from our trip, a gigantic blizzard pulverized the Northeast and set up Stowe with four feet of snow, just in time for the annual Stoweravaganza. Saturday involved a backcountry tour with blissful, effortless turns through the trees followed by delightful apres-ski pizza and beers and music and friends in the greatest classic ski house I’ve ever seen. Sunday was Ivy’s day, and she skied with me, which is, again, as much happiness as I will ever experience on the slopes. I feel like I get to begin my ski life all over again, sharing this activity with her, and hopefully she will love it even a little bit as much as I do!
• It is now officially Spring and I can feel the warmth approaching rapidly. Windows are opening and spending time outside doesn’t require battle gear anymore. We are shifting modes and new activities are on the horizon. This Winter was challenging, painful, exciting, euphoric and beautiful. I look forward to tomorrow and every day I have remaining to enjoy this life fully!
Making music because I can.
Today was incredible and deeply inspiring. The people appealed beautifully and powerfully for Women and against our newly inaugurated president, who has disrespected, disparaged and expressed disdain for the entire gender. After months of dark anxiety and absolute dejection, this was the only possible antidote; a rallying cry from millions of American patriots rejecting the fraud and deception now in the White House and demanding decency, respect and compassion for all people.
Alaina got on a bus this morning to be in D.C. for the main event, so I packed Ivy and Miles into the double stroller and, bearing through weekend-disrupted service on three subways in absolutely packed stairwells and cars, emerged from Grand Central into a great crush of humanity with purely positive energy; marching, chanting, singing while uniting in solidarity and commitment to the cause. It was instantly obvious that this massive and powerful engagement will ultimately overwhelm the evil forces currently attempting to steal our country. I, with my years of anti-war protests of the GWB era, was very impressed with the display, and I could tell that my children, who have obviously never seen anything like this, were absolutely amazed at the sheer glory of this event.
Personally, I always need to find something positive in anything negative. I seek balance in my life, and I have been dizzy and free-falling through this period, wondering what would catch me and when, how I could ever recover my personal peace, and why we now find ourselves in this position. I saw the answer today. I have no doubt that this movement will grow and save us, giving us firm ground to stand on in our battle for truth and justice, freedom and equality. We will recover from this crisis and rise to greater heights as a Liberal Democracy. I have never been more proud to be an American. With reverence to those who built our Nation and with duty to those for whom we will continue to build, I dedicate my soul to this progressive movement!
I could not have been luckier in the birth lottery, raised well by two amazing parents and accompanied by two siblings through my formative years, sheltered by a beautiful home in Newton Highlands, Massachusetts. This family has grown and now includes wonderfully-chosen spouses and incredible created progeny. When we assemble biennially on Lake Ave and fill the house that once fit five comfortably with fourteen, including six under five, it is wildly chaotic in the most fun and exciting way possible. Great people I see too rarely and whose company I enjoy more than anyone, make 72 hours in their presence a wonderful life- and love-affirming experience. Family is history and future in the present.
I spend a few minutes preparing an Ableton Live set with a variety of sounds then I hit record and start tapping pads on Push. The result is five to twenty minutes of improvised composition. I enjoy listening to the recordings, but not quite as much as I enjoy making them. The process is stream-of-consciousness and meditative; I am listening and responding in the moment, which means I cease to think about anything else and become entranced by my creation. It is a journey and it is, temporarily, the sole focus of my existence. In many ways, these recordings are more honest and true than anything I do or say in my life, and I strive to do everything in my life by those pure standards. Music embodies the soul more than words ever can; I aspire to capture a little of that indescribable beauty and magic every time I play.
Despite the many forces I am powerless to, I am still in charge of my music! It is my greatest non-human interaction and every day I continue my quest to produce the best aural art I possibly can. I have certainly enjoyed creating these cathartic and therapeutic spontaneous compositions over the past month and will dedicate myself to making more out of pure love for the process.
What The Fuck?
Our Country has lost its mind and I have been similarly afflicted with a haunting psychosis. Trump is scarier than anything I have ever encountered in my lifetime and my brain refuses to let me forget it. It’s been one month since 11/8 and every day seems harder than the last as he picks his cabinet of ghouls and picks fights with Hamilton, The Media and China. He makes a private deal with Carrier by giving them corporate tax breaks to send jobs to Mexico (and save a few for us). He chooses Climate Change Deniers to lead the Environmental Protection Agency and Conspiracy Antagonists to head up National Security. Everything he does or says enrages me, which would be fine on a personal level if I wasn’t sure that we are headed for certain war with major death and destruction to ensue.
What The Fuck?
This is the question I keep asking myself, and have many times every day since the election. I simply cannot fathom how anyone would choose this. It makes no sense, is completely illogical, utterly irrational and stunningly stupid; thus insanity. He seems to be deliberately sabotaging our governmental protections in finance, environment and security while threatening free speech and promoting hate speech. The conflict-of-interest issue with his international businesses is essentially irreconcilable and it is very clear that he will serve his own interests and the tycoons of capitalism at the expense of the American taxpayer. Sure, he’ll slash taxes, but he’ll also slash services, dismantle protections for the worker, consumer and citizen, while siphoning off all of our country’s common tools of basic civilization for corporate profit.
What The Fuck?
I don’t know where this will end up, but it is very clear where it’s headed. What will stop him, I wonder, from treating the American Economy as his personal piggy-bank and the American Military as his personal goon squad, creating leverage over everyone for any purpose he desires. He has managed to split our nation into polar factions and he now has the world in his sights, seeking to divide and conquer the military powers of this planet, while inevitably instigating and escalating international conflict.
I wish us all good luck in surviving the Age of Trump.
Miles is one year old tomorrow. I love my children more than absolutely anything and want to give them the best life possible. I will do everything in my power to give them the world they deserve, a healthy planet full of Hope, Peace, Optimism and Love. The present is my life but the future is my purpose. Progress is our existential struggle and eternal beacon of inspiration.
It happened. He won. She lost. We despair.
I was hopeful. The polls and the math and the logic pointed to an historic election of the first female president. Our best political scientists overwhelmingly believed that the country was with her. And we were, with more individual votes than him. But the Electoral College! As Florida became increasingly red throughout the night and North Carolina began to lean, I became nervous. When Michigan and Wisconsin turned into battlegrounds, I went to bed. It was obvious where this was headed and salvaging what I could of sleep took priority over sinking into a county-by-county abyss of sorrow.
I have been through every stage of grief in the past three days and have brokenheartedly accepted it. I am incredibly sad that we as a country would choose this, and angry that millions of individuals wanted this man to lead us. I am scared of the potential wrath of destruction he could pursue in every aspect of policy, and appalled that a mean, lying, racist, sexist, xenophobic con man will make crucial decisions that impact everyone in the world. It just doesn’t even seem possible that this could be reality!
And yet, it is.
So what next? I am doing my best to not imagine potential scenarios that could play out; it’s too overwhelming, terrifying and depressing. I will stick to daily intelligence and take action accordingly. I will do everything I can to oppose anything that infringes on people’s freedom, at home or abroad. I will engage in and encourage a rebound of progressive politics and will defend this country from itself. We have the potential to be so Good! This is a setback, but we will rise again and restore dignity to our incredible nation. Love still trumps hate.
Tonight was one of my all-time parenting highlights; watching Ivy spend 2 hours handing out candy on our porch and 1 hour trick-or-treating around our block was absolutely amazing. I have never witnessed such a dense swarm of people, mostly kids, in our neighborhood like that; there were times when the line stretched from our porch 30 kids deep down our steps and walkway to the sidewalk, each waiting for Ivy to drop a piece of candy in their sack. It was a constant flow of candy from bowl to bags and we ran out way before we anticipated, even including a run to the store to replenish supply, due to severe underestimation of the throngs. Ivy handled her duty with a seriousness and focus that I have never seen from her, carefully picking a candy from the assortment and placing it in a waiting receptacle for each child. She was sad when we ran out of candy and had to tell the costumed revelers “Sorry”, but as soon as we started walking down the block, and she understood the concept of receiving the candy from neighbors, she was as joyful as I’ve ever seen her; with every piece of candy she was given, she came bouncing back to us beaming and proudly showing off her loot. She was amazed and enthralled by the lights and decorations (E 4th St. contained some of the best displays I’ve ever seen), and I was able to share with her the phenomenon known as “Ghostbusters” when our neighbor installed a giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man with video projections of Slimer in the windows — so she is now an expert at singing the call and response theme song! I felt a beautiful and euphoric combination of nostalgia, wonder, excitement and bliss watching her enjoy Halloween as I imagine I once did.