Summer ’16!

      1. Humidity - Supergood

Summer is here! Memorial Day weekend ushered in a period of less work and more play for me. Many of the hours I devoted to teaching from September-May will be spent with my family now and this past weekend was the kickoff, driving North to spend time with Maine Taylors, including my newest nephew, Julian, while taking in a Portland Sea Dogs baseball game, eating at The Honey Paw, playing on swingsets, jungle gyms and running through sprinklers. We stayed one night in Newton with my parents in my always comforting childhood home and one night with my sister in her beautiful new Brookline home. It was too short but deeply meaningful to spend any time at all with these people I love the most.

Bedtime

      1. Bedtime - Supergood

 

When it’s late but I just want to play.

Flow

Driving on the BQE with my family yesterday, I heard the end of a TED Radio hour on NPR and some quotes from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, which I found very intriguing. He is a psychologist who has written extensively on a concept he refers to as “Flow“; describing it as losing oneself in an activity through complete focus and intrinsic motivation. I found it fascinating because I know exactly what he means and I feel it regularly when I compose music. Whenever I am able to fully concentrate on creating music, I have no other cares or desires; it is everything in that moment. It is, itself, the reason I play and enjoy my time in that endeavor so immensely. I have always been aware of this ecstatic state and have always made every effort to cultivate it whenever possible. I realize that I feel it in other situations, too; sports and skiing, in particular, affords me fleeting moments of transcendence, teaching classes or lessons sometimes offers the challenge and effortless command of attention and skill that produce flow. I have felt it while traveling in exotic places and at many other points in my life, when a task or activity stimulates and motivates me to a sense of timeless joy. Being in Love, with my wife and children, when time is simply devoted to being in their presence, is probably the most profound and uplifting rapture I ever experience, and although it may not fit in the flow schema of high challenge/high skill, I am certain that it is related. All of these aspects of my life bring me great joy and are purely and intrinsically rewarding.

It was so wonderful to stumble upon this branch of psychology, and I subsequently watched the entire TED Talk and researched the concepts broadly; it has given me a context for how, what and why I devote so much of my time and energy to these passions. I discovered a great new word, “autotelic“, to describe these vitally important aspects of my life. I have a greater appreciation for these moments of joyful immersion, and I recognize how lucky I am to have these opportunities to experience Flow.

Indiana

      1. Indiana - Supergood

 

Trump is mean. He is a racist, sexist bully and he is now the Republican candidate for President. I have been horrified to watch his ascent and I am truly sad and scared that so many people in this country that I love support him. Please, America, don’t let fear and hate scare you into voting for this character. Make America Great Again? We are now and have always been so much greater than this disgusting persona.

Choose Compassion. Embrace Love. Be Good.

My Kind of Friday

      1. Fridad 2 - Supergood
      2. Dad Ninja 2 - Supergood

I love babysitting. Alaina is seeing The Crucible tonight, so I had the pleasure of putting the kids to bed by 8, then enjoying a quiet house for a few hours, spent making music and watching David Ortiz blast a Game-Winning HR against the Yankees. A perfect Friday night for the old man.

This is tonight’s production, which I truly loved creating.

Wed

      1. Wed - Supergood

Foursome

      1. Foursome - Supergood

 

Rock Stars

I snuck away for two great music events recently, both “reunion” shows after prolonged absences for LCD Soundsystem at Webster Hall and Ween at Terminal 5. LCD put on a grandiose farewell tour 5 years ago and Ween quit out-of-the-blue in 2012; I was sad to see them disappear, but they have returned as good as ever. Seeing them now is no different than in the first iteration, but my life has changed considerably with the birth of two kids!

I took Ivy to Prospect Park to see my political hero, Bernie Sanders on Sunday. She is a huge Bernie fan, as we have obviously brainwashed her to chant his name and cheer when he speaks. It was a beautiful day and 20,000 people showed up to see the Revolutionary. He spoke about growing up in Brooklyn and coming to Prospect Park, but never with a crowd like the one assembled there. His message, as always, was clear: politics is capable of doing good things for all people, not just the wealthiest, and that love will triumph over fear and hate. Whether or not he wins this election, he has changed the way I view political duties, responsibilities and potential for greater good. Bern on!

Squirrels

      1. Squirrels - Supergood

One guitar as many.

Podcast

Over the past year, my music production has evolved from my typical process of recording, editing and arranging to spontaneous compositions, completely improvised and recorded live. Several factors have contributed to this shift: First, my family now consumes most of my free time, and my potential window for music creation has been reduced significantly. Not that I am complaining: as I’ve said before their presence in my life is the greatest joy that I could ever imagine, but it is amazing to think about the abundant time I spent making music in the evenings before they arrived. Spontaneous compositions offer maximum efficiency in production; 10 minutes of playing yields a 10-minute piece.

Second, the initial creative process has always been my favorite aspect of music. I would rather spend my time inventing new melodies, harmonies and rhythms than listening to the same one over and over while trying to marginally improve it. Editing is tedious and while it can certainly enhance some sounds and economize an arrangement, I also feel that it takes away from the raw creative moment of inspiration from which all music flows.

Third, technology has improved to make spontaneous composition possible. I have used a variety of recording software over that past 20 years and it was only when I began using Ableton Live with Push hardware that I could finally make the improvisational music I imagined was possible from the beginning of computer recording.

I have explored many different media types for distribution, and have gone from tapes and CDs to USB memory sticks and the cloud, but it recently occurred to me that the best solution currently available is in the podcast format, where I can maintain control of the music, uploading anything anytime and offering my music for free to the world. I have not mastered all aspects of the podcast, and I am still struggling with some basic RSS feed issues, but the concept allows a freedom to evolve and learn as I go, which is what my music is all about anyway. For now, I will upload and host my creations here, as occasionally or as often as I can make them.

Thank you for listening!