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!
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!
My grandma’s health was declining and we knew that her time was nearing its end, so we went to see her in Naples, Florida this weekend. Mom and Dad plus Andrew and Caitlin’s families arrived on Thursday and had early-bird dinner with her on Friday, but we got in around 1:30 that night and missed what turned out to be her last meal. She died that night and I never saw her.
I loved visiting her in Florida growing up (great candy dish) and she would make the trip up to Boston or Cape Cod in the Summer regularly until a few years ago. Every time I saw her, I learned a little more about her history and was always amazed to hear snippets of her life from before I was born and even before my mom was born. She always seemed so incredibly old to me but she never acted like it. She had been through so many different phases in her life and described everything with a vigor of experience that I can only now begin to understand with the birth of my own children. She was witty, clever, friendly and loving; in short, a perfect grandma.
Over the past few years, I am told, she began to lose touch with reality and suffered from classic elderly dementia, forgetting names, faces, places, and her own sense of self. It was a sad and lonely period in her life and one that scares me deeply. This phase of her life and subsequent end is a haunting reminder that consciousness is our greatest gift and one that is absolutely, temporally limited. My memories of her stretch back as far as I can remember, to the earliest days of my awareness, and one day they, too, will cease to exist. All I can hope for is that someone (Ivy’s and Miles’ kids!) remembers me as sweetly as I remember her.
With eternal love, goodbye grandma.
I remember exactly where I was when I read a tweet stating that Bernie Sanders was entering the presidential election; I was actually so overwhelmed with political pride and hope that I cried. Bernie has been my favorite politician for years: an independent renegade who actually takes principled stands on issues that matter to me. His honesty and integrity in the House and Senate have always been inspiring and he is clearly guided by values that reflect my own. In short, he is a hero of mine and by announcing his candidacy, he instantly changed my outlook on the possibilities of presidential power.
I immediately donated $10 then proceeded to read every piece of press on the matter that I could find, all of which were brief and somewhat dismissive. He was not considered a legitimate contender in any way, and as I began to talk with friends and family about it, the response was always the same: he would be great but it’s not gonna happen. I refused to accept this conventional wisdom; if people knew what he stood for they, too, would be moved to challenge their perceptions of American politics. In a time when we generally accept the status quo of monied interests pulling strings for financial gain, Bernie stands as a beacon of democracy, demanding that our government work for the people and leading by example, refusing to accept campaign financing that would compromise his independent integrity.
Last night, I followed the Iowa caucuses in the media and could not have been more proud of the Bernie backers standing up to the machine and equalling Clinton’s numbers. It is the first of fifty fights, and if nothing else it has shown that what some dismissed as impossible may, in fact, be quite plausible, reasonable and necessary.
Dream with me now, about a political revolution that reunites our government with the will of the people, ignited by the people and pursued for the people, embodied by one man simply determined to improve life on earth in every possible way. I am grateful and excited to endorse Bernie Sanders for President!