17 December 2015
eBook chronicle - peak experiences & growing pains - of jamming
Friday Night Jam: A how-to memoir tracing the learning curves of group music improvisation, the peaks and pitfalls of African hand drumming with electric instruments.
African drumming is usually not well integrated into conventional Western music mixes. This chronicle conveys the challenge of merging diverse musical instruments, genres and personalities; of attempting to produce quality music in a venue that welcomes relative beginners, lifelong amateurs, and random drop-ins for the night. The book offers experiential advice to beginning drummers, or to longtime musicians who have not yet had the opportunity or courage to attempt improvisational collaboration with others.
28 November 2015
The breath itself stands as the final arbiter of rhythm, with words as tom-toms played against the otherwise empty score of the day; these pastiches of form creating their own meaning by virtue of beauty, pleasing effect, internal harmony, ecological composition and interrelation—even without audience, readership, plot, vessel, marketing platform, venue, or costume for appearance in public space.
In another age the word-beats may resurface, dusted off and varnished, reinserted into a mosaic of resurrected meaning; for now they dance, like individual souls on a modern-dance floor, unseeing in the dark, moved like molecules by the vibration of bass force passing through them, gyrating and gawping in the night against the pulse of stars, awaiting some connection which is already, unseen, sounding at the core of their apparently lonely existence, the loneliness itself an illusion.
Living in a state of constant synchronicity, life becomes art. In stillness, emptiness, all life conspires in one dance. Then with or without one’s own agenda, the synchronicity remains, available simply with perception of it. Then the flow begins, and there is no stopping the flood of words, images, events, people, interactions, love and death, wars and brilliant compositions, accidents and great works.
Pausing again, reflecting, resting, taking stock.
Plunging again into the stream. Like a soul in the bardo, down to earth and back again. In the whirl of life, away and then again in motion, the heat of activity takes shape. The music begins. The dancers’ feet slide into step, then run in free figures across the floor. The soldiers march, then creep through the alleyways. There is no justice in this world, only coherence of events conspiring into the picture we create by being here to witness: whatever the picture contains. Even supposed chaos coheres, when framed; and we are nothing, if not framers, by definition even as we are bounded by the frames of our provisional flesh and sensory apparatus.
Our choices frame our experiences. Our fate too represents our unconscious choice. And we are merely parts of the composition in the frames of experience of those we meet.
Details, conspiring. Does it all matter? That too is a choice.