"The Colonel..."

“The Colonel felt his role carried with it the obligation to make quick, headstrong decisions.” - Kurt Vonnegut

Does this help to explain partially why we find the world in the shape that it’s in?
- jB

More from "Another Country" by James Baldwin.

“…Ida did not know how great a performer she would have to become before she could dare expose her audience, as she now did, to her private fears and pain. After all, her brother had meant nothing to them, or had never meant to them what he had meant to her. They did not wish to witness her mourning, especially as they dimly suspected that this mourning contained an accusation of themselves - an accusation which their uneasiness justified. They endured her song, therefore, but they held themselves outside it; and yet, at the same time, the very arrogance and innocence of Ida’s offering compelled their admiration.”

- From “Another Country” by James Baldwin.

EXCERPTS FROM JOHN ZORN's "SURVIVAL IN A CULTURAL WASTELAND" from ARCANA VIII

“…Separating from the world’s self-destructive narcissistic maelstrom to better focus on what is truly important is essential if one is to help save culture from the corruption that threatens to destroy it forever. A person of integrity neither uses nor is used, neither serves nor rules - but deals with people in a cooperative landscape of free exchange and personal choice. In a world of humanity Art is neither spectacle, business, nor fashion, but something that can nurture the soul - not gimmick and flash, but truth and beauty; something we can benefit from when our immortal souls are in pain, peril or in need; something that makes sense of the world, the universe, and our inner life; something that inspires, transcends, empowers, heals and makes the world a better place.

To attain this, to heal the world and bring true meaning and satisfaction to humanity, we must find our own path, create our own system, connect with our own people and focus deeper on pure inner vision - the inner vision that represents our core values. To best insulate ourselves from the forces that threaten us it is essential to connect and surround ourselves with supportive, positive, like-minded creative individuals. This is the power of community, the power of inspiration, confirmation, encouragement and belonging. With it we can tap resources bigger than ourselves and transcend. We are more powerful together…

…Throughout history, the world’s most valuable accomplishments have continually proved to be made solely by the indomitable individuals who were blessed with originality of thought and have retained independence of action. In essence, all an artist requires is the freedom to create in peace. But the sad dichotomy is that we must fight to find it, and to retain it. ACTION THIS DAY AND EVERY DAY!”

- John Zorn “PREFACE - Survival in a Cultural Wasteland” from ARCANA VIII. (Click for more info.)

From "Another Country" by James Baldwin.

“…Perhaps such secrets, the secrets of everyone, were only expressed when the person laboriously dragged them into the light of the world, imposed them on the world, and made them a part of the world’s experience. Without this effort, the secret place was merely a dungeon in which the person perished; without this effort, indeed, the entire world would be an uninhabitable darkness; and she saw, with a dreadful reluctance, why this effort was so rare.
Reluctantly, because she then realized that Richard had bitterly disappointed her by writing a book in which he did not believe. In that moment she knew, and she knew that Richard would never face it, that the book he had written to make money represented the absolute limit of his talent. It had not really been written to make money - if only it had been! It had been written because he was afraid, afraid of things dark, strange, dangerous, difficult, and deep.”

- From “Another Country” by James Baldwin.

Guiding Principle

I think that the best guide that an artistic creator can have is always, at the outset, themselves. To simply make the art that they want to see / hear / eat / experience is the first step in creating work that is impactful and lasting. The challenge becomes following that instinct through the creative process in the face of many sources of resistance that seek to derail that trajectory. But what fun would it all be without the challenge of fighting those resistors?? - jB

Good art, great art.

Good art makes you forget you’re going to die. Great art makes you feel like you’re going to live forever. - jB

Illusory Renown

I think that many artists (and non-artists as well, for that matter) are caught up in what I think is best called “Illusory Renown” these days. The Internet and the platforms that it provides and encourages continue to set up scenarios where feedback loops and “room full of mirrors syndrome” are the norm for artists. When viewed from outside of these tight circles, we can see the created and illusory nature of the renown that an artist has deemed themselves to have - but from within, the illusions and the real are one and the same. Positive feedback and encouragement are important parts of the creative process, no doubt, and to have encouragement and support from peers and public is a valuable thing - but the danger comes in when making decisions in the creative process, especially at the initial stages of creation, that serve to support and extend a renown that doesn’t, in reality, exist at the cost of making the art that the artist truly wants to be creating. - jB

STATES 01 - 05. Music made to hold the space.

It's out today.  It's based on a system of sound manipulation.  It's designed to help shut out the distractions and shut in the focus.  It's designed to hold the space. - jB

Great art...

Great art doesn't wait for permission to exist - it grants that permission to others. - jB

Time is choice.

In the small and privileged world or art making, having or not having enough time for a creative endeavour is, at its core, a matter of choice.  - jB

Mary Oliver

Take a read of this, and then read more Mary Oliver : https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/10/12/mary-oliver-upstream-creativity-power-time/

She's an inspiring human being, to say the least. - jB

Different things...

Unfinished and never started are two very different things.  - jB

@BLIMPROCKLIVE Releases "SOAP OPERA" - The First Album Released In A Bar Of Soap

Last week, Blimp Rock released their latest album "Soap Opera".  It's an album that I had the pleasure of working on with Peter and the team over the last year or so, and it's wonderful to see it out in the world!  Not only does it cover topics such as the important debate of facts vs. feelings, the way that our cats help keep us sane, the merits of basketball over hockey and has a couple of takes on Toronto as a city, it also serves to keep us clean - it's the first album (as far as anyone can tell) that has been released as a bar of soap.  Yep - a real, usable bar of soap.  With a download code in the middle of it.  Fantastic.  And here's the album art : 

blimp.jpg

You can listen to and buy the album on Blimp Rock's Bandcamp page, and you can watch a lyric video for one of the tracks from the album, "Dear Science" below.  Enjoy!  And stay clean - it's what Blimp Rock would want.
- jB

@VIVEKSHRAYA & @QUEERSONGBOOK - "SWEETIE" VIDEO

I recently had the privilege of working with Vivek Shraya on her collaboration with Queer Songbook Orchestra for the upcoming album "Part Time Woman".  The result is a powerful, potent and beautiful collection of songs, arrangements and performances.  The first video from that album is out, and it's for the track "Sweetie".  The song is a timely and important song - the video is a wonderful look back at some of the studio sessions spent with Vivek, all of the QSO team, Tika, Sal Zori, Chris Sandes at Sandcastle Studio, Choir! Choir! Choir! at Union Sound Company with Alex Gamble at the helm, and all of the work put into this project by everyone involved.  Quite the time.  To pre-order the album, FOLLOW THIS LINK.  The video is below.  Enjoy! - jB

REINVENTION / EVOLUTION

It's important not to confuse reinvention and evolution - the need for one is not the need for the other. - jB