Outside the mainstream and rejected by the avant-garde.
My own experience is music as a force of nature, not only as a figment of a corrupt human psyche.
Because I come up with unusual project concepts and deeply embrace rare instruments and topics, most of the music I have created or helped to create over the past 25 years cannot be considered “mainstream.” In music, generally the “mainstream” is narrow-minded, uncreative and increasingly derived from market interests that have nothing to do with art. So the Unknown is increasingly toxic to it. This wasn’t always the case, but it is more and more.
Fortunately, there is always a thriving “counter” stream from which those who desire something more refreshing may drink. And our global digital age is great for supporting small and strange forces, to some extent. However, a big slice of the experimental avant-garde of the last several decades is often primarily characterized by a dubious marriage between a deconstructionist dogmatism on the one hand, and a neurotic clean-room aesthetic on the other.
That’s why symphonies with laptops have been supported more readily than, say, chamber music with djembe or throat-singing. If it still stinks of being from the Earth—and honors too much the beating heart and pulsing hot breath of biological life—don’t admit it into the concert hall. Or even into the dirty urban warehouse art-performance space. Cigarettes and booze (or hors d’oeuvres and wine) are preferred over potted plants and medicinal tea. Everywhere, toxic substances are prized above pure soil and clean air. Because the Madness is high on the idea that it “made” them.
To me, this is another demonstration of the diseased human mind that self-conceives as separate from, apart from the natural world. And to me, this is the most prescient issue of our time. In fact—in actual point of pure, unbiased FACT—we are a part of this tremendous place, this planet. Actually, in deeper spirituality we are that and, at the same time, one with it. If it still feels “woo woo” for someone to say ”this living, breathing mother Earth” then that’s a huge clue right there: the very twist that is uncomfortable with that phrase IS the leading face of our collective mental illness. And at times, I admit to still feeling that too. But it is a living, breathing organism that gave birth to us. There is no work-around for that fact. And it is a beautiful and ridiculous fact. And saying it superficially isn’t going to help, you have to know it from deep in your pants.
What was our place in this Garden of Paradise? Our role was to be masterful participants, not “masters.” We kind of fucked that all up. So, my music is rooted in music and the natural world, derived from the experience of the flow of energy, many kinds of energy. Yes, also transcendent and cosmic energy, but none of this is separate from earth energy, breath and sex energy. I try not to just create status reports of the fever dreams of a sick psyche.
In my opinion, many sectors of the experimental avant-garde need to loosen their grip, admit to what they are, and what they are not. An “open mind” that is actually only open to 50% (or less) of what the dominant minds are closed to—this would need a different designation, not “open” or free. Something like “open for deconstructionist auto-neuroticists.” We are all breathing here, and we all have beating hearts, for Christ’s sake. But not all of us want to take drugs and jump up and down to giant sound systems either. We are also mystics, and obsessed with the invisible—including concepts—but let’s also try being more holistic, more practical. More sane, harmonious and sustainable. More reverent, grateful and humorous.
More aware. MORE ALIVE.
You should also know that I know that I’ve got those other three fingers pointing back at me.