Good Vibes

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My neighbors must hate me. If not to my face, then they surely do when the mass of sonic energy rolls across the yard, crossing the boundary into their territory and rattling their walls as rapid tremors run through the ground, causing glass vases to tremble precariously and shaking pictures on the wall so they hang slightly off kilter. But I can’t help it. I need my guitar like children need to eat an entire bucket of candy on Halloween night. It’s an insatiable itch that can only be satisfied by scratching until the skin bleeds raw. Continue reading

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Songs for Submersion

I’ve never been much good at sleeping. From the hours of 8:00 am to about 8:00 pm, I’ve got weights tied to my limbs and head, I’m dragging and exhausted. But once the sun goes away and it’s dark and cool outside, my brain is filled words and ideas and melodies and it overflows until I have to lay in my bed writing all over my hands and arms to get everything out, and to make sure that I won’t forget when the sun rises. By about midnight, I itch to play my guitar so badly that it feels as though my insides are on the verge of tearing open and exploding, but facing the wrath of my family, recently awakened by a late-night jam session, would probably be worse than self implosion. Since I can’t make my own music at this time, I do the next best thing: listen to other people’s music.

When I’m like an accumulation of hyperactive, excited gaseous particles, I need a steady beat to crawl into my ears and liquify me. I need to bathe in vibrations, and come out fresh and clean and enlightened. Continue reading

Quantitative, Qualitative

“I don’t mind stealing bread
From the mouth of decadents
But I can’t feed on the powerless
When my cup’s already over-filled…

I’m going hungry.”

– Temple of the Dog, Hunger Strike

There is nothing in this world today that has not been touched by the culture of mass consumption. There’s over seven billion people out there today and every single one of their lives revolves around a system built to provide demanded products to those who can afford them. Those who can’t afford the goods to survive must serve their wealthy direct or indirect employers until they, their children, their grandchildren, their great grandchildren, or their distant descendants of a distant future can eventually claw their way up the social ladder to join the ranks of the consuming elite. If someone wants something, someone else will do whatever needs to be done to provide for the consumer. The consumer wants more, so no matter what the cost, they are going to get more. Because the world is measured in quantity, the quality of production, the quality of labor conditions, the quality of food, the quality of animal enclosures, the quality of air, the quality of water, the quality of life is all sacrificed. Nearly every major problem the world faces today — deforestation, human trafficking, pollution, homelessness, loss of biodiversity, urban slums, abuses of large agribusinesses — all boils down to one thing: the demands of an oversized consumer population. Continue reading

Goodbye Blue Sky – Pink Floyd

We humans like to cling to things. Especially hope. During times of fear and struggle we hang dangling over darkness and uncertainty, clinging to our frayed threads of hope until our knuckles turn white. If we can hang on long enough, hope can get us through times of violence and destruction. But what about when the violence and destruction returns? We cling to the hope that things will get better, and for a time, they might. But it seems that some new conflict always arises to break down our sense of security and forces us to once again grip precariously to our threadbare hope.

If the violence and struggle keeps coming back again and again, then there must be something we’re doing wrong. There has to be some kind of change we can make to really, truly, make things better. Continue reading

Welcome to the Machine – Pink Floyd

The purpose of art is expression, either of oneself, an opinion, or an ideology. The world full of voices, each one screaming for attention, dying to be heard. Art magnifies the voices of those who might otherwise have been drowned out by the din. Art attracts the eyes and ears of the world to the problems we face in everyday society when we are otherwise ignored by our superiors. Art takes a stand when the world stands against us. That is, until money is involved. Once the big commercial industries take over, art plundered of all that it stands for and simply becomes a money making machine. Rather than giving people what they need to hear, they are sold what they want to hear. Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine” dares to speak out against the industries that have morphed the music business into simply a cash-cow rather than a place for artistry to flourish.

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Pink Floyd left to right: Nick Mason, David Gilmour, Roger Waters, and Richard Wright

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Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd

The world is filled with walls. Walls that divide different social classes, walls that keep humans and nature separate, walls that keep different nations, races, religions, alliances, and opinions apart. We build the walls to boost our self esteems, because somehow exclusivity equals superiority. We hurt each other because of the walls. We wage war and kill  to prove that it is our side of the wall that is right. It is the walls that encourage prejudice, hatred, and contempt for our fellow man. If it is the walls that cause so much pain, so much anguish, and so much suffering, then why are they even there? Through the timeless “Wish You Were Here”, it is arguable that the walls are not there at all, not in reality anyways. The walls exist only in our minds.

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Time – Pink Floyd

At some point (most likely multiple points) in a person’s lifetime he or she will experience the feeling that time has passed him by. Perhaps there was an opportunity, a risk that could have been taken, that he refrained from and therefore missed out on the benefits of taking that risk. Or maybe he has just realized that he is no longer who he once was in the past – he is no longer in the spring of his youth, he has outgrown interests that he once had, he is not the person that the younger him would have expected him to be, etc. This concept is embodied in Pink Floyd’s “Time”, which describes the passage of time, how its meaning is different to people of different ages, and its devastating impact on the human race. Continue reading