Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ludwig Van Beethoven's Hymn of Thanksgiving and Jasmine Lyraka Aliara

Beethoven's opus 132 features a third movement called by the composer the "Heiliger Dankesang", or Hymn of Thanksgiving. It is considered by many musicologists as perhaps the greatest piece of music in the entirety of Occidental music history, but what I appreciate about it is that it inspires a sense of gratitude inside me.

Beethoven at the time of writing this was just getting over a near fatal illness, and both the pain of affliction and prayer-granted relief at his recovery is perfectly expressed here; there's small voiced pleading, regret at a life formerly taken for granted, intoxication and dancing upon receipt of even the slightest relief, and sober yet transcendentally gorgeous praises, all communicated through the composer's preferred mode of autobiography, the acoustic string quartet.

Jasmine Lyraka Aliara is whom and what I feel grateful for in this world, she remains the best part of my life. I haven't been anywhere near as good a man as I could have been...I have so many faults, and my decision making is at times borderline retarded. But I adore her today more than I ever did, and I hope I can be the best man for her I can be, despite my defects. Even if things between us ended someday, I would never, never stop feeling gratitude for every second I spent with her.

Thank you, powers that be, for her. For the power of love she showed me made me really believe...and keeps me believing.


Monday, October 28, 2013

The Expressive Lead Guitarist: Mindset, Motivation, And Eddie Hazel

As I rehearse the solos for the Robert Lowe-fronted Lyraka song "Entombed by Choice" I am both reminded of and inspired by the story of how guitar legend Eddie Hazel was told by composer George Clinton to play the "Maggot Brain" guitar solo "as if you just heard your mother had died". I can hear where Clinton was simply putting Eddie into a certain, motivated mindspace to enhance his performance, resulting in one of the most uniquely expressive guitar statements in music history.

My "Entombed By Choice" is a song about peeling back the stacked set of masks within the self, i.e. the handy visages that one uses (often obliviously) to suit certain contexts in order to facilitate gaining the objects of the will. Its subject matter draws from the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's writings on "intellectual hygiene", but I assert that the masks have a spiritual side as well, and this latter is emphasized in my lyrics. To quote Nietzsche: "You will be a heretic to yourself and witch and soothsayer and fool and doubter and unholy one and villain. You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame: (because) how could you become new, if you had not first become ashes?".

There are three solos in my song: the first is a realization of self-deceit (pointed out by the Lyraka character the Harbinger of the Prophecy), the second an introspective look within, grasping at whatever once passed as concrete within the psyche, and the last a resigned, bittersweet-yet-hopeful acceptance. All these feelings are universal within and among us all, a form of transcendental subjectivity that exists for artists like myself to externalize.

I rise to the challenge of putting myself where the raw emotion exists, a challenge encompassing a stringently honest appraisal of my own, overplayed masquerades. Though the end justifies the means, I must admit being conscious of the ultimate futility of such a psychical overhaul; in the end the masks I convinced myself weren't will stay in place, and new ones will construct themselves, each instance both polished and colored by my newest, most direly necessary delusions.

Monday, July 1, 2013


Sturm und Drang alternating with Meerfraulied, culminating in a most Macabre Minuet. When you listen patiently, you can hear how the simple opening motif goes through literally dozens of transformations: punctuating cellos and double bass during the first, Tristan und Isolde-esque orchestral section; highlighting the orchestra in the woodwinds during the second; set into multiple times, and keys; ultimately exploding into free form fantasies...