Sunday, January 15, 2012

Happy 2012!

It is a new year, and that is a good enough reason to look back a bit and then to make a few plans. I ask for the indulgence of any readers. Even though this blog is mostly a way to explore thoughts and feelings about different issues, it is also a professional site (sort of) that is an attempt to somewhat publicize my musical endeavors, so bear with me!

2011 was a wonderful, busy year. Our second son Wolfie was two months old the day it started, and now he is pushing 15 months! He's left babyhood behind (almost) and is moving straight towards toddlerhood.......headfirst with a jetpack on! Severin has used 2011 to leave toddlerhood behind and enter boyhood with all its inquisitiveness and imagination (and willfulness ;)

In 2011, I wrote and recorded the score to the documentary "Where Did The Horny Toad Go" and I played many recording sessions for artists like Green River Ordinance, Kelly Clarkson, K.C. Clifford, Jami Smith, Portraiture, and several others.

I was privileged to have my string piece "Oklahoma Trails" performed by Doug Newell and the Enid Symphony Orchestra. Then the recording was used to accompany the wonderful outdoor event "Enid's Night Of Generals" organized by Wade Burleson. The piece was originally commissioned and performed by David Koehn and the Edmond Memorial High School Orchestra in 2010.

I was also lucky enough to play a pair of reunion shows over the summer with my band The Fellowship Students. Great times were had by all!

Currently, I am preparing for the release of the album of "Where Did The Horny Toad Go" - in fact, after writing this blog I am going to listen to the master I just received from Garrett Haines at Treelady Studios. As I mentioned, the project was recorded here at my home studio, known as Galloping Cat Studios (I love the name so I had to mention it. Even now I am hearing the sound of a cat galloping down our hallway).

I also have re-releases of some of my earlier albums that will see the light of day this year. They are remixed and remastered versions of two lo-fi EP's I did around 1999 and 2000. I am very excited to put them out there in a better form than I did back then.

I also hope to begin recording another project this year - the third in a series of albums in the vein I call "limited music" - songs/pieces recorded in the popular idiom drawing inspiration from classical composition in the sense that they are limited to a specific instrumentation. My chosen "limitation" is restricting the recordings to cello, acoustic guitar and voice. The first two records in the series are "Light Plays On A Pearl" (2006), also recorded without any effects, and "The Twin or The Seed" (2007).

And of course there is "normal" work to do. Teaching lessons, playing gigs, etc.

I do have plans to write more this year. My goal is to keep posts reasonably brief and somewhat often - perhaps breaking different ideas up into series of posts. One of my two main goals is to write about my novice understanding of meditation and hopefully to get a few readers to participate with me in attempting meditation more often and sharing our insights. One of my primary reasons for this is to simply get myself meditating regularly again. In my brief, "amateur"experiences, the effects on my life have been profound.

My other goal is to present a series called "Theology From The Plain" where I explore my framework for seeing "that which is". It will not be super organized, but once again, my attempts will hopefully be reasonably brief and often. I hope this will help keep things pleasant and somewhat interesting for any readers who are generous enough with their time to stop by this site and explore with me.

That's what blogs are for right? We explore as readers and writers - in posts, in comments and in our personal thoughts.

I wish you the very best in all of your endeavors this year!

ADDITION - Thanks to Burk for reminding me that I also want to start posting more about music!


  1. I can't wait to read "Theology From The Plain." You should turn out some thoughts on that one soon!

    Also, I'm on my 16th consecutive day of meditation. I decided to start after reading David Lynch's book, with a loose goal of tapping into the "big fish ideas" creatively, as opposed to the constant chatter of little ones that aren't as rewarding- or unique. I have had several moments where everything fades, but nothing terribly revelatory. Acceptance seems to be the theme that's been most consistently in my head afterwards. It's definitely helping to quiet my noisy mind though, and that alone is a pretty awesome.

  2. Yes! It sounds like you will have some major input to offer once the meditation project gets going

    Acceptance is huge. Meditation has led me to see how much judgement is constantly going on in my head. So much assumption, instead of allowing things to just unfold and only making judgements when they are needed.

    My main focus, as a complete novice, will be to discuss the process of attaining a state of quiet, which is one of the few things I think I might be able to help other beginners with.

    Quieting that noisy mind, turning constant reaction into simple action, is pretty awesome!

    I have read about Lynch's meditation and would like to read more.

  3. Hi, Steven-

    Sorry I forgot to write that I loved your "horny toad" piece. Very bouncy and fun. Thanks for offering it to your fans! I hope your year is fulfilling and successful.

    Congratulations on your family! Your son reminds me to ask what musicians see in Mozart. I am trying to gain an appreciation for his work, but it often seems so muzak-y. The K466 concerto is perhaps the most congenial work so far, along with opera passages here and there. Anyhow, as a reader, I'd be receptive to your thoughts on music history, theory, philosophy, aesthetics, etc.

    Speaking of judgements and judgementalism, I guess!

  4. Thanks, Burk!

    I am so grateful to you, both for your generous compliment and for reminding me of my third goal for this blog - to write about music more! Imagine that..... ;)

    I am listening to the k.466 concerto right now. I am not familiar with it, but I am enjoying it very much.

    Perhaps you like Mozart best when he is a bit darker and weightier? I do too. The first mvt. of the Symphony 40 in G minor would probably be the best example of the Mozart I revere. The Requiem too - where he falls under the influence of Bach's contrapuntal writing.

    For an earlier example of Mozart in the more "sturm and drang" style - the symphony 25's opening movement is perfectly balanced in its storminess.

    One of my favorite moments is the presentation of theme 2 which he takes up into the relative major key (Bb). This occurs around 40-50 seconds in depending on the recording. After he presents the theme twice, he cycles the second portion of the theme, a quick ornamental figure, through different chords in the lower strings.

    For a more stately Mozart, I also still adore the slow mvt. of the concerto for flute and harp in C. And many others....

    However, I know what you mean. Sometimes listening to a Mozart slow movement especially can be veeeeery vanilla. I know it's cliche for a reason, but man - neoclassical, perfectly balanced sleepiness.

    Ironically, we didn't even name Wolfgang after Mozart. We got so deep into looking for names that the realization that it matched Mozart was kind of an afterthought!

    I would have considered Johann Sebastian too.... :)

  5. By the way - if anyone enjoys the Mozart Sym. 25, be sure to check out Haydn's Sym. 39 - also in G min in the "sturm and drang" style. It's one of my absolute favorites!