“It’s been a long time…”

Greetings all. It’s 7am on a rainy Saturday morning. I’ve been up for an hour in a quiet house, The title of this post is part of a bar (lyric) from one of my favorite hip-hop rappers, Rakim. It’s the first lyric from the track I Know You Got Soul – Eric B. and Rakim.

It’s been five months, today, since I last posted a blog, so this will be kind of a “brain dump, journally” type of post – reminiscent of a Twitter follower and one I follow, MrTramuel, does. I’ve been blogging (though I’ve lost some early posts) since 2007 (see the blog roll to the right ) and have always enjoyed it and really would like to get back to it from my own “garden” here as DarrenKeith Wyatt likes to say.

I won’t get into the various impacts of the pandemic we’ve all had to endure, as I believe we’re obviously not out of the woods yet. It appears that things are moving slowly back to a semblance of how things were, pre-pandemic, and I guess that can be looked at a s good or bad thing, based on your personal view point. A new US Presidential administration is in place, spring is here, and a long weekend (for me, anyway) has started.

Work has been pretty busy, with three interplanetary missions in various stages of development. I’m definitely not mad at that, but it has shown me how much I still don’t know and how much ahead of me there is still to learn. I’m thankful to have to the opportunity to gain that knowledge and work with a great set of colleagues. The entire work experience has shown me about my capabilities and the necessary paths to take to increase them. Much of that has nothing more to do with than focus, discipline, and time management – two things I’m constantly working on improving.

The music production front – that is an area which I’ve stepped back from but it wasn’t planned. Producing music (like many other continual paths to reaching goals) is not something that manifests itself out of pure motivation, the driver is really discipline. Motivation is always nothing but “good feels”, its only discipline that moves one forward, and that discipline never is driven by external factors, but internal gumption, So, yeah…I’m not telling you anything you don’t already, but there have been studies that show writing things down help cement things in your brain, so here I am – repeating “on paper” the thoughts I’m trying to solidify.

Memorial Day is Monday -a day commercialized with sale after sale after sale. I saw some news posts (online and TV) alluding to the fact that America has watered down the meaning of Memorial Day as such. I even so a tweet this morning about the USO asking folks to sign some petition by midnight about remembering and recognizing the sacrifices that our military has made. Upon seeing it, I said…”Wait, but…”, then I began to read comments saying the USO is essentially confused. This holiday is to remember and honor those military soldiers that have fallen in the line of duty. Veterans Day and Armed Forces Day are really what you mean. Truth.

Anyway, I *love* quiet mornings before this house gets buzzing, and it’s rainy out still – that’s a plus for focus and introspection, but now, it’s down to the recording studio to get some work done, mug of tea in tow.

Have a good Saturday, as well as a good long weekend (for those of you that can take advantage of it)…and remember and honor those members of our armed forces that made the ultimate sacrifice.

Peace.

Music Monday – 28 Dec 20 – Actively listening to music: Is it passe’ ?

Greetings all…

I hope all is well with you as we head to the closure of 2020, and also hoping it ends in the way that you desire and 2021 begins the same.

For the last few months, especially as a musician and producer of music for listener to (hopefully) enjoy, I’ve thinking about where the advent of music playing technology and the internet has evolved the way we listen to music. I’m old enough to have started my *personal* music listening experience with vinyl. I say *personal* with respect to music I choose listen to vice that fed to me on the radio. As we know, listening to vinyl, reel-t0-reel, 8-track cassette, 2-track cassette, iPod or anything medium that doesn’t compete with the internet (or any other distraction) allows for “listening actively” – really focusing on all aspects of the music you are currently listening to, even if you are doing so with another listener as you both enjoy it.

From the earliest creations of mobile music player devices, music has been pretty much listened in the background while, most times, multitasking. It’s provided a audio backdrop to other things we currently do. Again, radio has done that for decades, but I’m attempting to separate that scenario from “personal listening”.

I was briefly discussing (via Facebook comment) this very same topic a few days ago with a friend who posted an article about the disappearance of active music listening or “deep listening”. The article, The Lost Art of Deep Listening. Choose an album. Lose Your Phone. Close Your Eyes is a great article. The caption itself summarizes the essence of this post is about.

While I do streaming music over portable devices just like in the aforementioned scenarios above, I have specific favorite artists that still release projects on physical media, such as CD, that I won’t listen to until I can set aside time to sit down and listen uninterrupted. I still, especially as a musician who came up in a certain era, very much enjoy reading liner notes for various reasons I won’t get into here, but more so, enjoy the fact of actively listening to all aspects of what the artist or band is gifting me, audibly, without distraction. While, in principle, I strongly belief streaming services AND the evolution ESPECIALLY urban contemporary/pop music have made music “disposable” and the listening experience (at least the way I define it, lessened. I also notice this because, being a music composer/producer, it;s difficult for me to regularly release tracks that only don’t necessarily engage the listener in active listening, even though Ive released said tracks for other reasons, The following is a post from a music production feed on Instagram that show exactly why I say this.

In reality, with respect to my comment above about “disposable”, the above (today) simple goes hand in hand with how the readily available access to media content has created, what I refer to “ADHD” mindsets. I’ll address a few of the tenets above with to the ADHD comment and present both sides, if you will.

  1. LENGHT (sic): This is extremely true but (in my experience of streaming various genres) only really in urban contemporary hip-hop/rap/trap music. The flip side (and there is an understanable, physical reason why0 is that the duration of songs of this genre is nothing new. In the 70s, when I first started listening to 45 RPM records, major hit radio songs and their B-sides, were also known to be less than 3 mins also. I can remember the b-side to The Ohio Players “Love Rollercoaster” – “It’s Over Now”. being less than or just a little over three minutes long BUT this was due to the fact that the album versions were always much longer than the 45 or radio edit versions.
  2. Hip Hop/Rap/Trap – I grew up listening to hip hop before it went radio commercial (Sugar Hill’s “Rapper Delight”) and many rap/hip hop records in that era could easily be in excess of ten minutes long. A perfect example is my first intro to rap with a record that I soon regularly began spinning as part of a DJ crew I was with. Superrappin’ is 12:04.

At that time, long songs took you on a musical journey in comparison to many of today’s records that basically last long enough to take you around the corner and across the street. As for the rest of the tenets, they are actually basic to many genres. Many hit rock songs have over many decades have no more than three to four simple chords, are simple, and are written with slower tempos.

I sent a small poll about this whole topic to a Facebook group that I’m an administrator over and surprisingly enough, that average age range of people that took the poll was in the 50s – they said streaming services don’t make music disposable and that they prefer that approach to non-streaming.

I’d be interested in your thoughts. Please feel free to comment below.

Thanks for the read, as always. Once again, wishing you a Happy and Prosperous 2021.

oceans of rhythm…

Fresh!

The Art of Communications (LOL)

Ok, so….I’m ironing my clothes on Labor Day, getting them ready for the work week. My bluetooth headphones are on and I’m streaming some very chilled beats via the Fluid Channel on somafm.com. I’m just about done ironing five days worth of clothes and in comes my 22 y/o daughter from downstairs, or her bedroom, or wherever. The dialog begins:

Her: Dad, did you get my text? (her mother and brother already answered)

Me (taking off headphones): No, I haven’t looked at my phone in like 90 mins. (checks text message…. and sees this):

Me: Do you mean to tell me, couldn’t come upstairs, or from your bedroom or from WHEREVER you were to ask me this ??

Her: Well I…

Me (cutting her off): LOL, if it’s something important, or you need an answer…just come and ask me…you and your brother are the same way! Geez LOL.

Her: Ok okaaay, how is 2pm?

Me: Fine

After she leaves, I’m like, how did this SMS thing get folk to be so lazy, I mean, we’re in the saaaame house! I’ve heard stories of teens right next to each other, texting things back and forth when they can just show each other whatever it is! LOL.

I got to thinking, it’s been a long time since this thing worked,We have four in the house that worked when we first moved in almost 20 years ago. Look familiar to you?

The art of communication in 2019…gotta love it.

peace…Fresh

Social media’s growing influence (and distraction)

Ok, I get it…old hat, right, right. How ironic is it that I have written this post to primarily appear on social media (my Twitter account).

With regards to the subject of this post, I’ve read what feels like a countless number of articles on reducing social media distraction/improving productivity – and after all is said (read) and done, the simple bottom line is – just (don’t) do it – close the tabs, kill the notifications, put the phone in the other room, delete the apps etc.

I will attest, from experience, that for the first time since 2008, I’ve lost the desire to spend a very great deal of time on Facebook, to the point of it being down to five to ten minutes a day only to check on the few FB groups I am an admin on. This final new found freedom is more than very nice. Similarly, I’ve been off Instagram for a month now and I’m feeling the same about that platform. What is left, is Twitter, a platform I’ve been an early adopter of (since November 2006). The truth is, as toxic as Twitter has been known to become, I draw value from it – it feeds my ever-increasing knowledge of topics I’m interested in – and the type of feeds that do this are 95% of the time not personal feeds, so by tailoring my followers list, I avoid a lot of what I consider to be toxic, immature, foolish, etc (sometimes that leaks through via other user retweets, but…what can I do there? It’s not frequent).

Anyway, as I enter in to the last quarter of the year, this second annual sabbatical ended up better than last year’s. My hope is to redirect the time spent on social media as I did, to accomplish much more, in preparation for 2020.

oceans of rhythm,
Fresh

POTD – 22/365

“Does anybody know what time it is, does anybody really care?” – Chicago

I love that song by Chicago – the music, the lyrics, the arrangement, just a really great pop song, the kind you really don’t hear anymore. I remember first hearing it in regular rotation on NYC’s WABC-AM, with DJ Cousin Brucey! LOL.

It is mad cold today!

Time, so elusive, yet it can seem to drag on and on anytime you don;t want it to. I always seem to want more, but the old and factual saying, “We all get the same amount each day – 24 hours”, all boils down to how you use it. Is that right, or am I missing something??

Best,
Fresh

POTD – 21/365

There is an old saying, that I pretty much wholeheartedly subscribe to: “Failing to plan means planning to fail, so plan the work and work the plan” Planning, to me, is not a difficult task at all, I do it well, frankly. Working the plan, that last part, in the midst of unforseen (and sometimes seen) circumstances can become most difficult at time. It’s that part that I truly try to focus on, but not always successful. Then there are some that succeed in just winging it (for lack of a better phrase) and generally succeed. Which category (if any), do you fall into?

Thanks for the read.
Fresh

POTD – 17/365

“….Adele got a flip phone…”

Greetings all…

I’m a bit of a gadget monger. While I don’t keep every bit of outdated, dead tech (I’m about to throw some on eBay and Craigslist though), I have kept a few devices. Kept not only for nostalgia, but good memories of using them as my tech journey continued along. One item I fondly remember using is the Motorola Razr V3 above. It was my second mobile phone and I loved everything about it, from its sleek design, lines, futuristic look, operation, and form factor. After leaving it for two BlackBerrys and then the iPhone, I always wished I would still be able to use it on current networks. It was early last year that I actually became weary of all the convenient technological features (believe it or not) of my great iPhone and actually longed for the days of simplicity (and truthfully far less distraction) of a mobile phone.

Surprisingly, Verizon announced today that they are re-introducing the Razr V3 in limited quantities, only 200,000…but the cost of $1500 a pop…$1500?? No. I’m sure there are those with pockets deep enough to easily scarf one or two of these apparent “collectibles” up, but…nah. At the same time, I’m glad to see it back. If they were to release one at a far cheaper cost, I’d highly consider going back, even if Adele didn’t have a flip phone😏. (Sunny Mabrey is mad hilarious! LOL)

Peace,
Fresh

Reference:

1. A New Motorola Razr Will Be Released This Year as a $1500 foldable phone | Android Central

POTD – 16/365

“There ‘s an app for that.”

I started seriously, or maybe I should say consistently, going to the gym in my very late 20’s…(yeah, yeah, there have been a FEW hiatuses, but that’s not what this post is about,😂)…long before the iPhone or any wearable fitness tracker was even in existence. It was then that I recorded all my workout data in a notebook: pen and paper.

Fast forward to 2019, when wearables are still the rage and smartphones are pretty ubiquitous, and everyone’s fitness data touches the cloud (if you use these devices for such) at some point. Yes, it makes it convenient, even motivating for sure, but there are still times I write down stuff in notebook – easy access, no power needed, right there whenever I need it on a sunny day (in other words, no “clouds” (get it??) in sight.

Best,
Fresh