This highlights a couple of parts from our new song during practice the other night…
So we’re exploring some darker themes in our next record. This is something that has to be seen to be understood, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, we have yet to properly release our first effort. Liberation Redux released “Spectators” to friends and family of the band in 2012 and have continually given it to close ties to the band as a soft release… A proof of concept, if you will. Of course this is another way of saying that we haven’t struck it rich with any million dollar, recording contract as of yet so take that as you will. (Insert emoticon with a smiley face here.)
Our new record has no title yet but as with life, things may just have to develop organically… real and natural like and not in any other way. I’m excited for it though because Allyson and I have grown in our songwriting partnership since last year.
To break it up here, I have to mention that I am really loving this band called “The XX” right now.
Check them out. They are the same idea but almost diametrically opposed dynamics-wise, (is that a word?) from us as a band.
Allyson and I have had the pleasure of recently playing an event celebrating women and the arts. We got a chance to collaborate on some new material because, before now, I have been the main vocal contributor to our output as Liberation Redux. Years ago, we worked together on Gomroki, which we will resurrect when the time is right. That music project is something that we are still moving towards but until we get there we can use LibRedux as a vehicle to explore Allyson’s songwriting in the meantime. Just in case you’re curious you can hear Gomroki here.
Electronic music and analog sounding instruments, paired with visceral, traditional instrumentation is a real, creative turn on for me as an artist. I have always loved music like Bjork, Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead and recently The XX these past few years. Finding a way to successfully create something beautiful that’s organic and mysteriously futuristic and robotic can be quite chaotic at times but ever so rewarding.
Right now, as I said, I’m discovering certain ideas that lend themselves well to where I’m coming from during this period in my life. One of them, is actually one of my favorite titles to date that I’ve ever decided to use for a song. The Bystander effect is, according to Kendra Cherry on About.com, the phenomenon in which the greater the number of people present, the less likely people are to help a person in distress. When an emergency situation occurs, observers are more likely to take action if there are few or no other witnesses.
Playing lots of late night, live shows have recently inspired me to go to gun shows and as of this Saturday, take up shooting as a means to learn self-defense. We live close to St. Louis, Missouri which has been given the distinction as ranking second on the most dangerous cities list. According to this CNN Money article
While it is safer than it used to be… “Still, at about 35 murders per 100,000 residents in 2011, St. Louis claims the third highest homicide rate of any major city.” So I’ve begun to, without even meaning to, take my friends up on offers to go “shooting” and hopefully learning how to safely utilize these deadly, hand cannons.
Also, I have begun writing about the social and moral decay of society as a whole. While the “Spectators” record was hopeful and full of light, this new record turns the page and while still offering hope, lights up the downward trajectory things can sometimes inevitably take. Life is a machination made up of cycles, as most of us have come to discover, sometimes it seems that you cannot have one without the other. Peace and war are not just paradigms made up for television shows and songs on the radio. They are very real states that some are born into and others still are thrust into with or without their permission.
I don’t mean to idolize or trivialize violence in any way. That said, I have a very real and true responsibility to those that I love and care for while pursuing something so trivial, if only by comparison, as my art. Last weekend in St. Louis, a man was brutally stabbed in the neck and later died when confronted by an evil person who wanted to rob him of his cell phone. Just saying…
God is God, even still, ever still, in all of this. That is my voice’s true aim and highest aspiration. I’m not perfect, nor will I ever be but I can see the truth when it’s staring me in the face. There is a God who loves us and wants the best for us regardless of what anyone else says. I love that I’ve been given a talent and if possible, I would like to share this without pretense, in the most enjoyable and entertaining way as possible. First up, for now in any case, is music. One day, God-willing, I would like to make movies. I would like to tell an amazingly well thought out and wonderful crafted story much like the short lived but very prolific writer, Flannery O’ Connor.
The funny thing about life is, no one is guaranteed anything. You take it as it comes and you hope for the best, but no one great ever did anything lying down. So here I sit, with my laptop in hand, writing a much overdo blog about what have you and here I am, virtually, mentally naked, for lack of a better term, for all to see.
If there was anything I could give in theme or in substance it would be this:
Life is but a vapor. Time isn’t anyone’s companion for very long. Do what you were made to do and do it well.
You never know who might need it or when the curtain may come calling.
I’ll leave you with the second song that we will be releasing here shortly.
“Slough of Despond” which if you are not familiar, refers to a passage found in Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.
Slough of Despond
Song & Lyrics Copyright © 2013 Liberation Redux All rights reserved.
Everyone should have something to live for. It’s not so easy to stay alive out here.
Got my gun, I got my ammunition. No wars are won with indecision.
There’s not enough to go around. They take your past and then they nail you to the ground…
“Better you than me”, is what the people sing.
“We Have nothing left to live for. We have nothing better to fight for…”
Don’t get wrong, don’t get me wrong, I get it.
The man who sold the world said he did to save it.
Couldn’t make a right from the wrong inside.
Couldn’t take flight when buried alive.
“if you want to survive,
Give us all of your money buy a place in line.
Do what you want, do what you need, Do what you got to do
because we tell you to.”
I don’t believe, I can’t believe, I won’t believe a lie.
Can’t seem to make a myself, make myself wanna lay down and die.
I saw the light, I’ve seen the light, saw the lightning in those eyes.
Won’t turn away, Can’t look away,
Not even if I wanted to…
Don’t Ignore the warning signs
Rise or end up eaten alive
Wars are fought and lost inside
Gotta keep hope
gotta keep hope alive
Traverse the Great Divide
Or wash away with changing tides
I want something better to live for
I need something better to fight for
When all the world’s become a trap to kill you
You need to open up your eyes.
No one else can do it for you!
No. No! No!
Don’t Ignore the warning signs
Rise or end up eaten alive
Wars are fought and won inside
Gotta keep hope
gotta keep hope alive
Traverse the Great Divide
Or wash away with changing tides
I want something better to live for
The dark cant stop the light of day
The lie is that “there is no escape”
If we could ever hope to break through
It will only be because we choose.
The open access & networking capability of the web is amazing. I realize this sometimes when I actually think about it. Like all other great advances in technology it has major implications. We’re more open and free than ever before to share and solicit ideas, and at the same time being under the greatest amount of surveillance and data mining than ever before. Considering the technology itself, how we use it, and how organizations or governments determine it to be used make the possibilities endless! I, for one, have enjoyed the awesome mobility for information sharing & new ways to work on more creative output. After all, it’s what allowed Liberation Redux to begin.
There was a dry patch, but I’ve recently revisited indulging my “free” time in mobile apps. This has especially become advantageous for me as I continue to consider the vast world of an open source society, coupled with my endeavors in instructional design. Basically I have a sincere intrigue in how we think and learn. The other day I was reading an article by Marc Prensky, a reading from the first MOOC (massive open online course) I’m trying out. A Basic idea he presented was that the changing landscape and tools available to us allows the way we think and learn to change. The implications of this idea are interesting to me – not only because theories or practices derived from it would apply to my work as a designer of instruction, but also because I see how it is related to effects of my activities in mobile music, along with the fact that implications on my children & generations to come could be important to consider (that goes without saying that I, like everyone else, believe the education & learning of people is a critical concern to our society in general – & our institutionalized educational systems I’ll, in a nice way say, has opportunity for MEGA improvement). Of course, there’s many arguments to this idea of restructured thinking, as there hasn’t been much “sound” research to base it on.
I walked away with an ‘anything can happen’ degree in Mass Communication having been convinced (not by my professors, but my own judgements from research presented) that we are indeed affected by what we watch & see. Yes, this includes media. I think it has the critical power (not all power) in forming perspectives & ideas, individually & socially – in the ecology of us, as it surrounds our daily lives. Not necessarily that watching violence literally makes us violent – but, on a level I think it can effect the way we see the world, ourselves and each other. It’s proven that kids learn and form opinions not only from “doing” but also from watching us & the world. The tools or delivery systems (to avoid using the word “technology” the taboo my first professor ingrained in me, as technology is simply processes not media/delivery tools) we use are very different from the ideas & stories we watch (.. Or are they?); but even more so by them being more visceral, I would think, in the manipulation & consumption of information. So, can it effect us on another level? This “processing of information” level… & does that even matter? Well, for me as I want to help individuals learn in the most effective ways by designing & presenting the most engaging learning materials for them possible, it does.
As Prensky put it, “These operating systems are affecting our ‘operating system’… Today’s students think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors.” Although this statement is not based on sound research it does hint towards Dr. Bruce D. Perry’s (of Baylor College of Medicine) statement that “Different kinds of experiences lead to different brain structures.” So maybe not only are different generations receiving different or new information & ideas in media, they also are processing that information differently as the media tools/delivery systems & the ways in which they engage with info is changing.
I’m thinking this may lead to Prensky’s coining of today’s youth as ‘digital natives’. I’ve read arguments to this idea by a few from older generations who are indeed very tech savvy, and may have taken offense to such ideas. However, I wasn’t interpreting it to infer that younger generations are smarter or better within technology – but that those who spend more time with such tools or have considerable more comfort with them would apply to this idea of digital natives. It doesn’t have to be an age thing (but in most cases may be a commonality). I feel like I’ve experienced this on a small level: The first year of my Master’s program I started researching & consolidating information online and writing out research papers & my own reflections… and I noticed there was a shift in the way I sought & processed information. In my efforts I learned to do it faster & I began to break out segments of information in “chunks” like I had not done before. If in this the way I processed information changed after taking in information differently, I think I can begin to consider the implications this might have on generations as the way we consume information (on a wide level) continues to change with the given tools.
So, maybe I can understand how the way we connect, communicate, and exchange information could be pulling us towards a more of a term you may have heard by now, ‘networked individualism’; which I understand to be (correct me if I’m wrong) a more person focused & less family/unit/social group focused mentality or dependency – self-directed engagement in more loosely structured temporary networks – a person being at the center of their own “universe”. So these delivery methods could actually be affecting the way we organize and structure information internally, & ultimately the way we communicate to those around us.
So, I wonder about the idea that we are becoming more segmented among numerous groups; more reliant on ourselves than dependent on our ‘group’.
The possibilities this leads to are vast – more creative information sharing and collaboration across the world via a multitude of networks. Yet still lingering in the back of my mind, beyond the technology & tools and how they will be used, I struggle with another part of the ecosystem. If there is more of a networked individualism and less identification with social control of groups/family/etc. where does the social control lie? Now, maybe that’s just a matter of social determination factors…. Who will this technology serve the most?
In an effort to add more of a productive aspect to what I perceive is a more pedestrian, civilian kind of lifestyle, I have decided to begin writing in this here blog. My wife kindly helped me to figure out how to log in, sort of like when I help her to figure out how to use the computer to watch some far fetched, hard to find, foreign cinema… Yes.
Now that I'm here I'll try my best not to look too awkward like the freshman at the dance with no one to dance with…
I'll try to act perfectly natural like I belong here and not at all like I have to visit the restroom because I've already ingested too much tropical punch.
I think that for our next issue we are going to explore dreams. I have had quite a lot of confusing dreams as of late… I don't mind telling you either because I don't believe in ESP or any of that nonsense. I don't know how much I believe in the telling of dreams to become reality except from what I've read in the good book and that had quite a few stories in it where some odd person would change the course of a nation with a dream… Or the interpretation of a dream brought about something here or there or what have you… I think the reason I am so distrustful of the whole “let me tell you what your dreams mean” dynamic is because it has to be accepted wholly on blind faith. There is no way one can substantiate it one way or the other. I prefer my faith to be wide eyed and incredulous, sure, but never blind.
Some say love is blind and perhaps they are right but I… I am one of those who prefers to believe that I am walking into my beliefs with my eyes wide open. I believe, in God for instance, although I find it hard to believe in what his people say from time to time… I'd chalk it up to ignorance but then again somehow I feel 'safer' in my own ignorance at times it seems.
These days I can be found consorting with all manner of folks but my favorites are the honest ones. They do exist, irregardless of how skeptical and how glorious some of my friends might believe they are in there own “mature” cynicism. I like the believers and the non-believers alike but I have to say my favorites are the honest ones. The ones who really know why they think they know something.
There, I said it.
Having said all that, I realize I have so far to go to truly understand ANY of this. Why do dreams effect you so? Why do you wake up mad when you've been tossing and turning all night, when the offensive party you are so angry with, had NOTHING to do with you and your dream? I've had it happen more recently than ever before it seems. Maybe it's because I'm working too hard, possibly because it's spiritual and I have a lot of sorting out to do with the big man upstairs… Whatever you believe, I'm cool with it, just don't tell me!
Some part of me wants to figure things out on my own… Another wants desperately for this all to have been over and done with so I can move on to the next, bigger, better, thing. Whatever that is. I like the act of creating and the process of educating oneself to go further, farther, faster… Even though after years of playing and writing music, I feel old in spirit. My head is better than ever but my heart is sad more often than not. The funny thing is, in my dreams I can't remember any of my present circumstances or disappointments and so I fight! I run! I clamor to defend or in some cases to attack because I know in my heart, in the truest place, deep down inside my soul, that If I try hard enough, I can win!
When I wake up is when the gravity begins to set in again… I was just dreaming… For better or worse, now I am awake again.
What day is it? Oh yeah, this thing is late, that other thing is due and God help me, I've gotta tear outta bed. The day is already upon me!
Thank God for dreams though. Even the ones where I wake up tired because I've been struggling and fighting all night.
Thank God for his imagination to imbue such creatures as ourselves with such a separate existence from ourselves as is found in dreams.
Life isn't so hard and mine especially is nothing to frown upon as I am BLESSED… Coming in and going out. I need to keep my head about me. Not everyone can see… Not everyone can, some say, dream.
Not everyone can sing! …I need to sing. I need to dream. I need to see…
Lord God, I pray, help me to see. …Help me to see.
“A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.” – C.S. Lewis
“I refuse to lay down the goodness of God on the alter of my own understanding.” – Greg Morisson
The name of this blog derives from one of our favorite poems by Audrey Lorde, A Litany for Survival. As a small homage we’ve also included it as a lyric in our song Kairos. In time we hope to give you something substantial here for you to explore.