Now the current Post: (Life, The Universe, and Absolute Reality)
Years ago when I was a student at the New England Conservatory in Boston, my favorite place to hang out was the NEC Electronic Music Studio, run by Dr. Robert Ceely. He was one of my favorite teachers besides Joseph Gabriel Maneri. I loved them both dearly... They were my mentors, and good friends as well... I miss them both these days with tears in my eyes! Bob Ceely is still alive... note to self: I must contact Bob soon!
Probably the apex of my creative output during my time at NEC was a work of sonic art (Musique concrète) realized as a 7 minute analog tape piece recorded, mixed, and mastered in professional half track stereo format on a small plastic reel of Ampex 456 audio tape. This work was titled "Maximum Entropy".
At the time I created it, I did not think much of it because it was one of the first things I did at NEC. I was just starting out. Everything seemed so big for me. I felt so small... I was not aware of being lead on a lifetime journey... That short piece of music was very significant... It was a major beginning for me.
Maximum Entropy was a sonic dissertation of my vision of life, the universe, and my concept of God (Absolute Reality) which goes beyond all human or otherwise experience. At that time in my life I had been practicing Kryia yoga and Transcendental meditation for a several years already.
I believed God to be the prime substance, essence, which we and everything else in the universe are made of. This would include other universes if they exist, and anything that could contain them as well if that outside container also exists.
To my belief at the time, God essence was beyond language, culture, judgment, mathematics... beyond physics... , even beyond music (as we know it). Its the vibrational, dynamic, blueprint everything is made of... but itself has NO substance. The ultimate paradox... God is Nothing that is Everything...
This is what I believed before coming in contact with and understanding software, bits and bytes... which is kind of a similar concept...
Maximum Entropy was a short but epic 7 minute sonic environment for a movie that was never made. It was sometimes subtle and sometimes wild. The process took me a whole semester of recording the most curious things through a pair of AKG 414 Studio microphones, sitting at the splicing block with razor blade and splicing tape, re-recording, fuddling with electronic gadgets and other stuff until it was perfected and mastered.
Everything I did after this, with the exception of some jazz influenced "art songs" and microtonal pieces I wrote later in my Junior and Senior years was small in comparison to this epic work of art...
The creation of this piece of music has influenced everything I have done since. Unfortunately I have lost the original tape... It would have been to degraded by now anyway without archiving and converting to digital format. But I can play it back and hear every nuance of it in my minds ear anytime... which improves in clarity with age... ha ha. I have re-created parts of it in other works over the years as well.
Its interesting to remember in this fast, easy do, instant replay, digital world we now live in, how long and hard I labored, but enjoyed with deep passion, the creative process that created Maximum Entropy. The name itself suggests that process and how its changed over the years...
I can create the same thing today in one day or less time... I often wonder if something was lost during our accelerated morph of technology over the years, or are our minds capable of experiencing and savoring those same creative processes in compressed time as well?
Shamans experience whole lifetimes during one or two seconds of dreamtime, so maybe this is true... I find myself spending more time today sitting back and enjoying, meditating, over what was just created in the moment because it takes less time to process and there is more to listen to at any given point during the process.
Back at my splicing block of the 70's, I had to work with a sense of urgency. An hour of work only produced a few seconds or less of actual sound... I did not have time to stop and meditate every 15 minutes... I had no ability to hear parts of the finished product at any given point with the click of a mouse button. Much of what I did had to be imagined in my mind until proven days, sometimes weeks later!
After days of work however, I would take a break and spend whole mornings with my colleagues over coffee and cigarettes in the NEC cafeteria, listening over a shoebox size Sony Superscope Cassette player (the iPod of the day) what had been created thus far, savoring, dreaming, and discussing what was or could come next.
Can that kind of experience happen within a few minutes over a Skype chat box with a link to an Mp3 file, video clip, or image? Maybe its the same experience, just quicker... Maybe something really passionate about the old experience has been lost forever.
Do our children even know this? Do they even care? Do they know something we will never know because we were born in a different age? And what about our parents? Our Grandparents?
I am reminded of Ecclesiastes and its Chinese parallel, Taoism. "Nothing is new." "New discoveries are only remembering things forgotten." "We have seen it all before" "All is folly at the end of the day."
I often wonder and sometimes morn over these ideas... Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to have been born in Paris in July 1900... Someday I may find out :)
One thing I do know... I would never be able to write as prolifically as I can today given the huge dyslexic dysgraphia problems I had in the past using only a pencil and paper. It took me at least two full over-nighters to write a simple college level paper.
In the morning the waste basket was full of at least one whole notebook pad of wadded up papers, and a bit of blood stained tissues from biting fingernails... The final copy still contained many spelling and grammar problems when finally I handed it in. My professors overlooked the spelling and grammar and praised me for the content though.
Hard labor has its rewards. :)