With a pandemic on our collective and hopefully frequently washed hands, a statewide stay at home order still in effect, and my place of employment basically shutdown since three weeks ago till about the end of April means I’m in the middle of a surprise vacation that’s been dropped in my lap. All this new found time to catch up, spring clean, raise chickens and reflect. A lot of artists are using social media to provide escape for themselves and others and it really makes me realize how underutilized this site has been. It’s honestly no surprise as even the social media spectrum is underutilized but here I have a unique domain name, a haven for my music and a blog for words to convey thoughts and yet very little engagement from myself outside of album release time.

So here I sit writing this new blog post. A post I must’ve written and rewritten over a dozen times, over the span of several months for periods of maybe an hour at a time. Each draft always a little different from the last. Unpublished because either it ended up not being good enough, or I never finished it because I hit a wall then took a break and then my whole mood and perspective had undergone change in comparison to what was written. Each version with it’s own incubation period between being conceived and being updated to a new paradigm only to be saved-as-draft until the next full moon. Rinse, repeat. This is actually very reflective of the creation of the music at times as well. Anyway, I feel the need to switch up that habit and be more punctual creatively, so here I am. Again.

Now, as we joke about the end of the world and this startling start to the new Roaring Twenties, we cope with the fragility of it all and the inequality that perpetuates breakdowns within that which stands as the doctrine of being human. This won’t end us all. Life will go on. But so will business. And so will politics. Remember then, those who were there for you and how you were treated when things looked dire. Remember received bailouts and who received no help. Remember which jobs were essential and which were not and remember that we all deserve to eat, to be healthy and to spend time with family and friends and ourselves. To live life to our fullest in liberty and pursuit of happiness. Normal is flux but we should always try to make it better.

Knuckle-deep now, let’s talk music. Haven’t touched a DAW with intent to create a new album or anything like that but I have revisited a few things that were shelved years ago. One of which I am happy to have polished up and finalized in conjunction with this blog post. This is another Nobou Uematsu Final Fantasy cover/remix/midi-hack that I started sometime after uploading the other 3 to Soundcloud (song located below or click HERE to listen to all four). The FF7 Remake just dropped so it’s the perfect time to get this out there. These are like exercises to me, a type of practice that includes countless hours of the artists mantra, “Is it finished or am I?”. Hope it is enjoyed as much as the others. Moving on.

Next, in art news. Lots of new sights to behold. Much of which has or is coming to social media and this site soon. In tandem, much of which has led to the study of Patreon and how it works and whether or not it’s something people (you reading this) would be interested in let alone if I could pull it of logistically. My outlets for creativity and content vary so much sometimes that I have a hard time choosing which project I should follow through with. I also run out of motivation due to creative blocks or bouts of indecision so I’ll start something new or work on a back-burner. Maybe I’m just overthinking and underestimating my own abilities at this point. It is something I tend to do. The mind trying to catch itself, to hold down a moment to make the best possible “next move”. And I think something like Patreon could help me become more consistent with time management and with the help of a community that wishes to be part of the journey I can see there being options to curb the indecisiveness while allowing outside input and perspective.

Indecisiveness for the sake of perfect hinders the flow and burdens the conscious. Contemplating the perfect piece or the perfect detail stops any of it from truly becoming what it could be. I used to think that I had to wait for the creative inspiration to come like a gust of wind to invigorate my senses. Which does indeed happen from time to time but that’s not enough nor is it the only way. There also exists a dance of warmup, jump in, get discouraged, jump in again, maybe get discouraged again and if so jump in again, find the flow, follow it, eventually you don’t want to stop but you gotta sleep. Save, quit, sleep. Repeat.

Also if you are taking the time to read this, thank you. I’ve always wanted to add writing to my creative outlets but its one I feel maybe I’m weakest at probably because of lack of practice. It’s got less to do with a lack of vocabulary or grammar or those kinds of literary tool-sets (It goes without saying I’m sure I’ve got a lot to learn in those ares too) and more to do with arrangement or composition best befitted for comprehension. With this blog I want to be honest but maybe cryptic at times, reflective and maybe with some humorous pseudo-intellectual philosophical poetic pretentiousness without being too hard to follow. Life is absurd, so am I. When it comes to stories I’m a science fiction and cosmic horror fan so that’s the kind of flavor I want to imbued my writing with. I like to make shit up, obviously. So once and when I get these queries and ideas off notepads and into form I’ll have another blog post outlining the Patreon Plan, what to expect and how you can help. Along with all the other dreams of course, time and attention is all it takes. Thank you for yours.

Sincerely, a creator with a lump of ideas in a temporary slump.

“Make Lemonade” by Neuron Dreamtime

Thirteen Palm Trees Podcast Productions have released the schedule for the next few episodes of the Wasted Local Talent podcast including the Neuron Dreamtime episode and seeing that it has been the customary length of time between posts here on the mother site, I’m back again with another peek into the labyrinthine Dreamtime neural network.

So mark your calendars, or don’t, I’ll remind you, November 29th is the day you’ll hear wise cracks, pop culture references, and may even notice how awkward I am during interviews. What I mean is that I’ve always been on the introvert side of the spectrum and the shyness tends to increase once the red record button is pressed. This sometimes results in bouts of internal panic causing me to forget what I want to say, get all mixed up and repeat things, say something dumb or downplay something. I will often let others steer the conversation and on some occasions I’ll clam up almost completely into a spiral of self imposed embarrassment. Of course this is not always the case for every situation as it’s different with people I know well or see often. I’m always looking for ways to change this about myself like doing interviews, taking on a more person-to-person responsibility at the money-job, and working myself up to do open mic standup.

So to prepare for the interview I assumed there would be a list of questions based on what was available online about myself and ND, so I thought about what standard interview questions would be; the origin, the influences, the tools, the philosophy, etc. I went so far as writing notes about ND and coming up with answers to anticipated questions. Upon meeting the hosts, when I said I was nervous, I was reassured that “it’s just a conversation” and to my surprise it turned out to be just that. But of course I was keenly aware that we were recording and instantly forgotten all the preparations I made.

Thankfully, Daniel and Jed were friendly and funny. Taking the pressure off of me by giving each other a hard time and cracking jokes in a way only friends can. I eventually felt very welcome in their studio, like I was a friend bonding over a shared sense of humor. In spite of my own anxieties, it didn’t feel like I was expected to act a certain way to fit their mold. It was our first time meeting each other and while I honestly don’t think they really looked too deeply into what ND has done or listened to many songs, I feel their intentions were genuine and well placed. They truly do wish to use their platform to help shed light on the talent out here in WV, no matter how popular or unknown. But because it may be too much to expect to familiarize themselves with ND when there is so much out there and relatively unknown to the point of near invisibility I can’t hold that against them. Alas, I am disappointed in myself for not being able to delve more into Neuron Dreamtime, into the origin, influences, tools and the philosophy.

Now it may just be a trait of being an artist but I usually find myself picking apart a piece of work. My own worst critic as the cliche goes. It’s the same when painting. Perfect is unreachable, unattainable but it’s also strangely imaginable. And I’m usually looking back on how things went and how they could have been better. An interview is something I’m not used to anyway. When making music or painting there is time to step away and collect oneself, even this blog post has taken me almost two weeks to write, to edit and reword as to better express myself. With an interview its limited and for the most part a one shot go with little editing. So I think back to all the missed opportunities to say more, to elaborate upon what ND is to me. Meanwhile there is always this site with its various pages and links for anyone wishing to peruse and discover what Neuron Dreamtime is. If anything, the podcast will bring a little more local traffic to this site and people can let the content speak for itself.

So as always, I tend to laugh at myself and accept that it’s just part of the human condition to be awkward. Life is so damn absurd sometimes you simply can’t take it seriously. You’ve got to stop and laugh often. Laughing and making people laugh is something I love to do as much as painting and recording sounds that resonate and express. I love to do these things and share them but there is usually hesitance on my part due to how I humbly view what I create, it’s not the greatest but it’s something. Maybe with clever editing the podcast will be coherent to me and I won’t sound so amateurish. Or maybe this is all just a case of me over thinking. It happens. In any case its sure to be entertainingly silly while doling out laughs.

I normally feel I don’t deserve any kind of spotlight other than the one I shine myself into my little corner upon the things I make. I just go at my own pace, do my own “thing” and I am aware that one persons “thing” can’t be appealing to everyone. I know this because I can see my minuscule, but totally inspiring, fan-base by way of statistics from this website, Facebook, Bandcamp, Youtube, and Soundcloud. I can see how many people read this, listen to what and click links. Honestly it surprised me that they accepted my application to be on the show. I almost didn’t seize the opportunity to apply in the first place because of my modesty surrounding ND. In some lights I feel it’s not worthy. It’s a testament to their willingness to help local talent be seen by bringing me on to inevitably bomb but be funny while doing it.

Self deprecating thoughts aside, I do feel that true success is relative and not measured by an objective abacus of wealth and influence. You set your goals, you achieve them, no matter how large or small they seem to other people. Find what gives your heart a beat, then dance to that beat. Then try to drown out your inner heckler.

These guys at Thirteen Palm Trees are just like that. They love doing what they’re doing no matter how odd it may be to others and they want to share their light with others. Overall it was a good experience, a positive one, for overcoming my shyness and stage fright and showed me that the podcast format is something I could get into and hope to do so in the future. Although I failed to elaborate on what ND is (sometimes even I don’t know) there is always this website and the future opportunities. I hope to be this eloquent next time I have the pleasure of sitting down, chatting and laughing with the crew at Wasted Local Talent about music, pop culture, and joking about Male pattern baldness and life.

Good people.

10/10

Will visit again.

-L

PS: You can find Thirteen Palm Trees and all their episodes on all major Podcast streaming providers. Below is the aforementioned schedule and be sure to check out their other podcasts: “Video Game Mythos”, “D&D, Kinda”, and “Gurus of Gaming”WLTlogo

13palmtreespro

When I began writing this the feeling was that of defeat. No matter how much I plan or prepare something will get in the way to let me know that the universe is impersonal, hostile and ultimately doesn’t care about the goals of a speck of dust. There are 1000 things I want to do and 1001 things I need to do. Sometimes its like I’m spinning so fast I’m about to shatter into a thousand pieces.

It’s been a rough few months, needless to say, no matter how well I thought I was prepared or how detailed the map laid out before me. This is life, thus is flux. Plans falling apart or postponed until further notice. Mechanical things failing. Roads disappearing and canyons appearing instead. Car dealers dealing. Missing friends. Mandatory overtime for months on end at the job that pays the bills. This sort of onslaught wasn’t necessarily a walk in the park, nor was it anything new, but as it turns out I am very good at hiding the struggle and trudging through.

I have always had trouble asking for help but never-the-less I am always grateful for the help offered by family, friends and neighbors. I am grateful to my loving wife for making me feel like a rockstar. Grateful to my family, parents and in-laws for their calming words of wisdom and support. I am grateful for every acknowledgement, kind word, and laugh shared by strangers, coworkers and the like.

I know that things could always be worse and that compared to most things going on in the world I have it made in the shade with lemonade and I’m able to promenade. So then I get bummed that I feel bad about my situations while so many others have it far worse. Depression is a tough gremlin to shake sometimes once it has latched on and everything seems to be stacked against. Just gotta persevere onward and adjust to new variables. The map is not the territory and the territory is in a constant state of flux.

So now, as I finish writing this, months later, for my partially neglected website, the variables have indeed changed again. Bought a fresher ride, with some hiccups. The driveway is now traversable, but not perfect. Overtime is ending and I am highly recommended for a promotion at work, just gotta update and apply my resume. The once postponed Wasted Local Talent podcast interview happens in just a couple days but I’m still nervous. And there are a couple opportunities opening up for things I’ve never done but want to do. One is to bring Neuron Dreamtime live in a collaborative freeform manner and the other is for me to address my love for comedy during an open mic night.

Hope to have more positive stuff to write about in another month or two but until then, flux this and carry on.

-L

Here’s an ambient improvisation from a couple weeks ago.

oih 008

As is tradition, the beats of life rhythmically provide waves of disorder and wrench throwing. As much as one may try to stave off any unwanted obstacles, ultimately it seems it’s up to the infinite myriad of interconnected points of reality and the cosmos to kick sand into plans. In the occurrence of such an inevitable consequence of life the traveler of time must endure and adapt. Perseverance in the face of doubt fetches experience useful for simplifying the data into manageable chunks. Problems are all around us but so are the solutions.

As we calibrate centers to the ever changing tomorrow-now celebrate the steps of yester-now alongside artists entombed by their work. Reality bends to the will. Absurdity walks hand-in-hand with life.

-L

 

 

Two months later I find myself struggling to promote the new album any further. The roadmap laid out up to the release served it’s purpose and I was able to execute it to the T with a punctuality never before seen from myself. But I was so focused on just getting it done, making the steps to the final destination, that I thought very little of what I’d do when I got there, other than a reminder FB post a few weeks or so later. This has always been the case with Dreamtime’s post-release promotion. But I feel, now more than before, that this project I’ve spent so much time on is worthy of the follow up support I’ve neglected to provide. Neglected for reasons as simple as focus shifts to painting, reading, making a paycheck, and generally living life.

It’s an ocean of media, entertainment, music and film out there and I’m trying to build a floating island of my own. A place in the clouds that people may stumble upon and maybe find something they like, that enhances their lives in the way that art does. Or if it’s not their cup of tea then maybe, at least, they recognize the DIY ethic and be inspired to follow their own visions and dreams as well.

So what is next? Promotion of course, starting with this very blog then leading into paid promotion on social media and local promotion via podcasts and correspondence with others, regardless of genre.

There is always something creatively cooking up in my head and sometimes it’s hard to make it out of my head with the idea(s) in tow but when it is achieved and the physicality begins to take shape I pour my heart into it. It can be exhausting but it’s always worth it. This bout of post-release promotion will be no different.

-L

TL;DR- Buy my new record, send more money.

Here it is. Finally. Like a weight off the shoulders. Press play and turn it up!

The album came about as they all do over the course of a few years. I would return to this place of wonderment and exploration called the creative process. With ND it can be anywhere from brief moments of a single phrase to long excruciating scenarios where there is a constant struggle of possibilities and loss of sleep. The process is different and so is the product.

A couple songs had debuts in independent film and internet radio compilations. Others were created for this release with correspondence and collaboration with Matt happening when his schedule would allow. The idea behind the tunes was really all the same; to bring the style into unfamiliar territory, as with my first film soundtrack attempt and the final product, while trying to solidify a concept of some sort around what will be. It coalesced beautifully as the full picture came into view. The Map and The Territory.

The idea for the special variants came as one of those epiphany moments. I love and collect colored vinyl of movie soundtracks and would have loved to get this pressed on vinyl but I couldn’t afford to so the idea to create different tangible, artsy packages came to be as something I could accomplish myself with all I had available. I think they came out beautifully, much like the music.

Now for some of the pseudo-intellectual philosophy behind the name…

The Map is a symbol and The Territory is what is and it’s what The Map stands for. But they are not equal. One is flawed. One is absolute. Our human experience, to anyone that has stopped to ponder, is more than what we can see, taste, feel, smell, and hear. Our perceived reality leaves out a majority of what is actually there. Our brains can’t comprehend what’s actually there, what we’re wading through. If the doors of perception were cleansed we would see everything as it is, infinite. Which means our reality would melt and there would be no point of reference, our minds lost but maybe not forgotten.

So we wander through this symbol pretending we have it figured out. That we have the complexities of what is simplified to its simplest terms and documented in triplicate to the tenth power. According to the map we’ve only gone about five inches in the last second of the last hour. We should re-calibrate.

-L

Shown above is the CDBaby store copy of the album with the art that will accompany all digital copies. The image is from an old drum head I painted years ago (seen in background) as it was hanging in the studio window, back-lit, making for nice textures while bringing out all the layers of color.

The variant packages were painted using the same method on 22×28 inch poster board that was then cut, folded and glued, by hand, to form one 10×10 inch gate-fold style case while the remaining “scrap” pieces made covers for a keep case and a jewel case. These packages are limited as follows:

• 4 variants of jewel-case categorized as “Tourist”

Tourist Map

• 4 variants of keep-case categorized as “Explorer”

Explorer Map

• 4 variants of gate-fold categorized “Cartographer”

Cartographer Map

Each of the 12 variant packages will only be available as merch through our Bandcamp on March 2nd.

-L