#2

plastic granite table filled with phat beats

ridge around the edge

cut up yourself up

when you bump and try to fill this

feast of plenty

feast of a thousand songs

playing in plentiful unison

heartbreaking to soulful whisperers in the dark

in the darkness you look better

you can see you

how a book of matches keeps you level

you can see how you support the flashing lights

grumbling motors from faraway streets

yes, inside the bottom of a blue lit cavern

and below you behind a makeshift skirt

hidden treasures abound from journeys near and distant

hours spent enlisting, refining, the dusty discs

spin on the platters two at a time

transcendent sounds

banquet of healing

you take us to another space

simple as you are

we will spill on you

laugh, holding each other til dawn

dance by your side

bass makes you shake

fold you up and snap your legs back into place

you a lightweight so we just

hang out by the wall until the invited come again

and we decide the menu

Hot Tub Music Loop

The most amazing thing happened to me the other day. I finally figured out a song and, by extension, another song that I’ve been trying to find the name of for OVER 15 YEARS! It happened at my new job, of all places, and now granted, it is a spa, so of course I’m going to hear a lot of soft, relaxing, ambient music, but I was not expecting this.

The song is “Wings to Altair” by David Lanz. It turns out that David Lanz is a name in the New Age scene. In this interview, he talks about New Age’s origins, his style and techniques as a composer. Fascinating stuff that gave me a new view of both the song and the genre. Like, take this:

Ok… let me try and set the stage here. This was at first, a more underground musical movement in Japan, Europe and in the US (primarily on the West Coast). Both electronic, starting with groups like Tangerine Dream back in the ’70s, Kitaro and before him Tomita in Japan, and of course the mostly acoustic music from Windham Hill in Southern California. Artists like pianist George Winston and guitarist Will Ackerman… deemed “hot tub music” 🙂

At the same time, there was a growing interest in yoga, eastern religions, meditation and boomers looking for a different way to relate to high-stress lifestyles. Listening to a more relaxing, at times experimental music which had elements of folk, jazz, Eastern classical music and even nature sounds, started to become more common.

Much of this music was instrumental, non-threatening, not like hardcore jazz might have been viewed, and it filled the space soft rock was also occupying at the time. At first, this was not mainstream, and pretty much under the radar, so to speak.

I love it, “hot tub music.”

It’s mainly a particular part of the song that first got me hooked. I heard it on a hip hop/experimental beats mixtape from a friend back when I was at KCSB. He pointed out the part at 0:44 into “Wings of Altair,” and asked where this sample came from. I didn’t know, but the song itself left an impression on me.

So “Wings of Altair” is the sample. Using Whosampled, I figured out the hip hop group and track that featured it. This bad ass song called, “Sexual for Elizabeth” by Five Deez. Give a listen.

Five Deez stands for “five dimensions” because you listen to music in five dimensions. I learned that from a great interview I found with the Five Deez members, when searching for background on “Sexual for Elizabeth”. It’s such a dope song, that takes an unexpected turn towards the end with a cool jazzy keyboard and an appearance by Shing02, who raps in Japanese at around 3:25 and on. By the way, if you’re in an interview mood, here’s a little one with Shing02.

I’d only ever heard the instrumental for “Sexual for Elizabeth”, and hadn’t heard the full song, much less with lyrics. When you hear the full track – whether of the originally sampled song or the reinterpretation – it’s fun to hear what the DJ edited it down to.

Who knows why things like these songs stay with us looping over and over. Sometimes, for me it’s words at a time from one song blending into the next and I forget the origins of either until I can’t not hear the mixing of the two. I don’t know why I got fixated on knowing this information. I do think I hear the song differently every time I read more and listen again.

Oh, a little post script note that in writing this – I ended up finding a remix of “Sexual for Elizabeth” in getting the links set up for this post by Prefuse 73 – who I love. I have yet to hear this version so far…

 

i live on a planet of sound

i live on a planet of sound 

highs and lows form the landscape 

the temperature

the texture 

echoing calls from far off

voices that carry over tremendous distances

a beat that makes walking an adventure 

a thrill

 an experience 

clouds you could reach to 

warm harmony 

that drifts into a distant horizon

all night 

sweat

room full of magenta purple 

bright light pans every corner

tiny moving reflections circle the room

expanding into points warped by their orbits

and 90s house beat

vibrating basslines that carry us across

warm mid levels

with synthetic piano 

dancing shadows move in a small room

crowded 

empty

each one alone even in the of warmth of togetherness 

while the beat goes on

singer calls over the anthem something we can all relate to

but the joy is personal 

we hold it in

don’t express it except through

constant movement 

as the music builds

beat gets thick

basslines so heavy that it would be impossible not to move

filling every corner

every cell

every thing

even the floor

the light

imbued with sound 

that becomes the bodies

becomes the space 

becomes each movement

burning strong

the beads rolling down sides of faces 

until eyes begin to realize where they are

music transforms

a gust of air spreads love

relief

and then the people dance not too the music

not just to the music

but the moment of connection 

when eyes are seen

hands are felt

smiles are revealed

note book

there is a worn notebook

collection of songs

blueprints frayed at the edges

from hours, days, years spent underneath the machine

tinkering with word placement

the edges frayed

the paper sometimes coffee stained

the ink runs where liquid hit the page

these songs, while just created,

are ancient

timeless

yes, this notebook is a series that indicates creative process 

and sometimes stagnation 

and sometimes fear and anger and resentment 

this notebook is a record

an indicator of potential progress 

when looked at linearly

even with the dips and valleys

the scribbles and the words not meant crossed out

you will find pages torn from the spine to give a note to someone else

this notebook has one half of the beginning somewhere in the middle of the body

somewhere between two different songs

while the end is the first thing written

it takes a while to rework it in order

we will get there

the pages crackle when i turn them

the words themselves sing

and when they are spoken outloud 

it is like an incantation

a prayer

go-to song

my go-to song on play

volume up

don’t care how often i play it

because it’s never enough

song will always go

and i have no favorite part

because it is all my favorite 

i listen and i am whole again

there is no other music

song makes me look to the heavens

question my sanity

my sobriety 

my reality

until i realize that none of that matters

because song is what it is

i hear a new lyric every time i listen

even though i know it

by heart

i can anticipate its groove 

and enjoy where it takes me

look around to the world that isn’t so bad 

sometimes 

even when it can be pretty bad

sometimes 

i remember this when i have nothing

which is always

we always have nothing 

but you can enjoy a moment every now and again

that is an element that is in this song

as everything is

and the timbre of the music swirls around

until there is no escape from what music brings

song is a different world 

that i can’t begin to comprehend 

this sounds so familiar 

bells ring across the land

the chord structure sounds familiar 

and sad

and i’m trying to remember 

go back in my memory

playing the notes backwards

the beat is inside out

and someone sings in spanish, which makes me cry

i’m breathing at a pace that seems reasonable 

but i don’t know if the fog will lift

or if this is a common aspect of the sf bay area

whether i could sit and enjoy 

whether i could appreciate 

whether i could find a place

where i notice that it seems more humid

and my throat doesn’t pierce with sharpness 

as i go to make a sound

where have i heard this loop before?

why am i reminded of the stillness inherent in calm water?

but this beat is different

remix distorted takes its own shape

play this song for strength of vision

bounce

this song will hypnotize

this is the song you tell your problems to

it is a patient listener

but don’t surprised if it moves around while you talk

it has things to do

as you are in the same room as this song

you notice your heartbeat begins to slow

until the guitar enters

and it is unexpected and your eyes will dilate

you hadn’t noticed before the temperature of the room

but suddenly you do

the song looks at you

the song doesn’t blink

the song gets closer to you

the song makes you uncomfortable 

the song makes you question how you are in life and how you show up

as the beat quickens

you hear its message

you are engrossed

you listen intently to every sound

every tone

every note

every beat

and the temperature of the room it creates

a piece of the world becomes unveiled 

the unnoticed becomes noticeable 

and you realize you are in the song

you are no longer afraid of the song

you breathe calmly with the song

you see with clarity through the song

you know what to do because of the song

you know your purpose for today and all the days that are next because of the song

you repeat the song

you repeat the song

you repeat the song

you repeat the song

until it fades to quiet

playing songs

i have a song with cello

it contains samples

its beat is slow and soothing 

there is a piano that plays and feels like a dark lit lounge

an ethereal singer’s voice floats warmly 

the air in this song…

i can’t tell if it’s foggy or smokey 

but it is thick

light gets caught in it

when you listen to this song 

you are transported to another place

you forget where you are

you see a different side of yourself

maybe one you’ve forgotten 

you don’t know that i have another song 

i’ll play it for you after this one

blend it so that before you know it

you are in a new one

there are elements that match the first

the space you’re in will transform 

will be magnified 

will open your eyes

will vibrate with bass

make your body want to move

even if you resist it

you can’t help it

eventually you’ll move and it’ll be to the beat

you’ll blink on a snare

time your movement as the melody builds

and just when you’re into it

a sound that is familiar with itch at the back of your skull

you won’t be able to place it

but your heart rate will go up

and you’ll have no choice

you gotta move

nod your head

tap your fingers to something 

and that sound will build

at the moment you realize you like it

it’ll be when you figure out that i’m bringing in a new song

and you’ll shake your head acquiesing 

i got you

and then you’re into it

like really into it

number one fan 

because if you know

than you and i both know the next song

you can anticipate what to do

and at this point

no inhibition remains

because now you see

we both like great music…

so we can slip back 

enjoying the scene

taking in the temperature 

as the journey continues 

and the sound runs through you

the music muse

essence that brings forth music

like vibrating strings

makes a vuh sound with your mouth

elusive

kind of spritely in a way

likes to hide behind rocks and deep within forest

is fascinated by wind for some reason

thinks outloud in song form

like singing helps to solidify 

give shape

size 

dances around frequently 

kind of in its own world

this is the spirit i describe 

very playful

a wanderer

not careless

can match beats and meet the pace of rhythm

using fine adjustments can alter the speed of the song

can use effects to amplify the experience of being in music

not just listening to it

anyone can do that

anyone can learn to listen deeply

sees opportunity, takes it

doesn’t take much

just enough

likes the sound of bells and chimes and things that jingle

very artful

and can unflinchingly look at pain with an open heart