Tim Hinck's thoughts on music and life- There is a lady living across the street from me. She is dying of cancer. I have never seen anyone so full of life and energy. She loves to work outside in the flowers and grass of her yard. I can see her savoring every sunny day... the way she stands up from planting a flower bulb with such satisfaction on her face and claps the dirt from her gloves with resolution. I want to be like that lady.

Location: Schalkwijk, Utrecht, Netherlands

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Composing a Symphony

a combination of watching a dutch version of "LIVES OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS" and a chat with a friend about writing music got me thinking today: Do rich folks have something besides incredible drive and ingenuity that help them get ahead? Did famous composers like Bach and Beethoven have something a little less mystical than inspiration that helped them write their tunes?...

...most rich people will tell you that getting that wealth takes a LOT of hard work and sacrifice... successful musicians will tell you the same thing; but i picked up on a little insight watching the RICH&FAMOUS show the other day: it seems that most of these people had a quirk that they exploited and took huge risks on.... [their unique facial profile that set them apart from other models, and set a new trend in modeling tastes] [a taste for old 1800's circus paraphernalia] [insomnia] [whatever].

but what was really interesting was that these really successful people didn't have to work hard at standing out, or being different, they just had to work hard to be themselves. it was as if they had these fascinating quirks ingrained in them that needed escape. the same with musician of great reputation.. they didn't need to struggle to stand out, only to struggle not to conform.

i suppose the moral is.. if you want to write a symphony or become a millionaire, the hardest part isn't the hard work and motivation, it's not being afriad to nurture your quirks. after all, being exceptional is boring... but being quirky is exceptional. as musicians, or artists, or thinkers, we just need to quit thinking about our work so much, and just PRODUCE PRODUCE PRODUCE.

well, it's not a symphony, but here's my latest project:

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Death in the Family

(sketch: My friend Jennifer sent me a picture of her painting her first sunset. i made this sketch of her, but in my sketch she is painting a person who is fading away....)

Death is so weird... sometimes you can't really feel sad or glad. it's like losing a game that you never thought you'd win anyway. you can be mad about it, but of course there's nothing you can do anyway. it's such a strange phenomenon of life.. as i know more and more people who die, it's like they are just getting erased, deleted. this week one of my childhood pals shot himself in his bedroom. i spent a lot of time in that room playing with toys and laughing with him (his name is Wade). since he wasn't a famous guy, or very rich, i don't think he will get a big state funeral, so i thought i'd dedicate this entry in my blog to him in loving memory...

Wade was a fun kid who lived down my street and I knew him from when he was about 10 years old. he looked like bart simpson with spikey hair and he was also getting in trouble and making fun of people all the time. one day he asked me to come with him to a neighbor's house and swim. it was a hot summer day, and the pool was so perfectly still... like solid glass, and we just had to jump in disrupt it. there were a bunch of other neighbor kids there and we were noisy and breaking every one of the pool rules: "no running, no pushing, no diving, no food" while we were horsing around in the water i accidentally busted Wade's lip open and that stopped the fun. i remember leaving the other kids and walking him home while he bled everywhere. we sat on his front step while the bleeding stopped and i told him i was sorry. he said, "that's okay" but i knew he was angry. he had a dog named oreo (i think) who was exactly like her master. every time Wade and Oreo showed up at my front door, I'd go play with them. i liked to go to Wade's house. his mom smoked a really sweet-peppermint type of cigarette and the air-conditioning was always on high, so the place had a very "cool" atmosphere. we drank a lot of dr. pepper and played a lot of nintendo. the last time i saw Wade, was right before i moved away. he was probably 16 and he had changed a lot. he looked the same, but the evil-mischievous grin was gone, and he seemed tired. he looked like a kid who finally realized that he wanted other things in life besides dr. pepper and nintendo, but he didn't know how to get them. he looked like that guy who only once got up the courage to ask the pretty girl out and was rejected. but for most of his life, anyway, he was that fast-talking, energetic kid that you can't help fall in love with.

my mom told me this morning that he was dead, and all keeps running through my head is "oh my God, bart simpson killed himself". i am sad, i don't know what to think.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Paul D. Miller: 'Rhythm Science'

(sketch of Devon Howard playing an organ in Hendrik-Ido Ambacht, April 2006)

in 2004, composer/philosopher Paul D. Miller released his latest in a long line of Electronic albums: 'Rhythm Science'. an interesting thing about this album was that it was released with the publication of his book with the same title. i don't own the book, and so I can't really comment on it, but the album is fantastic. it's not really 'listening music' because it's frankly schizophrenic and a little bit 'artsy' (be warned), but it's by no means "ugly" (see last blog post).

i haven't even read any notes by the artist himself concerning this album, but i think it pretty well speaks for itself. 'Rhythm Science' is basically a experiment in finding rhythm - musical rhythm - in everyday life. the really brilliant thing about this album is that Paul D. Miller doesn't look in a lot of the obvious places to find these rhythms. it's definitely not anthropologist's collection of native beats, etc... but you get the impression that Miller is trying to show us how subtle musicality can be found all around us. among the samples that Miller uses on this album are tracks from Bill Laswell, Yoshio Machida, Hugo Distler... but Miller doesn't use the same chop-shop tactics of modern dj's on these tracks... he simply takes these recording samples and illuminates them with layers of sound from his computer... the emphasis is still very much on the tracks themselves. some of the most interesting tracks are the recordings of spoken word.. E.E. Cummings and Gertrude Stein appear on two tracks reading their own works. after listening to the album several times, it's striking how the very distincts patterns of these two writers' voices are truly musical. directly after a similar, very complex track featuring the voice of Russian Futurist Poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, the bottom falls out, and all you hear is the faint, scratchy sound of an ancient recording of composer Claude Debussy playing his own piano music.

the whole album is very much an album of music, but it's somewhat beyond conventional music, while at the same time, very listenable. it's not dinner music, and you have to pay close attention, but i'd still recommend it to just about anyone who likes to think about what goes into their ears.