2011 was my first of four years in artistic reclusion, where I spent time addressing my mental health and surgical-grade cynicism. Taking an inventory of one’s lack of well-being is a frustrating and protracted trial for the person and the family. Progression is glacially slow and omni-directional, but provides a breathtaking view of the monochrome landscape that consumes the light one is starving to see.
Practicing yin yoga led to my imagination creating this bleak place of concrete corridors and obsidian fauna. The purpose was not to find bliss, but to accept that I was there, and to see this negative space as a haven devoid of inner dialogue and self-damnation. Yes, the landscape was unpleasant to behold, but it was absent of my perceived reality.
The Saved Corridor is a meditation within that monochromatic absence. The constant “pulse” one hears through this void is the breath, a Virgil that guides you through the absurdity of a binary paradise.
The tempo of that pulse is the median time I calculated to inhale or exhale a breath in a state of calm. The median time of 6.25 seconds was determined by recording me and those around me breathing. I wanted to find a tempo or a guide that anyone could use as a means to maintain a steady breath through a yoga practice.
For those who love melodic themes, you may notice a familiar melody throughout the recording. That repeating melody is often found in The Blond Aether, which was written right after The Saved Corridor. I originally intended to release both as a single work, but that didn’t sit right with me the more I thought about it.
After several years not listening this recording, I forgot that I arranged the The Saved Corridor (and The Blond Aether) with an ensemble in mind. The idea of being on stage hitting instruments with sticks does make the 4 year old in me giddy.
I guess that’s something for me to think about…
Next up: The album cover. It’s awesome.
The inspiration for the upcoming album “The Saved Corridor” came from the unlikely relationship of yoga and the Resident Evil video game franchise.
Within these survival horror games, you fight an evil global consortium that leaked a horrific virus onto the masses that turned them into zombies. Each game is fraught with flesh-eaters, mutant bioweapons, puzzles, and urgent sudden death endings. Your state of being ranges from frustration to cardiac arrest.
However, these games of terror and mystifying game physics contain locations called “save rooms.” These are rooms where you can save your game (if it has a typewriter) and no monster or villain can affect you.
Once you recognize this fact, a great relief comes over you. Ah, a breath or two before I try to kill those two zombie hounds. Maybe I’ll organize my gear, patch myself up, reflect on my poor life choices, etc.
This calm reflection is shrouded by an ambient lullaby, eternally repeating the sweet serenity of the Save Room.
It was a memory that intersected with a yoga practice one day in early 2011. The thought occurred to create a soundtrack for a class that was similar to that feeling I got from the save room in Resident Evil:
inner calm beneath uncertain darkness.
To think some people say games have no artistic merit…
The Blond Aether album cover:
This surreal photo was taken on one foggy September morning while I was en route to work. On a clear day, you would ignore this little vista and instead observe Toronto and its engorged sprawl out in the distance. Perhaps you may even wonder how long before that sprawl starts to stagger up this pristine hillside. It would be a fleeting thought, because the apprehension of commuting Canada’s sole highway is fast approaching.
On this day, I did not see Toronto, and instead saw what you see now. I stopped my car on a steep incline side road and crossed the highway without incident. This part of the highway has a sharp bend, and is difficult to see oncoming traffic on the clearest of days.
I didn’t check my camera settings. I just pointed and shot. Five photos were taken in total. The first shot was used for The Blond Aether cover. It was the epitome of luck.
There was some post processing done with Adobe Lightroom to only raise the exposure and clarity. But there was no additional editing or modifications made to the content of the photo. That’s how lucky I was. Here is the original shot:
Here is the same shot processed and used for the cover.
The photo is called “Dear Vincent” because of a series of letters I wrote years ago which were a writing exercise/therapy to rationalize and understand my (then) bizarre mental state. Within those letters, I make a reference to a state of mind called the Blond Aether.
Is Vincent real? Yes, and he’d likely be very terrified or amused by what I wrote. Fortunately, Vincent will never know.
I no longer write to Vincent.
The poor mastering job I did for “The Blond Aether” has been resolved. Now onto getting this thing distributed asap.
Everything for “The Blond Aether” is practically ready. Artwork? Check! Website? Indeed sir!
Music? Of course! Oh wait…what is that horrific sound rattling my ears?
I made a stupid mistake during the mastering process where a certain frequency will completely overwhelm your ears. It will hurt (more than the music itself) if listened to on headphones or cranked loud on a stereo.
This weekend I will be fixing this issue and resubmitting the masters. I am solely to blame for this sonic faux pas and these endless delays.
Sorry kittens. It’ll be out soon. I want this monolith off my plate more than anyone.
I practice photography. Whether I am any good or not is irrelevant. This is a catalogue of lucky moments that exceed my skill.
The Local Artist
This is a local whom I see everyday. When he first arrived in town years ago, he wore a black hooded robe and traversed the Main Street during morning hours. Over time, the hood was substituted for a leather jacket. Eventually he acquired a steady girlfriend that is employed at the local christian-themed cafe.
I always wanted to speak to him, but I was always driving to work. Work punishes you for creating interesting life experiences, or being late.
These shots were taken outside of a laundromat that had a Saturday grand opening. He and his girlfriend were purifying their garments of sin. I asked the gentleman if I could take a few shots. He indulged my whimsy. He told me that he is an artist with a passion for drawing and playing music. Hence the title “Local Artist.”
These are two best shots from the set.