Category Archives: A Sliver of Right

The Saved Corridor – The Story Part 1 of 2:

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 Story of The Blond Aether Album Cover

The Blond Aether album cover:

tba_albumcover

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: Dearvincent

Here is the same shot processed and used for the cover. tba_original

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 Local Artist

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.

  

 

A Sliver of Right 11: Touloun

A young man fell in love with an older woman. That woman was a teacher adept in the ways of Thelema and magick. To ensure their love remained everlasting, they committed their souls into a painting.

That is the abbreviated subject of the article I read that inspired Touloun.

It is called Touloun (pronounced in my mind as TOO-LON) because my subconscious, (or the essence of these lovers,) told me that was the name. I didn’t question it. But I do know that Touloun is a location in France. Perhaps a clue? A message? I wonder…sort of.

Musically, it’s one of two favourite songs from the No Souls in Manchester misadventure. This song embodied the aspirations of that “band.” The song least shackled by the traditional metal idioms I attempted to follow.

I remember a feeling of driving through an Arizona desert at night in the song’s verses. An immense appreciation and infatuation with bass guitar began while playing that bass line.

The words of Touloun reflect the feelings of the young man and the vows he made; indifferent to the static environment. Indifferent to possibly being a mere decoration for an insufferable socialite’s vegan dinner charity.

A Sliver of Right 10: Purpose?

“Purpose?” is a modular statement nestled in the ambitious sprawl of “Smoke and Origination.” The songs on the album were, overall, long and ornate statements. But this little vignette tempers and humbles all that ambition.

The composition holds the fundamental concept of the album: Bach is present in every song on “Smoke and Origination,” but “Purpose?” is the only composition where Bach is the central motif and not a subliminal theme; 50 seconds of Bach’s “Air on G” transmogrified into sludgy stillness and uncertainty.

“Purpose?” is the aged conundrum:

Do I have a purpose?
Do you have a purpose?
Does “Purpose?” have a purpose?

Sometimes, you need not 77 minutes of vibraphone and tuvan throat singing to achieve an answer to such questions.

The recording of this piece is a mix of cello samples, real cello, and incidental classical guitar playing. Considering that my productivity is, at best, glacial, “Purpose?” being composed and recorded in a day was a supernatural achievement.

I recall the companion artwork for this piece vividly. Every song from “Smoke and Origination” and “Torched Laughter” had artwork. (I apologize that I have yet to post the art for these songs. Words get in the way of thought.)

The artwork for "Purpose?"

The artwork for “Purpose?”

While gardening, I came upon several roots that looked like Alien face huggers. I ended up taking one, spraying it with acrylic and leaving it aside. Shortly after, I found a light socket. Inspired by the concept of “Purpose?,” I placed the root into the socket.

Facehugger from the movie "Alien." Post op.

Facehugger from the movie “Alien.” Post op.

Is there a purpose to have art for “Purpose?” and does “Purpose?” have a purpose?

Cue the vibraphone…

A Sliver of Right 9: Evening Flesh


The concept of the “living dead” has been an obsession of mine ever since I was a child. My introduction was the movie “Night of the Living Dead.”

I watched “Night of the Living Dead” every day after school. In fact, every day was a double-feature of sameness: Night of the Living Dead and Blazing Saddles. I memorized all the dialogue of both movies. I could tell you the exact number of times mother was stabbed with a hand shovel, (16) as well as recite all of Cleavon Little’s choice lines. (“Baby please, I’m not from Havana.”)

Eventually, I insisted to my parents that I wanted to see “Return of the Living Dead.” Since I was already an auteur of some ROMERO zombie mythos, I felt confident that “Return of the Living Dead” would be just another zombie movie I could catalogue and re-watch with fascination. They acquiesced.

The first twenty minutes I laughed along with my folks. I got the dark humour, the slapstick comedy of the terminal duo exposed to the fictitious chemical 2-4-5 trioxin.

Then I saw tar man…
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A Sliver of Right 8: Between Love & Lucidity

I am ascending a mountain. At the top of the mountain is an elderly white man wearing a grey/white shamanic robe. The sky, an impossible mixture of night and day. There are torches and ornate stone carvings surrounding him in a circle. I step into the circle to face him. From behind him, a blond woman steps out to face me in the circle. She is of similar age to me. There is barely an inch between us. The old man was waiting for me to ascend the mountain before starting a ceremony.

Was it a marriage?
Was it a sacrifice?
Was it an awakening of two young strangers?
Was I trapped in my own “The Song Remains the Same” dream sequence?
Was there going to be a drum solo?

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