About Spring in January

Hi there! It’s been a really long time since I wrote anything here. As I said in my last post, this is a space best reserved to ellaborate thinking, and I usually express my day to day musings via Twitter or Instagram. Not a big fan of Facebook, though I make an effort to log in now and then. Many of my Spanish colleagues do favor Facebook over Twitter, and I feel alienated from them without FB presence. Well, that’s how it is. So far, at least.

After so many years of musical hiatus and pursuing other commitments, in 2016 I realized that life wasn’t getting any longer. That’s when I decided to not postpone my real desire anymore and began writing and producing my own music.

As a result I released a short debut album in 2017, ‘A Path With A Heart’. With zero experience and a lot of ideas, the outcome was perhaps too amateurish, although listening to it after a year, I’m not quite unhappy.

2018 was a year of musical transition for me. I spent the whole year writing new music but I knew that my producing skills were sub par. I didn’t want my next releases to sound anything like the first one.

So I decided to take production classes. I needed to learn the tricks of the trade and, above all, have my ideas contrasted and validated.

My first creation in this new phase is ‘Spring in January’. Still imperfect, still amateurish, still full of ideas. Well, I have to come to terms with it. That’s the way I am.

I wanted to write something intimate, simple in the good sense, and emotionally complex. The music I love the most can make me cry and laugh almost at the same time. That’s what I aspire to.

The main melody and chords were born in an impromptu session out of the blue, so easily I didn’t know if I was creating them or just remembering something I had heard and almost forgotten. If that’s the case, my true apologies!

‘Spring in January’ was written in a dark day of winter, one of these days in which spring is still far. Something about the music felt comforting; I could still feel the cold, but in some way it wasn’t that undesirable anymore. It was like if the music helped me to find acceptance of the inevitable.

I remembered then that my parents in law both passed away in January, though not in the same year. The day my mother in law departed was a beautiful, sunny day like an early spring visit. Instead of the ultimate paradox, I saw that day as the last of the many presents from a generous being.

This new composition is dedicated to my parents in law, two beautiful souls that left this world on January.

About Time

It’s been a while since I last posted anything around here. I hate it when I visit blogs and they are not updated nor have anything regarding future activities.

This space was thought for ellaborate thinking. When I find content that I like on the internet I love learning more about it. Social networks are not the ideal media for that matter. I felt that such a space was needed in my web.

But, truth to be told, I don’t currently have time enough to maintain an online daily presence, promote my music, make an ellaborate speech about my creative process… and have some creative process going on.

If you want to get ahold of what’s going on in my mind, please follow me on Twitter and Instagram. I don’t like Facebook at all, so although I force myself to log in now and then, my mind always finds something more interesting/urgent to do. Well, that’s how it is.

This web will experience a major upheaval next to my second release, that is still far to be seen.

Meanwhile, thanks for reading, watching and streaming.

About Facing Sunset

Facing Sunset is a rare occassion of pure inspiration. An epiphany.

A dark winter morning, some members of my family and me parted to a little village, perched in the mountains over the mediterranean coast. We had planned to pass a nice day strolling around the narrow, steep town streets and have lunch in a cozy restaurant.

The day turned to be, at least for me, a nightmare. Unresolved issues bittered the afterlunch. Careless comments showed little mercy and lack of empathy. Malevolent remarks from very close relatives reopened not-so-well healed wounds from the past.

The contrast between the beautiful surroundings, the nice meal and the broken relationships was painfully blatant.

Had I been prone to crying, I would have finished the day drowned in tears. Sadly, as an adult, I have lost that privilege I once had as I child. I rarely cry. My music does it for me.

The glooming sensation of a lost chance to be happy weighed like a ton of bricks on my shoulders. Life felt more like a burden than anything else. A day not just lost, but unhopefully disgraced. The uneasy feeling of time passing by without any valuable meaning crept in my soul.

I was immersed in my thoughts when the clouds opened and the most magnificent sunset appeared in front of my eyes, as if the gods wanted to comfort me in the middle of my despair.

At the same time, the first chords of Facing Sunset sounded clear and distinctly in my mind.

Life, at least mine, is full of paradoxes. Like the lotus flower, beauty can rise and blossom from the mud.

About Wavescape I

As I said in a previous post, there are different stimuli that drive me to write new music. Wavescape I is an example of fulfilling a mundane need.

My self-imposed date to release A Path With A Heart was very close and I had a pile of half finished tracks and just a couple of finished ones. I firmly believe that without deadlines nothing is accomplished; so, instead of postponing the release, I decided to make things simpler and write a short piece of music, easy to produce, with very few sounds.

Living near the shore has always had a profound impact on me. When I’m on a trip and the sea is far away, I feel lost. There’s something missing, no matter how beautiful the place can be. Without the sea I always feel a little depressed when the sun goes down, even in the middle of a crowded city, living at a hectic pace. I don’t need to see the sea at all times, but I like to know it’s close by.

In addition to this, I’ve always felt attracted to music that can evoque sounds of nature. It’s so easy to create a certain atmosphere with recordings of raindrops or storms, but there’s a real challenge in doing so with musical instruments. The vast universe of the sea offers a miriad of sonic possibilities.

One night I used a string patch from a virtual synthesizer and tried to depict, somehow, the majesty of waves that break onto the shore. Quite a few times my troubled thoughts have found solace in front of them, in the middle of the dark.

Peace can be found in the middle of a conflict.

About Sarrasin (II)

So I had an almost finished track with a beautiful title and no ending.

Years went by and, one day, I came across a newspaper article about a French writer, named Albertine Sarrazin (another way of spelling sarrasin). The article was a review of her most famous novel, L’Astragale, inspired in facts of her own life.

Albertine’s story was both moving and terrible. A life in perpetual danger. Abused as a child, a prostitute and bank robber in her teens, escaped from jail… and, at the same time, with an unquenchable thirst for literature and art.

After living so dangerously she found a relative peace with her literary success, but died from complications after surgery. She was only 29.

The book has a preface by Patti Smith, and just that preface justifies buying the book. One can vividly imagine Patti’s loneliness in the Brooklyn of the first 70’s, vagabonding the streets, choosing between buying a cheap lunch o spending her little money on a book (L’Astragale), and feeling so identified with that French writer that had died so little ago.

Sarrazin lived her life at such a fast pace and everything ended up so abruptly. I felt like writing an end of the track in contrast with the beginning, with resemblances of the past, peaceful and unsettling at the same time, both requiem and hommage.

About Sarrasin (I)

My desire to write new music is usually triggered by any of these stimuli:

An epiphany
A happy accident
A synesthetic experience
A mundane necessity

With Sarrasin, it was the second case. I was messing around with the arpeggiator of a virtual synthesizer when I stumbled across the first bars. It was like finding a golden coin on the sidewalk. From then on, the mainframe of the track was written almost in real time.

After having the harmony and the structure, what was left to do is what I jokingly call “fill in the blanks”: a sometimes thrilling and many times dreadful job of beat sequencing, synth programming, adding and subtracting, mixing, etc.

I don’t finish a track, I just leave it when I realise that, after a week or two, every new thing I do is erased to go back to the previous square. So I have to live with my current incompetence (or competence, to be positive) and hope for something better in the future; but, in the present day, I must admit that nothing more will be accomplished.

I feel uncomfortable with my music if it doesn’t have a title. It’s like having a newborn baby with no name! Usually the title will come to me quite easily, but this wasn’t the case. So I followed in the footsteps of one of my idols from the 80’s, The Durutti Column:

I looked in the French Revolutionary Calendar.

That day was october 9th. Sarrasin. I fell in love with the word and its resonances.

Nonetheless, I didn’t know how to end the track (to be continued).

About Noisense

Some say faith is believing in what you cannot see.

Some others will say faith is to believe that you can see.

Real faith is believing despite what you see.

That’s the kind of faith that it takes to start a project like this when you are pushing fifty and you have no real achievements as a musician, but just your passion.

 

Why “A Path With A Heart”?

Anything is one of a million paths. Therefore you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if you feel you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any conditions. To have such clarity you must lead a disciplined life. Only then will you know that any path is only a path and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you to do. But your decision to keep on the path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition. I warn you. Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary.

This question is one that only a very old man asks. Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush, or into the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversed long long paths, but I am not anywhere. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.

Before you embark on any path ask the question: Does this path have a heart? If the answer is no, you will know it, and then you must choose another path. The trouble is nobody asks the question; and when a man finally realizes that he has taken a path without a heart, the path is ready to kill him. At that point very few men can stop to deliberate, and leave the path. A path without a heart is never enjoyable. You have to work hard even to take it. On the other hand, a path with heart is easy; it does not make you work at liking it.

Carlos Castañeda, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, University of California Press, 1969

Why music?

Born with a mundane soul, I borrowed another one from music; that was the beginning of some amazing disasters.

Emil Cioran, Syllogismes de l’amertume, Éditions Gallimard, 1952