Music, past and present

While I think the name of this blog is interesting in its own right, it started out on Blogger as a P.R. vehicle for a musical project at the time. I've been in a few bands in my life, and I've also done some independent work. Given that I've been playing more music (thanks, CraigsList!) and have even been composing again lately, I thought it'd be appropriate to sort of catalog my past efforts and mention my current work.

In high school and college I was in a band called "Chakram Juice" that did kind of bluesy / classic rock stuff. The guitarist and I wrote songs, and I played bass. I even composed a whole 20-song cycle centered on my metaphysical and spiritual beliefs at the time (heavily influenced by A Course in Miracles). We played very few shows and broke up sometime during my freshman year of college. I have some 4-track analog recordings from that era I hope to digitize soon (when I find them).

Sometime after that I was introduced to a very talented drummer named Matt Case who I clicked with immediately. I had been getting into jambands at that time and was really internalizing the idea of music as communication - both between musicians and between players and the audience. To that end, I started studying jazz theory and focused on improvisation. Matt and I worked well together because we both listened to and reacted to each other. It was wonderful, and when we brought in Greg Thompson on guitar we had a great power trio that we named "River Road".

River Road were together for around three years, the bulk of my college career, and we did three recordings: one EP on tape, one EP on disc, and one album. I need to dig up the former two, but the final album is now available online here. Eventually I hope to put up a page on about River Road to archive not only our music but our old flyers, performances (a few are on tape).

After graduating college, I started getting into electronica, specifically drum and bass / jungle. My love for Phish morphed into an obsession with a jamband called the Disco Biscuits who mixed up improv rock with an electronica style. From there, I started exploring the music and production methods of electronica artists and doing a bit myself. You can find my works at my Significator site (renamed because of a name conflict with a newer group called Social Memory Complex). A lot of the stuff on there is pretty amateur, if it's even complete (the stuff under "demos" is unfinished ideas for songs). During this time I also played briefly with a Richmond band called Tone Forest where I was able to use a lot of the techniques I developed in my solo, electronic work in a live, improvisational setting.

Around '05 I started getting back into indie rock among other types of music, but I kind of stagnated creatively. Lately, though, I've been writing a lot of rootsy, retro stuff on the piano. The biggest surprise to me is that I've always been able to write about spirituality and nonsense, but never about politics - until now. I've got some catchy little anarchist anthems written and I'm trying to figure out how to get them recorded without putting myself into debt buying equipment.

Also, I've been meeting people on CraigsList to play music with, and that's been cool. It's nice to follow somebody else's lead. The wierd thing is that it seems like all these musicians are ex-military, so I'm loathe to introduce them to the songs I'm working on. Maybe something will come out of it; one group is kind of straight-ahead rock, and the other is a country outfit with some real songwriting talent. I'm not trying to make a career out of music, but I think that for me it's important to always be expressive. While writing (through this blog) has sort of eclipsed music as my primary form of expression, it cannot replace it.

Read this article
Written on Thursday, June 05, 2008