Blog - Unity Behind Diversity

Searching for beauty in the dissonance

Tagged: tool

#Twuneup Covers Edition

Last week, I attended the February #Twuneup — Covers Edition. #Twuneup is basically a monthly listening party (this was the second) run by a group of people in the Toronto Twitter community who share a love of music. There’s also lots of music sharing that happens on Twitter.

I found out about it too late to get a spot at the first one (space is limited), but this time I was quick to sign up. I was happy to learn that live performances were encouraged, so I busted out the T-Qualizer (perfect event) and played my cover of The Patient (Tool):

There were a couple other fun live performances too!

I also met lots of cool people. I first noticed @photojunkie last summer and I’d met him at #hohoTO, but the rest were new faces. @modernmod and @nicopop were the other organizers. I had a chance to meet @johnpapa, @alkerton, @rlangdon, @3rdparty, @pageby_paige, @zachaysan and lots of other cool people.

I had a great chat with @leilaboujnane (from Idée) and she gave me a Creative Commons sticker, before she even knew that I’m a CC BY-SA artist! I was going to put the sticker on my guitar case, but then I realized it had a clear background (black-on-black wouldn’t work to well). So… I put it on my guitar!

CC sticker on guitar

Rannie (@photojunkie) has photos on his site and Bev (@bev_w) has a Flickr set.
(Photo by bevw)

Lots of fun! I hope to make it back in March.

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Video: Cuba and The Patient at Kelly’s Korner

My sister was kind enough to film my set at January’s Kelly’s Korner, a monthly open mic. at St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto. I played two covers. The first is a song written by a friend and inspiration of mine, Robyn Dell’Unto (a local singer/songwriter I usually accompany on violin). She didn’t know I was covering the song, but another friend texted her during the performance, so my secret didn’t last too long. I played her the video last Thursday and she didn’t hate it! The next video is the third acoustic Tool cover I’ve done, but the first to be recorded/filmed. There are a few rough spots as this was the debut of the cover, but it turned out fairly well.

Cuba (Robyn Dell’Unto cover)

The Patient (Tool acoustic cover)

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Make your music downloadable so people can connect with it

Mathausen Concentration Camp - July 2004

I’m listening to my music library on random right now, and a song just came on that was playing on my digital audio player when I was arriving by bus at the Mathausen Concentration Camp a few years ago. When it started to play on the bus then, it sent chills down my spine. When it played just a few moments ago, I felt as if I was there again.

I was introduced to a few Dispatch songs in the fall of 2002 — The General and Out Loud. I bought one of their live albums, Gut The Van, a few months later. I was disappointed because it didn’t really click with me. In August 2003, I gave it another chance while I was in Barbados. It clicked. I found out later that fall that the band had broken up, but I went to Boston in 2004 and New York in 2007 just to see their reunion concerts. And I didn’t like the live album at first.

Last night and on the way to work today, I listened to a few songs off some of my favourite albums — H. from Ænima (Tool), Lateralus and Schism from another Tool album, Lateralus, All the Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands from Seven Swans (Sufjan Stevens) and Recycled Air from Give Up (The Postal Service). I can tell you the precise moment when the Sufjan Stevens song became a part of my life and exactly what I was going through. When I listened to Recycled Air, I was brought back to the second week of May when the song helped get me through a rough few days. H. immediately brings to mind the face of a friend I parted ways with for a while. Schism and Lateralus both evoke so many different emotions (pieces, spirals and math), all linked to specific times or places over the past five years. From the same album, I can tell you exactly where I was and who I was with when I finally and fully felt and understood Reflection.

It’s these moments that make me want more.

I remember when I first saw Robyn Dell’Unto perform. The song she played first isn’t recorded yet, but I heard it again when she played it for me leading up to a gig in May. Both of those eternal instants are still present in my mind. Yesterday, Robyn introduced me to Craig Cardiff‘s music. I could tell she was a bit disappointed that I didn’t seem to be impressed at first. His music sounded great, I just haven’t had a chance to connect with it. She left it playing in the background.

I’ve tried to make the point before: if I can’t listen to your music, how am I supposed to connect with it?

Music alone is often not enough to catch your attention. I hear a lot of good music all the time, but I couldn’t possibly come to love and know all of it. I find what makes the difference between the music that crosses the threshold and that which remains unnoticed is often merely fortune and circumstance, which determines whether or not we are given the opportunity for that music to resonate with us. Hearing a song in one situation might not leave an impression, but hearing it another time when it has a direct connection to your experience or current events in your life can leave a permanent mark.

This is one of the reasons I think artists should make their music available for download. It’s like Andrew Dubber says, people hear music, people like music, people buy music. Or in Haydain Neale‘s words, people feel music in this order: hips, heart, head (well, he actually said “groin, heart, mind”, but I like the alliteration).

In order for people to go from hips to heart to head or from hearing to liking to buying, they need exposure. There’s no real pattern in my examples as to whether the connection came before or after a purchase, but when I connect with music like I have in the cases above, I don’t forget it. And I support it (e.g. Dispatch concerts). That’s how you earn a true fan. Streaming a couple tracks on MySpace doesn’t do it. I can’t take that with me and hear it when it might be relevant for me, when I might connect with it or relate to it. I don’t have the same opportunity if I have to sit on your website. Make it downloadable.

To those with hesitations, what’s more important — another album sale or another true fan? True fans buy albums. Focus on allowing people to connect with your music.

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Math Metal: Lateralus and the Fibonacci Sequence

Lateralus is – hands down – my favourite song. Last week, I found myself on its Wikipedia page and my mind exploded a little bit more.

Counting between pauses, the syllables in Maynard James Keenan’s vocals during the verses form the first few Fibonacci numbers, ascending and descending… The Fibonacci sequence shares a relationship with spirals, which are mentioned several times later in the lyrics.

Total XKCD moment.

I also found this video about it.

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