I have this famous black book combined of several notebooks where all formulas of my stain mixes and finishing processes done by us in the last twenty few years are listed all together, like a memorial of the professional life I have devoted to finishing wood.
This Inspiration Area is just an art project but that is how I see my entire life as well. Listening has always allowed me more freedom than watching and therefore music has become a constant soundtrack to my life. About forty years ago I started collecting albums and my search for powerful songs. Since nothing was ever able to release me out of this lifelong obsession, I would like to share some of my personal favorite findings with you. Obviously the musical taste I have acquired may be quite different from yours, as even the reasons why we turn to music in the first place can be as varied as our natures are. When I was twelve years old I was completely overwhelmed by the spiritual high I was able to arouse within myself simply by turning on my old reel to reel tape deck and listening to Shine On You Crazy Diamond. If this composition bores you depresses you or makes you sleepy then my lifelong search for similar textures will as well. If you need to google this title, then there is something you got out of reading this already. Thank you for your time.
Sitting by the fire and staring, the flame relaxes and comforts us. We are usually unaware of the historical magnitude of that primeval experience. For thousands of years, fire meant life itself. Survival and distraction. It brought warmth and allowed us to inhabit new areas of the planet. Fire enabled us to lengthen the day and to protect ourselves at night. It allowed us to cook and preserve the food we caught and to extend our diet. Sitting together by the fire was often how we spent time with others, but staring into the flames has always been deeply introspective and meditative.
Our participation in music brings to the sub-conscience every lament of humanity, every cry of joy, every hymn and anthem, every blues, chant and prayer. Music, unlike other forms of entertainment, does not haunt our minds with residual visions of frequencies vibrating in front of our eyes again and again, beyond our control. On the other hand, once we know it by heart, music becomes a part of our background, where we can bring it back at will. With music we are never alone. It holds the power of inspiring the best in us.
I remember falling in love with music at the age of nine. A few years later I started trading albums on a black market, as back then that was the only way to access western music in socialist Poland. As a teenager I fell in love with the English language because so many words of wisdom were reaching me through song. 'It seems a time of sadness is a time to understand', always felt very true to me. Perhaps my survival of drowning in early childhood started that trend, but I have always found the most value in lyrics and music inspired by deep spiritual discoveries. An essence invoked by personal reflections, emotional highs or lows. Songs written as monuments of one's struggle, internal or social, attract me greatly. I have always been in awe of the overwhelming songs we seem to experience on a spiritual level. They hold this special power regardless of the complexity or simplicity of their composition, the meaning or the lack of lyrics. Their harmony and melody and the texture of sound just seem to elevate us to a higher level. I search for and collect these songs. I am also very drawn to music capable of moving my mind away from the moment. Psychedelic, spacey, atmospheric, even experimental as long as it's not disturbing. For whatever reason, repetitive beat disturbs me quite a bit. It distracts me from dreaming and imagining, so I stay away from it.
There came a point when I realized that my perception of my own life was...limited and incomplete. Until then I used to look at things from only one side, the side of that moment. Something made me realize that every larger step in any direction, every greater decision, any plan of action, or position taken towards another being - could be reconsidered. Considered again from another perspective, that of my final hour, imagining myself on my deathbed reflecting on that moment in my own past. How would I have done it if I had another chance? Would that reconsidered decision or action have affected my final outcome? What do I want to be left with at the end of this personal journey? I guess music is something I believe I can take with me, because somehow that added life perspective has changed the way I have been listening to music for the past 25 years.
I have been going back into my past, as well as searching for previously unknown to me musical greatness of the past 50 years, and pulling them out as if the house was on fire, strangely enough. I often submerge myself for weeks in a collection of a single band and their members or a solo composer, by fully exploring everything they have ever been involved with. There comes a moment when I feel let in, given full access to their particular musical space. Most of us have a few favorite bands or artists we share such connection with. My personal disability makes me move on as soon as that full accessibility has been granted, the field explored, and its understanding completed. To me, every music genre is like a different programming language we can use. Exploring these languages seems to be greatly enhancing my own internal programming. Listening to a variety of musical styles mixed together I find to be a truly mind opening experience. Analyzing the offerings of our most gifted musicians and poets from a wide range of styles, including insight into their personal influences, rewards us with total assimilation and a merging of worlds, theirs and ours. My focus rests only on styles I am attracted to and open minded enough to follow, and I am quite aware of the fact that many areas of great music are left untouched.
My Music Face is composed of many artists well known to each one of us. What started as a 7x7 ended up growing to 10x10, as I wanted to gather all major influences of my entire life and ended up running out of space. This Wall of Faces you see here, shows only faces of music created within my personal life span, and although creativity was the overwhelming impulse underlying this art project, this collage does not necessarily represent the faces I consider the most groundbreaking to the last fifty years of music. Patti Smith and Jimmy Hendrix would have to be listed here and they would look great among the others. Somehow their music has never affected my personal life; somehow I was not able to develop a personal connection with them. There was a two year period in my life, 25 years ago, when, deciding to remove myself from the force (that felt like a tail wagging the dog), I allowed myself listening only to classical music. None of my favorite classical composers are here, unless they are my contemporaries. I wanted to focus on the span of my personal life putting together this collage. Just like the predecessor of this section of our website, 'my I-pod club - music project' was done partially to introduce people to some of great music reaching for recognition, I wanted to include the faces of the creators of that great but unknown to most of us music, in here. Our lack of their recognition was one of the reasons behind this project. As far as the more recognizable faces, only one representative of a band was invited. Creativity played a significant role here, although in a few situations I chose the one of the songwriting partners, whom the music loved more. A couple of faces have not composed their own material but their choice and expression brought something special into my life and to the world of music. You might look at my lists and say - ''how can you include this guy? I can't stand some of his songs' or - 'but you have left so many of the best songs behind'. Yes, I do have artists here whose many songs or even entire albums or decades of creativity I don't care for. If among hundreds of their compositions I found even 45 minutes of music I consider spectacular, they were welcomed in here.
And as far as the majority of musicians I focus on, when you compare some of the Greatest Hits or The Best Of with some of my collections, at times only a quarter or a third of songs are the same. Easy comes easy goes, in my eyes, applies to so many songs listed on various greatest hits compilations. Among many people you liked the song right away, but you wouldn't play it on repeat one for even an hour as it would bore you too soon. You get over it and need a next and new hit. I am much more attracted to songs that grow on me with time. They often but not always do have a progressive structure. I do agree that I have left some of the strongest lyric-wise songs behind, because my leading force is music and words without musical greatness don't mean as much in this place. At times I remove songs out of context of the band's or artist's repertoire. I have been listenings to rock songs by a band whose other songs' growling noises truly turn me off and make me click the fast forward button in split second. Somehow that offending noise of this band's many songs does not turn me away from their worthwhile music. Being around such vast range of rock music throughout the decades of my life has given me a certain perspective into its originality and essence. My mind clicks that fast forward button so often when I hear some new hot great band or song nowadays. I don't hear them as much as what they are sampling, imitating or fusing together, to come up with something 'new and original'. And when I do come across something unique and powerful, I bring it home, right here. Yes, there is no objectivity here. Everything is done according to my personal taste. Some of it is well known and easily accessible, while other compositions and songs may sound great to me but could be rather obscure and challenging, even annoying or depressing to others. In our vast universe of music here is just my own view of the past 50 years of what to me sounds original, important, influential and worth knowing. Early electronic music developed in 1970s (euro trash to some of you) played a huge role in my youth and Ommadawn will always be for me one of the jewels of a great music decade. My fascination with modern classical, and the minimalist approach, as well as with ambient music and the repetitive sound (not drum and bass beat) makes me a huge admirer of bands like Radiohead (rather easy to assimilate) and TSMZ (extremely difficult to break through). I love the beauty of simplicity but severe complexity as well. There is plenty of music that requires at least several listens before the veil concealing greatness falls down.
Since all of this music inspires me so much and since this constant dissecting, selecting, and mapping out of some imaginary plot takes a big part of my life, I would like to share it with you. Nowadays it is so easy to access music files in so many ways. There are millions of songs and tens of thousands of bands and artists available to everyone, everywhere. It is not about content but about finding your own way around this universe of sound. Who knows, you might find yourself in the same space I was in about a year ago. Going through the music of Marillion and listening to their album Marbles, I came across a song called Neverland. It is one of my all-time favorite songs and I probably ended up listening to it close to 20 times within that week. I still remember listening to that album nearly a decade ago when it came out. I was driving a car with a mediocre sound system. Since some of the songs were not what I expected or liked, I completely skipped over this amazing composition. Now I have changed my view of that particular album, but I know of many awesome songs buried in rather weak or difficult albums. Most of these songs have never gotten any recognition. For some reason I like searching for them and finding them, filing them away in my old fashioned method. When Apple removed their I-Pod Classic from our lives I decided to prolong its existence in this way, right here, because this device is so dear not only to me but to so many lovers of music.
Thank you for coming to our website, perhaps because you are looking for a hardwood floor or you are helping your client make decisions. Perhaps you just wanted to know what that strange name was all about. You might be a friend of mine or of one of my co-workers. I want to leave something here for all of us, so no one would visit this website in vain. Just like fire, music might not play a significant role for many of us on a conscious level, but it does hold the power of nurturing the fire in our hearts, the passion and will within us. Another beautiful lyric comes to mind - 'life is just a candle but dream must give it flame'.
Five years later....
Music has been such a force within me ever since my early teens that I feel like it rightfully belongs here. I have been deriving so much energy from this single source all of my life. And yes, I am dependent on it. Lately, at times I might be writing an email, for example, and all of the sudden I get this feeling of exhaustion or being tired of a topic. I don’t ever get bored so such feeling awakens me from some mental malaise, and it pretty much always makes me aware of the fact that I am not listening to any music at the moment. Music in my background elevates the quality of even the most mundane tasks I am occupied with. It adds another dimension contributing towards some sort of contínuos spiritual high of my existence. In recent years I came to realization that I could have been applying the principles of music building in my own woodwork finishing processes. Just as different arrangements of instruments, slight tonal shifts of melody and build up of harmonic layers around the theme are able to progress a similar sound into an unique and unforgettable composition, so the minor shifts of proportions and slight changes of timing and moisture content of my experimental approaches are sometimes leaving me with tangible and quite unique results. The music I am constantly around is helping me to stay in tune with the delicate nature of wood. And the repetitive element of the musical composition, I have always been so attracted to, is especially beneficial to the creative approach of my research.
There have been numerous times in my life when a single song would strike me or re-strike me so much, that my I-pod goes on ‘repeat one’ and plays the same song over and over for a while. I remember traveling back from one of my 3-day European trips a couple of years ago. Just another one of these over scheduled set of assignments. I was too exhausted to read, moving through three different European airports and ending up at SFO, spending a total of about 17 hours listening to a 4:08 long Christy Moore’s song Ride On. About 250 times. Falling asleep with it, waking up with it, breathing it in and out, becoming completely in tune with it. Some people cannot concentrate their thoughts when a song with lyrics plays in a background. I got used to living this way in my teens and have done it ever since. I have a special I-pod with instrumental music for reading, and only during my studies of Rudolf Steiner, Carl Jung, Djwhal Khul or other demanding texts, I remove music from my surround completely. I could easily function without food for a couple of days, but it would be a greater inconvenience for me to find myself without music, living the busy city life as I do. The city is never peaceful and I don’t care for its noise, so I block it with a harmonic sound of my music collection. However, of even greater significance for me is being able to block the noise of my own uncontrolled thoughts echoing the background.
In the last 15 years I have been mostly researching music new or unknown well to me or re-examining from another angle the music I loved already. This constant research not only elevates the level of my acquired taste but it allows these doses of a specific artist or band I emerge myself in, usually for a period of a few weeks, to become a part of me, to be forever within me. What have I learned within these last years, since this exploration has overwhelmed me completely. Having gone through the music of hundreds of various rock derivative bands and artists, I would say that great music is becoming harder and harder to come by. And this is completely understandable and it makes perfect sense. Quite a lot of the rock based musical terrain has been covered in the past 55 years. These grounds must be more and more difficult to further development in a significant and original way. I wish I had a pile of names waiting for me to find the time to get into further. A mass majority of what is out there, numerous present rock or electronica acts of various kinds I have explored in the last couple of years have left me with a sense of not much to discover, unfortunately. It is about 35 to 1 ratio I have been experiencing lately. And I usually research music recommended by many sources one can find on the internet. This outcome takes me back to projects I had started in prior years but never completed, because back then they did not pass my internal greatness, relevance and significance controls. About a third of my latest additions were started and shelved, but are resurfacing now because I have come to appreciate their offerings.
In 2018 for the first time ever I started listening to all of these almost 300 mixes playing randomly on shuffle, mixed with some of my favorite older classical music thrown in. 4,000 songs perhaps, covering the musical interests of my entire life. What a special experience this became to be submerged fully within my own past of every single period, all intertwined. I usually make one playlist a year. The concept comes first and often years earlier. Then I might be choosing parts of this annual puzzle for a few months. And then it takes me several weeks to complete it. It usually lasts 80 to 150 minutes, and the lyrics of songs, and the feeling certain songs leave behind, develop into a concept often alluded to by the title of this storyline compilation, a lyric itself usually derived from one of the songs. Having grown up with concept albums of 1970s I enjoy developing these concept compilations. But aside from that annual playlist, the truth is that I am often too busy to want to spend time making my daily or weekly playlists. I often prefer to just have all this music I have gathered or filtered throughout my life, to come to me randomly, if I am not researching a specific artist. It makes me feel complete to be in this total relationship of unity and harmony with my entire past. There are so many different ways one can listen to a song. Besides the listening experience of this random play of all my favorite songs and compositions I am also becoming hooked on the contest of constant recognition of all of this music. There are songs out there we all recognize from the first guitar riff or piano chord. I might know about a half of my music this well, and be able to recognize songs within a few seconds. And every next day of such random play listening brings more and speeds up recognition. This has really become my glass bead game I could easily keep playing for the rest of my life.
The meaning of my life has most likely a lot to do with the objectives I had placed myself here with, this time around. The lessons I was meant to learn. I can only sense of what they might be. All my weaknesses could be worked upon until they become my strengths. This sense has sort of come over me after a period of a few months back in 2007 when I was getting familiar with Edgar Cayce’s life readings for the first time. How does music come into play here, if at all, I have no clue. But it has really been the first last and always passion of my present earth existence.
, October 2020