The Luxury Of Funkery

The Luxury Of Funkery

When it’s funk – you can pardon the length it takes to prove the point. In fact among all of the distinct solos and rhythmic gliding, who cares if the cup is running over? I remember getting lost in the experience of jams that seemed to last over 30 minutes. I was taken away by the bass and drums – before the guitar or keys ever made their entrance. My feet could not remain still. My face improvised a series of sonnets and joyful disgust. It was ugly. Almost like the spirit of music personally chose me to endow me with the gift of goosebumps over my body.

If you have experienced similar sensations – you know all too well about the luxury of funk. It’s insane and sometimes just ridiculous because sanity goes out the window. It’s something about a thumping bass and horns that blow your head off. If you ever underestimated the power of funk – the funk ain’t ever too far to remind you of its skill. Most of us just look at the table and whatever happens to be on it. We don ’t pay too much attention to what’s supporting it.The legs and bloodline of what helps the table stand are rarely given detailed attention. If you are lost in the groove, rarely is the focus on the buildup. The journey of sound takes you a wide arrange of places.

I was blessed like many others to experience the grace and normality of funk music. The funk was always in my backyard and whenever I needed a flavor I didn’t know I was missing, it would hit me up with no delay. I never got spoiled by it because U Know… “Music Never Lies, You know It’s true!”I had the pleasure to witness Funk on the regular because I lived in one of the Funk Capitals of the world, Minnesota! An unlikely place to some, unless you knew who Mr. Nelson was. Prince is the embodiment of music and while he played around with various kinds of music – funk is the main ingredient in all of his servings over the years. Rock N Roll for him had to be funky.

Sometimes, life itself can toss us into moments of funk. (No surprise there) An unreasonable desire to screw our faces and shake our heads. This has happened much more often as of late, it’s not hard to understand the flow of why this happens. We all know when we are witnessing a luxury. A remarkable experience is embedded in us and becomes the blueprint of how we value the experience. It’s important to remember the vastness of how many diamonds, emeralds, gold, silver, and jewels exist underneath the core. There are many properties that exist and none of them are mutually exclusive. How we consider worth is often one of heated discourse. The burning need to compare experiences tend to invalidate the individual pieces that embody the whole. (See; Beyoncé vs XYZ)

Nothing is merely created out of the blue. There is an important process and combinative forces that join together. Of course, we don’t think about this. The focus is often on the finished product which is what leads me to my next point about the funk. Funk music takes it time. It might hit you quickly or the bass may be buried in the mix – but it’s there if you pay more attention to the details, it becomes less ambiguous. We should take the time to let each instrument have the ability to solo in a song.

“What my drummer wanna say?
Listen 2 my bass man play
Listen 2 the guitar play”

I live for solos because we all got something to offer. If there’s one thing I can set aside as a valuable experience with Prince, is that he takes you on this journey! He’s shared his life through his music. This is one luxury of FUNK – there are places you did not know you can go. Remember when joining in the journey with Prince – bring your foot pray Cuz it’s gonna be funky!

“Just when U thought it was safe 2 go outside

Eye hit your ass with another funky design

And it’s real good

U thought it wasn’t when U shoulda

Checked yourself before U got another foot in your ass

And now it comes 2 pass another phat shot from the higher class

That’s right, U’re still a rookie, see

Kickin’ it with the grown folks in the wrong key

Honey please, U need 2 find

Somebody that’ll hip U 2 the funky design

Shouts out 2 the rookies, put it in the bank

And let it gain a cent or 2 until it just stanks

And flows, your nose will know

When it’s all wrinkled, then it’s good 2 go

On the fire, I would be a liar

If I didn’t say I wanna take U higher

And hip U 2 the one-eyed bass

Listen 2 the solo while it pleads my case

And just when U thought it was over, it started up again

Kickin’ so loud that it’s sure 2 frighten and win

Gossip again? Ho-hum

Listen 2 my drum

When eye 1st heard ur face

Listen 2 my bass

Time will tell who we r

Listen 2 my guitar”

Advertisements

Why I Embrace The Absurd

Why I Embrace The Absurd

I have been reading a lot of Albert Camus (One of my favorite philosophers) and his book ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’ has stirred within me various questions about existence and just how absurd our lives are. (Especially if you’re living your life like me without a religious meaning) I find purpose in what is unresolved and brought together by a random chaos of meaning. Here are 3 of my favorite quotes *at the moment* from the book.

“It is probably true that a man remains forever unknown to us and that there is in him something irreducible that escapes us. But practically I know men and recognize them by their behavior, by the totality of their deeds, by the consequences caused in life by their presence. Likewise, all those irrational feelings which offer no purchase to analysis. “

“The absurd is born of this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world.”

“”The absurd has meaning only in so far as it is not agreed to. There exists an obvious fact that seems utterly mortal: namely, that a man is always a prey to his truths. Once he had admitted them, he cannot free himself from them.

While I understand the importance of order and structure somethings are better of in between the thigh of the absurd.

The looooonnng and short of this video is, while I can go several places at the same time, it’s about the journey. If stepping into the void lands you on something squishy and wet – may the funk bless your consistency. 😀

Personality Blankets

Personality Blankets

“If you’re like me then…”

But I’m not like you.

“If I were you, I’d do….”

But I’m not you.

How well can one decipher the truth from the bullshit? You ain’t me and I’m not you. That’s a blessing. Cause I don’t know what leads you to your destination. What’s leading me down this road might make you want to gag.

Listen to yourself but listen to others when you get a chance…. *When they stop talking*

You can learn from the beast of the flower. That monster under your bed may just be inviting you to a bouquet of roses.

Ever talked to someone and before they break news to you – they start by saying: “How can I put this?”

They have this picture in their head. The landscape is clear. Pixels are set. The only thing that’s left now is the picture frame. How do I put this on your wall?


Who’s to say I even want this on my wall? The colors are too odd. Have you looked at all of the other paintings on my wall? Never mind what I like – you just gonna frame the picture and put it out there huh?

Framing pictures are ideal for the picture. Don’t even worry about the frame – just give me the picture and I’ll frame it the way it rhymes with the room. Honesty goes a long way and the picture is as honest to the instruments you used to form it.

I’m quite amazed at what one accepts as reality. Yes, reality has a lot to do with acceptance. Did you know your brain chooses to ignore your nose on the day to day? If you want to *sort of* see your nose, you can call attention to it. That’s the day to day, life at large, your room can be covered with sticky notes – and you can still forget to take out the trash.


Now forgetting to take out the trash will call you by your nose. Something’s come with an essence and you can’t deny it’s power. Otherwise, the funk will call you by your name.


We eventually end up getting to things that need to be done. Priority is decreed by the scheduling of necessity. What’s important to you – may not be important to me at *this* particular time.

Time got everybody confused.
Even Albert Einstein couldn’t quite figure it out. Although he was closer to achieving understanding.

Life as we know it is fickle. It’s there but then it isn’t. Take advantage of this moment. Don’t let it die out in the memories passed. Where regret lives. There is nothing new under the sun, and the moon has seen many festivals. The stars are grand and shine on in the midnight sky.

When the code captures our personality – we cover ourselves.
When the temperature goes down, if you ain’t careful you can freeze into a past state of mind. All of us at some point are gonna cover ourselves with a blanket.

What lies underneath these blankets are the statements, the letters, The symbols, the numbers, the etc, etc.


Whoever you are, however you decide to cover yourself – don’t be afraid of the code. Yours is unique to you. There’s joy in that.

Prince / A Sudden Transcendence

Prince / A Sudden Transcendence

A flood of emotional experiences parades my mind in light of the N.E.W.S of April 21st, 2016. I don’t think any of us expected it to come so soon. On A full moon, Prince transcended this earthly dimension into a higher place. His kingdom in the heavens. It’s been an emotional roller-coaster 2.0 as everything just seems to linger at the center. If I am being completely honest, it feels as if the universe made a huge mistake.

Prince has been the soundtrack of my life for as long as I understood the depth of sound. He has a song for every emotion and experience. Which makes it extremely difficult. He’s everywhere. (The song ‘Everywhere’ from The Rainbow Children) If I want to get Mad // I think of the song ‘Mad’ composed in 1994 released on the NPG Music Club. When I listen to his songs about Joy // I then Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic. It goes on and on. A song with every feeling and emotion which carries me into a very intense realization.

Prince is one of those artists that constantly challenges and creatively keeps you on the edges of wonder. His music has really affected me in ways deeper than any other artist has, and this expedition is eternal. There seems to be an explosion of where to go when examining the large body of work he has! If you want to know anything, look deep inside your soul!

I was taken by surprise when I realized the soundscapes capable of being explored each and every time. Each time he took the stage, he could rearrange a song in a completely different form. Effortlessly he could combine several genres into one. He became one song and this one song was free.

Prince represented, stood for and embodied Freedom. There are no walls. There is no time. He made an example of this anytime he released a song, he would prove there was always more to find. Hidden treasures buried underneath multiple layers of sonic nirvana. I can speak forever about his music. I use to review his albums on my YouTube channel – it was only recently (about 2 weeks ago) when I decided to remove my album discussions. I enjoyed making these videos as it was so fun exploring the production and story that is enveloped in his songs. I removed my album discussions because I became aware that my opinions of his songs evolved with my experiences. I realize that music is one of the best diaries to any experience. I also realize that I didn’t feel it was necessary to review everything that was released. I can display my appreciation for the music in light of the inspiration that Paisley Park brought me. (I will upload those reviews online as landmark anniversaries come along 🙂

I’ve had amazing experiences and I am considerably thankful for all I learned since my journey began. Each of us has a Prince story. A time where we heard a song and were taken to a place or maybe even a one on one encounter with him. He’s touched the lives of so many and the reason for this, causes to us to celebrate.

It’s been marvelous to see all of the stories come out which display how many lives he has touched. From young to old. Musicians to Politicians. If you’ve heard his sound at all, you have been moved into a place of true respect. I’ve had the privilege of being closer to some of the magic by experiencing Paisley Park on the regular. Conducting the Studio Tours there, was a dream I never could imagine. Several times I was brought by surprise when he would show up. He’d always say Hi, and was quite the joker. One distinct time I remember is when I was at a private rehearsal with his newly formed band. Kirk Johnson On Drums, Mono Neon on Bass guitar , Donna Grantis on Lead Guitar, Adrian Crutchfield on Saxophone, and Prince primarily on keys (although he played guitar when he felt it)

I was working the teleprompter. Can’t mess that up right? Just scrolling up the lyrics as the music played along. Sounds easy enough right? Well, this one time the set list was not followed in order of the list. Which is to be expected, as Prince shuffles through his songs on a whim. I couldn’t exactly find the lyrics for Free Urself, and the band was playing as normal. Prince was in front of me and he noticed this and would always smile and look back. He had this smirk on his face that he kept giving it as he noticed the lyrics were not there. I was so nervous and was trying hard to find the lyrics. He stopped the music and laughed and said: “The Lyrics just seemed to disappear huh?” I explained they weren’t in the file, and he said “Cool – we can do something that is there. You pick.” So I choose ‘What It Feels Like” and he went through it. I felt so relieved but also felt I needed to step my game so that this could not happen again.

Couldn’t be more than ten seconds and he changed it up after saying “I’m feeling something a bit harder…” then we went straight into “Xtraloveable”. It was so funky, I could barely scroll up on the teleprompter and he looked back and said “You’re free to dance if you want to! You can dance and clap your hands…we’ll just jam! We know the lyrics to this one! Clap your hands and dance! It’s Alright!”

He made it possible to be free. (Even while you were at ‘Work’) To inspire for higher and to reach for broader places. He encouraged and demanded it. It was a necessity to reach out and to do the work. I am extremely thankful for the opportunities that have been given. I’ll always celebrate and remind myself that I was as close to the magic as I could be. I got to see a side to him that was music personified. A gift I’ll treasure for a lifetime.

We in the #PurpleArmy should feel blessed at the amount of music we have because of Prince. We can be captured by simply listening to the sound and for this, I’ll be eternally grateful. Thank you, Prince, for being a mentor, teacher, and the embodiment of music. You have forever changed and transformed the landscape of sound.

#Luv4OneAnother

The Dance of Perspective

The Dance of Perspective

The dance of perspective is one we each should qualify in our daily lives. When you think about the vast universe, and the multitude of stars in the solar system you can count down – the enormity from least to the greatest. The Macro and Micro. If you’re living a life according to a limited spectrum, you won’t see the vastness of the macro reality. We can often be arrested and when I say arrested, I mean completely cuffed by our own ideas. Take a moment to look in the mirror, and then look at somebody else. You won’t see the same person that’s in your reflection.

Dancing in perspective can be quite intimating at times. It’s like dancing in a public. Not everyone is willing to do it because they are afraid of who might look at them. What might they say? The fear of prying eyes can cage freedom and execution. Unless you are wearing a mask. Disguise is a clever way to get to the point without having to face the reality. Reality is a complex force in and of itself because well…What is it anyway? (Start by asking questions and also watching The Matrix Trilogy. :D)

Our senses help build reality. If you listen close enough you are better equipped at answering the next question. Reality deals with what is real, what can be determined by a series of tests. These tests can often influence our emotions, but emotions are not always corresponding to the truth of the music at the party. Yet everything is really dancing in some way of another. Rhythm seeks to invite our feet and hips to move accordingly. If you ain’t dancing it doesn’t mean the music isn’t playing – it just may mean your vibes require more bottom and funk. Nonetheless, the dance keeps going and you can either join in the music at the time or tune into your own stereo.

I made a video called ‘Perspective is The Truest Hero’ which explains the importance of perspective and how it comes out as heroic every time. It’s really all how you look at it.

Check out the video if you wish!

On another note, I invite engagement. I enjoy seeing what my perspective is able to find through the power of conversation. Characters in The Wind is centered on the Kaleidoscopic Vortex of perspective. The variations and spectrums are wide and colorful because we each are given unique experiences and these experiences are what gives us perspective. It’s not just our experiences but lessons that have been taught by others as well, which can enable a sense of knowledge. We all have access to this knowledge, the key to reaching it is by listening and corresponding to the music or the musician.

PSYCHEDELIC SENSATION

PSYCHEDELIC SENSATION

Recently, colors have reintroduced themselves back to me and the results have been a psychedelic sensation. Sensation, like a conversation, allows navigation to be understood and recognized. Imagine a Rubik’s Cube – by removing all of the colors, you’re essentially moving without any intention. You’re just aimlessly twisting a cube with no true recognition of arrangement. Color helps lead the way in finding the answer. Colors are like Thick Triggers which enforces a statue of emotion.

The Thrill of color has expanded a Kaleidoscopic Vortex within me. A lot of lectures are coming through. Amazing how the manifestation of Fall can make one appreciate the deeper hues in retrospect. I’m collectively engaged in sensation.

 

A Paisley Peace For Baltimore

image

Lately, I’ve been discussing the recent Paisley Park Experiences with friends, and how spontaneous they are. You aren’t always given any warning, sometimes only three hours before it begins. Unlike several previous times, we were informed through  @PURPLESSENCE (Paisley Park’s Official Twitter Handle) a night before, after reading Iris Perez’s detailed experience at Paisley herself, that there would be a Dance Party in light of the recent Baltimore Uprising. 30$ Cover.

How does one invite someone to something as spontaneous as Paisley Park?! “Hey, Prince is opening his studio, and you are invited! It goes on for about five hours at a time, could be longer but it’s ultimately determined by this thing we call ‘The Everlasting Now’. We don’t know if he’s gonna perform, but there will be great dancing and 360 sound in the best sound spaces you could imagine! You down?

How does one turn that down? That’s the thing: YOU DON’T. You just GO! Every experience at Paisley is different and seemingly always tailored for the occasion.

Before the show even started, we were entertained by the two DJ’s out, making sure our feet raced on the carpet in the Luv4OneAnother room. A room allowing of space, but extremely faint compared to the Main Sound Stage. Our feet needed more room to play. There were about 300 of us there as a family unit. We were then carried through visual time travel to the Main Sound Stage.

Soul Train clips plastered on the screen, all seemingly in sync with the music played. (Shout out to Rosie Perez, as she demonstrated some of the most fly moves on screen – responded by Denise…as she shared some taunting moves too!!)

Soul Train then morphed into select pieces of artwork, dressed on the projector, in high definition, which served as a great lucid endearment. But then there is a live video to get you going too! Several, 3rdEyeGirl – videos from London were shown. Alongside with never before seen clips. The private performance of Lianna La Havas was shown at her home in London, that she did earlier last year.

Including the video (Which was only available as audio before) from The Infrared Showcase, that was briefly online on YouTube – a show for Appolonia who starred in Purple Rain – Seeing Prince play Endorphinmachine and ‘She’s Always In My Hair’ right before her, was a magical thing to witness.

An emotional tear evoking performance of Jimi Hendrix on guitar had us all soul lifted. Liv Warfield alongside, in the visual experience, made up for a great night. I’d pay 30$ just to see that again. It was crafted so well and really had your heart beating for the next page.

We all enjoy when Prince performs, it is the closest thing we have to conversation without actually speaking to him.

Music is Prince’s language.

We tend to underestimate the language in which Prince speaks through his music. This man is literally an instrument, and he is capable of talking with more than his voice.  He uses instruments to channel his raw emotional rendition; whether it’s his guitar, keyboard, or even bass guitar. All which he played last night, in very select parts of the show. Prince doesn’t simply play music, he is music. Engaging instruments like a scientist, utilizing space, to engage in a significant conversation with musical rhetoric.

It seemed he had a story to tell concerning the recent chaotic experiences. Starting off with Chaos & Disorder and falling into Dreamer. “Chaos & Disorder, ruling my world today”.

Dreamer is one of the most memorable of the night. Prince puts down his Ax for a brief moment only to play around with his keyboards. He remained there for about five minutes, to offer a rendition that was more than words can say. Lost, through his keyboard and synth stabs, he was caught within space. After feeling satisfied with his delivery of piano ministry, he heads back to his guitar with a little bit more to say.

“Peanut Butter Logic – Served on a bed of lies, don’t go down to easy when you see your Daddy crying. Have you ever clutched the steering wheel of your car – tight? See in Chanhassen we ain’t scared of the police at night, but I wasn’t always here..”

(Prince hasn’t always been in the best sides of town, he knows how the cops can be in less progressive and privileged communities)

He made mention of the chemicals chasing people at night in the skies – Encouraging the crowd to keep our 3rd Eye Open… Like CBS “So that we could SEE their B.S.”

Prince being aware of the struggles that certain communities experience.

He asked:

“Where you from?”

While answering through his guitar – a melodic sadness which seemed to correspond to what comes from being questioned by the police.

Crimson And Clover was accentuated by Donna’s divine guitar playing. The song reached the boiling point in which Prince delivered the first striking guitar solo. A guitar story which reached a climatic baptizing, wherein Prince expressed his most sensual and pulsating guitar mannerisms like he was simply drinking water.

The crowd engaged repeating “Over & Over..”

We then are reminded, He loves us- But not like his Guitar. And we can see Donna LOVES her guitar too.

Prince really enjoys talking with his guitar, it seems. Sure, he has his loves, but when he plays guitar – we can see,  he loves that a bit more.

What is Plectrum Electrum?! It’s a guitar pick that is in an electric relationship with emotional translation. He explains with Donna just what Plectrum Electrum is. Guitars echo with extreme fire and awakening power.

The crowd cheers and all of us scream. More!

He then gets on the bass guitar and performs ‘The Whole Of The Moon” (A cover by the Water Boys)

Easily the funkiest part of the night, The full of the moon punctuated the experience of the night.

Prince invited several people on stage to harmoniously groove our way back to the Dancefloor.

While he didn’t perform the new song, Baltimore like he did for Iris. We got a whole lot of music that redeemed the conversation on Freddie Gray, and what’s going on in Baltimore. Prince doesn’t have to call it by a song name, he said what he needed in the arrangement and heart of the night.

Another Paisley Night covered by pure passion. An emotional experience that is molded by the gift of music. Sure it was entertainment but it felt like a Love Trip. It’s an experience – an emotive spiritual consequence is born at that place. The sudden nature of spontaneous dictum declares a victorious revival. Energies are restored, feet (while battered and bruised from dancing) travels the distance needed for redemption. The Cycle of The Moon Effects The Motion of the Sea What You Did Prince?! On top of that – it’s spent with friends and family!  Thank YOU to Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL.
“We R 3RDEYEGIRL AND SO ARE YOU”.

Set List For The Curious (Keep In Mind..A Song Title is what it is. The name of the song. It doesn’t at all speak to how he translated it live and what emotion was geared in when we heard it)

Chaos And Disorder
Dreamer
Crimson And Clover
Guitar
Plectrum Electrum
The Whole of The Moon