The music business is dead. There, i said it.
Please bear with me, once again, while i question everything. It is rapidly becoming obvious, at least to me, that nothing, and i mean nothing, is as it seems. Especially what is promoted by the “system circus”, the 3 ring corporate farce that is being constantly pushed on us by the mainstream media and the corporate onslaught of imitation everything. Let’s turn a discriminating eye towards one of the biggest commercial pig-piles of all, the music business.
The End of an Era
I have been noticing something in the last couple of months. The passing of David Bowie, combined with the departure of an unusual number of famous musicians, including Glen Frey of the Eagles, members of the Jefferson Airplane, Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire, Dan Hicks, and several others, left me scratching my head and wondering. Wow, it was like there was an expiration date of some kind of soul contract or something for a bunch of well known musicians, and they were all in their late 60s for the most part. And, many of them got their start in the late 60s. It is becoming very obvious that this is the end of an era.
The Uranus Pluto connection
In the late 60s we had the conjunction of Uranus and Pluto in Virgo. A conjunction is the beginning of a cycle of any pair of planets. This pair, Uranus and Pluto, are the planets of revolution, among many other things. At the conjunction, in the late 60s, many seeds were planted, both positive and negative. These planets are both slow moving, so when they come into aspect with each other, it takes years for the change to come about.
Now, 50 years later, we are at the culmination of the first quarter, 90 degree square of these two planets, a process which has taken the last five years to complete. This square brings to mind The Tower, in the Tarot deck. Pluto is now in Capricorn, which is like the fortified consolidation of the “power over” paradigm. Uranus is in Aries now, at 90 degrees to Pluto. Uranus in Aries is the sudden lightning strike that brings down the tower.
The first quarter square is where things that were begun at the conjunction either start to find a foundation, or start to break down, if they are not viable. There is no simplistic way to describe the complex ramifications of this square, but we can see that much of the corruption that began in the 60s is now breaking apart, and it would be naive to not include the music business in this exploration, especially in light of the other major square happening now between Saturn (business) and Neptune (music). The music business, as well as the religion (also Neptune) business, is now up for major review.
We also had a birth of new consciousness in the late 60s, with the psychedelics and the music. It was the “peace and love” moment. So now is the time when we have to sort out what was real there, from what wasn’t. It is time to make peace and love REAL. And, in order to accomplish that, we first have to realize how that movement was co-opted to serve the corporate agenda. Whatever happened to “tune in, turn on, drop out”?
The conjunction of Pluto and Uranus brought an explosion of new music, psychedelics, revolutionary sentiment, and a sense that we had to fight the “system”. The lyrics of the songs, although in many cases drug-addled and obscure, had the quality of a new consciousness arising, one of freedom and justice.
But then, progressively over the last 50 years, the music became more and more formulaic, and the lyrics more and more banal, as the parasitic corporate agenda slowly but surely strangled the life out of this revolutionary impulse. And now we are left with nothing but an ego-driven parody of these noble impulses. And most of the hippies cut their hair, got corporate jobs, bought houses, and forgot. What happened??
Pluto and Uranus have now finished the process of the square, after 7 occurrences of it. The end of 2015 and beginning of 2016 marked its final pass, where the two planets came very close to exactly 90 degrees, and then right after New Year’s 2016, the Sun passed over Pluto, which intensified this final pass of the square. And what happened in music business news at this point?
David Bowie exited, stage left. David Bowie was a Capricorn, with Sun conjunct Mars in Capricorn, and, lo and behold, Pluto, the planet of death (among other things) is conjunct the position in Capricorn of his Mars and Sun. And Uranus (sudden changes) is square that position. So his exit, to me, marks the end of an era, the end of a phase, which represents the hierarchical (Capricorn) model of power. The lightning of awakening (Uranus) has struck the “Tower of Power”, and it is falling.
And is it a coincidence that one of the musicians who passed was Mic Gillette, one of the founding members of the band “Tower of Power”?
So, it was David Bowie’s birthday, death day, AND the release of his last album, Blackstar. So close together, that one wonders, what are the chances of all that happening at once?? Coincidence?
It really made me wonder. How about you?
a Houdini-like disappearing act
Consider this for a moment, from Julian Temple, a film and music video director who was active at the beginning of the punk movement in England. If we consider that the punk movement might well have been yet another experiment in social engineering, things begin to make more sense. Here he is talking about David Bowie.
“When I knew him well in the 1980s – we worked together on Absolute Beginners among other projects – David talked often about his compelling need to engineer an elegant exit mechanism from the circus of pop stardom and fame. A Houdini-like disappearing act. A velvet parachute floating down and away from the public eye. He was obsessive about it even then and it is beyond extraordinary that he has now managed to pull it off with such breathtaking ingenuity and precision. A Garboesque process that began with him invisibly evading the rabid buzz-hounds of the Twittersphere has ended with what seems like a magnesium flash, a sudden trick of the light and a triumphant vanishing act.”
Seems to me, he pulled it off. Especially in light of the report that he was cremated privately soon after his death. Even his family was not present at the cremation. Hmmmm…. Houdini. An illusionist.
Inquiring minds want to know: what kind of ambition would move someone to spend the last 18 months of their life working feverishly on making one last hit record? Not to mention a theater production, as well. Is that how you would spend your last days alive? Yes, in one way it’s amazing, but it also makes me wonder. Yes, this guy was a serious Capricorn. With Saturn conjunct the moon in Leo. Saturn all the way. The goat, who climbs to the top of the mountain, step by step.
There’s a lot more to say about Blackstar, but what strikes me is that something has changed in the music business since then. Or perhaps that it marks some kind of transition to something new and different. Since then i am seeing more and more articles where people are questioning it all more.
Going downhill fast
Does Today’s Pop Music suck?
Also, a statistic that says more old music is selling now, than new music, for the first time in history.
Some of us have been investing some hope in the Bitcoin/blockchain model as the new way for the music business, but that is beginning to look like a pipe dream too:
Let’s not kid ourselves any more. The sooner we come to grips with what actually IS, the sooner we can move towards solutions. But if we, as musicians, just keep our heads in the sand, trying to recreate the past days of glory, or whatever it was that happened, we’re just going to go down. Humans have managed to pollute everything on the planet, INCLUDING MUSIC.
Piracy of music is rising, and the quality of music is plummeting. You get what you pay for. You don’t want to pay anything? OK, you will get something that is worth nothing. But, apparently, you don’t care, because you really can’t tell the difference between something real and a simulacra.
Are we stuck in the past? Why this tendency to be looking back, trying to relive the old way, the old music? What was so appealing about it? Why aren’t we looking forward to what is coming next? Not only in music, but in everything? Is it because there is nothing to look forward to? Is this it? We’re going down?
Sometimes i get the feeling we musicians are all competing for the gig on the deck of the Titanic. Shouldn’t we be manning the lifeboats right about now?
So I started to see the trajectory of music since the time recorded music began.
Basically it seems to pretty much parallel the development of electricity generating and delivery to homes. Both began around the beginning of the twentieth century, though they didn’t really turn viable until the 20s or 30s.
It is interesting to note, further, that the Federal Reserve, and the fraudulent banking industry as we know it, has a similar trajectory. And it is becoming more and more apparent, with each passing day, that the days of the Federal Reserve are also numbered.
So i began to see the entire trajectory of recorded, and thus commercial music, almost as a kind of bell curve, which peaked around the 70s or 80s, and now is on its way down.
And also, more and more, we are now seeing people come up with ways to generate electricity from uncontrollable sources. Free energy technology is arriving. Could it be time for free music? No, not just music you don’t have to pay for, but truly liberated music. Free of the commercial paradigm altogether?
We’re talking music as the UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE here ! This is not some small thing that we can squeeze into some cheesy pop music ! Let’s wake up out of this nightmare, and restore music to its real dignity and standing.
Those were the days
There now seems to be this prevalence of looking back to the past, the great masters from this time period, the big stars. We have reunion tours, and homages to this master and that, and everyone making albums with cover versions of some of the more famous songs and compositions from this time period. I see a lot of musicians reminiscing about how great it was. Those were the days. We miss that time, when we had that evolutionary impulse to wake up and be real. Why didn’t we have the strength of spirit to sustain it?
But I am wondering in the midst of all that.. NOW WHAT?? If we look towards the future, and the future of music, can we see anything? Where are we going? What happens next? Is there a future for music, or for that matter, anything at all?
This is a very short period of time, compared with the entire history of music. It’s about a hundred years. And it coincides with the rise, and now the fall, of “modern civilization”. And really, it mirrors the civilization in so many ways.
To me, Blackstar is a statement about the death of the music business, even if that was not its intent. And perhaps, there is an unintended message there as well, about the resurrection of music. Now, i agree that it is very artistically done, and the musicianship on the song is top quality. I like that Bowie chose some of the best jazz and fusion players from New York to work with him on it.
But aside from the artistic value, I found myself wondering, just exactly WHAT is he trying to say with this video? But rather than get too intellectual about it, i was left dealing with how it made me feel. And I have to admit, it did not leave me feeling good, not that it was supposed to. To me it is like a nightmare. Something i never want to watch again. And it struck me about how it is like so much of what the music industry has been releasing lately, a dark message, with really an overlay of hopelessness. Are we just crucified scarecrows who are eaten by the moon when we die? Maybe that’s what it has been up to now, but not a very encouraging message to send to the world, especially as your parting shot.
What is death ?
Is this a depiction of what death is supposed to be like? And, like one friend said, well, death IS dark.
So then i was left wondering again: IS death dark? what is it? Does anyone really know what happens on the other side? Yes, we hear stories from near death experiences, but does that mean that what happens to us will be the same? It’s certainly not the same experience for everyone on this side of the curtain, not even close, so why would we expect anything different on the other side?
But perhaps even death ain’t what it used to be. EVERYTHING has changed, and is changing SO much, why would we assume that death is not included in all of this change?
To me, death is not the opposite of life. Life has no opposite, it is eternal. Death is the opposite of birth. It is a transition. If you think of where we are now as a room, it has two doors. One is the “In” door, that is birth, and one is the “Out” door. That is death.
But just like any room, once you go out the door, you could go ANYWHERE. It might very well be a bright sunny day on the other side. Is anyone really sure? And also, wouldn’t it be different for each being, just like life on this side is? And are you sure that you wouldn’t have any choice about where you are going to go after you go through that door? Admit it, you really don’t know.
Why would things on the other side be any different than they are here? Here there is a myriad of realities available, of all qualities, from sublime to hellish. Why would it be any different on the other side?
And if you are established in and as the Divine Reality, why would that not continue on the other side?
So why does the entertainment industry insist on reinforcing the idea that death is like a hell? And life as well, for that matter…? Look at all the “entertainment” that comes out of Hollywood. Most of the films and music videos portray some dark and twisted themes, with lots of guns, conflict, violence, and death. Why?? These kinds of questions open up some serious cans of worms, about just what is really going on here in this earth realm.
And, furthermore, lately since Bowie’s passing, he has become like a god. Like somehow he held the secrets of the universe. People even say he went to “heaven”, because he said that in the Lazarus song. Where’s heaven? Do we REALLY still believe in heaven and hell? How is that different from conventional religion? Is heaven a good place to go, even?
Through his life, Bowie went through many transitions and transformations, from being heavily influenced by the occult and Alastair Crowley, to being deeply into Buddhism. I have even read that at one point he was seriously considering becoming a Buddhist monk, but at the last moment decided not to.
He was clearly a complex and multi faceted man and artist, and it is really hard to say anything definitive about him one way or another, without knowing him personally. But clearly his departure marks the end of an era.
Where’s my constellation?
And now he’s the “Starman”. He even has a constellation named after him. Yes, it’s a nice thought and everything, but how does something like this happen ? Who decides how constellations are named, anyway? Then i wonder, where’s Beethoven’s constellation? What about Mozart’s? He died at 35 years old, penniless. How can some musicians be multi millionaires, and others totally impoverished?
How about a constellation named after Jaco Pastorius, the “world’s greatest bass player”? Or how about Paco de Lucia? He died this year too… Why aren’t we worshipping him? Clearly one of the most brilliant guitarists who ever lived. Don’t you think he deserves a constellation?
Towards a new way of art
So here is the big question for me. Some people say that great art reflects the times, and that art like Bowie’s reflects the fragmentation of our society. It helps us see that more clearly, i guess, but wait, don’t we already know how fragmented everything is?? Do we need any more reminders of that? How about some art that reflects the innate wholeness and connectedness of all life? How does that sound for a change?
But that means the artists will have to be whole, awake, present, alive, sane, and enlightened. Oh well, never mind then. We’re too busy playing music, and trying to produce yet another hit record, to waste time on “spiritual stuff”.
Do we really need more music? Do we need more stuff? Do we need more “busy-ness”? Isn’t consumerism consuming us? Perhaps it is time to just STOP, and reboot. Seems to me all our busy-ness is just making one big mess here.
What’s next for music and the arts? Well, seems like wholeness is the only real choice. Not only for the arts, but for everything. Because otherwise we are all toast. But the arts can also lead the way. However, that is contingent on the artists and musicians WAKING UP. Which means stop being obsessed with the dying hierarchical music biz model, and getting here and now.
I submit that many of the really big music stars are people who were ready to sell themselves for fame at the drop of a hat. And what is fame? People’s attention. Perhaps this is the way the Parasite eats the attention, and thus the conscious energy of people, through “celebrities” like this. The classic Faustian deal. Let’s not be naive about the methods of society’s soul cancer parasite. It always finds a way, until you really see its strategy. And the way it infects people is through EGO, the belief in separate self.
So please tell me, how is this different from religion? Notice that, at the same time as the rock and roll era was beginning in the late 60s, religion began to fall apart. The famous Time magazine issue that said “Is God Dead?” on the cover was in, you guessed it, 1966. The Uranus Pluto conjunction.
So religion was replaced with rock and roll. Same process, different clothes. And who but a chameleon like David Bowie to better represent this change of clothes?
And even the word “fan” comes from the word “fanatic”. What do we associate that word with? Religion. Religious fanatic. Hmmmm…..
The pyramid scheme is over
So to get back to the subject matter, we are witnessing the demise of the hierarchical top-down pyramid scheme model on such a grand scale right now, that all of its aspects are up for review. And none of it is working any more. Really, none of it. We may not be noticing it yet, similar to when the root of a tree is cut, at first the leaves are still green. But slowly but surely they start to turn brown, and it begins to become obvious that the tree is dead.
So if we look at the whole phenomenon of popular music, fueled by commerce, we can see the hierarchical model very clearly in operation.
The whole phenomenon of “big stars”, with larger than life presentations, is part of this hierarchical model. The big star is up on the stage. He’s the one with the talent, and the light show must mean that he has something important to say, so we should listen very carefully. Because if he can play such amazing music, and have so much money backing him, then he must know something i don’t know.
How is this different from politics? And where did the money that catapulted some of these people to stardom come from? Clearly, the publicity machine of the corporate controllers has gotten behind some of these stars and made them into a “phenomenon”. Their popularity is not always about talent. Sometimes they happen to be talented too, even very talented, but that is not always the case. Very often, these stars are “created”. Can we tell the difference between being created and being creative?
And as Socrates said, just because artists have inspiration and genius, doesn’t mean they have wisdom.
And the women, for the most part, what happened? Nowadays, it seems like it is more important to be a young sexy babe, to dress provocatively, and to sing in a kind of pseudo-soul style that feels like a caricature of the real thing, rather than to actually be a real musician, with something real to say. Where are the Nina Simones, the Elis Reginas, the Mercedes Sosas? You know, the courageous ones, who are not afraid to speak the truth. Where are the women who cut through all the superficial narcissistic fascist fashion BS and sing about what really matters? Where are the ones who plumb the depths of their being to come up with something raw, honest, and original? Of course many of these “stars” like Beyoncé have talent, but talented people are a dime a dozen these days. There’s a virtuoso on every street corner, playing for tips.
Music is not Football… or is it?
Has music become a competitive sport? I have been wondering about this a lot lately, as so many musicians try to outdo everyone else, being the baddest, most mindblowing, sexiest, funkiest virtuoso ever. But isn’t it more that each of us has a unique expression? At least that is how i have always seen it. This is not a place for competition. Yes, we can be inspired to do our best by others, but music somehow loses its delicacy and beauty when it becomes a platform for competitive ego expression.
But well, maybe i’m wrong. After seeing the half time performance of the 2016 Super Bowl by Beyoncé and Bruno Mars, sure enough. i could see the evidence right there. Music has become football.
And Beyonce’s song, released right at the same time, “Formation”. Here it is, with the lyrics: http://www.justjared.com/2016/02/06/beyonce-formation-full-video-lyrics-watch-now/
Maybe I am missing the point, because “critics” are hailing this as a great empowerment for black people. As far as I can tell, this lyric just equates power with money and sex, which is exactly what you would expect from someone the toxic corporate music industry had placed on the throne. And of course, millions of young women will be emulating this kind of “music” and “power”. Oh well…
Support the independent trail blazers
Just to be clear, of course i realize that there are many truly amazing talents in the music world, who are a true joy to hear and see. What i am objecting to here is the corporate co-opting of the arts and music, to use it as a tool to further its agenda. For me, the artists who manage to keep their artistic integrity without catering to manufactured fads and fashions are to be truly honored, as it is challenging territory indeed to navigate.
The only way left for real musicians these days is the independent route. It is a long and winding road, which requires improvisational skills on all levels. It is not for the faint of heart. These people are true lions, courageous souls who will do whatever it takes, go wherever they need to go, to keep practicing the art. Let’s develop the ability to recognize and support these music warriors. Just like we would support local growers of organic food, doing whatever it takes to make sure that healthy food survives, in this onslaught of fake everything, let’s acknowledge and support those who keep the vision and the art alive no matter how intense the obstacle course gets. You will find almost all of them online, and you will find many ways to support them there as well.
Taking the 60s spirit to the next level
And also in no way do i mean to belittle the contributions that all of the musicians, including David Bowie, who came up during the sixties, have made. That was a seed moment, an initiation. Everything came out, rough, unformed, and wild. It was the chaotic springing up of something new, with all its pluses and minuses. But now is our opportunity to reevaluate all that, and build something more grounded in the Real, something even more true. This is the moment of turning a corner (the first quarter square of Pluto and Uranus), and taking it to the next level.
And now with all the social engineering of the 20th century coming to light, we can see how popular music has been used to push society in ways that the controllers want. It is time to sort wheat from chaff (Jupiter conjunct North Node in Virgo), and remove the virus from the process, by understanding how it works.
No Individuality Allowed
They want us to be the disempowered audience, down there in the crowd, looking up to the special one who has the connection to the creative source, that we don’t have ourselves. Just like religion. And then they want to confuse our minds with messages, through the lyrics, that contain just enough truth to keep us paying attention, but not enough truth to really liberate us. Again, like religion. And then, at a certain point, these larger than life types are sacrificed. Just to let us know, don’t bother to try and become like this, for this will be your fate. Kinda like Jesus, actually…And we just numbly watch the same drama play out, over and over again.
How is the corporate music business different from the “king business”? This idea that there are chosen ones to rule over the rest of us is one big lie. They wear these gold and diamond studded crowns, and big fancy hats, and all sorts of badges on their chests, and then we are supposed to believe that they are somehow superior to us. What is a crown, but a cheap imitation of an open crown chakra? What is a diamond but a cheap imitation of the indestructible multi faceted brilliance of enlightened awareness? DON’T FALL FOR IT!! What is going on in this phony distraction theater of entertainment and politics is a simulacra, a false version of the true glory of your own divine kingship, YOUR MAJESTY. Not theirs. The “kings” of this world have no majesty. They sold it out for a flimsy tin substitute. Traded their glory for a fake hat. If you want to know what poverty looks like, take a look at the perverted vampires of the collapsing empire of “power over”, whose crap “glory” comes from eating the suffering of good and honest beings all over the planet.
And then there are the ongoing frequency wars, which are being pushed on us in so many ways, but through the sound of the so-called music it has been getting more and more intense and artificial.
So I look at the David Bowie video, and i see the end of an era. And then a lot of musicians followed him out. Time’s up for the music business.
So now what? What happens with music now?
This beautiful poem by Pablo Neruda shows the way:
“Keeping Quiet” by Pablo Neruda
Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.
For once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.
Fisherman in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.
Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.
What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.
If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.
Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.
—from Extravagaria (translated by Alastair Reid, pp. 27-29, 1974)
Music 2.0: The Resurrection
So, i have a modest proposal. Music 2.0.
We could look at the entire situation as something like a virus in the operating system that distorts the output. It’s time for a reboot of music. So i have some proposals to submit for your consideration.
Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.
The first step, for musicians, if you want to be part of Music 2.0, and if you have been “professional” for a long time: simply STOP. Be silent.
This is the real revolution, literally. It is a 180 degree turn. Remove yourself from the corporate commercial paradigm. And yes, i agree, easier said than done. Really, at this point, it is almost impossible. But at least we can take the first step and understand clearly how it works. And really, we are all being forced into just stopping. But we can see that in the music world, just like society, there are the few mega-rich superstars, and the rest of the musicians are just barely making it, if they’re lucky.
By the way, this might be good advice for EVERYONE at this moment, not just musicians. We are all doing WAY too much, most of which just doesn’t need to be done, and we are ruining our planet, just for money. Let’s all take time out, out of time. Beyond time altogether. REBOOT. Rethink, review, regenerate.
When we want to clear the virus from a computer, the first thing we need to do is turn it off. And then we have to erase the disk and reformat it, with an upgraded operating system. So, there is some down time involved. But it is worth it, because the computer will then have new software, and will not be having the old problem any more.
If you are a musician who plays music constantly, even compulsively, just STOP, for a certain amount of time. “Count to twelve”. for 12 hours, 12 days, 12 weeks, or 12 months. Try it, and see what happens.
I mean, we’re not making money anyway, (are we??) so maybe now is the perfect time to just STOP. Be silent. Explore the inner music. Practice the silence. Understand and embody the vibrational source of all creation. Take the study of music to the next level. And then afterwards you come out of the silence like a butterfly from a cocoon, a new being entirely, with a new relationship to music.
What we have done with music up to now is just the kindergarten level to what is possible, that is my feeling. But in order to graduate beyond kindergarten, we have to leave the ego game behind. Without that necessary step, we are going to just become more and more mired in banality.
You could even think of it as being on strike. Even though it may not apparently make any difference in the “music biz” world around you, trust that it will have an invisible effect. And it may just improve the quality of your music, and your life.
Standstill: I Ching
In the I Ching, the ancient Chinese Book of Changes, hexagram 12, Standstill, points to a time when “heaven and earth do not unite”. Clearly these times we are in are a time of standstill, or as another translation calls it, Divorcement. And notice what the “superior man” does in these times.
Wilhelm/Baynes translation: Heaven and earth do not unite: the image of Standstill. Thus the superior man falls back upon his inner worth in order to escape the difficulties. He does not permit himself to be honored with revenue.
Blofeld translation: This hexagram symbolizes heaven and earth cut off from each other. To conserve his stock of virtue, the Superior Man withdraws into himself and thus escapes from the evil influences around him. He declines all temptations of honor and riches.
Listen = Silent
Spend as much time as you do practicing or playing, just being in silence. And learn to LISTEN again. Cultivate the silence part. It is NOT NOTHING. It is the foundation for all music. More about that here. Become a “keeper of frequency “, or resonance.
To practice music without practicing silence is like a bird with one wing trying to fly.
Do the sadhana
If you work primarily with electronic music, choose an instrument, one that you love the sound of, one with real strings, or a wind instrument, or percussion, something acoustic, and master it. Spend time learning how to actually play an instrument. Electronic instruments or keyboards don’t count. It has to actually be something acoustic, because one of the most important elements of music, which is being lost with electronics, is the art of tone creation. To be able to create consistently good tone on an acoustic instrument, that actually vibrates, requires a yogic approach to the instrument that can be likened to learning a martial art. Touch, breathing, presence, are all key elements. More about that here: Chi Touch
In the Quadrivium, which was part of the ancient Greek educational system, music was one of the required subjects, like mathematics and astronomy. In other words, it was a life skill that was essential to the development of the human being, not some useless and valueless “entertainment” on the side, to divert and distract you from “real life”. It was all part of becoming a human being of “sound” mind and body. Notice, that in English, the word “sound” is also used to refer to something that is healthy and whole.
In India, there is still the tradition of one’s music master being a guru, and the course of learning music is a spiritual process that one undergoes, a sadhana, or spiritual practice, with complete sincerity. Sadly, it appears that even in India the commercial virus has infected the music so much that the musical guru/disciple relationship is dying too. In the west it is all but gone.
Live with Nature
Music 2.0 has nothing to do with the city. Understand that in the city, there are way too many straight lines. There is way too much concrete, machinery and noise. Why is it most musicians choose to live in the city? With nothing but the city as our input, what comes out is bound to reflect the distorted mechanical noise that pervades most city environments. And why does music always get relegated to bars and places where people drink alcohol and go to be distracted (i.e. entertained)?
If you are still pro-alcohol, and don’t understand what happens to you when you drink, or even when you play music in the context of alcohol, maybe this article will help you understand that this is not the optimal context for music, and certainly doesn’t help anyone be a better musician, or human being. In fact, you may just be poisoning others vibrationally.
And, in the city, we have our little studios in whatever little room without windows, where we spend hours and hours staring into a computer. Yes, of course there are the classical concert halls, and various other more artistically oriented concert situations, but it seems that the vast majority of musicians work in the entertainment paradigm, in order to “make a living”.
But we have already explored how commerce kills the soul of everything. So why would it not do the same with music?
Nature is Music
Music is much more related to nature. Nature is in perpetual motion, endlessly creative. All the proportions of sacred geometry are perfect in nature. You won’t find a better artist or teacher than nature herself. And it is infinite variety. Just watch a field of grass blowing in the breeze. It never repeats itself. Just being in nature in contemplation brings so much unquantifiable information into and through you, all of which opens the creative possibilities in mysterious and wonderful ways.
And the sounds in nature, from the wind in the trees to the sound of the ocean, running water, birds and animals. This is a whole other level of music. What a joy to hear ! Always different, always alive. Don’t underestimate the effect that spending this kind of “quality time” in nature will have on your music. It is priceless.
And this doesn’t mean that music has to be all “new-age”. Nature has MANY different colors and qualities. Every day is something different. Sometimes nature is very intense, and violent even. But what is NEVER there in nature is ego.
From corporation to cooperation
How can we support each other to move beyond this toxic paradigm? Success of the few built upon the failure of the many. For every rock star there are thousands of musicians who are struggling to make ends meet, living in substandard conditions, and gambling in the casino of “success” with the deck stacked against them. Like the lottery, a lot of hopefuls, fueling the big winner. How is this different from the whole 1%/99% paradigm going on, where 62 people have more than half the wealth of the world?
The logical outcome of this trend is that one guy will have ALL the money, and he will be sitting there, alone, in a world where everyone else is dead, and the planet is completely destroyed. Where and when do we draw the line??
So in looking for solutions, i suggest changing one’s life to require as little commerce as possible, by arranging your life in a way to be living within your means, however modest, growing one’s own food, or at least buying it locally, thus living in the abundance of having what you need. And living in community, with much more time in nature, and having much of your day left for creativity, in all its forms from remaining in silence, to composing, recording, as well as doing simple grounding work like gardening and so forth. Obviously, we have to learn to cooperate, together. But this will require dropping all the fantasies of glory, and coming all the way down to earth.
What is a professional?
I realize that these are ideas that will not appeal to many, especially those of us who are “professional”. This is more for those who have seen the dead end street of “pop culture”, and would like to experiment with a new way, which really could also be a return to an ancient way. I realize that there are many musicians who would probably just laugh at these ideas. Well, clearly they are not for you.
But just notice the word “professional”. it is someone, like a “professor” who professes to do, or be something.
From vocabulary.com: “To profess is to declare something, often insincerely. You can profess something and mean it, but more often the verb ‘profess’ is used when someone lies about their true feelings. “
So then, perhaps a professional is someone who claims to be something they are not.
An “amateur” on the other hand, is someone who does something for the love (ama) of it.
This is the quality we need to restore in the music: LOVE.
Play for love
Let’s play because we love to play. I know we all really DO love to play, that’s why we got involved with music in the first place. But look at all the hoops we have had to jump through to become “commercially viable”, because we recognized that we wanted to dedicate our life fully to music and creativity, which meant doing whatever we could with music to “sell records” and pay the bills.
So take a stand! Play the music that you would play even if you weren’t getting paid. Pay it forward is the new economy, so instead of waiting for the money, be the one to take the first step, take the risk, and play your love. Be more like birds, who just can’t help singing. It’s involuntary, with no thought of an audience. But at the same time, don’t be so willing to play in whatever context for free. We must develop the capacity to say no to situations that compromise our dignity and integrity, and that do not offer some valid exchange of energy and respect for what we offer.
How can we arrange our lives, so we can still do music full time, with all our heart and soul, AND follow exactly our own creative bent? This is the “64 thousand dollar question” these days for artists of all types, and everyone else, really. The economic upheaval, and the recognition that most jobs are not really necessary and just cause more suffering and environmental degradation, is all pointing toward the need for a radically different direction.
Just like with politics, we are not going to find the solutions within the existing paradigm. it is time for a radical departure.
Everyone talks about original music. But how many actually make original music? What is it that makes some music original, and some music not? We all have the same 12 tones to work with. How can we still make an original statement with such a limited palette? Just because you can write a song yourself, doesn’t make it original. It seems the power of that word “original” has been diluted considerably.
Some of the greatest advice i ever received was from a musician and teacher called Roland Wiggins, who had been John Coltrane’s teacher, among others. He told me that if i wanted to have an original style, it was more important what i DON’T play, than what i do play. That advice really stuck with me. What you don’t play is the silence and the space.
For your art to be original, you have to be an original. You have to find your own way. The “school of life” will educate you at a whole different level, and will imbue your art with a value that institutional learning will never offer. There’s no growth without risk.
The contamination of commerce
I submit that it is commerce that has contaminated the music. And by commerce, i don’t mean money really. I mean the entire corporate system, which is really defined and enforced by the Uniform Commercial Code. If you aren’t aware of how this works, there is plenty of great info online. Also i recently just wrote an article which explains my view of how it interfaces with us each personally. For me, it is clear that commerce is the language and structure of ego, as it plays out in the “real world” around us. And by ego, i don’t just mean being “egotistical”. This is the grossest form of ego. There are many much subtler layers, all of which boil down to the belief that one is separate from the whole, and that the suffering of others is not one’s own suffering.
We have to clear the contamination of corporate commerce from music, before music dies completely. We have to restore it to its original purpose, that of restoring the soul, and bring body, mind, spirit into harmony and resonance. This is not a course of study you are going to find in any college or university. Maybe some schools are beginning to touch on it, but since schools and universities are corporations too, the bottom line remains in effect.
And this has nothing to do with New Age music, or “new ageism” in any form, either. Nothing short of the mastery of music will suffice. The mastery of sound, and the mastery of silence. The style of music, the amount of notes involved, none of that is the issue. Mastery of inner and outer music, and life. The issue is the presence of the artist. In this way, music can become a sadhana, a path to enlightenment.
Of course music will never really die. All That Is is vibrational, really just frequency. But what is music asking of us at this moment?
We could call this “musicalizing existence”. We musicalize existence when we realize the music that we are. Then we become a harmonious presence in the world, which will ripple out into the morphogenetic field in mysterious and miraculous ways, beyond the linear world of cause and effect.
i recently came across a very short video clip of Pat Metheny, in which he points to what i am getting at. In it, he says that for him, these days, whether he’s playing, or not playing, it’s the same, it’s all music. Pat is a good example of someone who is musicalizing existence. When you allow music to be the Guru, it will bring you to the Infinite, where the entire existence IS music. This is not just a metaphor, it is actually so. It is a vibrational symphony SO vast, that we cannot begin to comprehend it. The ears are not calibrated to perceive this level of music, but the heart is.
So luckily, we can BE it, we ARE it. And that is the way to understand it, through the heart, by being it. And like Metheny, anyone who masters music to the level he has, will simply begin to musicalize existence, just by existing. It is profoundly simple. And it is also interesting that it doesn’t matter whether you are famous and successful or not, if we take on the demanding and rewarding path of music as our sadhana ,we will all eventually end up at this place, where, whether playing or not, it is the same, it is all music. Our very existence is the resonance of the whole.
Perhaps this can be a beginning of a new way for music. Music 2.0.
“Remember one thing: except for silence, everything else is your imagination.” Osho