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The Live Performance Connection

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 14:04 - by Socionic
    

There are many different ways in which to express creativity, emotion and art.  It is as an abstract communication that supersedes the limitations of language as we know it.  Equally, and perhaps even exponentially, there are many different ways to receive that connection and interpret the expression within the context of the moment.  That moment may vary and differ by physical location, mood, and those with whom we share the experience among a myriad of other possible contextual factors.  

Inherent is the beauty of subjective, abstract mediums of expression and translation, unlike other descriptions found in math, science or even more literal communication such as language, there are nearly infinite variations on how a feeling and experience may manifest in the mind and soul of an open individual.

One may see a digital image of a painting and construe a different message or feeling than if the same original piece was interpreted while standing in front of it in a museum.  A dialogue from a script might portray a different mood and meaning all together if heard at a theatre in contrast to through the speakers on your TV as you watched it in the form of a film.

The context of the connection can make all the difference in how art is interpreted and felt.  There is certainly no exception as pertaining to music.

Diving further, the experience of a live performance may completely change the meaning of a song with which you are already familiar, or perhaps that live experience is enhanced because of an already intimate knowledge and connection with the words and feeling delivered on a recorded track.  Compounded yet more by your perception of the beliefs, message and overall voice of the artists or band as a whole.

There is something to be said within the realm of music, with it being perhaps one of the most unique in this regard, about the creators delivering the expression that is a song directly to those within the same room.  Each performance being a different interpretation based on the feel of the room, the vibe of the crowd, and the meaning of the piece in the present time to the performer compared to the original inspiration that spurred the writing of it.  It is not difficult to see how every performance is completely different from the last or next.  There is great beauty and communal connection in that.

I am personally a great fan of live music and performance.  For as long as I can remember, since the first time I was old enough to enter a venue, I’ve always been drawn to it and addicted to the energy found within those dark rooms, beautiful halls, stadium ceilings and festival night skies.  Even within other genres or from bands who are yet perfecting their craft, there is such energy to be felt and experienced, something to be learned and discovered within every performance received.

A take on a story from a person, sharing a perspective of a feeling, with it all riding on the back of the boldness that it took to deliver that message to you.

In this new world of digital distribution, unlimited information and instantaneous connection, there is still nothing that can replace the experience of being at a live performance.  To be in a room with like minded people all energetically feeding off of each other and enhancing the experience of music, is truly a unique and moving event.  A communal experience resonating at the soul center of each being as they move in harmony with each other projecting and receiving in each moment of contemplation and inspiration.

It can change your mood, stir passion, motivate action, and alter your entire perspective.  

It can change your life.

 

Daniel Liljekvist Leaving Katatonia and its Reflection on the Music Industry

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 19:48 - by Socionic
    

I’m taking a break from the run of previous blog posts about self analysis and progression to reflect upon some news that passed a couple weeks ago within the realm of progressive rock and metal.  The same realm in which the musical side of Socionic exists.  That news being the departure of Katatonia’s drummer, Daniel Liljekvist from the band.

Now, I know that a member leaving a band, even for whatever dramatic reason from creative differences to entertaining band feuds is not really remarkable or at least, unique news by any means.  Granted, Katatonia is one of my favorite bands, and news of the loss of a very talented long time member by them is disappointing, but his reasoning for leaving is what have given pause to reflect…

As stated in the post on the Katatonia website, Liljekvist says:

http://katatonia.com/2014/04/daniel-liljekvist-leaves-katatonia/


“I’ve been thinking about this for the last couple of months and I’ve come to the sad conclusion that i have to leave the band. It’s got nothing to do with ’difference in views´or any other bullshit. I just cannot combine job, family and commit 100% to Katatonia. Times for musicians are rough and i’ve decided to concentrate on my family and get a normal job that gets the bills payed.”
 

The band later goes on to say in the post:


“It makes it so much more frustrating when it happens for the wrong reasons or before reaching our terminus. Particularly, we can’t pretend the current climate has nothing to do with it, in fact this is undeniably yet another outcome of musicians struggling at the crossroads of today’s “scene/industry”. Tragically, this situation forces a member, brother – and our fans favourite long-time drummer – to resign from a band he sacrificed a decade and a half to build. While encouraging this topic to inevitable debate and re-evaluation, we will always be grateful for the years we shared together and we wish Daniel the best of luck in the future."
 

I sincerely appreciate the candor of the band in their statement as to why he is leaving the band and the truth in expression of their worry.  Katatonia is a band that has been around for quite some time, and if you are familiar with their catalogue, you will know that they have written some incredible and unique songs and evolved beautifully throughout their career.  

To comprehend that one of their core members who had been a part of that evolution for the past 15 years, and help bring them to the place of creative prowess at which they stand today, would step aside because of the reasons stated is heartbreaking.  It is discouraging.  That someone so talented as part of something so unique and interesting, and influential to all those whom it touches would be moved in such a way to make that decision is disturbing.  

There are plenty of reasons why a decision such as this might be made, including family or other personal reasons, but they clearly stated that he was struggling to support his family and was stepping aside to get a regular job in order to make it all work.  That says an incredible amount about the state of the industry which supports boldness in art and expression of the type that Katatonia creates.

Looking through the comments, it is clear that Katatonia has many devoted fans who follow their actions, appreciate their music and are moved by their art.  Many comments share the disappointment instilled by hearing hearing this discouraging news and share support, understanding and disbelief that such reason would be given by a band that is at the top of their craft within the genre and industry.  

 

 

It frustrates that in today’s industry, such support is not enough.  It frustrates further however to read the few crass and short sighted comments that cast obstinate opinion about the true difficulty of surviving as a musician today.   The scene is being taken over by corporations and conglomerates and are focused on virality, a quick turn around, and a sure thing.  But there is nothing new in a sure thing.  There is no discovery, no danger, no growth.  We need quite the opposite, perhaps today as much if not more than ever.

I want to assert that the words written up to this point are as those of a fan and not an artist or aspiring musician.  Being that the type of struggle apparently presented could keep a cherished group of musicians and artists from creating and releasing music or touring to my town is a loss for me and all others that have been inspired or moved by their craft.

From an artist perspective however, it is most certainly sobering.  That a band of the quality and level of Katatonia is struggling to live comfortably for their family is a terrifying notion for those aspiring to reach their level.  Knowing all the work recording, touring and practicing that they have put in, and even with all they’ve accomplished things are still tough, is discouraging indeed.  

A product of many factors in the evolution of the industry, with no clear enemy or solution, it makes one wonder about the future and what it will look like.  When bands such as Katatonia eventually retire along with other 90’s era bands such as Tool, Deftones, NIN, who will take their place in that realm of quality?  Will any of the young music fans growing up in the generations to come be able to experience the quality of that level of music, art and expression when it continues to be corporatized and commercialized for the easiest hook and the most viral qualities to turn what’s left of a dollar in the industry?  

The point isn’t about money for musicians to be rich, but to support themselves enough to continue to pour themselves into their art so that they can grow and reach new levels never before reached, as has happened in the past.  It took Led Zeppelin several albums before anyone knew their name, and now you couldn’t turn on a classic rock station without hearing a song of theirs.  And what label or investor today would take a risk on Pink Floyd?

This topic warrants much more thought and examination, for another time and post, but this event brought the concern again to the forefront of consideration.  I hope that the news is perhaps in some way sensationalized and it isn’t as bad as it sounds, but I fear that it is not.  

We and the many convicted artists out there creating art and music for the simple joy and fulfillment of self exploration and expression will continue to make music and art and be grateful for the chance.  But we also hope that the industry finds a way to again support the development of creativity that has inspired so much of us to create for ourselves.

I hope to hear many more albums from Katatonia in the future.  And I hope to be able to create many more myself. 

 

Mind to Darkness

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:56 - by Socionic
    

In nearly every sliver of warming light my conscious turns away, averting its gaze to the cold comfort of darkness.  Even amidst its enchanting matras, it fears the light of progression for all the change and new consideration that it brings.  The friction of evolution, the uncertainty of progression, the possibility to fail.  The progressive ideal is easy to recite, to echo out in self justification, but the embodiment of such is a far different undertaking.  Ideal versus execution delineates the abstract from the tangible, the latter holding superiority in its ability to move and influence that which surrounds and connects to it.

The lines on my face and hands are so vivid in light.  The dirt and scars so lush with horrid stories.  The light, with open eyes and sharpness of focus, brings so much truth and detail, that it becomes almost too much to bear for a such a brittle and voracious ego.  Reflections of bitter memory buried in darkness are easily unearthed by the rays of truth’s transparency.  They present themselves directly before my eyes, forcing me to consider the reality of their existence.  With no shadow or shade in which to hide the revelation of the brightness of truth overwhelms and cripples the ability to ignore that which plagues with perplexity.

The darkness is so much easier.  To be blind is to simplify.  Ignorance is truly bliss.  The habit and prevalence of willful ignorance is a topic worthy of novels in itself.  The hazy opaque blanket of shade is a welcome aid to avoiding the faces of reality that confront the essence of my progression.  Lost behind the veil of obscurity, life and the perception thereof is so much more palpable and enjoyable.

So then, I set my mind to darkness, where that cold comfort brings the reassuring support of obscurity and stagnace.  Leaving this ego an empty canvas with which to paint its fearsome securities.  Burrowing down into the stagnancy of safety, rooting feet and gaze into ground and the dead, settled earth below me.  

This is the face of my regression.  I know well the darkness, but it is vision that I seek.  Awareness of my way is the inception of change.  I must rise from the darkness to seek out the light.  I raise my gaze to meet the face of my progression.

I will confront the full consciousness of my reality.

I will go no further with fear.

 

 

Declaration of Self

Mon, 04/07/2014 - 14:11 - by Socionic
    

In this life I will dedicate to progression and personal growth.  I will move through challenges and unexpected encounters with vigor and malleability.  I will transform conflict to knowledge and use it against those who emerge in opposition.   

I will approach interaction with others with open mind and compassion.  Approaching encounters as gifts, I will glean unseen perspective from another’s eyes.  Leaping from collective experience, I will vault into the sea of discovery far beyond the limits of one.

No two days will be the same.  In every moment I will find discovery and the opportunity for wisdom.  In every iteration I will find a new perspective and strive to dig deeper and deeper within to unearth the full potential of understanding.  Squeezing the essence out of every day’s offering, I will drink up the richness outpouring, and bathe in its depths.

I will become one all emotional and physical weakness inherent upon my inception.  I shall use the connection with the darker facets of my being to expand intuition, use the irrational to fuel perception, and yield to trust the pulses of the unconscious.  Learning to translate the ancient wisdom seeded within my primal being, I will transcend the limits of the meticulous conscious.  

I shall amass such experience empowered as if to move matter with my mind, and possess the understanding of legions.  I will, through continual progression and movement of thought, achieve wholeness and unity, and ascend beyond the reach of earthly forces.  

I will transcend beyond the limits of former perspective and rise to points of vantage allowing sight far, wide, and deep into the abstraction of a layered existence.  Wrought from the fires of discipline and self control, this vessel will ascend and leave behind the trite and trivial dregs of its former days and years.  

Until the last day I will always be moving, inward and outward.  

I shall become anew.  I shall become The Next.  I shall become that which was meant to be all along...  

I shall become my Self.

 

 

Image by Android Jones
http://androidjones.com/

 

The Sea of Humility

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 14:47 - by Socionic
    

The dedication to following the ever expanding path of personal growth consistently brings one outside of the realm of comfortable understanding and across landscapes of the unknown.  That is in fact the essence of exploration, pushing known limits to discover the new horizons and fill open eyes with sights unseen, forever changing the perspective of your previous view.

It takes much time existing outside of the lap of comfort in order to advance along a path toward such an amorphous goal.  Seeing that coveted destination across a sea of discomfort and confusion, wishing there was a way around, it is easy to delay and become discouraged.  But the more you persist, and facets of exploration reveal themselves, it then becomes the centerpoint of the effort.  The journey and not the end.  There comes a point of acceptance and dedication to forward movement when you realize that you must simply dive in, and continue pushing forward and careening into the darkness.   

The once clear shore, now distant and blurred as the fear of drowning and losing direction sets in and becomes intimate reality.  It is so easy to turn back and forever abandon the notion, its existence and necessity so irrational.  It seems unfair and unnecessary, it seems like it all can be avoided, but in this moment holds the essence of the journey.  The epicenter, that if taken with bold approach, can bring you to new heights and worlds never before seen.

Swimming in a sea of humility, with the strength of heart and conviction fueling each stroke, you find the courage to keep afloat.

When you really want something and you know you have it within yourself, but you feel that you have reached the edge of every direction that could possibly be explored, it takes that new level of self reflection and humility to push yourself beyond previously known borders and realize new realms of possibility.  Within the pursuit of personal growth and boundless exploration, the rules that govern the world in which we exist are so much more ambiguous than our physical and literal world.  Logic, reason and rational do not apply in quite the same way as they might in the understanding of engineering, physics and observational science of all matter.  

That is the challenge.  That is the beauty.  That is the reward.

The creative and the Self are so subjective by nature, but yet so profoundly powerful and important in realizing new possibilities and heights of potential.  I suppose that is a big part of the difference; analysis of existing rules, systems and puzzles only takes the close examination and iteration of observable behaviour, whereas the abstract constructs of Self and our shared unconscious minds are yet so unknown and gloriously mysterious.

The pursuit of Self and the creative path is the most difficult endeavour I have undertaken in my life, and it continues on.  But the mantra of pushing and forcing the consideration of new perspectives, constantly throwing myself out of the zone of comfort and convention has taken me to places I would have never otherwise seen.

Swimming in the Sea of Humility, I will touch undiscovered shores, and in that journey, find my true Self.

 

Topic: 

Absent Affirmations

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 19:24 - by Socionic
    

It is a common habit of humans to declare intention of a goal before any effort has been put into it.  Such declarations are often public and to an audience from which one can expect positive response and affirmation.  It seems this effort in itself is enough to trigger a response of accomplishment within the motivational centers of our brains.  Seemingly more often than not, these declarations are stated with true and honest intention, yet in strength and efficacy fall quickly by the wayside when it comes time to act and deliver.

It is an interesting and incredibly common ritual.  I can think of no better example of the widespread offense of this act than that of the New Year’s Resolution (most of which by this time of year are faded and forgotten), and the subsequent predictable future of such are a time honored tradition.  But the habit extends to any other phase of improvement and intention to rise from the rut of current monotony to the heights of entitled expectation, all the while balking at the true and obvious path to reaching such goals.  Lofty and optimistic plans of future intention, effort and improvement, all so clear in mind when discussing among friends and declaring to the universe.  

Perhaps that is why it has become such a tradition; everyone collectively partakes in the premature sense of accomplishment found within these public declarations, aiding each other in the deception.  They then return to their routines and silently dismiss them in collective solitude, each successive time knowing more that there would be no repercussion from prior affirmation accomplices.  

An interesting psychology to witness.  And I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t admit to falling subject to this procedure many times myself.  But within awareness and analysis I am attempting to identify and understand my own declarations and become more and more prone to delivering on them.  For that is the true fabrication of intention: realization.  Many a great idea has been born only to die along the path between intention and execution.  The Artist and Entrepreneur know, the meat is in the mettle.  

The impact of invention of born in its execution.  That is where we must live, acting and living out the intention on which we base and bet our entire future.  That future is now.

Photo credits: Pixelnoizz - "Failed Memories" - http://pixelnoizz.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/failed-memories-the-4th-selec...

Topic: 

Fractal Friday

Mon, 03/10/2014 - 15:08 - by Socionic
    

We have a strong appreciation and love for various mediums of art.  Apart from music, visual is a creative expression with which we resonate the most.  Like all forms of art, there are many ways in which to create and develop an idea.  It ranges from stream of consciousness execution to constructed and planned detail before a work is even started.  It is fascinating to explore and analyze all the different and infinite pathways to creation and art.  An interesting of these approaches, (which initially almost seems counter intuitive), is through mathematical formulae.

It is a musing for another time, but the synchronicity and insight into the fabric of our organic existence as described by mathematics and geometry is incredibly fascinating.  Infinite analogue variation that is seen within every organic thing can somehow be traced to a model and mathematical description.  The building blocks of every complex system posses definable and describable traits that are shared with those of another system.  A common example of this as pertains to fractals and sacred geometry is the growth of plants, and how they follow defining patterns, as seen here:

  

  

The dichotomy of organic and mathematic, the contrast of infinite variation and simple definition are an obsession.  Beautiful concepts in their seemingly polar existence, yet intimate relationships.

To show and share our appreciations of some of these concepts expressed through visual art, we’ve committed to publishing our favorite instances on a weekly basis with the #FractalFriday hashtag.  We think it’s a cool way to appreciate and explore visual artwork that embodies the fascinating fabric of fractals.  Many that we find are created by other talented artists and we will credit them in the posts so that you can explore more of their inspiring works.

So, keep an eye out every Friday for the latest in our discovery of Fractal Art.  Here are some of the best that we’ve seen so far:

 

 

 

 

 

Topic: 

Anniversary Of An Opening Mind

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 20:37 - by Socionic
    

Today, March 3, marks the anniversary of my departure from the confines of a former existence to take the risk and set out to pursue the open world of opportunity and dream of a creative life.  Geographically it meant traversing across the country from a given home in the MidWest to a chosen destination of opportunity and experience.  Symbolically it meant casting aside the limitations of my previous outlook on life, wrought from a youth of limits and conservative impression and succumbing to the conviction of bold aspiration toward a creative life and progressive self improvement.

It had taken much coaxing and self assurance to complete my plan of preparation and finally go through with leaving all I knew to pursue something more.  Jobless, anxious and unsure I left the still dead landscape of the MidWest in a car packed with all my belongings and headed out to pursue what I knew to be the only direction forward in my personal and creative evolution.  Over the previous six months I realized that there was nothing more for me to pursue within the road that I was on. I could see the rest of my life laid out before me, safe and predictable, a sepia toned future. I knew and feared that if I continued upon the path in which I currently headed, that I would wither away and snuff out the potential that was only just beginning to grow inside me.  I instead wanted to dig deeper to open and explore, letting out the light that flickered in the dark shadow of potential, and I set out to discover how.

It was one of the biggest choices that I had ever made, yet it seemed so right and natural.

That subsequent three day trek resulted in a lush and dense set of memories and experiences filled with hopes and possibility that I will never forget to my last day. Traversing the geography of America's countryside from the MidWest to my new destination of hope and opportunity in Los Angeles the geography of the journey was a microcosm of all hopes and beliefs of possibility of an uninhibited and open-minded future.

The countryside evolved and amplified in impressive presence the more Westward I travelled.  Paralleling the excitement and realization of the magnitude of undiscovered opportunity, my sight and senses were bombarded with the form and beauty of endless landscape and horizons of which I had never seen in the homogeneity of my origin.  Still etched within my mind’s eye I see visions of rolling horizons, empty and endless fields populated only by eerie dystopian wind mills, alien landscapes of red, purple and yellow rock that would have fit just nicely within a science fiction movie, desert surfaces populated with plants and creatures seemingly born of a mind amidst an LSD trip, and the mountainous ascent of the Rockies before I headed down their western side fixed upon my final destination.  

Filled with all the excitement, hope and plans for a limitless future, the experience is one that immediately changed me, and validated the strength of those apprehensive aspirations that had gotten me this far.

Although at the time I would villainize my place of origin in an effort to quell my anxiety and justify my decision to leave it behind, I am proud my past and carry close those principles and tenets with me through every effort and step I take.  And although a city such as Los Angeles has as many superficial characters and deceptive detractors as it does creative opportunities and evolutionary advocates, it is the metaphor of what it represents that truly captures the essence of this story.  The geographical journey is a symbol, and the destination a milestone of personal growth and creative development.  It could have been somewhere else, but the meaning behind the transition is what has proved most important in the greater perspective of my evolving view.  The boldness to step away from accepted normality and the subsequent validation of all I have experienced since, is the essence upon which I build as I move forward on my path to creative identity and personal exploration.

It's been many years since I first took that first step upon the journey which opened my eyes to continuing new revelation of future possibility. But I still return to those first days in my new home when I catch the smell of exotic flowers that blossom after the first spring rain of March.

As Socionic enters into a new chapter of our evolution I look to the experience and knowledge that was wrought from that journey and embrace the unknown as we step into future’s fog, all the while maintaining an open, creative mind of endless possibility. The world is truly lush with infinite perspective, especially through the exploration of art, and nothing other than the lack of willingness to open your eyes can keep it from revealing itself.

Love Note to My Anima

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:28 - by Socionic
    

Emerging through the darkness, you reveal yourself to me
Form and figure captivate as presence comes to be
Full and flowing beauty, elegance undenied
Shadow laden fluid grace fills fixated eyes

Mysterious intention approaches from unknown
Origins outside my conscious, beckon, build and grow  
Whispering of secrets, promises of truth
Drinking intuition, I fill with feel of you

Your present touch transcends me, caressing soul and mind
Reaching through the depths of being and beckoning to find
The limitless potential, dormant in the dark
Ushers in a new horizon, a journey to embark

Sowing an expansion upon soul’s fertile soil
Erode away a rational shell restricting me before
Peel away the callus cover, hindering my view
Giving way to movement, ascending, pushing through

Falling to seduction I feel myself transform
Spanning the gap of understanding, consciousness pulls forth
Power over me conforms, reaching deep inside
Lead me through to light and vision or leave me petrified

Eagerly dependant, our union is complete
Your essence fuses with my soul, is now a part of me
With a love abounding, you free me from this shell
Guide me blindly through the dark, and lead me to my Self

 

Topic: 

Environmental Creativity

Mon, 02/10/2014 - 14:35 - by Socionic
    

How much does environment affect creativity?  How much does any context affect the production of creative ideas and ease of their creation?  I think almost all of us can relate to environment in the context of shifting the state of mind to prepare for use in a certain way.  Either to alter mood for creativity, or heighten focus for productivity in some way.  How much does that make a difference in results?  Is it ubiquitous, or does it work differently depending on the individual and their ability to project and focus?

The concept can be extended outside of realm of creativity in an abstract sense as we will be focusing on here.  There are studies that back the claim that environment means much when it comes to productivity of task.  For example, it is said that you are not supposed to study or write while in bed.  Your bed is the place in which you sleep and shut down your mind to rest.  If you try and do tasks that stimulate the brain then it will affect you when you try and go to sleep and shut down.  Conversely, even when awake, your body and mind associate the act of settling down and rest with being in bed, so it will then affect your alertness and ability to focus if work is attempted to be done in that context.

Within the realm of music and art, some take this concept incredibly far.  Creativity being subjective, and the skills necessary to produce consistently and effectively lead to some pretty creative necessities in order to enter the zen creative state.  Exemplifying traits of a condition called LSD ( Lead Singer’s Disease ), often times singer’s require a dimly lit vocal recording booth with black candles, certain incense of a particular aroma, magic elixir of honey, lemon and root from a plant only found in the West Andes in order to get the perfect performance of pitch and emotion.  A painter may wear a certain hat every time he paints.  A writer may feel more productivity in a corner coffee shop than his own living room.  

Context extends beyond physical and geographic means, as with some of the previous examples it also finds influence through ritual.  A process through which the mind traverses in order to reach a certain state.  A state, in the case of creativity, that can be quite elusive to find time and time again.  These places, rituals and contexts serve as a familiar way to find our way back to that state.  And as such can play a very important role in consistent productivity and retention of joy and exploration in work.  It is something that I want to continue to explore and find ways in which to wrangle and control the brightest essence of my inner creative being.  

I believe that with practice, one will need less and less contextual triggers in order to enter their optimal creative state.  I imagine the masters can, with only an assertion of will, enter that state on command and within any context.  That is the goal that I want to achieve.  With discipline and familiarity become a focused creative being.

What are your most creative environments and rituals?  What do you do in order to ‘get in the zone’, become ‘zen, and find your ultimate creative state.  Please leave thoughts and questions in the comments below.