Rode my bike to have breakfast with Jon. Over our usual Huevos Rancheros we discussed this and that. We mentioned that one can either hold on to the days of youth (((so many implant and stretching options to choose from!))), or one can move forward – let’s call it the crossroads of aging. And, ideally that movement forward should be an active and engaging process, rather than a I will simply hold on as long as I can! And then, right after we discussed what aging gracefully might look like we reverted to boys when a tiny bird leaped on our table and eyed us and the scraps on our plates. He flew off and Jon gently placed a single black bean on the edge of the table. Maybe he will come back for that? Do you think they can digest beans? No idea, but he might fly faster. Yeah, like afterburner on a fighter jet! It’ll surprise the hell out of a cat that’s after him…

That’s actually something that reminds me of my dad. Even in his nineties he was always ready for a joke, especially a crude joke.

The older I get the more I want to travel. At some point, and hopefully that point is decades away (((dad flew between Europe and the USA many times in his Eighties))), one turns inward and I imagine it would be nice to have a big warehouse of memories at that point. On the other hand, my maternal grandfather worked 12 hours a day in a factory all of his life, interrupted by two world wars, and he seemed happy.

Remember the end of Blade Runner, where the android is dying on the roof and speaks of the things he has seen…

As Roy’s life fades away, he sits and delivers a brief soliloquy about the experiences of his life:

I’ve… seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain… Time to die.

Of course, in my view nothing is ever lost, period. Time is a construct and the collective consciousness might catch all (((we discussed this in the comments to Wednesday’s post))). A couple of years ago I discussed it with Genpo Roshi and he called it Storehouse Consciousness. I looked it up and found this:

The Lankavatara Sutra addressed these questions: If there is no self, how can an individual accumulate karma, and where is that karma stored? In response, it described eight levels of consciousness, the final level being a “storehouse consciousness” (alaya vijnana), which contains the karmic seeds of all past experience. When engaged, these karmic seeds provoke deep memories, and stimulate the process by which sentient beings are reborn. If one can break through at the root of consciousness, at this storehouse level, to grasp the emptiness of all categories and things, then the cycles of rebirth and dependent origination can be broken. This idea of a breakthrough realization of the true nature of mind was appealing to Chan thinkers. For them, however, the breakthrough was not to the realization of “pure mind” or some “other” state outside of normal existence.

I’d don’t think a discussion of self vs soul vs karmic seed is very useful right here and right now and rather like the practical approach Chan (((Zen in China))) took – see last sentence in the above quote.

Wikipedia has this on the subject.

Speaking of memories… Fall 1990. Our first tour, opening for Basia across the U.S.A. Here you see, from left to right: my brother Stefan (((he started the Basia tour as a roadie, but took over as tour manager after my first manager got us into the red by $30,000 during the first half of the long tour – Stefan returned us to the black during the second half by turning us into a lean touring machine: no hotel rooms, no fancy meals, no extras of any kind))), Davo Bryant holding a banana, myself, Jon Gagan and the awful bus driver. The bus was nothing to write home about. An old MCI bus, it lost a bogie wheel as we pulled away from the gig in St. Louis and the air conditioning broke during the hot Florida Summer. But we knew that the Basia tour was the chance of a lifetime. It was offered to us a bonus for signing the contract with Epic Records. I remember that we were not allowed to play Barcelona Nights during soundcheck, because when we did EVERYONE would walk around whistling or humming it. I also remember Basia band members coming to our table during dinner to beg some red wine, since Danny, the bandleader and keyboard player, was a recovering alcoholic and did not allow any alcohol. Since we considered 6 months of dinner without red wine inhuman, impossible and uncultured, they gave in and let me have one or two bottles per night and everyone including Danny’s brother Peter came over to chat and left with vino in paper cups.

This second photo is from 1993. In August of 1993 we had a record-release party at my house to which Epic Records invited sales-managers from the Sony Music Distribution system and managers from record stores like Tower, Virgin and so on. Dinner was catered by Geronimo, which was a new restaurant in Santa Fe at the time. A bartender stood in my kitchen, made margaritas and handed them through the window to the dining area. For a while I thought one should always have a bartender waiting in the kitchen!! My product manager at Epic Records, Al Masocco, told great stories (((he started in the music business when he was 16 and has lots of stories!!))) and everyone had a great time. I suspect that the three of us are somewhat supporting one another in this photo! A tripod is more stable than a biped.

Six Degrees of Grillo

After hearing the duet between Stephen Duros and Jason McGuire, I googled Jason McGuire and found a whole bunch of YouTube videos featuring him. Some of the videos showed performances of a group that included Jose Blanco. Ring a bell?

Jose “El Grillo” Blanco sang our Spanish version of “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” on the album The Hours Between Night + Day. Did I tell you the story about those lyrics? Well, we contacted Sony Mexico about a Spanish version of Marvin Gaye’s lyrics, assuming that somebody must already covered that great song. We didn’t get a definite answer until the day Grillo arrived at the studio in Santa Barbara – no, there is no Spanish version, none.

In the evening I welcomed Grillo to the studio, showed him around and gave him the news. I also gave him a printout of the original English lyrics, a copy of the music we had recorded, a bottle of vino tinto, a pad of paper and a pen and asked him to write the Spanish version.

The next morning Grillo arrived with Spanish lyrics and sang what you hear on the album.

I always felt the song should have been serviced to latin radio, but Sony/Epic did not agree with me. It received some airplay from radio stations that listened to the album, but it could have been much more. Anyway, I still enjoy our version a lot.

So, sixteen years later Stevo records a piece with Jason, who peforms with Grillo.

Monday Music

Today’s piece is a unreleased and unnamed bossa from 1993. It was recorded during the sessions for The Hours Between Night + Day in Santa Barbara, California. I started working on this mix yesterday evening and consider this a rough mix, but I wanted to share it with you. I am not sure I’ll be able to completely finish the mix before we leave on tour, but imagine I will present it to you at the end of May sometime. I have no notes from the sessions, but it sounds like the musicians were:

OL – guitars
Jon Gagan – upright Bass, synthesizer + piano (listen for the unison between upright bass and piano about two thirds into the piece)
Davo Bryant – kick drum + dumbek
Mark Clark – percussion effects
Osamu Kitajima – koto

Download the high quality 320kbps file here.

Monday Music

Today’s music is a full-length album in mp3 form. It was recorded while we worked on The Hours Between Night + Day in Santa Barbara in the Spring of 1993. It’s ambient music of some sort and contains many sounds I recorded while on tour in 1992. We called the album one 1993 and had a thousand CDs manufactured.

Download the 171MB 320kbps mp3 file here.

Going Wide-screen

The Scent of Light-Echoes August CD of the Month
The music on The Scent of Light builds slowly, each piece carving out a contemplative space until before you know it, the dynamic has completely changed. A centerpiece of the album is “Silence, No More Longing.” It’s an 11 minute excursion that builds from solo guitar, to multi-tracked guitars adding ambient electronics, bass, percussion, and finally unleashing a quiet electric storm from guitarist Stephen Duros.

John Diliberto takes a look at “Scent of Light” against my whole body of work.

You can read the whole piece here and listen to an audio version here. I love the ending of the audio-version!!