Michaelwclark.com

Just my stuff


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We Are The Future (and a few things went wrong…)

This experimental piece started out with my desire to get back into using the mic. Most of the vocals are me with some heavy digital filters. At the beginning and end, I also use some electronically generated voices from FL Studio and Alter Ego.

I don’t expect a lot of people to like this! But I do. It means something to me. And art is about being true to yourself. At least, that’s how I see it. I suppose a commercial artist would also be concerned about the audience.

It’s not that I don’t care about the audience. I actually spent days and days trying out different mastering techniques to get this as “commercially professional” as I could at this stage in my learning curve.

But again, I know it’s out there. I’m used to being slightly ahead of my time. It has its joys, misunderstandings, and related challenges. But that’s what I am. 🙂

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Reelin’ in the Years – 1995

Image – discogs

1995 was a wonderful year for music. So many classic albums and even the singles charts are looking more promising. I’m 33 years old and buying more pop than I have for decades. And I am feeling a bit of a rebirth – finding my groove again – after going deep into Gregorian chants and Renaissance choral music.

Hey, The Rebirth of Cool Phive came out that year, and I was the youngest of 5 kids. Okay, that’s not quite a synchronicity, I admit. But it did strike a chord for that and other reasons. I would love to see her jump out of a sewer grate as I’m walking down to the library on the mean streets of Toronto!

That image (top right) actually has a subtle, spiritual meaning for me too. After moving past the Hindu guru-disciple ideal, which I came to find limiting and obscuring, I thought I’d found all the answers in the Catholic church. Well, yes and no. Yes in that the spirituality there is second to none. But no in that the worldliness of some priests and parishioners also impacted my sensitive soul.

Image – Wikipedia

Spiritually speaking, it felt around that time as if I was being sucked down a rabbit hole, not unlike the image in Alice in Wonderland. It was a strange time of change. All the while I’m doing my doctorate, getting excellent grades and coming to realize that this transformation is an integral part of my journey.

Like any kind of hero’s quest, one needs helpers. And I did meet others along the way – inside and outside of the university – who could relate to what I was experiencing. They’d been through something similar themselves so offered a few words of support, just to let me know I was not alone.

Don’t worry if this is starting to sound obscure and not making sense. It is different. And I don’t expect everyone to relate. The real point I’m trying to emphasize is that you can’t really make it alone in the spiritual life, unless you want to end up a street person giggling at ghosts or talking to invisible extraterrestrials (I met some people like that… more later).

That’s fine if that is what you want or perhaps feel called to become, but it certainly was not something I aspired to be.

After listening to some of my favs from the pop world of ’95, I had to choose the guru. Ironic because I was getting past a former guru relationship, getting that fuzzy vibe out of my system and spiritually speaking, sobering up.

The guru (Keith Edward Elam) died in 2010. I’m not into rap much but he’s different. Instead of glorifying the gangsta life, he’s urging kids to be calm and sensible.

It takes a more intelligent man to squash a fight
Than to set one off

~ Lifesaver

I still like the guru very much, especially “Living In This World.”

Around this time I was also getting into trance. The University of Ottawa college radio DJs played trance and hip-hop all night long. I wasn’t a DJ anymore, as I had been at other universities. But I still had a four-way stereo reaching over two floors of my slightly run-down split-level apartment, and I listened. I liked 90s dance and techno, which was pretty new for me. The French Canadian hip-hop from Montreal was also really good. Much subtler than the Anglo stuff.

Hallo Spaceboy

Hallo Spaceboy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

David Bowie, one of my favorite artists of all time, was coming back into form. “The Heart’s Filthy Lesson” and “Hallo Spaceboy” were important songs for me that year. Although the guru still comes out on top for ’95.

In the tech world, the internet had come to the university. We had a large computer room in the basement which was way less crowded at night. So I’d often walk over to the school and start surfing, playing around with Paint, and generally learning a whole new landscape. It was Netscape back then. I’m more or less a night person so working in the wee hours was no big deal. I actually enjoyed it. Lots of cute women to meet when I wasn’t studying. 🙂

So that’s it for 1995. A year of change and new discoveries.

What’s happening.. check it out
It’s critical, the situation is pitiful
Bear in mind, you gotta find somethin spiritual
We never gain, cause we blame it on the system
You oughta listen whether Muslim or Christian…

~ Living In This World

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

 A male escort sent a 1,200 page dossier calling 40 priests ‘actively gay’ to the Vatican (pinknews.co.uk)

 Vatican revives pope’s sexual abuse panel (rappler.com)

 Australian Cardinal George Pell Appears in Court on Sex Abuse Charges (time.com)

 Catholic Church fearful priests and nuns will have to register as Vatican spies under new laws in Australia (telegraph.co.uk)


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Preview of the JUNOS!

Probably the only national award ceremony where the biggest winning stars don’t bother to show up. Video shout outs, or whatever they are, only add to the thin, flimflam vibe.

Background vector created by Iconicbestiary – Freepik.com

 


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Warning… Hot Coffee!

strange blur – taken moments after the scorcher… by mistake… (usually my best are by mistake!)

Last night I was out in the countryside and pulled into one of my fav. donut shops to grab a coffee. The young lady was sweet and polite but, little did I know, handed me a scorcher of a cup of coffee. So off I went into the car, into the night, on to my next destination. Driving very slowly through an empty parking lot I figured it was a good time to take a sip.

Yeouch. It was hot. But I thought I could handle it. So I kept on sipping. Next, I’m sipping over a speed bump… one of those small but really nasty speed bumps that force you to slow right down.

That did it. I scorched the back of my throat and can still feel it somewhat today. After getting home last night I read all about scorched vocal chords, because I’m taking it upon myself to improve my singing voice.

All I can do is hope it gets better. I considered suing but read a few articles on the web. All scorching at donut hole suits have been dismissed. And I’m not really the suing type, anyhow.

But a word of advice to any speakers or singers out there, wannabe or pro. After reading up on it, I realized that the vocal chords are very sensitive instruments. Take care of them. Be smart. I know I will from now on.


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hymn for the earth

Here’s a little jingle i wrote years ago in india… originally for guitar. i’ve tried different versions over the years. this one is influenced a bit by david bowie.. specifically, i was thinking of bowie while doing the little drummer boy rat-a-tat snare on my midi keyboard.

i forgot to humanize the kick drum, so it’s all the same velocity and “quantized” timing on the grid. but the rest is pretty loose, so i think it’s okay… haven’t been motivated yet to fix the kick..


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App Attack!

Fevertech cosmos

Fevertech cosmos (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was walking down the street yesterday. A beautiful summer day. Bilious clouds and sun. More like August than July.

The teens by the local school were all staring into their smartphones. Me, I’d just spent a half hour sitting on the grass behind the library, marveling at nature’s wildflowers and berries. So the kids, with noses buried in their screens, seemed to be missing something.

Suddenly I got a funny idea for a hip hop/rap tune.

The lyrics, melody and arrangement started coming fast. But I can’t remember exactly. Here’s what I can remember, with some reconstruction. Will start working on the tune when the spirit moves me.

APP ATTACK!

She walks into the store,

“Can you help me, man?

I’d like one of these

I’d like it in a can.”

He says, “Sure thing,

coming right up.”

But then all ‘a sudden,

He turns kinda green,

Just another symptom

if you know what I mean…

It’s an

APP ATTACK..!

funky instrumental

A grimace and a groan

He falls to the floor

making sure his phone

doesn’t smash the door…

Scanning all his mail

He tweaks his tweeps

Stands up and smiles,

“Can I help you please?”

She’d just had enough

and faintly smiled,

“I think I’ll take my biz

to that other guy.”

He looked kinda sad, says,

“Oh no please.

My manager’ll kill me.

My car’s on a lease.”

She stands there thinking,

“Should I give another chance?”

When all of a sudden,

he goes sorta pale

face twistin’ inward,

kinda like a snail.

She knew what was happnin

and headed for the door.

And sure ’nuff behind her,

He falls to the floor.

It’s an

APP ATTACK..!

funky instrumental

“Just a minute please,

this’ll only take sec

I really can’t afford it

I can’t fall into debt.”

But she was done

Yeah, she’d seen the sign,

She couldn’t stick around

on her time.

It’s an

APP ATTACK..!

funky instrumental

 


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Midnight Oil – Don’t Wanna Be The One

Somehow this tune eluded me. I was 19 in 1981, and I always look back on that year as a turning point. I remember the music industry was in a bit of a spin. Supertramp did some lackluster album around that time. A once great group had pretty much lost its spark. Crosby, Stills and Nash did something too. But it was just a pale shadow of their former glory. Yes, the 70s were over. And we had to admit it and move on. New Wave (I think Midnight Oil sort of belongs in that category) was a welcome relief to the old 70s prog rock bands that had lost it by the 80s.

New Wave actually began in the late 70s. But who’s counting?

Anyhow… just heard this for the first time. And it reminds me of the early Police, B-52s, Talking Heads and a whole bunch of others who really helped to shape the music and keep it moving forward.

Nice flashback!