What is inspiration? The incomparable Shuggie Otis' third album, 1974's Inspiration Information, features one of my favorite tunes, Aht Uh Mi Hed (Out Of My Head). Of late, I've been of the mind that inspiration IS information. The trick is getting it out of your (my) head. Just as food is converted into energy, so can information be distilled into art.
It can also drain you. An unexpected side effect of composing my last two releases with intention, was the psychological and emotional toll their subject matter (broadly: racism) would take upon me during and after the creative process. In some respects it was above and beyond that of my day to day experience. Like a butterfly having its wings burnt off beneath a magnifying glass, the act of focusing while playing was orders of magnitude more intense than simply breathing in that fresh summer racist hegemony. I was composing from a place of pain with the dual purpose of translating my feelings and to some extent escaping them. I suppose the former was more successful than the latter. By a length.
So what's this then? One of the concepts I’ve thought a bit on the nose was that of making a piece of art ABOUT the pandemic. Call it purism or artistic elitism; those kinds of projects just never rang honest to me. That being said, I’m just some asshole and you know what they say about opinions. Additionally, you can’t separate wetness from water, so maybe I’ve done what I’ve shunned? At any rate, this release was a conscious effort to NOT think (while writing) about the state of the world. To accomplish this, I returned to my original chamber: sampling. Though I began writing songs at age 5, it was 25 years ago, when my brother acquired his first sampler, the SP 1200, which I was not allowed to touch and had to sneak and teach myself while he was at work or asleep, that I first knew the wonderment of alchemy. It is this sense of awe to which I sought to return. The technology has evolved exponentially over the last quarter century, so sampling can sound more organic, or, more robotic if you fancy; salt to taste. Unlimited sample time from an unlimited sample pool is now a reality. These “limitations” allow for constructing new worlds from existing blocks rather than fostering a poor man's abiogenesis. The goal was to think about MY world as opposed to THE world, which was (and is) proving to be much too much. To that end, there were some hiccups; "phood" for example, was directly inspired by food deserts and the causal link between poverty and crime, particularly in purposely impoverished and over-policed (read: BLACK) communities.¯\_(ツ)_/¯
œurve d'isolement attempts, succinctly, to give an instrumental form to the shapes which are my personal feelings, not about isolation, which for me did not begin with the pandemic, but about isolation's fallout: loneliness, lonerism, and love (or lack thereof). Though recently I've begun "actual" therapy (again), music remains a therapeutic outlet for not only negative self-talk and depressive thoughts, but also joy and the knowledge that there are no peaks without valleys. œurve d'isolement asks, "What does creating art as therapy add to the art and/or subtract from the therapy?" Can the catharsis be tarnished by the artist?
Well can it?!
As always, I hope you can dig it, and thank you for your support. Nobody can be you but you. You’re doing great. BLACK MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS. 😘