Metal, gardening and meditation. Three of my favorite things all came into combined focus this weekend for Garden Meditation Day and the #MeditationProvidesHappiness edition of the MPH on KAOSradioAustin.org.
My first experience reaching a zen-like state came while practicing percussion in high school. It was awe inspiring to simply drift from the routine to the sublime as I worked on a polyrhythmic pattern I previously struggled with. I slowed it down to a pedestrian groove and settled into it and the next thing I knew I went from so focused on its complexity to something that felt like the mundane of my heartbeat simple. Since then, when I need to find an equilibrium I focus on the complex until I’m able to break it down into the utterly simple, finding the lowest common denominator of its parts. It served me well as an undergrad music student being able to visualize patterns in ways and express them in forms that maybe were not anticipated. I love the challenge of feeling groupings and how it rearranges my perception of reality. The more complex the music the more time slowed down and I could just chill with it.
This emotive feeling eventually became crowning quote for the Dillinger Escape Plan, whereas, I would joke the band’s spastic complexity could only truly be comprehended by one who has experienced US-9 along the Jersey Shore on an August weekend with not AC in the dead of traffic. Over the years, I’ve done variants of that trip too many times and how I got through it was perceptively the type of thing that could have inspired tDEP. I’d crank up Calculating Infinity and it would relax me and take me to this serene and calming place.
So, in the aftermath of a divorce, almost going broke while being severely underpaid in the music industry and the stress of grad school and changing career paths, the emotional challenges of adoptions, deaths, moving, personal illness, and getting married again as well as the social changes as an effect of 9/11, the great North East blackout, Hurricane Sandy and more here I am. And, Why?
Because of metal, punk and hardcore … because I identify with mathcore, technical death metal, progressive thrash, death prog, atmospheric metal, prog metal, grind, techcore, avant garde, jazz-metal, and who knows how many other subgenres of weird and wily sounds that fall to the musical perimeters because they are thinking man’s attempts at art. The more complex, the more challenging, the more it defies the conventions of the narrow genrification that typically exists the more I’m drawn to it for the purpose of basking in it’s enlightenment as a way to find my own inner being. I put it on and it relaxes me in a way silence, or soft mellow music, or just about anything else can. It seems counter intuitive but there’s actually been neurological studies that examine why this occurs for some people. I’m just glad I’m one of them.
This week’s show derives complexity and calmness as it’s focus. I recorded it from my own garden …Because I can, because I am fortunate enough to have restored an outdoor anomaly in the neighborhood from overgrown to a reclamation that is working to be respectful to the natural local environment. I’ve carefully done what I can to maintain some of the forestation for the local widelife (even if I HATE them eating anything I try and plant) while also making useful for the family and not an eyesore for the neighbors. It’s a great compliment to a great song … and believe me, there were many a day with a shovel, axe or rake that’s exactly what I needed … a great song.
Meditation is a key to who I am and who I’ve become. I’ve often preached to those around me the importance of finding one’s center, one’s equilibrium, one’s path to their inner being. it has not saved me from all my devils but it’s done a stunning job getting me close and I encourage others to do the same. The DavidLynchFoundation.org‘s work to bring it to at-risk populations through DL’s transcendental meditative techniques in order to overcome deep personal trauma. I thought, along with my own experience with personal meditative techniques that his insight and broad scope of work from vets to domestic violence to illness to just everday stress if you can’t find peace in a garden or a park that his could be an interesting way to find out more…
Between the Buried & Me “All Bodies” Alaska
Chaos Divine “Painted with Grey” Colliding Skies #NewMusic (2015)
Into Eternity “Splintered Visions” Buried in Oblivion
Black Crown Initiate “Withering Waves” the Wreckage of Stars
the Human Abstract “Crossing the Rubicon” Noctune
the Contortionist “Conspire” Language
Periphery “Rainbow Gravity” Jug:Alpha #NewMusic (2015)
Blind Illusion “Viscous Visions” the Sane Asylum
Tourniquet “White Knuckling the Rosary” Crawl the China
Believer “Sanity Obscure” (watch intro)
Deliverance “Sober Theme” Camelot in Smithereens
Atheist “Third Person” Jupiter
Cynic “Veil of Maya v.2” Focus
Psycroptic “Echos to Come” self-titled #NewMusic (2015)
Death “Bite the Pain” the Sound of Perseverance
Dissonance in Design “Absolution” Setient
Origin “the Aftermath” Antithesis
Obscura “Celestial Spheres” Omnivium
Upheaval “Divine Command” Cathegrism #NewMusic (2015)
Byzantine “to Release” to Release is to Resolve #NewMusic (2015)