Enlightened Conflict

juxtaposition

November 24th, 2016

 

juxtaposition-stop-keep-moving-life-advice

 

“It is a union that suggests the essential mystery of the world.

Art for me is not an end in itself, but a means of evoking that mystery. ”

 

René Magritte on putting seemingly unrelated objects together in art

 

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jux·ta·po·si·tion

noun

 

  1. the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect.

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Thanksgiving often represents the ultimate juxtaposition.

 

dream interesting headA time and place in which generations intersect.

 

The ones intermittently stepping with both uncertainty and moments of certain confidence … growing into who they will be.

 

The ones intermittently standing in a space of satisfaction and moments of dissatisfaction … who grapple with who they are <and what they have done and have not done>.

 

The ones intermittently looking at how things have changed, for good and bad, who desperately hold on to who and what everyone was … while every bone in their body wants to see how it will be better for those around them despite how much has changed.

 

 

Thanksgiving is fraught with juxtapositions.

 

And we wonder why there is often conflict?

 

Thanksgiving often forces us to view the past, present and future in one forced viewing. And not only that but instead of the more common sit back and introspectively view your own intersection of past, present & future this one is more often done in a collaboration & consensus event where all participants weigh in and offer some thoughts on. And the participants aren’t typically some random people pulled of the street or employees in some department you only see in the break room … these participants are representative of what truly happened in your past, are most likely semi involved in your present and , whether you like it or not, are places you will visit again in your future.

 

The juxtaposition of what is in your own mind and what is in others minds shifts the intangible to tangible as real as the turkey being served on a plate to everyone.

 

I often do think that Thanksgiving is art coming to Life.

 

We picture the picture.

We choose the palette of colors to use.

We all place a brush on the canvas.

 

And, in the end, we gaze at the end product … each seeing it through our own lens of what Life means to us and what we mean to Life.

 

Juxtapositions can be difficult.

 

Difficult to … well … like … or maybe to embrace easily.bad-good-juxtapose-life-family-ideas

 

Difficult to easily see how the good and bad embody … well … good shit.

 

Difficult to see a reality that matches … well … the reality we had in our head before we were forced to encounter this juxtaposition.

 

Regardless.

 

I have one word for you today, on this thanksgiving, as we ponder this day in which we are faced with juxtaposition  … “neighboring.”

 

In the Modern Guide of Synonyms juxtaposition does not have its own heading.

It can only be found under “neighboring.”

 

Juxtaposing can be found only side by side with adjacent, adjoining, contiguous and neighboring.

 

Far too often we, I included, separate past, present and future … “live in the moment” … “learn from the past” … “the future is now.”

All that shit.

 

Last year on Thanksgiving I suggested it is the functional dysfunctional being served as a good tasting dish on the day. That on Thanksgiving all of that typically comes together and eats together. But I also suggested … “all I know is that my family is my family and my childhood was my childhood and my future is my future.”

And that the functionally dysfunctional in all aspects, and all the aspects, helped craft the man, the person, I am today. I imagine I am not that different in that aspect from anyone else.

 

I was a victim of it all without becoming a victim of the experience. Just as I will be a victim of the future without becoming a victim of the experience.

 

Anyway.

 

Past, present and future are neighbors. We see each other every day and say good morning even when grumpy and not awake and talk about what is happening with our kids and lives over the fence in between chores. And these neighbors paint the canvas of our lives. Yeah. Sometimes we don’t always like what we see but sometimes it all comes together just right.

 

Thanksgiving, while a forced juxtaposition in which we are forced to sit and face next generation of thinkerspast, present & future, is a gathering of neighboring thoughts, adjacent thoughts, adjoining thoughts and contiguous thoughts.

 

And that, my friends, is what art is.

 

A gathering of all those thoughts.

A creation borne of the mystery of the world … and our world.

 

Ponder that this thanksgiving wherever you are and whoever you are with.

 

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

unbieliberable

November 18th, 2016

 

bieber-love-yourself

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“Two people can look at the same thing and see it differently.”

 

Justin Bieber

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Yeah.

 

This is slightly embarrassing … but this is about Justin Bieber music.

 

I haven’t done any research <because that would be even more embarrassing to admit> but my guess is simply by listening to the radio that his latest album is an unbelievable <see … that’s how I came up with that ‘unbelieberable’ … clever, huh?> success.

 

My guess is that he has released maybe 5 songs off it that are being played nonstop on the radio.

 

And, yes, I find a number of the quite catchy.

 

And, yes, if I could find his producer I would suggest laying off the stupid little techno sound tricks they randomly toss into the songs.

 

But his newest release, Cold Water, has one part that, yes, I find outstanding.

me-dancing-to-music-in-the-street-vacation-jo

The opening to that song is frickin’ fabulous. Yeah. Later on that frickin’ producer throws in some wacky techno crap, but that opening … whew.

 

Good stuff.

 

He may be a snarky little shit but his voice is impeccably clear. He has a natural set of pipes on him that permits him to deliver the goods without strain nor be dependent upon production tricks or some insane yelling & screaming.

 

If I were a betting man I would actually put money on him being successful as he ages <assuming he doesn’t kill himself thru some stupidity>.

It’s not his songs … it is his voice.

 

Once he gets through this pop song stage I wonder what he will become.

 

I am not a songwriter but if I were and I wrote something other than catchy pop songs <although I believe McCartney songs were also a version of a catchy pop song … but an artistically crafted catchy song> I would kill to have him sing it.

 

Until then I don’t think I will ever get tired of that Cold Water opening.

 

Fabulous.

Fabulous voice.Justin Bieber onstage at the American Music Awards

Fabulous delivery.

 

It gives us hope that ‘the Beebs’ can be something other than a snarky little shit singing catchy poorly written pop songs.

the song Keep You In Mind

November 6th, 2016

 

keep-you-in-mind-banks

Ok.

 

Keep you in Mind by Guordan Banks.

 

Apparently this is a Fall 2015 song … but I just heard it on the radio on the local R&B station.

I will net it down for you … awful lyrics and awesome groove. But … what a groove.

 

As the first commenter under the video on YouTube says:

 

aarismom191 month ago

How the fuck am I a year late ?

 

Well.

 

I agree. I am just another late comer to this song.

 

What helps me out a little <after a bit of research> is that “Keep” entered on the Nov. 28, 2015 chart and then steadily climbed over 29 … yes … 29 weeks … to reach #1 on the R&B charts in June 2016.

 

We should note Banks’ journey to the top of the chart is the longest since January 2014 when Robin Thicke’s “For the Rest of My Life” reached No. 1 in its 31st charting week. The longest trip to No. 1 came in 2003 when R. Kelly’s “Step in the Name of Love” <another song I was late to find but did write about> peaked in its 34th week.

 

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GUORDAN BANKS

Keep You In Mind

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This is definitely a “windows down cruising along the street” song.

 

And I will admit. What I kept coming back to was the underlying synth beat singingin-the-car dogwhich reminded me of SOS band <who I also liked>. He just casually sings over a light 80’s groove mix … but that smooth groove underneath?

Whew.

That is what makes you turn up the volume in the car just a little more.

 

By the way.

 

The song was remade/remixed by Chris Brown in October 2016 <which may also be the reason the original is getting a little more airplay> but don’t waste your time on the remix version … the original is awesome as is.

One dance redux

June 15th, 2016

 drake drizzy

 

Well.

 

This is a music post.

 

Drake has a new song called One Dance. Nice beat. Kind of fun to listen to. But not a great song.

 

Look.

 

I have written twice about Drake. Once for Take Care <with Rihanna>  and once for Hold On we Are Going Home .

 

I want to like Drake’s music. I tend to like his delivery, I tend to like his voice <when it isn’t filtered thru some production technique> and I tend to like the rhythm & flow of his music.

 

That said.

 

I sometimes find his solo songs slightly tedious. Frankly, he seems at his best when not singing alone … in particular when his voice is tempered by a female voice <his voice and Rihanna’s mesh better than almost any duo out there>.

Justin Bieber onstage at the American Music Awards

And to make my point I will use the oft-ridiculed Justin Bieber. Say what you want about the Beebs lack of maturity but the boy has a set of pipes and can sing.

 

He took One Dance and made it the song it should have, and could have, been.

 

Well done Beebs.

 

 

 

 

another mother further

April 19th, 2016

 

 

another mother further

 

Well.

 

 

We just got a new radio station where I live … “old school black r&b/funk music.”

 

 

Everything from the Fugees “ready or not”  to the Gap Band “Party Train”  to Bill Withers “lovely day”.

 

 

<three of my favorite songs of all time>

 

But.

 

Then a song came on and good memories hit me on note number one.

 

The joyce kennedy mothers finestopening “there is no other who can compare to you” <Joyce Kennedy> blasts out of the speakers and Mother’s Finest singing “Baby Love” begins.

 

Whew.

Mother’s Finest. What a band.

Baby Love. What a song.

 

I assume every region has “a band.” They crank out great songs but never seem to hit the national level. Mother’s Finest was one of those in the Southeast in the USA.

 

Mother’s Finest came out of Atlanta in the 1970’s with a kick ass soul jazz funk sound with a dose of rock mixed in.

 

But it was in 1977 they put out an album called “another Mother Further.” Now. I didn’t get my hands on this album until maybe the early 80’s.

What a frickin’ album.baby love mothers finest

 

Baby Love.

 

Thank You for the Love <a wonderful slow groove bed under story telling lyrics thanking ‘you for the love’>.

 

Mickey’s Monkey.

 

 

<note: if you want to hear how frickin’ good they were live … here is Baby love Live which showcases Joyce Kennedy’s  kick ass voice>

 

 

 

I really could never figure out why they never made it as big as some other bands and I dug up his review just to share:

 

A post-Sly race- and gender-integrated funk-rock band, Mother’s Finest is stylistically somewhere between Rufus and Funkadelic, though they never achieved anywhere near the cultural impact of either. To a certain extent, Mother’s Finest fell into the “Apartheid-Oriented Radio” trap, in which any African-American rocker between Jimi Hendrix and Vernon Reid – leaving Prince out of the discussion for now – was unable to get mainstream media attention. So despite touring success (including an opening stint for The Who) and decent sales for their first two CBS albums, they veered into radio-ready R&B in 1978 and seemed unsteady about their direction for the next decade or two before refocusing on hard rock. They’ve kept the band together, more or less, and their 2003 record is among their best yet.

 

mothers finest in 70sIt’s not exactly unfair that fellow outcasts Funkadelic have achieved latter-day veneration as psychedelic funk/rock pioneers while the Finest haven’t – Funkadelic was far more innovative, unpredictable and influential, plus they flat-out wrote better songs – but taken on their own terms Mother’s Finest has pleasures to offer.

Lead vocals are traded between Joyce Kennedy (who recalls Tina Turner’s mix of roughness and control) and Glenn Murdock, original rhythm section “Wyzard” and “B.B. Queen” kept an enviable pocket, and the band has written most of its own material.

 

Wilson & Alroy’s Record Reviews

 

 

Baby Love is an awesome song.

And it was great to hear it again.

 

 

 

 

no more earth wind and fire

February 9th, 2016

maurice white giza EWF

“You’re a shining star, no matter who you are.

Shining bright to see, what you can truly be.”

 

(Earth Wind & Fire: Shining Star)

 

 

—-

 

“I had a vision, and music was playing in my head that I wanted to bring through. What I had in mind was exactly what Earth, Wind & Fire became.”

 

 

Maurice White

 

 

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Boy.

 

singingin-the-car dogIt seems like the music of my youth is passing away before my eyes. Today it is Maurice White of Earth Wind & Fire.

 

 

Earth Wind & Fire was one of those awesome live bands who could bring their bigger than life songs to life … as big if not bigger … on stage. And, yet, in the car you found yourself singer bigger than Life.

 

 

 

I saw them decades ago and I can still remember hearing the opening notes of September <I think> playing over a darkened stage. And then the voices filtered in and as they did it is almost like the musicians appeared … and then they flickered out. Only to be replaced by the entire band in white with arms spread wide.
I am not sure if they used hologram technology or some stage gimmickry but that opening may be one of the most iconic breathtaking openings I have ever seen in concert.

 

 

I loved their sounds & lyrics. The music was a random mix of funk, soul, R&B, pop, jazz and whatever else it seemed like they could try … all delivered with an incredibly infectious groove and wrapped up in bigger than Life, slightly mystical, lyrics.

 

Their lyrics almost always seemed to have some grander purpose than simple storytelling or some of the insipid lyrics you hear on today’s radio.ewf maurice
Originating from Chicago in 1969 Earth, Wind, and Fire was created through the mind of Maurice White.

 

He began his career as a session drummer for the likes of Etta James and Muddy Waters and in Earth, Wind & Fire, he not only drummed but sang, wrote, and produced. The group went on to sell more than 90 million albums worldwide, displaying a flashy and eclectic musical style that incorporated White’s influences from growing up in Memphis, Tenn.

 

 

In dedication to Maurice White here are my top 5 EWF songs <I admit I included a couple just because they show live band footage and you can see how awesomely over the top  they were> :
Shining Star:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9m6DMDZzYzw
<less than 3 minute song>

 

 

earth wind and fireLet’s Groove:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lrle0x_DHBM

 

 

 

September:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs069dndIYk

 

 

Boogie Wonderland:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=god7hAPv8f0

 

 

 

Sing a song:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBpsOu8jyU8

 

 

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“We just wanted to be the best band in the whole world. Maurice had a fierce work ethic, and we learned from him to have that same work ethic.

He was the consummate perfectionist.”

 

Philip Bailey <Earth Wind & Fire singer>

RIP Maurice.

Enlightened Conflict