Calling Occupants

There must be something broken. Somehow, Life of a Better Man has slipped back 3 spots to #14 on the Top 20 Chart. Like, is Jian Gomeshi mad at me or something? Was I wrong to tell him he didn't have to say “happy” before each day of the week? Whatever the case may be, things are now as they are and the wise should step back to appreciate a wider perspective. Thanks to all those who have voted. You may continue to do so, if you wish. They say what goes down, must come up... or something like that... which I know at least holds true for hydrogen peroxide ingested for resurrecting turkey bones from k9s in the midst of a most memorable thanksgiving feast. LOABM may rise again, perhaps. The ever beguiling temptress that is CBC radio may yet offer up it's supple bosom for all of spring's emergent, enduring and ephemeral; even the slowest of foliages. And as the weekend approaches, so too does a new week full of promise and hope. As weeks turn to months, months to years, and so on and so forth, we must remember that music is not a competition, nor does it derive value from numbers on a subjective chart. Music should be judged by how it makes you feel and then given a value in feel units which can be objectively ranked from best to worst. On this definitive list, Slow Leaves ranks #1; or rather shares that spot with Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft by Klaatu (The Carpenters version is also special). Now that's the type of inclusion I know we can all get behind. Happy Thursday!

The Charting Process

Life of a Better Man has now reached no. 11 on the CBC radio 2 top 20 chart. This is after entering the chart at 13, then climbing to 12 the following week, and sitting at 11 this week. By my calculations and considering the current rate of increase, LOABM only needs to stay in the chart for another 10 weeks to reach no. 1. I'll admit I'm no expert in music chartery, but I'm pretty sure this is how it works: First, the song enters the chart causing a perturbation in the dynamical system that is the musical cosmos. Second, it progresses through a series of rigorous and undisclosed lab tests otherwise reserved only for new cosmetics products and top secrete potential alien landing sight officially non-existent evidence. Finally, if the song is deemed fit for CBC listeners, it climbs the chart in a predictable and controlled fashion. Here's the rub: Though my imminent rise may appear like bulletproof logic, considering the nature of deterministic chaos, nothing guarantees arrival at the coveted no. 1 slot. But, notwithstanding the unlikely reunion and subsequent release of a new single at least equal in excellence and emotional impact as the eternal Forever by Jesse and the Rippers which would indeed throw the whole system careening into a tailspin of unpredictable tumult, I'd say it's a sure thing.  

Bananas

Good people of earth, it would appear that your tireless voting, late night squat regimes and whopper runs, have not gone unnoticed. Slow Leaves has officially entered the Radio 2 top 20 at lucky number 13. Finally, proof that your vote does in fact matter. Your whispering voices continue to ring loudly, unaffected by the wave of power that now surges through my veins. To wit (from Bananas): From this day on, the official language of San Marcos will be Swedish. Silence! In addition to that, all citizens will be required to change their underwear every half-hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside so we can check. Furthermore, all children under 16 years old are now... 16 years old!

On The Radio Campaign Trail

So, as some of you already know, I've had the privilege of having my song “Life Of A Better Man” playing on CBC radio 2. And as stated by many folk wiser than myself, with great privilege comes great responsibility, which in this case takes the form of campaigning for votes with the design of propelling the song into the upper reaches of the Radio 2 top 20 chart and then from there, who knows, maybe a gold record in outer space, or better yet, a gold cassette for the cosmic hipsters, or the earthbound who rough it with their sanyo portable double tape deck boom box at rustic, but not without essential amenities like flush toilets and wooden bird door knockers, cottages which presumably exist somewhere “far out” like say, groovy NW Ontario but less than say, outer space.
Now I know some of you never vote for anything because you may feel that our “democracy” is a facade for the self-preservation of the liberal elite. Or maybe you're too concerned about the Rothchilds, chemtrails, the illuminati, creationism, bigfoot, etc... I am too. But this has nothing to do with any of that. Just think about all the things I could have done for you but never did. Don't fill up your gut with guilt. Fill it with porridge and good music. Here's the link:http://music.cbc.ca/#/The-Radio-2-Top-20. Vote now!

CBC Searchlight

Maybe some of you have heard of the CBC searchlight song competition. In short, I have entered a song called “Everybody Wants To Be In Love” (by Slow Leaves) in this competition. If you would like to vote, here is the link:http://music.cbc.ca/#/Searchlight-Up-To-Speed. After voting, if you would like to read further and know more about what superficially appears to be my cynicism towards these kind of contests but upon further reflection may in fact reveal more about my insecurities surrounding self-promotion; by all means, continue. Searchlight appears to be a vote collecting competition that leverages the hopes of un-heard-of bands to drum up a lot of publicity and interest in CBC radio. Now I'm certainly not against clever marketing schemes; in fact some of the more critical of you might venture to think that this post falls squarely within that category. You might even be partially right. But only in the sense that there is nothing concrete or absolute about anybody's intentions. The truth is I want you to hear my song and think “Gee, what a great song! Another example of an under-appreciated genius that has too much integrity to participate in the manipulating game of industry brown-nosing.” I also wouldn't mind winning the prizes or receiving the attention and acclaim, however remote the possibility of winning may be. As a rule, popularity contests are not my strong suit. As you might have noticed already, I have a tendency to over-explain what may very well be a simple concept. I do this because I do not want to be misunderstood even though this can have the effect of alienating certain people. So lets be as clear as possible. I would like you to vote for me. Just understand that my motives are selfish and that I'm trying to enter this parade of egotism without waving the biggest flag. Thank you. p.s. Don't forget to vote vote vote every day!

For Valentine's Day

Early maps had middles from which lines went outward, joined other lines as roads and rivers, then disappeared in boundaries defined by unknowns. The ocean, like a curtain drawn to separate land from sky with its vast border advancing and receding, ceaselessly reorganizing, shattering against rock and turning stone to sand, defined the most concrete notion of a clear boundary. As we stood one evening at the edge with our toes tucked in sand, a cone of light stretched from our feet across the water toward a round and silver moon. The strands of light gathering loosely thirty or so yards out appeared to converge, then drawn to the highest crests, shatter in a billion pieces across a billion waves, arriving and vanishing in infinite rhythms of chaotic beauty. We knew that if we were to separate and walk in opposite directions, our moon in its stubborn resolve would lay in duplicate a path for each of us, and we, equally implicit in the grand illusion would accept that we each held the middle of a singular map. Without a word, we stood firm and motionless, stubborn as the moon, an undivided centre, refusing to define the vague boundaries that held us together.

Song as an ex-lover

Many songs are pleasant on the ears. They float on the air like incense burning low and careful and then disperse as soon as a window is opened. I want my songs to enter a room like an ex-lover, throwing the air in spiralling columns; storms that carry the weather of regret, sadness, romance, lust, love, betrayal, despair and reconciliation, then linger in your mind like time, always changing shape but never leaving.  

Birth of a Song

My best songs, in my opinion, seem to come together naturally and without force or strong-armed persuasion and take shape quickly, often within an afternoon. As a matter of necessity, for I have a poor short-term memory, I immediately make a rudimentary recording so as not to let my memory distort and confuse the ideas in following days. Of course as time goes on, the song will evolve: lyrical edits, delivery adjustments, added arrangements... and the song matures into something more presentable like the well dressed job applicant. Well, for what is gained, there is always something lost, something special and honest present only at the moment of conception before deliberate thought starts poking around with its greasy, meddling fingers. In these moments, the song wears sweatpants and sits comfortably on the couch. This is not the professional facade, nor is it the thing-in-itself, but perhaps the thing-for-myself, devoid of the pretences inevitable when the presence of others casts a shadow. For this long-winded reason, I have decided to share some of the “demos” I've recorded in their earliest incarnations. They are all poorly recorded but represent to me the capture of an elusive quality that is often lost at later recordings. I will “release”, as one might a doberman or a negligee on an unsuspecting mail carrier, the first instalment on December 4th as part of a series of videos I've imaginatively titled “Slow Leaves – Home Recordings”.  

Mirror

If you're like me and just watched yourself eat a family-sized bag of chips alone in the mirror, perhaps the following thoughts also went through your mind. First, the inevitable question arises as to whether diminishing self-worth is observable to the naked eye and if so, could these changes be dramatic like the dimming of a light switch? Perhaps it's simply the fading evening light. How much time has passed? This seems unlikely. Second, the more basic question of whether chips have anything to do with self-esteem? Perhaps the chips are a symptom of a more fundamental issue? Yet maybe I just enjoy the taste. Third, why am I still in front of a mirror? Fourth, the realization I'm having the most inconsequential conversation with nobody at all, an audience in my head. Fifth, the analogy: my relationship with social media. I post something with a style of whimsy, though carefully thought out, a content utterly meaningless, and a design, subconscious or otherwise, of garnering admiration from an unknown congregation. Applause is the chip in my mouth. I am my own audience. The final question: why not eat chips away from the mirror? And then a click: “Post”.