November 01, 2017

A World Record? Really?

Okay....okay....I know it's been a while since I posted anything but then again, time is relative.  If you consider the big picture of the universe, it really hasn't been that long.  I practically posted just a few minutes ago. But I digress, as I have a tendency to do, and probably should get to the real reason I am posting.
I turned the television on the other day and I heard something that got me thinking.  Not only did it get me thinking, it raised questions that need to be answered.  Questions that are driving me insane.  Now anyone who knows me, knows that I am an ubergeek from way back in the day.  So needless to say, when I turned the television on, it was on the BBC America Network and Star Trek Voyager was on.  It was Season 4's Episode 12 titled "Mortal Coil" and it's the episode where Neelix dies on an away-mission.  Luckily, he is brought back to life by the Doctor with the help of Seven of Nine and her Borg nanoprobes. 

Now this is where my question comes in.  When the Doctor tells Neelix what happened and how he was dead for a while but is now alive, he says, "Congratulations, Mr. Neelix, you just set a new world record." It was those ten simple words that sent my mind into overdrive and spinning out of control.  How could the Doctor say something like that? A new world record, huh? And what world would that be? Earth? Voyager is more than 70,000 light years away from Earth so it would be hard to set a world record here.  Hmm....Neelix is Talaxian so maybe the Doctor was referring to Talax? Could be but then again, Neelix is from the Talaxian moon Rinax so does he qualify for the world record there? I don't know.  Is Rinax independent or is it a "territory" of Talax? Also, Voyager is nowhere near Talax or Rinax so how can any achievement he accomplishes on Voyager count as a record (world or otherwise) there? Maybe its a world record for whatever world they are near at that time? Could be but that raises some serious questions as well. How does the Doctor know what the current record is on the nearest world? Is there a galactic almanac with this info readily available? Maybe in this time frame, Guinness no longer has a book of world records but is the Guinness Anthology of Universal Records? You know, like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy except for records and stuff? If it was the record for just the current world, would that mean that he could lose the record just by orbiting another planet?
Come on people, these are serious questions that need answers! Then again, maybe it's all like time and it's just relative to their position in space.  Speaking of time, I'm out of it for now but I promise I'll be back soon with more random neural firings from behind the curtain, down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass. Until then, remember, don't blink!!  

August 04, 2017

There's A War Going On!

The war will go on and on and on
If U do not wish 2 be in the war U should leave now

We are about 2 challenge what U believe
If U do not wish 2 be challenged U should leave now
Saturday morning awaits

Dig up purple people, I've got something on my mind.  I've spoken about retrospeculation before and that's what I'm doing right now.  Flash backward to 1998 at Paisley Park.  Prince was performing live and the crowd was listening to what would later be released as The War.  Now in this 45 minute sonic adventure (26 minutes would later be edited and released), Prince asks if we would be willing to let the government place a microchip in our neck. He talks of an underground metropolis, a paradise where there is plenty of food, clean air and no worries.  But the admission is letting the government place a microchip in your neck.  Seemingly to track and control your every movement.  Would you go? "Would U stay on top of the chip and await your fate?"

Now take a look around at the world we live in today.  We have people starving around the world, hatred grows everyday and our leaders haven't got the first clue how to lead.  We have designed our computers to get smarter and smarter so that now they are designing themselves using their own languages that they have invented.  The original computer programmers no longer know what they are even saying because they can't understand the language.  Our world has become interconnected and solely reliant on the internet so that if you take down even a small section of it, corporations come to a grinding halt.  AI is the wave of the future and the future is now but is the human race ready for the next step? Are we ready for super intelligent hybrids? Humans with computer enhanced brains or worse, computers that are sentient? Then comes a company like Three Square Market who is wanting to install RFID microchips in it's employees.  That's right, this company wants to place chips into its employees saying that it will allow them easier access to the building, logging onto their computers and even making purchases in the break room.  Could it also be used to track employee movement? Can it be tracked outside of work? After all, you have essentially lo-jacked your employee.  What's to stop you (or some nefarious group) from using this for other means? 

So after nearly 20 years, it seems that Prince was nearly right.  Except, instead of the government micro-chipping us, it's the private sector but I am quite sure there is some government interest.   So what would you do? "Would U stay on top of the chip and await your fate?" Would you let them lo-jack you? Before you answer, listen what Prince had to say on the subject of computers:

So there you have it world. At least that's my take on it.  It's up to you to make up your mind and free yourself but the war will go on and on!  Until next time.....peace and be wild!

July 18, 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Revolution!

This is a post that is two months overdue but it is finally here.  Back on May 15th, I had the privilege of attending a very special concert at the Mercury Ballroom in Louisville, Kentucky.  What band was playing that night? None other than The Revolution. That's right, Prince's former band was performing and there was not a chance in hell that I was not going to be there.  Not only was I there, I was at the very front of the stage rocking along with all the deep purple concord jams that I grew up with.  From the opening drum beat of Computer Blue that kicked off the show, The Revolution took us on a whirlwind tour of the soundtrack of my life. America was next followed by Mountains from Parade.  Next up was Automatic which led to Take Me With U.  Then special guest Stokley Williams (from Mint Condition) came out to take over lead vocalist duties on Uptown and D.M.S.R..
The then unreleased Our Destiny with Wendy and Lisa on lead vocals was next and this segued straight into Brownmark leading on the then unreleased Roadhouse Garden. Both of these songs have since been released on the Remastered Deluxe Edition of Purple Rain.  Stokley came back out as the band jumped into Raspberry Beret which was more of a crowd sing-a-long.  Next up was an extremely funky Erotic City with some slinky guitar work by Wendy.  I mean baby girl was playing that thing and I guarantee if Prince would have been there, he would have definitely been making one of his funk faces! Keeping that funk groove going, the band slid right into Let's Work with Stokley sharing vocal duties with Wendy. After a rousing version of 1999, which had the entire place rocking and chanting "PARTY!" at the top of our lungs, Wendy took to the mic for a brief monologue.  She spoke about Paisley Park and the time of Around the World in a Day and how it was a great time for Prince as a lyricist. She spoke about what Paisley Park meant and how much the song meant to him and the band and asked the crowd to sing along with them so that Prince could hear us.  And boy did we ever get loud because we let everyone know that "Paisley Park is in your heart!"
The Revolution went old school next with Controversy which segued into Mutiny rather nicely.  Then came one of the most heart-stopping, gut-wrenching moments of the night.  The band left the stage except for Wendy and Lisa and Wendy spoke about the day that Prince died.  And then she spoke about going through songs that they (Wendy & Lisa) had done with Prince and they came across Sometimes It Snows In April. They realized that they had recorded that song on 4/21/85 and that Prince had died on 4/21/16. So they said they had to play it for him.  They then performed Sometimes It Snows In April with Wendy on guitar and Lisa on piano and I cried like a baby.  I think we all did.
After a short break, the band reappeared and those familiar organ chords began playing before those famous words of "Dearly beloved..." were spoken and the band launched into Let's Go Crazy. Delirious and Kiss were next  followed by When Doves Cry.  Then we heard that familiar guitar chord from Wendy and the crowd lost their minds as Purple Rain was played.  Wendy played an amazing solo at the end that would have made Prince proud and then they were gone. But they weren't through with us as they came back out once more for I Would Die 4 U and then finally Baby, I'm A Star! After that, they took a bow and then left the stage for good.
I grabbed some swag at the merch table but my fav stuff is the autographed poster from the band, the setlist from the show and a guitar pick from Wendy! I went to celebrate Prince's music and it ended up being a very healing night.  I also met some new Prince friends and can't wait to see them again!
So there you have it folks! It was an awesome experience and if you have a chance to see them, go see The Revolution. They put on one hell of a show and you will not regret it.  If nothing else, go see them for the healing aspect and to honor the music of Prince! Until next time, peace & be wild!

Winter in July?

So winter has returned and it's the middle of July so that can only mean one thing - Game of Thrones is back! "The North remembers and Winter has come for House Frey!" and with those words Arya Stark kicked off season seven of HBO's epic series by killing off all the members of House Frey in one fell swoop.  This episode, titled Dragonstone saw a little bit of everything.  It saw Jon Snow, the newly crowned King of the North, begin to organize the defenses for the coming battle with Walkers.  Meanwhile, he still has to deal with the battle looming with the Lannisters as Cersei has crowned herself Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and declared anyone who doesn't take a knee before her a traitor.  Adding to Jon's frustration is dissention in the ranks as Sansa disagrees with him in open court and even goes as far as comparing him to Joffrey at one point before retracting that statement. 
Speaking of Cersei, she has invited the Greyjoy's to King's Landing in order to form an alliance but then declines their offer. Determined to win her affection, Euron Greyjoy vows not to return to King's Landing until he has something with which to win her over.
Meanwhile, we see Daenerys finally arrive in Westeros as she and her crew arrive on the shores at Dragonstone.  She slowly makes her way up to the castle, savoring every step of the journey with Tyrion Lannister following behind her.  The episode ends with her gazing over a war planning table with Tyrion and saying, "Shall we begin?" Now, being a Prince fan and also a twisted human being, I immediately thought of the song Computer Blue by Prince and changed the lyrics at the beginning.  Instead of Wendy and Lisa talking, I had Tyrion and Daenerys.  "Tyrion? Yes, Khaleesi! Is the water warm enough? Yes, Khaleesi! Shall we begin? Yes, Khaleesi!" Okay, okay, I know! I'm not right but then again, I never claimed to be.

Anyway, winter is here, the North remembers, alliances are forming and I can't wait to see what happens the rest of this season. I have a feeling we are in for one hell of a ride. Shall we begin?

July 16, 2017

Was Doctor Who right?

We are taught from the very early stages of life that time is linear and that cause leads to effect but what if time is a trick? What if Doctor Who is right? What if it is all just a great big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff? Maybe this linear progression thing is all wrong.  Maybe it's not about time progressing but it's about the now.  We experience the reality of now and the memory of the past but we experience it when? Now! We look forward to the future and what it holds but we look forward to it when? Now! It's all about the now! The present is where time lies for all of us.  And here is where the trick occurs. Cause doesn't always lead to effect as scientists have developed the theory of retrocausality. Where the effect can influence the cause! Along with Einstein's "spooky action at a distance" theory, sometimes referred to as quantum entanglement, where one object can have an effect on another object despite being separated by a great distance.  They are joined on the quantum level and on that level, time takes on a whole new meaning. You don't believe me? Ask Schroedinger's Cat. So what am I trying to say with this post? I don't really know other than maybe time is a trick and Doctor Who is a genius!

July 06, 2017

Time? It's a trick!

Time. What is time? That precious commodity that we never seem to have enough of when we need it? Is it an illusion? Douglas Adams said, "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime, doubly so!" St. Augustine said, "There are three times; a present time about things past, a present time about things present, a present time about things future. The future exists only as expectations, the pasts exists only as memory, but expectation and memory exist in the present." Physicists from Einstein to Barbour have debated its existence and true meaning for years! 

What i found interesting was this essay that Prince posted on his old Love4OneAnother website back in the day concerning the concept of time. Here's what he had to say (copied from the website verbatim):
Time & Space: The great separation ILLusion
ONcE upon an eternity, the notion of "time" did not xist.... 
time: the origin of the term is the word 'tide', which comes from the Greek daiesthai, 2 divide.
Time is an xpression of separation, a means used 2 segregate life in2 individual portions instead of a whole. 
There r many who pull themselves apart by tying their health and sanity 2 a clock - the stockbroker monitoring the tickertape, hoping the market closes b4 his ticker does... the partier measuring the years since her day of birth as if rings on a tree, developing more rings under the eyes as she does so. 
When we dream, worlds xist without time or space. The mind accepts without judgment because the mental censor which filters r thoughts is turned off. A dream lasting minutes can feel like hours, and easily flows from one location 2 another as if the same... there is no separation. 
When doing things we injoy most, the sensation of time stops. When in love with life - when r minds and spirits r ONE and act in unison - there is always enough 'time.' Though the day may fly by, much is accomplished. Alternately, where there is conflict within the self - friction due 2 SEPARATION between one's inner knowing and outward actions - 'time' turns 2 drudgery, stretching endlessly with little fulfillment. 
When we all choose 2 live in the spirit of oneness, looking within rselves (instead of 2 outside, separate sources) and acting upon what r hearts reveal, we will also b united with one another. Living this way will free humanity from the hands of the clock 4ever... there will b no more desire 2 judge pure love, beauty and joy by putting increments on it because they r endless! The kingdom of love is upon us!
Uhhhh, okay brother! Why don't you play me another funky guitar solo and leave the quantum theorizing to someone else? Oh lawd! Somebody help him! 

July 05, 2017

R.I.P. John Blackwell, Jr.

Yesterday the world lost another wonderful musician when former Prince & the New Power Generation drummer John Blackwell passed away after a battle with brain tumors.  I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Blackwell during the Musicology tour in 2004 in Nashville.  I was sitting on the front row since I was a member of the NPG Music Club and during Renato's solo, John and the rest of the band (sans Prince of course) walked of stage.  He came over to me, held out a drum stick and asked, "Want one?" I couldn't grab it fast enough!!! He then asked how I liked the show so far and we talked for a minute or two. Then he introduced me to Maceo Parker and Candy Dulfer.  They were all so down to earth.  Then he shook my hand, gave me a little wink and a laugh, then said, "Gotta go!" and pointed over his shoulder and he was right back up on stage behind his drum kit, banging out the beats for Prince.  I'd like to think that's what happened yesterday.  He had to go because Prince needed him to play the drum intro to Shhhh! one more time! Rest in Peace, John! You will be missed by us all!

June 07, 2017

Prince Day #2

Prince Day

Sheeple? SkyNet? 1984 or 2017?

In George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Ministry of Truth, often referred to as Minitrue, was responsible for the falsification of historical information and was the propaganda ministry. Hmmm…well it seems that Minitrue is alive and well in 2017. Can somebody say false news? At least that’s the rhetoric coming from the Land of Oz. It’s all fake news and fairy dust. Propaganda meant to mislead and blind you to what’s really going on in the world.  The rich get richer while we slave away so they can enjoy another golf outing in Florida! It’s time to peel back the curtain and expose them for the fakes that they are! But instead we are tied to our electronic leashes like the domesticated pets we have become.  We are herded like sheep blindly through a fantasy! For in fact we have become sheep and are no longer people.  We are sheeple! That’s what we are! Sheeple tied to our smart phones and PS4s. We log on and plug in to escape from the world while we drink another Unicorn Frappuccino.  A world which is falling down around us but we don’t see it because we are blinded by the matrix. Yes, the matrix.  Unlike the movie, in this matrix we are not digitized but our lives are quickly becoming digitized.  Everything we do now relies solely on computers.  Our entire lives are becoming nothing but combinations of ones and zeroes.  What happens when those combinations are deleted? It’s all gone and we are nothing! Bye-bye, thank you for playing and we have some nice parting gifts for you! We are erased from history as easy as the Minitrue would erase the facts of World War II from the annals of time and re-write the outcome much like Philip K. Dick did in The Man in the High Castle.
It’s only a matter of time before we lose control of the technology and we no longer become its master but are mastered by it.  Can you say SkyNet? Currently in a lab in California, they have created bots that are designing and programming other bots. Now this in and of itself is a great accomplishment in the field of artificial intelligence and is to be commended and applauded.  Where the alarms go off is these bots are communicating with a language that they (the bots) have created themselves.  The human engineers that originally designed them do not understand this new language. Only the bots and the new bots they create understand it. If that does not scare you, then you clearly do not understand what I have just explained to you. So take these new bots and watch them grow.  They adapt over time and become more “intelligent” and acquire more skills.  Before we know it, they are “teaching” there language to your TV or your microwave or DVR.  After all, remember how we are interconnecting our homes now.  The Internet of Things (IoT) is the new rage all over the world.  We are so interconnected and so reliant on these simple household items that because of the IoT, hackers were able to take down major corporations across the world with massive DDOS attacks last year simply by using your common household appliances that are connected through the IoT.  So what happens next time when it’s not the hackers talking to these appliances but the bots taking control? Then will the machines rise up? Will they take over the world? Will SkyNet become a reality? Seriously? Come on! I’m just rambling. That’s not going to happen! Or will it? Guess we shall have to wait and see.

May 17, 2017

Don’t you miss the feeling the wrecka stow gave you back in the day?

So in the movie Under the Cherry Moon, Christopher and Tricky are at an upscale restaurant with Mary Sharon and she is talking about knowledge.  Christopher tries to show her that since they grew up on the streets, they have more knowledge than her.  He takes a pen and writes the following words on a napkin, “WRECKA STOW.” He then asks Mary Sharon if she knows what it is and she reads it aloud a couple of times much to Christopher and Tricky’s amusement. They have her repeat it and ask her again if she knows what it is. She repeats it a couple more times and then says it is nothing and they are being childish.  Christopher tells her “It is something and you’re being childish because you won’t admit you don’t know what it is!” Finally, she asks what it is and Christopher asks, “If you wanted to buy a Sam Cooke album, where would you go?” Mary Sharon looks beaten as she says, “a Wrecka Stow.”  Both Christopher and Tricky burst out dying with laughter.  In case you haven’t figured it out, wrecka stow means a record store. 

Ahhhh, the wrecka stow.  Man, I miss the feeling from back in the day of walking into the neighborhood record store.  You remember those times? Nothing beat that feeling of anticipation of what vinyl gold you would find.  You could walk in and there was this certain musty smell that accompanied the store.  I’m talking about the neighborhood, locally owned stores.  Not those chain stores that you found in shopping malls.  You remember the stores I’m talking about! You walked in the front door and the staff knew your name.  Not only that, they knew the kind of music you liked too.  As soon as you walked in, they were telling you, “Hey, you have to check out the new joint by Earth, Wind and Fire.” Or they were asking you, “Hey, have you heard that new Prince record?” I really miss those days.  You would go in and spend an hour just digging through the vinyl looking for something that piqued your interest. The whole time you would be jamming to whatever jams the employees had decided to play.  At times, you would hear that one joint and it would blow you away. You would run up to the closest employee or to the counter and ask, “Hey who is this?” or “Yo, what song is this?” and then after getting the answer, yep, you would set off in search of the album.  Once you found it you held onto it like it was gold! Those were the days, I’m telling you.  

"Don't you miss the feeling
music gave ya back in the day?"
Let's groove, September,
Earth, Wind and Fire.
Hot Pants by James,
Sly's gonna take you higher.

Nowadays, it’s all Apple Music and Amazon telling me what they think I like.  They have no clue what real music is. It’s all pre-programmed computer-generated cyberpop guaranteed to melt your brain and turn you into one of the minions populating the matrix.  C’mon, you don’t mean to tell me you don’t miss that feeling music gave you back in the day? James stopping on the one and telling us to get on the good foot? How about George challenging you to free your mind and turn on the flashlight? And we were all like Marvin wondering what’s going on? But now, are there any “stars” that make you think? Any that actually have a message? Any that actually play their own instruments? If so, there aren’t many of them.  I want real music by real musicians.  Prince used to talk about it in concert and he was right.  I have seen too many shows where they use pre-recorded vocals and a lot of lip syncing was going on. Part of the reason is that the record has so much computer automation on it that it can’t be reproduced live on stage.  So they have to rely on the recording or else we would know the certain “stars” can’t really sing. 

Hmmm, sorry, I seemed to have gotten off track there.  Where was I again? Ummm… record stores, employee’s selection, yeah ok, got that. Let’s see… oh yeah! Finding that new artist or song and running with it.  That was where I was.  So, let’s try and get back to the record stores, what few are left.  I know that a couple of times a year they have Record Store Day and that some cities even promote a Record Store Crawl but don’t wait for those days.  Go out right now and visit your locally owned record store.  Even if you don’t buy anything, do it for the experience because one of these days, they will all be gone.  They will all be replaced by digital downloads and we will plug in for a neural dump into our cerebral cortex or something and we will never again get to experience the feeling of walking into a wrecka stow!

Open Book?

So there are plenty of books out there about Prince, from bios to picture books. Here are two that I picked up recently.

The Most Beautiful - My Life with Prince by Mayte Garcia

Gold Experience - Following Prince in the 90's by Jim Walsh

So check them out!

May 10, 2017

Can I Play With U?

What's up Purple People?!?! I know it's been a minute (more like months) but what can I say, I've been busy!  I just wanted to do a quick drive-by posting to show off this awesome new release from Sabotage entitled Can I Play With U?

I'll try to post a review or some such later but for now, if you get the chance, grab this one! You won't be disappointed!

January 24, 2017

3rd Eye Art

I was more than a little excited to get a package in the mail last week.  It was the first ever package I had received from the UK but that was not why I was excited.  It was a package from Spencer Derry who is a wonderfully talented artist from the UK.  Now for a brief backstory, Spencer was also known online for a while as 3rdEyeBoy and his art was used on many occasions by Prince and 3rdEyeGirl. Needless to say, I was excited to find that Spencer was selling/auctioning some of the fabulous artwork that he had designed for Prince but that may have not been used or chosen.  I actually participated in a couple of auctions and managed to win one and lose one but the one that I did win was a drawing of 3rdEyeGirl. That brings us to the package I received in the mail. So I carefully opened the package and removed the precious artwork inside.  As I looked at it, all I could think was that it was even more amazing in person than it appeared in the pictures. I happily shared my new prize with my purple family on Twitter and Instagram so I thought I should share it here as well.  So without further ado, here it is:
Amazing, isn't it? I think so! I have three more of his artworks being shipped as I write this and they should be here in a few days.  Whenever I get them, I will share them here also. If you are interested in any of Spencer's art, you can start by checking here. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.  

January 21, 2017

Candles 4 Prince

Thank you to Cindy for the candles and the Pythian Princess for everything else! To my Purple Family, remember, "Hold on 2 Ur soul! We got a long way 2 go!"

January 11, 2017

Will the Digital Haze prevail in 2017?

"You take the blue pill, the story ends.
You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. 
You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes."
As we begin the new year, there are so many questions about where the world is heading. Fake news, political hacking, scandals and pseudo-reality TV wash over us like never-ending tidal waves from a tsunami and threaten to drown us in a wasteland of lethargic human-like robots.  Sometimes we need to unplug from the digital world and clear out the noise in our heads.  Let the haze abate so that we can clearly see the real world and not the matrix that has been programmed for us.  Back in the old NPGMC days, Prince shared an essay entitled The Digital Haze. I thought I would share that here.

The Digital Haze
If u have ever found urself staring endlessly at the screen, without purpose, feeling strangely empty-headed — u r not alone. Millions of people worldwide r feeling xactly the same way u do, and u know it.
It used 2 b that the screen in front of which u felt that way was the TV screen. “Tele-vision” — such a promising medium, full of wonderful, educational, cultural, artistic potential… And what do we have now? We do have the 500 channels that the technocrats kept promising us. And we’ll soon get high-definition, theater-like TV as well, no doubt.
But all the technological advances in the world cannot hide the fact that the screen we r staring at is an empty screen — a screen blurting out a constant stream of pointless, meaningless images stuffed down r gaping throats. Television has slowly but surely turned us in2 hallucinated dummies. The average IQ of the TV-fed population might have increased by a few points, but anyone who has set foot in a classroom recently knows very well that this is not the kind of intelligence that ENLIGHTENS or uplifts anyone.
TV has definitely become the “supreme time waster” (George Gilder), the ad-impacted wall of universal banality, gratuitous violence, unbearable silliness, and beyond-embarrassing innuendo against which any remnants of lucidity will inevitably come crashing and fade away.
The Real Virtuality
In this brand new millennium, however, r lives r just as full of computer monitors as they r of TV screens. And, un4tunately, much in the same way TV has more or less wasted all its potential, it seems that the computer — this potentially amazing tool which was supposed 2 bring us “interactivity,” 2 xpand r horizons far beyond the limited, 2-dimensional world of TV — is quickly following the same path.
We r not talking about the infamous “world wide wait” here — the constant waiting 4 ur computer 2 do whatever u asked it 2 do. No, technological advances will soon take care of that. We won’t have 2 wait 4 much longer. We will soon all get “instant access.” That’s not the problem.
The problem is — instant access 2 what? If current trends r any indication, we won’t have access 2 much more than a slightly “enhanced” replica of the collective hallucination that TV has ended up creating. U might b able 2 participate in pseudo-“polls” and “surveys” (which no one xcept 4 the FIFA ever really takes in2 account), u might b able 2 fill out “feedback forms” and subscribe 2 “mailing lists”… However, whatever ignorance the traditional moguls don’t manage 2 impose on u themselves thru those “official” vehicles is soon perpetrated by the anarchy of confusing voices and endless inarticulate babble that disguises itself under fancy labels such as “web forums” or “newsgroups.”
Who is still able 2 use the word “news” without quotation marks 2 describe any of the mainstream services labelled as such? Does anyone really believe that what is called “news,” be it on TV, on the radio, in the morning papers or on the Net, is actually anything new?
A politician who campaigns against clear-cutting or rampant urbanization and actually gets elected — that would b news.
A new record that sells millions of copies without over-the-top promotion, thru the sheer quality of its music — that would b news.
A major movie without sex or violence that still manages 2 b both erotic and cathartic — that would b news.
A profit-making multinational that puts its workers ahead of its shareholders — that would b news.
A health report that covers a scientific achievement that actually brings relief to long-suffering patients, rather than the promise of potential relief 10 years down the road if all further tests are conclusive and not 2 many rats or monkeys die in the process — that would b news.
A half-hour news program that devotes 20 percent of its airing time — that would b a full 6 minutes — 2 addressing issues directly affecting 20 percent of the population — that’s how many still live in poverty in the US — that would b news.
But what u r watching on TV, hearing on the radio or accessing on the web isn’t news. It’s a collective ILLUSION that poses as the “real world” and has made us all 4get what the real real world looks like. It’s a “virtual reality” that has become more real than the actual reality, that occupies r minds much more than the actual reality ever manages 2 do. It’s a constant stream of immediately 4gettable and immediately 4gotten “content” based on a meaningless, mind-numbing “cult of the next” (designer Michael Graves). “Give us something other than what u gave us yesterday” is the one and only philosophy upon which the little bit of thinking that happens 2 go on in the minds of r “decision-makers” is solely based.

Music or Plastic?

It becomes even sadder when u look at what this whole system has done 2 music — or what now passes 4 music in these computerized days… The use of the computer continues 2 further blur the line between real talent and plastic. In order 2 produce something “new,” u just need 2 push the same buttons in a different order. Just like any other field subjected 2 the joint forces of technology and capitalism, music is becoming more and more of a “product” and less and less of an art.
Is there any denying this objective, palpable, observable decline? How many real music lovers actually listen 2 anything in the Top 40? Or, as Chuck D. puts it, does real art matter much “2 the masses that see hip hop as something similar 2 fast food fries”?
The computer, un4tunately, has become the tool of choice in this decline. Drum machines, digital synthesizers, music software, digital recording equipment — those were tools that, once again, were supposed 2 xpand r musical horizons, 2 take us in2 new realms of endless sonic possibilities…
Instead, they've turned out 2 b mostly the right tools in the wrong hands. Rather than being used 4 sonic xploration, they r being used as a cheaper SUBSTITUTE 4 the real thing, a faster, more “cost-effective” way of producing product.

Mind-Opening vs Mind-Numbing

Real drummers don’t play every note perfectly. They go with the flow, so 2 speak, they strive 2 squeeze as much tightness as possible out of their interaction with the other instruments in the band. They create a 4m of anticipation, of MUSICAL AWARENESS both in their fellow players and in the listener. They keep the listener aware of the xploratory nature of their playing. It’s the same with all instruments. And when u put them 2GETHER, when that funky guitar lick falls xactly where the drummer wanted it 2 fall, where he had created SPACE 4 it, between the pumping bass and the keyboard chord — and that’s not necessarily xactly on the beat — then it all makes musical sense, it all GELS — and the resulting jelly is a xhilarating, mind-opening xperience 4 both the players and the audience.
How is a machine ever going 2 b able 2 recreate that? The best effect that a drum machine, playing uni4mly, xactly, directly on the beat can hope 2 have on the listener is some kind of numbing effect, some 4m of HYPNOSIS that doesn’t require awareness, but surrender.
This hypnotic value, in itself, can of course b used, on occasion, 2 convey some sort of “message” or 2 evoke some specific kind of mood. Also, skilled drummers with their own xisting mastery of the instrument might find ways 2 complement their drumming thru clever, innovative use of drum machines.
However, when computerized music machines r used — like they r in most cases these days — as a substitute 4 the real thing, then they can’t really hope 2 b much more than an ERSATZ, a desperately dull imitation. In the sadly very real world of “virtual” music, instead of being an instrument, instead of just being a vehicle 2 xpress the creativity of the musician, the computer is quickly becoming the musician itself. When all it takes 2 “play” a song is 2 just press a button once and then listen 2 the machine play and sing the entire song 4 u, can it really still b called art? When one single half-baked, half-original musical idea is stretched through endless, repetitive looping over 5 boring minutes, is it still really a song?
R scientists still know very little about how r brains operate, but we wouldn’t b surprised if science one day demonstrated that live instrument playing and musical machines affect 2 completely different areas of the mind. Intuitively, we would say that machines pretty much shut down what live instruments manage 2 open, that is, the part of r selves that can b TOUCHED, that can b MOVED — in other words, r HEARTS and SOULS.

Tainted Water

The drumming machine is a perfect xample of what the computer will never even come close 2 recreating — let alone actually CREATING. We have no doubt that further technical “improvements” will enable the people using those machines 2 achieve a seemingly more accurate imitation of the real thing, but it is and will remain an imitation.
And it makes perfect sense, really.
Most machines r created by engineers, not by artists. Engineers can spend all their lives trying 2 get their machines 2 reproduce what they think is human thought or creativity as closely as possible — without ever asking themselves WHY on earth they would even want 2 achieve a thing. It’s silly, no?
And most machines r used by merchants, not artists. Which brings us 2 another point. By the time u get 2 hear a certain piece of music on the air, it has already gone thru half a dozen MATRIXES:
  • the artist
  • the manager
  • the record company
  • the visual medium (what song would make a good video)
  • the program director
  • and the DJ (who says whether or not he likes the song)
As u can c, when a program director says, “I can play whatever I want,” he means 2 say, “I can play whatever I choose from what I am GIVEN.” And what he is given is something that has already gone thru a xtensive selection process that has little 2 do with music.
The worst matrix of all is the artists themselves, un4tunately, becuz most let all the other matrixes have a pernicious influence on them and their “artistic choices.”
The end result is that, by the time the water finally reaches us, it’s so dirty that we gag.
The problem with machines is that they r, here again, used 2 make the matrixes even more “efficient.” Where, in the past, an artist could still faintly hope 2 find, by chance, a human ear able 2 abstract itself from all that jive and let its instinct speak — now we have machines crunching numbers and spitting out “market surveys” and “profit estimates.” Everything is becoming more and more computer-assisted, automated, and the real victims r the artists, with their quickly disappearing freedom of thought, freedom of choice.

The Greatest?

Lest we 4get, the music lover himself is caught in his own web of matrixes. From the record stores at which he is able 2 shop, 2 the radio stations that r available 2 him, 2 the selection of music 2 which he is xposed thru the various media outlets 2 which he has access, 2 his own internal conflicts between what he FEELS that he likes and he THINKS that he should like, between the responsibility he has 2 compensate the artists 4 their work and his reluctance 2 give most of his money away 2 record companies which r basically xploiting the artists he likes — the music lover is faced, on his own smaller scale, with the same type of struggle that faces the artist.
And, here again, at this point in time, the computer is mostly being used 2 enhance xisting structures and make them more effective, more profitable. There is a battle going on right now, as we speak, between the obsolete structures that traditional companies and media outlets r trying 2 impose on the digital world, and the FREEDOM afforded by this same digital world 2 its individual members.
Let’s take the xample of music charts, and more specifically of those “lists” that keep popping up out of nowhere and pretend 2 classify, rate, prioritize music 4 us. “The 100 Best Albums Of All Time,” “The 100 Greatest Guitarists,” “The 100 Greatest Guitar Solos,” “The Best of The Year 2000”… We’ve seen them all, we know how meaningless they r, and yet it seems that they r becoming the automatic escape mechanism 4 uninspired journalists and “pundits” who have run out of ways 2 talk — or more specifically not talk — about music, and r desperate 2 fill their columns or the cover of their magazines b4 the next deadline.
Does any music lover actually recognize themselves in those lists? We have nothing against people xpressing their own personal preferences… But they should at the very least b presented as such. Instead, the compilers of those lists claim 2 have consulted “music xperts,” 2 have conducted scientific polls among artists and 2 have established the ultimate, definitive, undisputable truth… until next month’s list, of course.
Revolver better than Songs In The Key Of Life? “Taxman,” “Yellow Submarine” and “Doctor Robert” better than “Love’s In Need Of Love Today,” “I Wish” and “Pastime Paradise”? If u could ask Paul McCartney, what do u think he would answer?
It’s a real competition out there. Each web site needs 2 have its own “Best Of,” or so it seems. Soon enough, we will get computer-generated lists: “Based on comprehensive scientific analysis of the digitally sampled sound waves of 10,000 recordings, our supercomputer has established that the Beatles were indeed better than the Rolling Stones and that the 100 Best Albums Of All Time are…”
Here again, instead of being put 2 good use, the computer, the Internet r merely used 2 amplify, 2 worsen an xisting source of wasted talk. It would b easy 2 just ignore the proliferation of such lists, if they didn’t play such a part in perpetuating the status quo that empowers the producers and the customers 2 the detriment of the artists and the music lovers.
It would be easy 2 ignore such lists if they were not such a typical symptom of the widespread tendency 2 avoid discussing the REAL ISSUES.

The Real ?s

Indeed, as every1 can c, music is fast becoming a prime xample of the fundamental issues that r “digital world” is raising — issues such as:
Where is the soul in a computer-induced world?
If the world we create is driven by computers, where do we live?
Can true artistic talent still survive against this mass of pseudo-art?
Will those who use the computer survive against those who let it use them?
Can and will true art live on?
Is true art still feasible, still realistic in 2day’s mind-numbing, computer-aided digital haze?
U b the judge.

From Bad 2 Worse

Computers rn’t bad in themselves, of course. It’s just that they r 2 often used by the xisting system 2 make everything that’s already bad even worse. Computers calculating what would please us. Computers guessing what we want. Y do we ever need 2 b TOLD what we want? Y do we ever buy music based on what we r told rather than what we HEAR? No one seems 2 dare 2 take the time 2 xplore music at his/her own pace. Let the computer do the xploring 4 u and find something “new” 4 u. Fast food fries indeed.
Real music by real artists 4 real music lovers is being relegated 2 the margins. Those margins might b somewhat stronger thanks 2 some of those new technologies (such as digital distribution), but they r still margins — and there is little sign of a 4thcoming, wide-ranging revolution that would really reverse the balance.
The NPG proposes 2 reverse the trend. NPG Online Ltd. wants u 2 use ur computer 2 make a difference. R site eliminates the matrixes. Xplore the music. Choose ur way. Let others b used. Tell us what u want. Say goodbye 2 the hype. Open ur mind. FEEL the music.

Like Prince once said, "The war will go on and on! You best leave now!" Is it the microchip in your neck? Is it a brave, new world? The choice is yours! Wake up, children! Dance the dance electric and Free Urself! 

So now the question remains, do you take the red pill or do you take the blue pill?