Monday, May 7, 2012

Pizza Store by Day and Something I Dunno by Night

Hey there blog world! It has been a while. Over the last year or so I have taken pretty well to working in the pizza store to make ends meet. I have actually really got into it and made my way up to store manager. The money is pretty good and the work easy. There are great people that work there and it's always really fun. There is also plenty of time for art and music and other creative things that I do. I have been painting graffiti basically full time for about a year now. The paint does cost money and I like the premium shit so working really has allowed me my full artistic expression in that reguard. My music has been pretty quiet. I recently went to Sydney and had a good talk with some people (like close friends Finn and John) and also Chris Abrahams. We talked about what the simple life of working a job to make money verses the scraping by to make art is like. I think all creative musicans have to suck it up at least some of the time. I think probably every creative musican has trouble making the music they want becuase of money. Then again, there are many other things that can make it hard, like finding the time and place and the people and sometimes just being plain motivated. Some people just decide to make their day job their life and stop making music on the side at all. I guess that's what I've been afraid of. At least working give you stability. It's easy to fall into the simple life. I've started writing music for Lakeside Circus again. The songs are much more simple than they've been in the past buecause I know the members are going to have limited time to commit to the band. I guess that's just how it goes sometimes and it's better to get something happening, even if it's small, than it is to have nothing happening. My plans for the rest of the year is to keep working the pizza store and painting lots and sometimes doing a bit of music. Who knows, mybe we'll do some gigs. I'd like that. But its easy to say that painting has become my primary creative outlet. Later in the year I'l like to visit Melbourne, see some old frineds and paint and see some jazz or modern music of that type of type. Laters

Monday, July 25, 2011

New news for yew.

Hey there blog world!


Tits been a while. I've got excuses like I don't have a computer or the internet but I really don't feel like I have to make esxcuses for why I haven't been blogging.

Anyways here is the update:



Music is happening for me at a slow but steady rate. I've recently changed to drums in Circus Band and got Callum to play guitar. I've written new songs that we should get up and running soon enough. One of the tunes is pretty long and complex and crazy like. It should be really good when it's done. It's truly in the Circus Band style in that it has all these different colors and feelings and really pushes the boundaries of what we as a collective group can improvise and play.


A lot of my time recently has been spent doing Graffiti pieces around Canberra. I've admired the Graffiti of Canberra for three years now and I've finally taken the plunge. Writers such as Shame, Moek, Cinik, Pier, Dias and Pheen have really inspired my works. I should also send a big thank you out to the Midian Underground team for getting me started. I kind of feel that I should start a whole new blog just for graph but I guess for now I can stretch the Music one to include Creative arty thingy things as well. It's actually really amazing how similar Graffiti and Creative Music is. Infacet they are both exactly the same.


Here are some things that Graffiti and Creative Music have in common:


1. They cost money and give no money in return

2. They both take a lot of practice and patience and discipline to master

3. They are both for an exclusive audience that must have an understanding of the craft to participate in the performances.

4. They are both done without regard to self fame or promotion. I guess I'm not really wording that right. In other words, it's about the art - no the artist. A lot of graffiti is even done entirely anonymously.

5. Originality is valued in both art forms.

6. Reference to the history of the craft is a common practice. Historical reference. Historical foundation. Understanding of the old shit in order to make new shit.

7. Both make you think they are the only thing and everything in the world when you participate in them (or is that just me?).


8. Both have their own lingo. Let me think about that....


Then again every form of field of branch of something has it's own lingo.


9. Both are for adrenaline junkies.




I guess that pretty much sums up my thoughts for the past few days. Sometime soon I'm going to post some pictures on here of my graph.






Laters

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Places of Solitude

The new solo album is out now on Lakeside Records.



Places of Solitude

Jono Lake - Solo Piano


1. Chasing a Feeling
2. Stanwell Park
3. Distances
4. Pure
5. Deep (but also healthy) Contemplation
6. Home
7. Moruya Heads




Its really differnt to the first solo album and I'm really happy with the playing and the sound and everything. This time around I was really able to just be myself and let the music flow. On the day of the recording everything just worked out. It was really spontanious and free and I think that makes for a good record.


Recorded by Matt Sykes at the Peter Caramel Building Canberry

Mastered by Oscar Gaona at Studios 301 Sydney.

Pressed by Mad CDs.




Copies can be sent out by post by request. Send your details to jonolake@hotmail.com

Friday, December 24, 2010

Good night!!

Fuck this. Fuck this crazy weird music. I’m starting a soft pop band and we are going to play ballads. I’m sick of this crazy music sending me crazy and stressing me out. No one gives a fuck and it’s so fucking hard just to do one single thing in the creative music world. Fuck art. What good is it. In face fuck music. I’m done with stressing and working and working and writing and organising and sweating and going crazy all for nothing. You can’t do all that as hard as I have for as long as I have with no encouragement and not want to give up. In fact, fuck music. I’m going to get a job in a pizza store and spend my days off in bed. Good night!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Beauty Thing.

To discuss what beauty is and what we find beautiful is to talk about the unspeakable. Beauty is beyond words and what we find beautiful often transcends so far over our highest level of understanding that we can’t even begin to apply analytical techniques. But for us attempting to make something beautiful we must be able to do this – or at least try to do this. We must find a way to make a definition of what is beautiful and create a sort of system or formula that functions as our means to achieving beauty. Paradoxically the creator cannot fully understand what they are making, how it is perceived by others and even how it functions in society. How we experience beauty is purely emotional and how we create beauty is (supposedly) largely mathematical and formulaic. The kind of creativity that makes something beautiful is more than just a well thought out formula at play but it is a large part of what’s at play.

Beauty has to fall into the same category as other deep and extreme words that are associated with strong feelings. To experience something beautiful is to just know that it is beautiful. When something is bland or mundane the word ‘beauty’ will never come to mind. Extreme feelings of varying sorts are often triggered by something beautiful in one way or another. For the people who just experience it there is no real need for them to identify and label what they are experiencing. But for the people who profess to create it, a much more careful and self aware approach is needed. A beautiful thing can be many different things. Beauty is experienced through the senses and many different fields of creativity work at making something that triggers emotion through the senses. Some fields are specifically for one sense others use different more than one. Beauty can play on psychology and often takes the audience by surprise. Beauty can be intellectual and experienced as something more like admiration or appreciation.

Forming a flexible definition of beauty is essential because of the vastness of what one might call beautiful and how our perception of those things (and all things) changes with time. As we have a number of beautiful experiences we should find what these things have in common. The general principals of what we find beautiful is what makes a flexible definition possible. This definition is complex but should be put into descriptive words (whatever they may be). The experience usually involves some sort of deep emotion and so the definition usually uses words of that nature but only functions as a basic foundation for creating the formula. This definition can be used to explain what one might find beautiful in any medium or felid of creativity (but not how to make it). It can also be used with varying amounts of combinations, something may fit only part of the criteria and others may have more or less of the criteria working for it. Updating the list on a regular basis allows for one to let go of what one may have found beautiful in the past but may not now and also the things that one may find beautiful now but not fit the current definition. The extremity of an experience is what should guide the change in definition and the weight of its influence on the prospective creators definition. The definition is the goal. The definition is what the artist should always work towards. The formula should be driven to achieving the goal.

For one to make something beautiful one must not only identify what is beautiful but how it was made to be beautiful. There are a number of ways in which one can go about analyzing why something is beautiful and how it was made. Usually the work in question will always maintain some level of mysteriousness. A hybrid of many techniques discovered from many sources is the only way of encompassing all the steps involved in the procedure and making a rich formula. Something that is beautiful is rich and has many layers that can be seen on many different levels. To understand something this complex a creator must question how every act and thought was involved in making the works of inspiration and draw them all together.

To analyze something beautiful one must first understand the plain aesthetics of what it is they find beautiful. This is usually best done by imitating, as precisely as possible, the thing the prospective creator finds beautiful. The attempting to re-enact the creative process with the same tools in the same way, for the same reasons and for the same outcome is highly insightful but only serves as a development of a larger picture. Of course these sorts of things are unique and exact copying is unfathomably impossible. The inconsistencies can give birth to new ideas for the formula. Copying alone has nothing to do with beauty, it only serves as an exercise. Originality should be embraced in creative fields for that which is a copy will never be as beautiful as the original.

Another step is for the prospective creator to understand how the creator went about making what they made. The researching prospective creator must go beyond experiencing what the audience experiences. This is a much more indirect way of studying the work of inspiration and often involves discussion of less-specific processes such as general attitudes and states of mind that are used while creating. These subjects can be hard to find commentaries on, especially because the final product is usually all that is meant to be perceived. Then again, when creative people develop a formula it is often notated in one way or another, usually in some kind of encrypted language that can be deciphered by cross referencing multiple works. How the formula is expressed by the creator can be expressed any way the prospective creator wants, so long as when it is applied the similar outcome is achieved. When the formula is not so mysterious the prospective creator can find it easier to assimilate. Assimilating other creators formulas can be make it seem deceptively easy to create something beautiful so when developing a formula it is important to take on many forms of analysis that all work together as a whole.

Yet another way for a prospective creator to develop formulas for beauty is to experiment. Testing out formulas or principals can be a complex process and sometimes deceptive because assessing how affective the formula is can lead to a whole world of other complex questions like: ‘Is the work causing the audience to have an experience the creator wants it to?’ and ‘Is the work causing the creator to have the experience they want it to?’. The former is difficult to answer because one can never really know what the audience is thinking and the latter is difficult because the creator has been so entrenched in the process of making the work that any non-analytical perception of it may be difficult. The process of creating rules out any chance a creator has of seeing the beauty they make because if beauty is incomprehensible and the person creating it must understand it to make it there is no way it can be beautiful to them. This situation requires the adoption of a generalized process of trial and error. The feedback from the audience and the creators own experience must be used in a strictly non-literal way. Using the feedback as a guide to steer clear of lager failures can work well in conjunction with other procedures of analysis for forming a formula.

A creative person cannot ever fully know how their work is perceived. Nor can they perceive it like an audience member. Furthermore a creative person cannot fully know how their work functions in the society it exists in. Neither can they create something beautiful for the sake of bringing themselves or anyone else an experience that is anything other than a feeling provoked by beauty. A beautiful thing can function in society with all levels of significance. Someone can sing another person a song once whilst another person can sing a song thousands of times to millions of people and yet both are beautiful songs. Something is not beautiful unless someone perceives it to be beautiful. This does not mean that something is more beautiful if more people perceive it to be. What matters is the profundity of the experience. A profound experience of beauty will not only cause an intense feeling but cause a reaction. The feeling itself is just emotion and the reaction itself is inspiration.

One might also realize what they find ugly and move away from that in order to approach beauty. If beauty is a study of the extreme and extremes always come with a polar opposite, one should be aware of what they don’t want their work to be. This is why art criticism plays an important role in art making. Anti-ugly attitudes can work on every level including aesthetically, conceptually, procedurally and in terms of the experimental approach.

I think perhaps I need to adopt some of the discussed processes in order to create a beautiful essay with a beautiful structure and an at least a kind of beautiful summery. At least I can still make fun of myself.

Jazz School Rave.

Man, jazz school. What a ride it’s been. What a long time it seems I’ve been in Canberra. I’ve been through a lot of changes whilst at jazz school and I’ve explored many different avenues of music making or I guess attitudes towards music rather than processes of making music. It’s been kind of rough I guess. I’ve had a lot of fun with the other people doing the course. I’d say the best thing about the whole experience has been meeting and hanging out with the other musicians that are around. I’ve met some really hairy cats whilst at jazz school and I hope I’m friends with them for the rest of my life. There are some really strong bonds between me and some of the people at jazz school and I really cherish that. I’ve met some really good improvisers and really good players. I’ve figured out a few things about music that I can say for certain now. But dropping out has really put my confidence at a low. I have obviously had some struggles academically but I think over all it’s been really fun and a really worth while experience. I guess I am pretty cynical about jazz school and all and that will come across in the paragraphs to follow. But yea. It’s been good.

When I first started going to ANU Jazz School I was really disappointed with the music that was being played by the students at the Uni and in general in Canberra. The older musicians weren’t doing anything interesting or exciting at all and it scared me because everyone was like man this is it. Plus the drummers were using brushes on the cymbals and clicking their high-hat foot real fast like that’s what makes a good drummer yeah man really fast lefty brushes cymbals what? I’d never seen that until I moved to Canberra and I’m not into it. Plus most people’s idea of ‘free jazz’ was really off the mark if you asked me. It’s kind of look down on by a lot of people there which is a shame because I think it’s a big part of the jazz tradition. When I first moved there I was getting ready to knuckle down and practice 10 hours a day and learn some jazz standards. It took some time to adjust to a new city and living out of home in a share house with random freaks and not knowing anyone except Feddie. Finding practice rooms was tough and I didn’t have a keyboard so I didn’t get into a routine for a while. So on my first day I walk up to my personal teacher (the guy that does one on one piano lessons with me) and I said: “Hey man, I’m Jono Lake, I’m your new student, you better watch out for me, I’m coming to get you.” And he actually looked kind of scared even though I was just joking and all and just trying to make a first impression. I guess it’s safe to say I was pretty out from the get go.

So at the start of the first concert practice thing one of the teachers stands up and is all like “Ok boys and girls, perform like you’re on a gig and it’s your music and it’s your band and original and all that yea like you want to play and how you play when you play in your band and when I played with Freddie Hubbard and yea” and 2 hours later he stopped talking and we had concert practice. I was pretty keen on that attitude towards concert practice, of like doing something creative. But it turned out that’s not really what they’re after. I’ve had some really good concert prac performances before. I’ve done some things that’s had the place in an uproar. But those are the ones that I seemed to only just pass. The ones I got a better mark on were the ones that were jazz and straight and were really actually quite shit. I have had some shit ones though. I have eaten some big shit in concert practice before. Especially when playing on other peoples ones. They would get their marks back and the comments would be about my shit playing and it’s their fucking assessment. But most other people were fucking boring as hell man. It’s called concert practice, like you have a practice at doing a concert and fuck man, I wouldn’t go to these things if I was paid. It was just so lifeless and boring and so low in energy. Every now and then someone would do something cool, but sometimes I would be afraid that I was starting to lower my standard and become like the older cats were when I arrived. I went to a lot of gigs too when I first arrived in Canberra. Hippo bar once a week, Trinity bar, the Front once a week or so, the shows at the jazz school. I saw locals playing that were at the so called ‘top’ of the Canberra jazz scene and there was a scene in Canberra, but it didn’t have really heavy cats. The heaviest cats on the scene were the teachers at the jazz school and they didn’t do much outside of straight jazz. Now I respect the teachers from jazz school they are amazing musicians. But in terms of ‘the shit’ kind of thing they don’t do much for me. By the 2nd year I had figured out what was worth going to and what wasn’t so didn’t see as many live gigs. The best gigs were always of out of town bands from Sydney or Melbourne.

So anyways, pretty quick I started to puke from all the older and graduated musicians in their bands and doing all this boring shit and the piss weak drummers and so I started to make my own shit. I started the double drummer quartet with me on drums, John Wilton on drums, Feddie on alto and Shanghai on trumpet. It was an all improvising group that played every Friday at the art school happy hour for 2 years or so and did an album with Masso called ‘Moments at The Front’ and had some other people play in it and things and like Shanghai played drums and Callum played guitar and now we call it ‘Rainbow Kisses’ and I don’t think John likes that band because he quit. Like the drummers at ANU jazz school eat really big shit. There is no one that’s got anything interesting going on - except maybe John. Or Evan Dorian, he at least is making music. But most of the drummers I couldn’t stand. I have more chops than most of those kids. I play with more energy (especially in the double drummer group) and it was frustrating because I’m not even a drummer. But they are actually better drummers than me because they can play jazz better than me. I guess I just like really angular shit. The other project I started in retaliation to jazz school boredom was Lakeside Circus and that’s all original music that has many different emotions and styles or whatever you want to call it and I compose pretty much all the music. Its me on piano with Alec on bass a drummer (it was John for the first year) and a few horns. Bucko on tenor, Feddie and Shanghai and later we got others like Patches and other horn players and other drummers. We rehearsed once a week and did lots of gigs. Its in it’s 2nd year of existence. Did out of town gigs. But Circus band was way more exciting than most of the stuff that was happening at jazz school even if it wasn’t as technically ‘proper’ or ‘professional’ as the older bands. We didn’t really play modern jazz or anything, we just made instrumental music. Not many people actually have a band with a proper name that plays all original music with regular gigs and rehearsals. Reuben does it. Austin Buckett Trio did it. But there’s not much more than that. Which is weird because I thought that was the point of jazz school. Aren’t you meant to make music and start a band so you can experiment in a flourishing musical environment? I don’t get it. Where is the music?

The cats playing in my bands were my favorite players. They were also my closest friends. Meeting them and getting to know them was amazing and getting to know their playing was even better. Shanghai and Feddie are by far the most inventive and naturally talented improvisers in Canberra. They can make intricate music out of nothing. Shanghai doesn’t even know it but his playing shits on all those other trumpet players that can play higher and with a so called ‘better’ tone. Feddie just has this raw deep angular thing that I just really fucking love. He can only get better at music. John Wilton has got to be the most mysterious confusing and waked out guy I have ever met in my life. I honestly have no idea what the fuck to do with that guy and I don’t think I ever will. I remember when I was first getting to know John he would just laugh at me for how I would talk then I would laugh at him for laughing at me. Plus that guy makes the most killer sandwich in the world. So everyone else that I met at jazz school but didn’t really play with is cool as well like: Lilly, Butler, Smeltik, Phone Booth, Peter, A Lick, Tony Gibbs, Troy Johnston, Fuckstick, Pure, Jack, Sophia, Kimber, Pounder, Lustri, Reuben, Nick, Tye, Thomas, Skyko, Andy, Simon and too many more to mention sorry if I forgot you.

I failed jazz composition and arranging twice. This was at the very same time I wrote and arranged over 30 songs for a 6 or 7 piece band. I put a lot of time into the songs for Lakeside Circus. They are all different and they have all been carefully developed. Even after we have performed them I bring ‘em back in for developing. This was a bit of a theme for my time at jazz school. I mean – failing a class for not doing the work but outside I’m doing things that are almost just as hard. It was the same for my personal lessons. I would always go in with all this shit like stride piano or the poly rhythms or the technique exercises I wrote or the boogie-woogie I was practicing and always it was the same. My teacher just said it wasn’t his area of expertise and so I couldn’t use them to be credited as part of the course. Which is a real kick in the fucking face. Man, it wasn’t really out shit. It was jazz shit. If I could have counted all the stit I did at home to the course credits I would have done a lot better. Besides, my teacher should know better. Plus, this entire fucking course is sold on the idea that it’s tailor made for each student. It’s bullshit that they put out all this talk about creativity and originality and the importance of being yourself – and all the lectures’ in that Uni are talking about it - and then turn around and treat it like we’re on a conveyor belt and if you don’t fit the mould you’re out. It’s bullshit that they teach it like this is the real world. Jazz school jazz is not the real world. Well, I guess if the real world is a world of shit plastic cheap imitation jazz it is. But it’s not for me. For me the real world is exciting and it’s going to get deep down into your bones and in the real world musicians make the sort of music that can’t be touched by any one eyed, washed up deadbeat Uni lecturer. In the real world beautiful music is being made that is so astounding that it leaves you speechless. It doesn’t try to fit into any categories like jazz or classical or whatever and it’s not trying to tick the boxes. It’s creative music and its exciting. You can’t mess with that.

I didn’t fit in at Jazz school. Not really. I tried really hard to fit in. I mean in terms of the academia. You can probably read earlier blog posts where my attitude is that of complete appeasement to the jazz school. I failed the classes because I quite simply couldn’t cut it. I just wasn’t good enough because my energies were focused elsewhere. I don’t think even if I could have focused I would have done too well either. I’m not really a proficient player. The only thing I really pride myself on is creativity and that comes out in my composing more than my playing. I tried really hard and I feel really bad about failing. Marc Hannaford, Dave Goodman, Keith Jarrett, Alex Masso and Jim Black are probably some of the most important musical influences of my life and they are all people who did really well studying music at university. They all had the discipline and skill to stick out what they set out to do. They all had the focus and strength to do what it takes to finish a degree. I didn’t do well in the institution. I have a different way of thinking that simply doesn’t fit. I believe in music. I believe in creativity. I have my own ideas about music and I’m pretty confident in them. I have been severely tested by the jazz school and now that I’ve been through it all I’m that much stronger. Or so I try to tell myself to help feel better about dropping out. My ideas are pretty fucking insane though. For example, I believe that musicians make music. Now that’s just a load of bullshit if you ask the jazz school. How fucking outrageous and crazy is this guy? Where does he get these ideas? I think I’m going to pull my hair out! Musicians learn how to play an instrument and how to play music. They emulate something to make a copy because that’s the best we can hope for. Musicians learn the rules of a tradition and then stick to the rules because that’s how you make music. Fuck that shit. Fuck the jazz school if that’s what it’s all about. I’m an artist and I create music. I create music that is a thing of it’s own and you can’t mess with that. But then again, maybe I’ve just missed the whole fucking point.

I deferred a semester at the end of 2dn year to really think about music. I had also developed a serious back problem that was really stopping me from practicing. 10 hours a day my ass. That would be sweet, but in reality I have had some really low times with practice and composing and it’s pretty much always because of my saw back. At one point during my time at jazz school I couldn’t sit at the piano for more than 5 minutes without going into excruciating pain. When I had days like that I would just listen to CDs. I’ve invested a lot of time and money into learning Alexander technique since then and I’m getting better. I’m not fully better, but I hope to get there. I think there was also a lot of stress just from how I thought I should play. That was hard to deal with. There was always two ways to play for me. The way I wanted to and the way I should. I did a lot of practice during my time off and I felt really refreshed when I came back. But I quickly fell back into my old ways of rebellion. I started taking a composition class with Jim Cotter and that was really cool. He is a really cool cat. I really enjoyed getting lessons from him. He was probably the most insightful and exciting teacher in that whole place. He really is something. He is probley the only person in Canberra who actually inspired me and challenged me. He was the only one that I actually respected enough to act upon his advice. So anyways I failed and all my units were dragged out and I felt really shit about being at that place. With the deferred semester and all the classes I’d failed I’d actually only got half way through the course in the time it’s meant to be completed. I don’t feel good there anymore. I just had to quit.

I’m not the musician or the person I thought I’d be when I got to this point. I’m pretty sure I’m not following in the footsteps of my heros and I’m ok with that. Life in the real world is going to be hard I think. I’m going to have to work in other fields to pay the rent and bills. I think I’m going to work in a cafe or have jobs like that. Music is what I’m all about though. Honest music. I just don’t think I’m going to have the energy or resources to make music full time for a few years to come. I’m not a proper musician. After all, I did fail the jazz course. I’m not a qualified musician. I’m not a professional musician and I can’t see how I would ever be one. I’m going to have to do without a lot of things in order to make the music I want. I’m going to know what it’s like to be a starving artist that’s scraping by. But I think I’m ready for that. I don’t think I’ll ever really get anything in return. I may not even make good music. Well, maybe one day in the future a heavy cat might mention me to someone and say I’m doing something of interest. But that’s about all I can really hope for. Not that it really matters. I only care about music. To be perfectly honest I’m feeling really drained from being in Canberra and being through jazz school. I feel creatively drained and my confidence has been crushed. I failed to do what I set out to do and I don’t see how I could ever live that down. Jazz School has been an amazing learning experience, but in all the ways I didn’t expect. The people I’ve met whilst there are really great musicians and great people and I’ve had a lot of fun times with them. But in the end there comes a time when you have to move on and for me I think that now’s the time to move. I don’t know how moving would really be any better. But I guess that’s half my problem. I’m just lost and without direction. My path is unclear to me. What the future holds only the future can tell. Whatever that means.

Man I hate to end it off on such a negative note. I did really have a lot of fun whilst in Canberra. The only real bum was the academic shit, but that was only one small part of the thing thing. There were heaps of fun times where we all got tweaking or would have some beers. Shed times were good. Pub times were good. Biginellie times were good. Front times were good. BBQ times were good. Gig times were good. Good times.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Conclusion

Conclusion

Words cannot express how I feel. The long ramblings of a blog do music a disservice, for music is more profound than words. To be caught up in the description and discussions of what music is and what it does and how we make it is to be caught up in something other than music. To talk and discuss is to spend time when we are not involved in music (or not as involved as we could be). “There is always something better I can be doing with my time and that thing is to wake up more.” –Keith Jarrett. Even the most profound words do not come close to evoking the kind of ecstasy that music does when it speaks to us. How much worse for our reputation is talking than playing? So much more. Now I want to bring my thoughts into action, for that which is understood needs not be discussed.

I’m putting this blog on hold. Just as I am putting Lakeside Circus, the Double Drummer Group, my solo piano work and my free improvisations on hold. I doubt anyone will protest much at my deciding to do so. I have had the time to think over my decisions and now it’s time to decide. I’m putting everything on hold, except for the thing that really matters – music. Patience in learning will do great things for the future, but right now I’m in the present moment and I intend to stay here. Listening to music will be my safety guard from the fall I took into corruption and the exhausting ‘creative cult’ that I almost fell a victim to. Listening to music will be my doorway into a higher awareness of beauty. My reputation is irrelevant. My ability is irrelevant. My approach is irrelevant. All that matters now is music – my music. Flexibility has been embraced and contemplation has been prohibited (perhaps just temporarily, as I am quite fond of contemplation). From here on in I intend to make some permanent changes and that means making the same choices day by day and moment by moment.

Sometimes I wonder how many readers I actually have here. I know of some people that read it and some of those have (at times) made me think twice about posting here, mainly Hannaford and Feda. I’d hate to sound as pathetic as I think I sound to those people, let alone the people that read that I’m not aware of. But I guess that’s what a blog is about; putting it out there just for the hell of it. It’s irrelevant what my readers think. It’s irrelevant to me what my readers have learnt or enjoyed from this blog. The entire thing is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is my music and my relationship to it. Sounds like something a Christian would say about Jesus right? Well, music should be more intense that religion. Music is beyond words. I know where I stand. I know what I’ve learnt. Now is the time for a new chapter. A new chapter, written beyond this blog...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Listening To Music

Musicians should be able to listen to an entire album with complete devout attention to the sound for the entire album. How else can we expect to play a whole set of improvised (or just interactive) music and actually respond to everything that happens? I can’t really do this without thinking about something else or making a cup of coffee. Concentration is something that takes a long time to develop. Some music can just be background shit. I don’t we need to always devout our entire attention to what’s playing on the radio or CD player. I think that some music should be given attention, but I also think music should command your attention by kind of forcing you into listening to it. Sometimes we hear shit that is just so bland that we can’t really listen to it. When I’m going to a live gig I like to devote as much as I can to listening to the music. I think that doing all this is a good way to open up to how deep music actually is. Sonically speaking, pop music is really quite stunning (John Mayers ‘Continuum’ anyone?) and has a lot in it. Anyways, I’m just saying. I like listening really intensely. I think the more I can do that the better music will be. Farts sound better as well. They offer even more comic relief when you’re fully aware of the depth of the soundwaves. Over and out.

The Meaning of Music (part two)

How profound is a life in music? How much more profound is a successful career in music than any other kind of career? There are amazing musicians that have done a lot, but they aren’t changing the world. There are scientists, philosophers and politicians that are changing the world (or already have). There are people that have not done amazing things, but lived a life of meaning (such as the American Dream). But how important is that to the meaning of life? What actually is a ‘high’ life and how far can we go with profundity? How often should we contemplate these kinds of questions? When and where is the time and place for these kinds of discussions and at what point does it become pointless? The imagination of a man, in all its brilliance (or even genius) is nothing without the realisation of these dreams. How does one bring their ambitions into reality? How do we reconcile that we are all limited by the opportunities we have and that we all have a place in the world that is always dwarfed by someone else?

I think that the most profound thing that I can do is in music. I dream of making original music that is beautiful and transfixing. That conclusion in itself gives reason for me to stop contemplating all together and just work on realising that dream. Is there a point at which we decide and conclude? How does a concrete conclusion leave flexibility for failure? I think perhaps as usual I will conclude with the answer that it’s all about balance. That’s the only real answer that really kind of makes real sense – balance. I think I balance over towards the thinking side of the spectrum more than I like to admit. I think I think too much about thinking. Doing, as plain and simple as that is, is actually something I could do a lot more of. Well I guess I’m in Blog world at the moment so I might as well enjoy it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Scene

I hate hype. I find it hard to really hear what a musician is actually doing when there’s all this pent up press and talk about them going on. Most of the time, when everyone raves about a musician to me I usually have a harsher judgment of them when forming my opinions. I guess this is just because I’m jealous that everyone is talking about them and not me. But what is cool about hype? What has it got to do with music? A musician walks up on stage with all this confidence and plays this shit and everyone loves it and then walks around the club like they own the place. Am I the only one that is actually listening here? It’s understandable though, I got all bubbly inside when Mr. Mitchell said he had checked out my Myspace tracks. What would you expect I’d do if everyone kissed my ass as much as they kiss Tinky Tinky’s? Plus, the more hype there is about you the more gigs you get (not to say that’s the only way of getting gigs).

I guess everyone has their pride in their craft, and they have worked for that confidence. It’s the only place they actually can be confident in a world full of so many uncertainties. So why not soak it for all it’s worth? I guess I can be a bit cynical. It’s all just what I like and what I don’t. I’m still going to kiss the ass of the musicians I like. But maybe I should be a little more subtle about it. I want to promote the music that I like, but still have people make up their own minds. Press is all about promotion – not reality or forming opinions (at least not for the musicians). Also, an understanding of how appreciating music and not liking it can work with forming your opinion is important. When last at Bennett’s Lane, James Greening said to me about the Drub gig that he could enjoy listening to it but not want to do it and that it’s taken him a long time to get to that point. If it takes a heavy cat like Greening a long time to learn appreciation, what hope do little dipshits like me have? Making music, from my point of view, is about making music. NOT about creating a cult or generating respect from anyone. Only the heaviest cats actually seem to be able to do this in music today.

The Meaning of Music

Music takes many forms for many reasons. We need to decide what music we are going to make and for what reason. I think that for pretty much every musician, there is always more than one kind of music for them and more than one reason to play music. Knowing when to play what music is important, especially for a creative or avant-garde musician. Music can be alienating and music can be intellectual. There is a time to make music that is artistic and intellectual (and maybe perhaps a little self indulgent) and there is a time to play with the audience in mind. Music can be enjoyable to the player and enjoyable to the audience. Music can be a product, a science, a philosophy, a form of psychology and of course music can be art.

To me there is something especially attractive about jazz music – and I mean the swinging/American songbook/improvisation kind of jazz. Jazz is intellectual and complex. Jazz requires thought and discipline. Jazz is also popular and accessible. Jazz is so compressed that I find listening to large amounts of it tunes my ears to the fine details of music (and sound). This makes my experience of other kinds of music that are maybe not as ‘fine’ in their timbre (such as rock and metal) so much more enjoyable. Jazz performance is unlike any other kind of music. Jazz harmony, as I stand with it now, is the most complex form of harmony. I beg someone to contest this point. Maybe serial (or post-serial) harmony is more complex, but does harmony become more complex by analysing it in more ways? Jazz harmony has as many functional parameters as any other and is athletically more complex than anything I’ve come across to date, if I may speak so generally. This is not to mention jazz melody.

My approach now is to have a core foundation of what my music is. For me this is the jazz piano trio that plays jazz in a more or less traditional (but personnel) style. The trio is what inspired me to play music in the first place. Jazz is the music that is my reason for playing music. The lesser pressing needs for musical expression will sit to the side of the piano trio. These projects as I stand today are: solo piano improvisation, a 7 or 8 piece ensemble (with piano trio plus horns) that plays fully composed ‘hybrid’ music, improvising duos and a commercial band that I am yet to invest in. I understand now that the opportunity to make ‘high art’ is a rare one, and is for a reason. Being a musician is a career and a career involves many different tasks.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Passion

I reserve the right to get angry. I reserve the right to speak passionately about music. I am within my rights to speak hard to my fellow musicians in the name of making the music better. Where did all the passion go anyway? What happened to loving music outwardly and being vocal about love and passion? Where did the energy go? My music is real and my music will bite your fucking face off. This music should be loud. This music should be irresistible. This music should be a privilege to play and every moment we’re in it we should cherish it. I reserve the right to shout about it. I reserve the right to shut the entire thing down if it’s not to my standard. This is our name. What does our name say about us? What does our music say? Are we plastic pussy-assed dipshits? Or are we going to grab this shit by the throat and fuck it ‘till it’s dead? It was like this - in the beginning. Where did all the passion go? How could you forget something like this? How can anything so pure become so corrupt? I reserve the right to drag this shit up again. I am within my rights get angry. I am within my rights to speak passionately.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Graph


The horizontal axis represents complexity with 1 being the most complex and 30 being the least. The vertical represents popularity with 1 being the least popular and 40 being the most.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Patience in Youth

Patience in Youth

I’m gonna be frank for a second. I have a lot of ideas. I really think that there is some good shit transpiring in my brain and I think there could be some great shit coming out. Lakeside Circus is a really cool band. I think there’s a lot of potential in it. I listen to shit loads of CDs and get loads of compositional ideas. I want to make music. I want to make interesting, creative, exciting instrumental music. It’s a bit of a hard one to actually work with though. To think all these things is pretty easy. To actually carry something out like this takes work and persistence.

I want to make real music - music that has nothing to do with regulations or the scene or anything like that. I want to make art and art is the only truth in music. I hear bands that have just done their shit. I just hear their shit, the final product, and I wonder how the fuck they do it. I spend hours on end trying to work out how they do it. I think analysis is a really big thing. I’m into the kind of analysis that builds up to really interesting shit. Like how Eminem has each verse of a song get longer as the song unfolds so that by the time the final chorus comes it’s a release. The same thing happens in metal. I like how Slipknot can write a song like “Disasterpeices” with pretty much just 3 or 4 notes, but when the orchestration is considered there are no two bars the same in the entire song. I like it how in the 1950’s jazz musicians played heads with horns harmonised in unison, then Human Feel write songs like “After the Fact” in 2007 and use the same idea with all these other aspects incorporated as well. Unity in something like that is beyond me. Composers like Tim Berne are doing some really complex shit these days and yet they sound so smooth and logical. I like music that has a vibe or an energy. I want to make music that gets into your bones and shakes up shit.

Being patient is the biggest part of actually going about putting these ideas into practice. Me, being youthful and rebellious and the fucking restless fuck that I am, want to do these things real quick and end up making second-rate versions of good shit. To actually play music and play an instrument with mastery and ease takes a lot of practice. We all know that. Taking the time to really go through it all with a fine comb takes a lot of fine comb time. Somehow I need to learn to suppress my urge to do shit and actually focus on learning it all properly. End of composing rage. You can all go home now.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Music Making (part two)

Being a musician really is a hard thing to be. We, as young students, see amazing musicians create brilliant music. We for some reason think we can do the same and decide to create music of our own. What we’ve heard is so magnificent that we have to break down the music making process into smaller parts. We spend years contemplating and working on music making, always asking how did these greats do it? I sometimes think that if I just do this, this, this, this and this I will make great music. But really how can we ever measure up? I think it’s a process. I think clear goals are a necessary. I think finding yourself has as much to do with expelling corruption as discovering reality. How do musicians discover reality? Or do they create their own? I have experienced music making in a corrupted way and discovering that I wasn’t fully aware of what was going on came as quite a shock. Respected musicians of the world who speak of the music making process always do so from a long way down the path, back towards the kids like me who may just be starting out. This is what can create the confusion between what is necessary and what is possible.

I’m done with having heroes. Heroes will never live up to your expectations and you will never live up to the amazing things they have done. I think the answer to that question is to just do the best you can. Making the best music that I can, and actually making it, has always been my fundamental working attitude. I was compromising the quality of my music in order to make it. But now I think that I shouldn’t make music unless it is the best music that I can make. This (perhaps ironically) means that I will not make music any time soon. There has to be a standard and that standard has to be high. I know I’m all for being on my own journey, but how does my music actually stack up?

I am always changing. I have always had pride in my wiliness to be open to new things and explore the possibilities. But now I think is the time for a clear goal. Music isn’t as simple as one two three. But I have no doubt that I am meant to be in music. That’s not meant to be a cute cry of passion. There is nothing pretty about my love of music. I don’t think there is anything in me that is different to any other musician. Plenty of people want it more than me. Plenty of people work harder than me. Plenty of people have it better than me. All I know is that I have a voice that needs to be heard. I feel that voice is a good large number of hard yards away, but I know it’s there. I’m just crawling from the womb and I want to be reading Shakespeare. Patience and persistence is the name of the game now.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Moments at The Front

Moments at The Front
Spellman/Fedorovitch/Lake/Masso

1. Tweaking (part one) 08:21
2. Constipation anonymous 03:30
3. Tweaking (part two) 08:03
4. The Thinking/Feeling Ratio 23:34
5. Are you George From Andi and George Band? 04:39
6. Fellow Forms of Life 06:35

Shane Spellman – Trumpet
Andrew Fedorovitch – Alto Saxophone
Jono Lake – Drum Set
Alex Masso – Drum set

Improvised live in concert at the Front Cafe Lyneham, Canberra on April the 5th 2010

Recorded by Matt Sykes

Producing and editing by Jono Lake April 10. Masso give small editing advice on April 15 (and Jono agrees).

Mastered by Matt Sykes at his home studio in Nowra on April 23rd and 25th

Artwork concept by Jono Lake. Artwork Layout and design by Thomas Combe.

Pressed by Mad CDs April 28 to May 12. Released on Lakeside Records 13th of May 2010

Contact Jono directly for CDs to be posted out.
lakeside.records@yahoo.com
picturesofsound@hotmail.com
Write to: P.O. Box 2336 Bomaderry N.S.W. 2541

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeia
Jono Lake
Solo Piano

Recorded by Matt Sykes April 10 in Rehearsal Room Three at the Australian National University Music School. Mixed by Matt Sykes at his home studio in Nowra April 12.

Improvised by Jono Lake on a 9ft Yamaha grand piano (out of tune).

Mastered by Oscar Genoa April 14 at Studios 301 in Sydney.

Printed by Mad CDs 15th of April to 29th of April.
Artwork concept by Jono Lake (typo). Layout and design by Thomas Combe.

Released on Lakeside Records 30th of April 2010.
Contact Jono directly for CDs to be posted out.
lakeside.records@yahoo.com
picturesofsound@hotmail.com
Write to: P.O. Box 2336 Bomaderry N.S.W. 2541

Monday, April 12, 2010

Collecting CDs

Listening

Since going back to Uni this year I have started my music collection almost completely from scratch. I left my entire CD collection (hard copy) at my mum’s house in Nowra, almost none of which are on my iTunes collection. My iTunes collection is compiled almost completely of new stuff that I have started to check out since going back to Uni. A lot of the music is of artists that have ‘trustable’ names that I haven’t really got WAY into before (but have heard a bit of). Artists like Pat Metheney, Chet Baker and Cannonball Alderley. Unfortunately these artists (and many others) were mostly disappointing. I often found myself resorting to new albums, that I haven’t heard before, of artists that I really like (as opposed to artists I know I ‘should’ like). It was either that or cling to the precious few albums that I kept in circulation that have always been favourites. Unfortunately of the completely new names that I’ve checked out relatively few have really got me tweaking and found their way into regular circulation.

I’ve put these regulations on my collection for a few reasons. One was just to force myself to expand and stop myself from getting stuck in a rut. Another one was just to change, which is pretty much the same thing. I believe in growing. I believe in searching and pushing forward no matter what the circumstance or outcome. A different group of CDs makes for a different group of sounds that are familiar, which makes for different music making. I think for me, because listening to a wide variety of music has such a big influence on my music making, changing my CD collection would be a good way to change my music. It has been changing. But such a small amount of genres, artists and bands grab me that I find myself resorting back to albums that are sacred. These are the albums that I’ve listened to for years, but not in years, and had huge musical impact on me when I first heard them. Albums like: “Broken River” by Tim O’Dwyer Trio and “Anatomy of Tongue in Cheek” by Reliant K. I guess things just start to happen when you listen to music intensely for years on end. We can’t expect to expand in the exact same manner that we are now forever. In a composition lecture I was in recently Larry Sitsky said something relative to this subject. He said that so much is available now that we have to ignore certain things. We have to choose to deal with only a certain amount of music. I think I’m getting to that point. There is still a lot more out there that I want to check out and I hope I am always a pro-multi-genre believer. But when you generalise too much it can get hard to remember the finer details of what one truly loves the most. Balance the pyramid.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Upcoming CDs

Next week my first album will be recorded, mixed, mastered and printed. It is a solo piano improvisation album recorded by Matt Sykes at the Australian National University on a 12ft Steinway. It will be mastered at Studios 301 by Oscar Ganoa and pressed by Mad CDs. I’m doing as much as I can to ensure that it all works out smoothly. There is always a bit left up to chance though. It’s hard to know how I will feel on the day of the recording and how the timing of the mastering and everything fits into place. I’m pretty sure it will be sweet though.

I’m also taking steps to release the double drummer quartet gig that was recorded live at The Front Cafe in Canberra with Alex Masso. If it all goes to plan 100 copies of that album will be available within the next month or two. I also plan to tour that album with the basic trio of Shanghai, Feda and me and then have a different drummer for each town that we visit. There are a number of venues and drummers that I have in mind. I recon about a 5 day tour in June would be something to look out for.

Laters blog world...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Double Drummer

Yesterday was the first Double drummer Quartet gig of the year. We had me on drums, Andrew Fedorovitch on alto sax, Max Williams on tenor sax (who are normal offenders) but this time Shane Spellman, who normally plays trumpet, played drums. We all know he was a killer black metal drummer when he was younger, and I was definitely up for having him play drums because that band is all about being open to more abstract approaches – mainly by having players play their second instrument.

It was a pretty fun gig. Feda cut sick and reminded us all that he’s not just some ‘shit-at-jazz’ alto player – he’s a ‘blow-your-fucking-brains-out’ good avant-garde improviser. Shane really stepped up as well and was able to push it to that high intensity where everything is way out of control and we all just blow our tops. I loved going hard on the drums. It’s been so long. It was so loud and angular.

Seeing the trio Roil (Mike Mikowsky, Chris Abrahams and James Waples) after the gig made me kind of question the brutality of the double drummer quartet. The players in that trio are really careful with their sound. Perhaps the double drummer quartet could learn something from that. Well, I guess it’s not like we don’t play ballads. But it seems to me that there is an appeal in playing with a dirty sound. Jazz seems to have become ‘classicalised’ in a way with such a big emphasis on ‘good’ sound. Piano players playing on Steinways and drummers useing flat rides ect. Sometimes I’d rather hear something a little more ‘wrong’ or out of tune or with so called ‘harsh tone’. In fact Shanghai is the master at playing with shit tone, but that’s what I love about his playing so much. Jazz music isn’t classical music. Avant garde music isn’t jazz music. What sounds good is totally a matter of opinion.

In a few weeks we have a gig with Alex Masso. It’s me on drums, Feda on Alto and Shanghai back on trumpet. It’s going to be an interesting experience to play with someone as good as Masso. It’s an indoor gig (we usually always play outdoor gigs) so that may put limits on how loud it can get. I don’t know how it’s going to sound, but I do know it’s going to sound the way we want it to sound. It may not sound ‘clean’ and it may not even groove, but we do that intentionally. The sounds we make are sounds we like, though it may seem a little strange to some that anyone would like these sounds.