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A Song A Day…

This might very well be the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done. If you’re reading this, then I’ve committed and can’t postpone or talk myself out of it anymore.  

The Short Version ~ I’ve challenged myself to release a piece of music a day for however long I can, starting on March 17, 2020 (also the first day of Coronovirus isolation in our household).

Take Me to the Music Yo!

The Longer Version:

Put me in front of 1000 people as a vaudevillian and I thrive. Put me in front of 20 people with a guitar and I may appear confidant, but inside is sheer terror. Sharing original music is one of the most intimate things a human can do. We become vulnerable in a way that very few other things make us. We are emotionally naked and fully exposed and standing in front of a full theatre in our underwear just waiting to be judged. But you’re reading this, so I’ve committed. Let’s jump off the deep end together…

I’ve been playing music for just as long as I’ve been a juggler (since early high school!), but most of my friends and acquaintances probably don’t know that. My music-making has mostly been in the spirit of “this keeps me sane and balanced” and more like self-guided personal therapy than anything else. With a few memorable exceptions, I’ve mostly kept it to myself over the years.

I’m sensing that it’s time to change. I have a deep reservoir of music that I have been recording for 30 years now, most of it solo, but there have also been some excellent collaborations along the way and one flat out band. Even if one person other than myself hears any of these things, it’s doing more than sitting on my shelf gathering dust, so I think it’s time to let some of them out.

Maybe some of these creations will even be appreciated…

I’m not exaggerating ~ I have hundreds of recordings from over 30 years of self-guided musical therapy ~ I’ve thought of these as explorations of my emotional spectrum turned into sound. The pieces weren’t meant to be “songs” in the traditional sense, nor do most of them seem to fit anywhere genre-wise. Most of these pieces were written either as meditations, as sonic reflections on a thought or a feeling, or they helped me to work through challenging emotional passages or situations. Sometimes I listen to something years after the fact and think that I captured an archetype, or at least drew a personal map through turbulent waters. But when all is said and done, Music has been my comfort animal, reassuring to keep close, but definitely with a mind of its own.

So I’ve set myself a challenge ~ I’m going to release a piece of music a day for at least a month, probably more, and see what happens. I’m calling it Eric’s New Eccentric Music Archive (E.N.E.M.A.), as it’s a huge release of material that has previously been pent up. 😉 Sorry not sorry. I had to go there. I hope that made you smile. But it feels accurate ~ I’ve been holding on to this stuff for far too long.

In this day and age of pre-recorded loop libraries and samples, I ask you to keep in mind that throughout this archive 98% of the things you hear are original sounds being played by me ~ I have a fair collection of acoustic and electric instruments as well as various hand drums and percussion instruments, and am also very fond of creating new sounds and textures in synthesizers. There’s also a didjeridoo and a ukulele, two of my favorites. On rare occasions, I resort to utilizing a pre-recorded drum loop because I’m hearing the need for something in the mix that I don’t know how to play myself or can’t figure out. But for the most part, even in the most densely layered compositions, everything is being played by me unless otherwise noted.

In going through my archives I’ve realized that there are a significant number of pieces that I truly love and have helped me through some pretty challenging times. In probably every case, I never shared them because I’m a perfectionist and they were never quite “there” in a public way, or I was too insecure and felt too vulnerable sharing such an intimate thing. And then my creative process always has me looking over the next horizon and so I never followed through and finished or polished a piece because I was already moving on to the next inspiration, or the next thing to work through.  

So I’m done with that ~ a big part of the reason why I feel compelled to let all of these things see the light of day now is to just get over that feeling of “it’s got to be perfect” before I want to share because you see where that’s gotten me ~ 30 some years worth of creativity sitting in a vault. Maybe I’m just at that point in my life where I don’t care anymore whether these things are perfect or not, or whether they’re sketches never fully realized… I’m ok with that.  

I’ve come to realize that I’d rather share and let go of these things to change my habits, as I don’t think these habits have been serving me very well for all this time ~ musically I’ve become an inadvertent hoarder, where in real life I cherish sharing whatever I’ve got. It’s time to realign my energy, deepen my integrity, and stop being so afraid that I will be judged for not being good enough.  

I’m going to start this offering with the most recent project I’ve been working on for a couple of years now, and the creation that I’m certainly the proudest of ~ The Small Craft Advisory. It started with writing a poem that I thought might be fun to set to music, which turned into something else entirely. There are now 9 or 10 (or 12) of these things and each one has been a profound discovery process. I’ve come to think of them as a series of podcast opinion pieces set to theatrical sound sculptures. That might be the name of their genre. This collection also feels decidedly activist, and perhaps they may serve some purpose.

So here they are, in all of their imperfect glory, for what they are, warts and all. Starting tomorrow, a musical creation a day for at least a month, in all likelihood more. This is how I’m going to spend my Coronovirus retreat from the world. 

If anything speaks to you, I’d love to hear about it! If something moves you or causes you to think of someone in particular, please consider sharing it with them and passing it along. I’ve come to appreciate that creativity in any of its forms only becomes real when it’s shared and touches someone else’s heart ~ please let me know if I do.

And if you think to yourself “Damn I’d love to mix this into something else entirely” please do and let me know ~ I’ve long suspected that many of these creations are only going to be fully realized by changing context completely, and that’s something beyond the scope of my wheelhouse. I’d love to collaborate with someone who knows remixing and Ableton type things well ~ I’ve got even more snippets, phrases, and themes that I’ve never done anything at all with that would lend themselves to electronic composition and remixing.  

In other words, are you my George Martin? Where are you, George? Let’s take this to the next level. I’ve got boundless musical creativity and I need you…

Ultimately I’m feeling the need to clear my creative energy out so that I have room for whatever comes next. I’m also experiencing in my heart of hearts that for a thoughtful caring human, the challenges of our times demand a response.

This is my response… Positive creative caring energy cast into the world like seeds into a garden.

Aho.

Now take me to the music….



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Tuesdays Tales v1e2

Tuesday’s Tales! v1e2

My occasional collection of climate crises inspired ways forward using the arts and creativity to nurture community, awareness, and action.


Something that has inspired me recently:

I’ve become increasingly aware of more and more communities coming to their senses all around the planet and formally acknowledging the climate crises. 

Combined with the growing momentum of youth-led climate protests, and a growing crises awareness in general, it speaks of movement in the right direction ~ our steady march towards the active participation of 3.5% of the population is well underway. People are waking up and I believe it’s a tide that can’t be turned. Another exciting development this week was the announcement of World War Zero, the campaign spearheaded by former Secretary of State John Kerry to align numerous celebrities, military brass, politicians, and other prominent personalities to draw as much attention to our collective crises as possible. It will be interesting to see what kind of traction they can gain.


What I’ve been reading:

The Uninhabitable Earth, by David Wallace-Wells

This might very well be the heaviest book ever written. It’s certainly one of the most terrifying because everything in it is real. But it also might very well be one of the most important books ever written and should be required reading for anyone with a heartbeat.  I’ve read psychological articles about how just bombarding people with horror stories about climate isn’t a productive approach as it just shuts us down, we feel overwhelmed by the enormity of it all, and we convince ourselves that there’s nothing we can do.  Wallace-Wells approach is dramatically different. He uses prose to vividly depict the world we live in and where we’re heading, and somehow also motivates and activates us away from our complacency and towards a functional interaction with our plight.  I’ll say it again ~ this should be required reading.

The Guardian’s book review:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/feb/27/the-uninhabitable-earth-review-david-wallace-wells


What I’m listening to:

Sona Jobarteh ~ Fasiya

I can’t get enough of her voice. I love that I don’t understand a word she sings because then it’s easy to just let it wash through me and I just experience her music in a very heartfelt way. And it feels like the wisdom of the Earth is somehow being vocalized by this profound being. There’s passion, love, caring, and compassion in her music, plus it just makes me want to move. 


What I’m working on:

Small Craft Advisory ~ The Spoken Word Music of Eric Geoffrey

I’ve been diligently working in my studio to polish off the collection of spoken word pieces that I’ve set to music, because I am looking forward to sharing them very much.  Stay tuned for releases coming very soon!! They’re almost done…


Quote of the Week:

“…underneath all of this is the real truth we have been avoiding: climate change isn’t an “issue” to add to the list of things to worry about, next to health care and taxes. It is a civilizational wake-up call. A powerful message—spoken in the language of fires, floods, droughts, and extinctions—telling us that we need an entirely new economic model and a new way of sharing this planet. Telling us that we need to evolve.”

― Naomi Klein


Share this with your friends and anyone you think would be inspired by it! You can also get this delivered directly to your inbox if you sign up for the newsletter.  I am always open to feedback, suggestions, collaborative propositions, and simple Yo Eric how you doin type reaching out and connecting.  Because Life is too precious and precarious to not make the most of every single day.

I hope you have an empowered and creative week ~ Onwards Team Human!

What Will It Take?

A few months ago I reached out to a fair number of friends and family asking them to video themselves reading a line from a spoken word piece I wrote and then send it back to me.

Little did I know that receiving video clips from so many different people would also mean getting almost just as many different formats and resolutions and other little inconsistencies that ended up making it really difficult to stitch together a couple of dozen clips, and it took far longer than anticipated.

But in the end, all of the puzzles were solved and the result is something that I had been secretly hoping for the entire time ~ the whole is indeed much greater than the sum of its parts. My vision with having a community read of this piece was hoping that it would have greater power with humans from many different walks of life working together to create something.

I’ve been struggling with the fact that each of these questions needs to be asked and contemplated by everyone alive, and this piece was born from my own process of learning how to deal with the immensity of the issues facing us. Because when all is said and done, each of us will end up facing these things regardless of whether we choose to confront them directly or be taken kicking and screaming. I’d prefer head-on and eyes wide open myself.

As always, if this video does anything for you, or makes you think of anyone in particular, please share it and pass it along. The intention behind this effort is to help awaken and stir the pot because every drop in the bucket adds up, and if many of us start contributing drops then the sooner we’ll arrive at a cultural critical mass and begin to effect fundamental changes.

I am proud to present the first public TemplEarth creation, the community reading of “What Will It Take?”


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The Birth of TemplEarth

The phrase Temple-Earth first came to me in late 2008 while trekking in the Adirondacks of New York. It haunted me and stuck in my mind in a way that few ideas have over the course of my life. I loved the idea of merging the words into one and fusing the concept that a reverent attitude towards the Earth, treating it as a sacred temple, would be a powerful energy to nurture. At the time I thought it to be the title for a piece of music I had been working on and released that celebratory mystical musical journey in 2010 (a story in its own right). At the time I thought that’s that and moved on to my next project, as well as a major change in my life’s trajectory.

Years later, the phrase still haunted me in a way that I began to suspect meant it wasn’t done with me and wasn’t merely the title to a piece of music. I allowed it to gestate and began to think of TemplEarth as the kernel of a community, and once there it began to bloom in a living way, not content to be a static thing on the record shelf.

I’ve been very inspired and shaped over the years by the eco-philosophy writings of Thomas Berry, the spiritual-philosophy of Joanna Macy, and Zen-Buddhism in general, as well as by all of the earth activists and spiritual warriors treading the path. Artists like Alex Grey that awaken our deeper selves through the resonances in their work and music that stirs the soul are constant sources of motivation, and part of the vision for TemplEarth is to cultivate an ever-growing community of artists, musicians, and activists who embody these ideals through their work, helping to stir the pot and help awaken humanity.

The re-awakening of indigenous cultures, and in particular those communities who have arisen to defend the Earth, has been a profound source of energizing direction, as I firmly believe that the emergence of these Guardians and Protectors will usher in a new era of reconnecting with Earth in a fundamental way.

TemplEarth has evolved over the years to embody a philosophy, an outlook, a community, an artistic vein, an arts organization, as well as it’s current gestation as an active seed for a periodic celebratory gathering ~ stay tuned for more as TemplEarth unfolds, for it’s an idea whose time has come.

If any of this resonates with you, please consider connecting, signing up for my newsletter, letting me know of your activities that align, because together we are strong and have the power to enact change, and the more of us there are moving forward with power and vision to help heal imbalances and restore environmental integrity, the closer we are to making it so.


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