Elephant Collective 04.11.18

“EC - Session Notes”


The session is preceded by a ninety minute conference call regarding cloud security with cyber consultant Bob Nevans.

Cellist Phil Norman arrives in the studio to lay down tracks on my songs “Shadow of the Horse” and “The Pendulum.” #newmusic

Producer/Engineer Evan Reeves flips toggle switches and twists knobs like an airline pilot mid flight while co-pilot George Lacson mans the DAW.

Phil riffs and develops his part quickly, but I have enough time to focus on my core by sky swimming on an old piano stool in the control room. 

Our favorite session groupie, Kenze, sits on the couch and contributes contrapuntal ideas.  She takes a break to shoot a Instagram vid and make green tea.

George left the studio awhile back for a rehearsal in Denver but forgot his bass guitar. #BeenThere

The stacked cello on The Pendulum’s choruses begs to siphon the ambivalence aye. The final section houses cluster chords clearly troubling Kenze’s harmonic aesthetic, but the rest of us enjoy it. Pizzicato notes on the verses reinforce the swing.

The cello fiddles the Shadows of the Horse theme. Not an easy thing to do on a bass instrument. Riffs across the chorus chords add depth.

Kenze adds a vocal harmony highlight to the back half of the verses. She’d previously laid down stacked backing vocals to thicken the chorus.

Signal Path:

Cello - Soundelux iFET7 > Grace Design m101 > vintage Manley ELOP (new-old stock Mullards, retrofitted by Peter None Custom Technologies).

Harmony vocal - Soundelux iFET7(i)* > Daking 52270 Mic Pre/EQ > Empirical Labs EL8X Distressor w Brit Mod

*Producer Evan Reeves notes that he loves this mic for silky female BV’s


A Birthday Rambling February 24th 2017

Taking a moment here to write a thank you to all my friends for your kind birthday wishes and for your support throughout the years.  I am grateful and appreciative beyond measure, yet I forget to embody and express that in word and deed, far too often.  The reservoir of compassion that I have fluctuates like the Oroville Dam.

I feel that much of my purpose in this life is to serve others.  Yet I can also be so self-serving at times.  Such a paradoxical dichotomy it seems -- to be self-serving in the service of others.  What will it take to unify this duality?

I have no intention of being self-absorbed, yet I find myself to be far too often.  Even by writing this, I feel overly self-absorbed.  It is hard to give when the heart shuts down to receive.   Yet, there are seemingly so many more reasons nowadays to shut down, rather than to open up, and to give and receive.   Opening is a dedicated, conscious choice.  It is a practice geared toward awakening.  How can I be more open?

Like many of you, I suffer.  In some ways, I do so consciously, in some ways I do not.

My goal is to transmute this suffering.

Hiding my creativity does not help me in this process, nor does being attached to its expressions’ outcome.  To the contrary, it hinders the process and actually does harm.  The perpetuation of this suffering adds violence in my life and in the world around me.  I am committed to the path of non-violence, so this is contrary to my aim.  Therefore, I must choose to alleviate all seeds of future suffering.  I must see the suffering at its source, and pull the weeds from their entangled roots.  I am the only one that can shovel the manure out of the stables in my mind.  I am the only one that can haul the fodder out to the fields, for the horses to graze within the fertile crescent of my soul.

I am making the commitment today to share more of myself with you because I want to be of service.  Also, I am doing so because I am admittedly, self-absorbed.

What is the felt-sense that brings us together rather than tears us apart?  What is the felt-sense that opens us to love and allows us to experience grace, rather than to perpetually live in fear?  What allows me to enter into the universal flow and how can I spend more time there?  Can I be kind to myself when I am tired?  Can I be compassionate to myself when I am triggered?  Can I love myself when I fail?  Can I open myself not only to give, but to receive as well? Can I be truthful?  Can I be honest?  Can I accept that the ones I love may hurt me?  Can I accept criticism from my peers; can I accept blame from my colleagues?  Can I forgive?

Ultimately, how will I respond?

The moment is all we have.  A pretty obvious statement you’ve probably heard a thousand times.  Yet, the truth is that simple – it is all we have, and then, that is it.  Our lives are given through an act of love, and will one day be taken away. What does it mean to live with integrity?  What does it mean to truly live an authentic life?

Do you believe me when I say that your life has incredible value?  I don’t always believe that mine does.  Do you believe me when I say that you are a beautiful expression of divine light and universal love?  I can tell by the way I treat myself, that I often have a hard time believing.

I have a wounded ego.  Perhaps, we all do?

Thank you for sharing a moment of your time.  Thank you for the kind birthday wishes.  

I am grateful.


A Perspective on Tonglen

Just taking a moment to remember that all emotional states are valid expressions of the human condition.  Yet, our collective experience is ultimately defined by our openness and ability to give and receive love.  Which is why I try to utilize negative emotional states as fodder in building empathy and compassion for others, who too find themselves, from time to time, stuck in the muck and mire of human experience.  Through this process, of giving and receiving, it makes the moments of being in love, or loving -- more vivid....  For which I am grateful.  Then, to offer this positive state, for the benefit of all sentient beings, I believe creates a lemniscate (infinity symbol), and thus completes a full cycle in the practice of Tonglen.


Reflections from the Road - Charlotte, NC. (10/08/16)

I am on tour with Elephant Revival and yesterday I had a private yoga session in Asheville with a Unicorn.  However, today in Charlotte, things aren’t quite so simple.  There is a social, political and racial tension here that slices through the humidity.  It escapes my conceptual understanding, yet its felt-sense strikes deep.  The recent riots have brought something out of the shadows, though no one I've encountered is willing to talk about it. There's a collectively shared pain body here in Charlotte and it's prime time to unite in healing.

Showtime is 9pm at The Visualite Theater 🙏🏿

Reflections from the Road - Atlanta, GA (10/13/16)

Passionate Atlanta -- Imparting her wisdom through words; that the time we are alive is expressed by but a dash and a line on a tombstone.  She begs my heart, to discover what is infinite.  She inspires me to work each day for the ultimate expression of truth and purpose.  I find equanimity under her city lights, when all colors, cultures and creeds are accepted, embraced and celebrated for their unique expressions of individuality and equality....  Atlanta begs me to remember that love is the imperative ingredient in everything.  This is how I will remember Atlanta.

Reflections from the Road ~ 09/25/16Cincinnati, OH​

Cincinnati is just about as vibrant and hip as Portland, yet without the prowess of the Pacific Northwest's ecological consciousness.  A town which prides itself on cultural diversity, the city has recently re-engaged its trolley system through its narrow horse and buggy streets.  The newly revamped Washington Park is filled with the joyful cheers of young families, and in order to recapitulate my sense of childhood play, I chose to join in on the afternoon foray in the multicolored fountain.  Looking forward to the MidPoint Music & Arts Festival this evening, in the under-appreciated city of Cincinnati.

Reflections from the Road (09/22/16) Indianapolis, In.

People are just fine in Indianapolis with their city having little to no reputation.  That makes it possible for them to have some of the finest vintage clothing stores and farm to table restaurants around.  A city which prides itself on backlit magenta fountains and Greek statues, its homage to Athena doesn’t quite cover up the random knifing that just occurred behind the local bus-stop in broad daylight.  Nearly all downtown pavement leads to the city’s central farmers market.  Here, even local police officers will line up for beet juice and fresh acai bowls from the Amazon jungle.  Shortly after racially profiling a black man underneath Interstate 69, Officer Lancaster re-directs course to a leaking bathroom stall, where he will ponder deeply his existential situation, while shitting red.  With such a burgeoning health consciousness running deep through the bowels of its law enforcement, one may not fully comprehend why Indiana ranks #5 in obesity in these United States.  A city which rose up blue for Bernie, yet will undoubtedly turn red for Trump, Indianapolis is an anomaly of its own devices.  A most cleverly named capitol city; known to truck drivers as The Crossroads of America, yet to its locals, it will always remain  – The city of Indaina – otherwise known as Indianapolis.


Reflections from the Road (09/18/16) - Fish Creek, WI

Time moves slowly in Door County.  Most conversations here seem to herald exclamations for the starting quarterback of the local football team.  On the surface, this region caters to tourists, flocking in from all surrounding urban corridors....  Yet the artisan wind chimes, lawn doylies, marble fudge and espresso that is just plain too sweet, is but a fool hardy cover up for what truly occurs.  The real magic of Door County is encapsulated by its White Cedar and Hemlock trees, which line the Eagle Bluff on its infamous Green Bay.  Two seagulls venture endlessly at low vectors, just to see if their flight patterns might affect the melody of a bayside wind-chime.  When the tourists leave as the water freezes over, a man left behind might be surprised that tooks are not only worn in Canada; After turkey hunting season ends, they can also be seen at the Friday night fish fry in Door County Wisconsin.


Reflections from the Road (09/17/16) - Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis is a mythical city, more-so than one might expect.  On the surface, it's robust in hipster haircuts incorporating "the fade." Yet, beyond its bike path greeneries, there is an underbelly -- one which feeds itself on Crowley's Tarot.  A city whose inhabitants dress themselves two weeks ahead of weather trends, for not a day goes by, even in July, where there isn't a thought of Garrison Keillor on Lake Wobegon, in the middle of Winter.  It's good to explore a city so irrepressible, yet all the while, unacknowledged -- for its sanskrit, espresso and mysticism. 💫

pre-show festival palomino

pre-show festival palomino

Reflections from the Road (09/16/16) - Bayfield, WI

It's a beautiful night under the Big Top....  All the tourists have left the village, as Lake Superior transitions for the Fall, under this last full moon of Summer.  It's all locals of the North Country tonight, and tomorrow the crew here will tear down the blue & white tent.  As the harvest holidays approach, the townspeople will reminisce joyously of the season gone by.  Soon enough the Big Top will reappear again, when the light outshines the dark, as Spring turns to Summer.  🌏


Any Interest in a VR Podcast

Some friends and I are thinking about adding a podcast, specifically a VR (virtual reality) podcast to this site. It's purpose would be to engage you in the creative process, in the road process, in the spiritual process; and to share our experiences.

It can occur in natural landscapes as well as studio landscapes. All types of artists, humanitarians, creators, seekers, innovators, agents of change are welcome. As the world continues to inform us - we need a fundamental change in our way of being. We must begin to transmit change; change of heart, change of purpose, change of method; it is up to us to transform from wealth accumulation to shared interest, and sustainable community.

So lets start a conversation....