Camera Obscura

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Weekly playlist #3. The song i'm working on right now was kind of inspired by some of these. Relax (but not too much, this playlist has it's noisy moments) and listen.



Blues in My Sleep

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I've decided to do this playlist thing once a week. It's fun, the whole trying to find a natural progression that connects two completely different genres of music in a matter of 10-12 songs. ^_^


Another stream.

It's 12:30 AM, and i have to be awake in 6 hours, but i have so many fragments of thought going on in my head and i feel it necessary to get them out as quickly as possible so I can just move on.

I want to an Allman Brothers Band/Widespread Panic concert today. Earlier this month, I went to a Coldplay/Elbow concert, and as I was watching Widespread Panic, I started comparing the two concerts to each other. I figured out some stark contrasts and similarities. The similarities lied in the people there. At both concerts, the demographics were surprisingly similar. Although the people were older at the concert I just went to, there was weed being smoked and many, many stupid people getting drunk at both. But I guess there's no avoiding that at concerts in the first place. The contrasts are far, far more prominent though. The secondary contrast in mind is that I went with my parents to the Allman Brothers concert (I wouldn't expect my friends to go to something like an Allman Brothers concert, nor would I, but my dad got tickets and I figured I'd go for the heck of it), while I went with my brother and his wife to the Coldplay concert. So initially, I enjoyed being at the Coldplay concert more than the Allman Brothers concert based on who I was with. I felt out of place and embarrassed being with my parents at the Allman Brothers, but in place and awesome being with my brother, who has always been sort of an idol of coolness to me. The primary contrast lied in the music. Naturally, the Allman Brothers play southern rock/blues, and Coldplay play arena rock, so these two are very different to begin with. But digging deeper, I realized something that made me (at least briefly) rethink my music taste altogether. The Allman Brothers played music, and they meant what they were fucking playing. There was pain or joy in every single note. You won't see that at a Coldplay concert. Coldplay never branches out into the improvisational. When they weren't doing that brief acoustic set in the lawn seating from which I was 20 feet away or doing a funky minimalistic remake of God Put A Smile Upon Your Face, the songs they played sounded IDENTICAL to the albums they were on. So why go to a concert to hear the exact same shit that you can hear in better quality on headphones? What distracts you from this sameness are the visuals. There was something different going on for every single song that Coldplay played, whether it was hundreds of yellow bouncy balls being flung all across the audience during Yellow, or the billions of tons of confetti showering down during Lovers in Japan. Not only the visuals, but the crowd participation. Every single song, everyone was shouting the words. Which I guess made the experience semi-electric, but doesn't change the fact that Coldplay is no different live than in studio. The Allman Brothers had a little bit of the visual distraction element themselves, and a little bit of that crowd participation, but they didn't need it. Because even if you didn't know the words (I didn't know the words to pretty much any songs, except for tidbits of Midnight Rambler), you were immersed in the music. They took you places, because each song would have a couple of verses and just meander into a guitar solo, or a bass solo, or a drum solo, or a breakdown. I was intrigued for the whole 2.5 hour set for this reason. There was dynamic and pure passion in what they were doing. They (the allman brothers, that is) ended with Mountain Jam, which was absolutely beautiful. I remember wanting to get the live version off iTunes a while ago, but couldn't download it. So I had never heard it until tonight. It opens with a timpani that keeps repeating throughout the first movement of the song, and the guitar slowly fades in, and the song just builds and falls and builds and then collapses into a cover of Smokestack Lightning, which then collapses into a drum solo, and then rebuilds into a reprise of Mountain Jam, timpani and all. the whole process took a good 40-45 minutes, and I don't think I blinked once. for 40 years, this band has been around, so they're all old, but they sound just as good as they did 40 years ago. Their music is timeless.

So, although i thought i'd NEVER say this... Allman Brothers > Coldplay. end of.

Like my dad and I did on the road trip, we made a big circle starting at the end of our street going to and coming back from the concert. We took a left to get to the concert, and came back on the right. I love doing that. There's something so surreal about it, like we just went around the world and ended up in the exact same spot.

As my mind was wandering as the Allman Brothers were playing (it's not that they were boring me, their music just managed to get me on all these streams-of-consciousness), I started thinking of my dog, of all things. What she was doing locked up in my room for the 8 hours that we were gone. We were hoping to be back by 10 PM (we left at 4) but ended up getting back at midnight. I feel bad. It's not that we've neglected her, but she leads a pretty boring life. She lays down all day, with the occasional playing around and barking when we go up and downstairs or when neighbors pass, but that's the extent of her 'fun'. Animals in the wild lead better lives than domesticated animals, because they can actually see the world, outside of a house and the vet and the kennel. So I pictured being in her shoes (or... paws) briefly, doing nothing, waiting for her owners to get home from wherever they might have gone, wondering when or if they'll be back, being generally confused but also thinking about nothing, staring blankly around the room, face down, trying to understand why and how and where she is. because what do dogs even think about?

I have to be up in a few hours to run. it's a speed workout. so goodnight. D:

it's gonna go
speedworkout at 7:30
wrock practice at 10:00
and then granite state challenge practice at noon (high school quiz show i'm gonna be on. schools compete against other schools for bragging rights and $1000 towards their school. just found out i'm the captain of the team today, which i'm really really excited about. ^_^)

but i'm not a fucking morning person.



Zen And The Art Of Facebook Page Maintenance.

i hath started up a fan page for videosforpictures on facebook. here's a link:


there you can become a fan, get updates on whatever i happen to be doing music-wise, listen to three unreleased sawngs (Family, Adding To An Echo Chamber, Mystery Jesus And The Wonder Wheel), say something, whatever. it's pretty similar to myspace, but i'm on facebook far more than myspace, so i think i'll get more use out of it.

In speaking of facebook, yesterday i joined a new facebook group, which i guess started in my town called "Fight for Peace". And it made me remember this sort of dialogue I had with my friend over the phone a couple months back in which I argued that world peace would make the world a better place, and he argued that it wouldn't. Our conclusion was that, in the miniscule, almost nonexistent chance that world peace would be achieved, a complete and perfect globalization would occur. this would result in everyone conforming to the same religion, the same government, the same language, the same clothing, the same EVERYTHING. the world would lose its culture. it would then become boring. So we started another scenario: world peace, but then every country isolates itself from one another. That would retain the culture, but what of resources? what of communication? countries would fail, and the world would probably be gloomy. so essentially, as weird as it sounds, we're against world peace, which I believe is what this page is about. I posted the conclusion on the page and no one has written back yet, which disappointed me, because I wanted to start another dialogue. I want to create a scenario in which everyone could coexist and live happily ever after. But for now, I remain joined because I'm still fighting for peace of a different kind. inner peace. but that's another blog post.

today, i tried recording a song but was reminded of how much my piano needs tuning when i played it back. but i DID record the sound of a power sander. better than nothing.

as soon as i'm done writing this, i'm getting back to reading zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance. the only word i can seem to use for it is interesting. because that's what it is. i'm about a quarter of the way in, and my favorite passage i've come across is his definition of romantic and classical thought. people with a romantic mindset prefer to look at, admire, and utilize the finished product of something, instead of going deep down into the heart of it. people with a classical mindset want to find out the underlying forms of things, find out what makes things tick. and these two clash. romantics accuse classicals of dealing with ugly things (because the underlying forms of things can't usually be defined as beautiful), while classicals accuse romantics of being superficial. while these both have their pros and cons, i'd rather be a classical person than a romantic person. but i'm definitely a romantic person. this becomes clear when i go camping and just kind of stand back and watch as everyone else sets up the tent. it's not that i'm lazy, it's just i always feel like an idiot while trying to figure out which components go to what. i'm just a pure romantic in the presence of classicals at that moment. I'd rather look lazy than stupid.

just thought i'd share that.

WOO. that's a load off my mind.




i'm in a wrock band.

there you will hear me play keyboard and sing. and eventually drum.
it's fun. all we've done are covers so far, with the exception of a piano ballad about Neville Longbottom. the music's basic, vocals are nowhere near close to being good, but it's fun. and in the end, it makes it almost more enjoyable than playing serious music.

finished another song, and i'm thinking of another tracklist for once i get my piano tuned. which will be in the very near future.

chrysalis, east, cougar crossing, lullaby no. 2 in E flat, mr. johnson, crossing II/nacimiento is what i'm looking at right now. the best part is that 4/6 songs are already recorded.

▲ ▲



the only thing that's keeping me
from ending all my enemies
that single ounce of sanity
that i have left, and it's deaf

deer ticks
your skin.

black crows
picking at
yr bones
yr bones.



Chillin' Like A Villain.

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Another song just popped into my head. I'm in the midst of figuring out the piano bit, it feels like it'd have to be accompanied with drums and an organ setting. It's called Mr. Johnson and I have the lyrics. It's about a corrupt businessman in his mid 30s and karma. That's about all I have to say, it has a different ending that sets it apart from the majority of the other songs I've written.

In other news, I got very into Interpol today. In particular, their first album, Turn On The Bright Lights, released in '02. The tracks that stood out to me were Obstacle 1, PDA, and The New, but it all sounds great to me. Look it UP.

I also like Evil and Slow Hands off of Antics, but I have yet to listen to that album in full.

That's about all I have left to say. I have 60 pages left of Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner. I won't say that it's a bad book, but on the reading difficulty scale, it's like a 9.5/10. 10 being utter gibberish.

Was gonna go mini-golfing today, but that never materialized.




a couple days ago, i wrote a song that's 46 words but it seems to manage to sum up everything i've ever wanted to say or create. it's a song about leaving. it can be about leaving somewhere or leaving someone, and how you don't want to leave but there you are, turning down a road with the thought that you might never see this place or this person ever again. i based it off my horrible experience in lake george, new york when i went to this average theme park that turned out to be more for kids than anyone else. and since the park wasn't doing much for me, i turned my attention to the people there. and i took mental notes. little 10 year old girls with broken bones from cheerleading or gymnastics or whatever who think they're the shit because they always have one finger on the send button on their phones, always texting people, because they're more interested in a screen than what's going on around them. families who look like they never leave the mall, soccer moms who look like they never leave their SUVs, an all-girls jewish camp hustling into the park in their black dresses that went down to their ankles for modesty. i saw everything and nothing there. and it translated into the first part of this song. this trip to the theme park was the last leg of a roadtrip that i had taken with my dad for 3 days, to look at colleges and just get away from everything. i saw the broken-down shanty towns of vermont, and the stark contrast that was woodstock, vermont in comparison to its counterparts. i saw mountain ranges that stood thousands of feet above me, all green and brown in the churning august heat that it was not accustomed to. this part of the world was waiting for the first snow, where it would no longer be green and brown. and all was quiet. new hampshire was loud when i left it, but once i hit vermont everything got quiet. anyways... once i left lake george, i took essentially two roads. and i realized that, once i turned onto the second road, there'd be no turning back. i didn't want to leave, i didn't want to go back. i wanted to stay in this place forever, despite my horrible experience at the theme park. the town itself is beautiful, dotted with exotic restaurants and street performers, one which looked up at mewith the most awful stare while i gazed at his guitar playing. my dad and i stopped in a mediterranean restaurant, where i had my first spicy chicken gyro and i almost cried from the spice while i was talking to my mom and updating her on our trip to the colleges, (she couldn't come with us because she had to work) telling her about how I loved the tiny town of Burlington which was the most beautiful little illuminated town I had ever laid my eyes on and how the campus of UVM turned me onto the idea of going there so much, despite the fact that I knew absolutely nothing about what they had to offer there. and then we stopped in a polish restaurant, where i had kielbasa on a skewer with pickles, tomato, etc. and i loved how you could taste almost every flavor imaginable in such a small plate: salt, sweet, sour, bitter. and then dad and i took a long long walk around town, checking out the ships that were about to set sail, looking into the several arcades, feeling like you were a part of this wonderful machine that made sense. it was beautiful, lake george. so it felt impossible to leave. but once we finally did get to leaving, my attention turned towards the fact that i was taking a single route allllll the way back from new york, into vermont, and into new hampshire, one town over from where i lived. Route 4 East. And I was amazed at how there was nothing on that road, and how one town bled into the next, and how i felt like i was going in a straight line, and how there were no cars in front or behind me for miles and miles and miles. I loved when i'd let the gas pedal go and just glide down 7.5% grade hills until i got it up to 75 in a 50 and my dad would say "Slow down, Mario." (in reference to Mario Andretti). But when I finally got into familiar territory, it was surreal, knowing that i've been down this road before, but it's the same road that i've been following for hundreds of miles. and then i got home and unpacked and wrote the 46 word song in summary of everything that I just described. Now it's recorded, and I just need to mix and mashter it.



Now Playing:

Kissing the Beehive - Wolf Parade
Cats on Fire - Mimas
San Tropez - Pink Floyd
Whenever You Breathe Out, I Breathe In (Positive Negative) - Modest Mouse
F Stop Blues - Jack Johnson
Twenty Cell Revolt - Menomena
Two-Headed Boy - Neutral Milk Hotel
Who's Gonna Save My Soul Now? - Gnarls Barkley
Yes/Chinese Sleep Chant - Coldplay



marc johns ftw.






Quelques Choses

Ahh... how i missed writing here.

There's something so gripping about writing in this little, white box. It's that little gripping-grippy-grip thing that keeps bringing me back here, writing to you in short chunks about my life... whoever you may be.

Production of the album has stopped, for two reasons:
1) Ben's been working at a summer camp all summer and communication has halted.
2) My piano's pathetically out of tune, and I refuse to record on it until it gets tuned at the beginning of next month. Then when it's fixed, I'll start recording again when I have the time. (Which might not be much time, seeing as how I'm taking on three of the most advanced classes my school has to offer this year)

So Dryas is dead. for now.
As is my relationship. I'm single again. (Mutual agreement, we came to the conclusion that long-distance relationships suck and that it'd be easier to just be friends)
So since I haven't been doing much recording or writing, I've been doing a lot of listening. In particular, to a band by the name of Mimas.

Eliot is responsible for introducing me to this band. They're from Denmark, and they call their breed of music "death-indie". I'd classify it more as post-rock, but death-indie sounds infinitely cooler. I recommend listening to Cats on Fire and Dads on the myspace I just linked ya to. Simply put, more people should know about this band. Listen and you'll probably agree.
I also managed to make an hour-long continuous mix of songs that is available here for 24 hours (12 PM EDT, August 7) before it disappears into the desolate oblivion of the Internet.
I feel like I've overstayed my welcome.
As you were.