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Scott is releasing an album a month in 2016! Check the music page for links and info.

 

 

ALBUM OF THE MONTH, JULY: "OMUSIC"



Continuing further out this month from the acoustic/electric singer-songwriter material (we'll get back to that) and going much deeper, we come to music of transcendence. All matter is vibration (science) and, much like a guitar will resonate to a piano across the room, vibration affects vibration. Do we think this only happens with what we see, as if our ability to perceive is a boundary for what can exist? Please. There are even basic sounds and colors that are beyond us. Some get very spiritual about this great mystery beyond us. The sounds made from and for this state can take many forms - chanting, John Coltrane, Tibetan singing bowls; all gospel in their way. Like a dish of food, it may be poured for a quick snack or prepared reverently as an offering.

As when substance becomes sacrament, when music becomes ritual it triggers trance states and changes in the player and the listener - who participates in the ceremony in their own way. Much psychedelic jamming and improvised music over the years has overlapped into the mystical and sacred. Sound and song, rhythm and notes have been part of celebrating and communicating with the "beyond" since the dawn of our consciousness. 

I was moved very early on by the power of music - deeper than emotional chord changes or anything in words, it was the power. It did something to me. After noticing the electric guitar and awakening to music as a kid (awakening into the world of music would be more accurate), after the way it sang and screamed and I became interested in it... that fateful day I first came into contact with Blue Cheer at 13 changed me. The guitar player, Leigh Stephens, seemed less like he was caressing this instrument than funneling interstellar collisions through it. The cry of the universe. I would later recognize this focused intensity in the wailing brass of Coltrane, the anguished scream of Cobain, and the war cry of old American V8 engines at full throttle. 

I hear these things and I am vibrationally changed. The spiritual aspect of sound was never lost on me, even long before I knew any terms or paths or had any sense of conjuring such things through my hands. I felt it first and still do, the - if not deliberate - inherent spiritual nature of music. So while I became very prolific with words and the Neil Young - Steve Earle - John Prine side of things molded me into a singer-songwriter, there was this other, deeper undercurrent. I offered song to the fire. I chanted under starlight. Alone in the woods I prayed to the sunrise with Native American flute and dug deeper for the nucleus of how this all entered me and where it most powerfully exited through my hands and my instrument. 

It was feedback. It tore the air, changed the tapestry of the mundane back into threads which then vibrated like strings and joined in, primal screaming a symphony back at me that, if I stood in just the right spot and moved in ways the vibration wished to manifest in - and through - me, I could almost control. It was sonic alchemy. I was being played. I feel the need to mention at this point that as of this date in July of 2016 I have never experienced any mind-altering substances whatsoever. I don't even pop aspirin very often. Certain sounds do it and it's just something that happens. At my farthest out around 2001 I modified a special guitar only for such exploration and sacred expressions, to be played as if volume and intensity would help carry the highest in me upwards like smoke rising from sacred fire ceremony. Every shaman needs a talisman - its name is "Sonic Light" and however off the rails it may sound, I have felt it come alive in my hands. I have been played. 

The first piece is an invocation with notes and percussion; the second a groove containing a recited piece called "All Glories"; and then we go on a real trip. "Sphurana" is an ancient Sanskrit word for a shuddering, an intense internal vibration felt in moments of awakening, awareness, transcendence. No direct translation, but you get the idea. When I say "soundscape" one might think tranquil sunsets with happy clouds; this is more Niagra Falls over shifting tectonic plates. These pieces were improvised in layers, some together and some layered at other times. But each layer is one pass, complete, in the moment. It's loose, it's loud, and it's loaded. 

OMusic is a combination of OM, a sacred sound in many Eastern spiritual paths, and music - the most sacred thing to me. I cannot separate the two. I can write some goofy irreverent songs, but that's songcraft to me and improvising music is different - one is a drink of water, this is laying in a river realizing the river doesn't know you from the rock and you're getting blurry on where you end and they begin. And so I sincerely hope like anything I do that this music, offerings from a pile of sonic soundscapes improvised in layers, finds the ears that need it and carries something to the ceremony of your lives. Play it loud and just let the water flow over you. If you can, let it take you and I hope it flows you somewhere good. 

~Scott Beckwith
Still in the woods
July 22, 2016  

Please consider any anomalies in the source tapes to be proof of homegrown authenticity.

Track 1:
I Will Sit In This Good Room And Cultivate My Spiritual Garden
(S. Beckwith / Parking Lot Music, BMI)
Recorded around 2006
Textural piano & percussion
6:00

Track 2:
All Glories
(S. Beckwith / Parking Lot Music, BMI)
Drums by Jim Erickson, recorded 1995 in the back room of a music store in Round Rock, TX
The rest layered in 2006
Bass: Birdsong Cortobass
10:35

Track 3:
Sphurana
(S. Beckwith / Parking Lot Music, BMI)
Drums by Neal Dike, barely captured (with bass) in an unplanned one-shot jam in the back room of a music shop in Melrose MA, 1998.
Guitar layered in 2006
28:19


Recorded on a Tascam 488 multitrack using Maxell XLII tape. About Sonic Light (the guitar) - it's a '90s Washburn N4 with a Floyd Rose locking trem, scalloped fretboard & modified pickups, strung with flatwound strings and kept in an alternate tuning. This is what it does.

To listen as a playlist and download individual tracks:
https://soundcloud.com/parking-lot-music/sets/omusic
To download as an album (tip optional - and much appreciated):
http://noisetrade.com/scottbeckwith/omusic 

 

Scott Beckwith * PO Box 1745  Wimberley, TX 78676 USA * 512.395.5126