OK, I know ideally our AAB inspiration write ups revolve around Amsterdam life and people. For this one, let’s say my colleagues and myself live in Amsterdam and are considered people (well at least during working hours). People that are really psyched about the release of this feature film about making music . What is so good about this? For starters, the question that kickstarts this film is one we can all really relate to. If you lock yourself up in your studio, spend precious hours finding ideas, sounds, words and try and craft something that has value, you can’t help but question what constitutes ‘value’? The question “Why am I doing this?” transcends the poorly lit realm of the composers studio. It is a universal question for conscious beings. So, we can all relate. Second, Red Bull with their pioneering Red Bull Music Academy have been successfully fueling the marriage between the worlds of music and marketing for the past 15 years. Who is not happy to see marketing dollars being invested in actually creating culture and helping to sustain what Van Dyke Parks in the movie calls ‘our greatest language’. And lastly, the film project is created and directedby Ralph Schmerberg and his Berlin based artist collective ‘Mindpirates‘. If you don’t know them, do check them out. You can watch the film here.
Here’s a story for you. When I was a little boy (for those who know me, yes there was such a time), I would occasionally have a sleep-over at my grandparents. Having kids myself now, I realize mum and dad needed some time for making the beast with two backs now and then. But that’s another story and besides the point. My granddad would walk to his library and pick out the old testament and read me stories. Stories of long gone times, filled with snakes, splitting seas and guys that make the movemberists look like brazilian waxed pussycats. I would enjoy these stories immensely. Later on I became literate myself and blessed with time and the absence of digital distraction, I would immerse in multiple stories at a time. I would take the time to really listen to music and wonder about it’s origin and intend. Then over time, stuff was getting a bit hectic. My influencers and trusted sources for good stories were readily available in an app on my smartphone. I started suffering from story-overload. And then…… all of a sudden, storytelling became the buzzword in our profession (well next to big data of course). We started sticking stories to commodities. And now, Amsterdam based ad brain John Weich wrote a book about it and he will launch it tonight. Not the traditional way, but by inviting interesting storytellers from the creative industry to tell a story, about storytelling, in their particular field of expertise. And so it happened that MassiveMusic’s Mr. Zee will be talking about the importance of storytelling in music crowd funding at the Pakhuis de Zwijger tonight. Imagine reading this line in 1999. You’d be like..wha? If you still think this now, then you have an extra reason to drop by tonight, Thursday December 12th, for the official book launch of John Weich’s ‘Storytelling on Steroids’.
Urban gardening, swapping your home grown peppers for some chopped firewood for cooking. The crisis has some turn to a longing for and even pursuing a life in autarky. But what do you do when you suddenly crave for a tosti? The Tosti Fabriek set out to discover just that. From nothing to a toasted sandwich in 7 months. The Tosti Factory is a living installation about the wonder of what proceeds the food on your plate. Good tosti’s come to those who wait…
When AAB briefed the small group of inspiration absorbing tentacles for this section of the blog, there was as much an emphasis on ‘what surrounds you’ as on ‘Amsterdam pride’. So for this post, I really had no other options than to bring last week’s Amsterdam Dance Festival (ADE) to the table. There is so much to say about this 5 day EDM festival (EDM: a new term I believe coined for the Americans to take on the battle with their beloved and may I say persistent Urban and Hip Hop habitus). One can argue that there is not much inspiration to be found in the pale looking, jaw chattering herds that deflate the clubs after the crack of dawn. But there’s a huge argument to be made for the way this festival puts Amsterdam, its supposedly feeble-existing club life, and both mainstream and underground dance music scene on the global map. I could sum up the statistics here, or share with you my personal ADE memoires, but both are rather boring. Instead I’d like to direct you to a nice write up from music blog xlr8r.com where we are being served the outsiders perspective on last week’s event and our beloved city. Their biggest downturn seems to be that Amsterdam is infested with….. tall people: “We have never felt so short in our lives. Maybe it’s genetic, maybe it’s the food, but people are fucking tall in Amsterdam…“
What inspires us in art is often the pain, suffering, dedication and manic sacrifice of the artist. It’s the path we do not dare to take, since the consequences are usually too remote from comfort. We appreciate and sometimes reward the ones who choose to live a more risk filled life then we see fit for ourselves. They show us what it looks like on the other side and that is intriguing to us. It’s mind-candy. I have vaguely known Pablo for a long time. He is an energetic, frantic and radical character. Almost to the point of being scary. He was into visual arts first and I got to know him as a film maker. Even worked with him a couple of years ago. And then he decided to make music. At first I was hopeful but sceptic, blinded by conventions. But then I was blown away by a track he did, I believe it was last year. Unconventional and rudimentary. Coming from a remarkable place I long for and search in my attempts to be a poetic human being myself. This is it. There’s imperfection surrounded by beauty. The way it should be. Then today I saw a new song and video Pablo did. This post is to pay tribute to the unrelentless passion and living of Pablo. In my books he has done an amazing job with this video that he stars in, directed and of course wrote the music for. I believe he even got the tattoo. My chicken bones bow in awe of this compelling display of artsmanship. Here’s his new song and self-made video.
I was intrigued by the picture on this lamppost. The instrument looks exotic. Most likely self-build. And the software being used to record the audio also didn’t look familiar. Quite an unconventional set up, that made me curious to hear the sound. This guerrilla-type self-advertising endeavor seemed effective. At least for me. But I’m an easy victim where it comes to grabbing my attention by using vintage or otherwise quirky looking electronic instruments. I checked out his band camp page and tumbled into this story of a guy named Brandon, who is from Sant Fe, but lives in Berlin now. He gave up everything in the quest to make it as an artist. Going to his website, there’s a letter to his fans, in which Brando apologizes for almost dying, being suicidal and some more intense stuff. But he concludes with a thank you to everyone who believes in him and with renewed energy he continues his journey to survive as an artist. I guess Brandon wanted me to know this when he put up his ad on the lamppost. Well now you know too.
Inspiration is a stimulus. A catalyst for greatness in the world of ideas that may or may not be transformed into the tangible or physical world. It let’s us create things that are beautiful and meaningful. But what is truly inspiring to me is that we ourselves are a creation. Stuck in our 3-dimensional earthly reality. We aspire to transcend this reality with our art, inventions and religions. But perhaps the key to unlock this transient realm and find true meaning is already within all of us. Some say it goes by the name of DMT, The Spirit Molecule – see documentary trailer here. In a nutshell: “What we achieve inwardly, will change outer reality” (Plutarch). Full documentary here.