When I write I love to take a phrase, whatever comes to mind, and follow it, not trying to write anything specific. That way I don’t have any ownership over the material and the words can be free to be impressionistic. It can look like many things and say many things to many people in all sorts of circumstances. I have been careful to craft my songs not to feel too specific, but to have a nice amount of ambiguity so they can refer to a wide range of experiences. At the same time though, I like to think that I don’t write songs of my own will. I imagine they already exist. I just discover them. That’s what this project is all about. Discovery. Discovering surprises. Discovering artifacts I wouldn’t expect. Discovering the world. Discovering myself.
This music is a collection of thoughts describing a journey of discovery. I wrote these songs with no intent of organizing them. They all just kind of happened, appeared, evolved; they were forgotten and welcomed back and were fused with others. Some were written blindly, with no idea what I was writing about, just following muses.
The funny thing is, as time went on, the meaning of these songs began to morph. After certain events in my life happened, the words of these songs reflected very differently than when I first wrote them. It was very strange to have my own words from the past speak into the present in ways I could never anticipate. At first these songs were an honest attempt to point to something beyond words. After time, they transformed into vessels that empathized with all these new feelings I was experiencing, though the words ironically came from none other than my past self. This discovery was very intriguing to me.
When you hold a jewel, you can see the intricacies of the cut. When you shine light into it, the light refracts, splitting into all sorts of colors of the spectrum. As you spin it around, you notice different facets, each unique and unlike the last. This seemed like an appropriate image to encapsulate this phenomena of a song speaking in such different ways at such different times. I think this image represents discoveries of the new, the old, and even of ourselves quite nicely.
I acknowledge that all music and all art actually does this. Art is an expression of what we call ‘the self’. Art alone though isn’t the only thing that does this. Different places, people and symbols that hold special significance in our lives do this. Our personal memory, story is like a collection, or a library of precious stones that tell us a lot about the world and ourselves. When we revisit these stones at different times, in different lights, they teach us new lessons. I have found for me personally, if I simply take the time to look, and listen, and observe them, I learn a lot.
This collection of songs is called Spinning Jewel. One thing I hope the listener catches is that the last song ends as the first song begins. The revolution comes full circle as the thought, “is there any way out of here” repeats over a droning major chord, in contrast to the first song, where that thought is sung over many shifting major and minor chords. When I left a certain place, went on a journey, explored many places and learned many things, I somehow returned, but the question remains.
What it all means, I can’t quite say. Where it will take me, I’m not quite sure. I am comfortable not knowing these answers, but simply letting these questions just be. But I am sure that for me, I get a little restless if I stay in the same place too long. After all, there is so much to explore. The ordinary and the familiar is a great place to begin, even in the hallways of your mind.