“Not quite your Regular Elitist Stuff…”

Besides curious life facts, about bittersweet NGO experiences at the bottom of the Chinese/Jingpo society, I keep mentioning the existence of my music. So, what’s it all about?

I reach out and delve for music that to me appears both aesthetic and refreshingly original. If not lucky, I just give up the catch.

I don’t do styles and genres. (In a way, though, music cannot be fully original, as by nature it needs to be recognizable as such, as music is, I think, a special form of language. Maybe, who knows, it’s all some kind of interplay between convention and experimentation, and maybe smart people could measure that with mathematics.)

Technically, I play digital instruments struck by MIDI notes, don’t touch the bass guitar anymore (unlike what I did here: https://soundcloud.com/antonlustig/bass-feast). I don’t record my voice (as of yet).

I was NEVER educated as a musician, don’t reed music, and can’t give the names for chords and such. This may sometimes make it a bit harder to make music, but on the other hand it isn’t a bad thing, as it forces me to depend on my ears and follow my intuition. I’m not much of a virtuoso either. This all makes me depend more on the “superstition” that I practice in my private temple.

I revere the Holy Serendipity as one my most important principles in music-making. This Holy Virgin-like god, going in many forms and disguises, brings joy and inspiration through unexpected and unhoped-for musical results. She is also the luck-changer in other people’s cards and mahjong games, though in that context she often brings bad luck, because you just can’t beat that second law of thermodynamics. Wonderful as she is, I also often go astray and just do what I want, even forgetting her at times, but then suddenly she may appear to me again in all her glory.

Also worshipped in my little temple is something that’s rather like a humanist principle than a spirit: the Principle of Improvisation. Such as engraved on a plaque hanging there: “Thou should IMPROVISE; When RECORD has been pressed, thou should not think too much and let things go.” I must say that I don’t adhere to this principle as much as I used to, but I do wish to return to my old ways more often.

As a Chinese Jingpo Dutchie, does my music contain ethnic elements? Sometimes maybe, but not so many. Ethnic music IS interesting though, as it can offer interesting entries into microtonality - away from the western tonal system - and polyrhythm/polymeter - away from the regular rhythms heard in western music. African and Indian music come to mind here. But there are also more direct ways out of the old conventions, as I will try to demonstrate later on. No temple shrines have been erected for Microtonality and Polyrhythm yet, too amazed as I still am by the endlessness of their variations. Humankind’s music of the future is going to depend on them.

(Text continues underneith the music.)

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But there’s also a struggle going on, because of the tension between my being creative on the one hand and the unavoidable and endless editing (mixing) on the other. I have tens if not a hundred pieces I would like to finish, but all of these would need a lot of editing time to finish, and a completely different mindset from when I try to feel free to improvise and explore new music.

Mixing is a complicated process, and I haven’t even properly started to learn how to do the mastering yet. (Later on I’ll explain some more about mixing & mastering.) Also, the longer you edit a piece, the less objectively you can listen to the various qualities of its sounds, so it’s quite easy to spoil the result by overdoing it.

In the next post I think I’ll share a long piece of meditation music, and after that it’s going to be LAVA time! (LAVA stands for: Lustig Anton & Vrijman Arno). That is, if not an urgent Prop Roots related story gets in the way. With this post I share a lively and rather tiny solo piece of mine, just one that I’ve been working on the last few days.