How a CNN article about ISIS soldiers burning the piano of a Syrian musician led to the writing of a new poem that I intend to set to music.
Nine-year old Caine Monroy built an entire game arcade out of cardboard boxes, tape, brown paper bags, calculators and string — because he wanted to own and manage his very own arcade. And that goal pushed him toward a creative endeavour that fulfilled his artistic need.
I started composing this track in 2006 and put it together in its final sequence in 2010 for my Experimentum Crucis album. Then, sometime in November 2011 I happened to ask a friend if he wanted to collaborate on a music video for it using his photography skills and a day or two of shooting cityscapes. This was the concept I e-mailed to him.
For those of us closely interested in the future of internet and culture in general, the book The Cult of the Amateur by Andrew Keen (Random House) is riveting reading most of the way through. Keen tackles how the democratization of the Net is producing tons of crap on a daily basis and slowly killing off the production of meaningful art.
While it’s good to ask around and find out what others use, don’t get so hung up about gear and brands and tools and materials that you forget that dynamic energy that wans to burst out of you because you have something you need to say through your art.
The point I always try to stress to those starting out in any creative endeavor, whether in visual art or music, sculpture or writing, is that you already do possess tools right under your nose that you can utilize in order to create your art.
Do Filipinos have a unique musical sound? My answer is yes. But it isn’t being practised much by people outside of the local world music genre (Grace Nono, Joey Ayala, Bayang Barrios, Pinikpikan, etc.) Right now it exists though it’s more a vague fog than a typhoon of output.
I’m talking about folksong-inspired music — music which uses our local folk songs as inspiration. Not remakes of ethnic chants or remixes of kundimans, but rather traditional folksongs as building blocks for new music regardless of the genre of the final output (be it pop, classical, electronic, or death metal.) National artist and composer Lucio San Pedro called it Creative Nationalism.
I have always loved classical music created with the Mass format in mind. Bach, Beethoven and Mozart had magnificent works which followed the Mass proper in Latin: Introit, Kyrie, Gloria, Alleluia, Agnus Dei, etc. And this intrigued me as a composer of liturgical music, and now, as a producer of electronic music.
So why not a mixture of these things: the sung sections of the Mass, electronic music, and theater? I came up with this idea sometime in 1998: to stage a theater production in the same vein. And to call it the Electronic Mass of Light in G-Major.
Each of us is being called to serve in his or her capacity. Which means I’m not being asked to give up my knowledge and skill in producing electronic music in favor of more traditional pop- and folk-styled praise music. Rather, I am being called to use what I have and what I know in the service of the Kingdom.
I must make a more conscious, focused effort in songwriting and song composition. A single solid direction and objective. Music not merely for sonic pleasure or merely for dancing, but music composed to touch souls. Music meant to uplift, to transcend, to inspire. Music that leads to God.