bye, bye Stratocaster (1)

[audio:flangestrat.mp3]

I already told you. “My old guitar”, the rare Fender one, is not really mine.

But in between it almost felt like it was mine, since I have spent several months with this instrument of special vibes, and we had quite a few experiences together. Moments that felt a little uneasy because my hands don’t like the neck and fingerboard (I’m a Gibson Player), and moments of great appreciation of it’s rich tone that resonated with me…

So parting with it feels ambiguous, too. I’m glad I explored its potential as far as I could by improvising regularly, by recording as many tracks as possible, making up many posts here and doing drafts for some songs I’m going to work on later.

With a tear in my eye I am proud to present some of the very last recordings I made with this guitar. Recordings done without a purpose, just to “jot down” the sounds of the 1967 Stratocaster, that a friend of mine fetched today. He has every right to do that, as it’s his guitar. Rather, I’d like to thank Thomas for his generosity. En lieu of the guitar he left me something equally precious I will soon write about.

Just a few minutes ago they both headed for a far away town, and this is my “bye, bye”. (There will be another installment coming soon.)

holidays – no jolly days

At least that’s what I experienced at lot of times – and again this time. My wife wrote an entire post about it last year. I’m not too bad, actually, but I ended up being disappointed and slightly depressed. Maybe part of the problem are the raised expectations: everything I cannot accomplish in normal everyday life must be accomplished in the next holidays, respectively school break (that is now). And I’m not yet talking about relaxation and well-earned rebound…

There were some obvious reasons, too: my computer broke, and after it had been repaired, it broke again. Just when I planned to start some bigger work on songs that I had projected months ago. For this reason, and some others, I feel thwarted. Nearly anything I am currently starting to do has kind of a brake attached to it. Mostly I just begin for a few minutes and then I’m forced to stop.

Family life is a permanent tug-of-war with all three of us feeling missed out. Many things around the house and the garden have to be fixed, and each item seems to block the other.

But then I was looking forward to the ultimate compensation for all this: I ordered a new guitar amplifier, the one that I have been looking for for years. When it was delivered, I realized it was damaged during transportation, and now I’ve got all the trouble sending it back, getting another one etc.

So, that’s the news from me. Right in the middle of the time I thought I would be composing and recording like crazy. Sorry, folks, I’m sure there are better times to come, and I will keep up with trying to stay motivated. There’s more music and some blog posts prepared, standing by. And there will be three posts coming soon about a very special guitar I’ll have to part with…

dusk

[audio:dusk.mp3]

Collaboration with Susanne

It’s a summer’s evening in the country. The air is moistening, but still warm. Our friend’s summer celebration has just begun, the tent is pitched, and we take a look down the hills before joining the party.

This is the light version (pun intended) of an evening atmosphere, dusk in this case meaning the beginning, not the end of something…

The musical piece this time consists of far more than the usual one-man-improvisation: though it began exactly like that, it was elaborated as a multi-track-tune, re-recorded and in the end Susanne sang partly improvised, partly well-arranged melodies to it. I can publish tunes like this only once in a while – or it would be just one post a month. But I liked the light atmosphere of the original improvisation so much, it brought up a bunch of additional ideas.

For those curious about the original, I add it here. It may be interesting to follow the evolution of this piece:

[audio:dusksolo.mp3]

participants: Susanne Fritzsche – vocals, Gary Winter – Fender Stratocaster, Gibson EB3 bass, percussion

shadows

[audio:shadows.mp3]

At some rather early point in our lives we were told that shadows aren’t real. Our caretakers wanted to prevent us from unnecessary fears, and raise our sense of reality.
But now we are ready to know that shadows are just another interpretation of reality, only on a different level. Since the alleged “original” picture of an object that we perceive is not the real object itself, either, its shadow is by no means less real than what our eyes tell us to be the object itself.

In case you doubt if there’s real music after you clicked the player, just exercise a little patience, since the building up of these audible shadows takes a few seconds (you may hear some noises like wind in the beginning and in the end).

guitar & gear: Epiphone Les Paul Custom, Vox AC 50, BSM treble booster, DOD wah pedal

my credo post

[audio:Cm1.mp3]

Somehow what I’m trying to do here is to give examples of how we can look and listen. “Psychedelic” in this respect is just a code for a different way of perceiving, for shifting perspectives and uncovering hidden meaning.

It may be essential for us all to learn how to be present in the moment, and to experience the Now wherever we are. Awareness is a primary value for the future, as it is already now. And it is something we have control over, something we can begin with right now.

Perhaps it doesn’t fit the concept of this blog all too well, and I know it’s not the most important thing to do to state one’s Weltanschauung in front of other people. But I would feel bad if I wouldn’t give it a try, at least for once.

Here come my personal “Eight Commandments”. For sure I’m not holier than thou, but I’m trying to build my life around them, every day anew.

  1. Live in order to respect and protect life in it’s many forms.
  2. Learn how to contain aggression instead of suppressing or falling prey to it.
  3. Believe in /find your life’s purpose – there is one.
  4. Believe in what most people call God. Don’t worry about the name.
  5. Support sustainability. Don’t waste energy and resources.
  6. Be grateful for every little thing you got. You’ll live much happier by that.
  7. Be tolerant instead of dogmatic. There’s more than one truth to the world.
  8. Learn how to think globally instead of just talk and consume globally. This planet is small, precious and vulnerable.

Spreading thoughts like these, and being an example to other people is one of the most powerful means to change the world.

Amen. Thank you.

guitar & gear: Epiphone Les Paul Custom, Vox ToneLab, Tube Reverb

homeless

[audio:homeless.mp3]

A COLLABORATION WITH “ONE PLUS TWO”

A few weeks ago Jen made a request, writing a comment on the collaborations Elspeth had initiated.

After my first reaction: “this is impossible”, it stuck with me, and I decided to try to create a musical piece about homeless people, which in itself is not easy at all. One evening the inspiration came, I recorded and mixed it, and now I’m quite happy with it. The music resonates with me, and also with you, I hope. Maybe even with those whose rather involuntary way of living this post is about. That’s my greatest wish, since the music was created for them.

I’d like to thank Jen for dragging me into this. It’s a step out of self-sufficiency, out of my encircled psychedelic universe… It’s a good thing for us all to bear in mind that there are those not as fortunate as we are, and how easily we can lose what we might take for granted. Jen, who works with homeless people, offered to contribute the words to this post, and here’s what she wrote about a conversation she had with this man:

Tom, age 59

“you know, it wasn’t always like this. i used to be like you, i had my own apartment, a car. that was a long time ago but i had it. living on the street’s not so bad sometimes, but you know what gets to me? that people are afraid of me. that they grab their kids arm when they walk past me. do they think i am going to hurt their kid just because i’m homeless? when did it become a crime to not have a place to stay? or worse, when I try and talk to somebody, not to ask them for money but just because i want to have a conversation and they look past me as if i am not even here. or worse, they walk around me in a big circle as if i can’t tell exactly what they are doing, if i can’t tell they aren’t afraid of me. that really gets to me. it makes me want to ask them if they knew i fought for this country, that the reason i don’t have a place to live is because i got hurt over there and i didn’t come back right. i mean, i made it work for awhile but i just couldn’t hold it all together. i’ve still got a metal plate in my head. you didn’t know that, did you? i don’t tell people because they think it makes me crazy and i’m not crazy but it’s no use cause people think what they want. that’s the worst part really, people thinking what they want just because i am on the streets. you don’t really know how much you miss being normal until it’s gone and you almost can’t remember what it was like to go into a store and have people treat you right or to be able to go where you want to go.

there’s some good things about being here too. i notice the small things that other people take for granted. see those birds over there, the ones on that wire? they come every single day, the same three birds. sometimes if i’ve got some bread i give it to them. we’ve gotten to know each other, me and them birds. and there are others like me and we help each other out. there’s a guy at the park who can’t walk right. i go and see him every morning to make sure he can get up. sometimes he can’t and i have to help him. once i found him and thought he was dead. i was pretty upset for a minute and then he started moving and i knew he was alive. but i don’t know what would happen if i didn’t check on him. i’m all that guy has. you don’t think of this when you drive past us in your cars with your coffee all nice and warm. you don’t think about how much i’d like a cup of coffee. or about how i am not that much different from you. i’m a person too.

but there’s hope you know. some guys and me are thinking of getting a place. one guy thinks he’s got some money coming. we all get on alright and if it works out we’ll have a place and that’ll be cool. and when i do i won’t walk around anybody on the street, that’s for damn sure.”

Remember the Just Post roundtable: justpostjuly2007

guitars & gear: Epiphone Les Paul Custom, ’71 Ibanez SG, Vox ToneLab SE, Tube Reverb

happy end in outer space?


[audio:stratecho.mp3]

This feels like an unsettling journey in the beginning, but it’s promised to end on a consoling C Major chord! Though it had never been planned this way – it happened spontaneously.

Once upon a time there was a hitchhiker traveling the universe, and those of you familiar with the story may feel reminded – at least a little bit.

The picture below is a shoot out of the alien spaceship right after landing. The planet’s strange trees and it’s population, electric guitar playing mice, are in sight…

guitar & gear: ’67 Stratocaster, Vox ToneLab, Roland Space Echo