/ I’m glad that folks share their deepest feelings with me (and you). It must be a bit cathartic. Do you have something to share? This is what Rob Voigt had to tell me:
thanks for listening, mark.
let me tell you the full story, which i didn’t tell before because i don’t think i’m okay with it being publicized. but you like stories, so here it is: a few years ago my mom got diagnosed with breast cancer, from which she is now dying (very slowly, over years). she’s always been very religious, a jumble of things really, catholicism when she was a kid, quakerism during my childhood, but she got really into christian science as i was growing up. so she got breast cancer, and because of the christian science thing decided to get no treatment. disease is an illusion, if she prayed hard enough she would be healed.
i found this to be insane. i begged and argued with her, saying please, recognize that breast cancer is the most treatable form of cancer, but if you do not get treated you will die from this. almost like a person indoctrinated into a cult, she simply could not hear me. i would push her about it and she would laugh and say, patronizingly, you just don’t understand, i’ve seen how diseases are lifted, i’ve seen how miracles happen.
eventually we began to genuinely fight, and our relationship got worse. when i would visit home it was hard for me to let it go, to just go about things normally as she was letting this cancer beast grow. and i would push her again and again because i felt it was my responsibility and because i was scared, but she would only harden and get angrier and more defensive.
so one day after having an argument with her over the phone my younger brother called me. he is a zen kind of character in some ways. and i was telling him about how frustrated it all made me, how she was hurting all of us, how fucked up christian science is, how she was indoctrinated and lying to herself and so on.
at a certain point he just said, “yeah, but you just have to love your mother.” and we talked more, and he repeated that a few times. you just have to love her, brother. and that simple thing became a huge revelation for me. he was right. at the end of the day, people, even your own mother, are just going to do what they’re going to do. you can try to influence them, to help them, but you can’t control them.
that day was full of feelings of mono no aware, i was reading and thinking and wandering around. i ended up staying up late and wanting to eat a piece of apple pie and ice cream in a diner somewhere with a coffee. but there was nothing even remotely nearby that was open, except the aforementioned IHOP. so i found myself at the IHOP, pen and paper in hand, eating pie and drinking coffee at 3am on a tuesday. i looked around at the people: the construction workers with big steaks, the servers smiling but tired, the teenage couple obviously having snuck out late. and i ended up writing that song. so that’s what it’s about.
it’s become an important song to me. i guess i want people to hear it, i feel like it should be heard. i’m sure everyone thinks that about their music. also i have no idea how to get things out there. but anyway. it hasn’t been published anywhere but my facebook, where it got a whopping 70 likes. out of this world i know. i only found your blog recently, but i’m really enjoying it so far. you could premiere it if you were interested?
/ These new digital friends of mine are clearly living in the same wavelength as I am these days. I can confirm their truth.
I’ve been thinking for a few days about what to say to you. It’s weird because you don’t know me and I don’t know you, but I imagine you are a kind human, sitting on the other end of this infinite tunnel of 0s and 1s. The new iOS10 has just come out and part of the new functionality is something they’ve called “Digital Touch.” My first thought is (of course) what a great song title or album concept it would make, because there is so much depth to the phrase. Much more than I’m sure the creators intended.
The digital touching of lives, like skin pressed to glass, pushing to break through but still distinctly separated. The cloudy prints left behind in its wake. The connectedness of everything is at once beautiful and isolating.
Because, in the real world, we will likely never meet.
Still, this digital touch is real in our everyday lives. I am affected by it constantly. The images I see inform my inner landscape, mold me into the person that I am. The sounds move me from place to place. I am not the person I was before them. I am fascinated by this.
“Describe who you are,” Facebook tells me in the “About Me” section of my profile. How strange! The thought that I could accurately sum up the wholeness of my consciousness into a three sentence blurb for others to read, evaluate and catalogue into the back corners of their mind for all time. The digital age is a strange one, made all the more strange when you are an artist and part of what you are expected to do is sum yourself up in a perfect little package for others to consume. I don’t think I’m very good at this, but I will try.
My name is Amber, and I am the lyricist and vocalist for CLAVVS alongside my partner Graham, a multi-instrumentalist who also produces the project. We live in Atlanta, GA, and we make pop songs about consciousness, existence, ego and time. I suppose most songs are about the human condition on some level, but our work deals in the embodiment aspect of being a human. The strangeness of occupying a body and the feelings that come as a result.
This song, “Serpentine,” is quite literally about the internal struggle we all face. The daily battle of our inner lives, the distinct voices that echo inside of us and fill us up with so much noise. The impulses we have to do better and the impulses we have to serve only ourselves. I’ve been told (and happen to believe) that everyone houses two voices inside of them. That of the ego and that of the soul. Both are meant to protect you, but only one of them will lead you home. “Serpentine” is about the never-ending battle between them, the temptation of giving in, and the momentary triumph of overcoming.
Graham and I believe that all consciousness is connected. That, scientifically speaking, everything is energy. And we all know from grade school that energy can never be created or destroyed. So, if this digital touch leaves you with anything, I hope it’s with a sense of calm. There is an infinite well of good in the world, and it’s inside of you.
/ I had a lovely exchange this weekend with Lisa van Viegen, a Dutch artist who’s work spans many disciplines, but began for me with the meat of this video. It’s a one-shot wonder and swims with this song effortlessly.
I heard you were from Katwijk! That is so nice!! i used to go there with my family for holidays :) And i have lived in Vlissingen (Sealand) for a long time.. I live in Rotterdam now.
As regards to my plan for this project. We are about to start (tomorrow) a 5 day location performance in Rotterdam created around my album Clarity. It was always a dream of mine to work with different disciplines and making music the core of the performance. So the Clarity show will be a combination between live music, dance and video installations. The video i send you is part of that and will come back in the show as an installation but the actually dancer in the video will also be there. The whole show should feel a bit like a film that is happening and you as an audience are in it. I am really excited about it. I slowly grew into this as it was really hard for me to fit in to the popmusic scene with my music. I started working with different choreographers a few years ago and then last year i wrote and performed music for Inside Out from Conny JanssenDanst, a well known choreographer based in Rotterdam. The collaboration was a success and she is supporting me for Clarity and i am working with one of her dancers called Davide Bellotta, he will actually do the choreography and he is also an amazing filmmaker, (he shot and directed the video for Clarity to) We became friends during the Inside Out show and we both loved each others work so we decided to work together.
At the time of the Inside Out show i was writing my new album. I have a passion for old instruments and really just wanted to give room to a lot of different instruments on the album. I play trumpet and guitar but really wanted to play piano to so me and my partner (in life and music;), Budy bought an old piano and the sound of it was so beautiful, i got an instant click with the instrument and i wrote half the album on it. I also have some instruments that i inherited from my family, a double bass and a lapsteel. I play most instruments myself on the album, Budy added some drums and electric guitars here and there and two of my friends (musicians) did some additional stuff on it. It also has two features with artists/friends from the Netherlands that i really love and one collab with Budy. The instruments are a big part of the live show to. Not only as being played on by me and my band but also in the video installation and lightshow there is a real focus on the instruments.
Anyway, long story :) I came across your blog and it intrigued me, that is why i decided to send you a message to see if you might like to post the video/album on your blog. I like the mystery it has.. Does that make sense? I myself am not a big internet blogging kind off person.. I just like to play vinyl and i am also not always looking for new music.. maybe weird since i make music myself but sometimes i just see something i like online and then write it down in my list of interesting blogs.. Like in this case. Most of my musician friends are really different, they are really a lot online looking for new things.
Anyway, hope to hear from you.. Sorry for the long reply, short answers i find difficult, lol :)
PS - “…we just finished last Friday the 5 location performances and it was absolutely amazings and we sold out all evening, i am so happy!”
I have a some what funny story for you and a story which is symbolic to how things have been going in my life. The other day my mom asked what I wanted from the grocery store. I didn’t need much so I just requested milk for my Captain Crunch (The one with the berries). Its the worst when you pour a bowl of cereal and then realize you don’t have any milk. When she got home I got all the groceries out the car, cause thats what good 22 year old recent graduates do when they live at the crib without a job, and specifically put the milk on the cabinet. I was hellbent on getting me a bowl of cereal immediately, so I went to the fridge to get a spoon…. a spoon from the fridge, makes sense right? I check myself and then get one out of the drawer. I went BACK to the fridge to get the Captain Crunch. I don’t know what I was on, but I checked myself again. Last I needed the milk. Of course I went back to the fridge to get the milk even though it was sitting right in front of my face. That moment of about 45 seconds is a complete replica of my summer - full of running in circles and neglecting the things right before my eyes. LOL.
I know that was long and had an anti-climatic ending but thats my story. My name is Joey Aich, I am a 22-year old hip-hop emcee/recent graduate of Denison University. Last week (9/1/16) I released a new track, “GED 7249″, and I have plans to release a music video for it in a few weeks which I hope could potentially premiere with your site. The track is a mixture of my failures, shortcomings, and embracing my role as an underdog musician. In my city, Cleveland, I have done a lot such as headlining events, performing in different cities, and even been selected to be on the Cleveland DJ mixtape, Cosign 3, in 2015. However, I manage to still be left off the artist to watch list and as much as I could complain and blame it on “politics” and what not, I used it as motivation to continue to create, progress, and accomplish goals for and with those who have and still support me!
I hope you enjoy the story and the music! Much love and have a blessed day.
/ You know it is honest when your friends take the time to go out of their way to put heart-felt effort into writing about your music, and send it out to the world (or in this case cultish publications like YVYNYL)! That’s love. Especially when your friend’s music is blossomly under appreciated.
Hey there, Mark,
We’re writing to you on the road from Atlanta to Nashville (a section of the highway called Monteagle Mountain that Johnny Cash has a song about) and thought we would take an unconventional and hopefully acceptable method of sharing a few songs with you. Your blog has meant a lot to us over the years–far more than we can put in a sentence, so we’ll leave it at that (And this– the music you post makes and is making road trips much better).
We are two halves of a married couple– Megan, a musician herself, and Aaron, talent free (but he is dictating this and I am typing it so I can say he is the only one who thinks so). The song we want to share is called “Donnybrook” by Q Curius. By day, Q Curius goes by Forester McClatchey, and he is one of our dearest and tallest friends. All of Q Curius’s production is done by another friend, Joel Calvert. Q Curius knows we are sending this letter, but has not read it.
Forester has been rapping awhile under monikers of varying levels of social acceptability such as Young Lincoln, Velocirapper, and Claptrap and the Girls. Thankfully, he settled on Q Curius: the coolest and actual name of a senator in Ancient Rome. As a graduate student in poetry, Forester compulsively expands his vocabulary, making him dependent on words as big as him almost as much as he is dependent on insulin to live (he just wrote a jolly essay on being a Type 1 diabetic that you can read here).
The source for the track’s title is two-fold. Donnybrook is an Irish word meaning, effectively, an all-out brawl. The word came to mean more to us after a troop of aspiring poets named their off campus house the Donnybrook in the tiny rural Michigan town where we all went to college. The Donnybrook was famous for its piles of cigarettes and cans of cheap beer, its full length readings of G. K. Chesterton’s Ballad of the White Horse, and most of all, its giant bonfires around which dozens of eager students would belt out Irish drinking songs and other spirituals in drunken unison.
Donnybrook the song deals with the kind of relationships that form and come apart during the time in your life when that is what you do on a Friday night. There is a simultaneous togetherness and loneliness to this sort of thing. Then, when it’s over, you have to negotiate how often you are willing to wallow in nostalgia over missing it.
After you spend any amount of time with Forester, you come away thinking, “How is he the way he is? And how can I get some of what he’s on? (Is it the insulin?)”. He is one of the most electric people anyone that has met him has ever met. With Q Curius, he and Joel seem to have captured this in song form. If you like Donnybrook, try out “Needles” or “Leaves” as well. It’s been one of those songs that colors a season of life. It is the spring of 2016 for us.
Thanks for all the music you’ve shared. Many of the songs we found first on your blog have become just like Needles or Leaves, defining season after season. And that’s been going on for, gosh, the last five years?
-Aaron and Megan Schepps
P.s. By the way, I don’t know if you hold this kind of sway with the band, but you should tell Grubby Little Hands to come a little bit southerly sometime. We can vouch for at least ten tickets in Atlanta.
/ Letters like the one Bryan Akcasu sent me makes my YVYNYL project worthwhile and blossoms gratitude within my own experiences. Many of his words reflect a universal understanding that I share with him at my core, basically what I would say about my own life and moments.
I have to start from this angle before I go on since we don’t know each other. I am an ecstatically happy person a lot of the time, but I am also a person that will suggest to you that life is very short and that either one of us could die any second, but there is no reason to be sad or scared because we have the chance to invest these last moments with joy and appreciation and we don’t have to take things for granted anymore. Pardon me if you are already aware of this, but somehow I personally don’t get tired of that message, and in fact I need it to be re-broadcast to me over and over, and that’s going to be the starting point of my letter because that’s the position that manifests in everything I do.
How does an impending sense of annihilation make you feel? It makes me feel spellbound, blissful, and thankful. It used to depress me when I was a child, because I didn’t want things to end. I still don’t, but now I think I know why: because living is a great and rare thing. Knowing, viscerally knowing, that death is coming makes me want to do my life in a really intense, almost crazed way that I wish I could prescribe to everyone because it is a blast, even when it hurts. It makes me not take things for granted so much - not even small stuff like the feeling of being cradled in strong, flowing cotton sheets with a high thread count, or the squeezy plasticky goodness of a toothpaste tube, or the amorphous freckles on my wife’s raw, imperfect face, or juicy, squishy pop of half-ripe tomatoes under my feet in my garden. It could be just pure sensation, like a worm that moves through the dirt by smelling and feeling it, and thinking is just a distraction. My family says I never got the “travel bug” - but, baby, it’s because I am on a safari exploring every day life in detail.
I probably still take things for granted, because that’s human. I occasionally forget to think about where my food came from. I also get very, very sad sometimes, there is no cure for that, thank God, but I have a tape constantly playing in my mind telling me not to take this moment for granted and that there is probably some kind of harmony in all the fighting, chaos, pain, and ruin that goes on. Yes, that makes me crazy and somewhat confusing, but I have a home base. Is it the result of an epileptic seizure? Maybe. Is it because of large doses of aspartame? Whatever. But the point is I have this conviction and it comes out in my music, and for the handful of people that ever read my lyrics, I hope they get that I am trying to say “Look, this thing is not going to last long, so you’d better start enjoying it, damn you.” Someone said that to me once at just the right time and it changed my life. I’m just trying to pass it on.
Of course, I rarely say it in so few words, and instead I write about those vivid moments when I suddenly see the world in this peculiar, grand, unfiltered way that just slices through the bullshit of the symbolic, holographic world I sometimes get stuck in (and that most people live their whole lives in) and it shoots right to the heart of experience. Actually, I am tempted to say that for a second it’s not even “me” that’s sensing the world anymore, it’s just the world kind of looking at itself from a little window in my face that it has developed just to do so, and my whole life is just a flavor crystal that gives the old view a new spin, a new shade, a new groove so that it doesn’t get bored with itself. This element is hard to explain with just words, hence the music. I have to explode short, uneventful moments into huge, dizzying spectacles because that’s often how they look to me. I hope they make sense without explanation though. And if not, well, isn’t it sometimes better to have pointlessness?
Maybe I am just writing to say that if we want it to be, every uneventful moment can actually be a splendorous, spectacular miracle when we zoom way in or zoom way out. My imagination runs wild with this idea. It’s almost overwhelming. Anyway, I figured if I was going to write a letter to you, something straight from the core would be better than anything I could say about my band, or where I live, or who I am, or anything like that. That’s what the goddamn press release is for.
Many thanks and I’m looking forward to working with you! Most importantly, enjoy the tunes.
Take two of left-field pop’s most intriguing figures of the past decade and throw them in a somewhat cheesy 80s psych blender - Soft Hair couldn’t have tasted any better. Conan Mockasin and Sam Dust (Late of the Pier, LA Priest) are living their wig-dreams as Soft Hair, their new collaborative project that basically sounds like watching DIY porn on drugs - or something like that. Lying Has To Stop is taken from the duo’s forthcoming full-length record which is out late October and to which many children will be conceived.
/ The ego echo voices in this creepy cool video has hypertext notions of traveling throughout the desert. It resonates with me. Having done a lot of this myself, years ago, the song feels buried in sand, or blasted by the sun. I’ll let Schaus tell you more:
I want to start by saying that I really appreciate yvynyl’s dedication to the message and statements of artists and I am regularly listening to your posts on Soundcloud. Frankly, this whole process of selling myself keeps me going back into the vision of truth. I feel like your avenue sets a precedent for unveiling truth, and it compels me to divulge for some strange reason. Over thinking this already.
It’s been a battle between confidence, patience, memory and my closest relationships to get through making this album. It’s odd that through that, the last song I wrote would be the single I would really try to put effort into. I wrote this song in a pretty isolated moment in my life, driving aimlessly around the Southwest. People joked it was some sort of vision quest. I’ve always found that, as trite as it is, when I’m improvising during songwriting - I say things to illustrate where I’m at more clearly than I can just consciously focus on.
“After Work” lyrically, reveals bits of immediate truth, metaphorical truth and bits of truth that only exist internally. “Wait til after work…” isn’t just one person, there’s a real person and a fictional one. The way humans project people to be things in our minds and reconciling with the actuality. It’s not to say that the fictional image negates the source, but it’s never really knowing the truth.
I tried to do as much as humanly possible with this track and video, hence the battles I alluded to earlier. Technically, the main help I got was around mastering, some friendly guidance and the texturing/finishing touches on the video but I want to maintain that this package embodies a vision I had. The video itself plays into some surreal and heavily symbolic imagery that’s meant to invite interpretation on each object.
Starting at a distance, the cameras work their way through the sands - investigating each object. These illustrate a world of desire and entertainment related symbols such as gold and oil for the former with roller coasters and basketballs with the latter. The arch here is that Barthes and Baudrillard would say that these are means of control and oppression. Lyrically, this goes back to the control that working has on us all, we’re tied to these desires and we reward ourselves with entertainment and repeat ad nauseam.
Inside the square temple, is kinda the source I was talking about earlier. A place of creativity and love unbounded by some of these constructs that exist outside. It’s explored but we’re brought back outside into the system. The cameras, drones and walls all serve to keep everything under control but as the wall rises, the invisible hand becomes visible. Some of this is certainly pulling directly from current politics. In this realization, the video journeys back inside and back to the centerpiece: the lion. The lion reflects the creativity of the washes of paints and mutates with every angle of the camera. It’s in the last section of the song, that the phrase’s powerlessness has become realized and the space becomes truly boundless as the paint strokes float past in multicolor.
It’s difficult to encapsulate all the trains of thought going through me with this piece and I’m open to a dialog if you have any questions. I’ve got the simpler artist statement in the description of the video but I wanted to give you more – I hope it’s not overwhelming.
Happy to answer any additional questions you may have. Thank you so much for your time and attention.
Landed on this gem from a couple years ago. Love the background: “This is a traditional song from central Sudan that is a part of the women’s musical tradition, Aghani Albanat, performed at weddings and other social gatherings. Traditionally these songs are written and performed by women and are one of the few spaces that allow women to publicly express their feelings towards a romantic interest. And so, they have a tendency to be very simple flirty love songs with the sole purpose of making you dance. I think its very important to honor the simplicity of these lyrics and these songs because they express an important section of Sudanese society that is often ignored by practitioners of ‘high brow art’ (which tends to be Arab, male, and Muslim-centered) deeming it artistically lacking.”
Zoë Brecher wrote me a while back and has since created more tunes. I hope she doesn’t mind, but I’m going to combine two letters she sent me a couple months apart.
I’ve been a HUGE follower of your blog for ages now. My name is Zoë Brecher and I have been the drummer of a few bands (Oberhofer, Brainfreeze), but HUSHPUPPY is a solo-project I started this year where I sing and play guitar!
I’ve battled with depression for a few years now and writing songs has always been a useful outlet. I started HUSHPUPPY as a way to share my music with people. I just released my first album and one of my favorite songs on it is called, “I’m At Home With You” about my girlfriend María. She has been, not only my biggest musical influence, but also a huge positive influence on my emotional health. This is the first song I’ve written that is directly addressed to someone, so it has a special meaning to me.
María is from Spain and I’m from New York but we met in college while she was studying abroad in the states. We did long distance for the first two years of our relationship, where I would go there for weeks at a time and she would come here for a while. But now, we have an apartment together in New York, which makes things a whole lot easier.
As cheesy as it sounds, the idea behind the song is basically that being with her, no matter where we are, Spain, New York, or on the road touring with the punk band we have together, she makes me feel safe and protected. I’ve always been most comfortable hiding out at home, but because María’s there I don’t feel as lonely and equally, because she’s there I feel more able to be social. She’s like my human shield against the bad stuff and also my tour guide through life. So “I’m At Home With You” is just a small way for me to thank her for all she’s done for me. And although it’s a personal song for me, I hope it resonates with someone else out there too!
I’ve always been the drummer of bands but I’ve been writing and recording my own stuff in my bedroom on garageband for years now which people don’t really know. I’ve always been shy and nervous so I’ve never had the guts to actually share anything with people. I’ve always been comfortable drumming because I get to be on stage, in front of a lot of people, but still be kind of hidden behind a kit. But recently I started seeing a therapist and it’s really helped me open up and build some confidence. As a result, I’m finally ready to share my solo music with the world!!!
I’ve been collecting new tracks for this project so that I can share them with you together in one bundle. I’m thrilled that this project is attracting wildly talented new and innovative artists from all over the globe. On this short mix, you’ll hear diverse elements: two songs from Japan (though one of them pretends to be Russian for shits and giggles), a poetic song from Australia, another from New Zealand (the one track here not a premiere, I just love it so much I can’t help but plug it again), yet another from England, and of course a smattering of new ideas from far corners in the United States. I love that part of doing the premiere mixtapes. Have a listen!
Photo by Jeffery Silverstein from Singles Club, used by permission.
Time passes. Or it doesn’t. Maybe it’s a trip that we all get fooled about experiencing together. In that vein, I decided to put together a group of songs for you, dear readers, that feel the essence of my elemental beings of music here in the late summer days of 2015.
Artwork by Colin Holloway, used with permission.
Time tangles some mighty webs, don’t it? You blink yr eye and all of a sudden you’re in a completely new world, new skin, new haircut, new seersucker suit. This weird journey we’re on, the surrealism of it all keeps yr mouth agape and full of wonder. And this, friends, is just a small soundtrack.
Tracklist + DL = http://bit.ly/catscradlemix
Don't give in to the A/C - roll those windows down! Crank up that stereo. Embrace it. Maybe these are a set of summer tunes for yr vacation roadtrips, or perhaps just yr backyard BBQs. Slow down and feel 'em.
Original artwork by o_lie. Used with permission.
Check out more yvynyl mixtapes here: http://bit.ly/yvynylmixtapes