This article was initially posted on Medium*on April 29. It took the mainstream media about six months to catch up with the core ideas. Just saying.
The Uninhabitable Earth directly lays out the cost of doing nothing, which is better than doing something, if something is dredging up more fossil matter and its evil byproduct plastic.
Apian and avian distress, great duress in the too hot to live equatorial band. We are trained by algorithms and factories with orders to deliver yesterday to participate in our own demise.
Nothing can convince someone who has nothing and wasn’t invited to participate, not to facilitate the great delivery spree that those who consume too much foist on them. Starve so I can live triple, quadruple, what is sustainable. Sustain me.
I fly, you fly, everyone needs to get into this or that bag and pull the zipper up to completely immerse in the tragedy of lack of biodiversity, which many associate with predictability and personal comfort. Four blank walls. Monoculture of great minds. Great when you can’t breathe.
It’s not hidden, it’s out in the open. We love bad things to death. That is how evolution works, as those who somehow avoid flying into the sticky tape, getting mind blown by the incandescent bulb, attest.
We learn by paying cosmic consequence, which is no way of learning at all when you think of the stress that near death scenarios embody. We learn through playing the laughing bones, rolling the dice.
Paris accords of 2015, sheer hypocricy when there are no teeth. Teeth? Fascism, if we don’t change our ways when we tell others to pull the belt tighter, hang on for the ride, get off the planet. Gunboat diplomacy? No more sustainable than the rest.
50 year futures on coal, uranium, and competing minion power sources… how do we solve the unsolvable? How do we tell a cartel they backed the wrong horse?
Money launderers and insurance companies are already familiar with the concepts of planned equity depreciation, profitable loss. The loss can always be made up elsewhere, as long as there is a standard and a price point we all agree on. A pain point somewhere south of extinction.
Wanted: an entirely new system that does not do away with capitalism but brings it from the late 18th to the 21st century. That values the not-taking-out-of-the-resource (if not at a rate equal to the original investment, at more than pennies to the dollar). Wealth redistribution using the immense power of the Internet to inform, listen, curate, and reward. Call it fabric, Knowledge Infill (KI), call it what you will.
*Where good writing goes to die.
And now for something completely different:
This week I found time to upload a pair of distinct musical recordings and videos, and therein lies a story.
It’s a story about quality, virality, timestamps, and the inability of the Internet to signify much beyond noise and feed. What may seem a minor gripe to those who have yet to paint their masterpiece, becomes a major issue for artists who have created worthy art and choose not to promote themselves in a viral way––
Yea, art is its own reward. In many ways the very creation of the pieces I present on Utube is an honor. To have a drummer, a bassist, a violinist, a trumpeter, a singer I respect learning what is in my head, without my giving them anything but the equivalent of sign language and ESP.... We get it done.
How is it that something that connects, when it comes to actual musicians, is lost in translation when it comes to the current medium of conveyance, Internet? (Hint: algorithms and fleet fingers.)
Over the last year I have put up more than a dozen videos, many with an hour’s worth of music, all of it meeting pretty high standards of originality and quality. This has netted:
º nine subscribers
º 2,885 views
º no money or monetization possibilities*
So why am I putting the stuff up?
What is a timestamp?
It is proof that I created and uploaded some original composition at a certain date, in case… and don’t laugh, it happens much more often than you think––someone takes the idea, song, etc., and monetizes it. It is my insurance policy in a world gone at least half mad.
Why is this important? Well, take this song that I recorded as a sketch in Manila, about a year before the hook was incorporated into a song by a boy band that is kind of the antithesis of what I am about. I actually spit out my coffee at the coffee shop when I heard it. The notes, the measures before the stutter refrain "where do we, where do we go" are virtually the same as Why Don't We & Macklemore's I Don't Belong In This Club.
I may have been an unconscious zeitgeist conjurer with my tune, but it seems unlikely. I came up with the song not thinking of pop at all, but of the style of 1960s Czech folk singer Karyl Kryl. Created at a time and place when the message in music mattered. It was definitely not about getting into a club populated by Ferrari-driving ballers before hair has sprouted on one's chin.
When an idea you have come up with on your own appears completely out of context, it's a pretty big wallop to the brain. (this far from the first time, but word ideas do not hit me as strongly as music)
How could the song idea have been poached? Easy. Overheard at the hostel where I worked it out for a couple days? Very possible, devices are everywhere, shared in instants. Somehow leaked from the studio sessions where I adlibbed it as part of the usual jam? Also possible. Psychic spies from China try to steal your heart's elation? Bingo.
Sadly, incorporated into a highly infectious pop track, the solemn idea of where we as collective humanity go has become an earworm and unpalatable to its creator.
Back to that timestamp thing... the voice memo audio recording I made has an iPhone timestamp of 5/16/18. Perhaps that alone is admissible in an IP court of law. However, a public streaming timestamp seems more powerful. I imagine any claim of authorship would have been bolstered by having a WIP version up publicly on platforms well before the pop song came out.
So that's wind in my sails, in putting original music up faster than my usual snail’s pace. Mona Lisa, Jamming Along is a prime example. Not finished, but finished enough to claim authorship. And original enough. My intuition: bluesy songs that are not simply a variation of what has been done before do not come along every day. Ditto intelligent lyrics.
Note to myself and to any original artist, especially those who don't work in beats: get that shit timestamped (I have quite a queue, more than 100 song ideas in various stages of completion) and…. find someone with legal knowhow to help nail down song authorship and all the rest. A consultant. Pay them if you have to, a whole lot of free get you ... where we are today.
Back to that timestamp thing... the voice memo audio recording I made has an iPhone timestamp of 5/16/18. Perhaps that alone is admissible in a court of law, it would depend on precedent and whether the technology forensic witness made a compelling case. Any way you slice it, a public streaming video timestamp seems more powerful. I imagine any claim of authorship woul have been bolstered by having even a WIP version up on public platforms well before the pop song came out.
As an artist who makes nil from his art I shouldn’t have to mention this, but it’s not about greed. I want to share whatever money comes from the creative process with the musicians who helped me get there, whether they were participating in a paid studio session or not. That is part of the fabric concept. Banish thy ego. Oh yeah, and fund that fabric platform that will (sustainably) rip a hole in Internull reality as we know it.
*Youtube does not allow an official channel to be created and monetized (through more or less intrusive ads) until 1,000 subscribers and some unholy number of looped streaming hours occur. I am never going to vie for that particular race-to-the-bottom.
**Here’s the little blurb I incorporate in the video: “This is a little fabric video that came about when I was at the Civet Cafe in Cebu and heard Why Don't We & Macklemore's "I Don't Belong in This Club." Well the rhythm and melody of the chorus is pretty much the same as a fabric song I came up with at a hostel in Makati a year before, as timestamped on iPhone voice memos at the time. Probably played a couple days, may have also recorded off-the-cuff as I am wont at Strawberry Jams studio session. So I got into a little debate with erstwhile fabric drummer Nils about whether it is possible that they took my song idea. He said he couldn’t identify anything in the song he hadn’t "heard a thousand times before walking past radios. "Well, that said, it was original enough to be marketed as a new song on YouTube and all the rest, which apparently got 16 million views without being identified as a Radiohead, Hollies, Lana Del Rey, Marvin Gaye, Robin Thicke, Led Zeppelin, or Randy California ripoff.
So lets say it is original and I came up with the hook a year earlier... just saying.... where do we, where do we go? (fabric is a thing, it's powerful. :)”
I had a dream last night and a new chapter of EVEN came to me. With 3-4 novels ongoing (in my head, intermittently on paper) and not yet arranged on the new personal site, the start of chapter one EVEN 1.1 — The Writer Who Ignored the Feed can currently be accessed on Medium.
12 months earlier
Est sat at the wood cafe, bar, hangout, coffee shop––place that was about something other than making money––though they nominally did that on the side. It was not about drugs, as some trolls would certainly claim, two sentences into the chapter. Some of the people smoked weed and hell, he was not adverse to a little kind.
Mary Jane was not legal here and he respected that. No high was worth police state paranoia and possible intervention. His thing was currently yoga, walks on the trail, and a bitter mixture of kratom and tea, once every three days.
The six varieties of live beer on tap were bracing, but then so was the kombucha they had 15 varieties of. As the proprietor had explained, some were green tea base, some English breakfast, some genmai cha. Add whatever fruits were predominately available, a little every day, like a chef carefully pinching herbs and tasting. This one was predominately Darjeeling/papaya/mangosteen and would go head to head with any fine wine in everything but the alcohol category. There was no signage, no price list. By sitting down you contributed and if you had not contributed enough, your time was up.
Mildly satisfied in a way that lasted, having reached some epiphany, he was not sure if he had that straight. But he was more sure that he had something now than he had ever been, since the dream of UC Santa Cruz and its state-enabled happy edifice came tumbling down upon the reality that all sojourns in the sun were temporary.
In yesterday’s distractified world, ruled by a feed-informed dark hole of Internet algorithms and Insta-mobs (fundamental user flaw he had identified 20 years ago), he was kept never quite sure of anything. The way that years of work could be devalued to less than free. Trollable. It no longer mattered, at least in this little beta corner of reality that fabric had changed and, he was confident, would continue to alter in ways in line with what people, and the earth, could afford.
So this blog/personal brand site is a work in progress, thanks for checking it out. Back in the day before Weebly took it down for nonpayment of something (my credit card on file wasn't working and I was in Timbuktu) I had endurancewriter.com, which got 15-20k views a month, not bad for a site that sold absolutely nothing and entertained only myself.
With all that grunt work put in and no reward except the gratification of seeing my work pop up in the top Google spot when searching "Hendrix Marley 1968" I am recasting my writing aim to one of marrying art and commerce. You can read my stuff for free that I put up for free and you can also purchase the stuff that I put up for sale for money (or fabric, a fancy name for barter, pay-it-furtive karma)
The on sale items could be original art, logo, sticker, t-shirt, print, or a book of collected wisdom that is no longer, and never was. For now it is:
original art, Avocado Sun. Begun in Tokyo looking across the Sumida river at the Tokyo Skytree, the work features a very chill Godzilla along with a skeptical gaijin, an earnest astronomer, a Seussified camel, rock faces, a craggy UFO, and an avocado sun. That last touch was one of the last black ink parts completed, in Bali.
If my first album was Chasing Sun and that started a trend, why should not the next one be called Avocado Sun, considering how much I enjoy them on sandwiches and with lentil soup? This is why I am currently asking $4500 for the entire doodle ($450 for the avocado, cut out as above). A piece of fabric history for a steal, less than a Shoeless Joe Jackson autograph.
Almost Haiku #1
So many roads, so many roads,
but all the time in the world.
There is no killer on the road,
nor is there a road––
Relax, we have you all night.
The album idea I have is image below, which Jonathan described as "ambiguous and reminds me of the dark periods in history." Possibly combined with an avocado sun and dubbed Avocado Sunbone
I have a tough decision between two potential fabric -Avocado Sun album covers.
The picture above? oh hum its actually a piece of Balinese beeswax soaked fabric, an old surfboard keychain from Boracay, and a Siquijor expanding-in-water friendship bracelet made from reeds.
The question I posed on fb and got a couple answers to was which is better as the next album cover art, the Insta or the abstract?
The answer tied evenly, with Jonathan notching a particularly eloquent vote for abstraction: "I like the black and white because it is ambiguous and reminds me of the dark periods in history."
So I'm leaning toward the beeswax.
I have been releasing approximately one new track and video each couple weeks up on Youtube. The fabric - Summon These Days albums are getting modest but steady listens. It's like a rustle of kindling.
Since All Fall Down in May, each video has represented a new concept for the next album Avocado Sun, which should be completed in December. The latest is A Beautiful Case of the Blues, which was recently stitched together true gonzo fabric style from about nine sessions (over the past two years).
'Below, some notes to Strawberry Jams guitarist and engineer Ian Joseph, whom I'm trying to get involved in shaping the album concept.
"A Beautiful Case of the Blues (ABCOB) contains the two versions of Let's Make it Lovelight (LMILL), with some new stuff and excerpts from Like a Ghost in the middle. This is one I want to add Kaloy's bass, etc. throughout. It will be tricky to master because it spans probably 8 sessions, so a lot of tracks in various recording environments.
"The first LMILL on ABCOB is with Kaloy and was originally part of the Hit the Pain Game arrangement. Basically, he creates a completely original blues progression from the fabric of the original LMILL, first time tracking through. Nils was a bit annoyed at not having a concrete beat to play to, hence my guide singing that morphed into something unexpectedly original. I think at its core we invented a new funk-blues ballad. We just could almost just add Shariff's percussion to that and it would be finished... totally spare.
"the next section is a short Nimrod acoustic interlude, followed by Can You Save My Soul. This is Nils hashing a rock thing out with Kaloy somehow... the context was recording parts to Slowly Learning, but of course it's its own thing. Whoops there goes gravity.... I feel if you could make your guitar sound like a DJ or early reggae scratch over the top it might be cool.
"Then comes some sinking underwater snippets of Like a Ghost, followed by the original LMILL... a pieced together song featuring Jing's accompanying vocals and violin from By the Seaside (Back Beach 36:00), Novel's keys from Something Ain't Right, and Conrado's sax from I forget. This one needs Kaloy's bass and Sharif's drums I think, plus a little of your acoustic picking... and maybe Kaloy on uke
"Ok so that was longer than I expected... just let me know when you read it. Once you digest this I'll move onto the next prospective Avocado Toast tracks... Furtive Karma, I'm Not Citified, Hey Ringo, and All Fall Down.
A friendly reminder, I have my first art piece to feature an avocado sun (Avocado Sun) up for sale through damonarvid.com. Original art is my Patreon substitute for the moment, till all the "three-layer festivals" come to fruition. $450 may seem steep, but considering art as an investment these days, I'd say it has a decent chance of buying you a tempeh burger over the nxst decade. And Daddy needs a looper.
Internet skins encourage casual visitors to be part of the process of dismantling traditional reality, with no context of the actual place.
Say what you want about the rest of his administration, Trump has a crack team of social media strategists--or should I say fissure explorers, temporary uniters, anger fanners, and conquer dividers--in place.
I'll take fabric any way I get it, dept.
The concept of fabric has spread. First there was that guy in Rhode Island playing flute in a dinosaur suit. Then André 3000 was Captured Wandering Around Airport Playing A Flute. Now another past collaborator seems to take inspiration...
So what are the chances that real music that does not fit into the algorithm is picked up by Youtube bots? Very little unless you pay them. They are really getting the least possible value out of original content and rewarding the fast and frequent. Skins.
Anyway, fast forward to Eat the Fruit (second song in the above video) to check out Dyck and his wife Aletheia's music and art, circa 2016. When Aletheia popped in the studio and we immediately laid down smooth sounds it was an epiphany and I consider myself lucky to have captured that magic. This was not Eat the Fruit or Explore the Horizon, those were later sessions.... That first-take wonder is captured in UFOs and Labyrinths, Padulong na ko. An important lesson in the essential nature of capturing lightning in a bottle.
facebook - artist unknown, dept.