To Form A More Perfect Unison

As a boy in primary school I was always fascinated and attracted to rhythms, beating tempos, and the various mixtures of independent rhythms into a harmonious grand production. To me there was endless possibilities of creating ensembles from endless particulars. Take this one unique rhythm, join it with another, then another, and so on until they all become a masterpiece. And so for the following years of my youth I wanted to be a drummer, a Maestro of metre, a Captain of cadence and Lord of the Skins. Doing just that was like a drug to me. Doing it with other drummers was the ultimate high. I miss it. I miss it terribly, especially the comradery and connecting syncopated souls. Today, that longing has another meaning.

During this time leading up to what is surely going to be a monumental, make-or-break election that determines whether the USA collapses in on itself in more strife and division, or it makes a turn for healing, for recovery—recovery across ALL sections of our society, economy, and government. In that spirit I want to offer a great example of sublime, supreme teamwork, incredible commitment to perfecting their art and discipline to THE WHOLE and to each other. It’s not just to self, or one or two sectors or class of people, but it’s to clear syncopation and united, of being on the same exact tempo, and thus performing as one with many. “E pluribus unum.” With many hardworking, unique parts contributing to a final product of sheer beauty, awe, exquisite precision, and collaboration by every single member.

I give you Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Corps of Drums and the Swiss Top Secret Drum Corps performing not opposed, but together as one. Something our U.S. government, White House and officials should learn and behave accordingly for ALL Americans. Crank up your volume if you feel so inclined and send a signal you want beaten in to some thick skulls on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. 😉


Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always — Come Together/Vote

Rhythm, Sound & Beat: Our Genetic Cadences

For all of you music enthusiasts. Certainly for any of you drummers, you maestros of rhythm, or Lords of the Skins!

Here is the mystery:  If the rhythm is right, if the translation between inner mood and the drum membrane are perfect, then you know it instantly. “Ah, this goes with my body tempo, this connects how I feel today, how fast my heart is beating, what my thoughts are, what my hands feel like.” Drumming on the Edge of Magic: A Journey Into the Spirit of Percussion, by Micky Hart, Fredric Lieberman and Jay Stevens (1990)

I was inspired yesterday by a fellow blogger and musician (Ark)—if he considers drummers “musicians” (wink)—to write this post about how natural, how biologically embedded rhythm, patterns in sound vibrations, and beats or pulse are to the human neurology. Maybe it is different for percussionists and maybe it isn’t, the mathematics of rhythm that is, and how almost endlessly it can be shifted, divided, multiplied, or derived from previous… well, derivatives. The patterns, rhythms, and beats often have a common denominator, a baseline if you will. Yet, it is wonderfully and by no means permanent.

When the rhythm is right you feel it with all your senses, every corner of your soul and being. You don’t fight it, but instead allow yourself to be propelled and consumed by its insistent yet familiar feeling. All sense of the present moment disappears, the normal categories of time become meaningless. — Ibid

There are 12 distinct components or moods and pulses in this following 9-minute instrumental entitled La Villa Strangiato (An Exercise in Self-Indulgence). It is a human journey in sleep by a man with a lucid imagination coupled with a propensity for some extreme anxiety and/or tranquility. The epic song by Rush is from the very apropos cerebral album HemispheresOne of the tranquil components:  To Sleep, Perchance to Dream… and anxious components:  Monsters! and Monsters! (Reprise) both adaptations of a 1937 Raymond Scott jazz instrumental. I cannot fully express how masterful this piece is in complex mathematical drumming and syncopation by one Lord of the Skins that should give any percussion aficionado goose-bumps, Neil Peart!

We live on a planet of rhythm and time. A planet that completes its cycle around the sun every 365 days, with a moon that cycles around us every 28 days, and we rotate around our own axis every 24 hours. These cosmic cycles and our bodily ones, all connected to the circadian dance of day and night. The mystery of rhythm and time found for a moment in the soul’s drum. When it is right, you feel it with all your senses, every thread of your being. It is the ‘sweet spot’ of connection [to this cyclical planet and the celestial heavens in which it and we revolves]. — Ibid

Medical studies repeatedly show that getting your heart-rate up drumming or dancing, or both, for just 30 minutes a day is equal to one anti-depressant pill. My own studies have shown that dueling and complimenting another drummer on her/his kit (below) is equivalent to two pills of euphoria… similar to ecstasy, but better! And naturally legal! Can you imagine how healthy it is participating in a drum-circle with dancing!? Exercise! Get down and hard, get steamy sweaty!

Or if you prefer something more indigenous, reflective of our evolutionary roots, more primal, more Latin, then I give you Evening Samba by Mickey Hart and his indigenous percussion ensemble:

How about something highly erotic that reaches deep inside to the twisted Sorcerer/Sorceress unleashing a beast inside? And then hits your natural release, the endorphins to help carry us away, floating while time stands still, A Different Drum:

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Drum & Dance Always

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D’amour et d’Érotisme

On this Valentines day I share with you my style of love, of erotica and intimacy upon these lyrics, in select songs and melodies that move me — D’amour et d’érotisme. Close your eyes, if you wish, and be lost with whom and where your heart desires…

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Loose the Animal

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Rhythms

There is perhaps no other auditory rhythm or pulse that reaches me as deep as music and its beat.  The connection I feel, the alluring sound just captivates my senses like a euphoric drug!  It is and has been my drug-of-choice for some thirty-five plus years.  And then descending from a long line of family who religiously dance… it is no wonder why I spend hours upon hours on the dance floor.  As I write this post I am listening to one of my favorite DJ’s in Dallas:  Per, who is a regular at The Church.  Like Per, I too am moved by Synth-Pop or Future-Pop, a European industrial-electronic-trance genre.  Here is one of his sets he played at The Church:

I’ve had technical issues with the SoundCloud player so if it isn’t loading up, click here to go to Per’s set.

The ChurchHave you ever danced so much and for so long that by 4 or 5 a.m. you are so exhausted that seconds after you sit or lay down you just slip into a deep slumber?  If not, then I highly recommend you do it.  It is like the deepest restful sleep you’ve possibly ever had.  You lay there knowing you have been rebalanced, reconnected with Earth and the Multiverse.  Not only do you “return home” but, it is a fantastic cardio workout!  Something I’ve quoted before deserves repeating:

Here is the mystery: If the rhythm is right, if the translation between inner mood and the drum membrane are perfect, then you know it instantly. “Ah, this goes with my body tempo, this connects how I feel today, how fast my heart is beating, what my thoughts are, what my hands feel like.”

When the rhythm is right you feel it with all your senses, every corner of your soul and being. You don’t fight it, but instead allow yourself to be propelled and consumed by its insistent yet familiar feeling.  All sense of the present moment disappears, the normal categories of time become meaningless.

We live on a planet of rhythm and time.  A planet that completes its cycle around the sun every 365 days, with a moon that cycles around us every 28 days, and we rotate around our own axis every 24 hours.  These cosmic cycles and our bodily ones, all connected to the circadian dance of day and night.  The mystery of rhythm and time found for a moment in the soul’s drum.  When it is right, you feel it with all your senses, every thread of your being.  It is the ‘sweet spot’ of connection.

Let your soul and body be carried away with the rhythm; feel it…drift, move.  You will not regret it.  No matter what anyone thinks, it is natural, it is genetic.  Dance together as partners or dance solo.  It makes no difference.  Just connect.  Let the rhythm take over, close your eyes, and move, dance like no one is watching.

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Live Laugh Love

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In My Tribe

I love music and I love to dance.  I am an eighth generation Texan and probably the 14th or 15th generation of dancers in my family descending from my paternal grandmother’s side.  Dancing and music runs deep in our blood and being a drummer all my life the dance floor was certainly my destiny.  My soul naturally gravitates toward the rhythm of harmonic melodic sound and firmly attaches itself, sometimes to the euphoric point of exhaustion.  Then, and rarely any other time, I connect to our Universe with familial bonds beating in various intuitive circadian ways.  The music takes over my body and my body follows its direction.  Mmmm, I vibrate within and I am home.

My home away from home

Watching me dance, one friend described it as a Shaman summoning the gods of Life.  That may be a most appropriate description because the “high”, if I may call it that, reaches primal tribal depths.  Yet I think it goes beyond just the show of being in a night club.  Actually for me it goes deeper.

 A tribal connection thrives in open free expression and it means the difference between existential loneliness and the tranquility of belonging.  I experience this every time I am with certain close friends at Panoptikon…my personal dance among my tribal dancers where I feel heard, understood, embraced, and open communication exists.  When I am among my tribe when I feel welcomed and embraced, I count myself lucky because I know how rare this “high” is in a society constantly going and competing.

2424 Swiss Ave, Dallas, TX 75204

Even though surprises arise in the process of free expression, or the dance, it is always worth the effort.  In less intimate relationships, expressing ourselves honestly is essential to our sense of home.  But we are not always home.  Whether inside our tribe or in foreign lands, articulate communication requires forethought; otherwise we risk blundering about like the proverbial bull in a china closet.  However, too much forethought can cause us to pad or dilute our words or dance, so much that we are grossly superficial or confusing the matter further.  Honest articulation, expression, dance are the critical principles among your tribe and there are many methods of doing this; none of them especially right or wrong.

When you communicate or express yourself honestly and boldly with your tribe, you also open paths to discovering more tribal dancers unique to your persona and purpose.  These recognizable souls can fall into your life from your own journey and initiative, or they can find you and lead you to new connection.  In any circumstance, if you feel disjointed then it is time to push your envelope, your limits.  Get out of your comfort-zone!  Fear stifles, courage fulfills.

For me and my primal connection, I dance with my tribe at Lord Byron’s Panoptikon — 108 S. Pearl Expy, Dallas.  They are now building their independent website.  Other nights I am down the street in Deep Ellum, Dallas, TX at The Church — 2424 Swiss Ave., Dallas.

From one of my favorite books by a fellow drummer:

Drumming At the Edge Of Magic – A Journey Into the Spirit of Percussion by Mickey Hart

Here is the mystery: If the rhythm is right, if the translation between inner mood and the drum membrane are perfect, then you know it instantly. “Ah, this goes with my body tempo, this connects how I feel today, how fast my heart is beating, what my thoughts are, what my hands feel like.”

When the rhythm is right you feel it with all your senses, every corner of your soul and being. You don’t fight it, but instead allow yourself to be propelled and consumed by its insistent yet familiar feeling.  All sense of the present moment disappears, the normal categories of time become meaningless.

We live on a planet of rhythm and time.  A planet that completes its cycle around the sun every 365 days, with a moon that cycles around us every 28 days, and we rotate around our own axis every 24 hours.  These cosmic cycles and our bodily ones, all connected to the circadian dance of day and night.  The mystery of rhythm and time found for a moment in the soul’s drum.  When it is right, you feel it with all your senses, every thread of your being.  It is the ‘sweet spot’ of connection.

I have found that for me vocal-trance, future-pop or synth-pop, and industrial-metal carry me away dancing.  A lot of the time I am completely oblivious to my surroundings.  If you’re wondering if this journey is in part or entirely a result of alcohol or drugs, you are incorrect.  Because of my family heritage in dancing, and my intuitive drum, I have no fears or hangups being in the center of the floor and letting my beast out.

Most of the time I am out there to the point of exhaustion if my particular beats go on and on; I can’t seem to stop.  And why would I?  Medical science has shown that getting your heart-rate up for just 30 minutes a day is equal to one anti-depressant pill.  I dance for at least 4 hours, sometimes 5 with just brief breaks to breath.  It is the best natural high I know other than the zone I reach playing the drums.  Well, actually I guess there is one other….the birth of my two children!  HAH!  No, to be fully transparent it was also the process leading up to my two children and those other similar moments. 😉

Find your tribe, find your dance, and you find a home where you belong.

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