‘Paul’s purpose,’ the album I just released, is two hours and 23 minutes of the best musicmaking of my life. The melodies are often conventionally pop, but the recording and editing processes are more akin to jazz, where I take the best parts from long takes.
Music plays a big role in a lot of my stories. In ‘Philosopher-king,’ the music that society listens to is determined by elites, wherein ‘lower’ forms of music are prohibited. In ‘God at last,’ a future composer seeks to get over his love of Bach so as to surpass the greatest music the world has yet known. And in the stories that feature Megan McCall, ‘Asian Queen of Country,’ two of which I include in my collection ‘Be kind to puns,’ much of what I think of the music industry and musicianship comes out.
These are just a few examples of music as used in my stories. It’s no wonder then that it means so much to me in ‘real’ life, and that I fancy myself a musician of sorts, albeit a mere dilettante.
About the album
Because I play lead guitar, and because of the length of my compositions – the tracks on ‘Paul’s purpose’ are 13 minutes on average – I guess it’s easy to write the whole thing off as self-indulgent soloing, even though only two of the tracks – ‘Midnight at twilight’ and ‘Persecuted bandwagon’ – are what might be considered showcases. I’ve also come to dislike and shun distortion, an element that facilitates what guitarists call ‘wanking.’
The most important thing to me is melody that comes from the heart, things that touch me immediately regardless of who did what and with whatever skill level. I joke, mostly to myself, that I aspire to be the Kenny G of guitar.
If you want to listen to the album and find two and a half hours daunting, you might want to start with these three.
Creativity is a state of mind, not the product
However you judge the quality of my music and stories, my multiple passions show that the creative state of mind is its own justification. Specific products are mere manifestations of such creativity, depending on technical training.
Children should be nurtured in a way that encourages creativity, not because of financial reward or pride in coming up with ‘something cool,’ but because the immediate experience of art is the closest thing to the meaning of life.