At 9 years old, I was taught to strum popular folk music at primary school by coach Edwards, who recognized my poor athletic abilities but enthusiasm for music. Eventually, high school garage bands, bluegrass, Word Jazz, Dead shows, campfires, green hazes, etc. One “real” attempt at formal learning was immersion into North Indian Classical music with the help of guruji Rattan Thakurdas, otherwise I mimicked the players of the day and developed a style of improvised strum/plucking whereby melody and rhythm can be furthered and fully explored.
Later, much later, I began writing lyrics in earnest. Just an autonomous novice primate visiting places right out the door or at further distances to check the streets or regard wild panoramas; these that dwell and mark deeply as muses to invade very important meetings, or while contemplating concrete.
Science is a form of creative process that is truth-seeking supported by observation and fact and if done with utmost ability and openness, it isn’t cold objectivism, rather it is highly illuminating, thrilling, euphoric, elegant. As a specialist describing New Zealand beetle species, much of my time is spent studying the natural world and contributing basic knowledge that will help to conserve what little remains of it. The privilege of travel from the most crowded of places to those where no other has touched foot, provides perfect contrasts and tension for translating experiences and sense into art.
Seeking and explaining biological pattern satisfies just one part of the brain that deals with extrinsic facts. Art is creative and fun, yes, but is needed for the soul to comprehend the more subjective and elusive human world, often too mad to predict and too insane to be believable. A kind of activity that is important for survival, necessary as a breath of wind. The continual erosion of societies and the environment, mediocrity and media illusion, greed, and the fragility of life that produces conflict must either be accepted, or resolved by the creative act. Like love and friendship, art can lift, modify and clarify thought, and is fundamental to strengthening, enlightening, and broadening spirit. Creativity exposes human truths and helps to resolve chaos which surrounds us, and the depths of human experience can be imagined through the infinite depths of arts’ language.
In my head I may hear Shostakovitch or John McLaughlin, see war or rainbows, touch rain or hang desert dry; though in reality, it’s just me building on those Hank Williams experiences, dealing with madness, joy, or frustration that is our human world.
Solo Albums (Black Horses & New Sun Rising): Amplifier.co.nz
Radio at: National Radio New Zealand
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