Zoraida | experiment626

The structure of this experimental track is inspired by Badu’s “Green Eyes”.

The demo was produced in-house using an electric guitar and midi keyboard, and the final version includes additional instrumentation layered over top of it. It almost feels like a fever dream.

Most of the lyrics are freestyle – spontaneous in nature.

In short, the track is a meandering reflection on existentialism, fear, the ego, and the desire to just let go of it all, and give in to the inner darkness of creativity.

The production quality is superb, the experimentalism is otherworldly, and the ensemble as a whole is just quite simply a sublime sonic experience to behold.

Be sure to check out the rest of the project on Spotify.

Wu Wei and the Art of Flow State

“The Tao that can be told, is not the eternal Tao” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Wu Wei, a paradoxical concept that stems from the teachings of Confucius and Lao Tzu, is a key paradigm within Taoism.

Wu Wei is more or less what we refer to as “flow state” ― or better known in the athletic community as the zone, or catching fire. 

Wu Wei in a way means to not do anything, or more accurately defined ― effortless motion. However, Wu Wei should not be confused with idleness. 

Think of Wu Wei as a wave upon the ocean, or perhaps, the wind. 

“The master lets things come and go… The master acts without doing anything… The master does nothing, yet leaves nothing undone….” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Wu Wei is non-purposeful participation, it is void of agenda, and enables one to take a natural course through his or her life. Wu Wei does not force anything and flows with the rhythm of nature.

Wild animals are in a constant state of flow. They live in the present moment. They follow their innate instincts. And they are a part of the greater harmonious whole.

The wild animal does not wallow in the past, nor does it fear the coming future. The wild animal lives in a perpetual state of acute awareness. 

Wu Wei is to act in accordance, or align, with the cyclical pattern of the natural world.

“Seeing into darkness is clarity. Use your own light, and return to the source of light.” Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“Don’t Try” is the proverbial adage engraved upon the gravestone of the late German-American author, Charles Bukowski. What Bukowski meant was not “don’t try at life” ― but instead ― don’t try to be something you’re not.

Don’t try to force a square peg into a round hole. Don’t get in your own way ― for you are your own worst enemy if you’re not mindful of the ebb and flow of the current of life. 

The art of flow or Wu Wei essentially means getting out of our own way ― and tuning into the rhythmic flow of nature. 

Life is a series of spontaneous mutations. This is the reality of evolution ― Darwinism at its conceptual core. So don’t resist this immutable natural law. But instead, let reality reveal its vivid colors. And let life flow naturally.

“I let go. Lost in oblivion. Dark and silent and complete. I found freedom. Losing all hope was freedom… Only after disaster can we be resurrected. It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything. Nothing is static, everything is evolving, everything is falling apart.” ― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

We too should be like the sapling that cowers from the face of a mighty headwind. We must flow with the current ― not swim against it. And let go. We must let go. 

Wu Wei is to go with the flow of life ― to flow with the rhythm of the universe. 

Wu Wei is a leaf floating down a stream of water. The leaf does nothing yet could travel all the way to the sea if the current is right. 

Wu Wei is the downhill skier who forgets his own existence and becomes the mountain.

Wu Wei is the archer who becomes the arrow, and feels that it is impossible to not hit his target. 

We know not where the flow of life will take us, but we can, at the least, try and enjoy the ride. For beauty abounds, and surrounds us all. All we must do is merely perceive it. “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” ― Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan

Be like water. For water has no agenda. Water moves through low, and to lower places. Water nourishes everything it saturates, without trying. Water is soft and gentle, yet will snuff the life out of those who are not mindful of its properties. Water flows with the rhythm of nature and effortlessly travels ever lower, all the way to the sea.

As an artist, I have experienced flow state firsthand. And can only illustrate it as a blissful oneness with the cosmos. Pain, anxiety, and fear seem to melt away, and all that is left is harmonic bliss and fulfillment. It’s almost like floating on a cloud. But at the same time, is like being possessed by an all-consuming entity of maternal darkness ― making creative work seem effortless ― while time seems to become a relative concept.

Flow is chaos in all its harmonic order. And from this dark abyss flows the nectar of creativity.

A quote often attributed to Lao Tzu, who may or may not have even been a real (single) individual, (so maybe nothing attributed to him is really even a Lao Tzu quote). Goes something like this: “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” While Confucius reminds us that “The noble-minded are calm and steady. Little people are forever fussing and fretting.” 

“When the wind blows, the grass bends”. Said, Confucius. So bend like the grass. And be like water my friend. Do not force anything. And everything will turn out in the end. 

Those who try to control their environment will be struck down by nature and relegated to a life of remorse and anxiety. They will be like the farmer who beats a dead mule. 

Practice not-doing and everything will fall into place…When there is no desire, all things are at peace.” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

If the higher human aligns with nature, he or she is capable of living a virtuous life beyond good and evil ― and in accordance with his or her own personal values.

“When you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you are not able to achieve.” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

The Cyclical Nature of Reality

“Folks, it’s time to evolve. That’s why we’re troubled. You know why our institutions are failing us, the church, the state, everything’s failing? It’s because, um – they’re no longer relevant. We’re supposed to keep evolving. Evolution did not end with us growing opposable thumbs.” ― Bill Hicks

A long time ago, I dreamed I was drifting through the celestial oceans of the cosmos. Floating along and simply gazing upon the magnificent hues of the deep cosmic waters of purple and red. I was in a complete state of bliss — weightless and free from all worry and angst. A mere orb of energy wading through the magnificent waters of the cosmos.

“Do you hear that?” I murmured as I opened my eyes. “That’s the sound of a solemn land being woken from its nocturnal slumber by its master, its giver of life, its God of light.”

The desert is a place the apeman shouldn’t inhabit, but by downright grit and ingenuity, he has conquered this godforsaken land and has somehow found a way to coexist with the very same flora and fauna that wanted him dead not so long ago.

One wrong move and a Spanish Dagger might just lodge one of its razor-sharp spines into your liver and bleed you out before high noon. Mother Nature can be a cruel mistress — lying in wait for the opportune moment to reunite your corpse with the dust of the earth.

Life seems to occur in waves. Round and round we go, spinning through space at an ungodly speed, hoping we survive through the night. 

Seasons come and go, and just as the oceans rise and fall, nations are built and destroyed. Nature is cyclical my friend.

In a world ruled by a thirst for power, we must innovate and connect with our creativity if we are to survive the imminent wave of the technological revolution. For we are like rats to the machine and if things go horribly wrong, we may very well resort to fighting and killing over crumbs that fall from its table.

The majority of us are living in a perpetual state of stagnant stimulation. No longer do we read, write, or philosophize. Instead, we’ve become obsessed with our own personal brand and project only the attractive facets of our being while burying our true identity beneath the conforming pressure of society.

We are right where they want us to be, fat and lazy, completely oblivious to what’s going on. Just busy little bees buzzing from one mindless task to the next.

The status quo does not want rapid evolution of culture, for this would upheave the order of the system, and shift power back towards the collective hive.

I myself was almost convinced my ambition to create was merely a foolish dream. But at the very last moment, I took the plunge into the deep dark waters of the unknown. And here I still sit, watching as the hairs slowly fall from my head.

Creativity is our most beautiful gift from the cosmos, yet few of us retain it. Nonetheless, it’s never too late to reconnect with this boundless force of creative energy.

From the toppling of ideological dogmas to the loss of western morality — we presently have little choice but to evolve and move forward, or shrivel up and die by the wayside.

Everyone is vying for our time, time is money, time is life, and time is all we have before we cross the great divide and make the leap.

Time is very valuable, so at the very least take back your single most precious asset, and derail the momentum of your life by taking a step back and at the very least, assessing your current situation. One can only begin to build himself up after he has torn down the structures of his egotistical psyche. And if one is to survive, it’s critical to be selfish at pivotal moments.

We’re born into this world naked and alone, and we will die naked and alone. You’re the only person who you’ll have to answer to in your dying hour. So dance with this beautiful experience (we call life) until you uncover your source of fulfillment, and then feed that fire until there’s nothing left but a heap of smoldering ashes.

Life is very short my friend, so do not waste it.

When you die, you will not be able to take anything with you. Everything you own will eventually rot and decay into a state of dust while the rest of the world moves on until it too is eventually consumed by the sun.

It’s the circle of life, my friend. The highway of death. The paradoxical illusion. Now embrace the grind and carry on.

“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed.” ― Terence McKenna

The Legend of Diogenes the Cynic

Remember to Stop and Smell the Roses

Many times, it feels as though the harder we try, the less we succeed. If I’ve learned anything in life, it’s that forcing things is never a great idea. We’re often so obsessed with the end goal, the ultimate dream, we tend to forget to enjoy the journey and smell the flowers as we meander down the toilsome road.

Our teeth are oftentimes clenched and head down, looking at the ground as we rigidly trod down the long path. Yet all the while, the way is engulfed in beautiful mountain ranges, songbirds, and forests of enchantment. One must merely look to appreciate all the beauty.

Recently I listened to an Angus Stone interview, and he talked about not focusing too much on getting your name out there. Instead, just do what you do and be real to it, because you love it. And if you truly love it, people will begin to take notice.

However long this takes, well what does it really matter? When we reach the end, what then? Will we simply roll over and die? Will we just turn back around and return from where we came? Or will we simply start over again?

In short, be true to yourself. Don’t try to be something you’re not. And just know that there’s no need to be in such a hurry. Just do you and try not to overthink things. I know this all sounds so horribly cliche, but I’m afraid it’s true.

There are enough parrots out there, mimicking what they think will sell, and making awful noises on social media. Instead, try to refine your craft and solely focus on the love of creation. The rest will fall into place in due time. One must simply trust the process and try to let go.

The Legend of Diogenes The Cynic

Diogenes the Cynic was a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynicism. He lived in a barrel among the dogs. His only possession was a small wooden bowl. But one day, Diogenes tossed aside the single bowl he possessed upon witnessing a young peasant boy drinking water from his cupped hands.

Diogenes exclaimed: “Fool that I am, to have been carrying superfluous baggage all this time!”

According to another legend, Alexander the Great came to visit Diogenes. Alexander wanted to fulfill a wish for Diogenes and proceeded to ask him what he desired. To which Diogenes replied: “Now move at least a little out of the sun”. 

Plutarch provides a longer account of the story: Thereupon many statesmen and philosophers came to Alexander with their congratulations, and he expected that Diogenes of Sinope also, who was tarrying in Corinth, would do likewise. But since that philosopher took not the slightest notice of Alexander, and continued to enjoy his leisure in the suburb Craneion, Alexander went in person to see him; and he found him lying in the sun. Diogenes raised himself up a little when he saw so many people coming towards him, and fixed his eyes upon Alexander. And when that monarch addressed him with greetings, and asked if he wanted anything, “Yes,” said Diogenes, “stand a little out of my sun.” It is said that Alexander was so struck by this, and admired so much the haughtiness and grandeur of the man who had nothing but scorn for him, that he said to his followers, who were laughing and jesting about the philosopher as they went away, “But truly, if I were not Alexander, I wish I were Diogenes.” and Diogenes replied “If I wasn’t Diogenes, I would be wishing to be Diogenes too.”

Closing Thoughts

Diogenes the Cynic and Alexander the Great, two polarizing individuals on either end of the spectrum of the hierarchy, should provide a sense of relief for those of us upon the path. For it seems that even Alexander, a man who conquered the world, an individual who had everything at his disposal, perceived that one is not able to realize true freedom until he himself has freed himself from all earthly desires.

In the lyrical words of southern California’s prophetic dukes of dub, Slightly Stoopid: “The harder you try, the less you succeed, don’t try at all and get everything you need, because the harder you fall, the more it’s going to bleed.”

“It’s only after you lose everything that you’re free to do anything.” ― Chuck Palahniuk

How Music Evolves Consciousness

The beast awakens

As the mist from the morning rain clears, a series of resonating thumps are heard pulsating throughout the Savanah.

A flock of vultures take flight as a bewildered ape mercilessly pounds his fists upon a hallow tree trunk in rhythmic fashion. It’s as if he’s possessed, lost in a trancelike state, realizing for the first time his mortality, his bestial condition. And a strange love slowly seeps from his throbbing heart.

The beasts of the field stare at the ape in a perplexed state. They are fearful of the animal who is acting outside his typical pattern of fixed behavior. Afraid of what he might do next.

Background music of the age

It’s interesting how music often encapsulates the general sentiment of the prevailing time period. Just as Vivaldi, Bach, and Handel set the tone for the baroque period of the 17th and 18th Century with their ornate masterpieces, the music of today seems to simulate the collective fragmented view of reality.

No longer do we sift through cassettes and vinyl record collections, instead AI is now shaping the way we’re listening to music.

Think about that for a moment. Auto-generated playlists and internet radio stations are now curating music for us based upon our personalized algorithm. An algorithm that’s continually growing, and likely knows us better than our own mother.

Mainstream sells

On one side you have the formulated music of the mainstream. Commercial music that preys upon those of superficial tendencies – of the herd mentality. A breed of music that’s driven by systematic formulas with a proven track record. In short, music that sells.

For the last 50 years, this brand of commercialized mainstream music has reigned supreme. It has dominated the airwaves, seeped into the porous fabric of our species, and has conditioned us to favor certain sonic textures, beats, rhythms, and melodies.

One may ask if there is even a difference between roots music, or folk, and contemporary pop music of the mainstream? Well, it’s certain that both have burrowed their way into the fabric of the collective conscious, but I have a notion that one comes from the heart, and the other from a place of fear. A fear of failure. A fear of becoming the fool. A fear of the ego.

In my mind, the former is a lush rainforest crawling with majestic, yet dangerous beasts of beauty, and the latter a superficial oasis of plastic palm trees and high-grade formica crawling with pallid tourists.

Digital revolution

As the technological beast evolves in complexity, and dismantles the historic gatekeepers of the industry, a new sound protrudes its head from the underworld. A multifaceted beast displaying a creative vigor that may yet outshine both the Renaissance and Enlightenment.

It’s a transcendental vibration that is slowly infecting all those who dare to turn on, tune in, and drop out. It’s a new wave of music whose roots reach down into the abyss, and branches grow up into the heavens.

It’s the light we all see at the end of the tunnel. And we are the bridge.

Outside the realm of the mainstream, there are individuals who are blurring the lines between digital and analog, vintage and modern, electronic and acoustic. Artists who refuse to be relegated to any one genre. People, just like you and me, who spend most of their waking hours blending mediums of a diverse nature, attempting to create a sound of beauty that will never again be replicated in human form.

Closing thoughts

It is these pioneers, these trailblazers who propel music, the art world, and culture forward. Without them, we would be stuck in the mud. Beating upon a dead horse, and mindlessly plowing the field as we did throughout the dark ages.

We must be courageous in the creation of art. We must not let fear and stagnation drag us down into the gutter of despair. We must let our light shine forth as we advance upon the path, for the way is dark and treacherous.

There is no escape, so one must either carry on, and reach for a higher place, or roll over and die. Either way, death will find every single last one of us in the end.