Road Map (Find Your Mentors)

One of my favourite things about film is the great associations films can have with words and ideas (spoiler alert for today’s wisdom). For instance, whenever I think of taking a road trip, I can’t help but remember 2000’s road sex comedy movie of the same name, Road Trip.

That movie is chock full of references for me.

For instance, I can’t help but think of Austin whenever someone mentions Boston and vice-versa. Clip conveniently included if you don’t get the reference.

On the other side of levity, the consequences of absorbing this content meant that I had weird ideas about what a new adult should be and could be, and as I mentioned in a previous post, it created some strange ideas of what post-secondary (and in the larger picture, adult life) would probably be like. But that doesn’t mean Road Trip has no redeeming qualities. In fact, the eccentricities of it’s lead characters demonstrate reality far better than most college themed films, that and an amazing idea tucked into pop culture sensibilities towards the end of the film, is super important.

Specifically, the scene where one of the characters is able to teach the lead character Josh the ancient philosophy course material needed to pass a class and stay in university. This is achieved by using analogies of wrestlers from WWF (WWFE or WWE as it is known today).

Rubin: What class is that again?
Rubin: Ancient philosophy.
Rubin: Well I can teach you ancient philosophy in 46 hours.
Josh: Really?
Rubin: Yeah, I can teach Japanese to a monkey in 46 hours. The key is just finding a way to relate to the material. Like, OK… You like pro wrestling, don’t you?
Josh: Who doesn’t?
Rubin: OK. Socrates was like the Vince McMahon of philosophy. He started it all.

This might seem dumb on the surface, and just feel-good filler but it is incredibly profound – perception is reality. What this means is that if you believe something, no matter how untrue, you won’t be able to get past it unless you come at it from a place of understanding. Rubin was able to “teach” Josh about philosophy using a subject he loved and cared about.

That’s the first step to growth, moving forward in a way that you can understand, which means making the content relational to your current interests and understanding and engaging with enthusiasm.

On that note, I want to continue the self-improvement concepts we’ve been examining, by focusing on a fairly important point, one which I’ve avoided in previous weeks because I wanted you to be as prepared as possible for the inevitable. How sneaky of me.

Well here it is – the realization that change is difficult and sometimes feels impossible, is only one step of many steps you need to take in order to stick with whatever creative purpose you have in your heart. You have to do this in order to make something and offer it up to the world.

I struggle with it myself, dear readers.

But that’s why it’s so rewarding once you begin to see results, because these are hard won battles, and a lot of the time they are with old beliefs you didn’t realize you were nursing so hard. That means taking baby steps and slowly changing a little by little, and to always keep in mind the power of reinvention.

By moving forward and focusing on what is in front of you, you can begin to dissolve the past. But guess what? You can’t just figure it out on your own, that’s how you got to where you are right now. By simply sleep-walking through life and absorbing things in your dream state. And we all know how fucked up dream state can be.

And then you aren’t making your art, you’re struggling to figure out what it’s in front of you.

Which means you need to find a teacher; this can be accomplished with a person who already has done what you want to (quickest, most emotional), through resources like books and films (longer, how you get 3/4 of the info), and lastly through a change in perception. Ever heard the expression, when the student is ready, the teacher appears? That’s largely a mental thing, because everything around you is capable of demonstrating the ideology and passion you are striving for. Rocks can represent hidden art for instance, or tree roots can represent learned knowledge.

So please find a mentor. This can be challenging for sure, as covered already, but  there are levels of mentorship and you will need all of them.

But don’t take my word for it, read this article to get yourself started.

And that’s all the theories I have for today, my friends. Please leave some comments below, subscribe to the blog if you haven’t already, and I’ll see you tomorrow with something timely.

Tim!

 

Stone Cold Stunner (Jack Garratt, Phase review)

It’s just a phase, it’ll pass, I promise. That’s what they tell you when you’re growing up, anyway. Then you learn that adults tell you those things to keep you quiet and to simplify a subject far more complex than their tired minds are willing to handle.

Well no longer, dear readers. This week’s featured artist is all about that phase. In fact, I think he’s embraced the unknown and tackled the obvious to create something interesting. Shall we?

 

 

 

Jack Garratt – Phase
released February 19, 2016
******** 8/10

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Jack Garratt is a British singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who just released his debut album.

Jack is something of a musical swiss-army knife: dubstep, garage rock, ballads, dance, R&B, dream pop, trip hop, electronica, indie pop, gospel, acoustic, and blues all fuse together. Garratt says it best himself.

Pick apart the pieces you left
Don’t you worry about it, don’t you worry about it
Try and give yourself some rest
And let me worry about it, let me worry about it

At just 24 years old, he’s managed to make a name for himself already, touring with Mumford and Sons last year, and winning both the BRITs’ Critics’ Choice Award and BBC Sound of 2016 poll this year. Which is something that recent Oscar winner Sam Smith, Ellie Goulding and Adele have all accomplished too. This should tell you something right out of the gate, this artist is making pop music that is both in the present and oddly experimental.

I’ve read a few other reviewers compare him to Ed Sheeran and describe it as generic pop, albeit more rough around the edges, a confusing oxymoron. And while I “kinda” like that Ed Sheeran comparison, I think a better one is this – dubstep sprinkled electronica meets proper pop production.

You see, Garratt has an incredible voice which is demonstrated very clearly in the closing track My House Is Your Home. And then applied in interesting ways on both Weathered and Surprise Yourself. Where I get excited is when he starts to combine this ability with his sampling and production talents.

Then we get to experience the life-giving opener Coalesce (Synesthesia pt.II), Worry, and Chemical, the last of which I’ve taken the liberty of including some sample lyrics from below. We get excited for the dichotomy he is creating between raw blues and refined electro pop.

My love is chemical, shallow and chauvinistic
It’s an arrogant display
So don’t try to reason with my love

Well shit. That’s good right?

What is so surprising is that a sound so rich and varied in it’s musical sources would be backed by a label like Island Records. It’s not often that artists get to break ground and create self-contained musical systems in these types of environments, but again, like Sam Smith, Ellie Goulding, and Adele before him, Garratt is epitomizing the shift in pop music culture. Maturity and craft are the order of the day, we are entering a renaissance for this kind of sound.

And maybe that’s where the generic sound comes in? He is simultaneously defining and perpetuating a sound.

Granted, the album is not perfect. Sometimes the sounds don’t mesh well together, but holy Moses, when they do, like a puppy dog that’s torn up your garbage can or a charming lover that ate your last ice cream, it’s easier to forgive Garratt and celebrate his experiments. And if Ellie Goulding is gonna cover his songs, he has to be at least worth a listen or two…

So check out  WeatheredBreath Life, and Chemical dear readers, and don’t you worry about it, Jack Garratt’s got phasers set to stun.

 

 

 

I hope Jack Garratt isn’t just the flavour of the week, and all my theories on him pan out. But either way, this is a fun and enjoyable record and I think you’ll get a lot out of it. And even if it’s just a phase, this too shall pass and give way to another review.

Tim!