Thursday, May 1, 2014

WTF is Zufälligen Einbildungskraft (and why does it make me so happy?)

If you're a friend of mine, or at least privy to my Facebook page, you've probably noticed a ton of posts lately...videos by "Zufälligen Einbildungskraft". If you've watched them, you've probably wondered just what the hell this stuff is. Well, I'll tell ya....

The jig is up. I'll come clean. Zufälligen Einbildungskraft is me. I'm sure a lot of you already guessed that...but for the two or three of you who haven't, that's what's up.

So what does it mean?

I'll start at the beginning. It all started about a week ago. A friend, who has long shared my love of interesting sights and sounds, had sent me some new music. It got me upset, in a way. The music wasn't "bad"...but it bored me. Music, in general, has become boring to me. It's all so damned predictable. I don't care what genre of music you enjoy...I can listen to the first three notes and know exactly where it's going. It makes me want to vomit. I'm not talking just about the major label releases (which should, for the most part, just be ignored) but even most of the indie stuff. Yeah yeah yeah...underground country (enough with the fucking banjos!), blues, punk, metal, folk, whatever. I've heard it all before. I'll occasionally hear a song, or snippet of one, that will momentarily grab my attention...but nothing sticks with me. So, as I've always done in the past...if I can't find what I'm looking for, I make it myself.

I've been experimenting with home recording. I downloaded a freebie program just to work on one song. Hell, it wasn't even a song in the traditional sense. It was more or less my take on "The Gift" by The Velvet Underground and "Frank's Wild Years" by Tom Waits (possibly one of the only artists to manage to keep things interesting). 

On a whim, I decided to make another recording. I had a few random ideas running through my I started messing with them. I didn't want I just made percussive noises with my voice and processed them digitally. Nothing new there. But it sounded pretty neat. I finished the song and made a weird little video to go with it. I shared it my my aforementioned friend. He enjoyed it and suggested I record an EP of stuff like this. I first. Then I got to think...I could do this! This just might be what I've been needing to get myself out of my funk.

I started working on some other "songs" (I'll use that term loosely) when I got a big surprise. A DJ friend in Cleveland wanted to play this weird little song on his radio show! Holy crap! My rock and roll music gets occasional airplay...but its been waning for a few years. I was mostly surprised that of all the music I've written and recorded, he wanted to play this weird little sonic experiment. I happily sent him a copy...after deciding what to call this mess. 

I thought about a few different ideas...but the name Zufälligen Einbildungskraft stuck. It's German...but not really. Loosely translated, it means Random/Accidental Imagination. A friend in Bavaria informed me that the name is technically correct...but not really something a German would say. So, I guess even the name is creative! I was starting to really use my imagination again...and it was all due to random/accidental it makes sense. For these types of sounds, I also thought a German-sounding name fit. I imagined a group a musicians in Berlin, wearing black turtleneck sweaters and efficient brown shoes, trying to re-invent music. I got a good chuckle from that image. That's how Zufälligen Einbildungskraft came about.

But WHY? I've been making money as a musician most of my life. Ask anyone in music these days and they'll tell you...the money just isn't there anymore. But that doesn't stop the music from being made. I have a CD of my rock & roll stuff that has sat, unreleased, for a few years now...because I just don't know what to do with it!

This little project, though, has given me back the joy of making music. There's an artistic freedom to it, as well. I am making this music purely for me. This is the music I've been wanting to hear, but no one else is making it. I've been given compliments by friends, in the music and art worlds, on these sonic productions of mine. They've compared these works to the likes of Stockhausen, Crumb, Antheil, Esquivel, and The Residents! I take those as high praise indeed!

As a writer of music, I've always wanted to write something that would touch the heart of God. One of these songs, "Saudade", touched the heart of a beautiful young lady, close enough! She declared it "heart-wrenching".

I know I'm no slouch as a writer. I've heard lots of different folks say nice things about my work. I'm always humbled by those words...but this "music" is different. I'm using non-traditional sounds and instrumentation. I've made noises myself, recorded the sound of me pounding on a chair, I've used the sounds of a human heart beat, a European dial tone, and I've almost completely eschewed the thought of tuning. Whatever sounds I'm working with, I just tune my instruments to that. If an instrument slips out of tune, unless I find it completely horrid, I just leave it. I've long been a fan of bluesman Cedell Davis, whose handicaps forced him to find his own unique way of playing. He often sounds out of tune, at first, but then the listener realizes, it fits! I like dissonance...sometimes, its just what music needs!

In the course of 6 days, I've been busy with my alter ego, Zufälligen Einbildungskraft. As my friend suggested, I recorded not one but two EP's worth of music. I've been having a BLAST with it! But what to do with it...

I've decided against the traditional ways of doing least for now. I'll just put the songs up on YouTube and let the world enjoy them, or ridicule them, or simply ignore them. It makes no difference to me. If you enjoy it...GREAT! If you don't...that's great too! I really don't care! If you choose to ignore it, again...fine by me! This is the most free I've felt musically in decades! I'm experimenting. I've found a recognizable sound that I can call my own...for now...and share with the world. It's probably as close as I'll ever get to the freedom a songbird has. It makes it music and goes about it's life.

If you're interested in giving a listen to the collected works of Zufälligen Einbildungskraft, all you have to do is click the caption below the EP covers below. 10 songs in 6 days...not too shabby! And...I love them! These songs are almost all instrumentals (no real need for words). They're unusual...sometimes dissonant...sometimes atonal...sometimes jolting...sometimes humorous...but each is beautiful in it's own way. I hope you can enjoy them...if not, no big deal. This music is out there for those who can enjoy it.

You can hear the project grow from song to song and EP to EP. Kinda funny really.

The 1st EP!

The NEW, 2nd EP!

1 comment:

  1. Outstanding. Pursue your dreams, and let nothing stand in your way. The path to happiness is only found when you follow your heart and soul. Rock on as only you can.