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Outshined, Shined Out

The news this morning made this a surreal day. Chris Cornell, just 52 years old, survivor of the explosive and culturally immense Seattle grunge scene, was found dead in his hotel room while on tour with his original band Soundgarden. So, like many of my Gen-X brethren, I am sitting at my desk, listening to Soundgarden, and reflecting on it all.

Outshined was the first grunge song I heard. …or maybe Smells Like Teen Spirit… or maybe Alive… I cannot really recall; 11 years old was a long time ago. What I do recall, very vividly, is the first time I heard it. I remember sitting on the living room floor of my parents’ old apartment watching television (I used to sneak down at night to watch The Monkees on VH1) and turned to MTV. Here was a Buzz Clip that premiered that day… and POW. That was it. The past was over. I was changed. That was the moment that people talk about music changing their lives. That was when it happened for me. That moment defined so much of the rest of my life. That riff, the passion, that god damn voice… I may have stopped listening after Down On The Upside, but I will never forget what that moment did for me. It is one of the core reasons I am a musician. Thank you, Soundgarden. Thank you, Chris Cornell.


   Rest well, Chris.



fire rust    Autumn brings many pleasant things. The apples come off of the trees, ripe for eating. Cider begins to flow and find its way into the stores. I begin mulling my cider and baking pies. The leaves turn to fire and drop to the ground. The trees become bare and everything in this world begins to die. Autumn is the season of bounty and waning, of that final passionate explosion before the cold stillness of winter.

Solar Autumn runs roughly from the 21st of September to the 21st of December (varying a day in either direction from year to year), from Autumnal Equinox to Winter Solstice. Meteorological Autumn goes from September 1st to December 1st. Culturally, we tend to consider autumn as lasting from Labor Day Weekend to Black Friday and the weekend after Thanksgiving. However you reckon the span of the season, autumn is the maturation of the year and a time when mischievous spirits run stronger than any other part of the year. Whether you interpret spirits to mean spectres or human moods, the trickster is surely present in each and every one of us. You don’t have to be so strongly associated with darkness to feel that Hallow’s Eve spirit. Nearly every child dresses up as either a ghastly visage or beloved pop culture icon, goes door-to-door, and demands a sweet treat. If one does not give the little hooligan an offering of appeasement, the mischievous nature may take over and pull pranks on you and your home! Adults find time to let their oft-suppressed rambunctious sides out as well. (see: Jenna Marbles’s rant about sluts on Halloween)

appppppppapple    The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Autumn is apples. I thoroughly enjoy apple-picking. I have ever since I was a child. It’s more than the extremely fresh apples that are the fruit of the labor. It’s walking through an orchard full of twisted trees while an almost-crisp autumnal wind pushes at your back. It’s reaching up into the tree to find that perfect apple. It’s admiring one’s surroundings. It’s a short hike in a lovely man made wood. Apple picking is more than just the apples. That first bite into the Newtonian muse, fresh off the tree, is an experience that simply does not happen from a store bought pome.

pumpkin    In the year’s old age, when Demeter begins to cry and Hades’s fires grow stronger with passion, nature gives the most beautiful show. The leaves of every tree not deemed an evergreen turn from green to bright yellows, oranges, reds, and browns. Demeter weeps for the loss of her daughter, Persephone, and the subsequent autumnal rains rust the green away. A world of fire is born. The leaves, once vibrantly green photosynthesizers, now begin to change color and die, growing brittle and falling away as the trees retreat into dormancy for the winter ahead. We harvest our crops and begin preparations for the winter, when everything is absolutely dead, still, sleeping soundly in a crystalline purity. This last show of life, that spark at the moment of death, is breath-taking no matter how many times you’ve experienced it.

Home & hearth still have meaning to some, and this is so much more important this time of year than any other. Autumn is beautiful. I wish to mull some cider and sit next to a fire, eating the fruits of my year’s harvest with someone I love. I wish to write cold and hollow music, melancholic and melodic echoes of passion. I wish to celebrate with great festivity the Season of the Dead… the Season of Fire.

Here is some Autumnal themed music for your pleasure (after the jump).



   Transformation is a piece I wrote in the winter of 2008/2009 on the cusp of a major change in my life, both one of an outside cause and one very intense, internal shift. It was originally ordered as three pieces each consisting of six cantos, or verses, but I have rearranged it to be one piece of eighteen cantos.


Frau Vetr

A brief fairytale of ice, love, and immortality.


uh huh

   I am sitting in my living room, unlit Christmas tree beside me, with a raspberry smoothie and voice-killing sore throat, listening to :wumpscut: while reading about the life and death of Mr. Christopher Hitchens.

“The four most over-rated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics.”

Best of 2011: Music

   I usually tend to make predictions for the next year in technology when December rolls around. However, this year I will simply list the best of the year we are closing. To kick it off, the best music released in 2011!