I think what Elephant 6 meant for us is very simple: there’s something pure and infinite in you, that wants to come out of you, and can come out of no other person on the planet. That’s what you’ve got to share, and that’s as real or important as the fact that you’re alive. We were able, at a really young age, to somehow protect each other so that we could feel that. The world at large, careerism, money, magazines, your parents, the people at the rock club in your town, other kids, nothing is going to give you that message, necessarily. In fact, most things are going to lead you away from it, sadly, because humanity is really confused at the moment. But you wouldn’t exist if the universe didn’t need you. And any time I encounter something beautiful that came out of a human somewhere, that’s them, that’s their soul. That’s just pure, whatever is physically is, if the person can play piano, if they can’t play piano, if they’re tone deaf, whatever it is, it’s pure and it hits you like a sledgehammer. It fills up your own soul, it makes you want to cry, it makes you glad you’re alive, it lets you come out of you. And that’s what we need: we desperately need you.

I just came back from watching Be Kind, Rewind, and well, it’s a beautiful movie, I think.  My friends afterwards said “That was weird” when I was thinking of sitting through the credits.  But I didn’t, I gave into my friends cause, well, they invited me out so who am I to do otherwise?

After telling the tale of a movie rental store going down the drain, and an old man’s attempt to fix the problem, we find out two young men, who fit in to this youtube era, are trying to fix their own problems and have some fun about it.  And, along the way, make some fans.

Immediately I saw the connection to the Elephant 6 Collective; completely home made, but it was something that brought people together, and in turn it was beautiful.  It had a moment that I haven’t experienced in movies recently, a beautiful happy moment.  I actually almost teared up.  And well, something funny happened, and to me it was just a beautiful human moment, while everyone else in the audience laughed.

Yes, Michel Gondry has not only done it again, but he has perfected that fantastic reality in which we actually do live.  Everyday people can make a difference to those around town, if they want.  And, if they have the resources and the gumption to go through with it.

But back to that Elephant 6 thing, which was basically my entire college life and plans on audio CD.  The ups and downs of life are fun, and something homemade from it is even better.  I even read a book on the subject.   And the wikipedia entry says, as quoted by Robert Schneider, “The Elephant 6 Recording Company re-opens our doors and windows, and invites the world: join together with your friends and make something special, something meaningful, something to remember when you are old.”

So, what’s holding me back?  I’ve got friends who like to think they can act, and I’ve got a movie camera.  And, I’ve got some of the Elephant 6 spirit in me.  And well, last night in discussion of the (presumed) failed RPM challenge this year,  “I’ve got a lot to work on, musicianship wise.”  And while I may have a lot to work on directorship wise, it’s what I went to school for.

So after watching Be Kind Rewind, the spark refueled inside me.
And I remember the naivety I told my parents and my boss at that grocery store – I want to make movies.

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The Moon

February 20, 2008

Yeah, I taped some of it. Only a minute. I’m really bad at spontaneous voice overs. I’m also my worse critic.

…that the eclipse was indeed real…

I Stole A Kiss

February 16, 2008

It’s kinda disturbing, I remembered this phrase while hanging out with my ex. Well, not really disturbing, but I mean, if you’re broken up, is there any reason to be shy, let alone steal? Ah, puns…

I Stole A Kiss

I dunno if that’s going on my Hold Me Back/Fears album/RPM challenge thing. But then again, I never told anyone I was actually making my Fears album…

It’s quite strange to think, considering I only heard of this album about four years ago. I remember the end of my freshman year of college I was playing the title track, and as I was packing up to start heading home this girl stepped in the doorway and said “I’m so glad you’re playing that right now.” She left immediately afterwards, perhaps picking up on the awkwardness of the situation long before I did. I thought it was cool, I was getting attention from a co-ed; she probably thought it was strange, she was talking to a shy male at an art school.

The album has since changed me, along with other life experiences only obtained at an art school. But the album has also stuck with me for those years. “King of Carrot Flowers pt. 1” is still one of the best openers I’ve heard in a long time, and I still think it reflects your teenage view of the world. Here I am, growing up, experiencing love, and boy oh boy, are my parents strange. I still think “Two-Headed Boy pt. 2” is one of the best ending songs ever recorded, along with one of the most beautifully honesty and heartbreaking songs I’ve ever heard. But it still means more to me than that.

I’ve played the album for a few friends of mine, both at home and at college. Some have overlooked it, accepting it’s something I absolutely love and put it in the background. The guy’s voice is anything but nice, and the music is at times simple and other times too heavily orchestrated with weird instruments and noise to even be appreciated. But just as my music professor told me, the thing I like about it is what others hate about it.

I never played it for friends at college, most of them either already knew about it or were into other things. I never had a long discussion about it, as I’ve always imagined, but met a handful of people who had the record, and thanks to online social networks found out lots of people knew of the record. But again, I never really found a corner of the world where people obsessed over it like I do.

Then, upon my endless searching on the internet of Neutral Milk Hotel rarities and Jeff Mangum demos, I discovered an online community based on the Elephant Six collective, which had other bands and other fans who obsessed over music as much as I did. And it was strange, but it was nice. I never met these people, and I probably never will meet these people, but here are other humans who also enjoy this music. Who also enjoy and obsess over things that I enjoy and obsess over. And due to this, I made friends. People who shared the same interest as me, but could physically be non-existent. While that’s extremely doubtful, you can’t tell with the internet (which makes it oddly more ironic; the internet is where I first discovered the band and the album).

But as I said earlier, I was searching for rarities and demos; I wanted more. On Avery Island, which is a darker records, is arguably just as beautiful. Not as many subjects are presented, although it’s all there. “Song Against Sex” and “You’ve Passed” are two topics in Aeroplane – sex and death. No obvious religion references, but it’s all there. The Everything Is EP is a fun 15 minutes of noise and lo-fi music, possibly unlistenable to some, but essential to hear to others. And then, that’s it.

Many have gotten to this point, others have even obsessed with the Jeff Mangum demos, as if songs like “My Dream Girl Don’t Exist” and “Jaw Harp” are worth listening to more than once. I understand obsessing; I’m a huge Pink Floyd fan and for a while I wanted to get my hands on everything. But these are this guy’s bedroom recordings and he probably was fooling around at 11 at night with a four-track cause he had nothing better to do. And don’t get me wrong, the great song “Engine” is an early demo, as is “King Of Carrot Flowers pt. 2,” but these are still rough bedroom demos.

So, here I am stuck between wanting more and being too proud to even think of owning all his demos (I’ll admit, I have a handful), and I don’t know what to do. Well, I like to think I’m doing what the only true fan can do. Attempt to carry on the legacy.

Now, I’m no artist or Jeff Mangum lyric wise, but I’ve tried to introduce a few people to the music. I’ve even attempted to learn a song or two his, despite giving up on guitar. But hey, thanks to him, I actually tried to pick up the guitar. And now, instead, I’m playing a ukulele… But still, I like to think that its legacy lives on in both somewhat big name bands such as The Decemberists and The Arcade Fire, but at the same time in anyone staying in on Friday nights, just to get their shit out and make something wonderful for the world. It might not be pretty at first, but neither was Neutral Milk Hotel.

So, is all I can do is attempt to be the next big thing, as long as I mention Jeff Mangum and Co? Well, I think being true to yourself should come before being true to any of your heroes, but don’t forget about them along the way. And don’t forget about the record, or the way it made you feel the first time you heard it, the first time you “got” it, and the first time you truly needed it. And that is the power of music Jeff Mangum successfully strived for, and is now ten years old.

Would you go see that?
In glorious black and white.

I am getting no where in this RPM/February album stuff…

This Is Only A Test

February 6, 2008


Stupid code. Oh well, at least something private embedded…

Let’s Go Away For A While

February 1, 2008

RPM Challenge: 2008

I will see you all in 28 days.

Would You Hire Me?
I’ve been told I have a good voice for broadcasting…