Monday, March 12, 2012

Look at that ass

About a year ago or so, I was sitting in my friend Keith's kitchen. We were discussing the idea of staring at girls. At the end of it all he realized that he tries not to stare at girls because they are constantly be stared at. He concluded that they must find this type of behavior annoying, discomforting, and in some cases, frightening. I couldn't argue with this.

Last week at the local gym his words came to my mind as I witnessed a most amazing display of the male element of Level Fitness going haywire. At first I didn't even know what was happening. There were about 8 guys near me. Many of them were having conversations, but it certainly appeared that they were not fully engaged or involved in what the other person was saying. In fact, most of the time- there weren't even looking at them! What was it they were looking at? And why was every other guy in the vicinity looking over by this one treadmill?

I stood up to get a better look, and of course there was some hot young chick with a great body running. Now I was looking! I won't lie about hesitating to return to doing curls, but I did get back to them in a timely fashion. I lifted and watched in total amazement as these guys just continually stared over at the gym's new star member.

Then they all looked at once! Quickly, and if my observation was accurate- with concern! Jesus- she was walking! Don't miss that. Please, don't miss that.

I'm not putting these guys down, for I have a dick- I am one of them. I'm not questioning the instinctual force that causes a human to desire the genitalia of another. I merely wanted to relay the powerful force of a female in a public setting and the undeniable grip it can command over a middle aged gym goer. Truly amazing! Maybe she'll be there tomorrow...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

We want to watch somebody die

We all have a desire to watch somebody die. We want to see a real live human being get stabbed, shot, maimed, strangled, stoned, crushed, suffocated, or beaten to death. Every last one of us.

The art world likes to toy with this idea quite often. In the movie "Gamer", death row inmates are granted an opportunity to be set free: by volunteering to be part of torturous gun battle game show that virtually nobody makes it out of. In Steven King's....excuse me Richard Bachman's- The Long Walk, kids volunteer to go on a long walk. They literally walk until they die of exhaustion. Or, more often, they tire to the point that they can no longer walk above the designated minimum speed and are shot dead by a government official wielding a shotgun.

Art world aside though, you can see it in every day life. In my Brooklyn apartment, I rushed to the window to see what I thought was a car accident. Sure enough, I wasn't the only one. About 25-30 people began to crowd around to watch what eventually became a full-on fist fight. Why were they so interested in a watching a confrontation? Because if they really got lucky- they might have watched someone get beat up, or better yet- killed.

I fully acknowledge the fact that people also just want to see some human drama. No doubt about it. But at the end of the day, I'm relatively sure they want to see somebody die.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Wanted: Murder victim

Are you in a financial bind? Is life throwing you a sack of problems? Wife or girlfriend left you?

Fret not- for I can ease all of your troubles. I'm humbly offering my services as an aspiring professional killer. You've heard of people who 'got in early' on a trend or money making scheme. Well, this is your opportunity to do just that. Granted, the activity is somewhat different from that of a pyramid scheme or dot com craze, but let's be honest- isn't it about time that you lost your life?

Most graciously, I am extending an offer to you that could change your life in a most dramatic fashion. I'll kill you! It doesn't have to be painful, but if that's what you're into, I'm certainly on board. It would be more fun to stab, bludgeon, or choke a person to death than it would be to simply sit down with you for a couple of poison drinks....... well... I guess only yours would be poison. But anyhow.....

If you're in doubt, just think of what it really is that you've got to look forward to anyhow. See! Nothing worthwhile! If you've read this and are ready to die but don't have the guts to do it yourself, it would be my distinct pleasure to carry out the act for you. Let me kill you!

Monday, February 13, 2012

I'm going to Romania and Hungary

On April 20th I'm going to be 27 years of age. A few short days after that, I'm hopping on a plane and traveling to eastern Europe for an experience, and most likely- an adventure in solitude.

Last November I set out to Turkey on what was to be the first of my international travels as an adult. I went to Israel when I was 12, but it wasn't much of a trip. I got food poisoning at a Chinese restaurant and spent the rest of the time in Hadassah Hospital where strangely, I met Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Some people don't believe me about that last part, but I swear it's true.

Turkey was amazing. I spent about half the time in Istanbul and the rest of it in Cappadocia, Pamukkale, and weird buses. My absolute favorite thing to do in Istanbul was take the tram line to all of the furthest stops in order to get off and walk all the way back to my hotel. Forget about the tourist trip. I want to check out the neighborhoods.

I would recommend Turkey to most anyone who's looking for a magical adventure in a foreign land. I'm the asshole who refuses to take any pictures "I want to experience it with my eyes- not through a lens" so I don't have any pictures to share. But if you ask me nicely, I might get you a souvenir when I go to Bucharest, Transylvania, and Budapest. But you can't come with me. And you probably wouldn't want to.

P.S.- the trip was financed by selling my small collection of killer vinyl records. Farewell to all of the following:

Smashing Pumpkins: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Siamese Dream, and Gish

Tool: Opiate, Undertow, and a limited pressing of Lateralus

Air: Talkie Walkie

Type O Negative: Dead again Limited box set

Stone Temple Pilots: Core (Korean pressing), Purple, Vaseline, and Sex Type Thing

Jane's Addiction: Ritual De Lo Habitual and Nothing's Shocking

Porno For Pyros: Self Titled

To many Birthday Party 45's and 12"'s to count.

I don't care though. I'd trade half my CD collection for a magical journey.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Adventure Rock

“What kind of music do you make?”

This is a question that I get asked somewhat frequently. My response is usually that I make pop/rock/alt country. I am now aware that there is a much more accurate response that I can provide.

I make Adventure Rock. What is adventure rock? First let’s talk about what it isn’t. This may better help to identify why describing the music that I make “pop” is inaccurate, or at the very least- misleading.

For some- music is a thing that happens on the subway. They are there, and they are bored. If they don’t feel like playing a video game on their phones, they seem to have no choice other than to play music from their iPod. Granted, there are many people who choose to read, but I’ve found that they are the minority. Or perhaps people are at the gym. They seek to escape from the hamster wheel of thoughts that are running rampant in their minds. The solution? Strap on the iPod and crank up some Lady Gaga.

Based on my observations, a vast majority of people experience music in a dramatically different way than I do. I like to sit down in front of a nice home stereo, and do nothing but listen to the music. To be inside of the music. To give myself completely to the music. I also like to go on long walks with my iPod for the sole purpose of being alone with the music. I am not trying to imply that my way of experiencing music is any better or worse than anyone else’s. People experience music in many different ways, and there is nothing wrong with this. I do however believe that it is indicative of what the music actually means to them, and for many of them- it doesn’t really mean a whole lot.

I think that this is part of the reason why much of what is considered “Pop” or “Rock” music today is a very boring, flat, seemingly pointless barren desert of emotionless phrasings & melodies. How it is that popular music has become so colorless & devoid of range? When the gym plays Muse, Maroon 5, Linkin Park, or Nickelback, it paints a very distinct portrait of nothingness in my head. To me, it’s not even music. I understand that by its very definition it is, but it is wholly inaccurate to say that Nickelback makes rock music, if we are also saying that Motorhead or Led Zepplin does the same. Similarly, it is not accurate to say that Rihanna or Ke$ha make “pop” music, if we are saying the same of Madonna, Missing Persons, Chaka Khan, and INXS.

When the radio plays the ‘rock’ & ‘alternative’ music of today, there is simply no life in it. It sounds like a broken whoopee cushion that has been deprived of all its air. Harsh, I know. But what if it’s true? That kind of music might be perfectly fine for mom’s to listen to while they drive their SUV’s to the grocery store with little Johnny and Suzy, but is it really what the youth want? Is it really what the youth can identify with? If so, then I pity the experiences that they must be having. There’s a whole discussion about people liking music because that’s what the record companies have decided they’ll like, but it’s not what I’m trying to get into here. I am merely trying to point out that much of what is considered “Pop” music is so entirely devoid of color and emotion that it’s very popularity amongst living breathing young people remains a mystery to me.

When I tell people my favorite band is Type O Negative, they usually say “What kind of music is that?” It has always felt wrong to say “Rock” or “Heavy Metal” or “Goth Metal”, although with the last one we are getting closer. None of those titles seem to imply or allow for the gorgeous emotion laden melodic passages that a song like “Everything Dies” contains. “Rock” just doesn’t fit them. I’ve heard their music described as melodic fantasy doom metal, and to be honest- that comes very close to describing the way that I experience their sound.

I can’t help but wonder what people who feed themselves a steady diet of modern rock/pop music would think if music started changing direction. What if instead of talking about the challenges of life, and clubs, and wanting to be millionaires, and ….. uh…… wait a second-what the fuck are any of them really talking about? What if instead of whatever it is that they are talking about now, they started shifting focus into songs that were more about adventure, life, fun, and magic? Would those people accept it? I can’t help but wonder what use those listeners would actually have for a song like Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy "the Silence” or Black Grape’s “In the name of the father” or Erasure’s “Chorus.” I suspect that for some time, they wouldn’t really understand or accept it. This is provides me with a pretty solid understanding of where my music fits, or it a lot of cases doesn’t fit in with modern music as a whole.

I have found new insight about what to tell people when they say “What kind of music do you make?” I make Adventure Rock. What is Adventure Rock? As its name implies- it is music that takes you some place. It invites you to go on an adventure. It might be about a girl, a dream, an event, a theory, a place, a person, or a magical wizard- but no matter what the subject matter- it is truly intended to exist as a place that you can venture off to. An adventure that you can have anytime you wish. An escape from reality if you so choose.

It’s not just the subject that makes it Adventure Rock. It is the way in which it’s presented. Melodically, it is intended to have an epic feel to it, even if the song is only 4 minutes in length. If Maroon 5 started singing about going on quests and adventures, but played the same kind of music- it just wouldn’t do the trick. Just thinking about that prospect sounds about as exciting as a plaid shirt. I want people to hear the wonder in the music. I want the listener to escape inside of the song, and keep some of the magical afterglow with them as they experience life. I want for them to find an emotional experience in a far off distant land, from the comfort of their home, car, or iPod. And if I’m writing about nostalgia, I don’t’ want them to simply remember what it was like to be young; I want them to go there. I want them to feel it.

This is Adventure Rock, and this is the music that I make. Watch the music video for “Sing Along” and you’ll get an idea. There is an adventure taking place. Specifically, you’re watching my adventures of many fun times over the first year of living in a brand new place, and having a multitude of brand new experiences. It was quite literally, an adventure. That magic and the essence of how amazing it felt was bottled up and poured into the song which encourages you to “Sing along to the music in your heart”. I conclude this adventure with “Unicorns and rainbows it’s a magical place, when you sing along to the music in your heart”. Am I wrong?

Peter Litvin is currently on an Adventure Rock album called “School”. He has vowed to make "twenty albums before I die". With the bar set very high by previous work (Corpse Smoke, Gypsy Kiss) Pete has a lot to live up to. But if "Love Spectacle" is any indication, Pete can live up to the challenge, and then some.

Check out “Love Spectacle” and several other albums by Peter Litvin on iTunes by clicking here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thoughts and quotes

A quote caught my eye recently.

"Once I realize that I ought to get to the root of things, and that I can no longer be content with living in accordance with the demands of the ordinary world, then a question arises about what I am and about the meaning of my own life" - Jean Vaysse from Toward Awakeing

What are your thoughts on those words? It certainly leads my thought process in an interesting direction, but i won't taint your impression of the quote by sharing my own reaction to it.

I've been spending a set amount of time working on my new record "School" every day. To say that I'm excited about the record would be an understatement. It's a double disc album that is due to come out in February.

I uploaded some demo's for the album. You can listen to them by clicking here. The songs are "Video Games" and "Crush". I look forward to seeing these songs as well as all others to completion.

The "School" record will be very different from my last album "Love Spectacle". Love Spectacle was about fantasy, magic, and the idea of love. Click here to watch a video about the making of Love Spectacle. "School" is about youth, nostalgia, and growing up.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'm a drifter

Why does good music get ignored? While there are many relatively feasible answers to this question, none of them really satisfy me. In this particular situation, I'm going to blame America's love for what has been termed "grunge" and "alt rock".

The year is 1993. Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Liz Phair, Pearl Jam, and a number of other artists are making quite a name for themselves on commercial radio. Grunge music (not really a term i like to attach to anything) is the new fuss in the USA. The music is the new sound of generation X and there's a very distinct clothing style to go along with it. While all this is going on-- there's a musical movement going on in the U.K. that is very different from what is happening in America. It's more or less the brit-pop explosion of the 1990's. I won't go into great detail about the late 80's early 90's 'madchester' movement, as other writers have covered the subject in great detail. Click here if you'd like to read a detailed account of the subject. I do want to point something out about the role that grunge music had in suppressing the madchester movement from hitting the USA hard.

American grunge music was hard and angry. Brit pop around the same time was offering a very contrasting feel. Bands like Blur, Pulp, and Intastella were offering a much happier pop oriented sound. Aside from a few artists not much of this Madchester music made it onto American Radio. So in short, an amazing song like "Drifter" by Intastella is a super-unkown piece of music who's magical ways will never really see the light of day. Perhaps I'm being overly dramatic though. I'm sure there are more than a handful of people who care about the song. This is especially true in the U.K. where Intastella got plenty of attention.

What the hell is so great about this song? On the surface, "Drifter" seems to be a very basic poppy love song about a drifter. The feel of the song however, has the power to evoke a very warm nostalgic feeling to the listener. This song has taken the sound of summer vacation, love, the beach, warm weather, teenagers, relationships, campfires, magic, and drugs and put them all together into one beautiful composition.

I'm not going to get into great detail about the specifics of this song. The drawbar organ sounds great. The acoustic guitars make me feel like I'm at a beach. Further more, I'm impressed that they pulled off the use of so many acoustic guitars on a relatively poppy sounding dance song. The electric wah-wah guitar sounds great. If you listen carefully, you'll be able to hear a cool right to left speaker panning effect in the beginning. They remind me of 311's "transistor" album. They keyboards are transparent and sound great. The percussion is perfect for the song.
Intastella also has balls for making a 1 minute long intro for a pop song. Stella Grundy's voice sounds warm, endearing, and really--- like some sort of nostalgic audio liquid.

One might consider that I'm in love with the idea of actually being a drifter. This could absolutely add to my bias towards the song's greatness. I continually dream of leaving all my belongings behind and going out on the road with virtually nothing. Ah yes-- the pressures of everyday living would be entirely left behind.......right? I wouldn't have to worry about user names, pin numbers, passwords, and other seemingly meaningless things. I haven't done it yet and probably never will. When I listen to this song however, I feel like I have. Or like I have been a drifter before and am reminiscing.