Changed my mind

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The first time I saw my now wife I thought “She’s beautiful. I could never be with her.”  don’t know why, but anyway, I changed my mind. Lucky me.

I used to love the thought of having a lot of money. Then I thought money was bad. I’ve changed my mind, yet again, better late than never.

I used to think that eating whole-grain foods was really healthy and that I couldn’t do without bread, because I love it so much. I experimented with not eating any grain-based foods. I changed my mind about pasta and bread. Yeah, they still taste fucking amazing, but, nah, I don’t need it. I’m living better without those foods now. (Eventhough I do occasionally enjoy my treat-days :))

Timothy Leary is supposed to have said something along the lines of: “you are as young as the last time you changed your mind.” I like that.

I was going to write about how hard I find it to change my mind, when my ego is attached to a certain perspective, idea or point of view. I struggle with that. I feel threatened to change my mind, even if new information unfolds. I was going to elaborate on how I step back and an detach and blablabla, when I looked out of the window and saw the trees sway ever so slightly in the wind. And I changed my mind.

Talking about plants… here’s a playlist I made with songs that somehow have to do with flowers. Pete Doherty meets J Dilla, Ben Harper Ash Ra Temple and Basement Jaxx rocks it with JJ Cale. Enjoy!

Love, Chris

Can you feel the rain?

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(c) Domenic Driessen

They are drenched. They are young. They knew it might rain. Fuck it. Pack an umbrella (ella ella ey-ey) and go where they see people who are young and alive. It’ll be worth it.

We love the rain. Yeah, even you, you heat-seeking, beach-loving, sun-tanning weirdo (no offence). Once in a while even you need the cold wet. Everyone needs the sky to be grey sometimes. That’s nature’s way of saying “shut up and focus”. And: “Lie in bed, cuddle and, when it’s safe, whisper something to your cuddlee that is true to you, whisper ever so gently, darling!” She’s been telling us that a lot here lately in Mainz Germany, early June 2016. Thanks nature for reminding us.

Still not convinced you enjoy the rain? Maybe you really don’t. But maybe you like the idea of rain and what some people have made of it. All the great artists who were inspired by the rain: Painters, sculptors, probably some biomimics, the photographer Domenic Driessen who I want to thank for letting us use this wonderful picture. And of course musicians. Some are singing in the rain, others  are down and out by it.

It’s not the rain that decides how you feel. Sure, you might have a predisposition whether you like the rain or not. That’s fine. But rain itself doesn’t have the last word. You choose. In a desert I bet you’d welcome a storm after months of drought. Here (still Mainz, Germany) and now (still June 2016) most people feel they want the summer to really start.

But the people in the picture are in summer mode. They accept that rain has a place in it and get on with enjoying their lives.

I made a rain-playlist. Let me know which songs are your all-time, ultimate rain-tunes (I ALWAYS have to think of Ty – Rain first. When the drops start to fall, the chorus immediately plays in my head).

And check out Domenic Driessen. It’s worth it.

Enjoy the music. Maybe it’ll make you feel safe enough to look directly into their eyes and whisper something to that person, lying next to you, with their head on your pillow. You know, the one that you dream on.

Love,

Chris

 

the last share

Should everything I say be able to stand as the last thing I ever said?

Should everything I ever tweet, snap or post be able to stand as the last thing I ever shared publicly?

Bad questions to ask. Looks like I’m shoulding all over myself.

But the idea behind those questions is an intruiging one.

I love the book “The Art of possibility” by Rosamund & Benjamin Zander. It made me cry, I don’t know why, but it moved me. Anyway, in the book they tell the story of a woman who survived Auschwitz. When the Train that deported her arrived in Ausschwitz she looked down at her 8 year old brother and noticed one of his shoes had gone missing. She scolded him: “Can’t you look after your things?!?!”

That was the last thing she ever said to him, they were separated upon arrival and she never saw him again. After she survived Ausschwitz and went back into the world she vowed to make every word she ever spoke able to stand as her last words.

It’s a tall order. If we try we’ll all fail at it at times. But it could be a great north star for your intentions. As the Zander’s say, it’s a possibility to live into.

I started this post by writing some bad questions. Why were the questions bad? I don’t like the word “should”. It implies a disconnect with reality.

Maybe the better questions is “what would it feel like to have everything I ever say be able to stand as the last thing I ever said?” My guess is that I would feel the potency and the banality every moment has within it. That way I could still snap on snapchat (moist.computer <— add me there 🙂 ) about random stuff, as long as the intent behind the snap is one of love, joy or compassion.

Love,

Chris

To focus or to open up?

Many of us have our best ideas in the shower or just before/after waking up. Ever noticed that? It is a common theme. Why is that?

Did you know there are basically two modes of thinking? The focused mode and the open/diffuse mode (for example when we are showering or dropping off). If you are patient enough to invest 20 minutes of your time to find out how to learn effectively, watch this video:

If you didn’t watch it, no hard feelings, I’ll sum it up for you: There are these two modes, basically Mrs. Oakley tells us that we need to switch between both of them, so that lateral connections and deep focus can alternate, so that neural connections deepen and interconnect more.

Our album making is basically in full swing, but man, it’s going harder than I want to admit. We want to tickle the best out of every song we’re working on, still we don’t want to brood in our studio until our beards turn grey and then, in the end, have a totally warped wanna-be masterpiece, which is absorbed by its own unreached potential.

When is a song finished? Maybe when there is nothing left to take out of it…

Theo, my son, has had a temperature for the last few days and an infected throat. Nights have been rough. I’m drained, low energy, tired. The semester has started again, I need to focus on getting the work for that done as well. When do I open up, diffuse?

This coming Thursday (5th May 2016) the great Ebo Taylor is playing in the city of Mainz, Germany. We have band practice on Thursday, we want to work on our album. Shall we shun the outside and go all in on our album? Or should we open up and take advantage of this probably one-in-a-lifetime chance to absorb a master of his craft perform in an intimate setting?

Let’s see. I think I’ll just listen to Ebo right now, talk to the boys when I’ve got my fundamentals back on lock: Sleep, eat and move to this here.

Speak soon!

love,

Chris

Do this to find great music

IMG_20160405_230202Many of you have asked me over the years how I find the esoteric and rare gems that I listen to. I never really noticed that I actually did things differently than most people, because these processes came so naturally to me.

My first CD was the rap-classic Luniz “I got 5 on it”. I was 7 years old when it came into my possession and I immediately started rapping along to the song without a clue what it was about.

When I first possessed my own CD I stared at the cover of the “I got 5 on it” so intensely and thoroughly as if to find a hidden passage.

I asked my dad what the logos meant. I wanted to know what the logos and the people behind them had to do with this indescribable sensation that happened in(between) my ears when I listened to this song in particular and music in general. I started to wonder and to explore this world.

One thing that kept me from broadening my horizons earlier was my fear of being confronted with a bigger music lover than myself. I often feel quite insecure in nerd conversations because I am painfully aware of how little music I know of, compared to the amount of music that exists in the world. The thought that my lacking knowledge could be interpreted as lacking devotion to music used to scare the crap out of me, because my commitment to music played a huge role in my self-definition.

If you recognize yourself here, this is step one to find great music:

1. Listen, ask and listen some more 

Only through listening will you find more. Be happy to say “Never heard of them”, you might be entering a new plane of existence.
You can only find music if you listen to the music you already like with a certain amount of intensity.
Listen to people talk.
Listen to interviews of musicians you dig.
Listen to that inner curiosity when you see that record or an iTunes/Spotify/Whatever recommendation that somehow piques your interest in an unusual way.

Be sensitive and aware when it happens and then pounce on the opportunity. You might not have found anything, but you just might have struck gold.

Now, asking is the next part of the equation and one I don’t find as hard as I used to. When my existence depended on being “that HipHop guy” who knew “Boyz N Tha Hood” and “Bei Mir” off by heart (I think I still do) I felt very vulnerable around people who knew more than me in “my” topic. Now I’ve realized that even a very random, uninterested person might have come across some artist I have never heard of. This can open up a whole new world.

2. Listen intensely

I have to double this, because it is what this is all about. Listening. Drop your preconceived notions (big note to self). Just listen.

I love the Smiths. I had never heard of them until 2010 (eventhough they were voted Best Band of all time in NME). I was deep in my late John Coltrane, mid MF DOOM phase when my then-girlfriend put on some of Johnny’s and Moz’ magic. I could have just vomited. It was too clean, too miserable, too white.
But she put it on again and on again and when “Bigmouth” came on, my interest suddenly arose. The lyrics caught my ear. This was different. Suddenly, I was hooked. I went all in and listened to “There is a light” in my iTunes alone over 140 times – in a month.

In this case I was forced to listen. I don’t regret it, I actually learned to listen more intently and with more openness and try to be aware of my own recency and familiarity bias.

If this really interests you, one great resource is W.A. Mathieu’s “The Listening Book“. Game changer. Check it out.

3. Read liner notes

“”Let Me Ride” contains a sample of “Mothership Connection” written by G. Clinton, B. Collins, B. Worrell and published by Warner Chappell Music (BMI).” One sentence that changed my life.

Next time in the record store I asked about G. Clinton and the mothership connection. I found Parliament. It was like finding a grandparent I had never known of. G-Funk was like a parent to me, P-Funk was its daddy. I felt like I had stumbled upon unheard treasures.

Truth is, I dug that treasure out. Few 13 year old lads will be so deep into their MP3/CD/record collection that they read every single line of every single page and then actually head out to find out more about it. Do exactly that. Especially if you are into HipHop or any form of sample-based dance music (see what I did there? 😉 ) you will find incredible new worlds of music.

4. Couchsurf

Yeah, look for couchsurfers who write something about music in their profile. This way you gain a new texture of travel depth. Not just cultures and locations are new, but you have chosen to stay with someone, who can probably enrich your musical palette. Make it a give and take. Youtube-party, here we go (and take notes or screen pics to remember who that great song was by)!
I still to this day remember which records I bought in Barcelona, London or Berlin.

5. Read blogs and magazines

I haven’t missed a single edition of JUICE mag since January 2001. The day of the new JUICE release was always the day I’d be in school on time, so I could buy the newest JUICE to read on the bus to school.
I like Pitchfork, Musikexpress, Consequence of Sound, Minutenmusik, Harald & Heinz, the list goes on. If you are interested I’ll look through all the sites I follow. There are many. Let me know.

6. Go out

And mainly to places you haven’t been. Don’t kid yourself. When you were 19 you were checking out every new club and every new bar. Now you go to the same 3 spots every week. Break out of your routine, go to another city and go to places that have live music.

7. Talk to DJs

But be kind. Don’t try to impress with how much you know. If the DJ is playing something good, go up to her, give her a thumbs-up, say “Thanks so much for the music!” and, if she’s not just mixing into the next song or fumbling with technical issues and you sense that the situation permits it ask who the song is by. Take a note of the artist and title. Go home and then

8. Check out the record label

Labels might not be as powerful as they used to be, but they are an incredible music-finding tool. If you like Thomas Melchior, you check out the label Perlon you suddenly stumble upon Maayan Nidam and voilà, your life has just been made richer.

9. Read books

I have the “500 Best Albums of all-times” Rolling Stone book. “1000 Record Covers” by Michael Ochse. The list goes on. Resources you can always start off with and then use steps 8 and 10.
Read musician’s biographies (more to come there in my cabinet of curiosities soon). All musicians are fans of music (or at least started off as fans) and you will find out who influenced those who influenced you .

10. Share what you love

This will bring people into your world. They will in return want to share stuff they love with you. It’s the normal ebb and flow. Tweet it, snap it, hashtag it, email it and talk about it. But only when people are actually interested.

11. Join Pref*** and Postf***

Secret, motherfuckers! Haha! But seriously: Start your own Facebook groups with people whose taste you value.

12. Watch documentaries

You know those people who then talk about how great your favorite musician was? Some of them are great musicians themselves. Google them, enter new worlds.

13. Check DJs Charts

Check the charts the DJs you love post. New opportunities arise as you do so.

14. Listen to other people’s playlists and mixes

Self-explanatory.

 

Is there anything I missed that works for you? Please let me know! via snapchat (moist.computer), via twitter (@moistcomputers), here in the comments, basically anywhere you wish, darling.

Love,

Chris


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Break – fast

Since posting about my sixpack experiment, things have been going down:

First, on the music-side: Thilo, Max, Seve and I got together and listened to the 40+ song-sketches for the Moist Computers album and we chose the 17 we wanted to explore further. This hugely excites me. Things are going fast. The album is taking shape. #whoop

Talking of getting in shape, let’s get on to the six-pack side of the story: Listening to the Model Health Show I found out more about fasting and immediately implemented what I learned.
I am now 36 hours into an intermittent juice-fast and feel good. Tomorrow up until the end of the whole six-pack experiment I will definitely continue the intermittent part of the protocol, the only juice part ends tomorrow, I wanted to give myself a 48 hour test-drive first. Feels good. Will do it again, probably the weekend before Uni starts again in two-weeks time.
If you haven’t heard of intermittent fasting yet, I basically only have an 8-hour window a day in which I eat. So from 10:30 to 6:30 is when I eat now. The times might shift when I’m back at Uni, but the 8-hour window remains the same.

I won’t starve. Chill guys. Do the research (you can start off here. I found it enlightening).

Now, it’s piano practice and then beauty sleep time.

Love,

Chris

 

Wanna bet? (Why do I do this to myself?)

So, here goes. I really don’t want to do this, because when I do this, there is no going back. I am outing myself as the vain and somewhat superficial duuuuude who has been hidden from you up until now.

I know, I know, on the outside I appear high-minded, as if blessed with God-like serenity, humility and grace and free from desires from the bleak and noisy outside world, at peace within my own self.

But the (admittedly handsome) outer appearance can be somewhat deceiving. I am insecure and I am vulnerable. I badly want people to like me.

One thing that pisses me off about myself is my bodily shape, kinda like a undefined blob of dough. It’s not worth mentioning not even to myself, neither too grossly gross nor ripped, somewhere in the realm of the unremarkable, the neglected, the uninteresting. Well, alls my life I someday wanted to be ripped. I know, it may seem too worldly a desire, too vain and, well, physical, but fuck it, it is what it is. Someday has come.

I haven’t seen my brother yet all year. He moved to Berlin, became a diplomat, but he’s coming back, so this is what I am aiming for: He’ll be there on my daughter’s birthday, 30th May and, baby, I will be sporting a six-pack. I want him to be like “woah!” Yes, so basic and so carnal are my desires, please make fun of me (I like it 😉 ).

So, wanna bet? Or do you want to join me?

All joking aside, I just registered with stickk.com, which is an accountability site. I put down 50$ which would be “donated” to my hated arch-rival Max Grosche should I not pull the stunt off.

Fuckzers, this is getting real. I am already regretting this badly.

If you want to support me (no money involved on your side, you get to laugh at me if I don’t succeed (but I will succeed, so fuck you for doubting me!) and you probably get to look at semi-nude pics of me (this is optional and obviously could be harmful to your psyche and eyes)) just go to stickk and you will be updated on my progress or lack thereof.

Now, you may be asking, ok, why on earth are you doing this and how do you want to achieve this feat?

So, first the why, or the many whys:

Why #1: I know that my ability to execute on my goals is closely linked to my health. If I am full of energy, I can put a lot of energy into my studies, the raising of my kids, work and the release of our album (coming June 12th).

Why #2: I want to reinvent what and how I think of myself. Because if I overcome this belief that says “I’m not the type to be ripped” then I prove to myself that I can overcome limiting beliefs.

Why #3: This way I’ll get to show my kids that I get to develop my body, that shaping yourself is an option you have.

So, how? Well, first with information. I’m going to listen to many, many podcasts of the model health show, because that is quite a nice way to brainwash yourself into fitness. Then with the aid of this book. That’s the plan. I will eat healthy fats, cruciferous veggies, cut down on processed carbs and sugars and work out. Basically that’s the plan. I will fly the plane and adjust on the way.

There you have it. The blogpost that will either get me ripped or that gives you the chance to laugh at me, forevermore.

Love,

Chris

PS: Should you buy this book through this link I will get a tiny commission, which won’t cost you an extra dime. Just thought you should know.