Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Beauty in Reconnecting and the Ugly of "Awkwardness"

Hey AllOne family!
It has been a little while hasn't it? This prompts me to open this piece with a sort of meta topic. In the interest of hoping to use this page and medium more frequently (and admittedly often failing) I find I'm trying to open my creative filter up to accepting more ideas or experiences as things worth publicly writing about. Sometimes, concepts or philosophies that are second nature to us bear elaborating on and sharing to others. Oddly I find that this is hard for me to recognize because I'm always fearing coming off as pretentious or overtly obvious by stating what feels important to me, assuming that it's also second nature or obvious to others, especially knowing that no ideas are original and I have no illusions that I'm coming up with groundbreaking ideas so I don't want to just blandly state the obvious. I I think it is a forgiving reminder that there is merit in confirming what other people already feel they know or believe and personally I still feel great when I just see someone else working a theory or value out for themselves or sharing it with enthusiasm (as I am here) even if it's an axiom or maxim that I already hold. I say all that to say the following...this started out as a spontaneous Facebook post, but I decided "Hey Bruce, It's an important idea to you, so you should spend some time with it and then share it." Plus today's anecdote that prompted it brought me much joy. Which really is the entire crux of this story, you'll see.

The Pertinence of Reaching Out...

My friend Mike Genrich, once-drummer for AllOne & The Room, a wonderful person whom I played music with and was a co-worker for several years at my day job until a couple years ago came up in conversation today. I probably only him see quarterly a year if I'm lucky, and because he was brought up, I immediately texted him on a whim. I almost always message people in the event that I think of them in my ever fluxing Rolodex of a brain. It doesn't matter how long ago that I've talked to them so long as me contacting them seems appropriate or comfortable based on the circumstances of our relationships. Even if the message is only to say that they came up in conversation or appeared in my head and I wish them well, and perhaps that miss them, I send it.

As it turns out, my message came at a serendipitous moment for him. Mike really needed some kind words this morning. So of course, that pleases me immensely that I sent good vibes to a friend who could use them. But really, good vibes are almost never wasted, right? Who but an ex lover with a conflicted set of feelings for you could be upset about you sending good feelings their way? So now, Mike and I are talking throughout the morning and catching up after an absence of not seeing one another and made plans to meet up. How cool?! Not only did we have a good interaction, but now I have plans to meet up in person and experience the new novelty of the company of a friend whose life is largely a mystery. We uncover some of the out of touch mysteries in our updates. It turns out he's working on developing some writing for hip-hop instrumentals that he has been producing and this leads to him asking me advice on some rap craft. (NOTE: He probably regrets that because I'm "blowing up his phone" with all sorts of writer-geek advice!!)  

Return To Sender (Mutual benefit)
Here's a really great turn in our spontaneous correspondence: suddenly I'm unexpectedly inspired as I'm finding myself teaching mode" to share what techniques I know and have experimented with and used in my writing! It is probably no surprise that attempting to teach something only strengthens our own skill and knowledge of that thing because it tests the depth of our knowledge and challenged us to analyze and to simply communicate things we may ordinarily do organically that feel come "second nature" to us (sound familiar?). So now I'm entirely benefited immensely as well, not just from the casual subtle benevolence of my message our amiable interaction, but now I'm spurred to consider my craft, to celebrate my prior accomplishments as I root around my previously released work for examples for him as well as invigorated creatively!

"Don't Be A Stranger"
If it wasn't clear, my purpose here is the reminder of the importance of connecting with people. Even if it is people that you know already, don't take their established friendship for granted. "Don't be a stranger." Check in randomly with your friends and family, you'll feel good about it. I don't believe that a lessened proximity or decreased frequency of time spent together indicates some diluted value in our connection to that person. Meaning just because you stop seeing someone regularly it doesn't negate the friendship. People get busy or they change locations and move far. Collaborative projects end and time gets spent on other things and sometimes paths split. This no reason to develop a grudge against hat person for not maintaining the same amount of interaction that we got used to. If the friendship was defined only by routine then was it actually valuable? It gets lonely to adjust to change, but I think the foreknowledge of knowing our intense interactions are temporal is important, it helps us to anticipate that ebb and flow and reminds us to place more emphasis on being present and making the most of our engagements. I also find it important to retrospectively cherish the lengthy or bite-sized vignettes that we have developed, no matter if it's "relevant" or not. Technology is amazing, why not utilize it to let that person or those people in on the little memorable moment you experienced and see where you two have been? Perhaps, like my experience with Mike, you'll end up with a surprise opportunity to fortify yourself as well as someone else.

The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of Awkwardness
You may be reading this and thinking "Yeah yeah Bruce. We get the Grandma advice.. keep in touch with your friends and family randomly... what a revolutionary and remarkably corny Hallmark idea.. but when it comes time to message that person it's just....random and ...weird!" Is it honestly weird? That's up to you may know best the nuances of your personal interactions But do you? Analyze yourself and your motives before you cast out an idea like this as cheesy or odd. There may be biases at work or assumptions that don't necessarily belong to you, they just culturally seeped in. Let me explain: I'm cautioning you against getting caught up in the new internet culture fad that is obsessed with romanticizing social anxiety and stressing that "everything is like so stressful and awkward LOL"!  Many of the times when I hear people describing people, places and events as "awkward", the context doesn't even make sense for the use of the word, it just gets thrown around with a snicker and a snide laugh or a *tsk* *tsk* sucking of the teeth.
It seems to me that the advent of the internet has done a beautiful thing by providing a place for people who have issues interacting with others. Now they have the beautiful chance to get to express themselves and interact in a diluted and socially less threatening way. This also provides a platform for this culminated caricature of people of our generation as lazy, anxious, socially inept people that people just do meme-shares of and subtly start defining themselves as lethargic people who are afraid to leave their Netflix account or be honest in anything but a wordpress blog because "everything is threateningly awkward". I firmly believe that circumstances or interactions are only "awkward" if you decide they are! 
It works in both parts of an interaction.  Perhaps a stoic way to look at things but if someone else approaches you and you automatically decided it is going to be awkward, now your confirmation bias will surely make the situation feel uncomfortable because you weren't even opened up to the idea of just enjoying the correspondence! Similarly, when we want to contact or approach someone, if we go into that scenario with the unsure, self defeating expectation that the interaction is going to go sour and feel unsettling, then you will immediately be projecting that bizarre fusion of self doubt and fear and people will pick up on that awkwardness!  It's a self fulfilling prophecy that doesn't seem fulfilling at all to me!  
On some level, it feels like we have been training ourselves to be bad at the important social interactions that we human beings need. We can't make eye contact anymore! So if you don't want to have awkward situations... refuse to choose awkwardness! It's the one friend you shouldn't keep in touch with! It's a sad truth but the fear of a situation being awkward is really the fear of not meeting up to expectations or being judged at its core. So the weird paradox is that we don't interact with people because we're avoiding a negative experience and this keeps us from engaging and then we are upset because we are having none of the positive human interaction that is needed, and we become saddened because of this. When you risk failure you risk success too. So when you see you haven't seen in a while and you have a moment, or if you happen to think of someone, maybe reach out would you please? Most of us could usually use it and I'm sure the interaction will often be mutually beneficial!

Always thinking of you,
Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo
p.s.
Here's a video of AllOne & The Room performing our song "Needle Kiss" with the aforementioned Mike on percussion! Enjoy!




Saturday, July 9, 2016

"Youthtopia" ("I've Been Thinking..." THOUGHT PROCESS SERIES 12/12)

“I've Been Thinking...” behind the songs “THOUGHT PROCESS SERIES”
My latest full length album, “I've Been Thinking...” released on the Savannah based label Dope Sandwich Records and Tapes May 3rd is a collection of concepts and narratives that I've written over the last few years featuring instrumental contributions from coast to coast and outside of the country as well. Looking over the collection I'd opine that it is some of my finest work to date (one would hope). What have you been thinking? Over 12 days I had planned on be releasing a behind-the-music sort of blurb for each track.  I got a little off schedule due to a series of crazy life changes and distracting obstacles, but I'm back to finishing up this series! If there are any questions or comments regarding the songs please submit them and I'll do my best to answer and fulfill them! I hope this series is of interest and that the music does something for you!

As a short aside before we get into the details, I'm proud to announce that "I've Been Thinking..." is now available on ItunesCDBABYAmazon.com !

     The closing track to the album, Youthtopia was also the last song I wrote for the album from scratch (really, Zoned out was the last one I made significant edits to, because I'd added half a verse to it in the studio when it was the last song I recorded, but I started writing Youthtopia altogether last.).  It was a song idea that I'd had around for a while, and compiled hundreds of lines for this song.  I remember writing the majority of it in two sittings, one in a cafe writing session and the other in the courtyard area of a library.  I had a hard time when writing this, how to reign all the material in and the order to present the concepts in an how to break it up and make it feel cohesive, especially with all of the different deliveries and rhyme patterns that I'd chosen to experiment with.  It took a while to decide what lines the chorus would be and how to deliver it.  I also feel that the third verse is some of my finest writing and arranging to date.

      I knew straight off once I started writing this song that this would be an epic (meaning long with many changes, which did in fact render it the second longest song on the album) with some form of an approach similar to the song "Unbelievable"  which I described in the blog as a sort of "rhyming essay", steering clear from anything but relatively direct language.  I knew that this would be a long song simply because of wanting to cover all the angles of the topic: my past, my family, my views on life and my values in youth.  It's an expansion beyond the individualistic empowerment//choose your personal legacy (in the parlance of The Alchemist) messages in my songs like AllOne & The Room's "Revealed (Practical)" and "Build Here" from "The Inevitable Effort".  The hopes for this song were both to give an image of the trend of defeatist mentality I've seen people take in both their personal image and philosophies as well as their social lives and career choices as well as directly that "YOUR LIFE IS ON THE LINE, AND EVEN MORE PRECARIOUSLY IF YOU'RE OBSESSED  WITH WHERE IT IS ON A TIMELINE!"  sort of deal.  
     More than any other ideas or maxims, this is one that feels most important to me of my values.  I really honestly believe the old axiom "you're only as old as you feel, or allow yourself to feel".  Obviously our bodies age and wither with time, but thinking of life and time as something in an hourglass, as a blanket metaphor for thinking of our capabilities and quality of life as something that is constantly diminishing and escaping us is very dangerous.  The themes on the album, in songs like "Cardiac Compass (Path to Preservation)", and "Seize In Caesuim", are often about our inevitable approaching end, or the scary fact of the progress of life and how we ought to optimize our time here, but here my outlook was less bleak than that should suggest.  While realizing that same fact of mortality I wanted to say...lets not "look back" and be caught up in nostalgia, and lets not be paralyzed by our "look forward" unless it was "looking forward to events".  
    We will often talk/hear about how smart and insightful children are.  Perhaps because they still enjoy are intrinsic beauties and innocent truths in humanity that are unmarred by many of the societal stresses and insane imprisoning commitments we tend to put on ourselves and restraints we put on our lives as we reach the dubious reward or accomplishment of "maturity" or "adulthood".  We often hear about how we "pass golden years" in certain brackets of time in our lives.  I think that this is very depressing and limiting, I don't believe in delineating or compartmentalizing any particular part of our life as "the best times of our life" in some bleak premeditated way.  Who can say what that is until they've reached the end of their life when the best times were?  Why not just live life enjoyably instead of thinking about how your best times were behind you?  This is somewhat discussed in the AllOne & The Room song "Revealed (Universal)" where I theorize or ponder the tragic irony of missing out on life while you're busy puzzling over the purpose of it. It would seem to me, just a laughably self important side effect of complex sentience to wonder such a thing!  Purpose?!  What purpose?! OR, if you prefer: The purpose is to live! Exist! Go BE!


Enough philosophizing blabbing, Who produced it?
My 2013 tour mate and great, frighteningly talented friend Alexa Dexa produced the song.  She is currently touring Europe and the rest of the world for many months, please check out her music and genius collection of impressive and original music at www.alexadexa.com !  When I considered the concept of the song, Alexa was an obvious choice, both to make this lengthy song interesting and original but also to inject her trademark sound using toy instruments or strange sounds.  In the three or so years since I met her, it was odd that we had yet to have the opportunity to create something together.  We got together for two days and holed up for hours just coming up with beats and textures and just worked over the song and put something weird together that felt like a mix of a forward moving pace with serious sounds and something lighthearted and inspirational as well.  With these longer songs even more so than usual, it is important to me to have more in-room, on-hand hands on control over the production as well so as to allow for the peaks and valleys in the fluxing emotions and lyrics and deliveries and "movements" in the song.  A fun fact, in the sparse third verse (what I think of as a sort of part b of the song) the instrument you hear is a Kalimba she got from Africa with reverb on it.

What is that sample at the beginning and end?
One of my favorite shows of all time is The Twilight Zone.  The wonderful episode "Kick The Can" is very much about my theories/values that this song describes.  It is a short episode about the seemingly magical power of the unabashed joy and liveliness of youth and the quotes were just too perfect to pass up!  I highly recommend watching that episode (and really all of them!).  Luckily now you can watch several seasons of it on Netflix!  Also, the classics are always played on the New Years Day marathon!

     I really hope that you've enjoyed this blog series, that it offered insight into the songs and my creative process as well as some external bonus thoughts and ideas as well!  It was a laborious joy to write it and to share this series and especially this album with you all!  It's incredible to me to have people sincerely interested in supporting my work and I feel immensely lucky, so thank all of you! There is much more to come this year musically and otherwise.  Click below to listen to "Youthtopia", feel free to follow the bandcamp links to pick up the physical edition of the album on cassette or other merch goodies on my page!
Remember, it isn't great to be childish, but it is beautiful to be child-like!
FORGET NOT THE YOU in YOUTH and the YOUTH in YOU.
With love,
-Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo


Thursday, June 30, 2016

"Seize In Caesium" ("I've Been Thinking..." THOUGHT PROCESS SERIES 11/12)

“I've Been Thinking...” behind the songs “THOUGHT PROCESS SERIES”
My latest full length album, “I've Been Thinking...” released on the Savannah based label Dope Sandwich Records and Tapes May 3rd is a collection of concepts and narratives that I've written over the last few years featuring instrumental contributions from coast to coast and outside of the country as well. Looking over the collection I'd opine that it is some of my finest work to date (one would hope). What have you been thinking? Over 12 days I had planned on be releasing a behind-the-music sort of blurb for each track.  I got a little off schedule due to a series of crazy life changes and distracting obstacles, but I'm back to finishing up this series! If there are any questions or comments regarding the songs please submit them and I'll do my best to answer and fulfill them! I hope this series is of interest and that the music does something for you!

As a short aside before we get into the details, I'm proud to announce that "I've Been Thinking..." is now available on Itunes, CDBABY, Amazon.com !


Earliest recorded song on the album/history of the song:
Seize In Caesium was one of the first recorded tracks for the album, my buddy Tommy Beets (check out a bit of his production collection on his soundcloud here), who I met at a show at a Hauppauge, Long Island venue called Barringtons because he is the talented drummer of the now-defunct progressive band "And The Day Is Mine" (of which Austin Sandick, the producer of the first track on the album, "Cardiac Compass [path to preservation]" was a frontman/guitarist).  We befriended one another and eventually in fall of 2013 he sent his instrumentals my way and generously offered to let me work with whatever instrumentals I wanted.
Myself and a Gnome rapping September 2013
at Barringtons, where I fatefully met Tommy Beets
and the rest of the ATDIM geniuses!

The instrumental that I chose for the song was originally called "eternity" (listen to that by clicking here) and that set me thinking about time, and the vibe of the music and the seeming effect of gradually increasing tempo had my mind on that topic as well.  I started writing over the beat and within a day or so the song was basically written save for a few edits here and there.  (note this is the only song on the album that was written entirely from scratch to a beat).  Progress with artistic endeavors rarely ever happen in a predictable or linear fashion and it may be strange for non-creatives to hear that an early recording of "Seize In Caesium" from Tommy's bedroom was finished in early 2014  that I had performed in set lists for quite a while until I found a home for it in on this record and re-recorded it with my former roommate Paul (who also helped me record "Roamer" and "Dystopiates").  I've included a video that Tommy took of one of the early performances of the song below!  Other fun facts: Because I was so used to performing this song out, this was the quickest track to record by a long shot!



What's with the weird title?
The title comes from a play on words and a discovery I made for myself about atomic clocks.  Carpe Diem being latin for "Seize the day". Now, Atomic clocks keep highly-accurate time by observing electromagnetic transitions in the atom Caesium-133, due to associating its decay rate with our understanding of "a second", (being off by only one second in 20 million years) and is recognized as being the most accurate realization of a measurement that mankind has achieved. That little factoid being shared, I though that it was interesting that the atom we closely associate time with "Caesium" phonetically contained "Seize" in it, as in the reminder to "Seize The Day".  This association is also written into the lyric "See that "seize" is in "Caesium atoms' " phonetics, arranged". If you are more interested in the science behind this, here is an interesting link.

Quite obviously (I hope), this song is the penultimate discussion on the album regarding my aforementioned obsession with time and constant harsh worry about the fear of having wasted it.  I also point out, as a fair transition from "Unbelievable", that I'm not as scared of being "damned to hell" or concerned with "aiming for acceptance in the heavens" as I am with just feeling like I made a decent mark here when I made a mark here.  With a mentality like this, you could almost say that in my ideal lifestyle I inhabit or legacy I hope to leave; frequent sharing goodwill and good work is my "religion".

What is that odd sample in the beginning?
The sample included in the beginning of the song is one of my favorite Disney segments from one of my favorite Disney movies, Pinocchio.  There is a beautifully imagined scene in Gepetto's workshop of all of his various humorous and astoundingly crafted clocks as he falls asleep they all tick maddeningly (for J. Cricket) and perform their odd theatrical machinations.  After all of that ticking and after all of those clocks everywhere, Gepetto still "wonders what time it is".  I've included the clip (from which i borrow the audio) here for you to most assuredly enjoy:

I hope you've enjoy this write-up...I've tried not to make it too painstakingly long because frankly, you and I both have "things to do".   Its never really just "things" is it? At least I hope not.  And its never just "doing" its so much more than that! Creating, living, experiencing, becoming enveloped in memories and moments!  One of my new favorite sayings/lyrics that sums up the simplicity of life and my personal aspirations is "Make. Do. & Make Due!".  As a song  ("Intertwining Storytime"off my first album, "Coal Aberrations" (Which just experienced a 6 year anniversary, speaking on time!) reminds me/us constantly "When we have the time of our lives, we rarely have the time at all!"

To get lost in a moment is also to be found in one.

Stay tuned for the final entry about the closing song "Youthtopia"
Now "get lost" will you?
With love, time and time again.
-Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo

Bonus Blurb:  "Between The Lines" (Links to the references)
I often weave  many references to books I read, people I've learned about or films I've watched into my lyrics.  In addition to this showing the influences of mine and being a fun way to cleverly carve new meanings into the titles and authors and performers whose work I've enjoyed, it is mostly an attempt to expose those who listen to my music to media that I've been inspired by in hopes that you may pursue them and will get something out the art that I've taken in. Here are links to a few people/things I reference in this song.  Enjoy!!




Monday, June 20, 2016

"Unbelievable" ("I've Been Thinking..." THOUGHT PROCESS SERIES 10/12)

“I've Been Thinking...” behind the songs “THOUGHT PROCESS SERIES”
My latest full length album, “I've Been Thinking...” released on the Savannah based label Dope Sandwich Records and Tapes May 3rd is a collection of concepts and narratives that I've written over the last few years featuring instrumental contributions from coast to coast and outside of the country as well. Looking over the collection I'd opine that it is some of my finest work to date (one would hope). What have you been thinking? Over 12 days I had planned on be releasing a behind-the-music sort of blurb for each track.  I got a little off schedule due to a series of crazy life changes and distracting obstacles, but I'm back to finishing up this series! If there are any questions or comments regarding the songs please submit them and I'll do my best to answer and fulfill them! I hope this series is of interest and that the music does something for you!

     The 10th track and arguably the most controversial, "Unbelievable" is the longest track on the album as well.   It is produced by my talented friend Hi-Q of KILL THE INVENTORS (whom I recently collaborated with for a song "DYSTOPIATES" on their excellent beat-tape "Symptoms" summer of 2015).  The song also went through several name changes, including "Believe (in yourself)" and "Accepticism".I recently cited this song as an example of what I would have called "a rhyming essay".  Obviously I had a lot to say here and when writing this, I saw it as a series of points I really wanted to make and focused more on delivering my them clearly and applying the discussion/conversation to a rhyming/rapping cadence and presentation.  The references and the wordplay are either very subtle and out of the way or absent.  I wanted to toe the line of personal and more generally (ironically) "preachy" while sharing ideas and arguments that meant a lot to me and needed venting/discussing and I wanted those to come up as immediately and frankly clearly and conversationally as possible.
    I admittedly struggled a lot with the decision of putting this song out there.  It felt outwardly offensive.  On one hand I realized that it's not necessarily true, or if these secular or agnostic/skeptical ideas (albeit a bit bitterly presented at times) offended people, that listener's offense was either born of a misguided sense of connection of identity to their belief's ideologies (a common problem I've found fault in myself as well as others, we connect the very essence of who we are to these temporal ideas and theories that we attach to, on a scale as diverse to span the profoundness of religion or moral questions to something as mundane as musical tastes or food preference.  Perhaps this is because we forget that these concerns or opinions are malleable and this is the true trouble and why we have all the struggle and argumentative (or worse, malevolent fundamentalist wars) throughout social/political interactions, when we encounter opinions not even attacking us, but just presenting something different.  It also felt invalid to fear offending others because...well, frankly, such is the job of art isn't it?  To rattle cages?  Cages indeed, while we are on the topic...cages indeed.
     This song and my feelings expressed on it are born of both a staunchly roman catholic upbringing (that I resisted from the very beginning, whether or not it was any sort of conscious effort) and a my current state of agnosticism.  I share my love for nature in the funny (and true) event of choosing my confirmation (a word which rhymes appropriately with "indoctrination") name as that of Saint Peregrine, based on my favorite falcon (surely prompted by the animal protagonist "Frightful" from the excellent children's book "My Side Of The Mountain" by Jean Craighead George which was paramount in my youth.).  Even more fittingly, when I later looked up the definition/history of the word Peregrine and found it to be aptly descriptive of me or at least my meandering oddball mentality (1. Foreign; Alien; coming from abroad 2. wandering; traveling or migrating)!
     One of the big motivations for creating this song was also the fact that while the god-fearing gather regularly in their places of worship and talk openly of their thoughts and even attempt to convince others to join their cause, for people to openly discuss skeptical thoughts regarding these things comes off as inherently a negative and bad thing, regardless of whether or not the secular conversationalists are even being maliciously acerbic.  These thoughts needed discussing, I don't want to tell anyone how to live their life, whatever makes you comfortable, but that should go for everyone.  For me, it's common sense to just live ones' life in a fulfilling manner determined by the passions you find and the people you share them with and learn them from.  Do good because it feels good, gather together with people because we are social animals and help where you can.  I don't see why people need all of the hokey hocus pocus and seemingly pagan theology just to do right by others and themselves.  I feel that if you're doing good only because you have this religiously minded ulterior motive to appease a fabricated deity, does it invalidate your goodness because on some level it is insincerely conjured?  Not that mutual benefit eliminates altruism, but it seems strange to me that you needed a bunch of wild trendy mythology to tell you how and why to live your life and how to execute it.
    The chorus' final lines, which I'm proud to say I found a concise way to sum up my entire life's ideology in (and again, the focus on our mortality and the hope to race to significance before our rapidly withering time wears away to naught but the dusty lid of an hour glass tattooed with a headstone-shaped-"expired" stamp), came about from secular people who I've seen switch to adopting some "organized religion" ways of "guiding their children" because it is simply easier than to try to give them equal opportunity to explore all worldviews from an unbiased point of view, or because it is a mainstream acceptable way for kids to be seen by their peers or the choice is made to appease the wishes of THEIR faith-abiding parents.  If/when I have children, I will simply teach them to be good to people, to be purposeful and helpful, and to embrace and enjoy life for all of it's experiences. No spectral theistic scare tactics to motivate, just a spur to live and love until time is up!
IN A SHOW OF FAITH, CLICK HERE AND LISTEN TO "UNBELIEVABLE"
Regardless of what you believe, be sure to believe in yourself and encourage the same (or different) in others!
-Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo
Stick around tomorrow for the time-paranoid/chrono-concerned track "Seize In Caesium"!



Wednesday, May 11, 2016

"The Case Of Sydney Barringer" ("I've Been Thinking..." THOUGHT PROCESS Series 9/12)

“I've Been Thinking...” behind the songs “THOUGHT PROCESS SERIES”
My latest full length album, “I've Been Thinking...” released on the Savannah based label Dope Sandwich Records and Tapes May 3rd is a collection of concepts and narratives that I've written over the last few years featuring instrumental contributions from coast to coast and outside of the country as well. Looking over the collection I'd opine that it is some of my finest work to date (one would hope). What have you been thinking? Over 12 days I'll be releasing a behind-the-music sort of blurb for each track! If there are any questions or comments regarding the songs please submit them and I'll do my best to answer and fulfill them! I hope this series is of interest and that the music does something for you!


  The 9th track of the album, and one I had released an earlier mix of as a random single in December of 2014. I wasn't sure initially about putting this song on the album, but once I saw that there would be plenty of narratives feel on the record, plus the instrumental feels a bit like a Tony Mahoney instrumental to me so stylistically it would fit in plenty smooth.  The concentrated and precise narrative style depicted and utilized on this song is sort of one step in getting everyone ready/transitioned for what is to come when my mega project Rapologues arrives, and no one is as impatiently eager as I am, believe me! 
   "The Case Of Sydney Barringer" is a tragic, puzzling narrative inspired by and adapted from a vignette in the astounding Paul Thomas Anderson film "Magnolia".  P.T. Anderson borrowed and elaborated upon the fictional story of Ronald Opus, created and originally told by Don Harper Mills, then president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, in a speech at a banquet in 1987.   

     When I first saw this segment in Magnolia, my immediate thought was "this is a brilliant narrative that I would try to write, and wish I did." So, as with "Pagliacci (A Most Memorable Case)" which this song predates, I borrowed it for my purposes and elaborated on the story.  However, unlike "Pagliacci...", I had little interest in using the tale to convey any particular message, I really loved the grim and devastatingly real conflict in the story contrasted with the absurd and shocking circumstances, and felt that, if I could manage to convey both of those things, or at least one well, it would make for a compelling yarn.
    I'm a huge fan of The Twilight Zone, and Rod Serling's writing and classic narrative style and voice.  I tried channeling that in my vocal delivery in this song and in the bluntness of some of the writing  (especially the beginning segment of lyrics).  The instrumental was produced by a rapper and producer friend "No One"!  I recommend you check out his music, he is a talented guy!

   By some celestial coincidence, my new roommate at the time, Paul Fakatselis went to school for audio engineering and is very talented in this field as well as generous with his time so he recorded and mixed this song for me (as well as Roamer and Seize In Caesium for this project and Dystopiates for Kill The Inventors' project Symptoms)!
   Here's a live performance of this song of  DJ BMO and I at RIPE ART GALLERY in Huntington, hosted, filmed and edited by the incredibly talented and generous folks over at NICE GARAGE!




I hope that you all enjoy the song, maudlin as it may be!
CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE PLUNGE AND LISTEN TO "THE CASE OF SYDNEY BARRINGER"
Remember to always be loving to one another...if not because it is right, then because it is safer, you never know who is a loaded gun!
-Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo
Stick around tomorrow for the skeptic's perspective song "Unbelievable"!


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

"Rush Hour '98" ("I've Been Thinking..." THOUGHT PROCESS Series 8/12)

“I've Been Thinking...” behind the songs “THOUGHT PROCESS SERIES”
My latest full length album, “I've Been Thinking...” released on the Savannah based label Dope Sandwich Records and Tapes May 3rd is a collection of concepts and narratives that I've written over the last few years featuring instrumental contributions from coast to coast and outside of the country as well. Looking over the collection I'd opine that it is some of my finest work to date (one would hope). What have you been thinking? Over 12 days I'll be releasing a behind-the-music sort of blurb for each track! If there are any questions or comments regarding the songs please submit them and I'll do my best to answer and fulfill them! I hope this series is of interest and that the music does something for you!


  "Rush Hour '98" is the shortest song and the only reflectively, entirely truthful narrative on the album.  The instrumental was crafted by Oxnard, CA producer Wise1.  Wise 1 and I have collaborated on two other songs, one unreleased narrative, and another for Wise 1's project which I put out as a limited edition release for my 27th birthday.  I liked that Wise 1's instrumental made for a small vignette, a simple backdrop with, what feels to me like a bit of a traditional hip hop and maybe nostalgic feel.

    As I mentioned in the "Zoned Out "write-up of this series a couple of days ago, working outdoors with my hands over the years has often provided me with a lot of time to think and has helped me to work out a lot of ideas.  One one such laborious outdoor day in autumn of 2013, while I was evicting vines from bushes of an estate on the Nissequogue River and my mind was "wool gathering" I had a distinct memory from elementary school, when I went with my friends and cousins in theaters to see the Chris Tucker//Jackie Chan classic, we went back to school and throughout the day, and at recess everyone would hangout on this big soccer field and so we hung out and to impress our friends we repeated all these funny moments and lines we remembered to make people laugh.  The key/wrong scene that got repeated was THIS POOL HALL SCENE and replicating the use of "the N word" no real understanding of why at the time.  The whole memory was very vivid and played out new in my mind.  I was entirely lost in the thoughts and feeling guilty and thinking about how impacting this experience could have been (must have been) for that young kid.   It brought up a lot of ideas, the "loss of innocence", the power of subtle things,  the power of words and being careful how to wield them or knowing that they surely are something of true weight.  How small moments can turn dark and influence and possibly haunt people/inform their decisions and interactions later in life.
     I ran over to my car and got my notebook out and the words to the song came very fast to me, so I moved to my phone to catch up, and I jumped back and forth between the two and I finished the piece that day.  Then I reached out to Wise1 after hearing some of his work on the internet.  I sat with the song for a while as I worked on other projects as I'd initially saved it for the non-fiction concept project "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" that I brought up in the "Roamer" write up yesterday.  I started performing it around at shows and so this is probably the song with the most performance mileage on  it as far as the album goes.
    You may wonder why I chose to change the project and release this song now?  The quicker answer was that I was antsy and it and felt bad that Wise1 contributed an instrumental to a song that seemed to immediately get vaulted.   The other part of the story is that when my friend and Dope Sandwich figurehead, Dope KNife came around on tour to Long Island with Miggs and D.o.drent October 2015, I had already been invited to work on an album (which clearly became "I've Been Thinking...") for the label.  I performed "Rush Hour '98" at a few of the shows while they were here, and the guys really seemed to like it and commented as much several times.  Their flattering sentiments and the poignancy of the song's racially minded message given the horrendous influx of everything the internet has been showing us (that has most horrifically and assuredly happening all along but the cameras and the social media spread this information more surely) with the heightened murderous danger and racism among cops and just the social climate of prejudice of all sorts in general even outside of the black community and issues of race, issues of gender inequality and the baffling abundance of intolerance of the LGBT community.
    As for tracking the song, I didn't want to do any overdubbed vocal layers, any in-studio punches or fancy approaches or mixes.  The song is just one unaltered take, you'll even hear my voice breaking a little bit from being scratchy from shows and other takes that weekend.  I wanted this particular song to be straight and vulnerable and "casual" or to feel exactly as real as it is, just a man reminiscing and telling an important story.

Be careful what you say, you never know what it might mean to those listening.  Hope I've said something of meaning to those of you who continue to listen.  Love one another. That is all there is. We are all one after all hm?!
With love,
-Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO "RUSH HOUR '98" or stream it on the embedded player below:





PLEASE ALSO ENJOY THIS LIVE PERFORMANCE OF "Rush Hour '98" FEATURING Megan "MC BEATS///The Beatbox Queen" Costa and my new performer in crime DJ BMO

Monday, May 9, 2016

"Roamer" ("I've Been Thinking..." THOUGHT PROCESS Series 7/12)

“I've Been Thinking...” behind the songs “THOUGHT PROCESS SERIES”
My latest full length album, “I'veBeen Thinking...” released on the Savannah based label DopeSandwich Records and Tapes May 3rd is a collection of concepts and narratives that I've written over the last few years featuring instrumental contributions from coast to coast and outside of the country as well. Looking over the collection I'd opine that it is some of my finest work to date (one would hope). What have you been thinking? Over 12 days I'll be releasing a behind-the-music sort of blurb for each track! If there are any questions or comments regarding the songs please submit them and I'll do my best to answer and fulfill them! I hope this series is of interest and that the music does something for you!

     The 7th track of the album (coincidentally one of my favorite numbers) is a sort of biography/character sketch (no pun intended) and also quite obviously an anthem for graffiti as an art form and its purveyors in general.  This is also the final Tony Mahoney instrumental on the record as well!  Roamer is one of the people in my life whom I can point to as an entirely sincere personality as well as an enigma and one of the finest examples of art saving a person from the dark depths of themselves and the dangerous choices they might be prone to making to escape that, namely addiction.

Roamer is one of a handful of songs that it took me a few years to write.  I gathered fragments of it while I had it weighing heavily on the back-burner of my mind and the guilt of my conscious.  It's said that you can't rush art, and as impatient and excited as I often am, I try my best to abide by that for the sake of the work.       For both my affinity for graffiti and this person I felt the desire to write this song.  It was initially going to be on a non-fiction narrative project I've been amassing songs for called "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" but I finished this song rather abruptly one day and decided that it belonged on this project.  I remember wanting to address this type of person (solitary, depressed, artistic, actively passionate about just their skill set and nothing else) as well as the impact such an isolating both meditative and get gritty and raw, adrenaline rush of an art form graffiti can be.  Many of the lyrics were compiled of lines/verses I had texted this person and collected, then one day I asked Roamer (with no knowledge of there being a song in the works) which of a few instrumentals he liked best or felt best represented a trip out at night, and he chose this beat, the Tony Mahoney instrumental "Sandpaper" and we mutually decided this would be the perfect mood, which set me into arranging the lyrics and finishing writing the song.  Taking the acronym approach in the chorus was one I was iffy about and then wasn't sure about how to execute and decided to go mostly an alliterative route.  More than usual, the challenge to write this song well was to balance the personal depiction with making the description and sentiments an apt tribute/representation of the art form.
     I bought my self a refurbished Zoom H2n from Sweetwater (highly recommended piece of equipment and gear site) for Christmas a year or so ago and have been doing a lot more field recording.  Aside from being a fun hobby, it adds a lot of genuine atmosphere and setting to songs and poetry, especially as I'm on the cusp of releasing a lot of new narrative material.  The spray cans, the night sounds, the train that you hear throughout the song were all captured on night strolls with the aforementioned recorder.  Due to the personal significance of this song and how it took so long to come to fruition, at times never expecting it would come out, the various experiments in new rhythm patterns and the apt feeling of what I was going for, this remains one of my favorite songs I've ever done.

I hope you all find, as I have and so many others something creative or artful or really just anything cathartic at all that takes you out of your discomfort zone and is remedying to you.  Pagliacci's tale reminds us that the keys are within us, and perhaps our bodies are the mid-wife-oracle to the muses, and the fulfillment of creating the pieces that are within us will help to quell our inner tempestuousness. 
Stay tuned for tomorrow's account of the song "Rush Hour '98" 

Bonus Blurb:  "Between The Lines" (Links to the references)
I often weave  many references to books I read, people I've learned about or films I've watched into my lyrics.  In addition to this showing the influences of mine and being a fun way to cleverly carve new meanings into the titles and authors and performers whose work I've enjoyed, it is mostly an attempt to expose those who listen to my music to media that I've been inspired by in hopes that you may pursue them and will get something out the art that I've taken in. Here are links to a few people/things I reference in this song.  Enjoy!!