Saturday, March 03, 2007

hello my friends. i know i have been remiss in my blogging duties. partly due to the fact that i was unable to get onto blogger.com for what i believed was a blogger problem. it turned out it was something i have never encountered on my own end. fascinating stuff, i know. but i have been busy. mostly busy writing some music for a friends documentary called the 11th hour. interesting stuff about environment, greed and renewable strategies. i am doing half of the score and a much more musically qualified french composer named jean pascal beintus is doing the other half. i also took some pix the other day in venice for a forthcoming announcement about my solo cd.

that is all for now. im off to help a friend celebrate his 40th birthday.

found a great quick read. some succinct answers for all the annoying times ive had to endure hearing people, including our president, speak of science as something you believe in, 'scientism', like any other religion. its a little essay by phil plait, the bad astronomer.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

From your last post, interesting that you should bring up righteous indignation. I don't want to rag on your tastes, but don't you find that the skepticast is really geared towards easy targets? I already knew that fundamentalist southern baptists can be nuts, why do I need to listen to a bunch of people telling me that for 20 minutes?

Anonymous said...

My 40th was my best birthday spent so far....my wife and son had dinner at Marie Calender's over iced tea and Turkey Pot Pies after a trip to the GC where I picked up a cheap suspention mount for a tom.

Good essay; thanks!

Be well,

SR

George D said...

Its my 18th birthday tomorrow, wow i gotta get started

-ea. said...

anonymous- firstly, if that is your read then it obviously aint working for you. fair enough. but yes more time is spent on easy targets than id like. most sources of info dont do somethings just the way id like. i would never finish a book if i didnt have to push through parts that werent especially interesting to me. you are right, i dont need to listen. but it is a free podcast. there is valuable info in there too. i dont quit in the middle of making love to my wife to listen to it. i listen in the car mostly, in traffic (i live in los angeles) and it is food for thought. did i mention its free. road rage and radio are the usual alternatives.

i listen to lots of dweeby podcasts about alot of different dweeby topics. i probably refer to it more often here because they, and the larger skeptical community, can inform us about alot of what is talked about widely in media and culture these days.

-ea. said...

sr- yes. i remember i had grand, and unusual, plans for my 40th. i was going to try to convince some friends to play their joy division cover band for me at a party that i would actually throw. instead it wound up being my wife and i in a hotel room with room service in canada. working.

-ea. said...

george d- happy birthday.

Chris (C. Brian) said...

Well, Eric, once again, you have made me think. I've heard the the word "scientism" bandied about, but never took the time to grasp its nuances and connotation. Didn't realize that it was a pejorative label. This definition from one of my most frequently used reference tools (i.e., Wikipedia) gave me the skinny on it. Those who fear science are those who fear reality, it seems.

Switching gears . . . when you say you are working on a score for a friend's documentary, does that mean that you are composing bass lines only for it . . . or more? Are you writing full-fledged songs w/ multiple instruments? How does the "scoring" process work for you? In this case, did you watch the film and capture the vibe? Or did your friend say, "Eric, can you cut me some tracks that sound kind of dirge-like for this part, and then do something 'triumphant' for the next scene?".

Another question about learning music: since you've been playing since you were a teenager, what are your thoughts about "older" people taking up music? Not for the coolness factor or even a monetary motivation. The reason I ask this is out of my own insecurity. Being a 30-something, musical dabbler, I find myself saying unhelpful things to myself: "You should have picked this up 20 years ago. You're too old to learn this . . .". Do you think it's harder to learn an instrument when you're older - - kind of like how we often hear that it's difficult to learn a foreign language as an adult? Or can I burn new neural pathways, as you once said.

Anonymous said...

eric, i totally agree about bush's dumb "scientism" talk. it is VERY annoying to hear. that documentary sounds cool. hope it turns out good.
i just wanna say also, im 14 years old and ive played guitar for 3 years. i can play some of your jane's bass grooves and i love how basic and easy they are to play. you are my all time favorite bass player and i own a lot of the cds youve played on including deconstruction and polarbear. you really inspire me to be an artist and i cant wait for your solo album.
thank you for the great music.

ALEC

-ea. said...

chris c. brian- scoring. this is my first real experience with it. i have little quicktime reels of the film that i open as a track in my music software and i am building multi-instrument pieces of music to those reels. i was initially shown the flick and then i tinkered at the piano with it in mind. got a couple of chord progression/themes and then began to build. one of the pieces i am collaborating with a guy in france. we are swapping mp3 ideas on the net.

learn an instrument? absolutely. too old? never. my wife started learning to surf when she was 35. i learned how to play ice hockey and couldnt even ice skate aged 33. i recently rented a piano because i wanted to learn how to play aged 41. calculus for the first time in my life, aged 41. do you know the story of richard wetherill? did a quick search for you. not a great article but you will get the gist of his story.

-ea. said...

alec- wow alec. started at 11. i think i might have still been more interested in gi joes when i was eleven. getting 'scientism' and being annoyed by bush as well. sounds like you are way ahead of the game. i think youre going to be alright.

yes basic bass lines. i have always said that i try whenever i can to write bass lines that i could teach my mother to play.

thanks alec. i hope to earn your continued interest in my work.

ellis said...

With all due respect, the belief in science can be summed up as "scientism". Which at first glance seems kind of ignorant--being that science is based on facts and tested theories. But when you put it in perspective, science has been proven wrong and/or been editted. So at its root, regardless of how many times you test your theories to make things a 'fact', someone can come along in the future and prove your facts to be wrong. I wish I had some examples at hand. The best ones I can think of are... people used to think the earth was flat. It's not. People used to think the Earth was the center of the universe. It's not. Etc, etc.

So I would agree that science can be considered an "ism" because the facts you believe in must be backed up by your faith that's it's correct even after testing the theories over and over again.

Anonymous said...

off topic.

In my opinion, you are the coolest man in entertainment (to say the least). you have no idea what your bass lines have done for me and my happiness. I thank you and I am dying for your new album.

PS. Resurrect Polar Bear. Recently, it has been beginning to control me the same way joy division used to. amazing.

-n

Anonymous said...

It was the church that continued the myths about the earth being flat and the basis was less than scientific. It was also the church that jailed, censored, and murdered enlightened thinkers. Copernicus was the beginning of their scourge but many many followed very soon after. Shakespeare briefly looks at this new thinking, not in the scientific, but the political, in Macbeth during the "election" scene at the beginning of the play. The "enlightenment" was a very turbulent and fractured time where science (Mathmatics) not only forged ahead against the status quo, but did so on behalf of the social sciences as well. I am not well read enough to cite in science where it has been proven wrong (i am sure it happens), but when the standards of the medium are upheld, I beleive it makes many more advancements than blunders. Historically, it can't afford not to.

Wonderful topic to discuss!

Be well,

SR

Chris (C. Brian) said...

Eric,

Thanks for the encouragement re: learning (especially music) as well as for linking me to the story of Richard Wetherill and neuroplasticity, etc. I appreciate the personal stories that you shared as well. Inspiring. I think you just made my day or, rather, week!

ellis said...

SR, you're completely right. And I didn't take into account that the examples I gave were things that were oppressed by church--which I guess was technically gov't back then.

But even if we take a modern debate--such as stem cell or abortion--there is still a level of faith involved. You have to believe that a fetus is not a human being yet. You have to believe that an unborn baby is not the same as born baby. Scientifically, a baby in the womb is what? Not human yet? Science applies rules no differently than religion except for the fact that science relies heavily on concrete time-tested evidence to back up its claims. Religion on the other hand... they claim that what they say is always fact and it should never be questioned because it's Divine Word of God.

In some instances, you can say that about science--to never question things that have been proven. Even Stephen Hawkings has proven himself wrong. LOL! But prior to that, he had a lot of faith in his findings. Reworking his equations aided in proving himself wrong.

I think a clear difference is... when science proves itself wrong, it's a good thing. It can be used to become more understanding of things such as Black Holes. But when religion is proved wrong... it renders itself powerless.

Aldous Earnhart Jr. #5 said...

are we talking about religion again? or is it another commentary on our politicians? I wonder if complaint/criticism is worth the effort, or should we simply focus energy on attracting the positive solutions - is it that simple or did i just get shanghaied by The Secret?

Anonymous said...

I dont know how this turned into relgious debate, hehe, but the fact that we (man) will always be searching and discovering...no matter what topic you apply that to, to me it means god does exsist.

Will a pig evolve from being thrown in a meat grinder by man? I'd like to see that.

-ea. said...

glad to see you all talking amongst yourselves. might seem silly with a blog named eric avery but i didnt want this place to be all about me all the time.

weighing in on the science-abortion comments by ellis. interesting that you state that science says this and that about when a feotus is a human being. i think that is often said and/or implied but that is not actually so. the process of science tells us about the developement of egg to human. science as a group, like a religious sect, does not have a position on when it is called a person. culture uses the info from science to make those arguments.

incidentally, in ancient rome they were all over the map about when a baby became a person. some folks considered throwing a newborn in the river the same as some modern folk feel about an early stage abortion. arguing that a baby wasnt a real person until it could exhibit a personality of its own.

matt volpe said...

Hey Eric,

That article is very interesting...the one thing I came away from with from it, is that scientists claim they try and do things that have never been done before, like basically in the back of their minds, they are always trying to reinvent the wheel in their research and experiments. This reminds me of how someone like a Jimi Hendrix came along in the early 70's and blew the world away with how he played guitar. Or how Zeppelin came out and twisted everyone's ears. Or how Charlie Parker came along and changed jazz. Or how Jane's came around and blew a hole in the universe with their power..etc (the list could go on and on, obviously). They all changed the way people approach a certain genre of art (in this case music). The point I'm trying to make is scientists do the same kind of thing (except within the world of discovery and science). Scientists and artists always have that motivation to create and explore new, cutting edge and fresh ideas...at least I personally think they should. Anyways.. I'm babbling... quick question: what kind of music software do you use to compose for the docu you are scoring for? Pro tools, Logic, garage band, etc? By the way, that sounds awesome that you are embarking in the scoring thing, I'd love to hear that material sometime. Good luck with that, I'm sure it's gonna be awesome. Talk soon amigo, Matt

PS Chris (C. Brian) - play, play , play! It is never too late to pick up any instrument... I started at 19 and have not put the bass down since...

Anonymous said...

Matt, that is the coolest anology. There are books published on the nexus between art and the sciences. "Cubism" preceeded Einstein and Twain collided with imperialism and the abolishionists. There are many other examples, but the point is awesome and a bit daunting at times. Art for art's sake may seperate us from some of our baser cousins in the animal kingdom, but it often works as the "check" in the check and balance system that protects us from ourselves. You mentioned some music that made impacts. I too think Jane's has made contributions at breaking down barriers in the late 80's with a social cognitive shift from fear based Reagan/Bush ideologies to the more relaxed and progressive Clinton (in most ways) 90's. Technology flourished in the 90's as well, particularly in the forms of communication devices. Unfortunately the Clinton years disolved into yet another dynasty in American politics that again began to resemble fascism, but I have had way too much coffee.

Anonymous said...

Be well,

SR

matt volpe said...

Thanks a lot SR, appreciate the comments. I'll have to check out those books you mention. Have you heard of these publications, Eric?

ellis said...

Yeah, I apologize for getting the blog off topic for a moment. heheh...

I've always been interested in doing score work. Hearing what Peter DiStefano has done on films and hearing how excited he gets about it reinvigorated my desire to do it. I've been working with some guys in a small comedy group called SillyCon. They just relocated to LA following that Hollywood dream. =) If any of you are LA cats, keep your eye out for them. Pretty funny stuff.

Anonymous said...

Yup. I suppose there is a reason that a blog is different than a message board, but in my defense the topics and thoughts of EA beg to be researched and/or discussed! Time to pick up my toys and go home.....lol

Be well,

SR

Anonymous said...

Matt, I read this about 15 years ago.... Art and Physics, Parallel Visions in Time, Space and Light by Dr. Leonard Schlaine. Too, many contend (including Harold Bloom) that existentialism or even Freud would never have existed without Shakespeare.

Be well,

SR

-ea. said...

n- thank you for the kind words. much appeciated. ive been blue the last few days.

-ea. said...

aldous earnhardt jr #5- the secret!? i cant believe how desperately we want power over life. so much that we would buy (literally) that all we need to do is truly believe and we can make anything happen. that is some serious oprah voodoo.

-ea. said...

matt volpe - i use pro tools le at home but i have been flirting with the logic idea recently. pro tools is still fucking awful in the midi department. i work almost half and half with audio/midi so....im still considering. would actually love some feed back from anyone here using either.

-ea. said...

matt volpe- also i absolutely agree about those that innovate creatively are doing the same work. i think it was leon ledermann the physicist who said something like; as we grow up we are taught to stop asking questions, those of us who refuse to stop become poets or physicists.

-ea. said...

ellis- dont ever apologize for getting off topic. that is what i have been doing my whole life. i live in a state of perpetual off topicness. the topics of most folk, most of the time, drive me insane. jonathan borofsky, the artst, had a great installation i saw years ago at the whitney in nyc. as you walked amongst his works there were these life size cutout silhouette people with mechanical mouths that opened and closed saying,"blahblahblahblablah" or "mumblemumblemumble". fucking great.

-ea. said...

sr- art and physics. that is the second time in the last few weeks this book has come up. i think i read some of it years ago too. i own it. in a box smewhere in the garage. maybe. is the science in it hard or soft? i cant remember.

ellis said...

HA! I just saw some show the other night about that "Secret" product. I think Oprah has reached an all-time low. It's bad enough people believe anything she says... now she has them buying complete bogus junk.

SO ok... I'm going to write down "new song" on a piece of paper and I'm going to put it in my pocket and think about it. Sooner or later, I'll write a new song and they'll get all the credit. Wow.

Anonymous said...

I relied on a friend rather than search my garage for the title and author. If memory serves they were hard sciences, physics mainly....which is interesting. Personally, I find the connection between the soft sciences and art more interesting as I would rather read Whitman, Bloom, or Twain than anything else. As for society, The Innocence Project comes to mind as the most beautiful example of a hard science that is practically applied. I am sure there are other more profound examples, but I am not well read in them. Ultimately they all coalesce, generally later than sooner.

Be well,

SR

chris said...

hey eric, off topic....just got in from seeing The Good The Bad and The Queen. (nyc) first time ever seein Simonon. he friggin blew me away. i think i like the same things about you and him. the way you play obviously and the way that the two of you move around the stage. my two bass players to watch. anyway, wondering what you think of PAul Simonon?

-ea. said...

chris- top ten coolest bass players easily. maybe top five for coolest on stage.

-ea. said...

chris- how was the whole show by the way? i am always interested in what albarn is up to.

chris said...

eric, the show was great. saw them at the apple store in soho (nyc) during the day, then @ webster hall last night. alburn is one talented mofo. you should get a copy of the album if you don't have it already. there was a nice chemistry there on stage with TheGB+Q last night, tony allen plays incredible drums that just seem effortless. alburn better on piano than i thought and watchin simonon slink around stage, freezing, posing, then carrying on... nothing beats it. i got you up there in my book with him my friend
peace
c