Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

The Black Sparrow is dead

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

So things changed for me yesterday. I was tagged by a stranger in a post indicating that the birthday party I had been hired to play at Black Sparrow was moved to another day/band. This was in addition to no longer having access to the place I’d anticipated staying for multiple weeks in the area, thus still being 750 miles away at a different safehouse and preparing to pack up and leave for the show last night.

I emailed the venue owner with the subject “I’m confused”, with a screenshot of said post which was said to ‘clear up confusion’, to ask how this might change the specifics of my show, like the cover charge and set lengths, mentioned I was just about to leave that night in order to make the drive, and that since the built-in audience of the birthday party would suddenly not be present, I would appreciate any local promotion they’d be willing to do in the meantime.

She responded by verifying that the invitations for the birthday party had mistakenly said “Saturday” the 12th, rather than Friday, and therefore they were moving the birthday party to another bands night to accommodate out of town guests coming on Saturday. She also encouraged me to cancel my show if I found that ‘too discouraging’.

I have based my tour map around this show, which, once I was able to set up my music rig, I have spent the last 9 days absolutely solid working on, including preparing an album to sell, buying stickers to give away, investing in a dual tiered keyboard stand to have access to both keyboards for the set, buying mastering software to help improve the quality of the album, buying blanks and sleeves when I discovered all my previous jewelcase albums are out of print, creating a poster, posting like a mfer on social media, etc. I was committed as hell to this performance, I thought I was playing somewhere known and safe, I was putting everything I had into it, and for a while now this show has been the focus of my life. I wasn’t ready to cancel, I just wanted to know wtf was going on and how it would change this thing I’ve been envisioning for months.

I asked for an idea of when they needed to know by, so I could work out my disappointment before making a decision (and also check in with my second show in February, which Black Sparrow was halfway toward, and by confirming or denying that booking I’d know better whether the trek was still worth it).

The venue owner responded by saying that due to the ‘tone’ of my emails, she felt it was best to cancel my show. The email included mention of every decent thing she’d done while booking me, from offering me one of her precious few dates when I contacted her (after she’d said she wanted me back any time after my first performance there), to negotiating a whopping $25 increase in guarantee from $50 to $75, said she was losing money on every show as a first year venue owner, and ultimately cited “I just don’t have it in me at this point to spend money putting a show that the musician isn’t thrilled to be playing. It’s not worth it for either of us.” as the reason for cancelling me.

I am hurt, frustrated, and angry. I feel impressively fucked over, and I am still reeling at the accusation of not being into my own show enough to be worth hosting. This tour was my bon Voyage to my two favorite venues, and the tour life I’ve been leading for three years now. I only had solid plans for the next two months of my life while doing that, and now those plans are obliterated. Green Door is battling on a day by day basis, and cannot tell me whether they will still exist by my booking on Feb 16th — and without the Black Sparrow show, traveling 1400 miles one way to play GD one last time is insurmountable. I’d anticipated finishing these shows in NOLA territory, doing a little more busking, and going from there, with loose plans to return to California at the end of March and potentially to Seattle in the summer, but now, I have no idea what to do or where to do it, my fragile confidence in my art is shattered to shit because of the crappy way this was handled, and I currently don’t know how anything that comes up out of this black hole might effect the small semblance of stability I had in my projected travels.

I am also really horrified at the manipulation I experienced yesterday, and am really fucking triggered by it. I haven’t been able to shake yet that I actually did something bad, that I’m in trouble for being bad, that the problem really is me, that once again I just wasn’t good enough, committed enough, nice enough, excited enough, HAPPY enough. That somehow, someone else fucking up their party invitations is ultimately my fault — for not staying in Taylor locally, for having the nerve to ask how these changes would effect my show, for having the audacity to be honest about being disappointed and sad to hear indirectly on facebook that my audience had literally fucked off three days before I performed, and for having the gall to be asking for time to deal with my emotions before deciding what was best for me to do.

This was all padded with praise and sycophancy, which made it even worse, and in the pressure of the situation I violated my own boundaries — which I presented when I asked for time to get my bearings before deciding what to do — and responded in exactly the ways that encourage people to play these fucking mind games to get the outcome they want but don’t have the fucking minerals to take ownership of — I thanked her profusely for all the decent things she’d done that any fucking venue owner should be doing, like actually booking gigs and being open to basic fucking rate negotiations for people who are touring, and agreeing to cancel the show while I was still disoriented and wasn’t ready to make that choice for myself, all while kissing her ass and failing to stick up for myself in the face of being belittled by her projections.

This is what capitalism does. This is how people trying to survive this economic paradigm — even people who say they care about what they’re doing and say they care about what you’re doing — treat one another while fighting for scraps to survive. Now that I’ve stopped cussing and yelling, all I can seem to do is cry. I’ve tried to go back to work on the album, making it even better now than I could under the timeline I had when I had this show, but I just.. can’t.

Some days, I really feel like I’m living my calling by carving out this weird life and making all the shit I make. Other days, like yesterday, and today, and probably more than a few tomorrows, literally none of this shit I am doing seems worth it.

Shutting down this mailing list!

Friday, April 14th, 2017

Thank you to everyone who has been keeping up with my meanderings via this blog list. I don’t use this blog for public posts much anymore, so I am shutting this portion of my list down. I will continue to send mails when I update the neevita.net main site. Please join my Patreon to keep up with personal and behind-the-scenes posts in the future, at http://patreon.com/courtnee

Take care of you,

Courtnee Fallon Rex

Traveler, and Doer of Things

Fight

Friday, November 25th, 2016

As I sit here speed dialing the fucking government as a last ditch harm reduction and pressure tactic I am thinking a lot about how much our methods for protecting and advocating for the vulnerable are going to have to change. And I am thinking of how long that’s actually been the case.

I will not ‘wait and see’.

I will not ‘give him a chance to lead’.

I will not fall in line with this latest example of our normalized fucking insanity, or the compulsion to pretend what is about to happen isn’t what is happening.

Make art that feels fucking scary.

Make time and space for your people.

Brush up on CPR, first aid, de-escalation, self defense — then use those skills to help others.

Revisit basic survival techniques, and things like how to change a tire — then use those skills to help others.

Fund immigration, LBGT, health care, and anti-racist orgs.

Utilize encrypted, decentralized communication methods.

Pay attention to POC organizers and activists. Contribute, and follow their lead.

Protest.

Ignore the attacker; be present with the victim. Most times, this will be enough. Be prepared, for the times it may not be.

Divest from relying on the militarized police state to help you or keep you safe.

Rest. Whenever. You can. Be creative; Snatched moments are better than nothing.

Google alert your local representatives, and CALL THEM to hold them accountable.

Do the inner work you need to do to support yourself through the discomfort and fear. Prioritize this highly. Have your own back.

I fight with my pen, my phone calls, my local political involvement.
I fight in the street with my fist in the air and tending to wounded.
I fight with my freely given cigarettes and my freely given skills and my freely given knowledge.
I fight by taking care of myself.
I fight with my solidarity and my travels and my artistry and by putting my future and my body on the line to resist this impending holocaust.

If you can’t stomach doing all that yourself, THAT IS OK; support the living fuck out of those of us who can.

There is a lot of judgement floating around regarding how best to show up for this time in history. Fact is: We need our quiet ones (not to be confused with silent), too. We need our funders and our snitches and our safehouses and our people who remain under the radar.

Bottom line: this shit is here, now, and a goal without a plan is just a wish. Resist the confusion. Resist the ‘I wish I knew’ and ‘I wish I could’ or ‘I wish I were brave like ____’. You belong here, now, in fucking reality.

We need you. Sharpen what you have, and fucking use it.

Gratitude post

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Appreciating my community today. I’m connected with some damn fine people. Here’s to you all, the strong vulnerable women, the writers, the musicians, the weirdos, the men whose souls I’ve stolen, or want to steal, the supporters, the appreciators, the activists, the carers, the empathic warriors who see what the fuck is going on. We will find our place somewhere. In the meantime, I am glad that you exist.

ROAD UPDATE: Pensacola

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

Originally posted to my Patreon community at https://www.patreon.com/posts/4413008

Mississippi: OH EM GEE you’re heeeeere omg yay! Here, have a welcome center with all kinda free camping with picnic benches and spigots and shit and a FUCKING NASA SPACE CENTER!!

Alabama: Fuck you. Welcome center closed.

Florida: Fuck you. Show us your vegetables. Then welcome center, maybe. Also toll roads. Also palm trees. Also fuck you. — Facebook

The above selfie was taken in the divey bathroom at The Handlebar last night in ‪Pensacola, where I played an impromptu show for a tiny, tiny audience in a mostly empty bar. I got a nice fueling practice in and made my beer money back.

New Orleans shaped me as a musician. It is different now; stronger. More solid. More joy in it. Truly beginning to embrace and simultaneously transmute the darkness. Thank you for that. I like being a performer. I just needed to figure out what kind of performer I am. It’s taking a while, but I think I am well on my way, now.

Here are some amazing pictures of me doing my thing, taken by an amazing man: http://neevita.net/louis-maistros-lower-decatur-street-new-orleans/

And here is some soul healing no nonsense darkness for anyone who might be feeling the pitch lonely creeping in today, or know someone who is: http://blog.neevita.net/archives/14927

I plan to be in Florida playing and enjoying the weather/beach for a bit, then moving up northish. I’ve shifted my long term plan, and will be back in WA state this summer rather than heading all the way up to the NE. I need to see a doctor about a few things and get my motorcycle sold.

Keep Going is a year old today. It is an album I released last valentines day about healing, heartbreak, patriarchy, sexism and rape culture, which is surprisingly soothing and, if I may say so, well-crafted. It’s well suited for the day particularly if valentines gives you the intense desire to side eye the fuck out of everything.

Http://courtneefallonrex.net

In a somewhat fitting turn of events, on the same day as Keep Going’s first birthday, Wounded was played on That Indie Thing with Rob on sinwebradio.com! As far as I know, this is my first radio play from the album. https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1182534628424252

Also, Reverbnation keeps sending me emails complaining that my ranks are slipping. So, this seems like a good time to mention that there’s a pretty decent sampling of original music up there including most of my originals from Keep Going and a couple of my old ambient electronic tracks. It is representative but also not too long. If you wanna go stream ’em and give RN something happy to mail me about I wouldn’t mind. :)

I’ll be picking from my Feb 14th random pool of $15 a month and above potential art receivers and notifying the winner today. $5 and above Patrons: Also look for another Seven Deadly Days of Naked (SDDN) post in a few minutes.

Glad you’re all here with me,
-nee

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Friendly neighborhood reminder: With the exception of odd, inconsistent jobs as I travel, I survive directly on crowdfunding. Patreon is how I eat, write, create, and Keep Going. If you follow my posts/activities please consider signing up to support me there.

Http://patreon.com/courtnee

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Last call for:

Pay what you want Keep Going (digital version): http://courtnee.bandcamp.com

Be entered into a drawing to win a free copy of limited edition Keep Going CD by signing up to support me at patreon by Feb 28th ($15 or more a month) http://patreon.com/courtnee

As of March 1, Keep Going will be $10 to download.

<3

Valentines 2015

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

“I am too intelligent, too demanding, and too resourceful for anyone to be able to take charge of me entirely. No one knows me or loves me completely. I have only myself”
― Simone de Beauvoir

This Year of the Nee valentines day, I am celebrating myself, my accomplishments, my efforts, and the fruits of those efforts.

Most pointedly, I am celebrating my album release, my release party performance (which was fucking amazing.), and having finally, finally learned, deeply in my guts, the profound difference between woundmates and soulmates.

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Thinking about becoming a patron of mine? Sign up at the $15 a month level or higher before the first of March and I’ll enter you into a special drawing for one of the limited edition versions of Keep Going. Also, my bi-annual art giveaway for the same support level is coming up April 2.

My Patreon campaign: http://patreon.com/courtnee

The album: https://courtnee.bandcamp.com/album/keep-going

Finding Amanda: An internet love story

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Amanda Palmer and Courtnee Fallon Rex Photographed by Steve Kuhn The Art of Asking Book Tour. Sat, November 22, 2014. First Unitarian Church – Los Angeles

When I was young, I thought I had all the answers. Or at least, I thought I knew the problems, the deeper causes of the things I was seeing in people, that needed answering.

And I thought, since I seemed to be the only one who really *saw* what the problems were, saw them and felt them in my guts and talked about seeing them and feeling them in my guts, I was naturally responsible for fixing them, too.

All of them. Everywhere.

That turned out to be a bit of a problem for me. One I’ve since largely solved in my growth, accepting my role as a healer, an activist, and learning about boundaries.

Back then, I kept wishing I had been born earlier, so I could have been a part of the uprising in the 60’s, when “shit mattered”, when the ambient rage against this profoundly sick world order had a focus and a voice.
Now, I really really miss the 90’s.

I did my best to rebel and find my own way, but internalized a contempt for my own perspective and an intense hate for my sensitivity.

As a tiny girl I had started cussing and spewing sexist racist shit like a motherfucking truck driving military sailor, and I basically hated everyone. I lied about my age (when I was 11 I was 14) and hung out with older boys. I started smoking when I was 9, drinking when I was 10. I stole shit and resold it at school. I experimented with drugs.

In middle school I had found my niche as a leader of a small group of nerdy weirdos. I, like most middles schoolers, was bullied and pushed around, once by a large group in my own front yard.

I was the girl who peed her pants laughing, daily, at lunch. I was the girl who responded to being given flowers by immediately eating them. I was the girl who stayed at school until 6pm hanging out with the uncool teachers because they cared about me and I didn’t want to go home to an empty house and I secretly loved and adored them even though that wasn’t cool and I don’t think I ever told them how much they meant to me and I wish I had now (Thank you Mr. Pericone, Mr. Ebi and Mrs. Wollard).

By the time I was 15 I was so acutely aware that the system was a sham, I was going insane. I saw so clearly the dynamic of perpetrated violence in society, and in my life. I saw the pain hiding in peoples eyes, but I didn’t have the support to find my ground to stand against it. Everywhere I looked what I saw was how we were killing each other, and how I unconsciously contributed to that cycle.

I hated High School, even though I barely attended, and once I went there, I immediately fell deeply into drugs. I’m talking deep. Few know how bad it was. I quickly dropped out to join the workforce with a fast food job, so I could go on USEnet and use my minimum wage to buy Nirvana bootlegs, and more drugs.

I had no direct examples of self-supporting ways to cope with the cruelty of the world, and if I did come across them indirectly, they weren’t cool or appealing anyway because they weren’t ‘powerful’ like domination and violence seemed to be.

Emotionally, I was broken open and rawly empathic, connected with attrition and the damage we inherently do to one another simply by existing, and enraged at my impotence in fixing it. Physically, I was, frankly, killing myself.

I hadn’t lived enough then, well enough, to have the decades of varied experience and intense healing it would turn out I’d need in order to break out of my patriarchal conditioning and trust the instincts I was trying to snuff out. I was going crazy in part because that’s what I believed I was.

A new (digital) hope

In early 1995, in Sacramento California, from a commodore 8088 connected to a shell account with crl.com on a screechy modem with an actual WIRE, my dad showed me how to get on this Internet Relay Chat thing he’d told me about.

CRL’s root .ircrc file had a bunch of dead servers referenced in it, and I’d spent likely not nearly as long as it felt like I had being suicidally-frustrated with trying to figure out how to get the fuck online. Dad swooped in, figured out there was a /server command, and my life thus changed forever.

There were words on a screen attached to real-yet-fantasy humans who, when they weren’t talking about overthrowing governments and anal rape, were telling me I was not alone. That the social system we inherited was fucked and we were going to unfuck it by fucking it. There was a space, suddenly, to tell people what I saw.

There were vulnerable conversations about emotion and loss and pain where the ‘real’, world had been about image and learning how to be an expert on being fake. I’d found people who weren’t afraid to talk about the despair we all felt, through a medium that protected us better than any person had.

That was where, I thought, I found salvation. And for a while, I suppose I did. I wasn’t a sad sack high school nerd druggie statistic everyone fucking picked on, I was a social engineer in the thick of a god damn underground hacker revolution that only some people picked on.

My social life was with criminals on IRC, where I could explore my rage, screw the man, and say whatever the fuck kind of offensive abusive shit I wanted. I spent my time on meth and anything else I could find, listening to The Prodigy, chain smoking reds, fucking around with linux and waiting for the years to cycle to the next DEFCON.

I started maintaining my own web pages, gnashing my teeth about the worlds fuckedupedness (and how it caused me to feel), in 1995. I was one of the first webcams on the internet. I had my own irc channel (#nee). I had fans.

People emailed me often to tell me they’d found my site and how much what I was writing mattered to them. That my words mattered to them. I kept expecting waves of hate. They sent me fan art. They shared their stories. They told me I had saved their lives and that my spews of misery and hopelessness gave them hope. They told me I helped them feel less alone.

The first time someone told me I should write a book of my life I had been alive 15 years. I was a social advocate without really knowing it, a musician without accepting it, a community leader without being responsible for it, a digital artist. A flawed and miserable human being, with an intimate community online that fueled and supported me, nodding, saying; I see what you see, thank you for saying it.

mainhttp://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/main-404x348.jpg 404w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" />

As a musician I had a bit of a business on the original mp3.com in 1999/2000, but had started recording cover songs long before. I went by the name Not Applicable, and I insisted, vehemently, proudly, that my music would always, always be available for free, on my site.

But things change, and so did all that.

The RIAA destroyed mp3.com, and with it, my faith in the world supporting my niche-y emo-enya never-gonna-sell-shit-for-sony music. I went from identifying as an empowered independent artist with a support structure that validated me, from being featured and interviewed by ABC news (and my cam images being used in the original piece as well) regarding the success of the movement I was a part of, to feeling displaced and bullied and utterly rejected, with my dreams in flames at my feet.

With the fall of mp3.com, I also went from being a part of a community of artists and musicians who were, once again, revolutionary, by collaborating worldwide via audio files online, to drifting alone in space. I was always in the top 3 of the ambient electronic charts, and many people sent me remixes of my work and collaborated with me by finding me there, including one of the trance musician idols I’d had at the time, and lots of unknowns who are still unknown.

We were a creative artist economy birthing cross-pollinated artwork existing inside the payback for playback and DAM CD models for making money. It wasn’t going to make us all filthy rich, but it was a god damn fucking internet revolution utopia all the same.

I shrugged it off and didn’t let myself think about losing that community part all that much. I spewed anger at how unfair mp3.com’s demise was, and suddenly focused on the money, the wopping $2700 I’d made in a year, because of course it was just weak and selfish and shitty to want support and connection and love from people.

It had taken such immense courage for me to share my deeply personal and vulnerable music, music that made me cry from being so good and double over in pain for being so raw, music that rose out of me from a dark place I didn’t understand. I kept waiting for the hate to come, especially after I joined the mp3.com community from sharing my songs by DCC sending to friends in my IRC channel.

mp3.com was my taste of vitality as an artist. It was the first place I was confronted with irrefutable proof from strangers that my music was good. It was my bridge, back when I was still the only Courtnee on the internet, and the internet was all the connection with the human race I had that fucking mattered to me. It was a community that I’ve never found a comparable replacement for.

The hate never did come. Perhaps because it never had the chance to. For my efforts, for my courage, I received virtually nothing but waves of acceptance and love, feature after feature on the site praising my work even though I was a screwed up crazy hermit making weird whiney sad music that would never end up on the radio.

Losing that relevance changed me, reconfirmed my doubts in myself. I utterly loathed the music industry, threw up at the thought of playing shows. With mp3.com, I had let myself open up, and feel some hope. The loss of this flow of connection for me was staggering. And because of it I hardened.

I turned to the other revolution I was a part of for comfort and belonging while grieving my artistic self, to find it wasn’t there anymore, either. The geeks, the remaining foothold of my revolutionary home base, are no longer the underdog freedom fighters, and they haven’t been for a very long time. They’re the ruling class in the same system we despised.

It hurts to see your revolution become the system. Maybe even more than it hurts to see the revolution get flat out crushed by it. It’s a fucking betrayal I can only barely wrap my head around, but I feel it in my body. It’s a fucking betrayal I keep seeing over and over again in my life. Seeing the entropy, seeing the fear, seeing how the people who are doing what is most needed in this world are getting fucked and assimilated.

It got under my skin when the powers that be managed to napalm the countryside we were beginning to settle with mp3.com. Feeling like I almost had it, like I was almost valid — and then I closed my eyes and covered my head while the power in the world which already had way more than it needed clubbed me, and when I opened them again everything was different.

I didn’t realize how much I was still hurting. Not until Amanda walked into my office.

I can articulate now, after a lot of processing, and galvanizing our connection a few weeks ago by performing for her and her fans in Los Angeles, I hated Amanda Palmer because she represented for me the person I was who died with mp3.com and the internet as I had known it. Died “because” I didn’t have what Amanda Palmer had — a stream of fanbase supporting her when her conventional link to them [a record label], which I knew would have fucked me, fucked her, too.

She represented who I could be now if I hadn’t divorced from my core and spent years of my life chasing money and stability betraying myself in the tech industry before finding my way back to myself.

She represented for me the damage I did to my soul by choosing to take that path, for going through the motions while shutting down who I really was, for taking the RIAA attacking the home I’d found in mp3.com so unbelievably personally.

She represented the pain in becoming even more isolated and quiet as a musician, my most vulnerable and profound form of art, the paralyzation of being introverted and insecure and losing my foothold.

She represented the reality of only knowing how to be a solo musician making music in the safety of my dark little cave and posting it on the internet.

Healing is a pretty important aspect of being a revolutionary. It’s hard to cheer someone on who breaks through the glass ceiling you’re still concussed from smashing into and weakening for them.

In the rise of the digital music revolution, the unsigned artists of mp3.com got royally fucking fucked. As we grew in closer path alignment over the years, Amanda served as a screen for me to project that disembodied grief.

I had it first. I was there first, I had it, I had the following, I had the waves of love, I had the future, I WAS the future, I was AHEAD, and then I fucking wasn’t. In utter projective emotional simplicity that makes little logical sense, I was an Amanda Palmer before Amanda Palmer.

And then I wasn’t.

In the decade after the blow of mp3.com, and countless other events that knocked my fragile sense of self around back in those days, I am finally beginning to feel and trust in the ripples of reward for the tremendous amount of exertion and surgical accountability it’s taken to come back to where I am ready to step into myself again. Into my seeing, into my caring, into my vulnerability, into the vivid authenticity that steams off of me as a performer and a music maker and a singer, into my talents, and into my contributions.

It’s been a long decade.

Finding that I was still so emotionally fucked up over a website going down a decade before was an embarrassing reality to resign to in order to write this, but it’s just the honest truth of things. The impact to fragile hiding 22 year old me, losing mp3.com and what it represented in my life, at that time and at that point in my delicate career, caused a painful rift between me and myself that has taken a long time to sew back up.

Thank you for helping me heal it, Amanda. Thank you for helping that part of me come back.

Thank you Cafe Brosseau!

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Thank you Tacoma, and my Seattle friends new and old for making last night a really fucking great show. I felt so loved and supported and I am ecstatic to have heard from everyone how much they enjoyed themselves.

Set list:

Write What You Know – Courtnee Fallon Rex
Pretend it Never Happened
Black as Night – Melody Gardot
Forgiveness
Please Don’t – Courtnee Fallon Rex
Back to Black – Amy Winehouse
Hey You – Pink Floyd
Wounded – Courtnee Fallon Rex (debut)
House of the Rising Sun – Animals
Meeting the Maker
In My Mind – Amanda Palmer
The Greater You

As per request I’ll be recording and releasing versions of the songs I played on my Bandcamp in the coming weeks.

As for supporting me, being privy to new music, and behind the scenes access, please sign up to my Patreon account! A good example of the kinds of things Patrons get – they heard a version of “Wounded” (as yet unreleased) two days ago. ;)

Cafe Brosseau Artist Reception: December 6 2014

Heavy in your arms (updated)

Friday, July 4th, 2014

https://soundcloud.com/soundofnee/im-so-heavy-fatm-cover-in-progress

Originally created by Florence and the Machine

I was a heavy heart to carry
My beloved was weighed down
My arms around his neck
My fingers laced to crown.

I was a heavy heart to carry
My feet dragged across ground
And he took me to the river
Where he slowly let me drown

My love has concrete feet
My love’s an iron ball
Wrapped around your ankles
Over the waterfall

I’m so heavy
Heavy in your arms
I’m so heavy
Heavy in your arms

And was it worth the wait
All this killing time?
Are you strong enough to stand
Protecting both your heart and mine?

Who is the betrayer?
Who’s the killer in the crowd?
The one who creeps in corridors
And doesn’t make a sound

An ode to acrimony

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

https://soundcloud.com/soundofnee/blackasnightsoloeffectsbeta

 

Forever in debt to your priceless advice

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

https://soundcloud.com/soundofnee/covering-nirvana-heart-shaped-box-whim

Heart Shaped Box on a whim. Because fuck it.

Played live with my Harmony G-XT which I am still getting used to.

Can has accordion? (NSFW)

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

I’ve been itching for an accordion for a couple years – a little one, that suits little me, and doesn’t have too many bass buttons and isn’t too heavy.

Generally, the less complicated, the better, for a musician like I am.

I had a musty Milano at one time, which was a bit too big for me. I sacrificed it for my underwater series with John Cornicello in 2010, which has brought upon many compliments for us (and print sales for him).

Strangely enough, my new accordion also comes from John – A little Hohner, not as musty – which he’s had stashed in his basement and hadn’t dusted off in years. It was brought out today for the shoot we were doing as part of a birthday gift for a client of his.

We shot with it today, as evidenced by the iPhone picture I took of his camera LCD because I could NOT WAIT, and now, it is mine.

Full circle, bitchez. Full circle.

Seriously fuckin stoked.

Thank you John <3

EMFUCKINGBODIED

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

I swear I just saw myself for the first time

I told myself in the mirror

As I cried after connecting so incredibly profoundly with multiple people (And once again meeting another incredible man I can’t have in my life like I would prefer, god damn stupid growth opportunities)

“You are..

An amazing woman.

And you will ALWAYS be
An amazing woman.

No matter what
Anyone else thinks.

And when you die,
The world will be a better place

Because you
were in it.”

I am an artist.
And I am fucking amazing
And I am going to get what I want for myself.

Because I am worth it.
And there is no worthier cause than my happiness.

Thank you for showing me what is possible.
And thank you for believing in me.

Good days

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

Today, I said goodbye to my Taylor 114ce guitar, which has been lovingly callousing my fingers on behalf of my dear friend Jonathan since 2008. I traded her for a Mitchell acoustic/electric ukulele, as well as a Mitchell acoustic/electric thin line guitar, both of which feel amazing and sound great.

It was time, and I feel really good about it. I kept the Taylor case to remind me of the gift and all the loveliness that guitar brought into my life. It got me through some pretty hard times.

I’ve had a few good days lately. On Friday, a show I had been looking forward to for the last few months turned out really well, despite some rehearsal challenges. I’m currently encoding the video so I can distribute the evidence around.

The day after that, this happened, and I was finally able to write about this, too. Oh, and I found my minature sketchbook I thought I had lost.

I am looking even more forward to my first house concert for Craig and Mark at the end of the month, now. :)

Life is good.

Open Mic Achievement: Unlocked.

Friday, October 18th, 2013

I have finally been to and performed at an open mic. I finally found one that I liked the vibe of, at Scratch Deli, where I am also currently showing my artwork. Saw it last week, tried it this one.

I was definitely off my game, as well as being tired and poorly fed today. I struggled a lot with playing the keyboard in particular and my songs using other instruments are out of practice. That sucked some of the enjoyment out of it for me. I thought about bailing when rehearsing today, it felt so off.

But I played anyway, like the pro’s do, and it wasn’t half bad. Didn’t feel great, but wasn’t terrible and panic inducing like recital situations have been. Never warmed up really, It’s halfway through the third song that I start loosening up and we’re done after 3. I fucked up on every song, but within the scale, and covered it well/recovered smoothly.

The plan is to keep going to open mic’s on a regular basis so as to get to the point eventually where I don’t dislike it. Also met a few people who run the circuit who I hope to run into again.

Video exists. I will decide whether it’s postable after I see it. If so, it will occupy this space within the next few days.

Brothers: A tale of two sons

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

The game itself was equally amazing.

Carefree with a side of Silence

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Tonight I belted out the fastest, most upbeat original piano waltz from I don’t know where (I do, but I also don’t), as part of the suite of musical pieces I am creating with only a vague understanding of what it is they will be used for.

The piece transcended anything I’ve ever done musically, had major chord progressions, and flew out of me at full speed with minimal mistakes out of thin air.

It was directly influenced by my experience learning the Liquid Spear Waltz, a sort of song I’d never tried to play before, and was inspired by the many piano artists I’ve been hearing over and over again the last year on my massage Pandora station at the office.

Though a definite shift began during my experience creating and performing Embodied, I have truly leapt forward in skill and breadth in the last few months, and it is showing boldly.

Thank you, XP-30, for your sacrifice. Every time I see your skeleton leaning up against the wall in my office, two white keys still clinging to your industrial ribs, I nod to myself inside with the knowledge that your death was not in vain.

I left my heart in San Francisco

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Well, not really, but that’s the song that went through my head when considering what I’d title this, so there you go. Although I may have left part of my heart at the bottom of my teacup at the Flora Grubb nursery where I took this picture.

The San Francisco leg of my trip consisted of a few days cooking and eating good food, daintily sipping the dregs of multiple liquor bottles, a photo shoot with Tatiana Yurochkina, and working in an expansive well-oiled analog studio with prophei, an impressively decorated studio producer and musician.

I was still sick, as well as being on antibiotics, and processing through some upheaval at home, so it was a pretty low energy kind of experience, even though I spent much of the trip ‘working’ to some degree. Having cats everywhere was a plus.

The musical experience was interesting to me, particularly in that the act of working with another person to create new music forced me to dial into the foundation of how I work, which I’ve never really expressed in that way before.

The process reminded me of learning to teach aerial to beginners, the introspection and frequent duh moments you have to work through to answer even simple questions to explain something that has always come naturally. I learned a lot in the process and the flow was actually really smooth considering the learning curve I was dealing with.

It took me a while to get over my self consciousness, and to figure out where to start. At first, we were going to try to write from scratch, and then we were going to work with one of his songs, and then we were going to record one of my old original songs, and none of it was really jiving or lighting me up. I felt overwhelmed and small.

Until I remembered, I’ve laid down some live concept recordings over the last year, and I actually really like them. Enough that I was considering whether they were finished already, which is probably why I had forgotten. Once we started digging into those, things started progressing pretty quickly.

prophei has an extensive background in studio music production, worked on ProTools for about 9 years, and is on a first name basis with some of the most influential industrial/experimental/ambient/electronic artists of the age, including members of Skinny Puppy and Tangerine Dream (of which my album Point of Origin has been compared to in ancient mp3.com reviews).

As a largely solo musician, or at best an online collaborator, it was pretty amazing to be working in a studio with a person who knows what they are doing technically, thinks and talks like an artist, and also possesses prolific instrumental talents. Just the exposure to what he was trying out himself helped me break out of my shell and try stuff too.

https://soundcloud.com/neevita/michael-dietel-session-sneak

Coincidentally, though I am sure the final versions of this song will have prophei’s instrumentation as well, I played all the instruments in this draft. Clearly, I’m especially proud of the acoustic drums, and feel pretty inspired by how this sounds, particularly being on the heels of my first live band collaboration at Torch Club not long before all this expansion.

The results of working with prophei were like having had a smarter, more talented mini me assistent who is all about helping me figure out how to get the sound I want and add some guts to my work. I could get used to it, and we’ve already made plans for a fall studio session with a stronger focus and more formal goals in conjunction with my third sit in with Mr. December in October.

For now, I am working on a set list for the ukulele – recognizable, simple songs that I can perform in a busking scenario. I am working on 9, so far. I’m also drooling over a new effect processor prophei was beta testing while I was visiting, and thinking I might sell a kidney to get it at some point.

Mixed in Mono

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Before the Tomb and the Womb and Covering Lisa, there was Mixed in Mono.

Mixed in Mono is a primitive recording I made by layering multiple vocals into a single track with Goldwave circa 1996, using the Windows sound recorder.

It was discovering the music of Dead Can Dance during a time in which everything revolved around alternative rock, which I enjoyed but had a hard time integrating with as an artist, that caused something important to click.

After finding them I had a thought – Maybe if I kept at music, I might eventually find a way to express myself through it that felt like something other than a ripoff or just plain whining needy crap.

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Learning the Liquid Spear Waltz

Friday, May 10th, 2013

By ear, about 45 minutes in or so, started learning it today on a whim.

I think this will be a really fun song to improvise to vocally once I can play it without squinting and trying so hard. Lord knows I have it memorized deep into the pits of my cavernous bitchy little soul.

I have show ideas brewing, but don’t know what I might do with them yet. I’d like to play for people again soon, though.

https://soundcloud.com/neevita/learning-the-liquid-spear

Watched Donnie Darko for the first time in years. My takeaway was being aware, again, nostalgically, of how taken I was by that movie. I spent months contemplating the meanings and soaked myself in the music and made so much art to that soundtrack. He even reminded me of my last ‘childhood’ ex before transcending into adulthood. Donnie was real to me. I miss being taken like that, geeking out and being unabashedly obsessive and inspired. It just doesn’t seem to happen like that anymore. In that way, I think the drinking really helped.

Too close to see

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Thanks to reviews and interviews from my mp3.com days, and the feedback you’ve given me over the years, I have a pretty good idea how to describe my original music to people who haven’t heard it.

Most of the content of Embodied, though, not so much. How to describe my covers is a task that alludes me.

In preparation of offering Embodied on BandCamp I’d like to request feedback about the show, and at the same time, offer up some music for free streaming.

A selection of the covers I performed are up at http://www.last.fm/music/Courtnee+Papastathis

Stream them. Listen to them. Take them in. And maybe, if you have time, tell me what you think?

http://facebook.com/courtnee
http://facebook.com/neevita
http://twitter.com/neevitadotnet
courtnee@gmail.com
courtnee@neevita.net
courtnee@notapplicable.org

Thank you.

Breaking Bad: R.I.P. XP-30, 2001-2013

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Yesterday, while troubleshooting glitching technology, again, rather than practicing music, again, I came to a place of silence. I stopped hitting buttons and searching google, and sat, and thought.

I had already emailed the event coordinators for Tomb and the Womb and said that due to technical difficulties I would not be singing “Covering Lisa” for their show.

When I made that decision, immediately and in one swift motion, I was reminded all at once of every single one of the countless hours I’ve spent agonizing over unreliable equipment.

How that collection of experience lurking in the shadows of nearly every musical performance I have ever done has limited me, angered me, and frustrated me to the point of wanting to bash my own head inside out.

I remembered having to cancel the first house concert I was invited to because of similar problems. I remembered how often technological music equipment and every step in that direction has conformed me around the limits of the equipment.

I remembered that encountering this is part of the reason I don’t perform often. I remembered that, after years of thinking I was just stupid, hiring a sound engineer had not only failed to alleviate my tech problems, they had added to them and to my anxiety.

I once again got in touch with that deep festering feeling – my growing hatred for technology – remembering how it so easily came to rule my life. How insidiously my bad habits and obliviousness toward its role in my existence remain, having grown up consuming gadgets and socializing on computers, still sucking on tech like a dried shriveled up tit that stopped actually feeding me years ago.

I sat there thinking, playing an internal game of eeny, meeny, miney, moe.

Would it be the new mixer, whose highly reviewed onboard effects – the reason I bought the fucking thing to begin with – every single one of them, make me sound like a fucking diseased hobo barfing into a tin can?

Would it be the everpresent annoyance of my iPhone, which was currently skipping every other fucking letter I typed into a text message and interrupting me 3 times in the 45 seconds it was taking me to type and edit the fucking thing to let me know that, guess what, T-Mobile’s service is a fucking raging puss filled sac of fail and has cut out again? and again? and again? DO YOU WANT TO GO TO YOUR SETTINGS (which won’t let you turn this fucking message off)?

Or would it be my synthesizer, whose MIDI fuckups and inability to keep the default settings has been quietly invading my trust since preparing for Embodied?

I thought about the limits and usefulness of all of these things for at least 20 minutes, as my anger simmered. I thought about each piece of equipment, its monetary value, my relationships to them, my history with them, and I decided which one was the one that I wanted to be complete with.

I then spent the next few minutes silently raising my Roland XP-30 over my head and slamming it into the ground as hard as I could. I used my whole body for every throwdown, whistling it through the air and dropping it full force into the floor.

Each time I watched it hit the ground and react while a surge of energy ran through my body. Once it hit the ground, if it still had any piano keys attached, it went back up for another wide armed slam from over my head. Over, and over, and over.

With each throw I gave myself some time to soak it in all before continuing. I was half flourishing and half emotionless while I systematically destroyed the synthesizer I’ve used for almost exclusively for 10 years.

It felt like breaking out of a cage.

Once plastic stopped sailing away from the synths body when it hit the floor, I started taking a hammer to its fleshless metal skeleton. With each tiny crater my hammer made in the body of my synth I felt new space give way in my life.

I’ve been thinking about that space today, as I’ve searched around for the guilt, for the remorse, for the backlash of deciding to break the living shit out of my gear. I am finding that I have none.

Sure, there is a loss there, and a sadness, among other things, that surrounds it. I know at least one person who is likely upset that they won’t hear that music again. Era’s ending are tough, afterall.

Throughout my musical evolution, I’ve been restrained by these giant hulking heavy spacehog fucking keyboards, the problems they have and the sounds they make.

For 13 years I’ve looped endlessly between the same songs, the same sounds the same feelings, the same rutt, over and over again, barely inching forward with a new song every few years since my mp3.com explosion in 2000.

While identifying with what opportunities they paved for me a lifetime ago while I was discovering them, I’ve also identified with the barriers having them has placed on me and my musical freedom to explore.

I’ve held onto my synths because I identify with them. Because maybe one day years from now I will want to play a show again. Because I was afraid to let them go.

The UI for the XP-30 is horrible for my exploration and creation of new music. There are no sliders, no knobs, no instant gratification for sound editing, no accessible creativity for me like I have with the Junos. It was good to me in how far its default sounds took me, and I did some cool things with it.

However, the instrument had run its course, and the MIDI being nonfunctional was pissing me the fuck off. It was worth about $400 and I had just spent $150 getting a key replaced on it last year. I didn’t want to subject myself to another money pit diagnostic/repair bill.

I could have sold it, sure. But there’s no ritual in that. There’s no art in that. There’s no catharsis in that. There’s no finality in that. There’s no closure in that. And while none of these rationalities came to play while I was annihilating my instrument, I sensed that I needed a cleansing.

One awesome thing about being an unsigned, virtually unknown musician is that I don’t fucking owe anyone anything. I’m not obligated to play the same songs for 40 fucking years to giant arenas. I don’t have crowds of fans who are pressuring me to perform my classics. I’m not swept up in contracts and deadlines and money.

My XP-30 no longer exists, and because of that I will not play my songs from it as they were recorded again. In its demise a symbolism is also unearthed, as well as a new more flexible approach to my music.

I am thinking like a newbie again, feeling excited to experiment. The amount of agony I will endure bashing my head against a wall trying to make my shit work is diminishing. And the effort I am willing to spend searching the same places for the sounds and ease that excite me as a musician is a fraction of what it was before.

Tomorrow, I purge my music gear. Anything that isn’t high quality cabling/basics and doesn’t answer “YES” to all of these is for sale:

1) Do I like how it sounds?
2) Is it easy for me to use and intuitive to troubleshoot?
3) Do I ENJOY playing it?
4) Does it fuel me creatively?

For now, I am enjoying the immense flood of inspiration and creative ideas that are swirling into my consciousness about music, and brainstorming what I may want to trade for new stuff.

If I ever change my mind, I can rent or buy another XP-30 to play the songs I created with it. That inconvenience is worth the sense of satisfaction I got when I finally took that raging bull by its fucking nutsac, and slammed it into the floor. I hadn’t even realized I’d grown to hate that fucking synth.

Sometimes it takes a loss to break an infinite loop. I get the feeling I’m the person in my circle of friends who gets that the most.