Thirteen months I have sat with Vlad Stoian’s mixtape request resting quietly in my inbox, beckoning softly within my subconscious. For so long I have understood that more than any human construct it may be our potential most of all that seems to have this capacity to sort of freeze us in place, and yet still it may be my potential that has terrified me more than anything else over the course of this past decade. It will be ten years ago this October ('15) that I have dropped out of the Public Education System in the United States Of America with the genuine, earnest wish within my heart that I might actually be able to deconstruct my understanding of this place we call Home and somehow help create a world free from the allegorical shackles that bind its collective heart and mind so. Ten years later I find myself at a crux of sorts; so many musical projects later, performance pieces to save the World, an overloaded social media project confronting (what I refer to as) Functioning Schizophrenia In Western Culture And The Nature Of Our Inherent Incapacity To Earnestly Dissolve Attachment Whilst Engaging A Personal Avatar In The Digital Paradigm, thirty-one open letters to Humanity, a bicycle trip that lead me across the country, periods of extreme loneliness met by sometimes violent misunderstanding from peers, a failed Post Modern Recovery Program, a failed crowd-funding campaign for non-profit Art collective Who Gave These Animals Art Supplies?, a yearlong life houseless in the woods, an artist residency and work trade program on an organic farm on Oahu, a year of isolation in my grandparent's basement writing a 185,000 word disaster that I tricked myself into believing was somehow my Magnum Opus, a trip to inpatient rehabilitation for a penchant for Chronic Depressive Disorder and a Love-affair with alcohol and Dextromethorphan, and so many more seemingly surreal and profoundly enlightening, sometimes tremendously volatile experiences have led me to the age of twenty-seven, and, as made evident to me by many, left me with little-to-nothing to show for it, if not the occasional arguably depressive or even manic episode. Or at least, that would be one way to look at it, maybe I'm just autistic, who knows. From a very young age I have been concerned with the repercussions of the actions taken by the culture I grew up within and the energy our common denominator spends suppressing and repressing even the most basic cause and effect realities of our world. I found that as I grew up and left home, I remained incapable of behaving in the manner the majority (it seemed) of my culture might expect, and actions such as the creative process/expression and simply even living outside more common or conventional standards was received as hyperbolic or at least radical. Being told this enough times I even began to relate to this idea of my self being somehow severe or focused somehow too primarily on looking inward -- after all, the root of the word radical is the Latin radix, which in mathematics means base and in biology refers to the portion of the plant (the literal root) that pulls sustenance from the soil, from Mother Earth. In this way I see the creative process as quite literally exposing that which lies underneath, that which lives within. I believe the internal world has been largely repressed over the course of the past several thousand years; that its very existence has been suppressed if-not lambasted as a sort of illusory construct -- somehow less relevant than the external. It is the external world that I personally find illusory and attachment to it valueless, and the internal that I hold in highest esteem. It is partially for this reason that I create, and why, for me, it is unignorable that each and every given individual is a creator in every sense of the idea. The modern construct and majority opinion of Art can be a dangerous, sometimes atrocious misrepresentation of everything that truly holds value. Art is all, and Art is none; it is no different than what we refer to as God, Wisdom, Love, Understanding or Connection. These ideas are merely placeholders, a key to a gateway toward internal discovery -- and it is each and every human's personal responsibility to engage their reality with magnanimous, peerless curiosity and selfless creativity. It is near heartbreaking for me to interact with so many peers earnestly convinced that they are somehow not an artist, that they are not talented, as-if Art were some objective reality or construct with very serious laws and rules. In this way a child's innate sense of Curiosity, Creativity and Wonder is broken; the teacher - a broken child, the guru - a confused adolescent -- every individual who believes they can teach you something about how to properly or objectively express yourself must seriously be questioned with an open heart and clarity of mind. Should we not wonder if a culture whose majority populace is earnestly convinced the almighty and sacred Fine Art(s)-- the esteemed collection of monetized creation that so-oft appears available only to those with the privilege of affording the luxury of Time and the proper currency to peak in through the window of a gallery -- whom often believe that artists are somehow separate from them or perhaps born with an innate undeniable talent, might simply just be mistaken? I wish I was a prodigy, I wish I could play the piano, I wish I could paint, draw, cook like that, feel that way, express myself through any craft, be someone else. Any earnest virtuoso requires only the slightest bit of admiration before divulging that the secret to their talent is Persistence, Practice, Patience, and Faith in their own potential. Feel free to apply this to any and all of the most refined of crafts -- courage is required to find the tenacity to trust one's sense of curiosity over that of previously established societal mores, norms, values, ideas, as well as the collection of our own individual memory tapes stuck up within our subconscious that we have been primed to play on loop since our childhood. I suppose what I am getting at is that, for me, Art Is Dead; it is We whom is Alive, and I believe it is the discourse that Art has the power to foster that has lead every major movement and revolution in what we refer to as recorded history. Creation itself is living, it is breathing; We Are It. We are the Art of the Cosmos; the environment waking itself up and recognizing what a surreal, impossibly beautiful job it has done -- and, believe it or not, it was never any work at all, it was always fun. Too much time is spent in our world by creators who are convinced they are not creators, imbibing Art (whether that be Music, Mixed Media, Film, Literature, Fine Art, Video Games, etc.) that others have monetized, that often supports a paradigm of misunderstanding and arguably violence. Slowing down and going within is long past due, and most certainly an important step in Humanity finding its way upon this treacherous path of industrialized fear-defined profit margins we often succumb to out of the sake of our own personal desire for distraction. You, the reader, are the creator. You manifest your reality in every waking moment, on a measurable, scientific, provable level. Your actions and even your thoughts have a profound, tangible, measurable affect on everything in your universe. It is time for us to accept our role as creators and our responsibility and obligation to our world before it is entirely unjustifiable to raise our own families within it. I left School ten years ago concerned that the most important dream I could ever muster in this life would be to become a father, simultaneously terrified I would remain incapable of justifying bringing a child into a world of sometimes severe economic and societal fear and critical cultural misunderstanding. Along my journey I discovered a light within myself that I had long forgotten, the very same light that resides within us all. It is your Art that is Worth More than anything else imaginable, and it could never be anybodies responsibility but your own to have the faith to trust it and that it will ultimately be understood. Along these invisible digital-photon spouting lines I present to you my Mixtape, and I hope soon to share within yours; after all, it just may be why you is here: Now.

1. Igor Stravinsky | The Rite Of Spring (Performed by Los Angeles Philharmonic, Conductor: Esa-Pekka Salonen)
Russian composer Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite Of Spring debuted in 1913 at the Parisian Théâtre Des Champs-Élysées and resulted in a near riot. The Rite Of Spring is, for me, the epitome of what a cultivated piece of thoughtful Creation is capable of becoming – it greatly affected the Collective Consciousness’s concept of Sound Art itself while exposing within the listener entire chasms of the unexplored. It is somehow even more important today than it was in 1913, even after helping define the movement of Modernism and the course Popular Music was capable of taking. If Pachelbel’s Canon In D represents the simplistic, even somewhat romantic beauty inherent within the musical paradigm, The Rite embodies absolutely everything else, juxtaposing Passion itself with absolute guttural, violent tonality and dissonance. When I first listened to The Rite Of Spring seven years ago I was most interested in the manner in which it could be related to recent research within the field of Neuroscience and how it might allow us to extrapolate on the manner in which the Human Brain processes Sound that it is already familiar with, versus the way the Human Brain processes Sonic Unfamiliarity aurally. (Pop Structure vs. Dissonance / Major vs. Minor / Instrumentation vs. Musique Concrète, etc.)... Researching this construct allowed me to understand why almost all of the Music that truly impacted my life (that genuinely informed not only my concept of Sound (as Art), but even the way I perceived Reality itself), was comprised of sounds that when I first heard them felt like nothing but unfamiliar noise! From Radiohead to Animal Collective, Protest The Hero to My Bloody Valentine, growing up, when I first listened to so many groups that eventually dramatically impacted my very innermost understanding of the nature of Reality, all I heard was noise! I could not simply grasp a lot of Music’s appeal immediately; it took many listens and great patience to finally expose the reality that literally every one of these artists, that was often lauded over, were simply masking the very same chords (that help to make even the most widely accepted and celebrated songs popular) simply within a more complex, dynamic structure. Heck, it took me a little while to truly adapt my brain to thoroughly appreciating Jeff Mangum! And, boy, was it ever worth it. The process of going within these songs, almost as if they were puzzles begging to be solved, genuinely not only helped me expose portions of my self that I was unaware of, but it helped me uncover portions of my external reality that remain hidden as well -- almost as if The Architect to my mind, say God or my Subconscious, had built entire rooms within my psyche that I hadn't even yet ventured, that I didn't even know were there! And actually, come to think of it, I think that's what Palahniuk's Diary is sort of about, haha. How exciting it is when we are listening to one of our absolute favorite songs that we thought we understood inside-and-out, heard a million times before, or watching one of our favorite films or revisiting one of our favorite books, and we discover something entirely new that we somehow had previously been completely overlooking! My favorite Art changes right along with me, and that's partially why it is so profoundly important that each and every one of us create often and are unafraid of revisiting what we have made, so-as to understand ourself better and remind our psyche of just how far we have come. Sometimes Regret and Repression can freeze us into place, we can become subconsciously attached to condemning the Future so that it can match our Past without even realizing it. Just imagine if Stravinsky had been embarrassed by his Parisian showing in 1913, if he had given into self-doubt or pity and allowed the agitation of so many people to override his understanding of his own work. When Stravinsky returned to Paris a year later, The Rite Of Spring was already a massive success; word is Stravinsky was literally carried out of the theatre in a chair by his audience in celebration! His work changed the World forever, but so often does time play the most fickle beast -- Just ask Van Gogh. Art doesn't change over time -- We does. It would be along this path that I took to creating my own work, and learned to accept that sometimes when you finish performing a song, the space you’ve created can be so powerful, so palpably strong, that your audience may have literally no way of interacting but often with a defensive energy (or if you're lucky simply silence). This might be why sometimes performers just drop the microphone and allow the song of the Universe, of the crowd, of all of the voices in each and every audience member's head to take over for them; after all, the song of the Universe never ends, we're all performers, some people just take center stage more often than others (and mostly for good reason, Yeezus) and while one might argue that All Work/Art/Everything is ultimately absurd, it is merely in reality ambiguous and it is the audience member's responsibility to choose how they feel, not the presenter's. In simpler terms, what I mean to express here most importantly is that while audience is always part of the song as well (even in an empty room), it remains the presenting creator's response-ability (and obligation) to remind them as often as possible (thank you, John Cage). The Rite Of Spring’s success and the eventual admiration garnered for it is a Cosmic Signal for us all that the work (in any field, from the Sciences to Philosophy) that sometimes scares us the most may simply be unfamiliar, exposing a territory yet traversed that we simply are not yet capable of truly understanding without serious Patience and Presence of both Heart and Mind. It was an enormous piece of my personal puzzle, and helped give me the courage and tenacity never to give up, even at my absolute lowest.

2. 2pbs | Surfer Girl/Around The Fire
David Thomas & Two Pale Boys' Surfer Girl/Around The Fire from the album Meadville is another example of a song that completely and utterly reshaped my entire concept of what a piece of Music could accomplish. This live recording somehow manages to be both heartwarming and heartbreaking, somewhat confusing and yet entirely moving, childish yet self-aware, both subversive and progressive, complex yet simple, completely alien and somehow profoundly human. For me, it is the perfect example of a song that understands the Cosmic nature of Reality with all Human Emotion rooted within a wave whose poles represent Fear on one side, and Love on the other -- Surfer Girl/Around The Fire demonstrates its understanding of the only Cosmic trump card—humor -- and uses it to prove that the difference between Love and Fear is simply our ability to Choose, and that humor beats either choice every time.

3. Laurie Anderson | O Superman (For Massenet)
In a similar manner to the way in which Marina Abramović’s work impacted my concept of Performance Art in the Modern World, so too did Laurie Anderson’s O Superman from the revelation that was Big Science impact on my understanding of Sound Art. On O Superman Laurie seems to invoke De Beauvoir’s sense of Ambiguity while proving the Power of the Path of Least Resistance while walking a tight rope of culturally relevant symbols. It remains one of my favorite reminders of how much power can be invoked when a complex mind with an open heart meets a Minimalist approach.

4. Subtle | A Tale Of Apes II
A Tale Of Apes I by Subtle, an Oakland-based conceptual Avant-Garde Rap group, is one of my absolute favorite songs that quite literally sounded like nothing but disjointed noise upon my first few listens. I’ll never forget the very first, eighteen years old, sitting in a friend’s old, out-of-commission Buick in the dead of winter, in a freezing garage in the suburbs just outside of Chicago. I wasn’t able yet to wrap my head around why exactly my favorite Music-critique website had deemed the album this track was the first song on the best album of 2006, but I highly valued and trusted their opinion, so I kept digging. It wasn’t until the fourth listen through that I began to finally unravel the record’s complex movements and make sense of the numerous voices and characters emcee Doseone (Adam Drucker) was invoking . As Subtle's narrative unraveled, I discovered an altogether peerless, unparalleled mastery of Poetry and Sound that literally took me five years to finally truly wrap my head around entirely.

5. Everything, Now! | Freedom Sex With Bible Woman
Freedom Sex With Bible Woman by Everything, Now! performed live in 2006 was as goofy, fun, and tongue-in-cheek as I have had the pleasure of experiencing. When I left High School and couchsurfed my way onto the campus at Bloomington, Indiana, I found myself hanging around with a large group of older musicians, all flirting with or part of the Secretly Canadian scene -- and by far the most influential of them upon myself was the mastermind behind Everything, Now!, known to most as the infamous pseudonym Crafty. I had been listening to his work back in Chicago, prior to making my way out to Bloomington and was delighted at my first encounter with Crafty on a couch in a living room outside the front porch where we would later burn an American flag -- I'll never forget the roar of the crowd as the lighter was passed in my direction to relight the flame and keep the flag ablaze. For me Everything, Now! embodied the free-spirit and unchained human will in its rawest form, and Freedom Sex With Bible Woman was to me the miraculous mix of all of Crafty's wild positive energy and deep, heartfelt symbolism with the proper light-heartedness to truly match the level of complexity that actual lie beneath the man, the band, and its ultimate message. Every listen for me invokes this inner-feeling that, Oh, yeah, Rock And Roll can't die -- it's just that the spirit within most of us has been extinguished for so long that we forgot what both we and it were truly capable of accomplishing, and why it was never anybody's responsibility but our own to fan this most sacred flame.

6. Be Our | On The Field, In The Field
On The Field, In The Field was written by Peter Frederiksen, composed and performed by a group I was part of, called Be Our. On this track Peter approaches his relationship with his family from an entirely unique perspective, one I had never bore witness to before. The allegory of and symbolism behind this dirty spot, in my house is so heartbreakingly meaningful that it almost feels uncouth to even mention it in this way, but I feel that it must be shared. I will leave the story ambiguous, as it should be, but suffice to say every symbol invoked here blends together in such a surreal and potent manner that the true darkness present within their meaning is exposed masterfully by Frederiksen and co's capacity to do-so with as much light as they can possibly muster.

7. Weird All | I Call The Company
I Call The Company is written and performed by Dylan Cale Jones under the cosmic and intrinsically thoughtful moniker Weird All. Dylan, a childhood friend whose voice of Courage, Humility, Wisdom and Humor I have had the honor of carrying with me throughout my travel both external and inward, summons his character Weird All on this track in a manner befitting peerless genius. I have had the pleasure of watching his regard for the capacity of humor to carry deep and heavy meaning, grow over the years into a shining beacon, a compass with-which we may all set our courses upon safely. I Call The Company is a simple story of a man whom attempts to connect with The Company to complain, but the company will not return his phone call. He sits longingly, desperately perched across from his receiver, awaiting the ring-in-return, waiting for his opportunity to connect and finally express himself and engage other. Dylan's capacity to break the fourth wall while remaining a striking and powerful character is present within the Weird All paradigm, maybe most lucidly within the brilliant separate track, Moms And Dads. On I Call The Company, Weird All sings... What am I? Some unrequited lover? I wait by the telephone.. But what the Company doesn't know is that I don't call to court; and I don't call to flirt... This, juxtaposed with the notion that he questions himself mid-song, wondering why he wishes The Company could feel his garish heartbeat, exposes Weird in a moment of self-reflection. Coupled with the perfect if-not somewhat bizarre mix of instrumentation, it is the purity of Spirit within the voice that Weird All invokes that truly encompasses everything positive about Music and its capacity to shine Light into the strangest and most potent of dark human crevices and yet-traversed territory. The punchline here I suppose being that, in fact, The Company (which of course also could simply refer to any other whatsoever) is most likely well-aware that Weird All has phoned to complain; there is no reason whatsoever for them to consider the notion that he would somehow be hoping to court them for their love -- and yet the manner in which they ignore him reminds Weird of unrequited feelings, and in this way Jones uses humor in the most powerful manner of all. At no point while experiencing Weird All should the listener feel as if the joke were somehow on them; like a clown, or any great humourist, the saddest parts divulged within the Weird All paradigm are always internal and self-afflicted, engaging a profound sense of the manner in which Human Trauma may manifest a sort of pattern within the Human Psyche, a role to play if you will. Weird's role as self-aware jester is one that I proudly watch grow and am always affected by dramatically; aurally, emotionally, psychologically, and one might even say spiritually.

8. Sigur Rós | untitled #4 (aka Njósnavélin aka The Spy Machine aka The Nothing Song)
Njósnavélin from Icelandic mythologists Sigur Rós... How does one choose a single Sigur Rós song? Words escape any sort of didactic or even romantic take on Sigur Rós; the Eastern concept of what God is, that to speak It is to miss It, that to speak at all is to be missing the All... I apply this to Sigur Rós. Ethereal, awake, a reminder of everything truly magical and unspeakable about Life itself and all of its glorious complexity... Jónsi speaks the oft unheard language of Us, of Hope, of the monumental Need for Appreciation of Now and the Promise of a Brighter Tomorrow. I first heard Njósnavélin in Cameron Crowe's film Vanilla Sky, a popular adaptation of the Spanish work Abre Los Ojos. While both films present stunning qualities and deep portraits of intrinsic archetypes, there is something so entirely unique about Vanilla Sky, and its message of Self-Forgiveness. As did Vanilla Sky, so too did Sigur Rós have a tremendous impact on my adolescence and my desire for something beautiful, something magical and intrinsic, a place or a world or a time and a space where Love and Understanding were All and Humanity has finally accepted its Innocence and rejected the fallacy of an inherently sinful nature, and embraced the absolute need for Magnanimity and Unconditional Love in the external. Encountering Vanilla Sky as a teenager and hearing Njósnavélin within it while simultaneously discovering the film's various symbols and romantic constructs primed for me an entire world within my psyche, an entire portion of my imagination dedicated to this feeling of Wholeness, of Being Loved, of Being Understood. As an adolescent I found myself quite often tremendously isolated from the External World and while attending High School the escape I found most rewarding was that of the Arts, particularly Cinema, Literature and Music. Rediscovering Njósnavélin so many years later after first hearing it in Vanilla Sky was tantamount to waking up out of the coma of adolescence and beginning to find my self as a creator in this world. The sheer size and scope of the sonic landscape created by Sigur Rós has been as inspirational to me as a musician and creator as it has been ultimately Life-affirming.

9. Drrty Pharms | A Lesson For Insolence
Taking a look at Wolfe Margolies through the eyes of Potential, one sees a man befitting the struggle and consequence of his past, his present, and his relationship with both self and other. Under the moniker Drrty Pharms he seems to almost embody everything that is cruel and unjust about our world -- as if he himself and his story were literally a performance piece in and of itself, although he would strongly disagree, and maybe I'm just projecting because I knew from the first moments I interacted with this individual and his work that for whatever combination of reasons, I could feel a tangible connection, a sort of kinship and level of trust that needn't be spoken. On his stunning, 90's Marshall Mathers invoking A Lesson For Insolence, the twenty-year-old Bushwickite casually drops his history of Heroin and Crystal Methamphetamine use while imagining his persecutors literally raping and murdering him as a proper sentence for his supposed crimes against Humanity. At only 20 years of age, Wolfe's newer work makes even the most lauded after and supremely hated shock-artists look like sellout adolescent Tumblr mashups. Drrty Pharms is more than just a self-aware artist utilizing a deep and twisted narrative -- it is the work of hyper-meaningful allegory and a profound understanding of the symbols that control, subvert and continue to drive Western Culture both internally and externally. I await patiently the day that his work fall upon the proper ears and he is given the opportunity to excel that his creativity and potential so wildly deserve -- although this of course might ruin his credibility as an artist struggling to succeed in the face of the (believe it or not) surprisingly large number of people who seem to go out of their way daily to spread rumors of his supposed addiction to abrasive and taboo sexual fantasies and his desire to corrupt the minds of his popular underground Internet movement Beta Boys. It looks like 4chan finally found their spokesperson; just don't tell anybody.

10. The Beach Boys | Be True To Your School

+11. Rage Against The Machine | Killing In The Name

+12. Joanna Newsom | Emily

+13. Ellery James Roberts | Kerou's Lament

+14. Wolf Parade | I'll Believe In Anything

+15. Radiohead | Fitter Happier