“Self Portrait” Collage

For a recent class, I was required to assemble a self-portrait collage. The final piece shown below reflects my personality in that music is a huge part of my life and has been my creative outlet for several decades. You’ll notice that this is a symbolic self-portrait rather than a literal interpretation of my actual appearance.

Self portrait collage by Karl Whetzel, 2016.

Now for a bit of explanation of the bits and pieces:

• The large “W” in the corner denotes my last name.

• The large photo on the right is of Steven Wilson who is my favorite modern musician and artist, one from whom I draw much inspiration and whom I slightly resemble (glasses, long hair, beard). So I used him as a personal likeness.

• The spigot is representative of pouring out many ideas from my mind, capturing them via recordings over the course of a lifetime into a catalog of songs.

• Not being a professional artist/musician, I’m required to project a certain business-like persona in order to make a living.

• Nevertheless, death is the inevitable end of us all which waits at the end of the board.

I arranged this so that someone looking at it will view it from left to right, life to death. A fellow classmate suggested that this would make for a good album cover. Yeah, I think she’s right. 🙂

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The 60 Second Clip: #3

This is the third in a planned series of videos that I’m producing. They are limited to 60 seconds selected from a longer section of music. It’s simply an effort to “Stop Thinking and to Start Doing” and have some fun in the process.

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To The Summit

This month the missus and I took a multi-day trip to the mountains of North Carolina visiting Blowing Rock and the summit of Grandfather Mountain. Having been raised near the Appalachians, being able to visit some of the higher points in this mountain chain was akin to a spiritual experience for me. We were fortunate that the weather was as near to perfect as could be with highs in the upper 70s accompanied by clear skies and low humidity.

I’ve included several photographs from our trip that in no way due the views justice. Frankly, the only way to truly appreciate the grandeur and the beauty of these mountains is to actually be there.

‘Til next time.

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A New 60 Second Clip

This is the second in a planned series of videos that I’m producing. They are limited to 60 seconds selected from a longer section of music. It’s simply an effort to “Stop Thinking and to Start Doing” and have some fun in the process.

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New Series: The 60 Second Clip

This is the first in a planned series of videos that I’ll be releasing. They’ll be limited to 60 seconds of footage selected from a longer section of music. It’s simply an effort to stop thinking and to start doing and have some fun in the process.

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Moogfest: Been There, Done That Finally

This past Friday and Saturday, I attended Moogfest 2016, an event that I’ve wanted to attend for several years.

Personal highlights were seeing and playing the Moog Minimoog Model D reissue, checking out the gear in the Moog Pop Up Shop, attending a talk featuring Tatsuya Takahashi (designer of the Korg Minilogue), getting to hear famed producer Daniel Lanois speak and play, and walking around downtown Durham, NC and the American Tobacco Campus. Downtown Durham is interesting in that it has such a distinct identity, much like downtown Roanoke, VA.

One of the unfortunate lowpoints was feeling rather underwhelmed after playing the Minimoog Model D synthesizer. I’m thankful for the opportunity to play the reissue of this iconic instrument and hope Moog’s effort to bring it back to production is successful. But I’m glad modern synths have advanced far beyond its 1970s era capabilities which for the most part it retains. At its heart it’s an instrument begging to be played. Howvever, at $3500 it’s a nostalgia piece. Nice to have, but not necessary.

Another downer was that there seemed to be few sessions for musicians and their needs and interests. Most of the talks I attended were geared more towards the engineer types which is fine. Without engineers we wouldn’t have synthesizers. Nevertheless, I’d like to see the addition of creative music making focused sessions in future Moogfests. After all, without musicians engineers wouldn’t have a market to which to sell their creations.

Overall, despite those relatively minor points, it was a very interesting and informative event which one should experience at least once. I’m hoping that since Moog invited a Korg designer to speak at this year’s conference that it bodes well for the possibility of Dave Smith and Tom Oberheim coming to speak at a future Moogfest. If that happens, I’ll definitely be attending again.

‘Til next time.

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