Alex Davis Music

Void for Void

I have been away from the blog for some time and am now returning with this reflection on emptiness.

For the past few months I’ve submerged myself in an conceptual cocktail consisting of Joseph Campbell’s Mythos, Richard Rohr’s daily meditations, and most recently (thanks to THE MAN, THE PRAYER DYNAMO, Terry Minchow-Proffitt) Thomas Keating’s The Contemplative Journey. All of these studies guide me to find rest in my “true self” and come to terms with the “false self” - my best fabrication of who I ought to be in the context of the world. Campbell talks about the “hero’s journey” beginning with the “left-hand-path” that takes you away from your established identity within the society to the unknown – the desert.

Dwelling in the desert as the true self, the quiet-still gives space to hear and clarity to see. The smallest detail of everyday objects becomes precious, the fleeting moment of a clear night sky becomes a treasure - a gift given to experience.

This piece, Void for Void exists because there is a hammered-metal lid for a pot I use when I’m cooking. It has a beautiful long-lasting tone. One day, I HEARD it, so I recorded it, played it backwards, and the piece wrote itself (as usual). What sounds can you hear around you right now? What do you see when you stop THINKING and start being?

Moore Mill

THE PIECE

The piece reflects the steady and timeless nature of the creek with a single repeated note. Our harmony develops as a reflection on how we can draw from this abundant and consistent source. Our single melody reflects the inner workings of of the mill in it's vital days. As the melody (work) continues, it's purpose stays the same as the harmony (the times) subtly shift underneath of it, ultimately leaving the melody behind. Soon the times change and the work moves, and all we have left is the creek and the memories of a working mill.

If you would like sheet music, contact me.

THE STORY

This past week I bought a new Panasonic GH4 camera and went to do some camera tests. I decided to go down the hill and shoot video of the old Moore Mill on Hurricane Creek (Pelzer, SC). My purpose was a technical one: get to know my camera before I do some recording jobs with it this coming weekend, but it wasn't long before I found myself moved by the images I was getting of Mill. The constant whir of the creek outside, the light catching the dust, and the texture of weatherworn metal woke me up to the moment once again. Have you ever had that moment where you put all your focus on the place in which you are - then through that focus you become present in that place? 

The next morning I found myself at the piano reflecting on the serene and nostalgic footage. There's so much to be said for being in the space now, with rust and dirt and floorboards you have to test before each step, and yet immerse your mind in the goings-on of years ago, when it was a vital and purposeful place. How did the wheels turn and belts communicate this organism's extremities with it's inner kinesis? What little tricks did the workers do to make their process smoother and easier? Which tools were the most useful, though now so obsolete? I'm thankful this was the place I found myself testing my camera.