Yep… It took a little while but as of yesterday (Friday, February 23rd 2024) all of the internal framework for the studio is now complete.

This also includes the central wall separating the control room and the recording/live streaming area.

Tasks that are left to be done…

  • Install insulation on ceiling
  • Define power points/finish off electrical work
  • Install control room window
  • Put up walls
  • Set up control room – Hardware
  • Install light fixtures/split system AC

I’m sure I’ve missed some things off the list but hey… We’re all making it up as we go along.

A HUGE thank you to Hen Sweet from Home Sweet Home for doing all of the framing work and also my nephew Cooper who acted as Hen’s helper for all of last week.

It’s all coming together. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting larger and brighter with every day that passes. I’m “Big Kev” excited.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

Picture yourself in the vastness of space, surrounded by twinkling stars and silently orbiting planets. There you are, alone, observing the universe.

This idea is more than mere fancy; it’s a meaningful reflection on our existence. We each have a unique spot in the observable universe, effectively making us the centres of our own universes. But what does this mean for us as individuals? How does it influence our view of the world and our role in it?

Understanding Our Place in the Universe

At first, it might seem self-centred to say we’re each at the universe’s centre. However, if we consider the universe’s vast and ever-expanding nature, any point, including where we stand, can be seen as a centre. This isn’t just a physical reality but also a metaphorical one, reflecting our personal experiences and perceptions.

From my viewpoint, my experiences, joys, and challenges revolve around me. The same is true for you – your life orbits around your thoughts, dreams, and realities. This isn’t self-centredness; it’s a fact of our individual perspectives. We each experience life through our lens, placing us at the centre of our stories.

However, this central position doesn’t suggest we’re more important than others. Realising this helps us see ourselves differently. We are central, but so is everyone else in their lives. This thought fosters humility and connection with others, as we recognise that everyone is living a life as rich and complex as ours.

The Philosophical Implications

Being at the centre of our own universe has significant philosophical implications. It makes us question our perceptions of ourselves and others.

On a personal level, this understanding can be empowering and humbling. It acknowledges our role in shaping our experiences, yet reminds us that this is a universal truth, shared by everyone we meet.

In my life, I’ve realised that recognising my centrality doesn’t make me superior to others. It’s a common human experience, a shared reality that connects us all. This is key to avoiding egocentrism.

While it’s natural to view our lives as the main story, recognising others as central to their narratives fosters empathy and compassion. This shift in perspective has profound implications for our interactions with the world. It encourages us to approach others with understanding, acknowledging that they, too, are navigating their central universe.

The Illusion of Hierarchy in Centrality

There’s a misconception that being central to our universe implies a hierarchy of importance. However, I’ve come to see this as an illusion. If we’re all central to our universes, this centrality is shared, not distinguishing. It doesn’t raise any of us above the rest; rather, it places us all on an equal footing.

In my life, this has been freeing. It has helped me step away from competing to prove my worth over others. Understanding our equal centrality removes the need for such comparisons. In a sky full of stars, each star is central in its right, yet no single star dominates.

This perspective changes how we view our relationships. Instead of seeing life as a race for significance, we can appreciate each person’s unique centrality. This doesn’t lessen our value but adds richness to our understanding of the human experience. We’re all stars in the universe, shining in our way, yet part of a magnificent whole.

Equality in Centrality: A Humbling Concept

Embracing our roles as centres of our universes leads to a humbling conclusion: our equal importance. This concept of equality in centrality is enlightening and grounding. For me, it has been a journey towards humility and a deeper appreciation of others.

It’s easy to think our central position makes our experiences more significant than others. But in reality, everyone around us experiences life with the same intensity and centrality. This invites us to live with more compassion and empathy.

When I consider this, I’m reminded of the countless stories unfolding around me. Each person I meet, each life that intersects with mine, is a universe in itself. Acknowledging this doesn’t lessen my experiences but deepens my connections.

This understanding teaches us to value each narrative and encourages us to listen, understand, and appreciate the diverse tapestry of human experiences. It’s a reminder that while we are authors of our stories, we are also part of a larger, interconnected narrative.

Personal Reflections and Experiences

In my life, understanding my position as the centre of my universe has been both a journey of self-discovery and a path to connecting with others. I’ve had moments of feeling like the protagonist in life’s grand story, only to realise that everyone around me is living their version of this story. This has been both humbling and liberating.

There have been times when I felt my issues were the world’s most significant. But seeing others as central to their universes shifted my perspective. I began to see that my challenges, while important to me, are just one part of the vast human experience. This didn’t make my problems smaller; it made my world bigger.

This perspective has changed my interactions, making conversations more about understanding than being understood. Each person I meet adds a new chapter to my understanding of the world.

This journey towards recognising my centrality and the centrality of others has been profound. It has taught me to appreciate my journey’s uniqueness while valuing those around me. It’s a balance between recognising my significance and understanding that I’m part of a larger, interconnected community.

My Conclusion

Viewing ourselves as centres of our universes is a concept rich with implications. It challenges us to think deeply about our place in the world and our relationships with others. This realisation has guided me towards a more empathetic and connected way of living.

Understanding that we are all equally central doesn’t diminish our importance; it enhances our appreciation for the shared human experience. It encourages us to view each person’s life as a unique story, deserving respect and understanding. This perspective is not about diminishing ourselves but about recognising the value in everyone.

As you go about your day, consider this concept. How does acknowledging your centrality, along with everyone else’s, alter your view of your interactions and experiences? How can this understanding impact your relationships and life approach?

Have you ever considered your place in the universe in this way? How has this perspective influenced your view of yourself and others? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this subject. Let me know what you think.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

An organ playing the longest and slowest piece of music in the world has changed chord for the first time in two years.

In a remarkable musical event, an organ at the Burchardi Church in Halberstadt, Germany, has recently changed chord in its ongoing rendition of John Cage’s piece, “As Slow as Possible.” This piece, known for being the longest and slowest in the world, began in 2001 and is set to conclude in 2640, marking a total duration of 639 years.

The composition, a brainchild of the legendary avant-garde musician John Cage, has experienced only 16 chord changes since its inception. Interestingly, the piece commenced with an 18-month silence, and the first audible notes emerged in 2003.

The recent chord change, a rare and much-anticipated event, occurred on February 5, exactly two years after the previous change. This unique musical experience has garnered significant attention, with enthusiasts booking tickets years in advance to witness the chord transitions in person.

The organ, specially constructed for this performance, employs an electronic wind machine and sandbags pressing down the keys to sustain the drone-like sound.

The score of “As Slow as Possible” spans eight pages and can be played on either a piano or an organ. While Cage intended the piece to be performed as slowly as possible, he did not define a specific tempo, leaving much to interpretation.

The current performance, set to continue for centuries, starkly contrasts with its 1987 premiere, which lasted less than half an hour. Subsequent renditions have varied in length, with a notable 14-hour performance by organist Diane Luchese in 2009.

This extraordinary musical endeavour, born from a posthumous meeting of musicians and philosophers in honour of Cage, continues to captivate and intrigue, promising a chord change next expected on August 5, 2026. As the organ plays on, “As Slow as Possible” stands as a testament to the enduring and evolving nature of musical expression.

This is the ultimate in “slow music.”


Source: An organ playing a 639-year-long piece of music has changed chord

Call me old fashioned but I still prefer writing songs with a pen to paper rather than to use a computer.

There have been many times where I’ve attempted to use a computer keyboard and word processor instead of pen and paper to jot down my songwriting ideas and I’ve found that each time the special feeling of continuity I get between head, heart and computer screen is not as intense as the organic scrawling of a really good quality pen onto paper.

It’s like the act of putting pen to paper somehow allows me to become an integral part of what I’m writing whereas I feel an uncomfortable distance from my songwriting ideas if I just type it out.

Yes, I know that for this very post to exist I would’ve had to have typed the words into a word processor or directly into the WYSIWYG editor in my blogging platform of choice, WordPress however, this particular post was written on paper first.

I got the idea for this post from automatically and randomly writing on pieces of paper as a means of clearing my mind of the stuff that has collected in it over time. A bit of mental cleaning as it were and some indication that automatic writing works.

I’m a big fan of technology but at the same time I’d hate to see the art of writing a song with a pen and paper disappear for good.

What do you think? Which medium do you prefer to write songs with? Pen and paper or keyboard and word processor?

Peace,

Corey 🙂

Below is the complete version of “An Incomplete Manifesto For Growth” as mentioned in my last blog post “Some Creative Suggestions For Your Songwriting Process.”

This manifesto was conceived in 1998 by Bruce Mau, the creative director of Bruce Mau Design. The purpose of the manifesto is explained on his website in the following way:

“Written in 1998, the Incomplete Manifesto is an articulation of statements exemplifying Bruce Mau’s beliefs, strategies and motivations. Collectively, they are how we approach every project.”

From what I have seen, Bruce Mau and his team certainly know what they’re talking about and from reading his manifesto below I can see how the creative process of design and writing songs can come from exactly the same place.

The muse is a multi-talented entity indeed…


An Incomplete Manifesto For Growth
By Bruce Mau

1. Allow events to change you.
You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it.

The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.

2. Forget about good.
Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all agree on. Growth is not necessarily good.

Growth is an exploration of unlit recesses that may or may not yield to our research. As long as you stick to good you’ll never have real growth.

3. Process is more important than outcome.
When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we’ve already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.

4. Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child).
Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.

5. Go deep.
The deeper you go the more likely you will discover something of value.

6. Capture accidents.
The wrong answer is the right answer in search of a different question. Collect wrong answers as part of the process. Ask different questions.

7. Study.
A studio is a place of study. Use the necessity of production as an excuse to study. Everyone will benefit.

8. Drift.
Allow yourself to wander aimlessly. Explore adjacencies. Lack judgment. Postpone criticism.

9. Begin anywhere.
John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.

10. Everyone is a leader.
Growth happens. Whenever it does, allow it to emerge. Learn to follow when it makes sense. Let anyone lead.

11. Harvest ideas.
Edit applications. Ideas need a dynamic, fluid, generous environment to sustain life. Applications, on the other hand, benefit from critical rigor. Produce a high ratio of ideas to applications.

12. Keep moving.
The market and its operations have a tendency to reinforce success. Resist it. Allow failure and migration to be part of your practice.

13. Slow down.
Desynchronize from standard time frames and surprising opportunities may present themselves.

14. Don’t be cool.
Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort.

15. Ask stupid questions.
Growth is fueled by desire and innocence. Assess the answer, not the question. Imagine learning throughout your life at the rate of an infant.

16. Collaborate.
The space between people working together is filled with conflict, friction, strife, exhilaration, delight, and vast creative potential.

17. ____________________.
Intentionally left blank. Allow space for the ideas you haven’t had yet, and for the ideas of others.

18. Stay up late.
Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far, been up too long, worked too hard, and you’re separated from the rest of the world.

19. Work the metaphor.
Every object has the capacity to stand for something other than what is apparent. Work on what it stands for.

20. Be careful to take risks.
Time is genetic. Today is the child of yesterday and the parent of tomorrow. The work you produce today will create your future.

21. Repeat yourself.
If you like it, do it again. If you don’t like it, do it again.

22. Make your own tools.
Hybridize your tools in order to build unique things. Even simple tools that are your own can yield entirely new avenues of exploration. Remember, tools amplify our capacities, so even a small tool can make a big difference.

23. Stand on someone’s shoulders.
You can travel farther carried on the accomplishments of those who came before you. And the view is so much better.

24. Avoid software.
The problem with software is that everyone has it.

25. Don’t clean your desk.
You might find something in the morning that you can’t see tonight.

26. Don’t enter awards competitions.
Just don’t. It’s not good for you.

27. Read only left-hand pages.
Marshall McLuhan did this. By decreasing the amount of information, we leave room for what he called our “noodle.”

28. Make new words.
Expand the lexicon. The new conditions demand a new way of thinking. The thinking demands new forms of expression. The expression generates new conditions.

29. Think with your mind.
Forget technology. Creativity is not device-dependent.

30. Organization = Liberty.
Real innovation in design, or any other field, happens in context. That context is usually some form of cooperatively managed enterprise. Frank Gehry, for instance, is only able to realize Bilbao because his studio can deliver it on budget.

The myth of a split between “creatives” and “suits” is what Leonard Cohen calls a ‘charming artifact of the past.’

31. Don’t borrow money.
Once again, Frank Gehry’s advice. By maintaining financial control, we maintain creative control. It’s not exactly rocket science, but it’s surprising how hard it is to maintain this discipline, and how many have failed.

32. Listen carefully.
Every collaborator who enters our orbit brings with him or her a world more strange and complex than any we could ever hope to imagine. By listening to the details and the subtlety of their needs, desires, or ambitions, we fold their world onto our own. Neither party will ever be the same.

33. Take field trips.
The bandwidth of the world is greater than that of your TV set, or the Internet, or even a totally immersive, interactive, dynamically rendered, object-oriented, real-time, computer graphic–simulated environment.

34. Make mistakes faster.
This isn’t my idea – I borrowed it. I think it belongs to Andy Grove.

35. Imitate.
Don’t be shy about it. Try to get as close as you can. You’ll never get all the way, and the separation might be truly remarkable. We have only to look to Richard Hamilton and his version of Marcel Duchamp’s large glass to see how rich, discredited, and underused imitation is as a technique.

36. Scat.
When you forget the words, do what Ella did: make up something else … but not words.

37. Break it, stretch it, bend it, crush it, crack it, fold it.

38. Explore the other edge.
Great liberty exists when we avoid trying to run with the technological pack. We can’t find the leading edge because it’s trampled underfoot. Try using old-tech equipment made obsolete by an economic cycle but still rich with potential.

39. Coffee breaks, cab rides, green rooms.
Real growth often happens outside of where we intend it to, in the interstitial spaces – what Dr. Seuss calls “the waiting place.”

Hans Ulrich Obrist once organized a science and art conference with all of the infrastructure of a conference – the parties, chats, lunches, airport arrivals — but with no actual conference. Apparently it was hugely successful and spawned many ongoing collaborations.

40. Avoid fields.
Jump fences. Disciplinary boundaries and regulatory regimes are attempts to control the wilding of creative life. They are often understandable efforts to order what are manifold, complex, evolutionary processes. Our job is to jump the fences and cross the fields.

41. Laugh.
People visiting the studio often comment on how much we laugh. Since I’ve become aware of this, I use it as a barometer of how comfortably we are expressing ourselves.

42. Remember.
Growth is only possible as a product of history. Without memory, innovation is merely novelty. History gives growth a direction. But a memory is never perfect.

Every memory is a degraded or composite image of a previous moment or event. That’s what makes us aware of its quality as a past and not a present. It means that every memory is new, a partial construct different from its source, and, as such, a potential for growth itself.

43. Power to the people.
Play can only happen when people feel they have control over their lives. We can’t be free agents if we’re not free.


Wow!

Even though Bruce Mau and his team approach every new design project using these strategies and philosophies, I truly believe that the process of songwriting (indeed every creative endeavour) can be looked at in the very same way.

I don’t know about you but right now, I’m feeling truly inspired. Are you? Which points in the manifesto resonate with you? Let me know about it.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

One of my favourite songwriting websites that I visit regularly and I’m a proud member of is called TAXI.

Apart from the songwriting A&R services they provide for their members, I really like the articles and helpful tips that they provide on the site as well.

One of these articles that I recently came across was by a songwriter named Michael Anderson called “Creative Suggestions”

The article is essentially a huge list of wisdom to help expand your songwriting process and at the same time, enrich you as a songwriter which is just the very thing that I’m trying to achieve with Corey Stewart Online.

Anyways, I’ve included the article below for your enjoyment…


Creative Suggestions
By Michael Anderson

(Originally Published in TAXI – July 2008)

One of the great things I have found about teaching is how much you end up learning. The best way to learn about something is to help someone else do it.

As part of my teaching, recently I interviewed a guest, Paula McMath, who came in with amazing material prepared for the class.

I am going to share excerpts of one section here — it comes form a handout she gave the class called “An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth.”

I don’t know where it came from, or who wrote it — and I am editing it for focus and length here. If you are so motivated, I am sure you can find the whole thing on the Internet somewhere.

So here are some suggestions for your process in writing:

  • Allow events to change you. You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it.
  • The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.
  • Forget about good. Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all agree on.
  • Growth is not necessarily good. Growth is an exploration of unlit recesses that may or may not yield to our research. As long as you stick to good you’ll never have real growth.
  • Process is more important than outcome. When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we’ve already been.
  • Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child). Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, trials, and errors.
  • Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.
  • Capture accidents. The wrong answer is the right answer in search of a different question.
  • Study. A studio is a place of study. Use the necessity of production as an excuse to study.
  • Drift. Allow yourself to wander aimlessly Postpone criticism.
  • Begin anywhere. John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice – begin anywhere.
  • Everyone is a leader. Growth happens. Whenever it does, allow it to emerge. Learn to follow when it makes sense. Let anyone lead.
  • Harvest ideas – edit applications. Ideas need a dynamic, fluid, generous environment to sustain life. Applications, on the other hand, benefit from critical rigor. Produce a high ratio of ideas to applications.
  • Keep moving. The market and its operations have a tendency to reinforce success. Resist it. Allow failure and migration to be part of your practice.
  • Slow down. Desynchronise from standard time frames and surprising opportunities may present themselves.
  • Don’t be cool. Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort.
  • Ask stupid questions. Growth is fueled by desire and innocence.
  • Collaborate. The space between people working together is filled with strife, friction, exhilaration, delight, and creative potential.
  • Allow space for the ideas you haven’t had yet, and for the ideas of others.
  • Stay up late. Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far, been up too long, worked too hard, and you’re separated from the rest of the world.
  • Work the metaphor. Every object has the capacity to stand for something other than what is apparent. Work on what it stands for.
  • Be careful to take risks. Time is genetic. Today is the child of yesterday and the parent of tomorrow. The work you produce today will create your future.
  • Make your own tools. Hybridise your tools in order to build unique things.
  • Even simple tools that are your own can yield entirely new avenues of exploration. Remember, tools amplify our capacities, so even a small tool can make a big difference.
  • Stand on someone’s shoulders. You can travel farther carried on the accomplishments of those who came before you. And the view is so much better.
  • Avoid software. The problem with software is that everyone has it.
  • Don’t clean your desk. You might find something in the morning that you can’t see tonight.
  • Don’t enter awards competitions. Just don’t. It’s not good for you.
  • Make new words. Expand the lexicon. The new conditions demand a new way of thinking. The thinking demands new forms of expression. The expression generates new conditions.
  • Think with your mind. Forget technology. Creativity is not device dependent.
  • Organization = Liberty. Real innovation in design, or any other field, happens in context. That context is usually some form of cooperatively managed enterprise.
  • Don’t borrow money. By maintaining financial control, we maintain creative control. It’s not exactly rocket science, but it’s surprising how hard it is to maintain this discipline, and how many have failed.
  • Listen carefully. Every collaborator who enters our orbit brings with him or her a world more strange and complex than any we could ever hope to imagine. By listening to the details and the subtlety of their needs, desires, or ambitions, we fold their world onto our own. Neither party will ever be the same.
  • Take field trips. The bandwidth of the world is greater than that of your TV set, or the Internet, or even a totally immersive, interactive, dynamically rendered, object-oriented, real-time, computer graphic-simulated environment.
  • Make mistakes faster.
  • Imitate. Don’t be shy about it. Try to get as close as you can. You’ll never get all the way, and the separation might be truly remarkable.
  • Scat. When you forget the words, do what Ella did—make up something else.
  • Break it, stretch it, bend it, crush it, crack it, fold it.

Excerpted from Michael Anderson’s Little Black Book of Songwriting available at: www.michaelanderson.com

Need a to get your Songs to Record LabelsPublishers or Major Artists? Then check out TAXI: The World’s Leading Independent A&R Company, helping bands, artists and Songwriters get signed.

Now that is what I call an amazing list of creative suggestions to think about.

Reading this article reaffirms my thoughts, feelings and theories of the importance of having a songwriting process. I’m certainly going to look up “An Incomplete Manifesto For Growth” and really get my head around what it means.

Incidentally, what points took your fancy? Let me know what you think.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

Finally, there has been some progress with the studio build now that Christmas, New Year and my birthday are now out of the way for the year.

With some help by the wonderful Henry Sweet, all of the walls now have a framework to put in the soundproof insulation as well as getting a start on putting ion the electrical cabling.

I’ll be getting the insulation this week and it’s my hope that all walls will be insulated by the end of the week.

It’s really starting to take shape and the light is starting to appear at the end of the tunnel.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

We songwriters are very sensory creatures and we have been known to use a variety of stimuli to kick off our songwriting processes.

I have, in previous posts mentioned that listening to music or reading some poetry might be a good way to find some inspiration but I have not yet discussed whether a random image could spark off a songwriting idea or two.

So, with that in mind, try this songwriting exercise and see what you can come up with…

1. Go to any one of these random image generators

2. Go with the first image that is presented to you.

3. Start writing in point-form/long-hand your thoughts, feelings and detailed descriptions of what you see. Use all of your senses and your imagination. Give yourself a time limit if you like (say ten minutes).

4. Once you’re finished ask yourself… “Can I write a song from all this?”

Give this songwriting exercise a really good go, put your everything into it and write down as much as you can. The more information the better.

Doing this will train your eyes to really observe what it sees rather than just to casually look at something and by writing everything that you see down you’re giving yourself an excuse and a reason to write.

By eliminating choice through randomness you’re dismantling your inner critics tendency to become paralysed by too much choice.

If nothing comes of it don’t worry, the exercise might have been the very thing that break your songwriting block however, if something comes from it then let me know. I’d be interested to see if my theory works.

Peace,

Corey 🙂