[a warm thankyou to ray caesar for taking the time to share how music influences his creative process and for contributing to musicisart. living in toronto, canada, ray creates artwork from past experiences of living through life’s different patterns and working eighteen years at toronto’s hospital for sick children. by pushing boundries of incorporating what he has seen and emotionally felt into his very own catharsis, ray portrays such delicate digital details of gentle imagery. its not difficult at all to realize that these whimsical masterpieces come directly from his soul.]

I actually listen to a lot of Japanese Minyo, ancient country, mountain and wild festival music.

Here is a sample:: The Yoshiwara by Toshinori Kondo

I am English but grew up in a Japanese family since 15 when I met my wife Michiko. Her grandparents, who lived until their late 90s and were born during the 19th century, listened to this music and I got addicted to it. I have an old tape they made for me and there is the ticking of an old alarm clock next to the recorder they used, and you can hear them bickering in the background about whether or not they should go downstairs to get a cup of tea. They were both close to 97 when they made the tape ….it’s my favorite.

I also listen to some Japanese Enka (Japanese Blues of the 1960s). Ha! I love old renditions of Civil War songs, British and French Navy songs and hornpipes of the 19th century, just about anything done on a harpsichord or spinnet. Anything by Bach. I love all Gospel music and spend an inordinate amount of time listening to the Chants of Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo De Silos.

Foreign music …French singers of the 1960s, Bulgarian Women’s music, German music of the 1930s, Indian meditative music, all manner of Brazilian music. Sifting through any form of ancient music, in fact I end up listening to Indonesian Gamelan even though I actually don’t like it very much. I just keep ending up at concerts and having to force myself to sit thru them. Also, like the sound of music in antique music boxes and anything that sounds like Rudy Vallee thru an old microphone.

.A Personal Collection of Favorites.

Something Cool by June Christy [something cool, 1953]
The Last Dance by Jackie Gleason [romantic moods, 1955]
Gnossiennes No. 4 by Erik Satie [after the rain, 1983]
Skylark by Gene Ammons [gentle jug, 1961]
Whoa Back, Buck by Leadbelly [mount everest of blues, 1959]
O Mio Babbino Caro by Miriam Gauci [gianni schicchi, 1918]
Spiegel Im Spiegel by Arvo Part [alina, 1978]

As you can see much of the music I listen to is from the past which fits with my work, but I do sift through a great deal of current sounds also. Unfortunately I don’t listen to music when I create … I need silence and that’s the only way I have been able to create images as I often put myself in a very “open-minded state”. Its like my mind whispers things to me and if I have too much noise I cant taste or touch those soft sounds in my mind …that’s the best way I can explain it. I often think silence has a very nice sound to it also and is actually full of sound.

Making images for me is mixed up with the fact that I have a condition called Sleep Paralysis and when I wake I cant move, but I see either “visions” or “hallucinations” or hear things in my “minds eye” depending on what you choose to believe.

I have no interest if people believe that or not or what they think of it as I am not looking for a rational explanation of what causes it, although I think it has something to do with narcolepsy.

I am an artist and I use the irrational nature of it for what I do and it has little to do with belief and a lot more to do with acceptance …and I am fucking tired of keeping quiet about it as I have done for most of my life. I let other people argue over what it is about and I just experience it. If I examine it too much, the lucid state goes away and although it can be very frightening it is also quite wonderful.

I have had it in various forms since childhood. I mainly listen to music when doing a repetitive function that doesn’t require me to keep my mind on track or when trying to relax my mind, that helps the creative process. I’ve noticed that after lucid dreams and episodes of sleep paralysis I might become very interested in a type of music I wasn’t interested in before, that I could wake up tomorrow morning and just have to download some polka or maybe even some Liberace.

art, words & playlist by ray caesar

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