“perspective” album release… full album here (via soundcloud)…

Today, on the day of the Winter Solstice, the album “Perspective” is released officially… and is now available on CD Baby, iTunes, Bandcamp, the Nights on Venus website, and Amazon MP3 as an MP3 digital download.

Three songs are available this week of Christmas as free downloads on ReverbNation – the title track,  “(A Higher) Perspective“, “Heliotropic“, and “Copper Afternoon” – to coincide with the album release, and the full album is featured here today via SoundCloud with a few notes about each song…

1. COPPER AFTERNOON
(© 2014 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)

“Copper Afternoon” was written for that sweet last and next to last run of the day on the slopes (at my favorite place to ski, Copper Mountain), when the shadows grow long across the snow and there’s only the hellish bumper-to-bumper drive to face on I-70 eastbound back toward Denver. There is an extended version of this song which may appear at a later date as a remix.

2. HELIOTROPIC
(© 2014 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)

Bend towards the light, not the dark… i.e., no going over to the “dark side”. Image/painting by Don Pollack, “The Proposition”, oil on canvas…

3. BEING, TIME, AND PLACE
(© 2014 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)

Convergence… You, right here, right now, where you stand. There is nothing else. Photo taken from the top of Mt. Flora on the Continental Divide, Colorado. Kind of a 60’s vibe to this one…

4. SUMMER MADNESS
(© 1974 Taylor / Thomas / Smith / Mickens / Westfield / Bell, Published by Warner Tamerlane Publishing. All rights reserved.)

A remake of the classic Kool and the Gang instrumental from their album “Light Of Worlds” from 1974. Official release date on the single: 5/26/2014.

What I’ve tried to do in covering this song is retain the feel and vibe of the original – paying homage to it – while offering up my own take on this classic on its 40th anniversary with the addition of piano and vibes. Always loved this song and in recording it, I’ve tried to stay as close to the original as possible. The original version is in the first “Rocky” movie – the scene where Rocky brings his girlfriend Adrienne back to his apartment for the first time. Artwork by CCT.

5. LA FRONTERA
(© 2014 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)

Spawned by the refugee crisis of 2014 and years before (see the film “Sin Nombre” -2009), this – magazine.nd.edu/news/16289-concel…ss-at-the-border/ – says it far better than I ever could. So does this: www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/1…central-america
Tear. Down. The Fence. Echoing the words of Fr. Corpora, may we see true, real, and honest immigration reform very, very soon.

6. BLISS IN BLUE
(© 2014 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)

Kind of surf, kind of jazz, kind of classical (in a Chopin-esque sort of way – well, this is the ‘piano’ album). The image is an interesting story; check it out here… Photo by D’Milo Hallerberg, from Burning Man. Freedom baby!

7. NEW WORLD CREATE
(© 2014 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)

This world’s messed up; we need a new one, but not a corporate, government, 1-percent mandated one. Transformation, nothing less… Light at the end of the tunnel…

8. (A HIGHER) PERSPECTIVE
(© 2014 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)

Erin Foley on alto sax here. Terra incognita…. new, uncharted territory. When in doubt, go higher. From the top of Quandary Peak, a ’14er’, Mosquito Range, Colorado.

Shift, alter, gain perspective… anew. The overview.

9. INFINITY POOL
(© 2014 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)

Just pure enjoyment here… love infinity pools and being in one. Can’t tell where the water ends and the sky begins (well here you can – imagine yourself actually in the pool). Visual (and aural) metaphor for “All Is One”. As above, so below… All things in balance.

10. IMPERMANENCE
(© 2014 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)

The 2nd single released this past summer. Impermanence… Defines our lives… constant change. You really don’t have all the time in the world… so turn off the TV, the smart phone and go do something.

11. SATURN RETURN NO. 2
(© 2014 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)

And we all come full circle, every 29 years… at 29, 58… and, if you live long enough, 87. Saturn, the timekeeper. Completion, a major milestone, a passage… then on to the next stage of life. Saturn image courtesy of NASA.

Thanks for reading and listening over the years. May all of you have a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, however you celebrate, and be safe in your travels to and from! I’ll be back around New Year’s as we all head into 2015.

"Perspective," the 4th Nights on Venus album, MP3 album cover
“Perspective,” the 4th Nights on Venus album, MP3 album cover

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter (@xlntsky), Facebook, and Instagram.

 

pictures at an exhibition…

This week, I hope everyone had an excellent Thanksgiving holiday…

The new album “Perspective” is complete and is currently being mastered by Brian Hazard at Resonance Mastering in Huntington Beach, CA. Scheduled release date is still set for 12/21/14 and the album will be available as an MP3 digital download and also on CDs (at a slightly later date).

The cover artwork for the MP3 album digital download is pictured below. The CD version will feature different artwork on the cover.

"Perspective," the 4th Nights on Venus album, MP3 album cover
“Perspective,” the 4th Nights on Venus album, MP3 album cover

chihuly_15And so, to celebrate the completion of the album, Erin and I headed into Denver last night – the 2-hour mini-vacation from Golden and vice versa – for a night out and to catch the Chihuly Nights exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens on its next-to-last night here in town.

chihuly_16The glass sculptures are the work of American artist Dale Chihuly and the installation is absolutely spectacular, particularly at night. The pieces, ranging in size from small to large-scale, are amazing, beautiful, intricate. Not sure where the installation is headed next but if it comes to your city, be sure and go see it – it is well worth it. Some of the highlights are pictured below.

At the Chihuly Exhibit, Denver Botanic Gardens, 11/29
At the Chihuly Exhibit, Denver Botanic Gardens, 11/29
chihuly_1
Chihuly is credited with revolutionizing the Studio Glass movement and elevating the perception of the glass medium from the realm of craft to fine art.

chihuly_5chihuly_10chihuly_6chihuly_2chihuly_11chihuly_12chihuly_3chihuly_14chihuly_4chihuly_7

"Summer Madness" - MP3 single, May, 2014
“Summer Madness” – MP3 single, May, 2014
The single "Impermanence"... released July, 2014
The single “Impermanence”… released July, 2014

The singles, “Summer Madness,” and “Impermanence” from Nights on Venus are both available as MP3 digital downloads on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, eMusic, and the NoV website as are all full-length albums.

Nights on Venus - the debut album (2011)
Nights on Venus – the debut album (2011)
"Another Day in Paradox" - 2013
“Another Day in Paradox” (2013)

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter (@xlntsky), Facebook., and Instagram.

"In 4 the Evening," released May, 2012
“In 4 the Evening,” released May, 2012

Thank You For Appointing Me CEO of Spotify: Now a Strategic Plan to Fix the Service.

nightsonvenus:

How to fix Spotify in 4 simple steps…. from David Lowery, reblogged from The Trichordist…

Originally posted on The Trichordist:

The music business press has repeatedly criticized artists for not providing a solution for the problems with streaming.  Once you get past the amusing fact that it’s not our job nor are we paid to fix streaming services it does become a useful exercise.  Here is my response. 

I would like to thank the shareholders for appointing me CEO of Spotify. I am honored that you placed such great trust in my ability to navigate us through this difficult time.

I would like to make a few comments on the strategy pursued by my predecessor Daniel Ek.  I do this not to criticize my predecessor but to illustrate how my leadership of this company will vary significantly from his.

1.  Under my predecessor’s leadership Spotify pursued a scorched earth policy towards artists that criticized our company. This has been going on for some time.  In the past Spotify engaged surrogates and proxies to attack…

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Blake Morgan Explains the #irespectmusic AND I VOTE! campaign and the Importance of @respectcreators at @thebitterend Show in NYC

nightsonvenus:

Re-blogged from the Music – Technology – Policy Blogsite…. and be sure and vote Tuesday if you haven’t already!

Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:

On October 14, Blake Morgan and a great line up of performers hosted a sold out standing room only live show for the #irespectmusic AND I VOTE! campaign at the legendary Bitter End in Greenwich Village.  In addition to stellar performances by City of the Sun, Jus Post Bellum, Coyle Girelli and Janita as well as a rousing speech supporting artist rights by Congressman Jerry Nadler that brought the house down, Blake told the story of the #irespectmusic activism and the voter registration campaign.  (See event review here at Doo Bee Doo Bee Doo.)

I highly recommend watching this video of Blake’s inspiring short speech about the evolution of his activism, the voter registration drive and the Congressional Creative Rights Caucus.

Tell your friends, sign the petition and VOTE on November 4!

image

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album tracks finalized… off to mastering next month

The album “Perspective” is now a wrap as we have moved into fall and the final mixdown of songs and pre-mastering has begun. Just in time for fall colors…

On our annual fall pilgrimage to see the colors in the high country. This is just below Echo Lake on Hwy. 103, Clear Creek County, Colorado...
On our annual fall pilgrimage to see the colors in the high country. This is just below Echo Lake on Hwy. 103, Clear Creek County, Colorado… Mt. Evans in the distance. Beautiful fall day though a little on the warm side… We headed into Idaho Springs after this and went to Tommyknockers for a couple of Harvest Pumpkin Ales…

fall_colors3It is September 28 and I’m already running late… (albeit a self-imposed deadline). 11 songs on the new one, culled from 18 songs written and recorded; they’ll go off for mastering in about 3-4 weeks.

The set list and sequence order:

1.    Copper Afternoon
2.    Heliotropic
3.    Being, Time, and Place
4.    Summer Madness
5.    La Frontera
6.    New World Create
7.    (A Higher) Perspective
8.    Bliss in Blue
9.    Infinity Pool
10. Impermanence
11. Saturn Return No. 2

fall_colors6Scheduled release date is set for December 21, 2014, the first day of winter… MP3 digital download and CDs.

“Summer Madness” and “Impermanence” were both released as singles this past summer (which now seems like ages ago) and are on “Perspective”. Both can be found currently on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, and eMusic. The single version of “Summer Madness” is the one that will be on the album.

fall_colors9
The view toward the Continental Divide…

fall_colors8

Erin and me...
Erin and me… Sept., 2014

Up until last month I had not heard all of the material together in one sitting. Very different vibe to this album; there are no 8-minute “mini-epics” this time (the longest song, “Heliotropic,” clocks in at 5:27). 9 of the 11 selected tracks feature the piano. Erin – who plays alto sax on the title track – has listened to it a few times now – her impressions: “Less electronic, lots of piano, more jazz-oriented, more moody.” I’d say that’s an accurate description of “Perspective”… more low-key than its predecessor, more reflective.

A couple of tracks will be available as free downloads, pre-release, sometime in November on the NoV page on ReverbNation. More details to come…

Just south of the town of Empire...
Just south of the town of Empire… Clear Creek County, Colorado.
"Summer Madness" - MP3 single, May, 2014
“Summer Madness” – MP3 single, May, 2014
The single "Impermanence"... to be released on 7/17
The single “Impermanence”… released on 7/17/14

The singles, “Summer Madness,” and “Impermanence” from Nights on Venus are both available as MP3 digital downloads on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, eMusic, and the NoV website as are all full-length albums.

Nights on Venus - the debut album (2011)
Nights on Venus – the debut album (2011)
"Another Day in Paradox" - 2013
“Another Day in Paradox” – 2013

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter (@xlntsky) and Facebook.

"In 4 the Evening," the new album (no. 2)...
“In 4 the Evening,” the new album (no. 2)… 2012

some thoughts on musical nostalgia…

A few days ago I read an article on Slate – Neural Nostalgia: Why do we love the music we heard as teenagers?  – by Mark Joseph Stern. Basically it’s a good article that asks the age-old question: “Why do the songs I heard when I was teenager sound sweeter than anything I listen to as an adult?” The premise of the article goes something like this:

“Between the ages of 12 and 22, our brains undergo rapid neurological development—and the music we love during that decade seems to get wired into our lobes for good.”

And that got me thinking… about the music I listened to during those 10 formative years from pre-teen to young adult the author’s talking about. Certainly this is very true (although the Ludacris vs. Katy Perry example is kind of lost on me – doesn’t strike a familiar chord since for me that correlates to roughly the time frame from The Doors, Velvet Underground, and the Stones to the Ramones, Talking Heads and Elvis Costello and everything in between), but it also felt like something was missing from the equation. That explanation doesn’t go far enough, because really, this kind of nostalgia can happen at any age, not only during those (mostly) awkward, dorky teenage years.

I can clearly remember hearing The Beatles – “Twist and Shout”/”There’s A Place” – for the first time in the summer of 1963 at the age of 6 when we were vacationing in Rumson, New Jersey and it still makes me nostalgic for that time just as much as Prince’s album “Planet Earth,” as recently as 2007 at the age of 50, makes me nostalgic now for that particular time. So something else seems to be in play and operating as far as musical nostalgia goes.

The author goes on to say (referencing the book This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession by Daniel J. Levitin – good book btw):

“When we make neural connections to a song, we also create a strong memory trace that becomes laden with heightened emotion…”

And there’s a clue right there – ‘heightened emotion’. This can happen anytime in a lifetime, whenever you’re fully alive and actively engaged in everything that’s going on within and around you, whenever your awareness of your life circumstances as well is heightened. When significant changes are happening in your life – for instance, when you move to a new city or country, when you’re beginning a new relationship (or ending one), or taking the vacation of a lifetime or a road trip with your best buds, or when you break out of habitual patterns and create a new attitude or new way of being. That’s what was missing from the article and that doesn’t happen during just those teenage years. It’s your lifelong journey, set to music.

A few years ago I read an interview with musician Stan Ridgway where he said that what we were doing as musicians/artists was really “creating memories for people” and that seemed to click in my mind as one of the truest things I’ve ever read about the creative process and putting our creations out into the world because that is exactly what we do. From his own catalog, I can listen to the album “Mosquitos” (particularly “Calling Out to Carol,” the hit, and “Mission in Life”) and I’m right back in 1989 in grad school in my early 30’s.

Think of your life… aside from just the teenage and early adult years, what songs and/or albums are you nostalgic about and what was happening then? It’s a good trip and always one worth taking, through the good times and the bad.

And that, along with the intrinsic qualities of a piece of music itself, is the beauty of music – it can take you back to the most important, meaningful moments of your life faster than anything… and it’s amazing.

Nights on Venus News:
After 10 months, recording is finished and 18 songs are, more or less, completed for the new album “Perspective.” I am currently in the process of sifting through the songs… and mixing; 10, possibly 11, will go on the album – 8 have been selected so far – plus “Summer Madness” as a bonus track. Release date – MP3 digital download and CDs – is now set for 12/21/2014. More updates and track list will be forthcoming.

Until next time…

"Summer Madness" - MP3 single, May, 2014
“Summer Madness” – MP3 single, May, 2014
The single "Impermanence"... to be released on 7/17
The single “Impermanence”… released on 7/17/14

 

The singles, “Summer Madness,” and “Impermanence” from Nights on Venus are both available as MP3 digital downloads on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, eMusic, and the NoV website as are all full-length albums.

Nights on Venus - the debut album (2011)
Nights on Venus – the debut album (2011)
"Another Day in Paradox" - 2013
“Another Day in Paradox” – 2013

 

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter (@xlntsky) and Facebook.

"In 4 the Evening," the new album (no. 2)...
“In 4 the Evening,” the new album (no. 2)… 2012

new song, “impermanence” released 7/17…

And this week, “Impermanence” has been released as of Thursday…. and now available on all the major outlets, iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, CD Baby, and Bandcamp, available in your choice of MP3 320 and FLAC (lossless) downloadable files on the latter two. And here it is from SoundCloud… Thanks for listening!

IMPERMANENCE
(© 2014 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)

The image of this gargoyle is one I’ve used before – it appeared on the inner sleeve of the previous CD “Another Day in Paradox” and it has a certain amount of personal significance for me. ‘Impermanence’ itself – one of the four noble truths in Buddhism – simply means life is constant change, from one state to the next, moment by moment.

Notes from a St. George's publication... The church was built in 1907 and is a national historic landmark as of 2007.
Notes from a St. George’s publication… The church was built in 1907 and is a national historic landmark as of 2007.

This particular gargoyle can be found at St. George’s By the River Episcopal Church in Rumson, New Jersey. This is where I spent the first year-and-a-half of my life and where I was baptized. My grandfather, Dr. Canon George A. Robertshaw, was the rector (senior pastor for those not familiar with the term) of St. George’s for many years until his death in 1964. St. George, patron saint of England who slew the dragon in mythical lore, so it hardly seems like a coincidence that – as my granddad’s name was George – he should be there and that the church flourished and grew during his tenure.

St. George's By the River, Rumson, NJ
St. George’s By the River, Rumson, NJ

My mom, Joyce, grew up here at the rectory, the residence at the church at 7 Lincoln Avenue, for much of her early life, and this is where she met my dad, Paul Lindsley Thomas, who came to the church as assistant organist and choir director in 1950. They got married here and then I was born in 1956 down the road a little ways in Asbury Park, so these are my roots.

After we moved to Dallas, Texas in 1960, we returned every summer to the Jersey shore for a few weeks and stayed on the grounds, and I can remember as a little kid walking the grounds and looking up at that gargoyle and being fascinated by it. Some images just stick with (or haunt) you for the rest of your life and this seems to be one of those for me. [Perhaps also not coincidentally I heard my first Beatles’ songs, “Twist and Shout/There’s A Place” there in Rumson during the summer of 1963.]

I haven’t been back to the Jersey shore for a long, long time (1976). I’m sure way back then as a kid I couldn’t articulate that this image somehow reminded me of the fleeting nature of life, constant change, or of various changing emotional/mental states, but it sure did when I was walking around with the chord progression and that repeated guitar lick in my head months before I recorded it in June.

Notes on the recording:
“Impermanence” was recorded in June, 2014 at the ‘Cave Recording Studio, Golden, Colorado,
Craig C. Thomas – all instruments, engineering and production
Mastered by Brian Hazard at Resonance Mastering, Huntington Beach, California

Hope you enjoy! Until next time…

"Summer Madness" - MP3 single, May, 2014
“Summer Madness” – MP3 single, May, 2014
The single "Impermanence"... to be released on 7/17
The single “Impermanence”… released on 7/17/14

The single, “Summer Madness,” from Nights on Venus is available as an MP3 digital download on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, eMusic, and the NoV website as are all full-length albums.

Nights on Venus - the debut album (2011)
Nights on Venus – the debut album (2011)
"Another Day in Paradox" - 2013
“Another Day in Paradox” – 2013

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter (@xlntsky) and Facebook.

"In 4 the Evening," the new album (no. 2)...
“In 4 the Evening,” the new album (no. 2)… 2012

excursions in sound and consciousness with the band Nights on Venus

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