Michael Garfield – Music, Art, & Writing on the Cusp of Planetary Renaissance

16 September 2016

...in which I share my 360 Travelogue of Boom Festival & Portugal, announce the Future Fossils Podcast on iTunes, share my slow motion new music video, tell you "How to Live in the Future," spread Third Eye Drops with Erik Davis, support the Ayahuasca Reader, and launch my Patreon Campaign.

“We live on the leash of our senses. Although they enlarge us, they also limit and restrain us, but how beautifully. Love is a beautiful bondage, too.”
– Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses

Hello, my amazing invisible extended self existing in the gauzy web of long-term friendships and connections made since this blog started in the misty dawn age of 2008!  I'm finally back from my first experience of Europe and I have so many great treasures ready for you to enjoy.

It's been a totally transformative summer for me, both good and bad.  The hardest part is always coming home and trying to make sense of all the lessons...so while I sort that out, here is the first round of my offerings to you, beginning with the photosphere travelogue of my experience in Portugal.

(All of this is freely given to you and the commons. There's nothing here to purchase. If you would like to show support, subscribe to me on Patreon or Bandcamp – or if you're broke, just share it with your friends. Whatever you can do is more appreciated than you know.)

360º Photos from Portugal & Boom Festival 

I spent my three weeks in Portugal taking as many beautiful 360º shots as possible.  Boom was supremely beautiful (both for its quieter and louder moments), but I also managed to great plenty of great shots while hanging out in Lisbon (and the world's best hostel); Cerro de Janeiro (an awesome workaway in Odemira); Sintra (a landscape of awesome ancient castles and a UNESCO world heritage site); and Cabo da Roca (the westernmost point of continental Europe).

Here they are:
Every one of these can be explored by clicking on the image, then scrolling with your mouse or touchscreen to explore the whole environment.  It was a trip to work with this new photographic medium that captures everything around the camera – you can't escape the "selfie" but it renders the photographer as part of an entire scene, more accurate than both the selfie and the old tradition of remaining hidden from behind the camera.

Feel free to leave your comments and questions!  I'll be happy to respond to every one of them.

Future Fossils Podcast FINALLY on iTunesStitcher!

For everyone who loves a deep dive into the weird, wild, and wonderful, my podcast with cohost Evan "Skytree" Snyder, Future Fossils, is finally live on the major podcast syndication platforms and ready to water your brains with delicious crystals of expanding contemplation.

We've put SO much work into this podcast and there are already some amazing conversations up there, with folks like comedian Shane Mauss, origins of life researcher Bruce Damer, author Tony Vigorito, director Mitch Schultz (DMT: The Spirit Molecule), and cyborg anthropologist Maraya Karena – plus some very 

Coming soon, episodes with author Kingsley L. Dennis, sociologist Ashley Dawson, musicians Anthony Thogmartin (Papadosio & EarthCry) and David Krantz (Futexture) – as well as a few amazing field interviews from Boom Festival with tantric unicorn Shaft Uddin, visionary artist Mark Lee, and Rupert Till, aka "Dr. Chill" (the first person to ever receive a PhD in electronic music, who has 3D printed reconstructions of the earliest known instruments and used them in his set!).

(We also have a Facebook Group, if you would like to join the conversation.)

Music Video: "Lambent" w/ 320 fps Bubble Glory

1/8th speed bubble awesomeness I shot on site at Highberry Music Festival to the music I improvised last fall for Aubrey Marcus' fundraiser for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.

Performed and recorded live in one take on guitar, voice, and effects. Slow motion video shot on a Samsung Galaxy S5 at Highberry Festival (Mulberry Mountain, Arkansas), June 2016.

If you're like me, you will appreciate how well the music syncs up with the iridescent shimmering mystique of evanescent membranes, rippling as they float through summer air...

"How To Live in the Future" at Metapsychosis Journal

My first piece for an awesome new web magazine, Metapsychosis.  Their roster of contributors is out of this world – definitely worth some exploration if you like reading that expands your consciousness.

"When I attempt to visualize 'the future' as I learned to think of it in childhood, I see the image of a silvery, metallic, shifting sphere – presumably, the boundary of some 4D portal casting shadows into the mere three dimensions that my pitiable primate eyes can see. Whether this is my enculturated mind presenting something physics experts tell me is the probable appearance of a window into other times; or whether it’s a genuine prophetic third-eye vision of the portal through which we can gaze at all of our innumerable futures; or it’s allegory and the image represents the Noöspheric nanotech that wraps our planet in a skin of thinking mercury; or I am actually observing my own body from the point of view of someone living in the future, someone who has cybernetic eyes and sees the spherical magnetic field projected by my heart, I do not know. Perhaps it’s all of these." 

New Third Eye Drops Podcast with Erik Davis

Another superb conversation with Third Eye Drops Podcast and Erik Davis – probably my favorite so far – in which we somehow connected augmented reality and Pokémon GO, the evolutionary benefits (and lurking evil) of cuteness, whether we should resist the torrent of technological innovation (and whether we even can), the promise and peril of inventing our own realities, and some exciting evidence that we can create quantum entangled brain states between gamers – technologically facilitated telepathy!

If you don't know Erik Davis' amazing work, or haven't heard my handful of appearances on his own awesome podcast Expanding Mind (here and here), this is a great place to start.

Unreleased Album as Perk for Ayahuasca Reader Campaign

My friends at Synergetic Press have done it again; they've put together a world-class compilation of essays and articles on a Very Important Topic.  Here's the link to buy this book and score a free copy of Duende, my unreleased electric guitar live set from Sonic Bloom's SolPurpose Visionary Art Academy.  (These were the tunes I played for Martina Hoffmann, Randal Roberts, and Morgan Mandala's visionary art class during the live painting session – very different music than what I'm used to coming out of me.)  A few words on this book:

The high-technology media ecosystems of our future, and the people we will become to live in them, have more in common with the spirit-infused Amazon than the abstract conceptual realities we inhabited as moderns. It is no surprise, but poetry, that ayahuasca shows up now to take the world stage and help us navigate these nascent, tangled and mysterious collective spaces: a perfect teacher for an age in which we have to learn that we (and our artifacts) are something Earth is doing – and "intelligence" (be it animal, or vegetable, or mineral) is everywhere around us. 

Anyone committed to inhabiting a future of AI, mesh networks, bioengineering, solar power, neuromarketing, and other tech-assisted wizardry should sink their roots into this awesome book and draw as much of its deep wisdom as they can – because the curanderos, daring scientists, and visionary artists represented here are voices in the vanguard helping us to understand what it will really mean to be an Earthling in the years to come.

Buy Ayahuasca Reader & get Duende for free, because I want to see this book succeed.

Upcoming Events

02 August 2016

On The Eve of My Most Epic Journey Yet: Little Bird & The Eschaton. Virtual Portugal. Live Art Tutorial. Three New Paintings. New Future Fossils Episodes.

On The Eve of My Most Epic Journey Yet

This blog's been going for over eight years now, and I still think this update is the best I've ever sent.  I can't wait for you to see this art!  To hear this music!  To soak up all these great ideas!

But first I have to tell you about my biggest adventure yet: A VIRTUAL REALITY TRAVELOGUE OF PORTUGAL.  I've been booked to speak and play guitar at Boom Festival (next week!), an internationally-renowned week-long electronic music and visionary art event.  This is my first trip to Europe and I want to make it as amazing for you as I can – so I'll be capturing and sharing both my talk and musical performances, as well as interviews and travel shots, in VR-ready full 360º video and spatial audio.

It wasn't cheap but damnit, there are spiritual rewards to being on the front lines like this.  Read more on my campaign page to learn about my inspiration for this project, and contribute something if you can.  But please know, this is not a plea for your support – it is about me giving you and everyone the best I can, and then inviting you to join me in the fun.  It is about declaring fearlessly:

The future is already happening just over the horizon, so I'm going to act like we are all supported in our work already.  I am going to behave as though the future I believe in is already here.  And that means sharing with you joyously, prodigiously, all banners waving.  Living as a work of art and knowing there's no need to fear.  

I love you and I cannot wait to show you all the beauty I discover on my travels.

But for now, the errands.  Hit me up for any reason, as per usual...


Proudly Presenting My New Album:
Little Bird & The Eschaton
Download/Stream Link

Live electronic improvisations on acoustic guitar and voice, or what I started calling "cyberacoustic guitar" in 2011.  These are the most realized and mature performances that I've recorded in the ten years I have consciously been trying to amend the painful absence of this music in the world.

This is musical performance as a sacrament and exploration of the intimacy between human and machine.  Between the flesh and wood and steel and digital devices, something else emerges.  It's like collaborating with the future, singing anthems of an age in which the human mind and body are remixed into the networked electronic wilderness of planetary culture.

(Hence the title: Little Bird & The Eschaton are pet names for Yours Truly and what Terence McKenna called "the strange attractor at the end of history," drawing all of us into its bosom.)

Note: You can also listen to these tunes on Spotify (Because even though paying them to listen to me isn't as good as paying me to listen to me, you already paid them, so it's moot; and who am I to stop you from enjoying music that I love and want you to enjoy?)

Three New Live Paintings

40"x30" – paint pens on canvas

The word "chreode" was coined in the 20th Century to mean the path a cell takes on its way to differentiation as part of a specialized organ – but I first encountered it in the trialogues between Terence McKenna, Ralph Abraham, and Rupert Sheldrake, in its expanded sense as a channel in the landscape of potential futures, a path of likely action in a field of possibility. A chreode is the tributary system through which we flow mostly unaware, like water down the side of a hill; it's the invisible geography in which we are embedded, the plastic medium that every action subtly reshapes, each moment of our lives constrained by all our past decisions. We all take a different course, but we're all rolling down the golden thread of destiny to meet each other in the ocean...

Original piece painted at the Highberry Music Festival on July 1-2 to the music of John Wayne & The Pain, Wookiefoot, Papadosio, Kaminanda, Cornmeal, Yonder Mountain String Band, TAUK, Desert Dwellers – and "in studio" (while traveling through Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas) from July 5-19 (finished on the Full Moon).

20"x20" – paint pens on canvas

What we think of as technology today is very limited: just, mostly, metal tools and implements. But language is technology. A lot of soft and squishy things are, too. And as society evolves to keep pace with accelerating change, our tools will speed up too, and liquefy, no longer merely rocks but flowing substances that live and breathe and change as rapidly as we require of them. Think of the black ooze in Prometheus, the über-tech that isn't merely one thing but a process of becoming, an accelerant to evolution. We are moving out of nouns and into verbs, from things to actions. This will be obscene to many – living tools will trigger the disgust of sanitation-crazy modern minds – but in that monstrousness is something luminous and beautiful (to "demonstrate" is to reveal what lies within, the "monsters" merely the repressed angelic forms of our unconscious mind). Enjoy the glistening, metamorphic future and its violet psychofluids...

Original piece painted with oil & acrylic paint pens at the Highberry Music Festival on June 30th to the music of Magic Beans, Dopapod, and Buckethead.

40"x30" – paint pens on canvas

This one is dedicated to Randal Roberts, Kaliptus Ohm, and Jack Shure - three fantastic painters whose influence is clearly felt in this alien still life, first "xenoscape" in a planned series, inspired by the ineffable neither-alive-nor-dead extraterrestrial "Hypotheticals" from Robert Charles Wilson's Spin/Axis/Vortex science fiction trilogy. I spend a lot of time thinking about how people are also places are also things and around we go, each one of us a location, an ecosystem, a mostly vegetative bio-intelligence more ancient and bizarre than we let on...

Original piece painted at the Switchboard South Music Festival in Houston, Texas on 26 & 27 June, 2016 to innumerable 15-minute live band concerts by emerging artists.

My First Live Art Videocast!

I webcast a live painting session and tutorial last week on the Acidmath'd Facebook Page – even though I've talked about this very thing for years, somehow I'd never actually done one.  It was extremely fun.

If you would like to know how I bring a piece together with paint markers, what I think about while painting, or how awkward I can be when talking to a faceless audience, then look no further:

New Future Fossils Podcast Episodes

My buddy Evan Snyder and I host the Future Fossils Podcast, in which we try to help folks take a wider view of things. The premise is this: it is a fact of math our greatest audience is yet unborn, and so these conversations may one day become an artifact of interest to future archeologists.  What do we believe is worth communicating down the halls of time?

We have some amazing guests to offer their perspectives to the digital museum.  Here are author Tony Vigorito and space scientist Bruce Damer's interviews, in which we wonder out loud about synchronicity (Is it for real, or a hallucination?) and wax eloquently of our species' need to organize around Great Projects that inspire us to work together on a common dream...

(iTunes and Stitcher syndication coming soon, we promise! In the meantime, here's our FB Group.)

Upcoming Things & Stuff

Full calendar right here.  (Feel free to make suggestions.)

A Final Thought

“There’s not the future, there’s a future. Every single living being has a different future. There are billions of futures and that’s just right now. And now it’s already gone and there’s another one. It’s a deeply responsible job to choose to be creative.”

08 July 2016

Big Summer Update (Part 1): New Music Video, New Live Paintings from Sonic Bloom, Moogfest Technoshamanism Talk

Part 1 of my Big Summer Update!

Hello, friends!  Summer is always the craziest, most productive time of year for me – a time of festivals, wide rambling, big plans, and major changes.  A lot of new readers, too!  Whether this is your first time getting one of my updates, or you've been getting them for years, thank you SO MUCH for taking in all that I have to offer.  I don't think the muse would speak to me so frequently if I had no one to sing to, or to paint for...

So here goes.  In this update: I rededicate myself to music; share two sweet paintings from Sonic Bloom Festival; and link you to the most important and high-profile talk I've ever given...

Check out my new press reel featuring previously unreleased footage from my history-making 2013 concert with Google Glass and my full-band experiment with the AI music visualizer Synesthesia!  This video is my love letter to the music career that I've neglected for the last few years, and my battle cry for getting back in there to serenade and rock you, my friends, as hard as possible.

To support the soul-work of my music, I'm now offering folks the opportunity to join a small group of backstage subscribers who get early access to new albums, as well as exclusive tracks and live sets.

Subscribe to me and you'll help fund a constant stream of anthems, ballads, instrumental voyages, inspired collaborations, local residencies, visionary ventures, and extensive touring that began for me in high school, and will hopefully continue until death.

With your support, I'll get creative in my giving. I'll send you special treats throughout the year reserved for this community, and you'll get to bask in satisfaction knowing you're a patron for a true and dedicated artist, helping me inspire people without worrying about how I'll sustain myself.

Thank you for listening, for sharing, for subscribing, and for anything you do to help me share the music in my soul!

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New Live Paintings From Sonic Bloom Festival

A moment of surprise, a burst of color, dinner interrupted by – what? Tyrannosaurus turns to see the unexpected, just off frame. Is it the UFOs that haunt the background of this ancient scene? Or were they always there, and something even stranger lurks just out of sight?

Alternatively, our protagonist has waited long and hard for his ET compatriots to land and save the last few dinosaurs by lifting them off-world. The Earth has suffered for two million years' of asteroid impacts, volcanic eruptions, mass disease, and other catastrophic changes. Those who still survive will find a new home somewhere else, another planet orbiting a distant star – and possibly return, one day...

Painted live with oil and acrylic paint on a 3'x4' canvas at Sonic Bloom Festival 2016, to the music of Seied, Cloud D, Milky.Wav, Space Jesus, Insightful, Giraffage, Louis The Child, Living Light, Prophet Massive, Quixotic, Kalya Scintilla & Eve Olution, Phadroid, Tipper, Clozee, Phaeleh, Govinda, Djunya, SoDown, Fort Knox Five Feat. QDup, The Cat's Pajamas.

Painted at the SolPurpose Visionary Art Academy at Sonic Bloom Festival 2016 with oil and acrylic paint, spray bottle, and paper towels on a 24"x18" canvas, under the tutelage of Martina Hoffmann, Randal Roberts, and Morgan Mandala.

I already knew they were great people, but it turns out they're all amazing teachers, also, and I was inspired to FINALLY see this kind of learning space facilitated in the festival community, which has in ways assumed the burden of the University without actually living up to it. To start the week with intimate, hands-on initiatory craftwork - Music, Visionary Art, Flow Arts, and Permaculture sections, running parallel - transformed the whole event and I am now excited for the prospects of real lineage transmission in that venue. I have hope for festivals as a rhetorical device to lure our culture's pollinators into curious communion, in a way I haven't had for years.

That's not to say that it was easy or one-sided. Lots of people worked through major darkness in that class and in the festival that followed. I was one of them - and while hurling paint at this dark emblem of my transformation, Martina chatted with me on the balance of the light and darkness of the artist's vision, Giger's fear that he would die to learn his afterlife is like his paintings, my conviction that creators have responsibility to those with less imagination to communicate the best of future possibilities (as agents of reconnaissance - for all of us, like Jews in Exodus, wander through the landscape wondering, and benefit from climbers in our tribe whose bodies love to see the view from nearby hills). This set the tone for hours of profound discussion later with the future-minded Adam Psybe and Robert Jacob Max, both of whom declare the need for, and embody, critics, jesters, and contrarians in the festival world's all-too-often cultish, caste-divided, and escapist attitudes.

This is the start of something beautiful - or, the maturation of a thing that desperately needs to find a master's stance and bear the weight of its identity in culture. The festival is more than just a party, people. We are seeing the emergence of a novel structure that transcends while still including both the city and nomadic people.

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My Moogfest 2016 Talk on "Technoshamanism"

"Easily the most mind-opening presentation Moogfest 2016 had to offer – a multidisciplinary monologue that rivaled Brian Eno’s Moogfest 2011 keynote for all the unexpected twists and turns it took. This one-man show saw artist-musician Michael Garfield take a captive audience on a vision-quest through the lands where metaphysics and emerging technology meet. Make no mistake – it was a ramble, but an insightful and fascinating one from start to finish that traveled from the ancient dragon god Tiamat to the Victorians laying the transatlantic telegraph cable to the Manhattan Project giving birth to a new age of fear and awareness. The 'psychedelic century'? That’s the here and now that’s just beginning, and the more our technology graduates us to the alchemical act of creation, the closer humanity comes to confronting 'the cosmic mystery that we are.' Heavy and heady stuff, and a pleasant counterpoint to the doom and gloom of the average transhumanist cybergrumps whose future-thinking seems improbably grounded in the limited perceptions of the present."

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"Our responses to psychedelic experience represent a case study in our response to a transhuman, transpersonal, or posthuman condition...a signature of these varied and incessantly ineffable experiences has been what I will call the 'ecodelic' insight: the sudden and absolute conviction that the psychonaut is involved in a densely interconnected ecosystem for which contemporary tactics of human identity are insufficient."
- Richard Doyle, Darwin's Pharmacy, pp19-20