(« Morel in eastern West Virginia » by Gzirk)once, there was a guy named Gus. and although Gus was without a passion, Gus's head liked to think that Gus was a passionate guy. Gus's head also liked to think that it was bright. in fact, Gus's head just liked to think.through apparently fortuitous circumstances, Gus was lonely most of the time. often, during that time, mostly because it just liked to…See More
(« Yamagata University Craft-Pal 2006 » by simo100)The Abode Of The Blessed by Christopher Stewart« The Miracle Is Worth The Wait » was the 2nd song written for the « 30 Songs for the Sunny Season » project, and was completed on January 8, 2013.The inspiration for this opus came from conversations held with David, a somewhat peculiar…See More
(« Natural Abalone with conical pearl » by Worldexplorer82) « Mother Of Pearl» was the last song written in the location where the music for the « The Abode Of The Blessed » EP was composed. Yet, arguably, considering the clear stylistic and thematic distinctions between this opus and the pieces that preceded it, they probably shouldn't belong on the same album. Assuming that I eventually get…See More
(« Spirit of the Night » by John Atkinson Grimshaw) « Perfect Magic » is the 9th opus penned for the « 30 Songs for the Sunny Season » project. It was completed on February 6, 2013, and is the first new piece to follow the compositional rush that led to the « The Abode Of The Blessed » EP.The lyrics were written in an « everything happens for a reason » frame of mind and aim to…See More
(« Wave » by Mark) The 23rd song written for the « 30 Songs for the Sunny Season » project is entitled « A Tide Of Positive Change » and was completed on March 24th, 2013.The aim here was to come up with an inspiring and energetic song that can uplift the listener into an optimistic frame of mind. Considering the comments offered so far when I played it in public spaces, I'd venture to…See More
(« Painting created in Year 12 Painting at Albany Senior High School » by Mosborne01) « To Kill Your Demons » was completed on March 10, 2013, and is the 20th song written for the henceforth entitled « 30 Songs for the Sunny Season » project.Basically, the main point of the song is that most-if-not-all experiences, apparent catastrophes included, can be interpreted positively as opportunities for…See More
(« Family » by Jo Christian Oterhals) At some point during this past winter, I thought it would be interesting to see if I could come up with a bunch of songs that I could play on my own, without the need of a backing band. I had always wanted to try my luck at busking, but because of the demands of Poligraf, I never really had the chance to build a repertoire of original songs that require only guitar and vocals,…See More
(« Nixie eight » by L. Marie)How on Earth can a musical movement be named « Progigoriation » you ask ? Well, obviously, because it's the prog rock variation of another similar movement entitled « Igorchestral » I emphatically reply. And so it is that the music of this sixth movement of « Octoccata » is closely related to that of the aforementioned…See More
(« behind the eight ball » by eschipul)The fifth segment of « Octoccata » is entitled « Reoctoverture. » Basically, this section is a reprise of the introduction, hence the name, as it restates the theme presented therein, albeit through new and generally heavier variations.The beginning of this fifth movement is intended as a tribute to…See More
(« eight » by timlewisnm)« Igorchestral, » the second movement of « Octoccata, » has been thus named because of the inspiration for the music, and the selected arrangement.Igor Stravinsky is indubitably one of the composers I admire the most. The music he composed for the…See More
« I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor. » — Henry David Thoreau
Music and Spiritual Practice - An Overview of Poligraf
Music has been an essential part of my life since the end of the 80s.
The adventure began during the second of my four years of studying electrical engineering at Université Laval in Québec City. Through various friends and contacts I reconnected with progressive rock, a form of music to which I had already been exposed to in my youth thanks to my older brothers and sisters. Hearing the music of bands such as Yes, Rush, Genesis, and King Crimson felt like meeting old friends, and quickly I knew I just had to do as those musicians did, although my prior experience with music had been minimal at that time.
The feeling was so strong that not only did it led me to buy various instruments so I could learn how to play, but it was also the main force that made me decide to change direction after my first semester as a graduate student in computer vision and systems so I could build my life around music. And perhaps more importantly, when it became clear that I would compose music of my own, it spawned the question « what should the songs be about ? » which powered me into many years of exploring a multitude of domains of knowledge including science, philosophy, psychology, art, mysticism, and the occult.
Music for me is also spiritual practice. The inspiration and elevation it provides is undeniable, and the many insights I have had while practicing an instrument or rehearsing a part are too numerous to recount. Music picks me up when I let reason bring me down, restores my energy levels when I feel tired, sustains me through lengthy work sessions, and generally brings me to a state of inner peace and deep joy.
My objective as a musician is to communicate that energy in the hopes that listeners will experience that very same elevation and inspiration. It is also my intention to share my experiences and discoveries and thus hopefully help others reach understandings that can they can use on their own journey.
Buddhism has been an essential part of my life since the mid-90s.
The adventure began when I stumbled upon a feature in an encyclopedic dictionary that highlighted the Four Noble Truths. That finding immediately sparked my curiosity and a few days later I was buying a copy of The Dhammapada at a local bookstore. While slowly digesting the aphorisms in the weeks that followed, I found that its teachings were in continuity with a process of introspection that had begun during an introductory course on neural networks (i.e. systems designed to emulate some of the capabilities of the human brain, such as pattern recognition and associative memory), the study of which had triggered the question « what does this tell me about my own inner workings ? »
From then on I pursued my explorations and plunged into the Tibetan Book Of The Dead, which was quickly followed by various Mahayana sutras. I also bought a guide to learn how to meditate and started experimenting with the practice.
During the years that followed, I plowed through most of the major Mahayana sutras, progressively adjusted my lifestyle and behaviour to accord with the precepts, refined my meditation practice, memorized mantras, and became a vegetarian.
Poligraf has been an essential part of my life since its inception at the beginning of February 1998.
The adventure began after the collapse of a band that arguably never really existed as it only had a handful of rehearsals, but for which I had already written a lot of material. Left alone at the helm, I connected with a group of experienced musicians via a co-worker friend and after agreeing on a general aim and formula, we raised sail and headed to the terra incognita of progressive rock.
Over its eleven years of activity in various incarnations, Poligraf has yielded enough music for over five full-length albums, but never really had a chance to officially record any of them, although some of the material has been demoed and performed on stage on various occasions.
Most of the music documents my own spiritual path and presents some of the lessons that life has taught me on the way. Some pieces are directly inspired by Buddhist texts or teachings. For instance, « Between Worlds » is directly inspired by the Tibetan Book Of The Dead, and « The Idler » and « Creeper » have been inspired by aphorisms of The Dhammapada. « Void » illustrates the Buddhist concept of emptiness, and « SubjeKctiv » serves as a reminder of the subjectivity of experience and the coextensivity of worlds. « Entering the Stream » is a trilogy, counting a total of nine chapters, that depicts the trajectory of an individual fed up with the mundane who decides to retreat into an ashram for some heavy introspection before returning to the ordinary with a renewed perspective on life.
Throughout all these years, if the Mahayana has provided the vehicle, then Poligraf has certainly provided landscapes, path, and drive, while the buddhas have completed the picture with their timely, serendipitous, and often magical interventions.
I don't know why I feel so strongly about music, progressive rock, and Poligraf in particular, but I just know I do and I trust that feeling to the best of my ability. My connection to Poligraf runs so deep that whenever I let hardships or circumstances turn into reasons to believe that there's no viable future for the band, then I retreat into apathy. That is, until that unmistakable feeling breaks through the veil of confusion to drive me again. To the best of my present understanding, my own self-realization seems to be linked to that of the band, if not as the culmination of my spiritual practice, then at least as an essential stepping stone towards it.
Poligraf's first album is entitled « Samsara. » Traditionally, the term refers to the Buddhist concept of the cycle of birth and death in which all beings in the universe take part and which can be escaped only through enlightenment. Personally, I agree with the view that it is rather that very same process of enlightenment, in which ups and downs are in fact the appearance of constant motion towards spiritual growth.
In accordance with that perspective, the album presents a collection of pieces that depict the journey of an individual who faces a series of challenges through which they will experience various transcendences, on their way to increasingly better versions of themselves.
If you'd like to know more about the band and support us in our efforts to bring our beauty into the world, please visit our website (see the first icon below) where you can learn more about our many projects and the sponsorship opprtunities that we offer.
For Poligraf, your support represents an opportunity to go to the next level, reach a wider audience, and ultimately become a self-sustaining prog rock producing unit that can function independently of a record label.
Thank you for reading thus far, and best wishes to you on your journey.
once, there was a guy named Gus. and although Gus was without a passion, Gus's head liked to think that Gus was a passionate guy. Gus's head also liked to think that it was bright. in fact, Gus's head just liked to…
« Mother Of Pearl» was the last song written in the location where the music for the « The Abode Of The Blessed » EP was composed. Yet, arguably, considering the clear stylistic and thematic distinctions…
i am a former software engineer turned indie prog rocker turning sci-fi author... i began studying and practicing Buddhism in the mid-nineties, and immediately felt a connection with the philosophy... most of my efforts are aimed at sharing the knowledge i am acquiring along my journey, via various artistic media including music and poetry, and writing...
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thanks Stephanie Assa.
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