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A Manifesto for the Telepathic Music Campaign
The TMC ethic

1: Freedom.. To be what you want, do what you will, speak how you feel.

2: Connection.. Through what we do together we are made one, can feel each others needs and be something greater than the sum of us as parts.

3: Non-Attachment.. By letting go we can reach out for something new to grasp.

4: Shared culture.. A value in who we are but a recognition that it changes.. culture is an expression of where it's at.

TMC was formed to explore ideas and to make things. The no 1 'thing' for us is music, but our lives are wider. We acknowledge our own talents, but with the different talents that others can bring our expression is given more depth. Music is still the backbone of our activity, and a raft of our philosophy is built on a way of making it happen. But this is analogous to all human activity, and serves to point a way that we can be as people together in the world.

The song is not written, it writes itself.

An individual gives a voice which starts the process.
Others join in, stating their voices in harmony.
Exploration is encouraged, with tolerance of discord.
The purpose is shared, to reach the plateau.
When the music 'clicks', all involved share the 'magic moment'.
A 'song' is timeless, it doesn't follow fixed conventions.
No one voice dominates, all make way for each other.
If you tune in, you're in tune.
Though it's a mystery how, it will stop itself.. eventually.

As night follows day, it is the law of paradox which drives all. The tension of contradiction is at the heart of chaos.. But chaos gives birth to order, and vice versa. The trick is in walking the uncertain tightrope between the endless opposites we encounter. Hungry or full, we pull in different directions, seeking sense in the puzzles around us. A collection of personalities coming together to make music is a microcosm of society, instantly discovering a unified way of expressing themselves.. only to be faced with the realities of life.

When TMC was formed we said; "We want something that 'is' but doesn't 'exist'. A band that can never split up; because it is never 'formed'." This has been successful, but points at one of the greatest paradoxes of our time; We need our own space, and must live our own lives, but must also live together as community. The glue which binds us is social and creative.. We have fun as we jam or record music, and take pleasure in each others company. But there is more to this activity than people socializing. The experience is not an everyday, hum drum pastime, like watching TV. Music transcends the banal and takes those who participate to another level.

This level can be a challenge to the 'normal'. A mixture of jealousy, misunderstanding, fear and awe can lead to a sense that those who make music are somehow 'outside the everyday'. Indeed often the lifestyles of musicians are very 'alternative' to the mainstream. This is part, but only part, of the point. Music and being a musician is a way of being, not a choice. By setting oneself outside one can achieve things on an instrument undreamed of.. to great satisfaction. But don't be fooled. Great frustration must be borne along the way. In perfecting the craft one must endure long hours of hard work, with obstacles to be overcome.

Music is both outside and fundamentally part of the human experience. All that it is to be a musician is analogous with the needs of every man and woman. The need to find your own voice, perfect your technique, learn through experience and benefit from your mistakes… …The drive for people to come together. The entwining of their voices into a unity we call harmony… …The stress of ego and questions of loyalty, growth, change, success, failure… …All are part of both Music and Life.

By seeking a life of music, or any creativity, activity or endeavor which inspires and elevates, we veer away from the ordinary, striving to reach the exceptional. It doesn't need to be consciously stated, or for any greater purpose than itself. The drives are instinctive and we know when we are doing the right thing.

It is what it is.

We used to talk of 'it' amongst ourselves. 'It' was something we 'knew', but found hard to describe. 'It' is a 'knowing' beyond the 'reality' we face from day to day. In fact it is this sense of 'beyond' which drives us. There must be something more to life than waking, working, eating & drinking, talking, watching TV and sleeping. Indeed there are many things.

Probably the most intense is 'Love'… which might explain mankind's eternal obsession with affairs of the heart. Love breaches boundaries and propels us into new territories… Places of ecstasy and happiness; times of pain and suffering. An intensity in our lives which crushes bland banality and paints our world in vivid multicolour.

The music of TMC has often shocked. It shuns convention and so may not be 'easy listening'.. perhaps it challenges notions of how things should be. But I hope it has also had intrigue. A quality of mystery which makes us curious. When we want to find out more then we are actively participating in the music. Even if we are disgusted and walk away then we have interacted… so much more so than with 'elevator music' which numbs and fossilzes.

It was fascinating playing for a signed band with international releases. For many years the music I had made was 'underground'. It was exciting and rare… only a few were party to its delights. The 'price' was anonimity, no fulfilment of desires for success and fame. To experience the other side, and see music which was heartfelt and precious become everyday and pop(ular) was a revelation. Then to hear it in a hotel lift.. such that your own music numbs you.. an object lesson in what is not TMC.

So, as we sat around that keyboard and laughed at how seriously everybody takes things, we talked about what had happened… and where we wanted to go next. We had been in a band together for over 3 years, and it had just split up in a confused mess with anger and resentment all round. We had survived as friends, and wanted to make music… but it was not to be a band, so it could never split up again. That which never truly 'is' can ever be unmade… There were to be no rules… only ideas. We could change, develop, do our own thing.. or sit back and just lay down a groove.. after all the only thing that mattered was the experience of making music.

There was also another key factor. In our more and more isolated lives, it can be hard to communicate. In our youth we had lived together.. always seeing each other. Somehow we knew if another was in pain, or felt good. It could go unsaid but the group would respond to a need. As we grew older this communication grew with us. But we were destined to move apart.. not to spend so much time together, seek our own destinies.

Still, by playing music we could reach a space where we truly 'heard' each other. Most directly, in a very musical way, we could tune in together and 'click'. It would fall into place, and we would entwine our sounds. In our life as friends too, this communication was carried forwards, sometimes to a height beyond the everyday barriers which hold us apart.

What's in a name?

And so the name was revealed. Somehow we knew that this higher contact was more important than "a band". It wasn't "a band" at all but a movement. A direction in which we had belief. A reason in itself beyond music; but one which, in our case, we had discovered by the act of musicianship.

It was also something to spread beyond the confines of our homes.. A message to be heard. More even than this it was something "to be a part of". It was the Telepathic Music Campaign.

I have sometimes wondered if, as with the everyday "campaign", we might raise a petition for our cause... Thousands of signatures marking the resolve of people behind the demand expressed. It might read something like this;

"We the under signed suggest that all should have the opportunity to transcend mere day-to-day existence, by joining in with the great song of life. We should combine our voices in harmony, and by relating more closely to our fellows souls, find each other."

It is only a minor thing really, but so many of the world's problems are the result of an inability to communicate, and so many of the beautiful things people do is built on the bedrock of understanding. So, by promoting communication in whatever form, one only serves to increase harmony.. Choose the road of wilful ignorance, and close your ears to the song of another, and that way lies the abyss.

Simple really.

What the campaign has never done, however, is articulate this. You see part of the problem is what you are looking at now... Words. Words have so many meanings. It's hard for any one person to appreciate sometimes the history that lies behind the others use of words. We so often hear the words of others in our own way, with our own history. When you step outside your own culture, then how much more obvious this becomes. The defences go up. "You" are "right", "they" are "wrong".

Somehow we have shied away from expressing ideas this way. A "song" speaks words, but in a very different way. The words are an instrument whose voice speaks on many levels, and with the voices of other instruments to set it in a scene. All the many and varied patterns in music speak of many and varied emotions in us all. This is why music can express an idea, or tell a story across cultures, and unite people by enveloping them in an understanding". Here is an example of the "knowing".

So one thing is clear, in writing these words, this is my interpretation. I, Louis Christopher, see it this way! And I hold no one else to it. The views of the editor don't necessarily reflect those of the contributors. They cannot, and because to speak together is not to speak as one. TMC is about all voices singing together. That means hearing the voice of others, and not dictating the line. At least in my opinion!

Which is why so often TMC music can seem as chaotic as people and life. Know what I mean?! This helps make TMC a shadowy persistance! It isn't really a "thing", like a band, or a company. Really it arises almost after the event, in a strange way travelling backwards. In a conventional world a "band" would form, music would follow. With TMC a member will experience a classic "magic moment", and they will think; "very TMC". Others will say it too. Those who know us can hear that the TMC in music. As always, whatever style is played doesn't matter. The quality is deeper, and can be seen in the faces of those who play.

Heart and Soul

TMC is not limited to members of the campaign, of which there are many and few. In fact, we didn't discover this, except for ourselves, and only gave it a name because it gave us a laugh at the time. The heart of what this is all about is deep in the eternal "body" of mankind. It is part of our spirit and soul, and beats a rhythm to which all life dances. It is not about religion, but it is about what religion is about.. That deeper "knowing". (there is that word again.)

you can see it clearly around you, in all the world's most vivid kaleidoscope of human culture. The pursuit of it has many names and forms, religious, social, psychological, or spiritual, moral, musical. There is an example of that demonstrates the difference between "heart" and the world of illusion. The the role of the "media" in modern society is powerful. Wherever we turn we see it; newspapers, TV, radio.. These media and more help shape and our world view, both in the longer term as we build it up, and also in the immediate. From time to time, when challenged, the "media" responds with the argument that a "free press" is essential to moderating our democracy, exposing corruption and motivating response to large-scale tragedies on a global level.

All worthy stuff, and when journalists pursue these lofty ideals they step outside the usual..reaching for the exceptional. But when they do not they betray the "cause". Self-seeking, vindicative, harassing.. Their power is abused in the pursuit of profit and self advancement. It is this which is the "normal" state of affairs, which surrounds us in all walks of life.

So too in music.. The lure of profit and fame is legion, and is well known as "selling out". Now there's a phrase.. "sell out". You sell your talent, your image, your band, its name, your music.. You receive money in return, and you are now in the business of creating a "product" for the market. But more; you are "out" of the world of music having meaning, having a heart, being "real". It is a common pattern.. The artist who becomes an artiste, the visionary who becomes terminally watched.

It is not automatic that to have commercial success takes away the soul in music.. Indeed soul music is just that, and has been very successful. The key is in the intention. The listener can tell the difference between music which comes from a place of meaning to the musician, and music which is fabricated to sell. And yet the irony is that bland "Pap" music does just that. People really do buy it, and therefore must like it, and who is to say their opinion is less valid than ours?

There is nothing wrong with liking it. In fact we can all have an annoying hook line from a bland pop song jump into our heads again and again. Irresistible is the pulse and pleasant is the tune. The fact is that "liking" one song, and "disliking" another is just another illusion. One is not "better" than the other, but rather we connect to one and not to another.. Or more so to one than the other. In fact if you acknowledge that a pop song is a "catchy" then you are communicating with the musicians, at least on one level.

So the fact is that TMC is in all music. In fact what TMC is about is in all life.. Including pleasure and pain, joy and tragedy, good and evil. TMC is about participating in it.. Not just consuming it. TMC is about questioning.. Not just accepting. TMC is about exploring it.. Not just treading the same old path. In all cases I say.. "not just".. And I mean it. In some cases we must do these things. TMC is about all one-ness with everything. No exclusion. But you don't have to like it, just know it.

We will do what we will

By facing some demons, especially the ones which lurk within ourselves, it is possible to understand them, at least a little. This helps diminish the fear of the unknown, which is the great paralysis which holds us back and down. Fear of the unknown.. it numbs us, like supermarket music, and prevents us from fulfilling our potential. You can see how it sits with musicians, as with many performers.. who overcome great fears to project themselves on stage. Often they seem brash or over-confident.. which is not surprising if you think about it.

Another example of "beyond-ness", is this overcoming the paralysis of fear. So too convention. By similarly facing convention and questioning it, the answer is often nonsensical. The convention only works when you accept its foundations. For example if you don't accept that a tie is the height of conventional business clothing and is essential to cutting the mustard, but rather think that they just look silly and serve no useful purpose, then you set yourself outside the mainstream.. But is the the Emperor wearing invisible clothes, or just bollock naked?

You see, according to TMC philosophy, it doesn't matter. If it's right to wear a tie, fine, go ahead. If you don't then fine too.. Wearing a tie is not the measure of a man. Rather, after appearance, it is what we say and do. Indeed many are remembered down the centuries by what they said or did. (far fewer by what they looked like!).

It is remarkable, this "expression". To "say" and to "do" are external activities, projecting our inner selves out into the world, and therefore reaching out and contacting others. The big clue is "the saying". In speaking we externalize our inner thoughts, often just after we have them (and sometimes just before!). As saying came after doing, in that we could all "do" things such as eating before we could talk about how good it was, we have developed the ability to express ourselves in ways that can be heard and seen.

So to be doing, as in art or making music, is the expression of what is within. TMC would argue that in fact this "expression" is in all things, and allows us to tap mysteries which are beyond our present so-called reality. Whatever one makes of ghosts, and spirits, parallel universes, speculations on the past and dreams of the stars, the contemplation of mysteries is part of the human psyche. It may suffice to say it's all in the mind, as much as hunger is all in the stomach. But all must eat, so food is a fundamental necessity.

The contemplation of mystery clearly originated, in TMC, in such paradoxes as arriving on stage with absolutely no set list, and mysteriously finishing 21/2 hours later to rapturous and sweaty applause. Or the mystery of how such a collection of misfits could get such a complicated thing together and actually play out live in the first place! I suppose it boils down to WILL.. Something again that comes from the heart of it all. If you really want something, you WILL do what you WILL.

The pursuit of mystery

Sometimes it has seemed this pursuit of mystery is an end in itself. Our fascination with that which is beyond, rings the same bells as the highs of a telepathic music experience. Over time these mysteries become part of a common knowledge. We live in a time when the rise of alternative cultures is understood and accepted by many. The decline of Christianity, contact with the mysticism of other cultures, the decline of communism and political polarisation, the reaction to globalization and capitalism. all inspire inquiry into other ways of seeing.

It is understandable that many should react with ridicule and fear. It is hard to accept change in viewpoint for many reasons. We become ossified in our ways, refusing to open minds. But the truth is.. It doesn't matter what truth it is. They are all illusion! World pictures which provide a framework for existence. In a sense now no one is wrong, if their system works for them.

However, by accepting a system wholesale we run a huge risk. When we encounter another system which is different to ours, then they clash. And so conflict is the result. Our world has the most horrible history of conflict. It seems never-ending and so inevitable, and yet there are as many examples of peaceful co-existence. The way has been shown many times, but still we find it so difficult to accept the lessons of peace; tolerance, co-operation and prosperity. It seems it may be in the interest of a few to deny others this peace. For the sake of their own prosperity, other people will die and be dehumanised.. Statistics without empathy of the people behind them.

But, as I have said, some mysteries have seemed so far beyond the normal, but are now mainstream. The series of developments in physics, astronomy, genetics and bio-engineering, have revealed a new way of looking at the world around us. Hard as it is to accept some times, new revolutionary thought becomes dogma in time.

Part of the TMC way is to sidestep the dogma. By seeing it all as a series of fables, pointing to a deeper truth, the reasons we seek that which is beyond become clear. How does music fit into all this? More so than our taking part, music moves us. Our senses are our windows on the world. As music is heard, the rhythms and patterns enter us and we perceive their intentions. In the crudest way; tension is heard in "tense" music, fear can be heard, excitement, passion. We are thinking, feeling beings, and music acts on both.

The same can be said of our other senses, and indeed if one is deaf one can still see the music in dance, or feel it in ways beyond what those of us who hear may never imagine. By playing music, we join in with the "choir" adding our voices to a "thing" we create together. It is a motion with a momentum of its own, which we set off, but are then carried along by something outside of ourselves. The "Song" takes shape, as a shifting multi-dimensional form around us, and through us, with us and beyond. It is like a beacon, and can immediately be perceived by all around. In a world of uniform irregularity, the vivid patterns of music leap out at you like a ruby in the dust (a real one, not the cafe!).

This perception acts like a key in the lock which seals the door to understanding. By opening it, things become clear.. But it is not the combination of sounds which tell the story. The story is within us and within everything around us. Music is merely one of the ancient ways of opening this door.. From then on it's out of the artist's hands, and up to the perceiver to "see the point". Music, in the TMC way of seeing things, carries the message, but is not itself the message.. So too with words and images.

Here then is another indication of the beyond. In a cruelly literal world we crave that which is beyond the veil of illusion, but the illusion carries a description of a "true reality". So much so that most confuse the illusion with reality itself. Indeed the coded meaning of a story can often make the point far more memorably than telling it directly. In this way the fable teaches us more of its subject than any lecture could. As "they" say; "a picture speaks 1000 words".. But then who are "they" anyway?

Beyond the mundane

The path chosen by those who follow their heart is a difficult one. In order to contemplate the beyond, one sets oneself outside the mundane. This probably explains why the artist's life is so often unconventional and a struggle... In order to master the medium the artist must dedicate themselves to their art, and in so doing sacrifice many things which others take for granted. To have the WILL to do this means being "driven".. Excluding all distractions and focusing instead on the unstoppable urge to create.

In many ways this is like ascetic observation.. The "seeker after truth" strives to transcend by single-minded obsession with the rituals. So too the artist. And while they have different forms and substance, they share the goal.. Reaching beyond the everyday into what we know as the supernatural. We all have a sense of the supernatural. Often we dismiss it as fairy-tale.. But then we perhaps don't appreciate the origins of "faery".. Or understand how a story can shine light on the hidden secrets.

So where does this get us? What's it all for? Everything we do is part of the intricate history of culture.. Where culture is an expression of the interactions and events in a society. Where the arts; music, drama, poetry, visual art, literature etc, fit in is in pulling the disparate extremes of our lives together and presenting them in a way we can comprehend. Superficially the arts reflecte the world around us..

Deeper down it can touch us on a personal level. What is so remarkable is that it can touch so many others,, at the same time. Culture can move us together.

We are beginning to reach the heart of the matter. As artists find new ways of expressing their experiences, with new media and techniques, they both mark the changes in society around them and help drive how we see those changes. Culture allows us to reflect on the mad rush we live through. Then we are inspired.

This inspiration is the spark which can ignite a culture, so that we shape our world for ourselves. By sharing the arts we develop common interests, and learn to move forward together.

Often, in the later part of the 20th century, the question has arisen of the role culture has in influencing behaviour. "A Clockwork Orange" was withdrawn by its creator; Stanley Kubric, until after his death. Its portrayal of violence was graphic, leading to fears of it influencing youth to copy it. Even without it on the circuit, violence has intensified. So did it predict or did it help shape the new world we find ourselves in? It is a common response of the artist that a work merely reflects the world around it..

But TMC is not so sure. It is not the artist who changes the world, however, but those who perceive the art and, taking messages within to confirm notions of their own, find justification for alternatives. It is the urge for the alternative which drives us on.. A part of that paradoxical world we constantly encounter but so often deny. Only the courage of our convictions anchors us to common themes. But by allowing ourselves to toy with new ideas and new ways we avoid the dinosaur tendency.

The means mankind has to express itself are global now, so language is less relevant as a way of communicating. We have seen a great rise in visual communications, as in film, TV, the computer and the Internet. Games, for example are a global culture, straddling local concerns and universal empathies, like the urge to destroy mysterious monsters in dark tunnels..

The language of icons

Hidden in the endless flow of visual imagery are the new messages.. Subliminal standards by which one is measured. The ability to manipulate the world through iconography is a language skill in itself, without which the p.c. is a jumbled mystery. Imagery is condensed, and with language less important we learn the meaning of icons.

The icon in history triggered a cascade of understanding, as it could symbolise a whole story in just one image. By associating the icon with the legends it signified, a vast depth of knowledge was communicated. Icons now don't possess the same spiritual properties, but images and visual stimuli are as condensed as language.. The knowledge related is in our minds and this communication acts to trigger thoughts and emotions inside us.

The icon is a step along the path of the development of human language.

TMC seeks to unravel the mysteries of a new iconography, expressing the heart through icons of colour, sound, music and form.

 

© Louis Christopher, ™© 2000
published by Ideaz Inc