Muse Monday: Why My Boyfriend Can Melt Your Boyfriend’s Face

I know, I know, everyone thinks that his or her partner is the cat’s pajamas. This glorified sentiment also includes but is not limited to kittens, babies, puppies, and best friends. However, my boyfriend is legit as a muse and here’s why:

 

1. Jimmy Kleffel Can Melt Faces

Is melting faces good, you wonder? What does that even mean–to melt a face? According to Urban Dictionary, Face Melting is:

The condition in which, due to an extreme exposure to an event of epic Awesomeness, Horror, or any other emotion on the more extreme end of the spectrum of emotions, one loses all perception of space and time including (but not limited to) a brief lapse in physical awareness.

Commonly used in reference to metal, face melting is associated with the ability to both compose and perform intense and effective music. So why is this good? The journal of Behavioral and Brain Sciences says:

Of all the problems that may confront a music psychologist, none is perhaps more important than to explain listeners’ reactions to music. Some kind of musical experience is the basis for every musical activity, regardless of whether it involves composing, performing, or listening to music. Several studies have suggested that the most common goal of musical experiences is to influence emotions: People use music to change emotions, to release emotions, to match their current emotion, to enjoy or comfort themselves, and to relieve stress.

Jimmy executes precise consideration in how he shapes his music. For example, saccharine pop-love hits or most metal on the scene intend to to incite mirrored emotional responses with their hyper-fluffy and hyper-aggressive lyrics, respectively. Jimmy, however, cultivates an unique emotional experience for listeners. Never contrived, his craft focuses on manipulating sound and emotion to encourage the listener to explore the murky depths of one’s latent feelings. Not sure what I mean? Listen to The Comfort of You. This is an example of non-metal face melting.

As a creator, the ability to affect your audience on such an intense emotional level is amazing. It’s the Holy Grail. It’s the great white whale. It’s what all artists claw for. Jimmy’s music is a perfect exhibition of the dynamic relationship between the artist and the audience. And this makes him muse worthy.

Although you might not be impressed yet. But here’s why you should be:

2. Jimmy Kleffel Composes, Performs, and Records All of His Music

Think about all of the music you’ve ever listened to. The cacophony of assonant and dissonant sounds, the artistry of lyrics, the harmony of instruments playing in accord, the mastery of aligning pre and post-production dynamics. Now imagine one person balancing all the elements that go into a single song. Listen to this and picture one dude not only creating the raw partnership of sounds, but performing, recording, editing, and executing a cohesive piece of music.

This video doesn’t even scratch the surface of how much time and consideration goes into creating and perfecting an art. Which brings us to muse worthy point 3:

3. Jimmy Kleffel is Hardcore Dedicated to and Disciplined in His Craft

Imagine waking up. Imagine making yourself a cup of coffee. Imagine going through the list of things you want to accomplish on your day off. Now imagine spending the next 10 hours straight meticulously writing, performing, and editing your work, because art is work. Now imagine doing this at every waking opportunity between time spent at your full-time job. It’s easy to write off accomplishments as “natural talent.” But make no mistake, true art takes practice, patience, time, and commitment. And this dude is one committed mofo. If you asked Jimmy today if his songs are complete, he could recite a laundry list of elements that need to be reworked, rerecorded, rewritten. He’s the only person I know who wishes there were 28 hours in a day and 8 days in a week, just to have more available time to work on his music. Despite constraints, Jimmy has written, performed, and recorded over 300 original songs. And that kind of dedication makes him muse worthy.

As a writer, you could equate composing a song akin to composing a short story: an independent piece that is a part of a greater whole or collective. Each segment is designed to work independently as well as cohesively to tell a broader story. Jimmy has created a series of autonomous songs that when strung together, reveal a deep perception and oftentimes dark commentary of our world. Most of his lyrics contain double or triple meanings, which takes an exorbitant amount of consideration that I admire as a lover of both economy and the written word. This devotion to details is just an example of to what lengths Jimmy considers all aspects of his music.

4. Jimmy Kleffel Isn’t Defined by Genre or Image

A bona fide Renaissance Man of music, Jimmy isn’t defined and confined by one genre. He crushes the boundaries of conventional music systems by creating not only “the kind of music [he’d] want to listen to,” but whatever music speaks to his emotions and mind frame. And as a genuine artist, Jimmy doesn’t feel the need to look or act the part of what he is creating. He might be the only metal artist I know without myriad tattoos and piercings. He doesn’t subscribe to a boho left-bank sense of style to craft acoustic folk, or a smooth player swag to produce sexy r&b songs. And if the mood strikes, don’t be surprised if he pours out Radiohead-esque electric jams or even full-out rap beats. As a musician, Jimmy encourages exploration of emotional, mental, and spiritual capacities. If there’s a genre he’s interested in delving into, like jazz or Bossa nova, he’ll set out to teach himself. His albums range from the smooth acoustic rock of New View to the sharp metal edge of Speak of the Devil to the dream pop rock of Out of Body Experience.

And he’s not reserved about getting creative with blending sounds and genres. Jimmy incorporates his inspirations from well-renowned musicians, personal experiences, theology and spirituality, natural elements, and even aliens, conspiracy theories, and mysteries of the pyramids to experiment with thought-provoking and inciting pieces.

5. Jimmy Kleffel is Self-Taught

Jimmy takes auto-didacticism to a whole new level. More than just teaching himself new musical styles, Jimmy delves into all aspects of learning his craft. He taught himself how to play the drums simply because he needed drums in his music. Every instrument in his compositions is a reflection of the ferocity he emits towards making music. This vigor extends beyond just learning how to play. He’s spent hours reviewing instructional videos on how to delicately restring, retune, and rebuild his instruments. He’s devoted his time and energy to studying the unspoken art of composition. He’s labored for years to produce the best quality sound he can with antiquated technology, making him a MacGyver of home audio engineering. Jimmy isn’t hindered by inadequacy. If there’s something he doesn’t know how to do, he’ll figure it out. Want to know how he makes an electric guitar scream like a monkey? Well, that’s a trade secret. But it did take the old-fashioned guess and test method.

Jimmy stumbled upon his passion when at the age of 4 he discovered his father’s guitar behind the couch, picked it up, and began to strum. From that moment, he’s pursued and cultivated his life-long love of music. If even half the artists in the world exhibited as much passion and persistence as Jimmy, there’d be no more faces left to melt. We’d all live out our lives in a constant state of emotional apexes. We’d all be blown. A muse like this makes us humble listeners want to transcend ourselves and give whatever it is we love all that we’ve got.

 

About Jimmy:

Cresting the barren slope, the earth exposed in all its majesty, its history. All of its swirling and tumbling, rising and falling, growing and dying, is too slow for me to perceive. But it won’t be the same tomorrow. The cooling dusk air, replete with salty earthen crystals, made pins and needles of my cheeks under a backdrop of stars peeking timidly through the decaying rainbow sunset of the abandoned Southwest, my sky now in favor of 80 light years to 8 minutes. I carried my hands over the cooling soil. I was created by the same swirling and spiraling elements. This is my brother. I was made to experience you. I dug my feet into the sand and looked above, to my mother. I was made to experience you. Like living on the tail of a firework in slow motion for all my senses, every moment, every day, the grandest piece of art ever made. I sing back. In celebration, in tribute, and in harmony with the shifting, swirling, spiraling dissonance of the universal ingredients, too slow for me to perceive. But the song won’t be the same tomorrow.

Source: SoundCloud/Jimmy Kleffel

For more videos check out: Jimmy Kleffel on YouTube

Upcoming Albums: The Mad Ape Experiment and Hyde was the Doctor

This predominantly instrumental metal album features innovative sounds and a killer 8 string to depict a dark, imaginative commentary on human behavior and the inevitable retribution that follows. “Evil given for evil done.”

 

 

Muse Monday: Classical Composers

   Classical Music & the Creative Mind

For the past two weeks my top muse has been Fryderyk Chopin–Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era. My Chopin Pandora station has been accompanying the progression of my current project Amazing Grace. Similar to Chopin, check out Hungarian composer and virtuoso pianist Franz Liszt.

Pourquoi Mozart?

Ever hear of the Mozart Effect? It’s the idea that listening to Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s music will increase spatial-temporal reasoning. The BBC wrote a brief article on the effects of listening to Mozart/classical music/any music really on increased brainpower. Although there are skeptics, I favor those who contend ambient noise can improve creativity and stimulate the brain.

Similar to the Mozart Effect, new studies boast the power of Baroque period music like Vivaldi on increased brainpower.

Ambient Noise 

Here is the scientific article from the Journal of Consumer Research everyone keeps referencing regarding the study of ambient noise (i.e. background noise) on creativity. Although, we’re more likely to read this one from Sci-News summarizing the research & results. However, the creativity I’m talking about isn’t “getting creative” with which fruit-shaped hand soaps or bohemian prints to spruce up your home. My beef with referencing this article as an artist is that the focus is on increased creativity for consumers.

“Creativity is ubiquitous in the realm of consumption. On the one hand, we as consumers engage in everyday creative behavior such as home decor, fashion, or planning meals with limited resources.”

Seriously?

I’m talking about that sweet writing zone.

decibel chart70 Decibels

BUT, the research does suggest that a moderate level of ambient noise–at like 70 decibels–is enough to distract our brains from all the noise pollution, allowing for a greater possibility of higher creative thinking.

To give you a range of sound, fireworks clock in around 120 decibels, while the ticking of a watch is about 20. The sweet spot chimes in around the average radio murmur or normal street noise (70 decibels). Some might prefer the softer side of ambient noise, like the soothing sounds of a babbling brook (40 decibels) or the lulling rustling of leaves (20 decibels). Normal piano music falls between 60 and 70 decibels.

Noisli is a fun site (similar to A Soft Murmur) that lets you access a variety of ambient sounds and white noise, including birds chirping, rain falling, ocean waves lapping, etc, etc. In addition, you can make your own ambient playlists so to speak, customizing what sounds you want to hear in conjunction with others.

+ Here’s a site featuring 3 apps for ambient noise and an interesting anecdote about Hemingway.

+ Weird–there’s even a site/app exclusively offering the ambient sounds of a coffee shop for those who enjoy the bustle of cafes. …But isn’t that what actual coffee shops are for? Well, that and coffee.

soundwaves

The overriding correlation seems to be that moderate background noise is good for creative types, because you can still retain focus while allowing your mind to open abstractly. And furthermore, a little background music/ ambient noise can make repetitive tasks go by easier. Proofing tedious papers? Kick up your mood with your favorite (classical music? bird chirps? crashing waves? instrumental ballads? electronica?). Studies indicate that lyrics can be distracting, as SparringMind.com explains:

“Since listening to words activates the language center of your brain, trying to engage in other language related tasks (like writing) would be akin to trying to hold a conversation while another person talks over you… while also strumming a guitar.”

Although, sidebar, I do enjoy passively listening to french music. Foreign music can substitute as your background noise successfully, particularly if you aren’t entirely fluent. One of my faves:

This site also mentions using movie or video game soundtracks as your ambient noise.

Noise Noise Noise

Some people prefer listening to white noise in place of music, silence, or ambient noise apps while writing or working. In addition to white, other examples of colored noise are pink and brown.  So what’s the difference?

SimplyNoise.com,  a free color noise generator, explains:

White Noise – Contains sound across all frequencies. White noise is the most effective at blocking distractions because it covers the largest spectrum range. It’s great for reading, writing, studying, and anything else that requires focus.

Pink Noise – A blend of high and low frequencies that produce a mesmerizing waterfall effect. Pink noise is great for melting away stress while keeping you alert and energized. The airy pulse creates a therapeutic environment that relaxes your mind and body.

Brown Noise – Utilizes the lower sound frequencies to generate a deep ambient rumble. Brown noise is excellent for aiding sleep, pacifying children and pets, and even masking Tinnitus. It’s also great for breaking in audio equipment and soothing migraines.

…I can’t imagine writing to anything in that regard other than brown, so I better stick to the classics.

Classical Composer Lists

Here’s the top 10 most famous classical music composers:

1. Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

2. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

3. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

4. Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)

5. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

6. Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)

7. Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)

8. Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)

9. George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)

10. Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)

[Poor Beethoven, whose early works were shadowed by Mozart. Can’t mess with Moonlight Sonata (Sonata No. 14).]

The most famous list above is similar to the top 15 greatest composers of all time, except it excludes these notable contenders:

Richard Wagner (1813-1883)

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

Franz Liszt (1811-1886)

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)

Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)

and Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

Your Own Beat

So whether you prefer classical music, colored noise, ambient sounds, or even electronica, bottom line is that moderate background noise can help stimulate your creative juices. Every author has his or her own particular preference. This site talks about the daily routines of 12 prominent authors– For instance, E.B. White preferred organic background noise to music:

“I never listen to music when I’m working. I haven’t that kind of attentiveness, and I wouldn’t like it at all. On the other hand, I’m able to work fairly well among ordinary distractions.”

And for those of you who just really aren’t into classical music, check out modern instrumental pieces like Explosions in the Sky to help get you into the sweet writing zone. Or better yet, if you’re into bands like Tool or Deftones, you might prefer Isis:

Side note: For you sound geeks or meditative types, you might want to check out studies on 432 hertz or “Verdi tuning.”