music is life, music is breath, music is us

Archive for August, 2014

Thievery Corporation-“Treasures”

Nobody matches TC’s style and vision in the downtempo music genre. In my opinion anyway.

Where Derek Descends Into His Mind to Find Something Interesting


So…a new post that is not an interview or a review. I always find it interesting what comes to mind when I boot up my laptop to write these types of posts. I’ll be completely honest and say that half the time I don’t even know what in the hell I’m going to write when I commit to making a new blog entry. I’ll sit in front of my computer screen, drink my coffee/tea (decaf or caffeinated depending on the time…it’s bloody late so I am doing this powered by decaf only), surf the web, listen to music, and do pretty much anything to figure out what I’m doing. Lightning doesn’t usually strike for me, so I begin to write.

And write.

Annnnd write.

(Choose an album to listen to).

Write some more.

Then eventually, MAYBE, I finally develop some cohesive idea. This idea usually is very broad and it is up to me to decide how in the f*** I am going to zero in on its main points (and when I swear, as I often do, if I am going to censor it).

Now, you are probably thinking (if you’ve made it this far) what my point is to this rambling. You are saying, “Derek, this is great and all, but I’ve got s@$% to do and if this doesn’t develop into something about MUSIC (which is your blog’s topic) I’m going to make my exit and go read the New York Times.”

If in fact you are thinking some variant of this…let me get to the point. The point is…

There was no point to this post.

(I think some of you just left).

(But let me explain).

(Because I NOW have a point).

So many times in art or anything else the creator is expected to have this grandiose plan, a blueprint, or a vision of some sort as to why the product exists. Questions about the piece (could be music, a sculpture, a painting, a video game etc.) involve such ponderings as “what is the major theme behind this piece?” “What are YOU trying to say with it?” “What led you here?” (I am guilty of asking such questions, but in my defense I only ask them knowing that I am likely to get a logical answer).

Sometimes I believe, just like the first section of this post, creations of art or otherwise simply exist because the creator wanted them to. Using my own personal experience as a composer and musician, I can honestly say that sometimes a work develops because I like it. That’s it. There is no reason except that I have decided to find joy in the work.

What I am saying may sound contradictory, but truthfully I think with art being turned into a science with such heavy analysis (which I absolutely support by the way) has, at least in the western world, voided our ability to enjoy something for what it is. There is equal value in pondering as there is in being, i.e. allowing the work to exist as a self-contained entity. No analysis. No swirling wine and chuckling condescendingly. Just allowing the art to exist.

When you see a tree in nature, do you ever just stare at it? Do you ever just stand in awe of it? I think with any creation (in my case music), we must allow ourselves to simply enjoy the creation sometimes. Not thinking about how it makes us feel. Not pondering its social significance. Sometimes, we just need our art to be art. Creativity and logic often work together, and this is beautiful. Let us not forget, however, just how beautiful creativity can be as a standalone creature.

“When the world knows beauty as beauty, ugliness arises
When it knows good as good, evil arises
Thus being and non-being produce each other
Difficult and easy bring about each other
Long and short reveal each other
High and low support each other
Music and voice harmonize each other
Front and back follow each other
Therefore the sages:
Manage the work of detached actions
Conduct the teaching of no words
They work with myriad things but do not control
They create but do not possess
They act but do not presume
They succeed but do not dwell on success
It is because they do not dwell on success
That it never goes away”

Tao Te Ching, Chapter 2

Happy Birthday Vernon Reid!!!

No doubt Vernon is an influence of mine for the guitar. He favorited a tweet of mine once, so…maybe I can get an interview (LOL)? In any case bro, I wish you all the best that music can bring.

On Ferguson

The press is silenced, the protesters are being met with violence, the police have militarized. This is an Orwellian prophecy unfolding before our eyes as we watch the town burn.

“The paranoia is in bloom
The P.R. transmissions will resume
They’ll try to push drugs to keep us all dumbed down
And hope that we will never see the truth around

So come on

Another promise, another seed, another
Packaged lie to keep us trapped in greed with all the
Green belts wrapped around our minds and endless
Red tape to keep the truth confined

So come on

They will not force us
And they will stop degrading us
And they will not control us
We will be victorious
So come on

Interchanging mind control
Come let the revolution take its toll
If you could flick a switch and open your third eye
You’d see that we should never be afraid to die

So come on

Rise up and take the power back
It’s time the fat cat’s had a heart attack
You know that their time is coming to an end
We have to unify and watch our flag ascend

So come on

They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not control us
We will be victorious, so come on

Hey, hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey, hey

They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not control us
We will be victorious, so come on

Hey, hey, hey, hey”


One Man Army-“It’s Empty”

Who needs friends when you have punk rock?

Goodbye Robin

What stuck with me the most about Robin Williams was his understanding of people. Back in the day my mom worked Mork and Mindy and has fond memories of how crazy funny Robin Williams was. For me, his performance in Good Will Hunting resonated with me the most as I felt like he was a psychologist who would’ve actually helped me. His line in Good Will Hunting has been something I’ve repeated to myself many times whenever the trauma I experienced in life came back to haunt me.

“It’s not your fault.”

“It’s not your fault.”

“It’s not your fault.”

I am in shock. To honor you, I play the song that gives joy to so many from Good Will Hunting, Elliott Smith’s “Miss Misery.”

Goodbye for now Robin, goodbye my friend.

New Instrumental Rock Song by Derek Kortepeter-“Fragmented Sky”

This song has been in development for a while. I initially recorded most of the parts along with some vocals, but the vocal aspect really did not make sense with the music. Recently I opened the mix, tweaked with it, and added one more guitar line, thus finishing the song. I play all instruments on this track (multiple guitar lines and drums). “Fragmented Sky” is a return to the instrumental rock that I first was known for. Hopefully the groove and the energy is something that you, the listener, can connect with.