Monday, January 11, 2021

Bumping into... Nilan

Bumping Into... is a series of mini-chats with a variety of peeps that you might run into in some of our local music communities. (There's a bit of an intro and my thoughts behind the series here.)

How are you? Where are you? tha hood...N of Eglington and Keele.


Pretty good, pretty bad, about the same, being a dad.

What have you been up to since March or so?

Well, it's been like the definition of combat..long stretches of boredom punctuated buy moments of extreme stress! But I'm being slightly specious/facetious.

I'm chuffed about the Willow Gardens Collective with Fahmid, me, Mark and Germaine working the soil and have found our work and collaborations to be very nutritious in all the ways. Then there's my 6 year old daughter who is central part of my life and my heart's beautiful journey. I've had some pretty fkn weird shit handed to me around Child Services but I was daughter had my back....which you can imagine made my heart very much bigger.

All in all, everything considered, I'm grateful...I'm a lucky guy!

Have you found any new ways to do old things? How are you feeling about the shifts in how music is being made/shared/listened to?

It's funny...I'm a player not a practice-er so my guitar time seems to focus on playing old blues/roots music (back to the beautiful well!) or working on some off kilter ways to play Bach and Satie, all of which leave opportunity to inject elements of the Mystery, which results in some self contained Mysterious extrapolation.

I go through lengthy periods of not playing and spending too much time on the 'net...I love connections and information so I'm guessing that'll feed onto the creative. Coming back into playing after not playing for a while is an initial explosion of coolness 'til my chops fall apart, lol.

I'm really looking forward to a blossoming of formal compositions but can't wait for the conversations I'm used to in spontaneous play. I'm intensely curious about how things are going to sound like when the coviditties calm down.

I was on a project in 2012 in Sri Lanka checking in with artists of all genres about their work during the 30 year civil war...the visual artists said that there wasn't much done during but in terms of producing work you couldn't shut them up after.

I think the same seemed to work for the theatre people and music there is pretty stratified into commercial, traditional and some art music of a formal nature. I'm wondering now whether that had anything to do with the wartime censorship, but it's the closest in my experience to what we are going through now.

Civil war has very different social parameters, though.

I think electronic musicians in general are the ones who can really make use of the time now as composition and performance are intimately tied in that world and one can create fully realised work instead of relying on in person rehearsals and $$$. considerations.

I did release my ancient solo recording with the new addition of the re/demixes and am checking into my archives for more.

Any works of art that have been a light for you in these times? Anything that's just been a good diversion?

That's a hard one... yes and no.

I'm into different things... politics, social justice, the environment and thinking about issues and connective tissues.

I've always felt a bit of a dilettante when it came to music and the arts. I've got a bit of a case of ADD I think... lol.

I started playing music seriously at 30 so don't have the early years of affirmation, practice, routine and career... I was a huge fan though.

My diversions are reading, gardening and my daughter... and the internet... which is kind of, like f'book, a bit like radio for me. People post cool things which remind me of other things either re discoveries or discoveries, but I repost and don't latch on. It's actually a bit annoying sometimes.

Colin F turned me on to 'Ka' (hip hop) who blew my mind...the Days With Dr. Yen Lo by Ka and Preservation is amazing.

How are you feeling about 2021?

Pretty good... I'm excited about the possibilities, though there are some major pragmatic challenges for our community of artists at large re: venues, spaces (performance or otherwise) etc. as well as distribution of art/music.

I think, if we don't unite in an interdisciplinary way in a movement of the times, we're going to be looking at major difficulties.

It's also a time of reflection of not only the 'hows', but the whys' of art.

All this is tied into what I feel is a crucial time for the community of improvised/non mainstream music to place themselves in the cultural framework in more active/activist ways.

It's all changed., and trying to go back won't work.

And also deal with uncomfortable questions around diversity and representation and the origins of and solutions for that question.

I'm working on stuff...when and if it happens, y'all will know.

Anything else we'd chat about if we bumped into each other?

The weather, how it's cool how the traffic has reduced, food, the price of pomegranates, what you're doing... the usual friendliness.

Photo credit Nehara S. P-K

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