Maw- - Leave The Flow
The album has been out for a while now so I figured I'd speak on the music real quick. To all of the people who consistently take the
time to listen and to spread the word about this music - thank you! I appreciate all of that, for real. To those not yet familiar with my
work, I have conveniently placed all of the links to my music here:
Get the album for free here: http://mawone.bandcamp.com/
Go check out my soundcloud here: http://soundcloud.com/maw1/
And follow me on twitter @mawpanda
The cover art is by Espe: http://essu.deviantart.com/
So something very special happened today:
As usual, I was preparing a piece about my newest record to drop on this journal. A whole bunch of paragraphs with a detailed
explanation about how I made this one happen, what inspired it, and so on. I was about to make my final little edits to the text and post the thing but just then I heard the doorbell ring and went to answer. It was this old eastern-looking lady, dressed in some parcel service uniform with the friendliest smile I've seen in a while. I didn't know who she was but she seemed to immediattely recognize me. She bowed graciously and proceeded to hand me a package. As friendly as she seemed, I was kind of weirded out by all of this and unsure as to what's going on, and tried to get her to explain what this was all about. Turns out she didn't speak finnish and even her english was highly fractured, yet we managed to communicate well enough to sort out the details of me receiving this package. She didn't seem like she was in a hurry but before I could gather myself to ask any questions, she had already drifted off to exit the apartment building. I closed the door all flummoxed. I knew I hadn't ordered anything and I don't have any international contacts who would have my address at hand. I noticed that the package had some chinese writing on a sticker, and after I'd inspected the thing more closely, I could notice that it had my name on it in a very tiny print.
So I unclasped the carboard flaps of the box and I was almost frightened to find out what's inside. I carefully lifted the lid and once I got to lay my eyes on the contents of what I now consider a gift from somewhere far, far away, I was overcome with joy. It was my 11th album Leave The Flow, on vinyl!
As I started to inspect the sleeve, the wax and the gatefold, I found out that this is one of only three copies that were pressed. It has 1/3 printed on the bottom left corner on the back, and a small post-it note that seems to be addressed directly to me. To paraphrase, it basically states that an ultra-small private pressing of three pieces of Leave The Flow wax were manufactured in an island workshop in some unspecified location. I believe this hints strongly towards the idea that the cover art of the beach shack the the koala is in does not show all of the gadgets(let alone the workspace) that he might have in there. I immediattely became quite adamant that he was behind all of this in some way. The last thing on the note is an explanation of the location and ownership of the other two records. It reads as follows:
1/3 - the writing is all smudged but I'll be damned if it doesn't say 'Niko', which is my name, followed by 'The Artist'
2/3 - again, the writing is smudged but I can make out 'The Traveler'
3/3 - the writing is not legible but it seems to have some kind of subtitle that says 'The Island Merchant'
So all this was truly incredible to encounter. I'm still kind of in shock about something as sudden and amazing as this. Though I'm only getting to the best part of this whole thing now:
As I investigated the contents of the record sleeve, I came across something truly amazing. A letter, composed on a tattered piece of paper that looks homemade, the text laid on it with ink. It appears to be addressed to the panda character who has been featured on my album covers for a while now, who for some reason seems to willingly act as my global world-traveling spokesperson, mascot, representative and avatar. We've never met or corresponded in any way, but he seems to have a very close relationship with my music.
The sender/author of the letter looks to be the koala character featured on the cover.
Now the content of the letter itself is almost exclusively about my new album. Since the panda seems to take a role of 'Maw-'s publicist' at this juncture, I find it natural to assume that he took a trip to wherever the koala lives and made him familiar with my music(and this album, in particular), and what followed was this private press of three records for all of the parties to have. As he's now responding to his overseas musical contact via this letter, it's incredible how many little details and thematic nuances he absolutely nailed and got right just from listening to the music. It explains the album way better than my original deconstruction ever could have done, and I feel it's only right to share this piece with all of y'all.
And please note that the italic text is the original writing, whilst anything in brackets and in bold is a personal notation of mine. It's mainly for parts that are either illegible(as some are) or just if they didn't make sense to me.
Here's the letter in it's entirety
Ni hao young master (illegible but I think it's the name of the panda)
Before I get into what I want to talk about in this letter, I must say that it was truly a pleasure and great fun getting to see you once
again, my friend! It makes me very pleased to know that you young'ins still feel inclined to seek us older folks out if you want to understand something that culls more from our world, than it does from yours. An old islander's ear is appreciated ???(part of it is too smudged to read)
It's been so long since I've had the pleasure of trading tapes with anyone, but it's been even longer since I've had anyone bring me
actual original master tapes to work with! And what treasures you have brought me! What great fortune!
Though you told me that you have never met this young master Maw, (he appears to call anyone younger than himself 'young master') it is a very kind thing to do to take on a mission to proliferate and to bring honor to his work. A very noble boon to undertake indeed.
So as I'm writing this letter, the final record is being cut in my workshop and my personal tape copy is playing for probably the tenth time today. I don't think I need to tell you that the music you have brought with you has given me great pleasure, both for giving me a chance to apply my talents to cut the records, and ?s??(an indecipherable portion) the music itself.
I feel that the record is an exhilarating composition from start to finish. While it's definitely got some of that raw western energy to it, I still get the feeling that young master Maw was going for the same soothing ambiance and tranquility I find in the vicinity of my lodging on this island and it's surroundings. I feel as though the music speaks about love, warm weather, vitality in mind, body and soul, and about a detachment. An escape. Something that I myself had to do years ago when I lived in a metropolis, before deciding to abandon the pace of the western industrial world and settling out here on this island. It warms my heart to have someone documenting their own fantasy, or maybe even determination to experience the same ?oft(I think he means 'sort') of liberation that I found absolutely necessary for survival.
Of course, the thematic components of this could be interpreted in any number of ways, but I felt like what I arrived on might've been the closest ?????(quite badly smudged, no idea what the end of this sentence is)
As for the structure and the composition of the music itself - I delved quite deep into it as I was cutting the final mixes, and I feel a
tranquil connection to the way it's thought out. As it starts with a call for love and understanding that tries hard to stifle it's urgency, it gets cut off and reveals other sides of itself... only to return back to it's original message and playing it out fully. But the pieces in between aren't shoved in to replace that heartfelt sentimet, they merely try their best to follow the direction that has been set. It really feels like a record filled with dedication and lots of small details that all try to speak a very warm language to whoever takes the time to listen. It has a ^?nvrs??(I think I can make out 'conversational', but most of this sentence is undecipherable) to it.
As for the outward appearance of the album - I must note that one of the most interesting things about it are the track titles. For a while I was confused as to what they were referring to, but I quickly remembered - they all link to a collection of locations and characters from that marvelous fantasy game I got from you in our previous trade!(I had go to check if my copy of Breath Of Fire 3 was missing. It wasn't. But looks like the panda is a fan as well.) I must say that, while titles to some are quite arbitrary(and I do understand why that might be), if a listener who is familiar with this game calls forth in their mind the exact places, things and milieus young master Maw is referencing to...I think it adds some further flavors to the sound. I also feel that it's exciting to have a record that wears such a direct influence on it's sleeve, even though I'm sure it might alienate some people if the music ever became noticeably popular.
(this next and final part struggles to fit onto the remaining space on the letter)
So now as I'm simultaneously out of paper, ink, and time as the record cut needs observing and input, I'll bring my talk to a close. I truly hope that the album generates at least some of the same feelings of warmth and happiness to others as it did to me, and I wish you the best in whatever travels you find yourself embarking on in both the near and the far future. Thank you for delivering the music, and for the compensation of my workshop use. An old islander like me surely has much more vigor when landing on projects like this to keep 'im occupied.
I wish for ?s?t????(really badly smudged) as you traverse the seas, skies and the roads
??(again, I'm sure this is supposed to be the name of the koala but the letters are all nonsensical swirls.)