Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: October 2016

19 October 2016

I'm Going To Get A Little Vulnerable With You, New Electric Guitar Tunes from Sonic Bloom 2016, Kishi Bashi Interview, New VR and Robotics Essay for the Body Hacking Blog, More Technoshamanism Goodness

“We are at the end of an era in which lies can be used to steal from the public and the commons. We are at the beginning of an era in which truth in public service can restore us all to a state of grace."
– Former CIA agent Robert David Steele

(My latest live painting in progress at Green Beer Fest, alongside a piece by my friend Martin Cash.)

I'm writing a book and recording a new studio album, both projects I've been promising my friends and fans for years.  It isn't easy but it IS exciting, and inspiring to share this process with you.

Here's the climax of a recent exercise in vulnerable and transparent writing:

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If you are anything like me, the last ten or eleven years have not been easy. You were probably, like me, sold on the dream that your involvement in the pyramid-building of somebody else's vision would reap you rewards you haven't seen. You sought outside yourself authorities to help make sense of all the change, and wondered where you fit in all of it, and wondered if our parents had it easier, without the crushing daily in-your-face reminders that it isn't simple anymore.

But hopefully, then you are also like me in that you have recently decided to stop waiting for the aliens to land and give us Cosmic Christmas, you've stopped buying into party lines and flawed but visionary projects that devour your power and convert it into someone else's profits. You have made the change and now you hope that you can live as an example of the new model of the interdependent human being, motivated by your own relationship to intuition and the loving intelligence that speaks through it. You've given up on gurus, leaders, priests, your parents, bosses, and the future, and you're dedicated to the work of simply being true and clear to what you are and what you're called to do.

If you're like me, you aren't an "independent artist" - you're the intersection of colliding infinities, the universe unfolding as a human life, the product of an ecosystem. You are not "self-employed," because you are employed by that intelligence that lives distributed between all species and their interactions, what cybernetics calls the "Mind at Large." You are employed by everything to serve no less than everyone.

You can stop looking for a home. You have no home. The world is your home.

You can stop looking for a job. You know what you have to do right now. Go do it.


And now for as much music, art, and writing as I can create and share with you for free:

New Electric Guitar Track from Sonic Bloom Festival


I played my first electric set in years for the SolPurpose Visionary Art Academy at Sonic Bloom this June – the soundtrack to a live art session with instructors Martina Hoffmann, Randal Roberts, and Morgan Mandala.  Here is a clip from that performance – the whole show is a perk for all my Patreon and Bandcamp subscribers.

Honestly this one is kind of scary. It has pretty passages but they’re all in between a lot of roaring, black hole grooves and deadly space. There are some clearings of real beauty in there, sentimental lovely lead guitar lines. There are also plenty of unpleasant noises, hatching dragons, flying metal crumpling in a firestorm - even so, they’re interesting, raw and vivid like a heart attack or car crash filtered through slow motion overload, like music from the mothership that feels like maybe it’s just peaceful inquiry…but also could be reprogramming your brain with sound. Some parts of it are distinctly sexy. Not on purpose and it kind of spooks me. I don’t know where any of this comes from, so it’s listen at your own risk, guys. Thanks!

Listen to "Redisintegration – Final Breakdown" here.

Kishi Bashi Interview for Performer Mag

I recently interviewed one of my favorite musicians, Kishi Bashi, for Performer Magazine.  We had a totally bizarre and wonderful discussion on the past, present, and future of music and human connection.  Here's a tiny piece:

"I also had this thought the other day that in the future there may not be any music. Neuroscience will be at such a point where, I feel like within my generation, we’ll be able to recreate the effect of hearing a great song in our head. That little dose of that Dylan song you love and gives you goosebumps? That feeling will probably be able to be recreated, and there’s going to be people who will be able to map out the emotion of a great song, or a great movie, or a great book. Some of them will probably be more complicated than others, but I think people will start combining THAT with new visual and physical experiences. It’ll be a weird world by the time I’m dead."
– Kishi Bashi


New Writing on the Future of Virtual Reality and Robotics

A huge part of the book I'm working on right now is inquiry into the future of the human species and how it will feel to be alive once everything has stopped exploding quite so much – or, once we're used to it, at any rate.  Here is the latest, on the Body Hacking Conference Blog:

"It took less than a decade for the smartphone to insinuate its way into our sense of self. In some important senses, most of us are now dual-platform beings, living in at least two parts: the flesh and the machine. We don’t all think this way, yet – it takes time to steer the paradigm – but five billion people live with some device connecting them at all times to the sum of human knowledge, incredible machine intelligence, and the mediated life experiences of those other cyborgs. That phone is kept at all times inside the envelope of the magnetic fields projected by our hearts and brains, and someday soon we’ll think of human being-ness as slightly more about these organizing fields than what continuously cycling meat exists within them. So we’re each a binary: a person and a cellular device, a wizard and its owl familiar…if you don’t mind reviving the archaic to explain what modern language can’t sufficiently address."


Moogfest Technoshamanism Lecture Audio on Bandcamp



When Dennis McKenna and Bruce Damer weren't available to speak, Moogfest gave me the opportunity to present on "technoshamanism" at this year's event.

Consequence of Sound called it "Easily the most mind-opening presentation at Moogfest 2016" which is CRAZY TALK, but I'll take it.

You may have heard it already on the Psychedelic Salon Podcast – but for my own upload, I edited about 5 minutes of "uh" "like" "you know" out of the recording. Enjoy!

Listen to the whole thing here.

Catch Me Live

An intimate show with the amazing musical talents of Daniel Hansen aka RootFlute, who makes his own sacred instruments; and Johannes Rath, the only "guitalimba" player in the world. Both of these guys are experts in weaving trance-inducing, magical music out of their virtuosic playing – and we're going to mix solo sets with a group jam for maximum effect. Plus we get a double cherry on top: live painting by two of my favorite Boulder artists, Martin Cash and Joshua Wine Morriston. This is my only public concert on the entire Front Range until 2017!

Details and tickets here.


FINALLY! I'm teaching a class AND playing an instrumental cyberguitar set at the global epicenter for visionary art, Alex & Allyon Grey's Chapel of Sacred Mirrors. My three hour afternoon workshop will focus on focusing – that is, how to gather and apply attention – yours AND your audience's – for the benefit of all beings.

Details and tickets here.


For anyone in the New York area, I'm playing music for this amazing event with Alex & Allyson Grey, Luis Eduardo Luna, Ralph Metzner, Daniel Pinchbeck, Allan Badiner, Steven White, Esthela Calderón, and my friend Skytree.

"Join leading authorities on ethnobotany, ayahuasca, anthropology, visionary art as we explore the cultural history, traditional and neo-shamanic practices, artistic and literary inspirations, and the scientific, therapeutic and ecological dimensions of the sacred Vine of the Amazon."

Details and tickets here.


Thanks for reading. :)

09 October 2016

Now on Patreon, Live at Boom Festival, New Live Painting, Technoshamanism at Moogfest, New Future Fossils Episodes, How To Resolve A Paradox


Hello, friends!  A note about creativity and courage:

If you're reading this it's probably because we met while I was painting and I inspired you to stay in touch.  The funny thing is that I've been an emblem of this "daring artistic lifestyle" for several years, but visual art was something I stumbled into as a way of making ends meet. It wasn't a courageous swan dive into the creative life; it was the path of least resistance for someone who'd grown up doodling in class. I've always liked painting but being called a "painter" is like getting stabbed a little.

Now I'm at the point where I either put the emphasis back on my writing and my music, where my soul really is, or I die a little inside. And I'm standing at the edge where I've seen so many people falter, on the cusp of taking that leap of faith and embracing the thing I can't imagine actually paying for itself, and pissing off most of my supporters in the process. And wow, it really IS scary here!

Selling art was never going to buy the life I wanted for myself and for my imaginary future family. (At least, not without my heart in it.) But NOT constantly producing pretty flash for people to consume means stepping out across a chasm with no bridge in sight.

I've set up a Patreon account for anyone who cares about the work I offer and who'd like to see me emerge victorious from this transition with an album and a book and lots of extra podcast episodes.

If I've inspired you at any point I hope that you will join me for this ride, and that I can be – more authentically and deeply than ever – a living example and a catalyst for anyone who's scared to follow what they love beyond the point of sense and into wondrous things...


And now onto the offerings I'm proud and grateful to share with you today:

Live in 360º at Boom Festival’s Chillout Gardens

My concert at Boom Festival's Chillout Gardens was the most amazing gig I've had so far: playing to an audience of thousands in an eighty-foot-tall psychedelic stupa ringed with a six-point Funktion One sound array, stretched fabric and cushioned red carpet flooring on the beach of Idanha-A-Nova, a glorious and glistening lake that literally shimmers with flecks of golden mica.

I played the first set (after a short break) following an epic five-hour dance party by Gaudi – can't ask for a better energy than that – and improvised an hour of music that was alternately spacious, spooky, lively, trancey, woodsy, futuristic, and serene (and sometimes all at once).  For the first time I read some excerpts from a favorite book to deepen and intensify the space of my performance – in this case, William Irwin Thompson's book-length essay, The American Replacement of Nature.

Also for the first time, I included software piano – and recorded the first 25 minutes of the set as a 360º videosphere.  Check this out – you can scroll around and watch everything I'm doing with my pedals, gaze up at the amazing stretched fabric roof of the stage, and look out into the sultry deliciousness of the Chillout Gardens audience:


PS – You can see all of my 360º photospheres from Boom Festival and Portugal here.

New Painting: Eclipse Flower

Astrologically speaking, I have a Pisces Moon.  That means I'm an intuitive, moody, empathetic, emotionally slippery kind of person.  This is true.  And at no time did it seem MORE true than in the final stretch of working on this painting, when a Lunar Eclipse on the exact degree of my natal Moon (24º) cast me into a Persephonic pit of oozing darkness known to the Internet as "THE FEELS."

In every medium, I find myself trying to express the dark-bright beauty of life's messy emotional paradoxes.  Like, for example, the closing track off my first album, "It Hurts So We're Not Dead."  And here we have the visual representation of that:  is it one plant blossoming riotously in the moonlight, or is it two plants fighting one another for supremacy?  Do these distinctions even make sense when it comes to the inherently conflicted inner landscape of emotion?

This piece is for anyone who has ever felt like an alien cactus possibly attacking itself.

Original piece painted live on 40"x30" canvas with oil & acrylic paint pens at the Denison Cultural Arts Festival, SPRATX, and at home from 16-20 September over the Lunar Eclipse.

New Future Fossils Podcast Episodes

My podcast with cohost Evan Snyder, in which we take the perspective of future archeologists digging through the digital remains of modern culture.  What messages of value can we send posterity?  Explore the nature of time and our place in it through the conversations of the unconventional, bizarre, free-roaming, fun, irreverent, and thoughtful kind...an auditory psychedelic to get you prepared for living in a wilder future than we can imagine. Our latest episodes:

Author Kingsley Dennis on the emergence of planetary "new monasticism."
Author Ashley Dawson on the relationship between capitalism and mass extinction.

Both conversations were amazing.  Check them out on iTunes and leave us a review!

Video + Audio: "Technoshamanism" at Moogfest 2016


My talk from Moogfest 2016 was a highlight of my career as a public speaker – Consequence of Sound called it "Easily the most mind-opening presentation Moogfest 2016 had to offer," which is no small statement on a lineup that included virtual reality inventor Jaron Lanier and gender-bending transhumanist Martine Rothblatt.

I think part of what made it so effective was the audioreactive visualization software Synesthesia, transforming my words into flowing imagery behind me while I spoke. You may have already heard this talk as Episode 508 of Notes from the Psychedelic Salon, but seeing it is a very different thing. It was like having a cybernetic collaborator, early AI offering the digital ground to the figure of my presentation.

I've also made the talk's audio available in my own archives as a free download, for which I thoroughly edited most of the "ums" and "likes" so that you can listen to me wax visionary without having to suffer my atrocious Valley Girl dialect. ;)

Time-Lapse Mural Video: "How To Resolve A Paradox"


I had a little fun with the time-lapse app on my phone to capture most of the process while I threw this paint pen mural up in my friend's camper van.  Unfortunately he moved before I could finish it!  But here you are.  Voiceover from my talk at Sonic Bloom 2015, music from my latest album

 Hopefully this helps somebody you know that's confused about an either/or dilemma.

Catch Me Live

An intimate show with the amazing musical talents of Daniel Hansen aka RootFlute, who makes his own sacred instruments; and Johannes Rath, the only "guitalimba" player in the world.  Both of these guys are experts in weaving trance-inducing, magical music out of their virtuosic playing – and we're going to mix solo sets with a group jam for maximum effect.  Plus we get a double cherry on top:  live painting by two of my favorite Boulder artists, Martin Cash and Joshua Wine Morriston.  This is my only public concert on the entire Front Range until 2017!  Details and RSVP here.


FINALLY!  I'm teaching a class AND playing an instrumental cyberguitar set at the global epicenter for visionary art, Alex & Allyon Grey's Chapel of Sacred Mirrors.  My three hour afternoon workshop will focus on focusing – that is, how to gather and apply attention – yours AND your audience's – for the benefit of all beings.  Details and tickets here.


For anyone in the New York area who can't make it out for the COSM gig (and also those who can), I'm also playing music for this amazing event with Alex & Allyson Grey, Luis Eduardo Luna, Ralph Metzner, Daniel Pinchbeck, Allan Badiner, Steven White, Esthela Calderón, and my friend Skytree.

"Join leading authorities on ethnobotany, ayahuasca, anthropology, visionary art as we explore the cultural history, traditional and neo-shamanic practices, artistic and literary inspirations, and the scientific, therapeutic and ecological dimensions of the sacred Vine of the Amazon."  Details and tickets here.