What things can one Fighting Lion accomplish with a Ukulele? Great things apparently!

Fighting Lion’s EP “Sparkling Days, Sparkling Nights E.P.” is nothing short of a great and concise set of melodic songs played on a Ukulele. The songs awaken different feelings and much of that can be related to the simplicity and lo-fi production, giving all focus to one kind of sound with only small portions of other instruments, leaving the Ukulele as the main character setting the tone in every track.

The songs are very different from each other, “Old Floorboards” is slowly growing but over time changing, followed by the quick and joyful “Setting Sun” and “Morning Fog” starts off with a beautifully slumbering harmonica and Ukulele waking up. The personal favourite track is “Distant View” which personally made one contemplate tough things going on now and affecting the future but it still ignites the spark of hope that everything will be fine. “Grass Mountain” is the track with the most complete sound in terms of different ingredients such as simple drums. The 10-minute EP ends with the beautiful “Summer Night Breeze” which is great to fall asleep to or actually to spend a moment listening to during a real summer night breeze.

Cover of Fighting Lion - Sparkling Days, Sparkling Nights E.P.

Fighting Lion – Sparkling Days, Sparkling Nights E.P. Attribution-NonCommercial
3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC 3.0)

One rather logic interpretation of the tracks are that they all represent impressions from moments or objects occurring in nature and wildlife, thus given their names. It is a beautiful way of documenting the emotional reactions which these awaken musically and are profound results on what a modern being observes and perceives. Fighting Lion can remind one of some of the works by Anthony Phillips, a guitarist of the pioneering progressive rock band Genesis but in a simpler manner. With a very natural and down-to-earth sound it can suit in many environments and other works of art. The tunes do stand out as too short at times but interestingly enough encapsulates impressions of those things they are entitled with. The simple structure of yet affecting songs are proof of the skill as an artist with the Ukulele, truly something that any aspiring instrumentalist could gain inspiration from by listening to this work.

The artist behind Fighting Lion goes by the name of Álvaro Menéndez residing in Valencia, Spain, originally from the city of Gijón in the north-western region Asturias. Before this release of May 2012, he also released “When I see the fallen leaves turning red by the setting sun my heart is overwhelmed E​.​P.” in June, 2011 also with a Creative Commons license.

Download the EP “Sparkling Days, Sparkling Nights by Fighting Lion E.P.” through The Internet Archive or Soundshiva and enjoy these well-crafted Ukulele-tunes!

This work “Sparkling Days, Sparkling Nights E.P.” is licensed with Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC 3.0)

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How does planning for the future result in enhanced outcomes in our coming pasts?

Amidst a fascinating bog of Physical laws, telling us that the present is the past, and standing still equals regressing, we as human beings are faced with the question of how to live the future, in a way that leaves a pleasing trace behind for later generations to examine. But if we are the writers of the future, we may benefit from knowing that proper documentation is key in enabling transparency in what we do, and why we do it. By doing so, not only will we have created better conditions to interpret history. But we may also have authorized forthcoming generations the opportunity to access the truth, naked as it always is, before we unfortunately treat it in ways that can obstruct it from being accessed properly in the future. As a result we will also have opened up our society to learn faster from unsuccessful paths and see what caused the change to have unfavourable outcomes, thus we can improve and move on to a better strategy to accomplish prosperity.

The Modern Storyteller Charles Eisenstein

When the charismatic author Charles Eisenstein visited Sweden in May this year of 2013, he discussed with The International Youth Initiative Program (YIP) about economic adjustments to solve global problems such as discussing the idea of interest rates and using gifts instead of services. These economic innovations are described in his book Sacred Economics (2011), and could, according to the author, mend the roots of the economic system and prevent it from crashing. During this visit, however, he chose to focus on the idea of storytelling, also elaborated in a new book called The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible (Sacred Activism), which is being released in 2013 (, maybe available free as a gift, such as earlier releases such as Ascent of Humanity & Sacred Economics). During his seminar at Stockholm University and workshop at The Hub, he elaborated on this idea of the stories of civilizations. Hundreds of spectators came to the session at the University and he received standing ovations at the end. The event at The Hub was crowded with around 50 individuals who got to do exercises with other participants which got to know a stranger in under 5 minutes. One participant expressed that it had taken them years to reach the same level with others who were now their best friends. Almost everyone were curious with questions but some also showed support of his theories by bringing forth empirical examples relating to the theory of gift economy, trying to tell another story and meanwhile making a positive societal difference.

Licensed with Creative Commons BY-NC-ND-2.0 Webted at Flickr: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/webted/

Charles Eisenstein (Sacred Economy) at the HUB in Amsterdam – Licensed with Creative Commons BY-NC-ND-2.0 Webted at Flickr.

This turned many of the thoughts about this project upside down about its purpose, ambition and methods because it was such a new theory which was presented. A long time has been needed to figure things out, which now will be partially expressed in this text. Much of the contemplation since Charles Eisenstein’s visit has made the project look very connected to what he discusses. This is with a combination of the idea of the gift-economy that he advocates, and the more beautiful world that he argues is possible, if we just choose to write the new story and put the old story in the past.

So what role does the Open Life Challenge, play, in a more Beautiful World?

Nature of Free & Open Solutions

During the first encounter, which took place in the middle of a group discussion in Järna, it first took a while to understand what Charles Eisenstein and students were talking about. However, when it was understood, it did not take long to realise that there are a number of connections to the ideas communicated are built-in to this project. As an example, people can actually enjoy culture without consuming it by spending vasts amount of money for copyright material or pirating it and becoming afraid of prosecution. One answer is what this project has demonstrated by partaking in giving and sharing culture freely on different terms, values and mutual agreements, being free from monetary transactions or changing the way they are made, with a similar situation in law.

Charles Eisenstein in London 2012

Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike BY-NC-ND  by London Permaculture at Flickr

Many things with free and open source software could be related to or is by nature included in the idea of gift economy. Charles Eisenstein demonstrates this himself by using the GNU/Linux distribution of Ubuntu and applications such as LibreOffice, which he said during his workshop at The Hub in Stockholm. This is an example of integrating the idea of the gift economy into daily life as they are somewhat based on the idea to different extents with open source and global team collaborations to develop them. What was extra interesting with the workshop and his lecture the day before at Stockholm University, was that the event fee was based on the notion that the participants could give the amount of money that they felt it was worth, not paying a set price, thus also being an example of the gift economy. Hence all of these things are also demonstrations to an alternative story of us.

Shaping the Story

One can believe to know what story one wants to shape and what role this project plays in these contextual ideas. One can wish to help shape a future in which we later will look back and tell the new story of our species different from what we would say if everything remained the same. A good way to do this could be to develop the project and expand the area that it spans over. By embarking on this journey of consuming things that were given and which easily can have continuous sharing, one automatically opens up to be a part of the new story. There are still struggles with the issue of ignoring material that was used to be consumed freely without the project’s limits. However there are ideas to be implemented on how to tackle that and reduce it, with the simple reason to be more open and honest about what has been consumed and does not belong within the framework of the experiment.

An Open Agenda

One might say that this challenge is getting involving in these new philosophies too hastily and without much questioning. However, through this recent period of silence, this has been one of the most existential thoughts constantly hovering over this challenge. This experiment was launched open up to the idea of Creative Commons and alternative licenses which were undiscovered territory half a year ago. Today it is a part of everyday life. The original definition of what ‘Open’ means to the project, referring to Open Source initially, will now be expanded upon and redefined more thoroughly. Now it has come more to mean something more including – being open to new and innovative ideas not only on a practical level but also philosophically. It also includes to clarify the communication about this project to reduce possible misunderstandings of what agendas this experimental project has and does not have. This will allow the project to continue it’s discovery in theories and see how it fits into these models without taking any specific stance and partiality in the ideas but instead exclaiming what role for example the Open Source philosophy plays in them. It can also become interesting to put the idea of openness in scenarios of the old story, such as Hollywood’s heavy use of open systems to create the visual effects and blockbuster movies compulsively produced every year. The core will most probably be to focus on providing unique insights on issues, scenarios and ideas which they play in the new story.

“Gift Economy” by London Permaculture at Flickr  Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 2.0

A Lighthouse for the ones Searching

The idea to tell a different story is a motivating factor to continue further. It is not intended to be the outsider who is disconnected to the old story but instead being a lighthouse inside it, for those who look for another perspective on matters that they are discontent with. This also brings down the issue of what it is like to see what the new story is, which we are writing even while one is still in it. The problem is then having the self-distance and staying true to the ambitions of the project as long as it is put into diverse perspectives thus not being partial. With experience from a life of living in the old story about how things can be if one does not look for alternatives, many things are very confusing until one has had time to contemplate them. This is not the only reality we can choose to live in and the more activity one undertakes with this project to inspire others to pause and think for a while, the more true the other story eventually becomes.

Inspiration as a Gift to Fuel Action

This challenge has come a long way but is continuously still in development and every now and then one needs more energy to continue. The participation in the events of Charles Eisenstein’s visit was very needed to continue and is an example of how inspiration is a gift that can fuel so many actions. There are numerous individuals, groups and ideas out there that will help putting wood into the fire so one can keep telling a new story.  It is wonderful how the world and perception of reality can change when one connects not only with new ideas but also puts one into a new context and a sense of belonging. This is why the project has such gratitude towards the insights and inspiration that were given by Charles Eisenstein. His contribution will help keep the fire burning as we sit around the same campfire to tell the new story that the stars will look down upon in the future.

It is time to widen the definitions, philosophies and perspectives of free & open solutions and their gifts to tell the new story we all need to have a better life in a more beautiful world.

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I love to get into the groove. There are so many sounds out there which allows me to do that, but Socket Science can do so in a uniquely and inconvenient way. The tunes that the “co-honcho Don Simon” produce for the netlabel Astor Bell are imperfectly sounding music which has an incredible detail in its production of just chewing on and on but still keeping a human touch to it.

Ephedra Album Art

Cover Photo taken by Brock Davis (http://www.itistheworldthatmadeyousmall.com/)

Swedish-based artist Socket Science works with a techno sound that mixes distorted instruments with more gently sounding bells and keyboards. The songs never really go into a more forceful mode, instead it keeps a rather a similar ambience but one can notice that the dynamics of these songs were worked out fill a space with the sort of composition and variation that techno music can have a lack of. Here is also the issue with the release. The one thing that can disappoint, yet although is a predominant feature of techno and electro is the drum and its beat which can get a bit too repetitive in its traditional and recognizable way. This bit is where one could wish that there was more to find because the beat does not join in when the rest of the sounds aim to lever into a higher state, which they do real good during some moments.

The theme of Ephedra is rather gloomy in its style and comes with an interesting blend of noise and beats, which throughout the generous lengths of the tracks have time to take many turns before the ride is over. Ephedra has an identity where it would suit somewhere between the slower and more relaxing techno or electro and the more ravaging electronica. It enables a good social atmosphere for parties but is also great for those moments when one is in need of focus and to concentrate on something robotic. It can make one feel like an android. Or a replicant for that matter as well.

Download it via SoundShiva from Archive.org in an MP3 format here. Feel free to comment below and have a say about what you think of the review and the music!

Released with CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0. Catalogue no: ASTOR013 Released 2010-05-24 on Astor Bell.

If you like the music, get in touch with the artist directly at socketscience (at) astorbell.com!

 

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What is it like to float around in dreams? Or in memories of my life? How can I easily start to think about who I am and what life is or what I want it to be? Naono simplifies the process of getting into the mode to reflect on those sorts of questions. The times I put in on, the thoroughly crafted songs make me feel like I want to escape into myself where there is only me. Into a large space in my mind where I focus everything on my well-being. These tracks pull out different beautiful memories of life but also thoughts of the now and visions for the future, in threads of melodies and discreet rhythms which slowly roll on in an almost infinitely or faster but still relaxing drum sequence.

Archaic Horizon Release Page

Album Art of Naono – Sleepy Pebbles
License: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Sleepy Pebbles is an album for those lonely moments that one at times can need. To pause time and feel the sensation of living in this century filled with this vast amount of messages each day which want to reach us. The songs have finely composed melodies which loop and mix with hymns, imperfect strings and short vocals appearing in the background as sort of searching elements which all try to grasp anything which the mind then sticks to, because the mind sure does, there are some sounds which are hard to pass by unnoticed. For being an album one can argue that it is rather short and that more could be offered to the listener with only about almost 35 minutes of relaxation.

The tracks which are offered thrive with what seems to be some sampled sound and they often tend to enter some state of lo-fi transcendent spirit, giving the album a generous variety of sounds although the release keeps a steady and carefully molded impression in my mind. And throughout its way it does never risk getting boring or repetitive. However I would like to have more variation in the vocals as with other commercial alternatives such as Moby, I feel that some more elements of voices can be very powerful in how they affect one’s impression.

Download the album from Soundshiva and enjoy this relaxing craft in audiophile quality FLAC or lower quality with MP3. You can also find free experimental and ambient releases at Naono’s netlabel Archaic Horizon.

Naono – Sleepy Pebbles is licensed with CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 so feel free to share it!

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There are people in need for different operating systems and that I know, because I have changed the lives for some!

During the latest couple of months I have changed people’s lives by spreading knowledge about GNU/Linux and installing it on some computers for people I know. Helped them to migrate from obsolete systems, not suiting their needs, to the Ubuntu distribution which is a derivative of the old and well-developed operating system Debian, both of which recently had new releases and originating out of Linux system kernel. What are the reasons for it and why did they wish for it? Well, it all comes down to usability in these cases, where systems were not adapted to these people in different ways and I believe this is a universal issue.

Before I got out travelling I helped my grandfather to switch to Ubuntu. He has worked with computer systems back when they were only machines for businesses and were physically “large as a classroom in school”. Now he is back to revamping his experience with a totally new episode for him. The installation transformed his slow computer and the confusing system of Windows Vista, to something that started to inspire him and get interested in computers once again but as well reminded him of some downsides from his early days in the business. I wrote about my first experiences about the migration from Windows XP, when I did myself a big favour of refurbishing an unusable computer into a perfectly fine workstation, cloud storage and server.

Everything seemed to work fine when I was out travelling before the setup with last year’s latest version 12.10, Quantal Quetzal, of Ubuntu crashed. I realised that there is a lot of responsibility that comes with that initiative of being the sole tech support during and after a migration. There are so many new things that he had to get used to which we had considered. But before I left for my journey I did not manage to find time and look at an error which was popping up after his computer booted up which I think would not cause any real damage as we encountered a couple of those during the first sessions we had when I taught him the basics of the system. That was what the error did. About two weeks into my journey the computer crashed and he was left without any support to get going again which was not what I intended and something I learnt that I should have expected.

The second time it worked out really well, coming to the conclusion that the errors that made the system crash before was because of the way I must have installed the printer drivers with an error during the process. When we tried again a couple of weeks ago with the new version 13.04, known as Raring Ringtail, was released, it worked out fine. The printer was installed again and now it works perfectly fine without any errors being reported at all. In that sense he is now enjoying his sessions of doing the basic things but still having a beautiful desktop environment to learn and discover more about.

The second time around, I was asked to do an installation was when I was when I helped the mother of a friend who was more positive towards Linux, her experience and connotations with that than towards Windows. She preferred to have the system in Spanish but as Windows limits a license to one language only she had to stand an English interface even though she is interested in learning the language. However, when we had installed Ubuntu Raring Ringtail here too, it was so convenient for her, less of a fuss and simple to learn. The system language could be changed when needed in an instant with the opportunity to change keyboard layout as well and there was room for her to learn a simpler system that was cleaner and not as confusing as Windows 7 which really functioned well before. It was a matter of adaptability language and simplicity of the system, which the Microsoft Windows experience could not offer to a paying customer but that Ubuntu could offer for free.

A challenge of turning to a Linux-based operating system such as Ubuntu for an average user is that there can be fundamental visual differences from Windows such as Ubuntu’s Unity-interface, which in turn is a very similar experience to OS X and its Dock-function. As a frequent user of both OS X and Windows operating systems I felt it was a minor step but then again, I am very interested in discovering and learning about this which might not be as simple for all. However I found many of the things much simpler within the Debian-based system Ubuntu. There are still flaws with the systems, one thing noticed with both setups I turned to the latest version is that the user interface still acts quite slow, although these computers had rather low-performing graphical units which possibly is decisive. However there is a problem of giving technical support when I am physically disconnected which requires of the user to have a backup support solution. I have a couple of ideas on this which I aim to develop.

Yesterday I was offered to play a bit with a HTPC media computer station and more specifically to install any kind of suitable distribution of GNU/Linux. This friend of mine has barely used the hardware although it seems to me like perfectly fine goods but this time there has been typical user experience of Windows that affected his satisfaction and that was all the “bloatware” and their annoying popup-messages along with the built-in Windows pop-ups which made the computer slower than necessary and unmotivated his will to use it at all. Feel free to comment below if there is any specific setup for media center purposes that is rather easy to set up and manage for a beginner as I aim to offer it to someone relatively new to the idea of GNU/Linux.

I find a lot of joy in helping others about these issues as I am gaining a lot of knowledge and spreading these systems, philosophies and mindsets which come with it. I call it The Windows Exodus, because that is what it has been so far, a migration from non-adaptive and non-inspiring versions of the old and obsolete NT-kernel that is the foundation of what we perceive as the PC today and still is present in the latest Windows 8. The Free Software Foundation has a rather interesting infographic about this and it has been circulating on social media I follow.

Upgrade from Windows 8

This photo produced by the Free Software Foundation is licensed under the CC-BY 3.0 US license.

I aim to change the recent development by starting something bigger than my own capabilities. It is because I have come to the conclusion that the PC experience is lagging behind mostly because of the rather bad connotations that people have with systems with it today. This is negative for a whole industry and needs to change and I believe GNU/Linux systems can help do that.

 

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