Lucien Carr's New Vision

Lucien Carr's New Vision

A new perception of the literary world.
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Those who know me well will attest to my obsession with a niche group of writers and artists, active mostly during the 1950s, known as the Beat Generation. What I find most fascinating about this group of extraordinary writers is not just their work, but the vision behind it. This vision came not from one of the creators of Beat literature, but from a friend and associate named Lucien Carr. Carr was a core member of the original Beat authors who met at Columbia University in New York, alongside famous names such as Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William S. Burroughs. Though he never directly contributed to the literature of the movement, he pushed the genius around him into fertility with his New Vision. At Columbia, he studied the practices and forms of Parisian Bohemianism and Emersonian transcendentalism and created the following series of affirmations that fueled the Beat revolution:

1. Naked self-expression is the seed of creation.

2.The artist’s consciousness is expanded by the derangement of the senses.

3. Art eludes conventional morality.

These are all taken with the transcendentalist idea that humans are good by nature, which opens the artist to new experiences without the fear of serious, permanent harm to themselves. Together, these statements form Lucien Carr’s New Vision.

One of the best pieces of advice a budding writer or artist can heed is to “create everything." I interpret the first affirmation of the New Vision, “naked self-expression is the see of creation,” to mean the same thing. Naked self-expression is the rawest form of art. Say, for example, you wish to cook a hamburger for dinner. First, you need the raw ground beef. This is the naked self-expression of the meat, unadulterated and unaltered. From there, the cook, the artist, is free to season and refine the raw material to improve it. In the end, the burger that the cook seasoned will taste better than a lump of ground beef thrown onto the griddle untouched. However, the burger would be nothing without the raw base. Through naked self-expression, we introduce a large body of raw material that we can refine into something greater.

I cannot publicly condone the use of drugs as writing assistants. I can, however, say that many artists throughout the course of history have used substances as a lubricant for their creative pathways. Personally, I find that a glass or two of wine and some fast-paced jazz will get my writing flowing. The Beats took a lot of various substances. William Burroughs spent a significant portion of his life addicted to heroin. Jack Kerouac was a severe alcoholic. Allen Ginsberg was known to experiment with psychedelics such as LSD or DMT. All of them were frequently strung out on Benzedrine, an over-the-counter amphetamine that has since been removed from the market. In deranging their senses, the Beats sought to explore and create on a different plane of perception than the stuffy, academic world that suffocated the early members of the movement at Columbia.

In saying that “art eludes conventional morality,” I am not saying that you must commit atrocities for your art, or that you can justify an atrocity by calling it art. The final statement of the New Vision is a liberation from censorship, from commonality, and from the judgement of the general public. It invites the artist to explore the taboo. For Allen Ginsberg in particular, this opened the path to discussing the problems he faced as a homosexual man in mid-century America and to fighting the censorship of his most well-known poem, Howl. For me, it encourages me to confront the issues that arise as a bisexual man who was raised in the Catholic school system. Morality is relative to what was instilled in us as children. Homosexuality cannot be practiced under the law of the Church.

With the New Vision in mind, the artist can be set free from tradition and expand their mind and work to create something new and unique. It opens the artist to experimentation and failure. I struggle with both of these as I was raised to believe that failure is unacceptable, whether with grades or social situations or sports. It wasn’t until around when I first started writing consistently during my senior year of high school that I began to work on this, to view failure not as a defeat but as a chance to retry and experiment and learn. Lucien Carr’s New Vision is an essential part of my development as a writer.


Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Opeth: 'Deliverance' Album Review

'Deliverance' boasts Opeth's darkest and heaviest songwriting in their entire discography
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Line-up:

Mikael Åkerfeldt - vocals, guitars

Peter Lindgren - guitars

Martin Lopez - drums

Martín Méndez - bass

Additional info:

Steven Wilson - vocals, guitars, keyboards, mellotron

Recorded at Nacksving Studios and Studio Fredman.

Engineered by Opeth, Fredrik Nordström, Fredrik Reymerdahl & Steven Wilson.

Produced by Opeth and Steven Wilson.

Deliverance is the sixth studio album by Swedish Extreme progressive metal band Opeth. It was released on November 12, 2002, through Music for Nations Records. The album's total length is 61:50. The band originally intended for Deliverance and their following album Damnation to be released as a double album, but the record company decided against this and released them separately, about five months apart from each other in order to promote them each with the proper amount of time and care.

Opeth's last album Blackwater Park is a masterpiece and instead of trying to make a similar album, the band went in a new direction. Deliverance still features Opeth's classic progressive death metal sound, but the band implemented some noticeable changes beginning with a much darker sounding production, heavier guitars, and a more straightforward death metal approach at times. This was a welcome change that added another unique release to the band's already impressive discography.

Favorite Tracks:

Track 5: "Master's Apprentices"

This is one of Opeth's heaviest tracks that they have ever composed. The main guitar riff and blast beating that occurs throughout the first three minutes of this track is ridiculously heavy and catchy. Mikael's ridiculous low growled vocals sets the heavy mood of this track perfectly. When I thought that this song was just going to be pretty straightforward and heavy, Opeth switches it up and the track goes into a more mellow progressive rock sound with beautiful clean singing and instrumentation. The ending to the track is just as heavy and explosive as the beginning.

Track 2: "Deliverance"

The title track is one of the band's best. The riffs are ridiculously catchy and heavy. Yet again, Martin Lopez begins by blast beating on the drums. Mikael's mix of both clean vocals and ferocious growls show off Opeth's dualism that makes them such a special band. The song's sudden shift between soft and heavy moments keeps the listener on the edge throughout the song's entirety. The epic closing instrumental section of this track is one of the best closing sections of all time in progressive music. Every time that I listen to this song I cannot help but smile because of how well written it is.

Track 1: "Wreath"

This song is perfectly placed as the opening track of this album. It is one of Opeth's heaviest and most ferocious tracks that the band has ever done. I have never heard Mikael quite sound as dark and downright scary as he does on this track. It has mostly low growls and very little when it comes to clean vocals. If Opeth needed to appeal more to the straightforward death metal crowd this is the track to do it. Musically, its still progressive in nature though and the track lasts eleven minutes. "Wreath" sets the mood perfectly for what this album is going to sound like.

My Verdict:

This may not be as "perfect" as Blackwater Park, but it contains a different sound that is focused on being heavier and darker than the band has ever been before. This album features Mikael's best low growls, the band's heaviest riffs, and some of Martin Lopez's best drum work to date. I think that if I had to point out one extremely small weakness that the album has is the short instrumental "For Absent Friends" which is wasted space that disrupts the flow of the album slightly. Other than those two minutes, this album is yet another perfect Opeth release that is one of the band's most underappreciated in their entire discography.

Grade: A+

Cover Image Credit: vevo.com

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A Must Have Pool Side Convo

Diving Into the Greatest Artist of Our Generation — Frank Ocean
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Until the day of Blonde’s, it seemed as if Frank Ocean didn’t actually exist. As days became weeks and turned into long-awaited years, the anticipation for his album was over.

For the last part of 2016, everyone was drowned in the beauty of Frank Ocean’s 60 minutes released of Blonde. A product of a man who took his time to release an album jam-packed with nothing but his raw emotion and passionate yet musical talent for the art of music. A boundary-pushing music album where he left no room for error and combined his natural vocals with sophisticated lyrical contemplations.

The creation of Blonde is an album that still sounds brand new a full 365 days after its release, a rare accomplished which Frank Ocean was able to effortlessly achieved. Through his ideas, events, references to other music, and personal stories, the album captures and reveals parts of Frank Ocean’s life and his extraordinary process of songwriting.

There is a cinematic quality to that draws you in. The lyric storytelling and atmosphere it paints it nothing ever heard of before. Even without the usage of a visual aid, the album itself still is able to create its own vivid imagery. The images of childhood, lost summers, and cars.

While cars have been represented by men as status, wealthy, and especially masculinity, Frank Ocean instead uses them to articulate a sense of vulnerability and intimacy. His usage of cars is a framing device used to dive into moments of where you are driving alone. The album becomes private, self-reflecting, and personal.

As the world thinks of Frank Ocean as an enigmatic figure, almost hidden from the world because his lack of social media presence in our fame-obsessed culture, this is what defines his works from most other artists. His personal depth and restraint take you on a journey through his mind keeping you as close as to the passenger seat where you ride into his heartfelt album.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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