Spring, in all its new-born beauty, has an edge to it. All Winter we’re enclosed, encapsulated, ensconced. We’re tucked inside our houses, inside our thick clothes, inside our crowded heads. We know it’s coming – crave it even – but are never quite prepared. Not quite ready to be exposed, even if it’s to the sweet, warm sun and softest breeze.

That’s me, at least. For me it takes a little time to toughen up, get used to the exposure, and feel protected amid the vulnerability. Isn’t that a bit like how it feels coming out of these past two years? For me, at least, it is. But I’m ready, and I hope you all are, too.

It hasn’t just been all sweatpants, warm blankets, and cocoa over here (it’s been a lot of that). We’ve been busy and hard at work in lots of different ways. This coming month at Of Music and Mind we’re “re-beginning” and will be publishing regular articles again. And musically, we will be “re-beginning” by playing shows and connecting more with our music community.

To get ready for all this re-beginning, I want to share a recap of some of the best work from Of Music and Mind (in my opinion) over these past two years. Consider it a way for me to get used to more eyes on things and build up some tolerance to exposure.

Of Music and Mind’s best of (pandemic era):

Allison & Trevor at an Of Music and Mind event back in February 2020.
  • Be Ready for Media Coverage: In February 2020, Trevor and I participated in our first public event for OMAM. It was an in-person Skill-Share put on by Pittsburgh Doom-Pop trio Action Camp. We presented on how musicians can be ready for media coverage. We made a checklist for you to use and everything.
  • Dealing With Pressure: Stress Relief For Musicians: In May 2020, we participated in a (virtual, you know it) Shop Talk Event with Fair Play Pittsburgh. I presented on the pressures experienced by musicians and shared ways to effectively cope with stress in the long run and immediately. Try some of them out.
  • INTERVIEW: Trevor Richards on Temple Bloc and the Art of Focus: Also in May 2020, Trevor released an album under the moniker Temple Bloc. The music on this album is a sonic “focusing agent” for meditation, relaxation, creativity, and visualization. I was experiencing extreme anxiety and unable to focus on anything besides my worries and discomfort, but listening to this really helped me. I still listen to it when I’m having trouble focusing (which is often). Take a listen and see if it helps you, too.
  • Years That Ask Questions: At the start of 2021, I was feeling particularly pensive. See if some of my questions are helpful to you.
  • MICROMUSICMIND: Stage Fright: In July of 2021, things were starting to open up for the first time (gotcha!) in our area. Lots of our musician friends were experiencing anxiety as they took to the stage for the first time in a long time. We put together some tips to help.
  • Making Meaning: Black Sire on “Horn of Samael”: We did a few Making Meaning’s during this time, but the song for this one really captured my mood.
  • Unexpected Books For Musicians: Crucial Conversations: Possibly one of the nerdiest articles to date, but also well-received because people like books, and they like to know if a book will be useful to them before investing the time to read it.

While we’re at it, I’m going to share our biggest creative accomplishment over these past two years.

Threshold Wanderer album cover. Artwork by Trevor Richards.
  • Threshold Wanderer Album: This is our band The Long Hunt’s 3rd album. It was recorded, mixed and mastered in the first quarter of 2020, with the intent to release it later that year. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the global pandemic, those plans were unfortunately shelved. We finally released it on April 1st and it was a great feeling.
Threshold Wanderer Poster by Trevor Richards.
  • Threshold Wanderer Short Film: Not to be deterred by events beyond our control, our band soldiered on behind the scenes. After a three-month crash course in 3D modeling, using open source animation software Blender, Trevor embarked on the monumental task of writing and animating an album-length music video. Eight months and over 1000 hours of work later, the accompanying music video/short film for Threshold Wanderer was born. Trevor describes this as the hardest creative project he’s ever tackled, and I can attest to his incredible determination, skill, and creative power. It was inspiring to witness.

Of Music and Mind: Upcoming Articles

We have some exciting things coming up! Of Music and Mind is a sponsor of Descendants of Crom, a heavy music festival based in Pittsburgh, PA. We’ve supported them in the past with DOC-related articles and a focus on DOC bands. This year, we’re an official sponsor! Starting in May you can expect articles, interviews, playlists and more with a focus on heavy music and the bands playing DOC IV!

Descendants of Crom IV Event Flyer by Blackseed Services.

In the next few months, you can expect more regular articles. We’re working on some long-form Interviews, new Unexpected Books for Musicians pieces, and new Making Meaning articles. What else would you like to see? Let us know!

Thank you for reading. We really hope you’re well and that your re-beginning is a joyful and peaceful one. Be well!

Photo by Trevor Richards

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