Transcendentality

Download the new EP for pay-what-you-want/can:

http://marathonofdope.com/portfolio/rob-crooks-transcendentality/

We use the word transcendentality in order to distinguish it from forms of new-age or religious transcendentalism. Transcendentality is not about the pure authentic self transcending mere appearances. Nor is transcendentality about the eternal soul transcending the finite body, or the transcendental subject, untouched by the empirical world. Rather, transcendentality is meant to describe the open-ended structure of being. Transcendentality is the play between being and nothingness.

 

The form of being is time. To be is thought of as being present in the now. However, time does not simply consist of an ever-present now; time consists of the present, the past and the future. The present is not a being itself, but is a coordinate at the nexus of the past and the future. But by definition, the past and the future are not present, and in this sense, they do not have being; they are nothing. To be, then, is to be at the horizon between having-been and not-yet-arrived.

 

As beings, we are projected towards nothingness. At any now-moment we find ourselves stretched out into the past and towards the future, oriented by the former towards the latter. Put to the extreme, this is being in it’s being-towards-death. The ultimate nothingness of our future is our death. However, short of this ultimate end is the nothingness of our future as our radical freedom. We are projected into the non-being of the future, into the nothingness of pure possibility.

 

Our imagination plays a formative role in this projection into the future. Since the imagination is the faculty of representing that which does not exist, it projects concrete possibilities into the open space of the future. Our imagination produces images, or fantasies of what the future may hold. And yet, our fantasies are somewhat determined by the non-being of a deep and dark past. And if we become so committed to the fantasies that we project, to the point of blocking ourselves against the radical freedom of this futural nothingness, we limit the possibilities of letting the world reveal itself to us.

 

Transcendentality is a positive affirmation of our being-towards-death. It gives us a responsibility to not only let ourselves become greater than we are, but also to let the world and the beings we encounter therein to be free to determine themselves. This relation to our radical freedom can be terrifying, but it can also be life-affirming.

 

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Horizon

New song from the upcoming Transcendentality EP, “Horizon.”

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Everything is Happening at Once

17084603090_b941234d07_bI was walking home down Westminster, past Deno’s Pawn Shop, grocery bag hanging from my right hand, when I heard the swishing sound of someone in snow-pants rapidly gaining on me from behind. I try to exercise as much street ethics as I can, and so, I edged over to the left side of the sidewalk, allowing room on my right side for someone to pass. However, just as a woman in head-to-toe snow gear drew even with me, a black car came speeding down the lane by the Sherb and screeched to a stop right in front of us. Both the woman and I were a bit startled and stood wide-eyed, looking quizzically at the driver through tinted windows. My fellow pedestrian was visibly more distraught than I was, however, and almost immediately shot out like a rabbit, attempting to go around the front of the car. But as she did that, the car pulled forward into traffic, blocking her way again. Exasperated, she threw up her thinsulate gloves, fingers spread out, and cut to her left in front of me, apologizing in a panicked tone: “Everything is just happening at once.” I watched her for a moment, as she cut diagonally across the Sherb parking lot, wondering what exactly she meant.

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Sunday, November 15th: Greg MacPherson w/ Rob Crooks

12196091_10154289016356679_2677020368867937341_nThis Sunday, I’ll be opening up for Greg MacPherson at the Good Will in Winnipeg. Greg, along with co-owner Cam Loeppky, run Disintegration Records, the label that I am currently recording my new album for.  All the songs I’ll be performing at this show will be from this upcoming album.

The album is a continuation of the path I was on with my album Hearts, from 2012. I got sidetracked by putting out a couple rap albums since then, but these new songs are a return to the post-punk/rap hybrid thing I was working on back then. I like these songs, and I’m finally at a point where I feel comfortable performing them. Playing keyboards and triggering samples, all while switching between singing and rapping has been a new challenge for me. But I’m starting to get the hang of it. And this might be the first show I’ve played where that is apparent.

I’m considering calling the album Out of Nothing. It comes from the Latin phrase “nihil fit ex nihilo,” which translates to “nothing comes from nothing,” or “nothing comes out of nothing.” I considered calling the album Ex Nihilo, but that sounds too pretentious. I’ve also considered The Nothing From Which Nothing Comes. But I dunno. I’ll figure it out. It all stems from non-essentialist theories of identity; that our essence is nothingness. A lot of the songs are about that, so it seems appropriate.

Anyways. The show is an early one this Sunday, so come down by 730pm if you want to hear my new songs. I’ll be on not much after that. Then Greg goes on, and then Ted Turner, my partner from Loose Fit will be playing records to close out the night. Cool?

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End the War on the Holiday Rap Convention

dec18postersmallerThere is a War on the Holiday Rap Convention and we are sick of it. That’s why I have banded together with John Smith, Nestor Wynrush, Lonnie Ce, 3Peat and Cvlt Wvffle to end the insanity.

Every year when we report Haters assaults on the traditions of the Holiday Rap Convention, the crazy loons begin a vitriolic campaign to diminish me and this event. There is a reason why they are doing that. And it has nothing to do with Iggy Azalea.

Let’s take it step-by-step. No one tells you a person could possibly see a Holiday Rap Convention as an imposition of hip-hop. When the City Hall Holiday Rap tree here in Winnipeg was lighted no one threw themselves to the ground screaming about Dj Kool Herc. That did not happen. Winnipeg police did not round up the onlookers and force them into the Good Will a few blocks away. Nothing like that happened at the tree lighting. It was just a fun occasion.

Also you heard a hater on this program last night say the Holiday Rap Convention imposes hip-hop on him. But hip-hop is not an organized culture that can be imposed. There are many different styles of hip-hop that promote rap in many different ways.

Does the hater think the Holiday Rap Convention is promoting NWA? Three 6 Mafia? Wu-Tang Clan? What? After that interview the crazy Web site People emerged screaming that I’m wrong. Hip-hop is indeed being imposed. These people are so stupid it’s painful.

Hip-hop is a philosophy. You don’t have to believe Afrika Bambaataa is God in order to admire his breaks.

Millions of hipster kids admire Bambaataa as a great selector. In fact today’s pop culture was founded on hip-hop philosophy, that’s what shaped our music and slang. Again if you are stone-cold dumb and don’t understand the difference between hip-hop and rap, I cannot help you.

In 1987, President Eric B. made my point when he sent this Holiday Rap message to the American people, quote, “the Holiday Rap Convention is not just at the Good Will on December 18th, it’s a state of mind. To cherish Holiday Rap and the Good Will, to be plenteous in freshness is to have the real spirit of the Holiday Rap Convention. If we think on these things there will be born in us a Dj and over us will shine an emcee sending their dope lyrics and ill flows to the world.”

That’s from my private collection, by the way. Is Eric B. imposing hip-hop in that Holiday Rap greeting? Of course not. He is promoting a fun time at the Good Will, December 18th. Now the more intelligent haters realize that what I’m telling you is absolutely correct. Historically and scientifically but many of them don’t care, they want any hint of freshness out of the public square.

The haters want a new Winnipeg and the Holiday Rap Convention isn’t a part of it.

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Anyone Who’s Anyone (Will Die)

Last spring I played a show with a group from Winnipeg called Ghost Twin. The two members and I developed a mutual respect for each other, and ended up becoming friends. Ghost Twin are made up of a married couple, both of whom work in film in Winnipeg. Their dancy goth electronica (for lack of a better explanation) was really unique for this city. And I really value originality over everything.

(NOTE: It’s strange how many film makers I’ve made friends with over the past few years.I hang out with more film people these days than I do musicians. I guess it’s because I really wish I was a film maker. I think film is the supreme art form of our age. It combines visual art, poetry, music and storytelling like nothing else. Although I think film might be dead now too. But what isn’t dead these days? Nothing, that’s what. Everything is dead. And that’s probably why our culture is obsessed with zombies.)

When Jaimz from Ghost Twin asked me to collaborate with him for his solo project, VVINTER RAINBOVV, I thought it would be a cool opportunity to try something different. His goth aesthetic was something I had little experience with; but getting to know him as a person and a musician, I didn’t hesitate to agree to the collaboration. The result came back better than I ever could’ve hoped.

 

 

The only direction Jaimz gave me was to write something dark. Well, I’m no stranger to writing songs about death; so I figured I would write about that. No problem there. But I didn’t want it to be too heavy or depressing. So in the second verse, I rap from the perspective of being dead. After all, the worst part about death is the nothingness of it all, the absolute non-being of it. But if you think of death as a different form of being, then it’s easier to talk about. That’s why I think writing from the perspective of being dead lightens it up a little. I’m basically a rapping zombie on this song. And what else are zombies if not a way to deal with our fear of death.

Anyways, I hope you enjoy it.

 

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Philosophy

images

Do you think God had faith in himself? I mean, if he was so all-powerful and so all-knowing – like everyone says he was – then wouldn’t he have just known he was real? He wouldn’t have needed to have faith.

Right?

I mean: if you know everything, you don’t need faith. The definition of having faith is not knowing; faith is not knowing but believing anyways. Faith is not knowing but believing in spite of the fact you don’t know. God wouldn’t have needed to believe. God just fuckin’ knew. It’s too bad

he got hit by a car and died.

 

 

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