My Testimony (New York City)

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First things first, if you haven’t checked out my previous blog post about how I started my music career and consuming cannabis & vaping, check out the home page, here.

I discuss parts of my childhood in Armenia that inspired me to become a Jazz musician, promote Armenian folk music and as well as making the American Jazz scene bigger.

I go in-depth about my first encounters with cannabis in Armenia, the first time I smoked in Amsterdam when I lived in Paris, and my eventual move to New York City later in my 20’s.

Lastly, I discuss the opportunity to do a gig in Shanghai, China – where I started vaping e-liquids and later, CBDs in the U.S.

Listening to Jazz while high on cannabis or even vaping generates a different vibe than other genre of music.

The closest would be hip-hop & rap.

Those two genres as we know draw its roots from “Black Music,” referring to Jazz and the Blues.

As we know, hip-hop’s origins aren’t disputed.

It derives from inner-city African American in the U.S., especially in the East and West Coast (New York City, Chicago, and L.A). Cities that have a big black population during the 1970’s.

Hip-hop is characterized by stylized rhythmic music accompanied by rapping (rhyming speech).

Now, hip-hop gave birth to a diversity of sub-cultures, namely MCing/rapping, DJing/scratching with turntables, and as well as break dancing and graffiti writing.

Not to mention, beat boxing, sampling beats and bass lines.

Because hip-hop songs’ tempos are typically between 70-100bpm, it provides a platform for a fast-paced rhythmic versing, but it is easy to “bop your head in sync with the music.”

Now, I do this for Jazz.

Hip-hop may work better, but sometimes I prefer listening to pure instrumentals – without a voice to accompany.

However, I do very much enjoy rhythmic poetry.

I am a man of his late 20’s.

I have human emotions and I am not afraid to express them.

I do tear up when I see beauty.

Sometimes, I laugh too much at the stupidest things.

But, since my first sweetheart broke my heart when I was 16, I had not tear up as much as when I had listening to Bach’s Aria for the G string, and Mozart’s Lacrimosa while under the effects of cannabis.

This was an India strain.

The sound waves produced by the reverberation of my Sennheisers designed by regular people in Germany.

Humans learnt to manipulate air pressure to such delicate level, that grand-masters like Bach and Mozart can build such entailing pieces to shake your soul.

Making you doubtful of the origin of your own existence.

Really, think about it.

Variations of pressure in the medium we are submerged somehow, evoke deep, tangible emotion onto the core of your being.

It makes you wonder where did Bach and Mozart brought those pieces from?

Where the heck did our consciousness and emotions come from?

What are we?

Are we just a trillion little alterations on a electromagnetic field?

How could such a thing be?

Reality is absolutely, utterly and completely absurd.

Life makes no sense at all.

Yet, there is beauty freaking everywhere.

Consuming cannabis and vaping while listening to Jazz and Classic music led me to that thought.

Otherwise, I would’ve never!

 

Testimony from Chinese Pianist “Ling Bao-Su” (Paris)

So today I woke up, went to McDonald’s for the first time in a year and got 2 breakfast burritos some bomb ass wedges and orange juice for 4 bucks.

Then I got home, pulled out my cannabis kit and took a few hits of some Lemon bud strain.

It was most excellent.

Then I thought to myself, what would make this moment better?

How about In the Hall of the Mountain King?

Let me tell you, this song while high was most excellent, and this rendition was in particular most excellent.

I listened to with ease, head bobbing side to side slowly, and as the music picked paste, my body went with haste.

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And, I began to bounce and shake the house like a quake and then with a series of dashes and rakes I WAS ORCHESTRATING!

Anyhow, It was wonderful, and I encourage you to all try it out with some good quality speakers playing at a loud but comfortable volume.

Aside from that, I hope you all are having a magnificent day!

 

Testimony from Nigerian Jazz Musician “Darey Cutiti” (Abuja)

Classical music is so different when you are high.

Last night I vaped less than 0.2 grams (r/vaporents) and watched Beethoven’s 9th and Dvorak’s 9th. Both these pieces I’d heard often.

But last night I was able to notice aspects I wasn’t aware of.

The ways that instruments call and answer in a way that is not symmetrical yet allows them both to build off of each other.

The ways that perfectly blended melodies played in unison can create a sound that belongs to an entirely different instrument.

And the powerful ways that dynamics build tension.

I cried several times, and I even recognized that Dvorak’s 9th Mvt 3 opening sounds very similar to the opening to Beethoven’s 9th movement 2.

It was an incredible experience and it helped me notice the details.

 

Testimony from DJ CashBelly (Berlin)

 

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I enjoy listening to some of my classical favorites while tripping on a cannabis joint.

All of those just bring out so many different details that I’ve never heard before.

And sometimes the beauty becomes almost soul-crushing.

Two of my favorite experiences involved being in an altered state.

One was with my brother.

He doesn’t normally listen to classical.

But one night, we ate mushrooms, laid on the bed, and took a journey through a bunch of my favorites.

When I played him Strauss’s 4 Last Songs, he got overwhelmed and started to cry. It was a great bonding moment for us.

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Another time, me and my friend Amy went to the Atlanta Symphony on Molly (X).

We went to see Adams’ Harmonielehre and Barber’s Symphony No. 1.

We both were clutching the arm rests of our seats the entire time.

We kept looking at one another in disbelief at how the sonics seemed to move right through our bodies.

At times, we’d both shift in our seats at the same time to the same climaxes, almost as if we were leaning into dips and dives on a roller coaster.

It really was unforgettable.

I’ll always love those pieces for invoking such special memories.

 

Testimony from Latin Dance Artist Alejandro Bose (Santiago)

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If I’m not working the next day, sometimes I’ll just roll a little spliff, smoke it on my balcony while listening to something awesome (a few nights back I listened to Fetes by Debussy while blazing).

Then I’ll go in, turn on my electric upright, and just grab a random piece and try playing it.

I was in such a daze the other night, I pulled up the piece “Lotus Land” by Cyril Scott.

I record into Reaper usually, so I was just like let’s go for it!

I listened to it the next day, and it was honestly pretty good, like virtually note-accurate…

Except, it was 12 minutes long!

I was holding the chords forever.

This is because I know I was just sitting with my eyes closed listening to the harmonies

And letting each chord completely fade out.

Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov is another favorite of mine to listen to if I’m high.

I also dug super deep into Ravel’s Miroirs, and was noticing little connections.

Like the weird major-7th harmonies in the slow part of Noctuelles is literally the basis of Alborada del Gracioso.

I also realized that almost all of Rachmaninoff‘s preludes have an inner melodic line (virtually hidden) that outlines a major or minor scale.

Like I was just noticing such strange shit that I don’t notice if I’m sober and trying to 100% focus on dissecting a piece.

 


Rogan Halter (born July 17, 1987) is an Armenian jazz pianist, traditional Armenian folk music expert, and cannabis and vaping enthusiast.