Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Rhys Chatham's Astrological Advice for Musicians: April

Visitation Rites is proud to present the first installment of Rhys Chatham's astrology column for experimental musicians, which draws on his experience as a composer and a meticulous analysis of the geometrical relationships between the sun and other planets in monthly astrological charts. Have fun reading the predictions for your sign, and do not be fooled by cheap imitations!

Aries - The Ram - March 20 to April 20

This is a time of new beginnings and self-expression through creativity. You will want people to pay attention to you, so this is an excellent occasion to get up there on stage and strut your stuff; people will adore you. Or, if you write, this would be a good time to start work on that new song or composition.

Be careful with club owners and other authority figures during the first two thirds of the month, as you are not likely to be in the mood to renegotiate that fee or contract. You will be able to find a solution, however, if you apply diplomacy and musician's charm to the situation. Be extra careful with your equipment, especially if it is electric; breakdowns, though not terribly likely, are possible under present energies. Happily, things will lighten up during the final third of the month regarding equipment and authority figure issues.

You might find it difficult to maintain the discipline of daily practicing. If this occurs, try to use your energy more economically, always remembering that less is more. If all else fails, try practicing in front of the TV.

Taurus - The Bull - April 21 to May 21

This entire month will be a good time to go ahead with almost any project that you desire, because you will have an enormous amount of energy. Be careful not to take on too many projects during this period and avoid excess. Current influences favor any kind of research or study, so this might be a good time to dust off that jazz harmony book and burn the midnight oil!

You will be able to perform and/or negotiate with promoters with impact and make a real impression on people. Be careful not to use this energy in a ruthless or selfish way, because if you do it could come back to you, resulting in a negative outcome. It might be difficult during this period to see other people’s point of view, so make an effort to do so, particularly in your dealings with managers, booking agents, or even the other musicians in your band.

A Uranus transit during the final third of the month will serve to stimulate your curiosity and imagination. This would be a good time to put yourself in a new musical situation, perhaps a particularly kinky one-off gig, simply because it seems like a good idea at the time!

Gemini - The Twins - May 22 to June 22

During the first two thirds of this month, you'll be able to integrate your energy with that of your friends, the groups you associate with, or the bands you play in. You will have a good deal of energy, but watch out for impatience with others, and don't get irritable. You should be assertive when you need to, not just because you feel like it. This is the end of a cycle for you, so your challenge will be to complete your various projects and reap their rewards or other consequences prior to your birthday in three months.

If there are any tensions in your band, this would be a good time to resolve them because you're putting out good vibes at present and make a positive impression on people. If you need to renegotiate that contract for the project you've been working on, now would be an excellent opportunity to do so.

Because of the erratic nature of the high energy you will experience this month, you might feel a bit accident-prone, or experience impulses to do something a bit mad. The solution is to make every effort to express these impulses by doing something different or wild, as long as it does not make a shambles of your life. Lots of physical activity is recommended for this period in the form of exercise, or perhaps developing a vigorous dance routine for your act.

During the start of April, things might seem a bit discouraging and restrictive, as though you were stuck in a rut. After April 11th, however, mitigating influences enter to put you in a more positive frame of mind for the rest of the month.

Cancer - The Crab - June 23 to July 22

During the first two thirds of April, you should be on the lookout for circumstances that test you and the validity of any current projects that you are working on. Very often, the crisis will take the form of people who are working at cross-purposes to your efforts. Ideally, their actions will force you to prove that what you are doing is worthwhile. If there are tension areas in your band or with your manager or booking agent, now is a good time to listen to others and reconcile possible conflicts; energies present later on in the month will enable you to easily make compromises when the time comes to do so.

Take the time to analyze your own position to find the weak points in your own thinking and make any necessary corrections. You have the power now to make fundamental changes in your attitudes and life that you didn't have before. There is a possibility that equipment may break down during April, so if any of your stuff is just limping along, be sure to have a backup ready if you plan to be touring this month.

You will be challenged to complete any outstanding projects, for you will feel vigorous and full of vitality during the entire month, and itching to get things done. You'll probably feel a restless energy towards the end of the month and yearn to do new things, so finish up those outstanding projects, and move on.

Leo - The Lion - July 23 to August 22

At the start of the month, you will be able to work quite effectively with others, and your energy will be higher than usual. Take the time to step back from things a bit, and to review your recent achievements. Your mind is functioning clearly at present, so you should be able to use this review to prepare for future projects and think about what you can get out of them that will have lasting value. If there are elements of projects that aren’t working out, don't waste time with regrets; put all your efforts into the ones that are.

You'll feel optimistic this month, but be careful not to spend too much money on a piece of equipment that you don't really need, because you will probably be tempted to do so. You'll also feel self-confident, but be sure to stop short of arrogance, as any negative energy you put out will be a source of conflict.

This is important to keep in mind, because later on in the month, you might find that the tensions that have been building up in your band or business relationships are ready to boil over. Guard against feeling touchy and oversensitive in these situations, or reacting in a completely emotional way. As long as you keep a balance between your will and your emotions, the energy at work here can actually be a positive influence.

Virgo - The Virgin - August 23 to September 22

April will be an excellent time to take care of any obligations or responsibilities that you have been putting off. That project proposal you've been meaning to write… has it been nagging at you? How about those emails you were supposed to respond to? Or finally looking at your bank account to discover what horrors it holds? This is a good month to do a bit of spring cleaning. It doesn't have to be unpleasant. Put your nose to the grindstone, and you'll feel much better when it's done. Feeling lonely or a bit depressed? Dwelling on these feelings is pointless: bury yourself in your work instead. You'll be glad that you did.

Now is a good time to review any projects or activities that are nearing completion, determining whether your goals have been achieved or not, and making any necessary adjustments. While April favors introspection and making adjustments for your future, it is very possible that the muse will strike you with an idea for a new direction in your work, and that you will begin to implement this idea in the weeks that follow.

All in all, a challenging period offers opportunities for personal growth. On the bright side, your energy will be higher towards the end of the month, you'll start to experience more of a sense of balance and equilibrium, and things are likely to hum along quite nicely.

Libra - The Scales - September 23 to October 22

At this six-month point from your last birday, April is a good time to finish any outstanding projects initiated over the past months and to review your work with a view to preparing for your new endeavors. Now that you have finished that album or composition, a period of reflection is needed before starting your next piece.

As always, there can be tension and anxiety associated with beginning a new project. But the underlying enthusiasm and optimism that you will be feeling this entire month will help drive your affairs toward a satisfying conclusion. Under current influences, your mind is eager for new experiences; now is an excellent time for touring to promote that new album.

Scorpio - The Scorpion - October 23 to November 22

You'll have a good deal of energy this month. Your task will be to avoid draining this energy in a haphazard or non-productive way, and to use it efficiently. Be careful not to take on too much during this period of high energy, as you'll definitely need time for networking a bit further down the road. While this is an excellent time for trying out new things or pursuing unexplored directions in your work, your first priority should be to firm up activities you have already begun.

At the month's start, you will probably be better off going it alone on your projects as much as possible. This is because you won't want to feel dependent on others for encouragement and support. Lots of physical activity is recommended for this period.

As the weeks go by you'll find pleasure again in collaborating with others and want to go out with friends, for the energies at the end of the month favor socializing; in any case, you will definitely be feeling better physically and emotionally.

Sagittarius - The Centaur - November 23 to December 22

This month, especially its first few weeks, will be excellent for you in terms of initiating musical projects of all kinds, having many ideas, and feeling a certain emotive equilibrium with yourself. The only problem is that you might feel as though you were stuck in a rut, trying to break out, but finding you cannot.

If this occurs, try pinpointing what is draining your energy or holding you back; given sufficient determination and application, you should be able to do something about it.

The energies present this month particularly favor working with others. If you are in a band, now would be a good time to start work on that new song, or on any collaboration with artists in virtually any field.

Toward the end of the month, the energies will become more reflective and inward, so it is best to start any new projects at the beginning of the month.

Capricorn - The Goat - December 23 to January 21

You'll probably feel a relative lack energy at the start of the month, but if you can get yourself out of bed, practicing or other forms of discipline shouldn't be too difficult. If you make an effort, this could be a time to find that new chord or guitar sound for the song you’ve been working on. The start of the month is not a great time to pick an argument with anyone in the band because you'll probably be in a fairly lousy mood, but your outlook should brighten after the 11th and your band or business relationships should sail along fairly smoothly.

During the final ten days of April, there will be a noticeable improvement in your outlook and self-image. Any depressive tendencies will normally dissipate and your energy will peak. This will be an excellent time to embark on a new project, although you will need to apply yourself to get things off the ground initially.

Anyone whose birthday is between December 23 and December 30 will be feeling the effects of Pluto at this time. Under this influence, you might find it necessary to repair something that has broken down, be it a piece of equipment or something that has gone awry in your life. In either case, now is the time to take a careful look at the damage and look for a solution. Going on tour with "iffy" equipment is not advised under this influence.

Aquarius - The Water Carrier - January 22 to February 20

Energy, communication, and emotional rapport with band mates and colleagues should flow smoothly at the beginning of April. Your intuitive powers will be at their peak, so this is a great time to start that new song or composition, especially if it elaborates upon a direction you have already established.

If you find you are having difficulties keeping your appointment with the muse of inspiration, buckle down! Half the job is done once you fire up your computer, sharpen those pencils, or finally sit down to start that new project. If the problem is that you don't feel like practicing, but need to, then try doing it in front of the television.

You might have a tendency to buy things you don't need this month, so don't go into a music store unless you’re getting something you really need, like those guitar strings that you haven't changed in three months! But do try to avoid window-shopping during this period.

Also avoid having heavy discussions about band or business-related issues during the last half of April, as your communication skills might not be at their very best. Energy is lower towards the end of the month, so be sure to get into a work rhythm now with any project that you need to start.

Pisces - The Fish - February 21 to March 19

The beginning of the month will be an excellent time to start a new project, particularly one that takes you in a new direction or is somewhat atypical for you. At the start of April you may find yourself feeling a bit isolated or not communicating well. But don't worry: this will pass.

As the month progresses, you'll want to socialize more with your friends. Any kind of networking during this period will lead to fruitful results. This is a good time to meet people and make contacts, because you will put so much effort into being warm and friendly that others are bound to respond to you.

You will have access to a good deal of creative energy during the entire month, which you can apply to your music with a bit of effort. Try to get into a rhythm with this process as soon as possible, because later on in the month you might find it a bit difficult to keep your nose to the grindstone, due to energies favoring social interaction.

Rhys Chatham is a composer from New York who has lived in Paris since 1988.

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