Flabbergasted Vibes began in 2008 as a way to share random thoughts and words with my friends about the music I happened to be listening to on any given day. It was an outlet for informal writing at a time in my life when I felt hemmed in by formality. Occasionally I shared sad teenage poetry unbecoming of a man in his 30s. At some point I began to take the idea of blogging about my record collection a bit more seriously. The site became less of a scrapbook of blurbs and more like actual reviews of records, personalized through a deliberately subjective point of view, operating more on instinct than guile, and still hoping to avoid the burden of Serious Music Criticism. To my surprise, the blog began to pick up readers and a bit of momentum, and I found myself getting referrals from some other music bloggers whose pages I enjoyed and respected, as well as multiple shout-outs on the “Mining the Audio Motherload” feature of the venerable WFMU’s “Beware of the Blog.”
Seeing my posts referenced there (where they often included snippets of my actual writing, rather than just links), was – along with encouragement from commenters and fellow travelers – hugely motivational. Although I had leaned heavily on my excavations in Brazilian music, and was aware that there were some readers who would have been happier if I contented myself with drawing solely from that inexhaustible well, I found that there was indeed a receptive audience of other musical omnivores who looked forward to my eclectic and semi-regular musings about a wide array of genres and styles. Occasionally I would use these posts much as I have used music in general throughout my life: as a way of thinking through problems and processing emotions, in my own life or in the great wide world as I saw it at that moment. There have been plenty of times when I sat down with a record and thought I didn’t have much to say about it, only to end up with two thousand words on the screen. Some of these screeds are wildly tangential, while others are soberly focused. Although I might occasionally cringe on the very rare occasion when I go back and reread some of these pieces, I resist the urge to edit after the ink has dried. They remain, by and large, as they were written, forming a collection that is part almanac, part scrapbook, and part diary of a life where the soundtrack has often been better than the action on the screen.
I certainly never expected this site to continue as long as it has. Nor could I have predicted that I would meet some of the best friends and colleagues of my life through it. There have been a few rough patches were I almost gave it up, and periods where my posting activity crawled to nearly a halt. But at this point it is difficult to imagine not having this place to come back to. I feel comfortable here, and safe. I hope you do too.
This blog has never been a money-making venture and I don’t typically solicit donations (although you are welcome to make them). All I want is your extra time and your…. comments, if you have them. Even just a simple “hey thanks, I enjoyed that” from a reader on an otherwise lousy day can remind me why I started doing this in the first place: to share my thoughts and words about music with friends.