Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Aging Musician Retires, Billions Yawn.

 I have decided to celebrate 40+ years in music by retiring from it. The reasons for this are myriad, but it is mostly due to my sense that the time has passed for me to do much good in the world with my work as the future trajectory of our civilization (and our planet) seems fairly obvious...and that my output is VERY out of step with most of the musical trends of the past couple decades or so, to the extent that the idea of developing an audience at this juncture seems improbable.

I'm grown tired of swimming against the tide, and it would be against my principals to swim WITH it’s time to let it all go.

From this point onward I will probably not do much more than post the occasional self-indulgent cover tune on YouTube. It is highly unlikely that I will release more original music.

All of that being said, I am planning on getting my current ten albums in front of as many pairs of ears as possible over the next couple of years, thus this email. I am hosting all of these current albums on a file-sharing service called Sync. They are MP3s encoded at 320kbps and each directory includes lyrics, credits and artwork as well. These are all FREE...however, you can always donate at if you feel so moved.

The albums are listed below, along with my best attempt at a description. I’m extremely eclectic and it’s pretty much impossible to
lock my work into any specific style or genre...each album is very much it’s own thing.

Feel free to share these albums (or this message itself) can review them, play them on your station, annoy your neighbors, frighten your pets, etc., if they appeal to you. As with any other creative work not in the realm of public domain, please don’t use it in commercials or such things without my express permission. If you think any of my songs/compositions would be perfect for your film project or whatnot, just get in touch with me.

my interviews, off-grid living, travel and assorted live/ one-off music videos are on YouTube, if that is of an interest to you.

(I also, for the sake of non-grid dependent posterity, am interested in sending out some
limited physical copies of some of my albums (in CD and/or DVD collection form). This would be limited to the continental US due to media mail postal rates. Let me know if this is of an interest to you.)

Thank you...and best of luck in the times to’ll likely need it.

2022 - The Quiet Earth Orchestra - World Without Words 2
(Genres - Ambient, Instrumental Prog, Soundtrack)

This is an album of Instrumental Progressive and Ambient pieces and is probably the last album I will ever make. I wanted to go out on an up note. It is fairly innocuous and pleasant to listen to, with lots of layered textures that sound rather nice in a pair of headphones.

2020 - John Ludi - Mistakes Have Been Made
(Genres - Rock, Indie, Prog)

My final album as a socially-concerned eclectic singer-songwriter-instrumentalist. It’s all over the map musically, but could be considered Progressive in the same sense that Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, David Bowie and Todd Rundgren could be considered Progressive. I consider this the apex of my recording career and the best one to start with.

2015 - John Ludi - Obsolescence
(Genres - Rock, Indie)

One of two albums I put out in 2015, it is the “internally-focused” album. It’s an album of songs reflecting on aging, loss, and mortality, for the most part.

2015 - John Ludi - Rage
(Genres - Rock, Indie, Punk)

One of two albums I put out in 2015, it is the “externally-focused” album. A lot of my older “punk” songs from the past were redone, as well as a few new pieces. The topics are generally political, environmental, social...and overall deal with a civilization in a state of collapse.

2008 – The Quiet Earth Orchestra – The Quiet Earth Orchestra
(Genres - Prog Rock)

This is my homage to 70’s Progressive Rock, and has occasional elements of Yes, King Crimson, and ELP blended together with a darker Gothic musical and lyrical sensibility.

2008 – Soft War – Soft War
(Genres - Rock, Indie)

Much more of a Rock/Indie Rock album, but still very eclectic and diverse in its presentation and scope and a rare collaborative effort (I mostly work alone) that I am extremely proud of.

2005 – John Ludi – Rise Above or Fall Below
(Genres - Rock, Indie)

A favorite of many of those who know my work, it is a study in musical eclecticism that is lyrically focused on notions of materialism versus spirituality and transcendence.

2001 – John Ludi – Hell’s Laughter and Heaven’s Ache
(Genres - Rock, Indie, “Goth”)

My first release as “John Ludi”, this album is not the best work I’ve ever created in terms of production, but there are a great many songs that I am extremely proud of.

1995 - The Quiet Earth Orchestra - World Without Words
(Genres - Ambient, Soundtrack, Worldbeat)

One of the few projects from my earlier years that I have decided is worth putting out there, this is an instrumental work that (like WWW2 from 2022) alternates between ambient pieces and percussion-based pieces. Interesting and (mostly) pleasant background music, basically.

1982-1989 – John Ludi – 4-Track Wonderland
(Genres - Rock, Prog, Experimental)

Musical baby pictures, basically...but some of them are pretty decent musical baby pictures. If you find my more recent work compelling in any way, this would be a good way to hear how I started out on the path I followed over the past 40+ years.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

John of The Mountain Gets Humbled

 I wrote this as a response to an FB post...figured it was OK enough to make it one of my infrequent blog posts. Hope you're all enjoying The End Times. Tip your wait staff.

Roughly three years into my yurt-dwelling off-grid adventure in the hills of The Driftless region of Wisconsin, I experienced a medical issue that, while extremely minor in the vast scheme of things, led to one of those humbling “no man is an island” moments that forced me to revisit some of my notions as a “Prepper”.
I had endured a full winter in the yurt, having slogged through temps of -25F without actually dying (unless I have and this current moment is part of a hell that I probably deserve), and I was feeling pretty full of myself. I was sitting on several years of stored food, seeds, multiple means of treating water, gold and silver, various means of self-protection, cash, and a good basic working knowledge of foraging, gardening, and most of the other ways of keeping oneself healthy and alive during a period of severe systemic interruptions to life as we know (knew) it. It all seemed to be working even better than I had planned.
Until I awoke one morning with a boulder in my eye.
“Why is it ALWAYS my right eye?”, I thought as some horrible little SOMETHING dragged its nails across my cornea. I sat upright, fully alarmed as I pulled my upper eyelid away from my eye, seeking relief. I have blepharitis in that particular eye, so I’m used to a certain amount of pain and irritation, especially when exposed to dust or mold or too much cold air, but this was something different; this was obviously a foreign body that had inexplicably found its way under my eyelid during the night.
Putting aside the relative improbability of such a thing, I spent the next half hour trying all the various tricks I knew of how to make such things go no avail. An ER visit was in order. Having no insurance at the time I was loath to even think about it, but I was alone and in extreme pain and figured that we were close enough to everything falling apart that my perfect credit history could stand to take the hit if the bill was too high.
So I drove to the local rural hospital and my adventure there could fill several more paragraphs as I apparently drew some existential short straw as the people there seemed to not be programmed to deal with something as prosaic as “ow...I dun got sumthin in muh eye, doc!” (Why they would want me to take a vision test when one of my eyes was inoperable was beyond me...but I figured they needed to feel like they were doing SOMETHING and wanted a least a few reasons to charge me an extraordinary amount of money for close to nothing.)
They told me, in essence, that they couldn’t help me...but there was an eye clinic right down the hallway that opened in fifteen minutes, a fact which would have been really useful had they informed me of that when I first showed up.
($1,100 for all their ineffectual fumblings was the outcome of THAT part of the drama. ‘Murica!!!)
As it turned out, it was just a tiny round little white thing of unknown origin that had embedded itself into my upper eyelid. No big deal; the doctor at the clinic had it out in a few seconds...and THAT bill was only $105. Had there been someone else around that could have flipped up my eyelid and swabbed it with a q-tip I’d have saved myself a lot of pain and expense, but I was flying solo at that juncture.
So with all that prepping and all of that planning, my fiercely independent little life was thrown completely off balance by a tiny little piece of nothing roughly a quarter of the size of the head of a pin. It was a comeuppance and a lesson; one of those “for the want of a nail” kind of things...a mosquito in a room full of mosquito-brown tapestries.
So when I hear these ammosexuals wax heroic about their macho visions of a world where they can flex their flabby muscles and let out an off key wolf howl on top of a mountain while waving their AKs in the air over their pointed little heads, I giggle a fair bit.
Good luck with that, Rambo.

Sunday, January 10, 2021


One of my various names for the times were are now knee-deep in has been The Great Revealing. It’s a time where all secrets are freed from their dusty tombs and people show you who they truly are under the pretense and theatrical finery, under the barrier of comforting lies that we tell ourselves about ourselves. The narrative...the cover story...the resume that we push to the world outside ourselves while knowing deep down inside that we are all naked emperors.

To quote Wikipedia: “An apocalypse, (literally meaning "an uncovering") is a disclosure or revelation of great knowledge. In religious and occult concepts, an apocalypse usually discloses something very important that was hidden or provides what Bart Ehrman has termed, "A vision of heavenly secrets that can make sense of earthly realities".

Of course, such times are also generally accompanied by a fracturing of all the systems and assumptions that we hold dear. The solid ground we assumed was forever turns out to be as ephemeral as our most fleeting of nocturnal visions and, being creatures that crave certainty and something to believe in, we stagger from theory to theory and from leader to leader, hoping for some solid rock within the raging stream to cling to in our increasing panic.

It is said that if you want to see what a person is really like, make them angry. True enough for my liking, but I would extend that to make them sad, or frightened, or just really really tired. We are in those times where almost all are being tested, and a great many are being found wanting.

Those tests, sadly, are likely to continue and accelerate.

Some people are turning out to not be who we may have thought they were. It’s important to understand that this is who they ALWAYS were, on some level. The friend or family member who has embraced QAnon and issues forth a plethora of rationalizations for the redneck rampage at the capitol always had the embryo of that element slowing growing inside only wanted for a trigger. They are the people who are okay with just about any injustice as long as THEIR interests are being served...and that was who they were all along...all along the largely untroubled years with their smiles and embraces and shared meals and pats on the back and consoling words for you when life wasn’t going your way.

Some are calling this an effect of “privilege” and I would say that that is a fair assessment, as they go. Having spent a fair amount of my early childhood years in a mixed-race working poor neighborhood in Detroit and then ascending the standard of living scale into the affluent suburbs, I have come to understand this effect in a way that not too many cranky middle-aged white men injustice has always rankled. Frankly, I built an entire musical career around my sense of indignation at the unfairness and inequities of the world. So it’s sort of where I live.

I have encountered a great many people over the years who don’t know what they don’t know regarding these injustices...though many assume that they do (and I’m sure I have this failing myself to a degree, no matter how I try to monitor it)...but there is a willfulness about it these days and it is but one of a great many odious and ugly things flying out of the Pandora’s Box of our rapidly fracturing culture.

I have sparred with a fair amount of willfully (and otherwise) obtuse people of late, though I have tried to be increasingly less present in certain venues overall. I encounter the same patterns of thinking almost every time: the false equivalences and “whataboutisms” that saturate any polarized dialog between those of us trying to make a fair and just world for EVERYONE and those who would prefer it go in the opposite direction. If the arguments were not so rote and intellectually unsophisticated and full of snickering sophistry I’d be tempted to budge, as the dim shadow of my old acquiescent self wants to get along with pretty much everyone.

But I can’t...especially if the views are those that I find morally repugnant.

Like many others over the past four or so years, I have had to let an awful lot of people go. Most of these people I knew were of the ilk that would be willing to shoot me in cold blood if just the right circumstances occurred and just the right fantasies took hold of their fears and uncertainties. There HAVE been a few sad surprises though...and that sadness will likely never go away as I think of the times I spent with one person or another before the dark cloud of our collective consequences finally settled into the lower atmosphere of all of our day to day lives.

So I forgive...and I say goodbye (however harshly at times) with love in my heart and the understanding that on a more rarefied level of being, I suspect that this whole worldly experience may be revealed as a vast illusion. I mourn the absence of certain people, but I don’t forget who they have shown themselves to be no matter how strong the lure of happier memories. If the dust settles tomorrow and we enter a calmer time those tendencies will still be there waiting for the next crisis to reveal both the better and lesser angels of their nature.

I also continue to take my own “moral inventory” in these turbulent times. My lifelong self-analysis and monitoring of my own pretenses may make me a slightly larger rock in the stream, but that stream is flowing faster and faster and faster. I have struggled with my anger and judgmental character traits all my life, but these times have exacerbated them. The latter tendency I have found to be a useful tool in this rough world, but I have chosen most often to take those judgments and simply walk away and let others, or circumstance in general, mete out the “what goes around comes around” part of the drama. And I continue to hope that the conditions of the world continue to allow me to do that, and not back me into some sort of situational corner where walking away is no longer an option.

So this is my way of commiserating with those of you who have lost, and continue to lose, people that they once held dear to this mad world of our collective making. If anything, it has made me value the people in my life who have always held true and strong to their moral compass, no matter which way the wind was blowing.

To them I say “I love you” the rest I say “goodbye...and may you find your way”.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

When you see a cop...when they see a cop.

I'm a member of the second most protected demographic in the United States: a starchy white middle-aged male.  I say "second most" because I am not rich.  If I put on a MAGA hat I could easily pass for one of Trump's mindless minions (well...if I wasn't in my normal metrosexual/anglophile mode of dress which raises red flags with almost everyone, everywhere).

As a member of that protected demographic, it's probably not for me to say anything definitive about how people outside of that demographic might feel in any given situation...but since I grew up in a working poor mixed neighborhood in Detroit, I can use that past and my imagination for a bit of perspective...perhaps.

When we lived in Detroit in the 70's it was a given that the police were not our friends and they were generally to be avoided.  The riots of 1967 were far from a distant memory and the general feeling was one of fear and mistrust. You only called them if you HAD to.  Most of the time you settled things on your own.  I carry that with me to this very day, that wariness, despite my protected status.  My black friends had (and have) a much heavier burden, which in a lot of ways I didn't understand until we moved from Detroit to Warren, MI.

In my mixed neighborhood most of us got along, just a bunch of disadvantaged people coping with an inequitable economic system as best we could.  Save one, none of my close friends were white and I didn't understand that that was the exception in this country and not the norm until Warren.

Warren is an inner suburb of Detroit and was white and prejudiced as hell...and it probably still is...I don't visit.  It was my first introduction to what extreme prejudice meant.  Coming fresh out of the city to this awful place was jarring, to say the least.  I was an instant pariah.  My nickname was n***er-lover.  I got into a LOT of fights.

I didn't understand the hatred.  Most of these kids had never even MET a black was that segregated.  It all came from their racist parents, from what I could tell.  It was echoed even in my own extended family, most of whom were from a rural part of SE Michigan and likewise had little interaction with people of color.  I called a couple of them out on their bigotry and was amazed at how they would try to deny it once it was plopped out on the table in front of them for all to see.

Ignorance breeding fear. Irrational and unjustified fear.

When I have told various comfortable starchy white people that I'm from Detroit, I have heard a funny little story fairly goes like this:

"'re from Detroit? Karen and I went there once.  We took the wrong exit and ended up in a neighborhood."

"Really? How was it bad?" I would say, knowing what was about to come.

", you know...urban."

"How so?" I would say, with the beginnings of a wry smirk forming across my lips.

"Well...Karen and I were the only white people there!"

(Ah...there it is...)

"Yet you survived!"

"Yes...we asked a young man for directions and he was really nice and he told us how to get to Woodward and head North (or whatever)".

At that point I just usually sigh and go on talking with them about the usual banal crap that boring suburban white people talk about until I find a way to get away from them gracefully.  Lawns and stock portfolios and such.

That fear though...

I'm sure some reading this will have lived that same story: "wrong" exit...middle of the night...etc.  So here's the thing: that fear you felt...and far be it for ME, Protected Man, to say this with any amount of certainty...but that fear you felt is probably not unlike the fear people of color experience ALL THE FUCKING TIME...especially when they are around cops.

Chew on that a bit.  Digest it a little.

When I was a kid I knew that the cops could crack my skull open with total impunity.  I saw police brutality firsthand over the years and heard much more from my friends of various shades of non-white. I carry it with me to this day...and as a member of a protected demographic it is but a fraction of that fear that I suspect many...perhaps most...people of color feel around cops.

So when I hear that racist dog-whistle of "all lives matter" it makes my blood boil...because I want the people who say that to feel that fear...that sense that the skin they were drafted into could be something that could get them killed by the very people whose credo is "to serve and protect".

Think on that, my fellow comfy white people.  Think on that a while.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Mistakes Have Been Made...BRAND NEW ALBUM BY JOHN LUDI

This is my new, and possibly final, album. I consider it the best work I've ever done and if I never make another album I would be happy to say that it all ended on this particular note.
Though I obviously have my own distinct sound and musical identity, I would say that major inspirations during my recording of this album would be David Bowie's Blackstar, Peter Gabriel's UP and Kate Bush's least in terms of all of those albums being eclectic studies in contrast and juxtaposition. Like those albums, each song has its own set of feelings and meanings and imagery...and I only hope that this album hits anywhere NEAR the level of artistry of those works. My goal is always to take the listener on a journey through dynamic peaks and valleys and leave them feeling well-traveled by the end of the experience. I want the experience to be impacting on deep emotional, intellectual and spiritual levels, and not just be aural wallpaper to serve as a mere backdrop.
I hope I have accomplished that goal, and I hope that people will take the time to actually LISTEN to this album...but that DOES take a certain level of commitment and an actual interest in music as art. If you have that, you may find this work gratifying. Many have said that it takes a couple listens to “get” what I do...and you may find that to be true as well.
I have made this album available on YouTube as a full album video with lyrics for free listening, as a free download on Noisetrade (link in notes on YouTube video), and as a paid download on Bandcamp (link in notes on YouTube video as well). I had planned on making some videos for some of these songs and to roll it out in a more commercial way, but given the times it seems wrong to me to do so. Above all else, I would would like my work to be heard and remembered. If something happens to me, I would like to know that people listened to and enjoyed my work on some level.