Christopher Stewart
  • 49, Male
  • Québec, Qc
  • Canada
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Christopher Stewart posted a video

Stars Cry

This track started out as an R & D piece aimed at exploring soft synths and VST plugins. Usually i get ideas for new compositions while noodling on the guita...
Apr 1
 

Prog Rocking In Quebec City

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Poligraf

Music and Spiritual Practice - An Overview of Poligraf

Music has been an essential part of my life since the end of the 80s.

The adventure began during the second of my four years of studying electrical engineering at Université Laval in Québec City. Through various friends and contacts I reconnected with progressive rock, a form of music to which I had already been exposed to in my youth thanks to my older brothers and sisters. Hearing the music of bands such as Yes, Rush, Genesis, and King Crimson felt like meeting old friends, and quickly I knew I just had to do as those musicians did, although my prior experience with music had been minimal at that time.

The feeling was so strong that not only did it led me to buy various instruments so I could learn how to play, but it was also the main force that made me decide to change direction after my first semester as a graduate student in computer vision and systems so I could build my life around music. And perhaps more importantly, when it became clear that I would compose music of my own, it spawned the question « what should the songs be about ? » which powered me into many years of exploring a multitude of domains of knowledge including science, philosophy, psychology, art, mysticism, and the occult.

Music for me is also spiritual practice. The inspiration and elevation it provides is undeniable, and the many insights I have had while practicing an instrument or rehearsing a part are too numerous to recount. Music picks me up when I let reason bring me down, restores my energy levels when I feel tired, sustains me through lengthy work sessions, and generally brings me to a state of inner peace and deep joy.

My objective as a musician is to communicate that energy in the hopes that listeners will experience that very same elevation and inspiration. It is also my intention to share my experiences and discoveries and thus hopefully help others reach understandings that can they can use on their own journey.

Buddhism has been an essential part of my life since the mid-90s.

The adventure began when I stumbled upon a feature in an encyclopedic dictionary that highlighted the Four Noble Truths. That finding immediately sparked my curiosity and a few days later I was buying a copy of The Dhammapada at a local bookstore. While slowly digesting the aphorisms in the weeks that followed, I found that its teachings were in continuity with a process of introspection that had begun during an introductory course on neural networks (i.e. systems designed to emulate some of the capabilities of the human brain, such as pattern recognition and associative memory), the study of which had triggered the question « what does this tell me about my own inner workings ? »

From then on I pursued my explorations and plunged into the Tibetan Book Of The Dead, which was quickly followed by various Mahayana sutras. I also bought a guide to learn how to meditate and started experimenting with the practice.

During the years that followed, I plowed through most of the major Mahayana sutras, progressively adjusted my lifestyle and behaviour to accord with the precepts, refined my meditation practice, memorized mantras, and became a vegetarian.

Poligraf has been an essential part of my life since its inception at the beginning of February 1998.

The adventure began after the collapse of a band that arguably never really existed as it only had a handful of rehearsals, but for which I had already written a lot of material. Left alone at the helm, I connected with a group of experienced musicians via a co-worker friend and after agreeing on a general aim and formula, we raised sail and headed to the terra incognita of progressive rock.

Over its eleven years of activity in various incarnations, Poligraf has yielded enough music for over five full-length albums, but never really had a chance to officially record any of them, although some of the material has been demoed and performed on stage on various occasions.

Most of the music documents my own spiritual path and presents some of the lessons that life has taught me on the way. Some pieces are directly inspired by Buddhist texts or teachings. For instance, « Between Worlds » is directly inspired by the Tibetan Book Of The Dead, and « The Idler » and « Creeper » have been inspired by aphorisms of The Dhammapada. « Void » illustrates the Buddhist concept of emptiness, and « SubjeKctiv » serves as a reminder of the subjectivity of experience and the coextensivity of worlds. « Entering the Stream » is a trilogy, counting a total of nine chapters, that depicts the trajectory of an individual fed up with the mundane who decides to retreat into an ashram for some heavy introspection before returning to the ordinary with a renewed perspective on life.

Throughout all these years, if the Mahayana has provided the vehicle, then Poligraf has certainly provided landscapes, path, and drive, while the buddhas have completed the picture with their timely, serendipitous, and often magical interventions.

I don't know why I feel so strongly about music, progressive rock, and Poligraf in particular, but I just know I do and I trust that feeling to the best of my ability. My connection to Poligraf runs so deep that whenever I let hardships or circumstances turn into reasons to believe that there's no viable future for the band, then I retreat into apathy. That is, until that unmistakable feeling breaks through the veil of confusion to drive me again. To the best of my present understanding, my own self-realization seems to be linked to that of the band, if not as the culmination of my spiritual practice, then at least as an essential stepping stone towards it.

Poligraf's first album is entitled « Samsara. » Traditionally, the term refers to the Buddhist concept of the cycle of birth and death in which all beings in the universe take part and which can be escaped only through enlightenment. Personally, I agree with the view that it is rather that very same process of enlightenment, in which ups and downs are in fact the appearance of constant motion towards spiritual growth.

In accordance with that perspective, the album presents a collection of pieces that depict the journey of an individual who faces a series of challenges through which they will experience various transcendences, on their way to increasingly better versions of themselves.

If you'd like to know more about the band and support us in our efforts to bring our beauty into the world, please visit our website (see the first icon below) where you can learn more about our many projects and the sponsorship opprtunities that we offer.

For Poligraf, your support represents an opportunity to go to the next level, reach a wider audience, and ultimately become a self-sustaining prog rock producing unit that can function independently of a record label.

Thank you for reading thus far, and best wishes to you on your journey.

               

Christopher Stewart's Blog

The Miracle Is Worth The Wait



Yamagata University Craft-Pal 2006 » by simo100)

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Posted on September 16, 2013 at 8:11am

Mother Of Pearl



Natural Abalone with conical pearl » by Worldexplorer82)



« Mother Of Pearl» was the last song written in the location where the music for the « The Abode Of The Blessed » EP was composed. Yet, arguably, considering the clear stylistic and thematic distinctions…

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Posted on September 2, 2013 at 5:52am

Perfect Magic



Spirit of the Night » by John Atkinson Grimshaw)



« Perfect Magic » is the 9th opus penned for the « 30 Songs for the Sunny Season » project. It was completed on February 6, 2013, and is the first new piece to follow the compositional rush that…

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Posted on August 19, 2013 at 6:24pm

A Tide Of Positive Change



Wave » by Mark)



The 23rd song written for the « 30 Songs for the Sunny Season » project is entitled « A Tide Of Positive Change » and was completed on March 24th, 2013.

The aim here was to come up with an inspiring and energetic song that…

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Posted on August 8, 2013 at 7:35am

To Kill Your Demons



Painting created in Year 12 Painting at Albany Senior High School » by Mosborne01)



« To Kill Your Demons » was completed on March 10, 2013, and is the 20th song written for the henceforth entitled « 30 Songs for the Sunny Season » project.

Basically, the…

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Posted on August 2, 2013 at 6:47am

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Profile Information

About Me:
Curious romantic zensufi techno-geek, herbal-tea-drinking vegetarian artistic footballer, and singular muse-following tarot-reading polymath
Website:
http://purl.org/poligraf/now
Conscious Creativity means...
Being aware of the potential repercussions of creative endeavors and thus aligning them with one's values
My vision of the future:
Creating music that elevates minds
I am really good at:
music, writing, poetry

Comment Wall (16 comments)

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At 10:04pm on June 17, 2011, Nijole Sparkis said…
You are quite welcome!
At 6:55pm on October 12, 2010, Nijole Sparkis said…
That was fun - all those 8's... ! Symbol for eternity ------------
At 4:16pm on September 24, 2010, Brian Thomas Lambert said…
for about 7 years now
At 4:46pm on September 22, 2010, Brian Thomas Lambert said…
Hey Christopher, finishing up on score and recording vocals for feature film. And helping editor doing last chop job. Then onto sessions for completing another film project.
At 8:52am on September 11, 2010, Brian Thomas Lambert said…
Greetings Chris!
At 8:35pm on July 28, 2010, Nijole Sparkis said…
Same best wishes back atcha!
Nijole
At 12:50pm on July 15, 2010, c3 said…
You are very welcome for the feature. Thank you for being an integral part of the community ;-)
At 4:12pm on June 18, 2010, libramoon said…
You are invited to help to form what we continue to become:


http://groups.yahoo.com/group/seerseeker/


Too brite days
midnights that refuse to
abide dark and secret
when empty phrases chant
to fairytale Moons
I tell myself
This is no ordinary room
This is no fleeting flittering life
This is a magical passageway
sparkling like mica, like miracles

Quiet traces
luminescent impression
a trailing kite tail binds
silent whimpers, sojourning whispers,
tears shining behind mime smiles

Crone's gnarled fingers, playing
to spite agony
simulate touch
beyond ache,
too brite cell,
crouching scarred shadow
I cast silhouette of metamagic gypsy
hand
offering

Laurie Corzett - libramoon42@mindspring.com
http://emergingvisions.blogspot.com
At 4:01pm on May 15, 2010, Nijole Sparkis said…
You're welcome, Chris! ;->
At 10:45am on August 10, 2009, Nijole Sparkis said…
Hey Christopher,
Thanks for the "thanks"! My pleasure.
Best wishes to you,
Nijole
 
 
 

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