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Featured in the book “Poetry of the Air”: A Collection of Love Letters to Music from Musicians

Poetry of the Air

Poetry of the Air Music Street Journal’s Gary Hill dedicated a chapter to me in his recent book, Poetry of the Air. The book interviews progressive rock musicians for their experience as music listeners. To quote from the book, “The basic idea is that musicians, before making the decision to get involved making music, were music fans.”. Indeed being featured in this book among prog musician giants is an unspeakable honor for me. Below is what I contributed to the book. At the end find more information about the book and how you could purchase it.

Chapter 70: Salim Ghazi Saeedi

We fall in love with our counterparts; what we don’t have; sometimes the complete opposite is the most wanted…
From early childhood – as an introspective and lonely child in Iran – I liked cheerful pleasures and green fields and outlaw freedoms. So I created all these realms in my mind by immersing in fantasized and abstract worlds of music and visualized what I did not have in real life.
Because in reality I had war, sadistic teachers in school and religious dogmatism.

So I sought:

Larry Groce’s colorful and cheerful fantasies in Walt Disney characters’ world (at age four)
Freddie Mercury’s burning love and passion (at age 12)
Michael Jackson’s erotic teenage desires (at age 14)
Pink Floyd’s voice of a lost generation (at age 16)
Kurt Cobain’s ecstatic anarchy (at age 18)
Aerosmith’s broken heart (at age 19)
Guns n’ Roses’ deviant pleasures (at age 20)
Megadeth’s rage and madness (at age 22)
Steve Ray Vaughn’s benevolent heart (at age 24)
Jeff Beck’s modern language of the lover boy (at age 25)
Thelonious Monk’s annihilating experience of unspeakable spiritual outburst (at age 26)
Tool’s occult and multi-facet presentation of mind (at age 28)
Munir Bashir’s demonstration of supreme mastery (At age 30)
Kayhan Kalhor’s unending pleasures of a dancing mystic (At age 31)

Yea! That was my biography! I found my life among the musical
notes I adored. Now I am older, and I know more about the world since
the Walt Disney fantasies of age four, but these artists shaped my life
and delivered the life force as music packages to my ears and into my
flesh.

Now, as a musician, my mind produces music as I walk, as I think
and breathe. I play my guitar and dream and fantasize about the
future…To pass on and deliver my life to you!

_______________________

Link to buy: http://www.lulu.com/shop/gary-hill/poetry-of-the-air-a-collection-of-love-letters-to-music-from-musicians/paperback/product-22868161.html

List of artists included in the book: Jon Anderson (Yes, ABWH and more) Allan Atkins (Judas Priest and more) Albert Bouchard (Blue Oyster Cult and more) Bun E. Carlos (solo and formerly Cheap Trick) Jackie “Jax” Chambers (Girlschool) Alan Davey (Hawkwind, Gunslinger and more) Terry Draper (Klaatu and solo) Larry Fast (Synergy) Steve Hackett (Genesis, solo and more) Tommy James (Tommy James and the Shondells) Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel and more) James Lowe (Electric Prunes) Paul Richards (California Guitar Trio) Jordan Rudess (Dixie Dregs, Dream Theater and more) Billy Sherwood (Yes and more) James Lee Stanley Peter “Peavy” Wagner (Rage) Rick Wakeman (Yes, Strawbs and more) and many more

Published: September 22, 2016 | Comments: 0

Skilled Migrant’s Advanced Guide to Find the First Job in Australia

general_skilled_migration_f1

Applying for the first job in Australia as a skilled migrant in professional jobs could takes months, becomes boring or makes you cry. Here are some advanced tips for serious job seekers. This guide is based on my own experience and I call it “advanced” since prior to applying them you should be acquainted with “basic” resume making and interview skills for which there are many resources available. Stick to this guide and this guide will hopefully make your settlement process easier:

Be ready to search for months. Even a year

The employment process is itself long with many parameters involved. From the time you apply, it could take 1.5 month or even more to secure the job and in this course many things may happen. The job requirements may change, the employer may change his mind and hundreds of other applicants may apply. Add to this employers who prefer local experience. It seriously takes time. In order to improve your social skills upon entry and save money I suggest to rent private rooms in shared houses. I find the best platform airbnb,com. The Australians are quite relaxed and friendly. This way you will be obliged to engage with other tenants. Consequently your English and culture awareness will improve.

There is no such thing as a perfect resume

No matter how confident you are in the content and style of your current resume do not pass easily from this paragraph. How many times you have revised your resume according to Australian standards? Five times? Ten times? It may need more. More specifically give it to professional people in your field to edit.

Do not let “you do not have a local experience” motto disappoint you

Job market could be discriminating or lets say conservative against applicants with no local experience. But there are some companies – especially large international or young creative ones – which have a multi-cultural employee environment. Some others may need people urgently. Sure you do not have a local experience because you have just migrated. But do not make it political or complain to much, unless you are going to become an activist.

Do not compromise your expertise

No matter what anyone says, do not compromise your expertise for any lower level work. If you have migrated based on Australian current job market needs (i.e. your job is on SOL), try to find the job you are the best at. No more, no less.

For the interviews you have to practice many work examples and be able to introduce yourself on the fly in unpredictable phone calls from 9am to 6pm, while you are in the street or toilet. If you apply for a junior, mid-level or senior level jobs simultaneously, you have to know 3 different versions of your self-presentation by heart. I wasn’t able to do that!

Consider job searching as a full time job

Wake up in the morning, do some sports, start early and use the business hours for job searching. Continue this tirelessly no matter how many months pass.

For the above reason try to avoid working any unrelated job to your expertise – if possible. If you become a salesperson or waiter to have something the table, you will not have time to do the job search.

Weak English? Forget about it

Unless you are lucky, a very technical nerd that needs minimum interaction with other people at work or are applying for not very professional jobs, you have to have fluent English. You should impress the HR/employer/agent on the phone or interview. And impressing means interacting as a real human being and not just a job-performing robot. Read newspapers and watch Australian TV everyday.

Do consider government jobs

Writing “selection criteria” besides tailoring resume and cover letter is boring but it could be rewarding if you are applying government jobs or companies welcoming employees from different diversity backgrounds or minorities (They always mention this at the bottom of the ad). So be sure to mention your sex, ethnicity or having a disability and do not choose “I wish not to disclose” option. Your chance of employment will be higher this way.

Be the master of your job market

As a skill migrant, you are coming from a different job market culture so job titles and terms in your profession may differ here. Go deep in reading job ads to thoroughly understand which job title(s) describe you in Australia the best. Before coming to Australia my job title was “Systems and Methods Specialist”. Then I realised Australians call it “Business Analyst”. And this was not the end of story. More specifically there are: IT Business Analyst, Technical Business Analyst, Business Process Analyst, Commercial Analyst, Continuous Improvement Analyst, Process Analyst, Financial Analyst. And there is no standard in how employers use these terms. So one employer may say “Systems Analyst” but he actually means “IT Business Analyst” in your terminology. My suggestion is never search for jobs based on job categories. Instead search based on keywords in your profession that you expect to see in job ads.

Develop a methodology for your job search

There are two extreme types of applicants. Some find low frequent job ads in their field. Lets say 1-2 per day. And some find high frequent job ads. Lets say 40-50 per day. The approach for each of these extremes should be different. (And decide your approach if you come in between)

  • Low frequent job ads: Spend at least 2-3 hours or even way more for each job ad: Tailoring the resume, writing specific cover letter and selection criteria. Call the employer/agent before submitting, Ask them for coffee. Follow up. Become friends with them.
  • High frequent job ads: Categorise and prioritise jobs titles you are capable of. Categorise and prioritise jobs ads. Apply real-time (In seek.com.au you are able to filter the jobs posted today). Call and follow up only important ones. You can build resume templates for each category and its variations and spend time tailoring only if you have.

Attend free resume/interview classes held by government

Australian government holds free resume/interview classes. The name of the course is different in each state. You will find the links in Ministry of Trades state government website. In NSW it is called Skillmax. One important fact is these classes only provide general advice in your resume. They are not experts in your profession. So you have to translate your resume to professional vocabulary of your job yourself or ask/research people in your field.

Juggle with applying methods

Be creative. Do not hide behind your computer. Make the application process lively and interesting. Some known methods so far:

  • Seek.com.au: To my experience it is a very important platform. It could be not true for all professions.
  • Try indeed.com or careerone.com.au that aggregate some jobs not advertised on seek.com
  • Make your Linkedin professional in Linkedin way. Do not just copy/paste your resume here. Know Linkedin’s style. A catchy headline matters a lot. Know Karaylyn Brown. She is an expert Linkedin profile writer. I attended her seminar in Skillmax class and then I rewrote my profile based on her suggestions. Ask her for help if you need.
  • Visit companies and recruitment agencies: It is essential to know your job market physically too. Before visiting one famous recruiter in person I always thought it is a one room company run by some teenagers, actually because of their awful website design. After visiting them I realised they own two multi story buildings in Sydney as a branch of a UK company.
  • Ask people for coffee: If you are able to present yourself well, convincing managers or recruiters to have a coffee with you is way easier than formal talk via phone.
  • Attend meetups posted on meetup.com related to your profession: You could easily find referees by this way.
  • Become member of professional associations/clubs in your field
  • Apply via referees from your network: Apply via people you know and make them as your referees.
  • Subscribe to companies that do not post on seek: You think Google post their careers on seek.com? No they don’t :)
  • Cold call companies: Some may reject you and some won’t. Do it if you are a good improviser and are able to engage with people fast.
  • Post letters: In some company cultures a printed document is considered a task. So when they receive the cover letter with your resume in paper format they think there should something be done about it. Some say it works.

The key to a successful interview is impression

They key to a successful interview is to impress the interviewer. Experience and qualifications come second to this. If you are smart – which you are because you have migrated for a cause – you will immediately know within the first minutes if the interviewer likes you. Interviewer’s frequent affirmative nods, fixing on you has he/she has gone blank and frequent sparkling eyes means you will most probably get the job. If you did not feel these in the beginning of the interview, indirectly ask them why you have gone wrong. The bottom line is they should like you. This is why it is done via human/human interaction and not robotic question/robotic answer.

If you failed, no worries. The best interview teacher is failed interview.

Consider shortlisting rate only 10% or less

Being rejected by employers is normal. Consider the success rate for being shortlisted only 10% or even less. Do not let the rejection letters disappoint you. Even if you are rejected you can still write them and ask why you have been rejected because you want to improve your further employability. Re-apply previously rejected jobs if they are posted again. Many success stories exist. Naturally rejection does not always mean that you are not qualified for that job.

You have not got the job until you signed the contract

They may call you and say we want you or we absolutely love you. But do not stop applying unless you have signed the contract. Once I had successful interviews in a management consulting and they wrote me a superb cover letter to the client. These interviews took about a week so I thought it is finished especially with the killer cover letter they wrote for me to the client. But at final stage the client did not hire me. I was kind of disappointed at first but then used to it!

Shut up and do your work

Never fear. Nothing is authentic but you. Live your own rules. (A tempered version of chaotes’ creed, “Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted”)

My Linkedin Profile: www.linkedin.com/in/salimgs

(c) 2015 Salim Ghazi Saeedi

Published: December 14, 2015 | Comments: 0

DIY DMCA Takedown Procedure

When you confront a copyright infringement of your content in a website, the straightforward method to take the material down is to ask the website owner by standard DMCA procedure as explained in this wikiHow article: “How to Write a DMCA Take Down Request”.

As a musician, I have found many DMCA take-down cases going to great lengths of complexity. So in the following diagram I have shared my experience to help others in the process. At the end I have also provided comments about some steps. It would be great if you share your opinions or experiences with me (at end comments or my contact page) and I will update the procedure if needed. And of course I will not forget to mention your name and your kind assistance!

I also want to thank Paul Resnikoff at digitalmusicnews.com who shared the story to one of my DMCA take-down cases and made me to think of writing this article!

DIY DMCA Takedown-Procedure

DIY DMCA Takedown-Procedure

Please first study the diagram. Complementary comments regarding some of procedure steps follows:

Finding a website infringing your copyright

I suggest that you set up a Google Alert to search for your name or band’s name (enclosed in quotations). Then Google Alert will email you at each online coverage occurrence. This way, not only you will find out about your press coverage or fan discussions, but also infringing websites.

Who is responsible for hosting the infringing content?

At first, the content provider (website owner) and second, the hosting service provider (either free or paid). So according to various steps described in the diagram you should first try to contact the website owner itself and then the host provider. Generally in case the host provider’s service is free (like blogspot or wordpress.com, etc), they react faster.

Finding website owner’s email address

There are website owners that do not provide their address at their website. In these cases you should check whois.net or website’s domain NIC (Network Information Center) website: For “.fr” websites google “.fr NIC” i.e. www.afnic.fr  or for “.eu” websites google “.eu NIC” i.e. www.eurid.eu and so on.

If whois.net or NIC website does not provide website owner’s contact address, contact their support. They usually take their customer’s identity issues seriously.

Issues regarding website owner’s email address

Confronting websites with no or non-responsive email address, you may face 4 scenarios in whois.net or other NIC host information websites:

  1. Website owner’s real email is available: That you may use for sending DMCA take down notice.
  2. Website owner has asked its host not to divulge its personal info: Instead you may find machine generated emails like proxy34983@theirhosting.com . Contacting these will notify the real owner.
  3. Hosting service uses websites like “Privacy Protect”. You may contact the owner through such 3rd party websites.
  4. There is no contact information: You may contact the host or NIC domain support to provide the information. More detailed steps are explained in the diagram.

Reporting the copyright infringement to 3rd party web service providers

One of the last resorts is to study the source code of infringing website pages. e.g. in Firefox you may right-click on the page and click “View Page Source”. You may notice that the website may have links to websites like apis.google.com or any other 3rd party web service – that may handle menus, photo galleries, search engine, etc. – engaged as website tools. In these cases you can contact these 3rd party web service providers and report. Bear in mind that they will only take action if their web service is actually a part of showing or processing the content you are claiming for.

And the last note, sometimes it is a good idea if you follow various scenario steps explained above steps concurrently to obtain faster results. Like working on 3rd party web services and hosting providers in parallel.

Salim Ghazi Saeedi is an Iranian independent composer and guitarist, mostly known in avant-prog and rock in opposition genres and compared to King Crimson, Univers Zero, John Zorn, etc. www.salimworld.com

Published: September 19, 2013 | Comments: 0

Digging RIO: Rock in Opposition Resurgence in Iran?

“Vacuum fluctuation; I call it originality.” Every now and then, the energy level of the vacuum fluctuates. Spontaneously; and it is a violation of the law of conservation of energy in physics. Maybe the resurgence of Rock in Opposition in Iran obeys similar laws in musics!

Back in 1970s a collective of avant-garde rock bands in Europe “united in their opposition to the music industry that refused to recognize their music” and initiated a music current called “Rock in Opposition” (RIO). I guess no serious RIO listener denies that this genre essentially corresponds with rebellious nature of its composers. Dark, moody and painstaking.

But what is the true motivation behind such views? Social injustice? Poor financial situation of the composer? Artists’ personal and psychological eccentricities? Or maybe merely a pretention to stand out of society to attract attention?

Well sure I am not competent enough to judge above questions. Since I have not been closely in contact with western society’s norms as RIO’s home and even worse I have never been a listener of this genre. But let me examine the case of my own confrontation to RIO:

Being raised within cultural restrictions in Iran that hinder innovation and openmindness, and a child of 1979 Iran-Iraq war, I experimentally started composing music by self-studying. In this situation most interestingly I share an important characteristic with original RIO bands: I was not able to distribute my works in Iran – since this genre is no doubt a reflection of an unrestrained mind. So I started publishing and promoting my works myself – outside Iran. Then among various press coverages like these I became aware of RIO genre for the first time:

“Somebody’s actually making progressive rock music in Iran? And it’s RIO?”
-Iconophobic Review, GEPR, Fred Trafton, Jun 2011 (Read more)

“Saeedi again proves himself to be a very capable composer in Rock in Opposition vein.”
-Human Encounter Review, Vital Weekly #821, Dolf Mulder, Feb 2012 (Read more)

“Rock in Opposition version of The Enid?”
-Iconophobic Review, Progressive Area, CHFAB, Apr 2012 (Read more)

Of course we know that Rock in Opposition is more a historical title than stylistic. But as a musician who has approached this genre involuntarily I guess I could represent an exemplary case to point out some RIO qualities by enumerating my own compositional habits (Critics have discerned RIO in all 5 albums I have composed so far):

  1. Music Composition
    1. Music composition as a painful process
      While composing I am very irritated and in pain. I have always found improvising on the instrument ecstatic and pleasing but music composing has been painful to me. Maybe because I have to honestly confess to everything.
    2. Music as a byproduct of creative intent
      An artist tries to express himself. The medium is an excuse. So for myself I call music composition an involuntarily byproduct of creativity. Despite composing almost one album for every year in past 6 years I have never had an urge to do so. Maybe because music composition is not my ultimate goal in life.
    3. Wildly diverse musical influences
      As I have said in my biography page, I guess the formation of progressive rock genre could be a consequent of my diversified music listening habit. “Let your mind free, and it becomes progressive!”
    4. Minimalism: Miniatures of exaggerated feelings
      Quoting from myself from a 2012 interview with Arlequins webzine: “I like exaggerated details and very subtle techniques of the instrument” and “I always spend a lot of time making melodies vertically rich”.
      And maybe as an eastern habit, I always have also welcomed issuing short statement about my thoughts. Aphorism, as a literal minimalist approach.
    5. Innovation as a rule
      For every musical motive, I choose variations very delicately based on various parameters: It should be innovative, no unnecessary repetition accepted, deeply colorful and emotional.
      I may compare this excessive lust for innovation to Outsider Art movement that I have always found fascinating. Of course in order to receive Prog rock lable, a work should not necessarily be that much avant-garde. But sure “knowing no boundaries” is its essential characteristic.
  2. Composer’s Environment
    1. Large scale social contradictions: Lawful anarchy or anarchic law?
      Regarding law and lawfulness, to my experience Iran has a very paradoxical situation. In a nutshell, a religious country with millions of anarchists. Does Hassan-i Sabbah ring any bell?
    2. War
      As a child of 1979 Iran-Iraq war, I greatly inspired from terror and pains of this human “classic”. I feel war is one reason I have been drawn into music composition.
    3. No support from music industry
      Who would write articles about RIO if a composer like me doesn’t? Every now and then we hear progressive rock festivals cancelling or being held limited around the world more than ever… Needless to say the music industry situation inside Iran with frictions even with simplest forms of rock…
  3. Composer’s perspective
    1. Boundary defying thought
      I guess information explosion age – by constantly confronting contradictory views and multicultural aspects of human belief – has greatly helped to develop this notion in human beings that everything is conceivable in limitless forms. In composing terms I can translate it into constant effort to bypass the structures and being creative in an unpredictable approach.
    2. Occult or Futurist views
      These views in a way relate to a greater form of “boundary defying thought” and are prevalent among RIO and other closely related genres literature.
    3. Maniac Feelings
      I categorize manic feelings as unconscious motivations behind composing music. For a lengthy discussion check out my blog post “Am I a Maniac?

From a listener perspective as I became aware of RIO genre and started listening to these bands, I felt an interesting affinity with some the works. As an example when I listened to Vivisection track by Israeli RIO band, Ahvak on Cuneiform’s website I wrote: “I can immediately sympathize with centuries of pain within sounds of these composers”. So let me call the universal affinity with RIO genre, RIO sympathy… Connecting restless souls of music lovers throughout time and place…

Published: May 9, 2012 | Comments: 0

Am I a Maniac?

William Hogarth

Honestly, I think I have all the symptoms recited in this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mania So I think I am eligible to be known as a “Maniac”. But the best part is that – in my opinion – they are all positive characteristics…

Mania has often been thought of as the opposite of depression. It is usually a feeling of well-being, energy and optimism. These feelings can get so intense that the person loses contact with reality. When this happens the person believes in strange things about their personality and they can often act in embarrassing ways and can sometimes even act in dangerous ways.

I think I depicted “losing contact with reality” at my best in Iconophobic album as I said

I don’t know if Iconophobia is really a psychological problem but I liked the idea of morbid alienation toward images, icons and in general, reality.

Meanwhile Sea of Tranquility e-zine has called my Iconophobic album containing “claustrophobic visions” or having an “impression is of an aching emptiness” as a “strong statement from my life in my home city of Tehran”.

Generally I don’t know if this is a prevalent condition among musicians or not… But in the meantime I think for creating such an abstract art like music, I had to balance those odd qualities with unusual amounts of “feeling of well-being, energy and optimism”. Actually to me those are all ways of surviving and breathing in the realm which our eyes perceive as The World – as weird, dark and bright it seems all at once…

Iconophobic (2010)

Iconophobic is my world and I love it; however dangerous it maybe as DPRP webzine calls: “You need to tread carefully if you are entering the Iconophobic world of Salim Ghazi Saeedi. You have been warned.”

Published: May 10, 2011 | Comments: 0

Music is Bloody! A True Story

Salim Ghazi SaeediA “progressive” musician knows no border; but it seems that Salim Ghazi Saeedi’s ancestors enjoy hunting him down in his veins!

Iran, Tehran – Salim grew up in Iran; a country too proud of its ancient art. Nevertheless Salim from his early childhood, barely followed Iranian traditional music. But interestingly enough, now after 5 years of music composing and releasing 4 albums mostly in progressive rock, Salim is constantly receiving notions about his Middle Eastern themes and using Persian influences.

The oriental mystery within eastern musical themes along with their dance elements versus raw energy restrained in western rock could result in a thrilling experience. Meanwhile to Salim’s own surprise: “My music listening habit has mostly been focused around jazz, blues and modern rock. I’ve never studied eastern music or dedicatedly listened to such records! Actually if there is any eastern influence discernible in my works, it has happened involuntarily.”

In this regard, one may conclude that as a musician, no matter which genre you prefer or what listening habit you adopt, sometimes you cannot elude your ancestors, who may have hunted you in your veins for centuries! The following speculations on Salim’s latest release, Iconophobic, may testify the eastern lore within Salim’s veins while his ears dignify western tradition:

- “It mixes classical, rock, jazz and Persian music to create a mish mash of pain, longing and anger.” -Stave Magazine, Christy Claxton, Aug 2010 [more]
- “Equal parts fusion, classical, heavy rock, and Persian” -Spiritual Prog, Oct 2010 [more]
- “You do hear the definite eastern sound mixed in with most of his songs.” -ProgNaut webzine, Lee Henderson, Oct 2010 [more]
- “We can appreciate the writing skills of Salim and his great imagination to create images and sounds to merge styles that are located in the middle of far apart East and West” [In Italian] -Arlequins webzine, Jessica Attene, Oct 2010 [more]
- “There are definitely some Middle-Eastern sounds…” -Music Street Journal, Issue 85, Gary Hill, Dec 2010 [more]
- “With his one-man band, the artist also detour into areas such as fusion / jazz-rock and oriental music.” [In German] -Babyblaue Prog, Siggy Zielinskim, Oct 2010 [more]
- “Asian-Iranian folklore patterns combined with Western rock music.” [In German] -Progressive Newsletter #70, Volkmar Mantei, Nov 2010 [more]

Published: January 29, 2011 | Comments: 0