Writers, Unblocked 

The Immersion Composition Society helps musicians overcome creative hurdles.

Page 6 of 6

Throughout his eight years in the society, Mellender has been more protective of his output than most. None of it has been released publicly, and nearly without exception it has only been heard within the Origin Lodge. Even his girlfriend has been kept in the dark. But all that changed last month when, at the prodding of a fellow ICS member who recently released an entire album of polished ICS material under the name Ultralash, he decided to produce a compilation of some of his favorite work. "To make an album of those eight years was just cleansing," he said. Now that the floodgates are open, he can't imagine them closing again, and anticipates releasing more collections in the future. Old material is abundant, almost overwhelmingly so, and more is certainly on the way.

One Friday night in late June, a party at Dobson and Mellender's house in West Oakland embodied the ICS spirit like no other. A group of about twelve ICS friends came together to celebrate Michael's birthday and to help him create a series of fifty unique, handmade sleeves for his forthcoming ICS record. Cutting and pasting snippets of text from old art history books and adding colorful swaths of paint and patches of glitter, they decorated the sleeves the ICS way: completely off the cuff, with an understanding that anything goes.

Such unrestrained productivity points back to the society's unofficial credo, something Nicholas figured out eight years ago when his frustrations compelled him to try a new approach: "When you force yourself to do a thing, and you do that thing, you have then done the thing you forced yourself to do." It's really as simple as that.

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