Spring Morning Rain
The beat of the
windshield wipers begins
and holds steady
as the dark clouds
of the worlds concert hall
to the rhythm of the rain.
provide the light show
the whoosh and hum,
a tire chorus
on wet pavement.
Spring’s early morning
My ears tingle from
the klatter and klang
Sturm und Drang…..
orchestra of rust
A concert hall of corrugated steel
over block walls
under a steel frame roof
blown by the wind
in a symphony of sound,
a joyful noise unto the Lord
The abandoned temple of industry
a holy shroud
baptized by peeling paint
once wet… shiny… new…
now cracked and broken
hardened by life
decay from neglect
a slow discard of memories
….. soon forgotten…..
Now the doors are thrown open
“Welcoming All Worshipers!”
a gathering of misfits, undesirables and homeless,
insects, rodents and birds…
the garden within.
The heart finds redemption
in this arcane recital,
hallowed and profane
within the unsuspecting shell
… of shadows and shades.
This is the first in what I hope will be a new series of short posts about albums that I feel are unmatched within an artists catalog/repertoire. Albums that stand out from the dross and drivel of the popular environment in which they first saw the light of day. Albums that stand apart from the mainstream of their respective musical genre’s.
For this first post I will focus on an album that has never grown tiresome over repeated listens – GOLDFRAPP’s FELT MOUNTAIN. This first full length album by Alison Goldfrapp [and band] whips up dreamy confections that are so rich and fluid the listener can wander thru spaced-out sci-fi fantasy and into steamy jacuzzi-like relaxing melodies without even trying. The music will take you there. One of things that makes this stand out from all her other work is that there seems to be some tension between the musical settings of techno/electronica and jazzy art-song stylings with some experimental flourishes. Unlike Goldfrapp’s later albums the techno beats are more in the background and provide an energetic backdrop that keeps the proceedings moving like liquid flowing down hill. There are also fantastical sounds that would not seem out-of-place on an Esquivel album and Alison’s vocals, with her airy delicate delivery of lyric sweetness, are some-what reminiscent of Astrud Gilberto (of “Girl From Ipanema” fame) or a wispy Shirley Bassey.
Taken in context – there is not a bad track on the FELT MOUNTAIN album and the whole album deserves to be listened to in a single sitting. So take the time, grab your favorite relaxing beverage, sit down, relax and let it take you away.
Enjoy these two singles:
Are you comfortable with silence?
Do you enjoy silence in the presence of others?
(repeat) Are you comfortable with silence?
Do you enjoy silence in the presence of others?
Where is the silence in sound?
Do you fill your space with “noise” that speaks of silence?
Do you enjoy actual silence?
While complete silence does not exist (unless it is manufactured – i.e. a soundproof room) Why do we feel the need to fill the void and space with more sound? There is a lot of music and songs that speak of silence. Sound is always trying to tell us what silence is. ONLY silence can tell us what it really IS. Experience the silence! The ears and eyes deceive us. Let your heart feel the nuances and subtlety of silence. Know peace.
- Step 1: Turn off the television
- Step 2: Turn off the radio/stereo
- Step 3: Turn off your phone/mobile device
- Step 4: Turn off your computer
- Step 5: Stop talking
- Step 6: Listen (some beginners may want to close their eyes – but not necessary – as you get comfortable with the silence you will find that having your eyes open can enhance the experience)
- Step 7: Observe (listen)
- Step 8: Practice slow regular breathing – in and out, in and out
- Step 9: Observe the symphony of “other” sound and how it makes you feel. Start to enjoy and feel comfortable with it.
- Step 10: Repeat.
Note: Do not try to control others during this exercise (i.e. telling them to be quiet etc). It is only necessary to control yourself.
After you do this in a state of stillness – next try to physically move through your day in complete silence (it may be in how your walk, how you respond/communicate with others). It may be at work or a walk in the park or through town. How does your peace, your quiet, affect your relationship with, and to, other sentient beings?
“Silence is a friend who never disappoints.” ~ Confucius
“I have begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own. ~ Chaim Potok
“Never miss a good chance to shutup” ~ Will Rogers
“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” ~ Ansel Adams
“He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.” ~ Elbert Hubbard
“Silence is a source of great strength.” Lao Tzu
“Silence is only frightening to people who are compulsively verbalizing.” ~ William S. Burroughs
May all of you enjoy a quiet and peaceful weekend. Peace.
I’ve been a fan of so-called ambient music ever since Brian Eno coined the term in 1976. And while ambient music has come to mean a multitude of things of the past few decades it is generally associated as a sort of quiet minimalism. In 1987 Editions E.G. Records released a compilation of their artists who were associated with the growing instrumental electronic music movement, many of which were associated with ambient music. This electronic music compilation included Brian Eno, Roger Eno(his brother), Harold Budd, Michael Brook, Bill Bruford, Patrick Moraz, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, John Hassell, Robert Fripp, Laraaji, Phil Manzanera and, last but not least, The Penguin Cafe Orchestra. This compilation was titled ANGELS IN THE ARCHITECTURE and had extensive liner notes explaining and detailing what ambient music involved. This was my first exposure to the Penguin Cafe Orchestra (which used electronic and also folk instrumentation). I went on to collect all their albums based on the 2 tracks that were included on this compilation.
The song I want to focus on which I’ve revisited again is from the Penguin Cafe Orchestra’s debut album, MUSIC FROM THE PENGUIN CAFE. It is titled (and perhaps would be a model for the lengthy titles of later post-rock masters…) The Sound Of Someone You Love Who’s Going Away And It Doesn’t Matter. Yes, that really is the title. This song has so many nuances and it expresses what Penguin Cafe Orchestra does best in this period; taking a melody and deconstructing it then reconstructing it again – a sort of compositional breathing.
This song starts out with a beautiful melody that totally draws the listener in and wraps the listener in a warm blanket of comfort and serenity. Then it slowly deconstructs and before-you-know-it the sound has become more like a wailing child. After that harsh realization has set-in the melody returns like a lullaby to comfort the “child” and soothe the emotions. Then for a second time it starts to deconstruct and it’s not as extreme but the awareness and expectation is greater as the distance grows. Because we know the suffering that can come, based on the first go-round. But, once again the melody returns. This third time the melody does not seem to return fully but just sort of lingers on, hints of deconstruction then fades away as if it just doesn’t matter any more. Life, relationship, loss and the life that remains. It’s what makes this music so “true”.
I hope you enjoy this wonderful music.
For more info:
And for the new Penguin Cafe – a project by Arthur Jeffes where he is continuing the work started by his father Simon Jeffes with the Penguin Cafe Orchestra.
The featured image on this post is from a photographic series of mine titled Celluloid Impressions and features abstracted images created by photographing the moving image in cinema. This featured image is number 10 in the series.
…and now the continuing list of…TRUISMS FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM.
Common sense is now uncommon.
Theft is merely another form of financial management
and economic opportunity.
Weakness is celebrated more than strength
Conscience is optional
In a world of competing priorities
Everything is URGENT!
You must TAKE rest,
Rest will not be given to you
Emancipate the silence!
More sight, less thought
Nature WILL BE the last terrorist
[and nature ALWAYS wins!]
and re-stated yet again;
need not be
Options are valued
more than wise choices
This is from an ongoing list of trends in behavior and values observed in the new millennium.
The first part of this list was posted on this blog March 5,2015 and like the previous list…
…to be continued….