Tuesday, February 6, 2018

A brood of orphans

I sometimes lament the fact that I have been recording and releasing music for no one much more than myself for some 23 years at the time of writing this. I like what I do or wouldn't keep doing it. Having said that, I am often surprised that more people do not respond to it. I have weird taste and I tend to trust my instincts so maybe the fact that it can be hard to classify what it is I am doing is part and parcel as to why I have not built a substantial following. Add to it that I rarely perform live, am not one given to self promotion, and one can begin to understand why I am not a raging success as a musician.

Then there are those dear unfortunate few that are immensely talented, get signed to big labels, and even tour the world, and still cannot connect with the public at large enough to eek out even a modest living from their art. Like Shelleyan Orphan, for instance. I was introduced to them by the video for "Burst" when I saw it during an episode of 120 Minutes on MTV in the early 90's. Not long after I found a promo cassette of 'Humroot' somewhere. I didn't know what to make of it at first, but it grew on me. Eventually, I would come to know their whole catalog intimately, as well as some of the story that accompanies it.

It's not an especially pretty one either: two young people with very specific tastes and ideas set out to do something true to themselves. They find some advocates on the way(enter Geoff Travis of Rough Trade), as well as some adversaries(namely the British music press), even embark upon a world tour as an opener for the Cure for which they were selected by Robert Smith himself, but still weren't able to find a larger audience. They disband and reform some years later to release a strong comeback album. They do not release another studio record before Caroline Crawley dies from breast cancer.

As a maker of dejected music I feel like it partly my duty to collect and honor other dejected musics so if you've read thus far, good on you. Might as well read this interview with Jem Tayle and watch a couple of youtube videos while you're here. Thanks for visiting.

The song/video that introduced me to them:

One of my favorite tunes from them:

The performance in 1987 on The Tube that caught the eye of Robert Smith:

 And one more just to represent their second record:

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Echo Dome in C

Filmmakers Aaron O'Laughlin and Zane Hall shot this video of me improvising on electronics, guitar, and melodica in a disused phosphate silo. Aaron wove it all together quite nicely in the editing process. The acoustics of the space are such that it is an electrifying spatial, spectral experience. Imagine not just hearing a delayed signal or reverberation, but being inside of it. I hope to find time to go back and record a record of drones with battery powered equipment in the not too distant future.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The best band that never was

I played in a version of this band along with Steve and Josh from Brittle Stars and Jeremy and Juliette from Plastic Mastery for a while. The record was never finished before the band started shedding members as far as I know. I seem to remember that maybe the record was done, but not mixed for whatever reason. I had left the band the year prior with the arrival of my first child. The French Horns were the best band that never was.

You can hear the recordings here

Monday, November 20, 2017

Your face turns away

I wrote a song some years ago that borrows from this. I hope to record that song sometime soon along with a few others for an ep.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Heartbreak Always

It has occurred to me more than once that hurting is just what we're here to do. As in, all of us. You reading this, me having pecked it out on a keyboard at my desk while at work when I should be being productive, but instead am preoccupied with thoughts of death as life callously passes me by.

A nephew on my wife's side of the family was killed in a terrible car crash this past weekend. He leaves behind a three year old daughter, a child a year younger than my own youngest. I can not help but feel like I am on borrowed time; not that my life will be cut short, but merely that I am often too feeble minded to accept and appreciate the present  moment in all of its glory. I am working on it, though.

Each loving glance between my wife and I, each caress of my childrens' hair, each moment of laughter, every philosophical conversation with my oldest, every bite of food, every wave that crashes on the shore, every breeze that cools....I am trying to drink it in and savor it to its fullest. And most importantly, let those I love and appreciate know how deeply I love them.

A film maker I admire, Jon Jost, has a daughter he has been estranged from due to, as I understand it, an acrimonious split between he and the child's mother. As he was not able to see her he set up blogs to write to her about his adventures and share his musings. I sometimes feel like I bother with this blog for similar reasons: maybe one day when or if my own offspring are curious enough to find these posts perhaps it will give them some insight into who I was at the time.

Being a father is one of the hardest jobs I've ever had, but it is always an honor. I take my role as a father very seriously. I have tried and continue to try to be a solid, reliable, loving, and open father to my daughters. I have read through many of Jon's pages for Clara in the past and felt the pain he must carry being denied access to his child. I am grateful for the opportunity to spend my days among the humans I have created.

If you are in need of perspective, please visit https://paginasparaclarinha.wordpress.com/
I would urge you to read the 'About' section if you are so inclined for context. It is heartbreaking.
As always,