Archive for January, 2012

Albums That Have Eased My pain and Cooled My Soul in 2011.

Posted in Inspiration, Me Oh My with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2012 by Gideon K

For anyone interested, I thought I’d make some musical recommendations for some music that has soundtracked the various ups, downs, ins and outs of the past 12 months or so. This is some of the music that has been playing non-stop for me and sustained me for long periods.

I was going to just post a list, since I thought it might be indulgent and vain to write about each of them. Then I thought it would just be lazy to make a list and leave it there without giving some brief reason for why I recommend checking this stuff out.

Also, I have linked clips at the end of each one, just click on em if any of them spark your curiosity.

These are not exclusively albums that have come out this year. I’m not a rock critic.

So in no particular order…

Twilight Singers Dynamite steps

Greg Dulli always comes up with something dark, neon-lit and hungry for me to dig in to. This has been a patch of narrow sunlight for me through dark clouds.

Listen: On The Corner

Yusufina – Anything and everything by my dear friend Yusufina.

When I first heard the music of this beast, I was bugging out, hair on end, huge grin on my face. It still works.

Listen:  La Generale!

Grinderman Grinderman & Grinderman 2

Obviously I’m a huge Nick Cave fan, but these, especially no.2 seem like a whole new colour in the Cave palette. More uninhibited in some ways. Family fun.

Listen: Heathen Child

Robi RosaMad Love

A beautiful girl turned me onto this album a couple of years ago. It has some fluid grooviness in it that I’ve needed this year.

Listen: California

Julee CruiseFloating Into The Night

A world of lush, velvety, sonic beauty to lose yourself in. Absolutely gorgeous.

Listen:  Falling

Nick DrakePink Moon

David Ezra got me listening to Nick Drake because the stark simplicity of this and the first album came up as references for how we were going to approach recording. I much prefer the directness of this to the orchestration on Bryter Later. The piano on the title track is perfect.

Listen: Pink Moon

Big Sexy NoiseBig Sexy Noise

HEAVY. The album I point people towards whenever they start talking about the Metallica/Lou Reed collaboration. This is MUCH better.

Listen: Gospel Singer

John GrantQueen of Denmark

I’m a sucker for darkness, sadness, romance, death and hope in songs. And minor keys. And songs about ice cream.

Listen: Queen of Denmark

Gil Scott-HeronI’m New Here

Even though at least half the songs are covers (albeit great ones), his own voice comes through. All you hear is one man talking to you about how life has been for him. Magic.

Listen: I’m New Here

BeckSea Change

Thanks again to David for this one. I’d overlooked it when it came out. The production is sublime.

Listen: Golden Age

NymphsA Practical Guide To Astral Projection

My continuing obsession with Inger Lorre has led me to this. Also this year I found an original copy of the Nymphs on vinyl.

Listen: Alright

Elliot SmithEither/Or + From a Basement on a Hill

Another guy I finally got round to checking out in depth this year. Everything that is good about modern singer songwriters – unique voice and worldview, individual style, quiet rebellion.

Listen: Ballad of Big Nothing

Sun Kil MoonAdmiral Fell Promises

Mark Kozelek has a unique sway with me. No other music can make me still, open and calm, if sometimes a little too sad. This album has given me alone time, no matter where I am. For that I thank it, and him.

Listen: Ålesund

Neil YoungTime Fades Away

I’m a huge fan of Neil’s ‘Ditch Trilogy’ albums, so it was time I got hold of this one via download. A snapshot of a man trailing defiantly off onto his own path.

Listen: Last Dance

Son House – Anything and Everything by Son House

This man is like a tree of music. He’s a whole place to visit, come back nourished, changed and experienced from.

Listen: Grinnin’ In Your Face

Miles DavisBitches Brew

Sonic freedom and relentless rhythm. There is nothing else out there quite like this to my knowledge.

Listen: Miles Runs the Voodoo Down

The CribsIgnore The Ignorant

This album is fucking brilliant from start to finish. There isn’t a single track I skip over when listening to it, and I’ve played it endlessly for the past 3-4 months. Sad, angry, defiant and rainy. A picture of England.

Listen: Cheat On Me

Kurt VileSmoke Ring For My Halo

I’d read about him, but I think it was a combination of the album cover and the title that made me give him a shot. Baby’s Arms won me right over, dragged me into the womb.

Listen: Baby’s Arms

MorphineThe Night

This one came in pretty handy too. I’ve had it for a while, but there was a few places this year where I kept reaching for it. Especially in certain situations… 🙂

Listen: The Night

I could go on… and talk about the Rival Schools album, or Love Songs For Patriots by American Music Club, but I have to stop somewhere.

I love music.

The Sacred Space

Posted in Creativity, Gigs, Playing Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2012 by Gideon K

I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of TED talks and think it’s a wonderful online resource that makes me hopeful about humanity and mankind. I recently watched a clip that my friend posted up, about how in Jazz there are no mistakes – nothing is ever a mistake, only a failure to respond to the input and failure to accept the gift of that moment.

It was a wonderful clip.

 

https://www.ted.com/talks/stefon_harris_there_are_no_mistakes_on_the_bandstand?language=en

But aside from me relating to it from a musical perspective in terms of live performance, being in bands, or just playing in general, it set my mind wandering and thinking of live performance.

It’s not just about the band playing either.

Currently, I am not performing live in a band, but playing solo shows – just me and an acoustic guitar. However, I never feel like it’s just me and my guitar, because I don’t see it that way.

To think that playing live is about just getting enough practice in beforehand, and then playing your songs one after another until the time is up, is for lack of a better term ‘a mistake’. There is a whole range of opportunity being wasted, gifts being sent back. It is important to accept, and to take everything.

In some ways you can be more open to it as a solo performer, and might be able to hear it clearer and more directly. The audience is part of the show, the room is part of the show, the lighting, the noise in the room or outside, the time of day, season, EVERYTHING.

I’m always throwing bait out to try and get a reaction from a crowd, not so much because I’m attention seeking (that’s a given when you’re up onstage with a guitar!), but so I can get some kind of reading of what the level of mood is etc and play to/with them accordingly.

I’m always looking out for some rough edge, some unexpected stimulus that I can use in the show right then and there. I don’t want to miss something good that I can turn into something else.

For example, I was playing one venue and noticed the sound man was wearing a Bad Brains T-shirt. I got the idea in my head to play one of their songs, then and there on acoustic guitar. You could call this a stupid idea, whimsical, novelty, or inspiration. All might be true. But to me, it was a clue even, or just something I could smell on the trail to the unknown.

If I get up there and sing my songs from beginning to end, I know exactly what is going to happen. But I want adventure, and I want something fun, crazy or weird to happen and I don’t mind falling flat on my face to do this.

How I think this ties in with the notion of their being no mistakes, is that sometimes it is possible to use whatever happens in any moment as something useful and beautiful. I had a great time recently where in the middle of one of my songs I completely forgot the words. I stopped the song, held the silence in the air for a while, retried it, still couldn’t remember the lyrics, held my arm up in the air for silence, told everyone it would be worth the wait, then carried on with the song exactly at the point I’d left it once I remembered the lyrics.

I’ve had shows where this has worked, because I’ve kept the tension up in the room, and used the occasion. Equally, I played a show not that long ago, where an attempt was made and I still couldn’t remember the words (I must be getting old, hehe) and I failed to accept the moment I was in, by reacting to it appropriately.

All I aim for each night I gig is that I learn something from the experience, even if nobody else does.

The best way for me to do this I’ve found is to always be looking for how I can use my surroundings as part of my array of props in the show.

I’m not advocating going out of your way to forget lyrics or to mess up. I’m just saying that whenever I’ve found myself in an unplanned situation live, accepting and using it has always brought about the best, most enjoyable and most memorable results

Like a good friend of mine says – everything is a weapon.

Happy New Year

Posted in Me Oh My with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2012 by Gideon K

 

It’s about time I got round to writing this and getting back on track with this blog.

 

First off, hello to any and all of you who read this blog, and if you’ve just joined us, welcome.

 

I’d like to wish a special set of greetings for everyone who over the past year has come to my gigs, listened to my tracks, read my posts, watched my videos, ‘liked’ my facebook pages, followed my tweets, shared my content, commented on any of it, given me feedback and generally inspired me to do further work.

In an age where we are inundated with information and we all have to quickly, immediately and almost right off the bat make decisions about what we will or won’t give our time to, it is hugely humbling and hugely appreciated that you have designated any of my creative endeavours and offerings as worthy of your time.

 

Overall, as far as blogging goes I think this year has been pretty good. I know I certainly haven’t pushed this blog as far as it could go in terms of readership, or turning my posts into conversations and interactions with all you people out there, but a good start has been made.

 

I pretty much kept up my end of the bargain. I put up 49 new posts, which since I started the blog in February, works out as just above one a week for the duration of the year. I have also drunk a hell of a lot of tea this year.

 

For a while I was having visions of all the ghosts of teabags from the last year coming back to haunt me and ask me if I’ve made their sacrifice worthwhile.

 

I hope I’ve used their fuel to further my trajectory towards the heart of the unknown blogosphere…

 

 

Here are the top 5 posts that got the most views this year:
1 ‘Art is Work’
2 Top Ten Alternative Queens
3 The Sound of Modern Music
4 Do You Remember the First Time?
5 Why Don’t You Smoke?

 

My most commented on post was Certainty vs Uncertainty.

 

My 5 most active commenters were:

1 opheliacomplex

2 Anna

3 John Clay

4 Miller

5 JB Newman

 

 

Thank you all for your time, wit and wisdom, and to everyone else who commented.

 

 

My ambition was really just to keep the thing up for a year and see what happened. I don’t really know how this year is going to go. All I do know is that it can’t be the same or stay the same, because I seem to be incapable of doing that.

 

I will continue writing this blog and experimenting with different formats for writing posts and sharing ideas thoughts etc. I have a lot of ideas for new things including some fairly wacky ideas about how to expose and embarrass myself online, but I think being uncomfortable is relatively healthy.

 

I’d like to take this opportunity to inform those of you who don’t already know, where all my online content can be found…

 

Primarily, all my online content can be accessed via two main hubs: www.gideonk.com and www.blackhay.com. Each has their own links to separate soundcloud, youtube, facebook, twitter and myspace pages.

 

http://soundcloud.com/black-hay is where all my serious heavy music is at, my sweat and blood masterpieces and what-have-you. It is also where most of my gig listings will be found this year.

 

http://soundcloud.com/gideon-k contains all the other stuff that doesn’t fall under my main project banner – my strange and wacky cover versions, soundtracks, my session showreel and that sort of thing. I might occasionally post some RAAAAAW demos on there for sneakpeaks of upcoming songs and changes.

 

 

 

Thanks for checking in. I hope you’ll stick around. I would love to hear what you people have to say about anything and everything.

 

And finally…

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR PEOPLE!!!!

 

(better late than never, eh?)

 

 

Peace, love and used teabags

 

Gideon