Archive for Gil Scott-Heron

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.

Creative Freedom vs. Addiction

Posted in Creativity with tags , , , , , , , on September 15, 2011 by Gideon K

I’ve been wondering recently about the developments I’ve been making over the past year and beyond. I wondered if my urges to create were a realisation of my true self, or part of some sort of escapism, something I dive into to avoid facing reality?

Which side of the coin is it? Have I finally broken through the skin of life and found myself, my voice, my flow, or am I just eternally poisoned by some lingering pain that keeps me running, keeps me creating and moving out of a dark need, because standing still in these places simply hurts too bad?

Is this creativity a positive or a negative thing?

I think it’s just a REALITY thing.

“Dependence on the creator within is really freedom from all other dependencies. Paradoxically it is al the only route to real intimacy with other human beings.”Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

At some point you have to surrender to it. When the pain just becomes too immense, you can’t fight it. You have to accept it, befriend it, and embrace it. To run from it is crazy, because it’s always there wherever you go. You take it with you. To try and erase or kill it with drink, drugs, sex, is an empty and self-destructive game. The high never lasts long enough or covers it up for more than a second. You feel bad about everything still. And you taint those few petty highs with your downer rather than the other way round. You eventually have to reach a point of surrender because the way out is through.

Being creative and using your creative energy to deal with things does not exactly fix your problems, but it helps point to them more accurately than anyone else can – sometimes before you consciously know it.

You can make sense of issues, come to terms with them, purge them and thus move on because the focus has shifted. By going through it you convert it into something beautiful, no matter how dark or lost you were.

So really the answer to the above is both.

Beauty can come out of darkness but that is not as important as leading towards the light which you can always be doing. You don’t have to be in that darkness in first place in order to create like so many people seem to think you do.

So is art escapism?

No. It is more confrontational at its best than any other form of therapy. It is the assault course most directly and accurately targeted to our areas of weakness. Each piece of work is a rite of passage in itself.

The only escapism is in being freed from pain.

Is art running away or towards? Or is it just like Gil Scott-Heron says

“Running will be the way your life and mine will be described. As in, ‘the long run’. Or as in having given someone a ‘run for his money’”.

Finally art, work and creativity are just our way of tuning into the flow of life, using the current to travel where we want to go, to better places, rather than struggling against the tide or simply being swept downstream.

We need it like we need air, but that doesn’t make it an addiction. Rather it makes it a vital and often overlooked component of our spiritual diet. It is part of our list of basic human needs for a healthy and fulfilled living.

“The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.”Frida Kahlo

We’re all just practicing how to breathe properly.