Saturday, 26 April 2008

temples


Today I take a car trip to forestville
to rehearse our eva cassidy songs with Brigette
forestville is a pleasant tree-lined suburb of northern sydney
straddled between the north shore proper and the northern beaches
it contains it's own quirkily mormonesque charm
villagey, safe, & leafy
seemingly shielded from the waxyness of the northern beaches
and the imagined detritus of the inner suburbs
i had sum time to spear
so i took a turn-off at the roseville bridge
and did a sweet walk along the cove
much of it was pristine walkway shrouded in greenery and dazzling sunlight
the river was a bit murky though
and some of the smells were dank
that gave away the city factor
and the bridge high above itself was swarming with traffic
i then took to forestville proper
indulged in a gilty coffee
proprieted by a major international conglomerate
and stalked down starkey street
snapping a swag of photos
of flame trees glowing yellow and red
in the warm autumn sunshine
these trees
straight from the source
don't need to project much
...don't need to project anything at all actually
they are real
they are true
and they are utterly magnificent
vibrant and alive
they speak volumes of the integrity of the earth
our blessed planet Earth

last night i waza reading a national geographic
dating back to august 2007
the feature article was on the maya civilisation
proven archeological accounts were given
of some horror stories around the 9th century ad
(the time of the end of the mayan classic age)
with various theories thrown up
about why and how the maya civilisation collapsed
there's general agreement amongst scholars
that there is no one reason but a combined factor of a few reasons
compounding and compacting on each other
resource depletion, drought & food scarcity
war
familiar anyone.... ?
the fairy-floss
we ingest as the standard worldly heralds
are blotting their 4-paragraph column-8 bitties
bita rice shortage in americca
bita rationing that's all
pique oil
getting more of a mention
the dank unpleasant odour is emanating from the boiling pot
we call our civilisation or world
our "way of life"...
if mainstream media reports this stuff
as it is starting to in small whiffs
it means there is some serious shit happening behind the scenes
because mainstream media will go all out to prevent serious concern and inquiry
except to manufacture various hysterectomies
when that suits the criminal corporate class of demogogue
that has infiltrated the whyte house
and wallpaper street

there are stunning photographs within this national geographic
many fold-out photos of mayan temples
photographed at night and bathed in floodlights to avoid daytime shadows
these civilisations around what is now mexico and guatemala
could never have conceived of their way of life coming to an end
just as we find it difficult
to conceive of what could be next
on the sivilisation or progress ladder
their temples to this day stand magnificent
yet utterly solemnly and deathly empty
and emptied
as if to say yesterday does not exist and never has
only as a mere shell
or monument
that stuns in its glorious finality and silence

this morning i went to acquire some produce
of the fruit and veg variety
i strolled into a temple
our temple
a particularly monstrous temple
the largest temple of its kind in the southern hemisphere
a modern shopping complex
where people indulge and worship their gods
their love of consumerism
and projection of material longing
though for some
the temple caters for foodstuffs
bought in large frenzied 'super'-markets
booze, plonk, whateva u call it
all nicely and vividly labelled
still an opiate nonetheless
that along with mainstream entertainment
keeps us herded nicely
in the imagined safety of the masses
want
have
take
no (DIRECT) responsibility
no (DIRECT) consequences
or so we conveniently like-to-think.......

the metaphor
of modern shopping complexes
being seen as temples
i'm sure has been read and said
by writers and real-thought practitioners
many times over
primarily in relation to usa
but australia is in the same catagory
the mayan's long-count calendar
ends on 21 december 2012
on that date
the earth and sun
will be directly in line with the centre of the galaxy
(under the milky way tonight should be the official 'end-date' song...)
it may not be the abrupt end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it
but one prediction or two i can make
look...Beijing olympics 2008
commodity & food prices rising fast
economic strain grips the globe as all the money flying around the globe
isn't actually worth the led flashing its number symbol on the computer screen
an undercurrent of international (ie, westernised) worry will pervade
but we'll come through it
come 2012 olympics, London England
they will proceed under a cloud of great apprehension and distress amongst the world's populations
those underlying problems that were beginning to rear their lochness heads in 2007/8
have wrenched much much tighter
rendering economic anal-ysts
and media commentators
to concede that the market-slash-housing-slash-food-slash-commodity "downturn"
or shortfalls
were not just a mere "cycle"
this is the crunch baby
this is the beginning of the belt tightening, spinning
and flapping about outtacontrol
look at the planet
She is bellowing to us!!!
in Her loving way mindyou
that we have overcapacitated ourselves
and She will reflect that to us
in Her glorious symphony
as glaciers melt as methane loosens and sea levels rise and fiercer storms gather that frenzy and havoc us
...we'll get the idea then
by the London Olympics 2012
i'm pretty sure
that this will all become starkly apparent to us all
this is the endtime
that we are now rapidly approaching

sydney autumn leaves


forestville australia 26 april 2008

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Album review: My Hearts Dezire live @ Cheltenham Studio 2005

Pennie Lennon’s most recent mini-CD release is My Hearts Dezire’s Live 2005. This EP was recorded live at Cheltenham Studios and was released some 2 ½ years ago, and it’s taken me a couple of years of getting around to reviewing it! Not for any misgivings about the product mind you as I’ve always loved and greatly revered Pennie’s work.


My Hearts Dezire is the duo comprising Pennie Lennon (keyboards/lead vocals) and Bruno Koenig (lead guitars/backing & occasional lead vocals). On this EP, produced by Dave Burgess, the duo were complimented with Stephen Martin on bass and Dylan Huw Jones on drums. Bruno Koenig’s artwork is splendid and matches the mood of the music and the duo’s vibe. All songs were composed by Pennie with the exception of ‘Rocks in the Bathroom’ that was co-written with Bruno. This is as far as I’m aware this is Pennie’s fourth CD release comprising of three EPs and one full CD. First came ‘Healing Bones’ EP recorded at Karmic Hit Studios Rozelle in December 1995, then came her full-length CD ‘Journeys’ recorded at the same studio and produced by Steve Kilbey of the Church (with Kilbey performing on bass & the Church’s Tim Powles performing on drums for that record) followed up with the recording of ‘Live at Karmic Hit’ in 1997 that featured Bruno’s performance for the first time; in my opinion, a series of magnificent recordings.


This EP commences with a song that had been recorded in the past, ‘The Past has no power’ originally appearing on ‘Healing Bones’. This is a more fully realised recording of a song that proves to be one of Pennie’s most popular at live gigs. Bruno’s vibrant and inventive guitar pushes the track with an urgency and articulation that was lacking on the more laid-back original recording, all housed neatly into a very pleasing almost samba-like rhythm. This is brilliant songwriting with strong new-age sentiments and a memorably uplifting chorus; still it’s Pennie’s luminous piano track & solo (not altered from the original recording) that more than anything gives to this track its special radiance. ‘The Past has no power’ stands as a beacon of inspired songwriting and performance.


Monsters in my mind’ features a very satisfying and synergistic mix of Bruno’s vibrant and emphatic guitar work with Pennie’s chordal & lush piano phrasing, and behind that, the bass & drums fit in nicely to create an excellent sounding track. Pennie’s lyrical themes are often about change, raising consciousness, being free of fear and limitation, and this song is no exception, “…save me from the monsters in my mind, that’s what’s hurting mankind…”. Pennie is acutely aware of the notion of ‘one mind’ and this song is an elucidation of how individual minds create separation and hurt.


Rocks in the bathroom’ is a slower piece that commences with an instrumental passage where Bruno’s lead guitar riffs sing and sway alongside Pennie’s evocative and stirring piano – this is, you could say, a new age gospel of sorts, Pennie’s piano always sounds so Benedictive, like JSBach coloured with sage, purple tones. This song is something of a prayer, with Bruno interrupting Pennie’s lead vocal with recitative half-spoken sections that have the drums pull-back to feature Pennie’s piano and Bruno’s guitar. This is a beautifully yearning piece of music – a terrific song by Pennie & Bruno and it’s something of a new age prayer, “…that’s divine…” Pennie sings at the end of each phrase, and it is.


God knows’ follows a similar musical vein to the previous song athough the intensity on this piece is not quite as potent as on ‘Rocks…’. This song has an almost ever-so-slightly country vein, particularly as the verses lead into a chorus taken over by Bruno’s weeping lead guitar over music that almost touches a Neil Young vibe. This song possesses its own elegant charm with a mellowness and grace that suits the storyline and musical fabric; a song with a warm and amber glow. A constant of this album is the synergy between Pennie and Bruno, they work so well together with Bruno’s expressive lead playing off from Pennie’s lead vocals which pretty much makes up the unique My Hearts Dezire sound!


The album’s final piece ‘You’ve got to find yourself’ is again a somewhat meditative piece in a minor key with an underlying sense of drama brought forth by the low bass and drums. Musically it’s reminiscent of some of Pennie’s earlier work with its heightened and evocative melodies and lyrical concepts, “…reach yourself…free yourself…”. Pennie’s piano takes the fore on this piece with Bruno providing the perfect counterpoint to Pennie’s melodies and piano motifs. This song is indicative of what Pennie does best, paint and evoke heightened colours and moods with her piano, lyrics and melodies; there is almost a purple hue wafting from this music, it’s very exalted in its own way, and quite ultra-dimensional. Yet her songs are fundamentally very grounded in structure and possess an almost baroque-like exactness. Very few songwriters possess these traits, or gifts.


On the whole Live 2005 is a very fine EP and showcases the synergy and sound of My Hearts Dezire, namely, Pennie & Bruno’s dual musicianship. The songs are deep, real, and very intricate musically and emotionally so that it’s not as easy an album to ingest as its predecessors although on the surface it is a very immediate and enjoyable listen….it’s almost as if these songs are pushing something within the listener to a higher state of awareness, or consciousness. Nevertheless it represents an excellent platform for My Hearts Dezire as a musical venture for both Pennie Lennon & Bruno Koenig. From a songwriting perspective, it reveals Pennie to be in a place of sanctity and calm acceptance, and that amber halo seems to project itself nicely through this wonderful music.


For details and further information on Pennie’s music and CD purchases, go to
http://www.myheartsdezire.com.au/. This is what they say about themselves in the ‘about us’ page:
“My Hearts Dezire are an Original music duo plus, who play a Contemporary jazzy electric folk rock home brew with a twinge of blues and a twang of country and who are proficient musicians, singer songwriters. They are no puppies, except in mind, who have fallen through the cracks of time and different art forms to be here today and play heart and all.”



Friday, 11 April 2008

cw80



this is my cw80
i'm very drawn to this photo
it has an artfilm-like appeal to me
a way of life
like woody allen's manhattan movie
of 1979
refracted through soft lens
i am in this frame of mood right now
fading amber glow of a friday night
a couple or 3 glasses of italian vino
'abruzzo' 'illuminati' are the keywords
mirrored to me from the label
hmm
jus' posted a silly comment on killa's blog
well it's not that silly
it's just me being whimsical sensual and earthy all at once
in essence
that's who
i am

Sunday, 6 April 2008

SS suMMit (or, S-cubed)

So here in Sydney this weekend under glorious autumn skies we hosted the S3, or, as is widely known around the local omniverse, the ‘Sydney Song Summit’, staged at the Hordern Pavillion surrounded by the leafy Moore Park environs.

Now I got mates running a stall there, good mates, good people, one of them is a guy I play with though I chose to stay away from this event. No doubt there is much good information available for songwriters and aspirants of all shapes and sizes, so fair game.

I love songs, and I hate them! I mean songs are my life goddamn it, but to me songs fall into 2 categories, the inspired ones by inspired artists, and the rubbish that gets peddled about by “professional writers” and songwriting “teachers” and the like.

I mean, I receive a monthly newsletter created by my aforementioned friend who I perform with occasionally that is full of good information and anecdotes. My abhorrent objection comes when names get bandied about proclaiming a new Messiah has arrived, always in the form of an esteemed songwriting teacher….eek! P.P. is here!!, and here come the workshops, ‘Tools & Strategies”…(hello…tools and strategies?? …we’re not building environmentally-protected survival huts here…)

All respect to good people and decent citizenship – because that’s the most important thing really isn’t it - but to give undue esteem and credence to people who teach songwriting to me is utter anathema. I suppose for me, growing up in a spartan environment, I had to learn and discover for myself that which I loved. I developed my ear on my own, nutting out songs on the guitar or piano without the use of charts etc, and yes I suppose I’ve related to the more ‘enfant terrible’ bunch of writers, ie John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Paul Weller, Steve Kilbey, Don Walker – these people are all self-taught as writers and do it their way with a touch of that 'f.u.' swagger in their music. I believe in being inspired to write, and you learn how to do it by the love and inspiration you have for songs and music. Without that inspiration and if you need someone to teach you friggin’ “tools and stategies” then why fucking bother??

I’m sure that if a songwriting teacher got hold of Bob Dylan’s ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ they would turn it precisely into the Byrds version. And alarmingly there are many people who believe that the Byrds version of ‘ ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ is the superior version of the song. The original does not have the pretty chiming Rickenbackers nor the sweet and syrupy vocals & harmonies of McGuinn & Co’s rudely abridged version; the original instead is sung with a searing in-the-moment conviction with its kaleidoscope of dazzling lyrical visions & poetry, almost like it envisions the dawn of a new era, the Age of Aquarius or the like.

No-one tells me how to write my songs, and why would they need to?? It’s my total vision, lyrically and musically, and that total vision and inspiration is what drives me to create the finished product. So if you like it, great, if you don’t, doesn’t matter, we all know where we stand because I’m offering the listener one-hundred percent-ness.

Sure, of course there is a place for songwriting tuition…it doesn’t cross my universe and it’s fine that way. What I object to is giving these people who teach songwriting undue kudos & authority – I personally think these teachers who sit around like caesers critiquing and picking through other people’s songs and do so for a living are, as far as being true musicians and creators are concerned, fucked and they know bollocks. They’d surely be telling Bob Dylan to cut verses to his songs on ‘Highway 61’ and ‘Blonde and Blonde’. And all those songs that have been “workshopped” and papered-over and co-written by numerous entities always end up sounding like the equivalent of what dishwashing water tastes.

People, if you’re gonna write songs, get off on the music that you love and moves you and just do it. If you need help from a book or lesson then so be it – but leave it behind as soon as you’ve integrated the new knowledge & skill and then return to your real songwriting tutor – ie, your inspiration & musicality, and as a help, the music, songwriters & songs you love and have brought you to this point, in short, your wonderful, beautiful Life. And my advice is, put your wonderful, beautiful Life first (the eternal being inside your body), then your love of music second, then, after all that, writing songs if you are moved to, or need to.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

End of a Civilisationist

Here are the lyrics to a song I've recently recorded and posted on myspace (www.myspace.com/rossmusician)... the song won't go on any album and musically is like early-Church in the verses, and bares more than a passing similarity to Don Walker's (Cold Chisel) 'Conversations' from their 'Breakfast at Sweethearts' album of 1979. The song is about peace and love, but it may not appear that way at first glance....go to myspace to listen!

Regards, Ross


End of a Civilisationist
Copyright Ross B 2008

I’m not one to cry about some building crashing down
or the stars and stripes that shoulder their capital foundations
I love it when I lose my money
better to blow it now before the inevitable post-wake looting!

I’m just an end of a Civilisationist
an end of a Civilisationist
I’m just an an end of a Civilisationist
blow it now, tomorrow we’ll be gone
(tomorrow we’ll be gone)

I drive some trendy car, I couldn’t give a shit
realms and realms of A4 paper premium dust-binned
I got almost everything I think I need
enough to grimace at the losers left sleeping in rags on the streets, because they’re…

…end of a civilisationists
they’re end of a civilisationists
they’re at the end of this Civilisationist!
blow ‘em now tomorrow they’ll be gone

I see a light burning through the night....

I’m not one to make a fuss if things don’t go my way
so don’t expect my sympathy when you tell me of your pain
there’s only one state that I care to be
and that’s to be as free as the sunshine
as free as the birds and the trees
cause I’m an end of a Civilisationist…..

Copyright Ross B 2008

Recording engineered, mastered & drum programmed by Stewart Havill at Sound Dog Recording Studios, Lane Cove, Sydney.
All other instruments, voice, production & mixing by Ross.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

my Space Intro

Here is what I've just posted on my myspace page, (www.myspace.com/rossmusician):

  • Greetings All!
    I have entered the world of blogging, and I'm not sure where it'll take me. ...I suspect nowhere much but it may improve my writing skills, and evolve 'n' revolve me in some subtle kind o' way.
    My blog address is rossmusician.blogspot.com, I anticipate this to be my main blog site, but they may change as time goes on...
    Best wishes to all, love, Ross from the Sydney beast.

Wishing Well, R.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Introduction

Welcome to my first blog dear woman, or man, and your little doggie...

I'd only discovered recently what the word "blog" actually is - after falling into Steve Kilbey's blog universe I got the gist...you hear these newfound techno-words bandied about for years until you discover what they actually are (well, it takes me that long!), "podcast" is another of those 'key'words...

But, my intention is to be more primal and bring up topics that are of interest to me generally, I may not know much about them, but I have a feeling for them - and I want to connect to people spritually and integrally.

Pretty soon we are going to enter the "us vs them" era of our westernised life, and they (Kilbey calls them "straights") are going to win, until the final curtain does away with it all. Let's bandie together and be real, true beings of Light.

But more importantly, ...I suppose I just wanna practise and get an idea of what this blog is all about!!

Paul Hewson shooting star

i'm in the sunshine A mate of mine produces a monthly songwriter newsletter which goes out to a hundred or so mainly Sydney-based...