Sunday, 31 August 2008

All Of Me

Hardly new, but i've finally gotten around to mixing a version of All Of Me. It was recorded live at Alchemea by Thom Dinas, with some vocal, bass, acoustic, pianet overdubs in my penthouse suite. It's not perfect by any means...which is why it's taken me so bloody long to put it up. Should i, shouldn't i? Of course, why the hell not, as Peter, my drummer, is leaving the country for good at the end of September. Better to have a record of a period of time than a big blank space commemorating nothing. So there it is, do tell me what you like and don't like...preferably the latter. You can hear it hear:

I suppose i should take this opportunity to state yet again that i am looking for a drummer, and a saxophonist. If anyone knows any suitable candidates, i would be very grateful if you'd direct them my way.

And one other thing...i have been mixing Tall Stories latest recordings they've done in Saul's shed. Listen to Clever Monkey here:

Saturday, 9 August 2008

The Spice of Life

We trekked out of the wilderness with great speed towards our machine that would propel us South. Down through the valley, away from the mountains, passing streams that stain rocks rusty red, birch forests, the odd reindeer and a few professional Swedes.

It was my second time up in Lapland, with a year between seeing the same countryside. When I saw it first, last year, the flora and fauna and the untouched splendour of the arctic circle had a profound effect on me. This time however, it was less so. I was trying to muster as much internal enthusiasm for the same scenery, the wild blueberries everywhere, the lichen on rocks that looked like the map of some strange alien world, the continual sound of water falls and all that they represent. I noticed I took it all for granted, not completely of course, but significantly so.

It's horrifying to witness in myself the easy slip into indifference. I who is so often pushing for the appreciation of these small earthly beauties. How fickle the human mind is, even when we're aware of it, it makes no difference.

I wonder about D. H. Lawrence's love of nature, how he rambles on and on about the minute details of English country life. Did he really feel like that or was he also battling with a secret apathy? How on earth the Morel family, having grown their whole lives surrounded by the same countryside with very little external influence, can still find Daffodils at the bottom of their garden, truly captivating, year in year out.

It could be that we're products of different eras of the industrial revolution, Lawrence in post-dawn, and we in late gloam. Simpler and clearer minds, forged to appreciate the small inconsequentials. Whereas, we, ruined by choice, have no apparatus to deal with such subtleties. Like children shovelling sugar into their mouths because they like sweet things but not spices.

Snowy Scythe

On year later, after our first try, with the same lads, and the same borrowed long johns, I finally scaled Kebnekaise. The tallest mountain in Sweden and at the top one is able to see 9% of the country spread out below. Certainly not very impressive on paper in comparison with other mountains around the world, but for 4 city dwellers, it was a gruelling task to say the least.

Climbing over rocks, into ice snow, first up to a high peak, then down the other side into a high valley. At that point we have coffee and contemplate the next climb, "Just over that ridge", a statement which never fails to disappoint. We should know by now that things are rarely as close as we think they are. Taking the final ascent, sharing the load of our one bag every now and then, it goes on and on and on.

We all imagined a flat rock surface at the summit, but as we came over the final steep incline, the top surpassed all our wildest expectations. It rose into the sky as a curve, to a sharp point, like a scythe made of snow cutting through the frosty zenith.

At the top, the four of us hugged and congratulated each other. The view was immense and overbearing. Mountains stretching out seemingly exponentially on one side, probably all the way to the north and Norway. In the opposite direction was the valley from whence we came, which twisted along all the way to Nikoulokta and Kiruna, over 70km away, and even more beyond. They say one can see 40, 000 square kilometres from the top, staggering. It was the highest altitude I had ever reached using just food to power me.

Can you believe even up there people were on their damned mobile phones! The government network Telia seems to infect every crevice of the country. Such magnificent beauty contained in that vista, you would think is enough to satisfy, and yet people feel the need to share that experience with an absent party. Why can't individual experiences such as these be left sacred? Instead have them butchered by a dominant and ugly culture of mass communication. Of course I shouldn't be surprised, people in general have no taste, no reverence for nature which bore them. So long as they get that extra block of cheese.