Sheep Dressed Like Wolves -
Agnes Obel is a Danish singer/songwriter. She recently turned 34 and released her second album at the end of September this year. It was the much anticipated follow up to Philharmonics, which became a gold selling debut in Belgium and platinum in her home country back in 2011.
I absolutely love the new record. I hadn’t actually been aware of her work until I first heard it. It is so deep, rich, and intense. Obel talks about how she “didn’t want to disturb the melody with too many stories”.
She goes on to say “I think that’s a good thing when the one who is listening is feeling it in a different way that the one who creates. We are all listening with different perspectives and I don’t want to impose my subjectivity to the listener.”
If you have been reading this blog for a while then you will know how much I resonate with this idea. There is as much artist in the one who is listening as there is in the one creating; the connection and beauty comes from HOW the art is viewed, heard, or perceived as much if not more than how or what is created.
Deptford Goth is the name under which London artist, Daniel Woolhouse makes music (since 2010). When I first heard about him I must admit his name misled me to presume something about the kind of music Daniel was producing. I presumed wrongly, and got an unexpected surprise.
Yes, it has a dark and mysterious line running right through the heart of it, but it is a record of delicate and intricate beauty.
Daniel recorded his debut album, Life after Defo, in the evenings while holding down his job as an elementary school teaching assistant, which to me is as inspiring as the music itself. It is a story of craftmanship, dedication, and graft.
A while back I wrote a blog post based around a quote on someone’s Twitter bio, which simply quoted, “The meaning of your communication is the response you get, regardless of your intent”.
Apparently this is one of the Presuppositions in Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
Another NLP presupposition is that ‘at some level, all behaviour is positively intended’. People generally make the best choices available to them given the possibilities and capabilities that they perceive to be accessible within their model of the world.
Reality is simply our perception, and we experience the world and respond to things that go on around us through our sensory representational systems. Accordingly, we can not know reality itself. It is not reality that limits us or empowers us, but rather it is our map of reality that does this. It is our mental construction of reality.
The map is not the territory itself, it is a representation of the territory.
2013 got me excited about the long awaited follow up to Post War Years’ 2009 debut album, The Greats and the Happenings. It is called Galapagos, came out in February, and is absolutely great.
I must admit I have a soft spot for Post War Years. I grew up in Leamington Spa gigging in the same circles, at the same time as them before they moved to London. And it has been great to watch them find their voice and develop their unique sound together over the years.
It is obvious that they’ve been doing it for a long time because they are one of the tightest, technical, and most interesting bands on my list of favourite albums.
You only have a limited amount of energy. We all do. Hard as that is to admit, or even to understand.
“Put on your own mask first, before YOU HELP others.”
I imagine that the analogy of the aeroplane oxygen mask has been used time and time again, but I think it’s an important one to consider and remember when it comes to how we live.
If you don’t secure your own oxygen mask first your effectiveness in helping other people is severely compromised and pending failure is inevitable (eventually). It only costs a few seconds but has benefits that stretch way beyond.
Satellites.02 is the follow up to ‘Satellites.01’, which was released last year though didn’t feel like it got the exposure it deserved. I am sure it’ll continue to burn slowly. You may even remember I played a couple of tracks from it on the podcast.
I love that record and was delighted to find out that this summer Johnny Vic put out a second instalment. And he had well and truly taken things to the next level. Satellites 02 is a wonderful piece of work, and well worth checking out.
It feels both autobiographical and yet a commentary on a wider social context. Johnny says “in a period when the tortured muddle of being a strong, silent man is finally being debated in the media, here is a record that documents the drama of reconciling the holy trinity of being a Son, Father and Partner with the drive of an Artist”.
Pressure does strange things to us. It has a way of bringing everything to the surface. It can replace the measured discipline and rhythm of every day life with a sometimes irrational self-sabotaging desperation.
We all face pressure situations, and can all plan for how we are going to respond to them…to some extent.
We all get lonely. It’s a part of what it means to be human. It can happen for the briefest moment, or it can be terminal. And it can occur even if you are constantly surrounded by people.
You and I have different expectations. You have had different experiences and relationships from me. You’ve met different people. You’ve been to different places. And whats-more you’ve filtered it through a different brain.
I am very grateful for that.
I am also very grateful that you defy my own hopes and dreams for the sake of your own. You choose to take a completely different path to me. That is sensible. And it is necessary.
The world needs people to be different, to find different things to get excited about, to care about, and to concentrate on. It needs everyone to contribute their unique perspectives and passions.
But it is remarkably easy to forget this.
It’s been one of those months. I feel like I’ve been hanging on by the tips of my fingers. Over the past five or six weeks or so we have had all sorts of unexpected things going on and it has been pretty hard work.