loving this year so far for music. bbc 6 music especially gilles petersen, craig charles and mary anne hobbs shows have become weekly essential listens. but the delights of the year so far include the likes of these artists some of whom have albums out, and some on the way
so what are you listening to?
for nic, a friend who died yesterday. this was a track he listened to and a phrase he took to heart. make sure you listen through to the jesse jackson samples
yes that's probably a true statement but it's also the latest album from the reverend jon birch! i don't know if you caught it earlier this year but jon released an album which took old southern usa gospel samples which are over 90 years old and so out of copyright and created tracks around them. well he enjoyed it so much he has now made two more albums. there is something about gospel music that has such a wide appeal and is joyful and uplifting. the characters he has found include the likes of blind lemon jefferson - what a great name! anyway all that is by way of saying that this world's in a hell of a fix and witness are both available on proost this month. if you are a subscriber you can download them as part of your subscription... enjoy!
bob carlton sent me a link a couple of weeks back to a new video from sigur ros. they have commissioned a series of films to go with the album valteri. this one tied in so perfectly with the wake up theme and service i outlined in the previous blog post i couldn't believe it! we showed this during the communion at the end of the service. i was so hoping that one of the people would open thier eyes towards the end and sure enough...
i absolutely love the music made by dubh. we're really excited this month on proost to have added dubh's latest somnia along with two from the last year or two that we hadn't caught up with gentle sabotage and the insurrection EP. i listen to a lot of instrumental and quite chilled electonic music anyway and jonny's (jonny mecewen that is a.k.a. dubh) is right up there for me. i've been listening to it non stop since i got it. it's emotional and for me has a warmth and a longing in it. I can't quite find the words to describe it - aching, beautiful, haunting. perhaps the title of his firet album fractured broken and beautiful is as good a summary as i can think of. i also think this music makes a great atmosphere for worship/art installation type events. i asked jonny a bundle of questions which you can read here. one was how he thought this music connected with worship to which he replied
Music helps create a mood, gives hints of what is to come. It fills the gaps, creates a coherence, fills awkward silences, or insures that any silences are intentional.I started creating music in the context of ikon, because I had a hunch that, like Lebowski’s rug, it would tie the whole thing together.
we've had a really good year on proost so far - it's always a little unpredictable who is going to come up with what each month but we are definitely on a roll. if you subscribe which is only £60 for a year you get access to the whole back catalogue and new content each month. we'll be reviewing the price later this year and putting it up a bit as it's been that since we relaunched a few years back. but for the time being the price remains the same and if you subscribe you will be able to access all of dubh's music as part of that (and as ever it's available as individual items).
the creators of the original big chill festival have a new festival nova festival in the south downs from 5-8 july. i don't think i can make it. the big chill festival was bought by a bigger organisation and pretty quickly lost the wonderful vibe of the oriiginal festival so it's great to see something new landing...
i'm heading up to scotland again at the end of june for solas festival which you may remember me blogging and enthusing about last year. the line up is growing. rory butler and adam stearns who i picked out last year as highlights are both back. harry baker (!) is performing, along with the likes of ricky ross. this year i am giving a couple of talks. maybe see you there?
so what are you listening to that's grabbed you of late?
i was rather pleased to find that urban myth club had released a second album i hadn't come across - open up
bobby womack has an album on the way which judging by the bravest man in the universe should be a belter
alabama shakes is good when doing the cooking, especially hold on!
the soundtrack to drive has had quite a lot of airing as well when i am in a very melllow mood - joel tipped me off on that
damon albarn's spirit animate us is sublime but not so keen on the rest of the album dr dee.
and i am still listening to leonard cohen's old ideas which is incredible...
it's been quite a remarkable few months on proost. wonderful content has just made its way to us as if by magic! we've had seasons before where we've had to do much more searching it out. this month on proost we have two new artists which we always love...
tim dendy is a london based freelance video maker, vj and photographer who is in moot. years back we did a series of worship images in a video tape as it was then between the ground breaking collective one small barking dog and grace. anyway he has created 7 movie loops using time lapse photography that are really gorgeous - VJ Loops 4. tim's loops seem to blend both the beauty and fast paced nature of life in the city. if you look on the VJ loops 4 page you can watch one of the loops there. in keeping with the ever shifting realm of technology we have made these loops hd size - i.e. great quality and size.
then we have an album dark matter from a feckless boy. they hail from scotland and their music is soulful, aching and spiritual. there's something in the scottish soil that seems to cultivate this sort of soulful artistry in wonderful measure. have a listen to the preview track beza's song on the album page.
[this is part of a series of blog posts on art in holy week - see also
christ is risen!
happy easter. i have been blogging about art through holy week focusing on exhibitions people are putting on which i have found really inspiring. i really hope this is a trend that will grow. but i thought i'd change tack slightly today as the only exhibition i know of focused on the resurrection i already blogged about on day 2! so i thought i would put up an icon of the resurrection. i'm not by any means an expert on icons but this image is clearly a classic one that there are several versions of in various traditions (just google resurrection icon).
in the centre is jesus christ risen from the dead. he is standing on the gates of death or hades or hell and is literally pulling out adam, and eve is waiting to be pulled out - they represent all of humanity. around jesus are angels and characters from the scriptures such as john the baptist. below in hell there are broken chains and keys. christ's descent into hell has mant that he has broken the final enemy death and plundered hell and walked out with the key. death is defeated. this is an extraordinary image.
at the heart of the christian faith is the resurrection of jesus christ from the dead. it's an inspiring story that gives hope to those struggling and in darkness or literally experiencing hellish situations. but i think to just see it as an inspiring story of death and new life or simply as a metaphor misses the point. if christ has not been raised from death there is no christian faith. but if he has then everything has changed. [archbishop rowan williams in his sermon today makes pretty much the same point]. i wrote a song on the grace album quite a few years back that seems to go with this image...
where o death is your sting where is your victory
christ has plumbed the depths of hell and walked out with the key
this hope inspires me
in the midst of struggling recall the memory
christ has triumphed over death the final enemy
this hope inspires me
the dawning of a new age a new humanity
redemption of creation christ is the guarantee
this hope inspires me
if you'd like a listen i have uploaded it here -
jon birch has been having fun. he got hold of some southern gospel songs over 90 years old so out of copyright and has recorded an album out on proost this month called the devil don't stand a chance. it will uplift your spirits and bring a smile to your face. here's what the 'reverend jon birch' has to say...
I do not claim these songs as my own, just the production of the tracks. These songs do not represent my theology, but i love their spirit, their humanity, their heart and the amazing spontaneity and emotion in these amazing performances. It won't be long before the original recordings on which these tracks are based are 100 years old. The idea that no one except historians and people with a special interest will hear these songs again is just too sad to contemplate. I hope you enjoy listening to these tracks as much as I enjoyed making them.
you can have a listen to one of the tracks on the album page...
we think it would be fun to do a remix album of these tunes. if you would be interested in remixing a track let me know.
leonard cohen's latest album old ideas is quite brilliant. he's widely recognised as a wonderful poet but what immediately grabbed me about the opening song going home following my last blog posts is the connection he makes bewteen poetry and prophecy. i may be reading too much into it, i don't know - but it's a description of his calling, his vocation to speak out. it reminds me of the call of jeremiah or ezekiel!
I love to speak with Leonard
He’s a sportsman and a shepherd
He’s a lazy bastard
Living in a suit
But he does say what I tell him
Even though it isn’t welcome
He just doesn't have the freedom
the whole album is shot through with spiritual reflection and religious imagery with great poetry and depth. it's melancholy gospel if such a thing exists! simple but powerful songs stripped back allowing cohen's voice in all its aged maturity to weave its words of brokenness and hope. the struggle and darkness are there as ever but a world is spoken where the victims are singing and the laws of remorse are restored, the filth of the butcher is washed in the blood of the lamb. cohen asks to be shown the place where the word became a man, where the suffering began. and in a penitential hymn of invocation, come healing, he calls for the healing of the body mind and limb and spirit
O gather up the brokenness
And bring it to me now
The fragrance of those promises
You never dared to vow
The splinters that you carry
The cross you left behind
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind
And let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb
the cracks are letting a lot of light in on this one. it's the most compelling set of songs i have heard in quite some time...
if you want to go to a christmas carol type event in london this one tomorrow promises to be right up there with the best i suspect - with the talented foy vance in his own inimitable style!
got a wonderful surprise this morning when sue who is on the cms pioneer training told me her daughter had animated a track of harry's called writer's block. this is from his album rhythm and poetry when he was more on a rap tip than a poetry one. anyway it's an absolutely delightful movie and must have taken an age to make. i haven't actually met flora martyr but she is clearly someone to look out for...
i had a few meetings in coffee shops in london on friday (which sadly i don't get as much time to do as i used to). the music in the background caught my attention so i enquired what it was and it was an album by the middle east 'i want that you are always happy'. i subsequently bought it and it's now playing and is beautiful - very soulful, quite folky (though don't let that put you off). according to wikipedia they have played christian festivals in australia so greenbelt if you are reading what are you waiting for?!
what else are you listening to? in the last few months for me it's
nick ashman has written a piece of music and created ths movie for remembrance day in memory of his grandad
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