i love music and i seem to like putting together a playlist so as is my habit here are two playlists for the end of year.
enjoy and do leave a comment to let me know what you think!
i love music and i seem to like putting together a playlist so as is my habit here are two playlists for the end of year.
enjoy and do leave a comment to let me know what you think!
sault are a wonderful band who produced some great funky political grooves over the last few years. they seemed to catch the moment post george floyd's murder - i found them a great comfort in lockdown. they are a bit shrouded in mystery and announcements suddenly appear like today's which was on twitter and instagram as above - 5 albums released simultaneously as an offering to god!!! i have not had a chance to listen through but they sound very gospel - and they are available for free for 5 days. the password is in the message (and the message is godislove btw). there is no guarantee these albums will subsequently appear on spotify or apple music so get downloading. it is for real. i have to add this as a worship trick - remember those?! but typepad is currently so poor that i can't access them so will add to the list later. joy!
as always a couple of playlists at the end of the year. i listen to quite a lot of quiet instrumental music and find that makes for a better experience as its own playlist rather than mixed in with the other tunes hence there are two. i have added them on apple music and spotify. there is one tune that spotify didn't have so apple win that contest!
i love music and have always been in the habit with some friends of compiling and exchanging playlists for the end of the year. we used to do that via burning cds but now it's much easier to do via streaming services. the last few years i have actually taken to creating two because i listen to so much ambient/instrumental music that i ended up thinking that was better as a separate playlist. anyway here are the playlists and a bit more reflection on them below
(for the record there is one tune that was not on spotify so that is one short - 1-0 apple!)
this year perhaps more than any other, music has been a great source of comfort and inspiration. i always listen to a lot of instrumental music but i have found quiet ambient music especially soothing. two things really inspired me in that regard - one was jon hopkins posting a playlist of his on apple music which consisted of 24 hours of ambient music (!) and the other is the curated playlist on apple music called pure ambient which has 100 tunes at any one time but that includes quite a lot of recent releases as well as more classic tunes. through those i have discovered the likes of snufmumriko (i had to include a tune in the playlist which is possibly my most played tune of the year but it came out in 2019 - don't tell anyone), antonymes (whose album like rumours of hushed thunder ois gorgeous but didn't feature as it came out in 2015) and ian hawgood.
but the other way music featured for me this year was in relation to black lives matter and the whole cultural debate and protest after george floyd's death. i found the response of dj's such as gilles petersen really amazing in how they played what seemed like just the right tunes of protest, lament and justice. his club lockdown was a wonderful moment in the year. i also really was inspired and challenged by steve mcqueen's incredible series small axe and the soundtrack to those was fantastic. so these playlists below are not tunes that were released in 2020 but they feel like they belong to the year as much if not more so than the playlists above. the first is simply a set of tunes i have added to through the year that i called blm (black lives matter) though i have not ordered it in any fashion so might be best played on random select. the second is the tunes i liked (which is most) from the small axe series - if you want all the tunes i have added the link below to the official playlist on spotify.
that should keep you going for a while!
i love music and yes it's that time of year. if you are on apple music (and are interested) you can look me up and simply add 2019 selection . it's about 3 hours long as i think that's the length of a decent radio show and if ever invited onto bbc6music i am ready! most of the tunes have been discovered or heard there to be honest. lots of people i know are on spotify and i don't tend to use apple so here is a list of my selection of tunes for this year curated into some kind of order. i love instrumental music and as i did last year have also made a 2019 horizontal playlist though i seemed to come across a bit less this year - that is also below. a few of those intro and outro the main selection. my actual playlist for 2019 is around 14 hours so i won't bother sharing that one though i really love it.
[update - harry being a spotify user and keen to listen to the playlist created a spotify one so i can now share that all you spotify users - the one track not on spotify is vin gordon's african shores but apart from that i think they are all there... here's the link JonnyBakerBestOf19 ]
weird fact - this year i listened to four albums that came out by people who are dead - leonard cohen, gang starr, marvin gaye, john coltrane.
and the horizontal playlist...
been meaning to blog this for a while but harry and chris are now on tour so check out their dates on the web site and see if they are coming near you. they are in oxford tomorrow i noticed. we'll be going to their london gig on sat 20 dec if anyone fancies it - see you there?!
tomorrow night i am going to see harry's new poetry show i am 10000 (which he will be performing at edinburgh along with harry and chris new show). come along if you are in london and you get to see chris' solo show as well - weird i know. harry and chris but not harry n chris or something...
super proud of harry - just saw today that he has 2 million hits on his exteter tedX talk - wow. i am generally delirious if i get over 50 likes on an instagram photo! i need to up my game clearly though inspired by harry i worked out i will be 20000 days this year on the same day as joel's birthday.
i should also add that the rejected eurovision song contest entry of harry and chris - sorry! - is out today...
had a wonderful day off yesterday - the weather is amazing at the moment - sadly probably global warming! but i visited two exhibtions and went to see massive attack in concert in the evening. one of the exhibitions was life death rebirth with bill viola video installations and michael angelo drawings. i'd actualluy seen a lot of the viola installations at various exhibitions over the years but it is amazing. i am convinced my heart rate was slower when i came out - i think we took getting on for a couple of hours going round. his work is very spiritual drawing on religious themes. i found the curators comments next to some pieces quite annoying though! one of things that was strange was how the view of spirituality seemed to buy into a negative view of the world and the notion of getting the soul out - it's kind of a platonic view of the world that has informed some bad what i call escaplogy theology over the years. the worst case of it was next to a drawing by michael angelo of the resurrected christ which was a really great drawing of a body bursting out with energy and the curator had sai something like a suprising embodied drawing of the resurrected christ - duh! what exactly did you think the resurrection is if not a body???!!! anyway that aside it is a fantastic exhibition. this photo is of the piece fire woman which is amazing - possibly my favourite piece. of course there are no photos allowed by i took this photo years back at an exhibition where i got thrown out for taking photos which is the only time that has ever happend to me.
massive attack were great as ever - i have no idea how many times i have seen them - a lot! but just as in the manchester international festival adam curtis was doing the visuals. it was a wide ranging set of visuals of life in our crazy world - once again he was opening up the idea that we are stuck in our own past rather than able to imagine a different future as we are fed things based on feedback llops - you like this so you'll love that. one memorable sequence was a series of projected slogans from politicians that sounded great in their own right but when projected together came across as hollow slogans which is what we have got used to. it was pretty bleak... but i found it also woke me up - it's so easy to be numb.
it's so great living in london!
every new year i tend to go through music from the previous year and compile a playlist or two. here's my 2018 selection. it probably tries to do too much or has too many kinds of music though i've tried to give it a flow. i found it pretty interesting how political it is this year - art alway has something to say and is like the nerve endings in feeling what's happening in the culture i guess. anyway see what you think...
and then i found going through that i had discovered a lot of instrumental music i loved so also have done a 2018 horizontal playlist. i have not particularly ordered this one so put it on random and see what happens. both run over a couple of hours or so. i am on apple music so you can find the lists there as i think i have made them public. if not i can send you a link if interested.
harry and chris are on tour soon - see here for dates. oxford which is early on has sold out and i have booked in for leicester square even though it is december as that seemed to be selling fast. so check out their dates and go see them if you can. they played greenbelt mainstage this year off the back of a sold out run at edinburgh festival and it was an incredible show to be at. they always seem to have so much fun but what was striking at greenbelt was how many people knew them and knew the words to songs and poems. it was a proud parent moment for sure! i am happy to have contributed some photography for harry and chris publicity and this year's tour poster photo is one of mine again (though the making it snazzy through photoshop is someone else's work).
saturday is the hanwell hootie - a festival of free music. grace normally meet on this saturday but we have a retreat day so there is no greace in the evening so will be free to go along. i am actually helping out at a cafe fade to black where there will be djs and a bar so do pop in and say hi if you are between venues.
i always love piano day - i wish now that as a kid i'd stuck with learning then i could buy and play the tunes in the erased tapes solo song book out but i'll stick with guitar for now. but here's a playlist for 2018 with a beautiful opening track from nils frahm as ever. and don't know if you are a 6music fan - i am. if so mary anne hobbs recommends show is a piano day special which of course you can download and listen to on the bbc iplayer radio app which i also love.
if you are as old as me you may remember the stereo mcs? the title of the session i spoke at yesterday at new parish was a nod to their track of the same name...
anyway all that to say that i thought it might be worth adding some of the references i mentioned in the talk for anyone interested. unsurprisingly people at the conference are focused on getting stuck into good in their local neighbourhoods and seeing them transformed. i think that's wonderful. in my session i used a four bits of network theory to suggest that networking can add an incredible amount of richness to the local. they were as follows:
1. small world theory - i have blogged about this before and in fact say more there probably than i did yesterday. but the thing to pay attention to here is the huge benefit of people who are connectors - they take the time to connect elsewhere and through them all sorts of riches flow into the locale. the example i used was clean for good and how the connections made by the person whose idea it was enabled so much richness to be added in to enable that dream to become real.
2. lifecycles of emergence - margaret wheatley's article lifecycles explains how she thinks networks change the world through a fourfold process - name- connect- nourish - illuminate. this is so helpful. i felt described by it when i came across it. i also combined it with margaret wheatley and deborah frieze's wonderful work in walk out walk on. this video gives a pretty short summary of how it works. the example i used was peter dearman's incredible dearman engine. in thinking about how to shift from oil dependency he has invented an engine that runs on liquid nitrogen. to get this brilliant idea developed required walking out of usual solutions and walking on to new ones and finding others to journey with him and of course facing huge challenge on the way but it's happening. the story is told in the incredible book we do things differently
3. thick networks - when i read george monbiot's article on changing society through developing thick networks of participation i thought this is exactly what church at its best should be doing and participating in. i have since read his book out of the wreckage which is totally brilliant and i cannot recommend it highly enough. it's worth it for the chapter including thick networks alone. in community transformation someone starts something light touch, easy to get involved in that connects people together and produces good relationally, in health and wellbeing - a running club, or a local allotment. then another initiative starts which connects to another and another. invariably some of it will involve food and eating together, making and doing. it’s important that plenty of initiatives are easy access, and include those with low resource and social confidence. transition towns starts, a local energy company, a local veg box scheme, a friendship lunch for lonely people. what monbiot says is that gradually a thick network develops, a dense participatory culture that is attractive and relevant to everyone. If you can get that to 10-15% participation in a community you reach a tipping point. lambeth researched how they develop - lean and live projects (don’t cost much, trial and error, opportunities for micro participation, developed by collaboration). out of these can generate business, social enterprise, hybrids, and he reckons you can get to that in around 3 years. the other resource i mentioned in this area is the amazing stir magazine. i have now read the last three issues and been wowed by it - if you are interested in changing your community and especially reimagining the economy it's a must read. the example i thought about was ealing and the number of ways i can see this beginning to happen.
4. sods and mods - this is a bit of network theory from the missions world which i have written about and made links to here - the point is that if you are a pioneer as well as being involved in your local pioneering get connected to a sodal network or community who gets and supports what you are about. the example i used for this is cms and its network of support for those in pioneering mission.
this thinking about networks can be applied both within the locale - i.e. networking with others locally, and more widely to make connections in networks beyond the local that can enable gifts to flow in.
i started writing worship songs years ago because of words (ok i wasn't that keen on the music around either!). i found if difficult to find words that articulated what it was we as a community then (st matts in bath at the time) believed and wanted to express. it was a great journey of expression and led me to explore the same in alternative worship through a range of art forms. and actually it also led to setting up proost to collate songs and liturgy and movies that had this same sense of expression from the grassroots in soulful (and theological) ways. i am still surprised how few communities go this route. i get that it is more time consuming but it is so much more rewarding that simply using commodified worship songs or liturgies written in high places. though of course blending your own expression with good stuff written by others is probably even better...
anyway all that to say i was sent a link to this blog/site plural guild which is the first i have seen for a while that really embodies that spirit of articulation. and the words are words i can sing which i have to say is a refreshing change (and i know i am hard to please). so thank you to plural guild (love the notion of guild by the way)! the song below seems especially poignant today on a day when my country have voted to leave europe - love the line there is no other there is only us. there is a also a downloadable album of advent and christmas songs too. i am making these worship trick 64 in series 4
st mary's ealing hosts a series called st mary's sessions. it's actually a really great venue for this sort of thing. we'll be hosting gav mart as part of the series at grace in july. but this weekend at almost zero notice and in spontaneous fashion st mary's sessions is hosting a jazz festival - see poster for details. chris read is playing saturday evening.
really looking forward to gav mart hosting an evening for grace on july 9. gav is a singer songwriter and will be joined by friends for 'myths from the margins' which will also be the latest in the st mary's sessions series.
so i was flipping through guardian articles on my phone while eating porridge this morning and clicked on an opinion piece about beyoncé's new album lemonade. i am not really a beyoncé fan - never owned a track actually. but i like to keep up with the zeitgeist and i absolutely loved her performance at the superbowl and the video of formation that went with that track - which was powerful, defiant and prophetic.
anyway this opinion piece is an amazing piece of writing - i could almost feel the empathy, tears and passion coming off the words. i haven't heard a single track off lemonade or seen a single video but having read this opinion piece i think i'm going to have to. here's a piece mid flow...
We are the women left behind. We are the women who have cared for other women’s children while ours were taken away. We are the women who work two jobs when companies won’t hire our men. We are the women caring for grandchildren as our sons are taken by the prison industrial complex. We are the women who march in the streets and are never marched for. We are the women expected to never air our grievances in public. We are the women expected to stay loyal to our men by staying silent through abuse and infidelity. We are the women who clean the blood of our men and boys from the streets. We are the women who gather their belongings from the police station.
have a read of the whole piece. i may about to purchase my first beyoncé album. this piece reminded me of the track black woman by seun kuti which was one of my favourite tracks last year and i put on full blast driving up the m40 to oxford today. of course the former is from the perspective of a black woman and the latter a man but somehow they connected in my mind.
i was excited to see an album from gav mart and martin daws out on proost - bring it down. gav is a musician and singer and martin is a wonderful spoken word poet. i love the blend of spoken word and music in this way. they have been touring so it's great to see they have put an album out. available here...
proost is on a roll this year with some great material - it's worth subscribing then you can log in to the back end whenever you like to download resources. don't forget if you are in the usa there is a us site here where you can pay in dollars.