I got up at 3PM today but I went to bed at 7AM, so that’s my eight hours. Olivia usually needs a little more than that, but it’s so ingrained in us that if we sleep late in the day, that we’re breaking some kind of code of acceptable behaviour, that we both got up. We like to be awake at night, we WORK all night, we sleep all day. It’s the best time to work, it’s the time of no distractions, Europe is asleep, no one in the rest of the world expects you to be awake. It’s perfect for writing, it’s bad for sunlight. Still, summer is on the way so the sun is still up and on our trip down to the sea today we managed to get some rays. The sun was high enough, that sky was cloudless, the sea was a constant grey blue with no patches, reflecting the sky. There was a chill in the air and as we looked out we could see two tankers docked in the bay, one smaller like a miniature, but the other large and daunting. Below the promenade wall there were people getting into the cold sea, shuddering as they did so. I have a very strange physical reaction to seeing this, it’s hard to explain but my skin reacts, something inside envelops me. It’s like physical empathy. It’s extremely uncomfortable, it’s almost how I imagine the cold chill of fear. When people say it made my skin crawl, I wonder do they mean literally? Because I understand, it’s like my flesh is reacting to the horror of the strangers’ pain. I don’t think I’d be good under torture, it would be unbearable. It’s as if my skin has an outer layer or is it that the protective layer has gone and left the skin exposed. My legs go weak, I have to hold on to something. This is just from seeing someone enter the cold water, just seeing them do it.
I suppose that as we are all unique we will experience things differently, hear music differently, react differently. There’s upbringing, there’s exposure and then there’s the fascinating unique self. That which makes you you. You can’t get away from it. You can try and improve it, educate the ignorant side of yourself, learn from your mistakes, simply, change if you need to, if you have to, if you want to. Realize your potential, work to achieve your aspirations. It’s difficult in this polarized world to find common ground. I’ve never felt so disconnected from the human race as I do today. It really feels like, look, you go and live on that side of the universe and we’ll live on this side of the universe and let’s agree not to bother each other. You can have your politics, your beliefs and society the way you want it. It used to be that this was how the West saw the rest, but now the battle is internal, it’s the best of the West versus the rest of the West and no one can agree on who are the best and who are the rest. This is where the common enemy theory comes in, we need an alien force from the other side of the Milky Way to attack us, then we can all band together as Earthlings, show that we’re all in the same boat, beat them off and start a new world of mutual respect and understanding. Pipe dream. Can you really imagine hating someone because of the colour of their skin, their sexual orientation, where they were born or even the team they support? Sad, sad, sad. Can you imagine intimidating medical staff in a pandemic? How it’s dealt with is another issue, what’s true is another issue, leave these people alone, not that anybody reading this needs to be told.
I was in the studio today for the shortest session in the history of the recording studio. I plugged in my Rickenbacker bass and played an F note. That was it. Dare was mixing the latest Space Summit track and I had a particular vision of the ending that needed to be sorted out and we were one bass note short of completion. I played it perfectly, my finger hovered above the first fret until the moment came and bang, there it was. It shook, it lingered, it faded and it was all over. It was exhausting. Afterwards I rolled up my guitar lead into a perfect circle and hung it off the nail on the wall. I replaced the bass on the guitar stand and left the control room with a feeling of absolute satisfaction. I needed to relax after the studio experience and did so with that great Star Trek episode, Arena, where the peaceful higher beings placed Captain Kirk and the reptilian captain of the alien ship on an asteroid to fight out their conflict to the death as individuals instead of as battleship crews. Entertaining stuff over last night’s leftovers.
The music today has been soooo now! I started with Lux Prima which is last year’s collaboration between Karen O from Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and producer Danger Mouse. It was way less angular than I expected it. Karen O wasn’t scary at all and Danger Mouse wasn’t sonically dangerous. It was actually pretty mellow, like a less retro Air album with a French girl singer except she wasn’t French.
Next was my favourite, FKA Twigs and her unique vision. It’s like Judas Priest, you’re either there or you’re not. I love the idea of placing Judas Priest in the same paragraph as FKA Twigs simply because liking one, or should I say liking one passionately doesn’t mean that you have to actively despise the other, you don’t even need to despise it quietly. If it’s off your radar that’s enough. You can’t possibly understand everyone in the world’s reasons for their tastes so live and let live. If it’s ‘the dumbness’ that you don’t like, feel sorry for them, if it’s shallow don’t take it seriously and if it stimulates you love it to death. Twigs is stimulating, Cellophane is one of her many cool videos, the song closes her latest album, Magdalene (2019). Judas Priest ROCKKKKK!!! Ha ha.
Which brings me to another great album in a style that won’t have the Syd Barrett fans queuing up at the record store. Solange is Beyonce’s sister and to me her albums are masterpieces of challenging and contemporary R&B. I wish I knew how they did it. Her latest album, When I Get Home, was released in 2019. It’s inscrutable, the strange chords, odd timing, peculiar rhythms, weird arrangements, amazing production, often thoughtful lyrical ideas based on real life and real life issues. I can listen to this stuff all day, because I can never quite understand it.
Then there’s Flying Lotus. He pieces together sounds and makes songs, sometimes it’s weird and experimental, other times it’s Hip Hop, but what it always is, is complex. He’s like Zappa meets Prince in the modern world. It’s interesting how contemporary black music has become so mainstream, because it isn’t easy music. It gives the Progressive bands a run for the money. Its appeal though is always in the groove. The Flying Lotus albums are dense, there’s a lot to explore, I have the latest one, Flamagra (2019), on the turntable tonight. Take note David Lynch fans.
Today’s Song Of The Day is New Scientist from Noctorum’s Honey Mink Forever, an odd Jazzy hybrid with saxophone and unlikely Rickenbacker guitar soloing and riffs. Kinda suits tonight’s music somehow.
(Willson-Piper / Mason / Bowie / Hadley)