It's too much hassle

I decided to leave writing for a few days. It seems to flow with a known and unchanging capacity. A finite quantity but at an indeterminate rate - where it seems that if I push with one outlet then another suffers. Since it's been a heavy couple of weeks musically with new songs, re-worked old songs, things happening within the band and a re-tracing of musical roots, I've definitely found the usual ebb following the creative outpouring.

Most critically, our bass player has had to pull out of the band due to time constraints imposed by other aspects of his life, so once again we find ourselves as a three piece. We seem to be incapable of keeping bass players - is our drummer that hard to live with? .. ;o) .. only joking.. a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do and our exiting bassist will be a difficult act to follow.

From my own perspective I'm noticing a change in the song writing with the remaining few post-Shelley songs filtering out through The Credits. The new tracks are different, more mellow and even (I hope) more aware.

On Monday morning I found myself listening once again to Billie Holiday's Lady in Satin as I sat in abject misery on a crowded commuter bus. It was freezing cold outside and there was condensation running down the windows to gather in filthy puddles where your elbow is inclined to rest (when you lose your concentration). As ever the bus seem to be populated with an even mix of noisy school kids and plague sufferers, coughing and spluttering into the humid soup, laughingly called "the air".

Lady in Satin an album that I've given time to on a number of occasions but have never connected with, despite its "classic" status. Every now and then a fragment of a tune or just a phrasing in her voice grabs my attention only to be lost again in an instant, to the extent that my mind wanders and I can't distinguish one tune from the next.

The version of the album that I've got has a number of out-takes at the end, which I find much more interesting than the heavy orchestration of the album tracks. It may have been a really silly move listening to it at that time and place because I was left feeling jaded for the rest of the day and even reading back over my comments above, it's clear that I'm not being fair. I'll put it down to a rough week and suggest that you give this album a listen; it's regarded as a classic for a reason, maybe I'm just not mature enough to get it. Start with For All We Know - it's a genuine, beautiful song.

This morning I listened to The Beta Band's The Three EPs - this is another collection of tunes that I've never quite connected with; there are glimpses of brilliance but I find them lost in an excess of percussion that feels a little contrived in its "whackiness". Perhaps there was something in the air at the time because Bring It On by Gomez, which was released a couple of months earlier in May 1998 had a very similar feel - that combination of acoustic guitars, dirty electrics and an over developed appreciation for uncooked rice or dried lentils rattled about in a Tupperware box.

Yet some of the tunes on this album draw me in and I'm to be seen unconsciously bobbing my head along to the refrain of Dry the Rain or Inner Meet Me.

Maybe the problem is that it takes 4.5 minutes of music for musicians to get that far, or, maybe as a musician I spend too much time getting distracted by stuff that other people just listen to and enjoy. So, while the connection with the album as a whole has never been made, there are some damn good tunes to be found and I suspect that it's one of those albums from which people draw very different choices as their favourites.

I'm going to listen to Miles Davis' Birth of Cool in the morning and then the most recent of the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders podcasts on the way home followed by Sigur Ros' Hauf Heim.

Hopefully I'll be in better form than I have been for the last few days.

PS - A shout out to Kay-Jay Brown for her gig with Rhianna at the RDS last week. I hope big things happen for you and BioRhythm this year.


shweeney said…
The Beta Band never lived up to their potential - those early EPs have a few absolute classics - the aforementions Dry the Rain, Inner Meet Me, She's the One. They seemed to be developing a very interesting sound melding folk, indie and house but subsequent albums were a major diappoinment.
Heres the strange video for Inner Meet Me:

Sorry to hear your bassless again - maybe you should learn the bass...

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