I’m not much of a multitasker
That seems to go well with men
It’s the reason I do as little as possible
This I can combine rather well
That’s why I like to go on a journey in my head
It always feels nice and comfortable over there
And above all the company fits me rather well
We share the same dreams
Although sometimes we also tend to lose each other
My head usually is beyond all doubt
While I’m often not that sure
She likes to define her own direction
Whereas I mostly seem to float around
If she takes a decision in the evening
The morning after I do the exact opposite
Of what she had in mind
But it’s always great to cross each other
To share our thoughts and talk about our future
It becomes time to start looking out for her again
And hopefully she’s also coming towards me
There used to be optimism about the future. Lately you don’t hear much about that anymore. As a kid they made him believe in a future with space travelling, robots, etc. Although those predictions have become real in some way, he doesn’t feel it like that. In his childhood dreams it looked totally different and above all far more beautiful. But he has always had a lot of fantasy. Either way time seems to be standing still, and even peddling back. Newspapers only bring sad stories forcing optimism to tumble and to retrace. Luckily it doesn’t have to be like that. Some will always keep on dreaming. So does she dream of her own little paper shop where she makes people happy with her paper sweets and graphic design (*). And he, he also cherishes a dream. It feels a bit like a silly one. He wants to make a music album but please don’t ask him why. He just needs to make it because it feels so natural. You see, some never forget to dream. But most of all the two of them dream of her, and that she may fulfill her dreams. That’s what they dream about right now.
The text was written shortly before the birth of Martha, the song a little bit afterwards as a lullaby.
(* this dream already came true)
A man put an arm around himself
And bought him another beer
He had always been his best friend
Though all too often they didn’t get along
Little by little he had stolen his dreams
And had thrown them away together with him
If by accident he made some steps forward
He gently urged and forced him to backtrack
The comforting illusion of a hopeful future
He slowly undressed and deprived of its magic
And yet he remained his best friend
Because ultimately all they had was one another
Although in the end nothing pointed to that
And so he bought him another beer
That offer he couldn’t refuse
Just one more …
Music always comes first. She arrives with a self-spun language which rarely hides any meaning. I have no clue where the words come from, but the music just seems to evoke them. Rather unfairly she also enforces them a binding metre. And worst of all is the spontaneous rhyming she brings along. The freedom music creates, seems to vanish in thin air because of the concrete framework she pushes the words in. For a long time I rest my case. Until the day I accomplished a lyric that didn’t have to feel embarrassed. Since then I gently force them to reach out to each other.
A man hid
In a haze of anger
And decided not
He yelled at it
Spit on it
Kicked it in the balls
Pulled it at the hair
Struggled with it
And in the end
He left it
But after a while
He started to miss it
Looking for it
Yet found it back
It still wanted him
What a relief
He embraced it
All too often
And often too intense
He loved it
Cared and took
Care for it
Until that day
That arrived too soon
He tossed and pushed it
One of my most loved ones originates from communism. She herself couldn’t care less. For her it’s the most natural thing in the world. The best thing about her is that’s she’s a wonderful listener. Nothing escapes her. It’s also great she never makes any judgement. She simply absorbs everything. For my first music album she was a loyal ally. Her name is a bit special. She’s called Gefell M582. If you want to know more about her family history you can find it here
Practical intelligence, that must be something I’m spared from. A smartphone should manual itself spontaneously, but it remarkably fails to do that in my hands. Car driving should evoke a feeling of freedom, but an excess of impressions soon gets me out of tune. Guess I’ve got to do it with a combination of creative and analytical intelligence. And even those don’t seem to be that well elaborated. I like playing with music and language, but really innovative, and so creative I rarely feel. On the other hand, that doesn’t seem to be unusual. If people label something as ‘creative’, they mostly don’t know the original inspiration for it (Austin Kleon – steal like an artist). And yet knowing that my songwriting always drives on other artists work remains uncomfortable. To my regret I also fail in jamming, soloing and improvising. Guess those all fall under the category of practical intelligence. As if all this is not enough I’m above all a difficult student. The community music school for example deprived me more of musical passion than that she inspired me, by her focus on interval training, too many note above and below the lines, … The only thing that seems to work is slowly reading me in. Each new book often leads to a scrap of new text, and every song of someone else I struggle to master often lays the foundation for a new song. Like this I also stumble along from blog to blog.
There happen to be moments that are quite crooked. When nothing happens automatically, and everything senses like pulling and dragging. Sometimes songwriting feels the same way. Songs should write themselves, but mostly they don’t. “If it takes longer than 20 minutes to write a song, it’s probably not worth it”. This statement of Peter Buck of R.E.M sounds good and there are lots of examples of scurried written hits that were no-brainers. But luckily the most beautiful examples prove the opposite. ‘Static on the radio’ by Jim White is such a song. For me it is one of the most perfect songs I know. It took Jim White years to write it. Each attempt to refine it, was a struggle between laying it aside and continuing to scrape it to beauty. He knew what he wanted to say but just couldn’t find the way to say it. There were days where he only removed the article back and forward. But in the end, people tell him it’s a moving song to them. So he knows it was worth the effort if it helps people somehow. What makes the song so magical, that remains a mystery. It’s probably the play-a-long of different beautiful elements like the prechorus, the duet with Aimee Mann, the graceful layers, the warm sound, the nice outro, … Jim White looks at himself as a machine gunner songwriter. Of the several thousand songs he figures about 18 of them are good. But that 18 songs unbelievably hit the mark. A certainty is that a day doesn’t feel crooked anymore, after listening to ‘static on the radio’.
Nothing feels nicer than randomly plucking the guitar, drinking a coffee, reading a bit and dreaming away. Often the best ideas come and meet at such a moment of lounging around. Unfortunately this clashes a bit with everything a DIY musician has to accomplish. It goes from creating music, recording it, searching for a great mixer and masterer, or learning it yourself with the help of tutorials, thinking about a social media strategy, distributing the music and wondering in what format, finding a good plugger and booker or figuring out how to do this yourself, … Before noticing the relax feeling of making music sneaks away and stress sets in.
But the decision took me and dragged me along. She had purposely sorted me out and didn’t want to budge an inch. For a moment I entertained a desire that I was in control, but soon that turned out to be a forlorn hope. I was weighed and found wanting. That’s how making a music album forced itself upon me. I could only deal with it as beautifully as possible. That at least was my decision. To enjoy every phase in the music process as much as possible. And now time for another coffee.
Writing always felt as a laborious undertaking. It was hard arranging words in a way they transformed into beautiful phrases. The word ‘essay’ still makes me break into a cold sweat. In my current job I rather have to write academically and that also doesn’t feel natural. It always senses like forcing boring sentences into a smooth but ill-fitting format. Writing only has become great after the discory of the Dutch writer Toon Tellegen. He is best known for his magnificent animal stories. Here is a link to some of his work. I will never forget when he found out the magic of language. When he discovered he could write down the words ‘the ball is square’, he learned everything was possible in writing. In a poem you can convert everything in a different way than it really is. That’s the power of language. It makes the impossible possible. Since then I like to write. And I also love music. Because it applies to music as well;
In his own words: “I still remember when I wrote my first poem. It happened in 1957. I was fifteen at that time. I attended the Huygens Luceum in Voorburg (Netherlands). Mister Korpershoek was my Dutch teacher. He could beautifylly read stories to us. He told about the group authors of the fifties and read poems of Hans Andreus, Remco Campert en Lucebert. In one of the poems there was a line ‘the river sat straight’. I don’t remember which poem it was. It certainly was something that wasn’t possible. I thought: that’s strange … But it encouraged me to try it myself. That afternoon I wrote my first poem. And the first line was: ’the ball is square’. It felt great that i could write down those words. I wanted to share it with everybody. That I made up those words. But luckily I shut my mouth”.
Long ago – or did it happen yesterday – a man harbored the dream of making a music record. Actually it’s quite ridiculous because he didn’t want to impose himself. He has nothing special to say, and even less does he know if it does his songs honor to put them on tape. Nevertheless, the idea floated around, so he wanted to do something with it. That seems to be usual with ideas. Therefore he also started this blog. After all, he can use a little support. And informing the online world (although it feels quite comfortable as long as you’re not read that much) can count as subtle push. Music has always affected him deeply and before that effect starts to fade away he wanted to do something with it. Nothing feels finer than to stumble upon a song by fooling around with the guitar. It’s always such a inexplicable mystery. If therefore the music is beautiful, that’s something else. But that’s also part of the greatness in music.To record an album in digital times, that’s also a mystery. He is not very keen on digital media, and guess that’s an understatement. But somehow they also make him a bit curious. So this struggle will also be part of the blog. The search process, the ups and downs, that’s the main focus. In the hope to end up somewhere. And it may also be a little further.