Open Skies Exploding – 3rd Release
How is your new year so far? It’s interesting that humans think they can start over, have a fresh perspective, or administer change in a more forceful way because a temporal log (our calendar) deems it so. But we do what we have to do –psychologically – to enable action. Years carry meaning as do the months that fill them. In real terms our time is marked by a trip around a star. The month of January is a human creation in which a certain culture created a marker for the progression of this time. Our planet has been orbiting said star for approximately 4.5 billion years. I wonder what month the earth was born, January? HA, yeah right! Speaking of birthdays, happy birthday to Dave R., Jamie V, Jeremy B., Chris B., and Dwayne K., (just a few off the top of my head). May every one of your days be noted for its uniqueness and potential!
In the picture you see here I had only orbited the sun 9.5 times. Today I mark a little over 50.5 jaunts around the sun (I was born on July 6). Fifty is insignificant when you think of 4.5 billion… yet we try to make significance out of our overtly short existence. I use music and songwriting to do this. I try to use social interactions as well to give some sort of meaning in my life. It gives me a sense of purpose in the meaninglessness of time and space. Sometimes I struggle to find a point to writing songs – or anything for that matter. Innately I know there is no meaning other than what we inject our experiences with… but this is a whole existential discussion I don’t want to go into right now. I only bring it up because I use meaning (like we all do) to give backbone to actions (physically, and psychologically). Getting out of bed sometimes needs a purpose worthy of something other than going to the bathroom, eating and drinking, or paying the bills. Two songs represent this week’s infusion of purpose: Railroad Self and Punch of the Day.
Railroad Self was a lingering chord progression, left over from my Last of the Curlews project. Recently I felt the need to throw it back into the coliseum of combat to finish it off. One way to enable spontaneity is to simply force yourself into a position where you need to react without planning. My friend Kevin Wiggins and I occasionally do this with great success in the realm of writing songs. We find meaning in this through our intent. Whenever we hang out, music appears where music was not. Without knowing what the heck I was going to do I invited Kev’ over for a night at Chateau Fornance. Railroad Self and the beginnings of Elephant Dreams (another song to be released) manifested in the blur of good vibes and expensive whisky. I know it was a good night because Kevin fell asleep on my front porch, head hanging over the rhododendron, while (luckily) the next morning revealed I had a great recording, perfunctorily and blindly done in the wee hours, now residing safely on my hard drive.
Kevin played drums to my acoustic guitar; the song happened. ‘Nuff said. The rest is up to you and your interpretation. Perhaps you’ll find your own meaning in these lyrics and the way I sing them… or as you sing them? I sincerely hope so. Here's live version of this song in video form - nice and raw.
The 2nd song, Punch of the Day, was written into existence with the help of Jeremy Beck then Francis Dunnery, (aka Big Des). The construction of this song is a bit longer than some of the other songs… but sometimes you have to work for it, or at least inject that which is not normally used. Initially I took the song to Jeremy’s castle in Wilmington Delaware. I wanted to bounce the idea of this song off his savant disposition. He never lets me down. On a side note, you’ll get to see him in an upcoming video for another song he was involved with, Light of Things. Thinking about it, the lethal combination of Beck and Big Des has contributed to some of my personal favorites on this new album. Back to the story… luckily I had my mini-recorder as Jeremy played a piano harmonic progression under my vocal melody. I would never have come up with this, and that is exactly why I traveled through the night on horseback to his castle. What you hear, bookending the song is Jeremy on his old piano, in his parlor, with me counting a tempo, raw and pure. The horse ride back to my northern chateau that night was cheery and warm because of his musical and dispositional character. Did we drink mead that night? I forget.
Days later I traveled northwest to the house of the reclusive Big Des. Des lives with his mom and doesn’t get out much. He wears cardigans, likes a cap to keep his shaved head warm, drinks PG Tips, and occasionally smokes a pipe (but only in his bedroom). Big Des has no patience for tom-tom and hi-hat microphones. He thinks more than four microphones on a drum kit is for window-lickers. He also never learns a song. He just plays along and that’s what you get – two or three takes max. He knows three drum-fills and takes direction poorly (he’ll tell you to fuck-off if you offer any suggestions). He could care less if you use his ideas or not and he won’t be bothered to listen to a finished version of the song when done. He is the epitome of an individual living in the present… and for this I love to tread softly and occasionally entreat myself to his method.
The story of this song then continues again with Jeremy Beck taking a carriage ride to my dwelling where he played my old piano overtop of Big Des’ recorded drum statement. With Jeremy I tend to just get out of the way and make sure I’m always recording… oh, and have some nice whisky on hand to add a glow to the night. He played brilliantly and his piano ideas in the bridge verses are sublime. They match and reflect the potency of the lyrics (for me) perfectly.
Lastly, as I was about to mix, I had my mate Francis Dunnery play a solo in the instrumental bridge. Why did I not play a solo? Because I know what I would have done and I wanted something else. Francis has a sensitivity I trust when understanding the emotional weight of a song and how that correlates to melodic choices. He delivered without edit. Listen to it and tell me differently.
I’ll close by saying I hope you imbue your own sense of meaning in these songs (and my others). Maybe you’ll be experiencing something where these make sense to you now. Maybe this won’t happen for a year or years? Either way, I hope we can connect at some point in our lives as we rush around the sun marking time. Sharing and creating meaning together is what we do in our social existence. Music is a most efficient catalyst for this. I’m releasing these songs because I hope to be able to do that in some way with you. If I don’t, the vacuum of “me” becomes overbearing and the progression of time has little purpose other than lonely insipid ponderings.
We’ll catch up later in our orbit! For now head over to my Bandcamp page and welcome the arrival of newborn twins into the social sea of 2017
Brett William Kull ~ 7 January, 2017