11|06|07   Southern Amp ticket give-away

So, as most of you will probably know by now, we’re scheduled to perform at Southern Amp this coming weekend. I’m wildly grateful to the guys at CHART and RDU for inviting us onto their stage, but I have to admit that as much as I am wildly looking forward to it, I am also rather anxious about it all. Why? I constantly have this horrid picture in my mind that I once saw at Germany’s Bizarre Festival in 2001.

In 2001 there were three stages, or more accurately, one main stage and two largish tents, one with upcoming alternative acts, one for dance and electronic music. In addition to these very enjoyable and respectable epicenters of live performances, there was a fourth stage, and the scenes I witnessed at this fourth stage are the cause of my anxieties.

You’ve probably all been to festivals like these or seen them on TV… 50.000-100.000 people, with tents, garbage and unsanitary toilets sprawled out like an apocalyptic refugee camp. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all great fun and all, but at some point over the 3 to 4 days you mentally tire, and all you want to do is chill out for a bit. So naturally one tends to spend at least one half of a day perusing the obligatory stalls filled to the brim with band t-shirts, bongs and batik wall hangings.

So anyhow, I wandered around and lo and behold I stumbled across a fourth stage! Wow, I thought, who plays here? There was no mention of a fourth stage in my program, no indication on the map, no… oh wait, yes there was! There in the far corner of my brochure… an (*) asterix symbol with a grand total explanation of: “local talent stage”.

The area around the stage was deserted. The PA was a tiny system reminiscent of country bands playing at the local farmer’s markets. No one watched, and, what’s more, despite being half a mile from the main stage, they were hardly audible over the wind-swept echos of the out-of-tune Offspring singer. I shuddered, walked on, and actually forgot all about this episode until a week or two ago when I started to ponder the rather more imminent Southern Amp and how this day might unfold for us.

As I see it, there are two fundamental ways our local stage might play out: 1) the local stage could be the equivalent of the Bizarre Festival’s tents (small, but with great vibes happening), or 2) like the comically absurd fourth “local talent” stage: abandoned, desolate – an embarrassing afterthought.

Fingers crossed! right? :) Thus far, it certainly looks like it should be great fun. The event, as a whole, seems like it has been very well organized, and there are definitely some exciting acts performing, so my worries are clearly not grounded in anything other than general performance anxiety and a sorry booking for some sorry German act in the summer of 2001. Hopefully, after Saturday, that memory will once again disappear into the mist.

Anyhow, if you’ve managed to read this far, you might yet be in for a treat. If, and only if, you live in Christchurch, email me during the next 48 hours at info(at)theenrighthouse(dot)com with “SA ticket give away” in the email subject and a contact name and phone number in the body, and on Thursday night, I will take all emails I receive and draw one winner (I don’t know how yet, but I’ll be sure to document it with photos in the interest of transparency! Ha). Once the fraud is committed, err, I mean the fair and balanced process completed, I’ll send the winner an email with my cell phone number, and txt/call you on Friday morning with info on where you can pick up two free tickets for Saturday’s Southern Amp!

Good luck.

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11|01|07   I never thought I’d see this

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10|30|07   Stillness, poetry and music

Mary Jones.

Mary is generally very good at living. She is highly intelligent, well-educated, and enviably successful at making sound and moral decisions in her life. She also happens to be a poet with a marvelous knack for transforming the familiar and forgotten into something odd, gentle and worth remembering:

Somewhere Between Here and There

At dusk, when tide is low, the silver water turns dull
unpolished and scratched by wind that growls
across the tips of waves, choppy as a see-saw.
The fish are lined up on the shore like soldiers,
washed up after bobbing along the froth.
Rattling, red-brown leaves shake on branches
and, shaking off inhibitions, fly away with a dry rustle,
scratching together airborn–like insect wings.
The smell of the salt off the sea is dry;
it sticks in the throat before the wind
changes directions, but leaves a scaly aftertaste.
The fish on the sand are the biggest I’ve ever seen,
swollen and half-buried beneath drifts of salt and sand.
I reached over and traced the edges of the scales,
dry instead of wet, glinting like well-worn pennies.
Their mouths were open tunnels, big enough to hold
a matchbox racecar, but lined with white teeth,
tiny as maggots, nothing inside but ink.
The eye sockets were deep and dark,
the gelatinous membranes eaten away,
empty as a playroom outgrown and abandoned
somewhere between here and there.

Songs of ours where Mary’s poetry can be heard:

An old piece of mine called One Of Many Dinner Conversations [mp3 6.3MB], and two songs off of the new album, A Maze and Amazement, called Solitaire [video on cliptip] and Remember The Stillness.

Remember The Stillness

I can’t rememember the precise moment when I started paying more attention to the combination of spoken word and music, but suffice it to say it’s been a few years now, and my interest in it continues to intensify. Here are three marvelous examples from the classical world:

Exerpt from Knee 5 by Philip Glass (from his opera “Einstein On The Beach”):

Philip GlassKnee 5

Exerpt from Steve Reich’s The Cave:

Exerpt from Delta Run by Annea Lockwood:

Annea LockwoodDelta Run

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10|25|07   Dayvan Cowboy

Just for a moment my world is brightly lit. Boards of Canada is droning major chords through my sun-flooded living room, thick with glittering dust. Today is spring cleaning day; tomorrow might yet be beautiful; next month I will let myself fall into the great America; and next year everything is possible again.

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10|13|07   A Maze and Amazement album now out

click to purchase album via CD Baby

Thanks to A Low Hum and Border, our brand new album, “A Maze And Amazement“, is finally out in New Zealand.

Now most bands would at this point immediately ask you to go and buy their new album. Truth be told, I couldn’t care less about persuading you to buy it. What really matters to me is that you take a chance on it and give it a few minutes of your precious time and just listen to a few songs… if you live in New Zealand, just go to any decent record store, ask to have a listen, skip to a random song, press play and close your eyes for a few minutes.

Now I know that even asking you to listen to a few songs of ours is in many ways a big favor to ask, living as we do in an era of total media over-saturation and in which the incessant clamor of the mediocre drowns out so very much. Maybe we’re ultimately just part of the static buzz, but I need to believe that this record can lift itself out of the all-pervasive fog and into someone’s very own private heart. I know it all sounds far too corny and serious at the same time, but please give this record a chance… of course it won’t be for everyone, but this record is like a child to me, and I will be loyal to it beyond reason, because that’s just what it takes to create things in a world where things fall apart so readily and without a murmur.

So… in the spirit of things, I put the entire album up on last.fm where you can stream all tracks whenever and how ever-often you like, and should you eventually decide that owning this record might contribute something valuable to your life, then you can trade your money for our creative efforts by purchasing the album in New Zealand record stores or online at amplifier.co.nz or smokecds.com.

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