Archives For My Music

If you are among the few readers of this blog, or perhaps among the one or two Facebook friends that are following what I create musically, you may be interested in this.

I’ve managed to pin a melody to some rhythm and bass that I put together a few weeks ago. Sometimes when I’m working on an idea, I’ll come up with multiple different avenues and if they’re good enough, I’ll record those and set them aside for another day.

This particular instrumental came out of some prayerful playing and is as it is. I used three different guitars for this piece and the free play (not pre-programmed) piano option on garage band. The title comes from a poem a wrote a few months back called Soliloquy & Symphony.

Both the poetry and music are original. I was faced with somewhat of a dilemma with the end result. My time spent mixing this split the song into separate versions. Each version is alike.The only real difference being the rhythm guitar section.

I had a hard time deciding on which tune to stick with so after much consideration I’ve decided on posting both.

I’ve also thrown in a poem for good measure, and in case you’re wondering, a bagatelle is a short piece of music written for piano.

Let me know which version you prefer. I’m partial to version 2, but also really like the more full, gritty sound the rhythm provides in version 1.

Pax Vobiscum.

Version 1: with rhythm.

Version 2: without rhythm.


(©RL2017)

Some songs come together. Others morph into new things with new beginnings. I tried a few different paths with this tune and ended up siding with simplicity. After my last few songs this year, I’ve worked hard to improve the mixing aspect and keep to the basics where possible. Using the same equipment and software, I’m aiming to the best with what I’ve got.

Let me know your thoughts 🙂

At the beginning of this term, I sat down and assigned a few songs for my youngest daughter to learn on the guitar. One of those songs was a tune we do in the mornings called Open the Eyes of My Heart.

It took her a few weeks to pull together the chords, and her skill level was where I expected it to be. My daughter did okay for a beginner, but then she blew me away with something completely unexpected.

With gusto, she started singing. I decided to record the “proud dad” moment and accompanied her. Here is that moment: (Bare in mind that this is the first time I’d actually heard her sing. Also, my daughter hasn’t had any formal vocal training and the song is recorded using a smartphone).

 


I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you…’

(Ephesians 1:16-18, ESV)

Song credit: Paul Baloche,  Integrity Music, 1997.

On my wall sits a quote from Oswald Chambers that reads:

.                    “our reach must exceed our grasp.”

The apostle Paul understood the kind of motivation this statement inspires. In chapter 12 of his letter to the early Roman Church, he writes, “do not be slothful in zeal, instead be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”

In part, we can bridge from Paul and Chambers to say, that though we may find the waters thick and heavy with thoughts of self-condemnation, self-defeat and self-doubt, we should not surrender to them. Even though we may feel past being able to grasp onto something that will take us beyond these, we must still reach, because we have been reached for!!

Whether all three self-negatives be the consequences of words spoken against us or echoes from an internalized pattern of responses long ago set in concrete by abuse, or lies we’ve told ourselves, the apostle’s much earlier proclamation speaks, denouncing all false claims on us:

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1)

It’s healthy to recognize the limitations of our understanding and ability, but we should never let this master us, as though that recognition gives credibility to lords who seek to paralyze, subdue and rule over and against us; as if Jesus Christ wasn’t, in fact, Lord.

To not be slothful in zeal may include taking a step back. Taking time to refocus, or re-calibrate and come back with a different approach in mind; to recognize the struggle as a learning experience; learning through the things that have caused us to become despondent, unresponsive or careless.

Education is in the imperative:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

To be fervent in spirit can involve pushing on through until we grasp that which was once beyond our reach. The proverbial, you have to dig in order to find the gold. In this we hear Dallas Willard’s call to understand that ”grace is opposed to earning, not to effort.” (The Great Omission)

‘To pray without ceasing; to rejoice in hope and be patient in tribulation” (Romans 12:12). To not give in to the whispers that in darkness seek to stop and condemn us, by saying “be nothing, do nothing, because you are nothing and can do nothing“.

In the face of this opposition, the apostle speaks, ”Let love be genuine. Hate that which is evil, cleave to that which is good”; “do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:9 & 12:21).

“Do not be slothful in zeal, instead be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord!!”

As Chamber’s said, our reach must exceed our grasp. If not, we go nowhere for having failed to see how firmly we are already held by God’s grace and the freedom that exists therein.In Jesus Christ we reach for the One who has already reached for us.

Education is in the imperative.

So with all this in mind, here is my creative offering for this week. It is part one of two posts where I have, as a guitarist, musician, Christian and writer, sought to reach beyond my grasp.


Red Halo: Assisi In Chains

February 25, 2017 — 4 Comments

Red Halo RL2017In his biography of St. Francis of Assisi, G.K.Chesterton refers to something he calls a ”Red Halo”. He does this twice in the book. (Link)

Each time the phrase is found in reference to Francis of Assisi. The first occurrence is when some town folk rush to put out a fire where Assisi was praying with Clare of Assisi, only to find, not a fire, but him collapsed and a Red Halo surrounding them. The second is when the younger Assisi is held captive in a dungeon after gearing up as a citizen soldier to fight in a skirmish with a warring neighbour. Evidently, their squad was captured.

‘Something very vast and universal was already present in that narrow dungeon; and such a seer might have seen in its darkness that red halo of caritas caritatum which marks one saint among saints as well as among men.’ [i]

The once-an-atheist, Chesterton wasn’t to my knowledge, and wide reading of his work, into, nor was he an advocate of mysticism. So it’s fair to say that “Red Halo’’ is for intent and purposes a metaphor used to emphasise what he sees as being a strange alien quality to Assisi; something to suggest that Assisi was grasped by something, or rather, someone not of this world.

This week’s instrumental is inspired by that phrase.

‘If a man may well doubt whether he is worthy to write a word about St. Francis, he will certainly want words better than his own to speak of the friendship of St. Francis and St.Clare. I have often remarked that the mysteries of this story are best expressed symbolically in certain silent attitudes and actions. And I know no better symbol than that found by the felicity of popular legend, which says that one night the people of Assisi thought the trees and the holy house were on fire, and rushed up to extinguish the conflagration. But they found all quiet within, where St. Francis broke bread with St. Clare at one of their rare meetings, and talked of the love of God. It would be hard to find a more imaginative image, for some sort of utterly pure and disembodied passion, than that red halo round the unconscious figures on the hill; a flame feeding on nothing and setting the very air on fire.’ [ii]

As for the creative process, my primary goal was to use a riff I had come up with on a tablet. That didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped and as a result, the tune changed into what you hear in the YouTube video. The focus of the melody is the piano. The lead guitar was down in two parts. My idea here was to use it as a filler. The bass is both guitar and keys running through an FX. I also had not intended on the harmony in the background. When I fiddled with the second lot of keys in the effects on audacity the second set turned out as it is in the recording. Slightly eerie, but intensely cool, given the subject matter. As with all things I’m doing here, I’m learning a lot each time and having fun doing it.

As with all of my music, because I am only using free mixing software at the moment, all are best heard through decent speakers or headphones. I’ve found that some headphones cut out the base and others swing the sound to mono.

Pax Christi!


Notes:

[i] Chesterton, G.K. 1923 Saint Francis of Assisi, Henderickson Classics

[ii] ibid, 1923

Music & Art are my own.

(©RL2017)

More reflective/easy listening than I’m normally posting. The bass is slightly sloppy in some parts, but I’m happy with how that turned out. I did add drums to this, but I wasn’t 100% happy with the timing of the sequences.

So, I’ve stuck with the the ”no drums” version. If you think the title is odd; as in it doesn’t fit, I’d have to say I don’t fully disagree with you. Its the title of a poem in the works, hence the tag, instrumental edition, in parenthesis.

I figured the title reflected the artwork, plus the idea of flight was something that seems to fit the tune.

the-light-of-halos-in-flight

I was going to use “Trans Cendent Airlines”, but I doubled back because it’s ambiguous and I wanted something closer to the heart that put this tune together.

Enjoy your flight. 😛

Sola Deo Gloria.

 


Thanks for listening…

phantasmagoriaI apologize for my tardiness this month. I have plenty to talk about, just not a whole lot of time at the moment to put it into the kind of well referenced and presented article that is worthy of you, the reader.

I have however, sat down for the first time in over a month and put together a new song.

Phantasmagoria (We Are the Six O’clock News) is a piece inspired by Larry Norman’s 1972 song ‘Six O’clock News’ off of his album of the same year, ‘Only Visiting This Planet’.

My first goal was to set up a gritty 70’s lead guitar. Then fix the timing of the bass. Something I ended up completely replaying at a slower tempo. I then layered that with keys, and landed with a more modern, rugged and complete sound.

The lack of lyrics and vocals is what probably let’s this down, but I wasn’t trying to create a cover song. I was seeking to create something completely new and ended up here.

I’ve also tried to follow the protest theme by adding a copy of one of my favourite Banksy artworks. (I’m fairly certain that this is public domain, if not, contact me and I’ll happily remove it.)

Norman’s own protest, hits out at how bloodthirsty photo journalism can become, when on the Left it’s used to control a narrative in the service of activism, and on the Right, as a cash cow.

Given that the Vietnam War was the first conflict of its type to bring the war into the homes of ordinary Americans, Australians and New Zealanders, all of whom had supported the South Vietnamese in their struggle against the aggression of the Communist North, journalists and activists, both became and benefited from being, part of the “military industrial complex” in some way shape or form.

While I acknowledge the Randian greed of those on the right during this time in a shared history between Australia and America, it’s just as important to highlight the sins of the Left. When it came to veterans, team ‘’inclusion’’ and “tolerance” went AWOL, spat on, ridiculed, shamed and mistreated them.They were more than happy to use veterans as poster boys, but post-war? Nada. Move on, nothing now of use to us here.

It’s this critique that confronts us today. Neither side can truly save us. All have fallen short of the glory of God and in answer to such, there is no other savior and eternal just judge, for we have but one and His name is Jesus Christ.

‘And what a name for a Judge! The Savior-anointed – Jesus Christ: he is to be the judge of all humanity. Our Redeemer will be the Umpire of our destiny.’
(Charles Spurgeon, Commentary on Romans 2)

Beware the auctioneers.