Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Total Music, Total Life

The last few days have involved complete immersion in music, which has been wonderful. Starting on Saturday with the chordsmithery of Lonely Tourist and the energy of the Flatmates (including a great sweary song which was the most joyful swear song that I've ever heard) and the entrancing stage persona of Lisa, their singer, moving on to Friedrich Sunlight who were the opening band at The Lexington on Sunday... wow.
Karina at work says the official name is Loungechore; it's gorgeous music. Kenji, who sings with Friedrich Sunlight, has a voice like the best honey, and his band of German musicians create a fluid and melodic background to the songs, filling out passages of music with lush harmonies in just the right places. 'We are the end of indie music', quipped the bass-player, 'That's German for "Hello"'.
One of the most appealing things was hearing lyrics sung in the German language. Later, Kenji told me what a challenge it is to sing pop music in German, and I can understand that, having learned it at school and sung some Brecht-Weill songs from time to time. But somehow, the language was exactly right for the music, and I felt like weeping for Europe. How can we possibly want to detach ourselves from our sisters and brothers across the channel? How can we have allowed ourselves to be ruled by brutes? We were holding hands with each other and now we seem to be slapping each other's faces; it's horrible.
I filmed some of it but I had to stop filming and start dancing, because my arms and legs would not stay still, and I felt so happy that I almost burst. Bang! Good job I didn't; that would have been a bit of a messy clean-up job.

Next revelation was Louis Philipe. I'd never latched on to any of his music before but there was a surge of people towards the stage when he and his band arrived. Sitting at a keyboard in a suit and deliberately uncool tie, he switched personae between being football writer, and a songwriter with an utterly angelic voice. Devoid of any sort of pretension or patting-self-on-back, he and his band pulled us on to a musical vehicle that mixed being a submarine, a train and an aeroplane, transitioning smoothly between octaves and moods without once being difficult. It was like being a baby and understanding a story read by a parent for the very first time. There wasn't a blueprint; the music just flowed across the stage and into the audience's ears uninterrupted by artifice or fakery.
I filmed a bit of this too but I'll have to sort the computer out before I can show you. If I can't do films at least I'd like to do photographs.
I bought the CDs by both bands, of course. And there the bands were, at the side of the stage singing along to The Monochrome Set who were the headliners and who had lots of new songs- as did everyone. Is it the new school term that stimulates everyone to write new songs in September and play them in November?
And on Monday, who should come to speak to the students at the University of the East? Who other than Stuart Moxham from the Young Marble Giants and The Gist (coincidentally, he had stayed at Louis Philippe's hoose the night before). Gently, he talked the students through his life in song, and even played a little for us all.
I think I detected the odd tear in the odd eye during the workshop.
Ain't that what it's all about?

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