cover for sketches
sketches
01. Help Me Gawd
02. Keep the Priest
03. Seeing Things
04. inside out
05. Both Eyes
06. tTalking
07. Burned Down
08. Get This Straight
09. Darknesses Everywhere
10. Marmalademore
11. Where She Lives
12. Believe it when I..

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intro..

Maybe you know the story, I put this together for a friend last year, and it escaped into the real world.

That's the short version.

Perhaps it's time to tell a longer one. These are sketches, of course. One-offs. Just what it says on the can; sketches. Unworked, unwashed, first-takes, fresh out of the womb of songs, and barely able to stand, let alone walk. Often I miss these myself, they have a peculiar quality in their raw form.

The friend is a heroin addict, hopelessly lost, and once heard track one. Could I make a copy? Of course.

I'm not AOL, and I couldn't just put one track on the disk, could I? I have a folder, an inbox for songs, and started scrolling through it, looking for, well, fillers, I guess. Can any sort of song be just that? I don't think so - the silliest, most insignificant works seem to ring true somewhere, who can tell such things - so I selected, the addiction is significant in the selection, I remember, and the more I listen to it now, as a selection, the more it seems to make more sense like that. Was I trying to say something? Who isn't?

So I'll break it down, track-by-track, I can't tell you *everything*, you'll just have to listen. But I can throw you some clues, perhaps you can see the patterns better from there. Connexions. You'll be glad to hear that old analogue echo-box has since bit the dust, a God-Send really. What isn't?

01. Help Me Gawd

Yes, a noisy mess of a piece, but still, I want to play it over and over, loud, and so will you! This was how it escaped; her son made a copy, you see, and so it goes. Perhaps my third-favourite piece in the selection at this time, its simple riffs and childish hooky lyrics do their job well enough, teasing and toying with my ears. The childishness fits, describing this approach to God perfectly (she has troubles with God, you see, Big troubles). The vocal sonics progress from a vague, lost, restless anger, to something resembling powerful self-awareness, finally throwing themselves into the next Valley. The phonetic spelling of God is your starter for ten.

Note: there's a lot of electric guitar in sketches, much more than I generally do, so perhaps that thing I was trying to say, by picking these noisy tracks, I was trying to Say It Loud. Though more likely just a phase I was going through.

02. Keep the Priest

For me this an interesting track because it's a rare recording of how I sounded on this Dholak drum before I soaked it and tuned it (actually, sorry Dek, I ripped the bottom clean off it and used fat rope to tie the cords into! Sounds great! You didn't really want it back, though, did you, good man!) and actually sat down to practice with the thing. Nevertheless, I managed to capture the gist all right (tapping at your computer keyboard gets you to about this level of mastery!). That Dholak track is also the only overdub in sketches. Which means I went back and added it afterwards. Has anyone trained their feet to play the Tabla? That might be a worthwhile endeavour for my next drum.

The lyric is as clear as a bell, a vibrant reinforcement of the evolution of track one. It was an obvious choice for track two, finger-tapping good, and with a simple message; "There is no man between me and God". This was one of those songs that arrived with all the lyrics fully-formed and I strummed like a bastard hoping I wouldn't forget the ending.

03. Seeing Things

It took a while for this one to grow on me, but I always liked the idea of it. Your idea of success and mine are different things. That influences almost everything about us, the way we say and do things, our seeing. It offers the idea that maybe if you fast forwarded your life, or I did, we'd see more things the same. And that that possibility exists right now, and we could even take it, and see the same thing, about everything. Also, Union regulations say I have to play a Major 7th chord every so many songs, so it was easy enough to slip that in here.

04. inside out

A ditty. I'm still not sure why I dropped this in here. The obvious lyric stuff makes sense, but it's not like me to work on exteriors, and the underlying thread would snap if that's all there was. I'm still thinking about what I might do with this ditty. The ending is a perfect intro for the next track, though. Maybe that's why it's here.

05. Both Eyes

Still on seeing. Both Eyes, is about seeing things from both sides, in order to choose one path. I'm talking about decision, in its Latin sense - not that I know much Latin - we split reality with every decision we make. We chose this or that. We go left or right. How can we know the real consequences of any decision? Yet we let these things influence decisions. Both Eyes is about making decisions based on what we know to be right, rather than what we fear the least. It's about two people making a decision that splits their lives, they walk separate paths, and neither understands why the other did what they did.

Opening both eyes may be a cute wee metaphor for seeing both sides of a thing, like seeing 3D instead of 2D, but it's probably significant that there's a current running through lots of my stuff where the right side equates to the future, the left, the past. So both eyes being open is also about focusing on the moment, free of the imbalance of worry about the future, regrets from the past, it's about being here and feeling, rather than the seeing, knowing, rather than thinking, what is and isn't the right thing to do.

06. tTalking

I've always been fascinated and overwhelmed by the power of words. But when they are Spoken! Oh fit! Perhaps that's why my written words often come out speaked, folk mention it, so that's two people saying the same thing to me, at least, and that's usually worth at least a listen. It's intentional.

But it's so much noise when it's just talking. I don't have a lot of time for small talk. It interferes with the music of living, and devalues the good stuff. This is what I'm tTalking about..

Heroin seems to shut down the higher parts of the mind. Imagine that you were addicted to drinking India Ink. Every morning you guzzle a whole bottle of the stuff down, can't help yourself. Then, a while later, when the convulsions have stopped, you head out to the shops. Although you know it will take a whole day to wash the India Ink from your mouth and face, you head out in the unquestioned belief that no one will notice. More than that, you will be shocked when they point to the large streaks of black on your face. You will say it is acid rain, or a felt-tip pen burst, or..

Small talk, before they get close enough for you to see those Gigantic pupils you'll be hit with it. If your lover won't stare you in the face, and talks continuously about the weather or TV or any old trivial shite instead of real stuff, well, maybe they aren't having an affair, maybe it's an addiction.

Okay, I'm illustrating. It's a curse! A scourge on society! It was designed for visiting the Post Office, and even then, only until you get to know the person who runs it. Small talk. Talktalktalktalktalk. If you're new to me, you'll discover I touch on this more than once.

07. Burned Down

Firstly, this is based on a true story. Three, in fact. The details don't matter, what matters is the lyric. It's about someone getting themselves into a state of complete powerlessness, a state where their deepest, darkest desires and longings have become manifest in their thoughts, become real in their life. And her house burned down.

It starts with her birth. The rose being her soul. The storm being life, but also the fire, the inner fire, the one that burns and wants expression, and ends with individual possessions burning. The spices, these were rarely used, for show. The faces, are photographs. Her family weren't so good to her. Those horses, they run no more. The final possession, the indestructible toy - I was thinking like a Tonka Toy from the 70's - obviously has defied it's nature and been destroyed (a real Tonka would survive) leaving nothing. This implies rebirth, the down being into the earth, like ashes do, and kundalini doesn't. Now think of the rose, how it is red, how we plucked it from the earth.

Quietly, right at the end, you hear a small prayer for rain, and so the cycle is re-initiated. Clever stuff, huh.

08. Get This Straight.

A ditty, but a complete one, and perfectly in its place. Fitting neatly as an evolution of the previous piece, made statement. "What the mind can conceive and believe ..." is preparation, I guess, for "Those things you want, especially the things you tell yourself you don't, WILL manifest". Get This Straight is simply the realisation that past desires have become manifest, an acceptance that had this not happened, those desires would still be hidden, causing trouble, instead of guiding.

Some might say they want recognition, when really they mean fame. They might say they want security, or peace, or comfort, but really they're talking about money, or vice versa. Someone might say "I love You", but really they just want attention, or they might love you, of course.

Get This Straight is about accepting that while I'm a long way off perfect, the events in my life are my own doing, no one is to blame, thanks, I'm fine with being me. I'd not intentionally hurt another, so it's crazy to beat myself up about passed mistakes; especially when they were so valuable, such essential evolution. We live and learn and live and learn and (repeat to fade - or just loop it) I was too close to the mic, or something.

09. Darknesses Everywhere

Forgiving the uncropped intro, this is probably my favourite piece in the collection. From the getgo is sings to the muses, you know. And that's what it's all about, the struggle, between the animal and spiritual in every human. That activity of intellect prevents humans from truly being, makes them unreal.

I didn't mean the piece to go the way it did, there's a hesitant moment near the start where you can hear it pull away from me, I have little control after that. The noise in the middle (and again right at the end) is a take on the sound from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, where they raise their arm and scream to the other aliens.. a human has been located.

If you've ever lived near the junkie world, geographically or otherwise, you'll know that every morning there is a flurry of zombie activity. To the untrained eye their undead ways may be difficult to spot, but they are all over now. And what can you do about it? You could try something to pull them out, but really, the ticket to Junkie-City is usually one-way.

10. Marmalademore

This piece is about eating marmalade. And then some more marmalade. And then we have the after-taste. It's all perfectly clear, I think.

11. Where She Lives

On the surface, it's an interrogation. Did I kill her? Over and over and over. The tiredness at the start, the slurring, that's not drugs, you know. And over and over. I didn't kill her.

And then there is a breakthrough, as Morse probably wouldn't say, and it starts to get personal. That's all I have to say about the surface of things here

So I'm interrogating myself, and I'm asking, did I have an impact somewhere? How can we see all the effects of our actions, no matter how "good" the intentions, the effects may be "bad", that is, bad for someone. How can we tell, like that old lady we help across the busy road with her messages, she gets home three minutes earlier, and doesn't miss the burglars, now lies on her kitchen floor, head smashed in, robbed and dead, instead of coming home to find her holiday savings teapot in pieces. How can we tell? And that's all I'm saying about that, for now.

12. Believe it when I..

Here's how we can tell. Well, partly. Here in purgatory, we have action, right. We do shit. Thinking, speaking, we're clever bastards, yup. We can do it all. And this creates products, and some of those products can be bought and sold, and some can't, and you don't need to say "I believe in my knees", because they are right there in the middle of your legs, belief is wasted on them. Faith is another matter.

It's a joke, see? "I'll believe it when I see it". Did you ever think about that? At the point of seeing, belief is no longer required. Belief is for things you can't see, things you don't know, a framework to hang your other experiences on. Did I spoil the joke for you? Maybe. But when you're certain of a thing, what need is there for belief?

And it works both ways.

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