Self portrait

Call Upon Some Saints’ Assistance

Good day, friends,

It’s been a long time… probably… since I was last in touch.
The world is a strange place, and while several parts of it are in disarray or literally on fire, among the things that seem to have become comparatively inconsequential
is
music.
More music, new music.
As you probably know, that particular ‘thing’ is pretty important to me. It’s in my blood and in my breath. But as a response to, say, the incomprehensible crime of modern slavery, the threats sent daily to public servants, the now-defunct glaciers, what can music offer but a pleasant distraction?
There’s an answer, but neither I nor my work have it.

When I last launched a recording project, Prince and Bowie were alive, and the 90s weren’t back in fashion yet. Thank you if you supported me and that project – I meant it, but its success wasn’t great in most measurable terms. Years later, I’ve grown up slightly (very slightly), gotten married and receded from public view. Against all good sense and against all hope, the multitude of ideas in me coalesces, and something calls me to go once more into the breach. If the pursuit of any art makes sense, my sensible course of action would be producing an EP, or single songs accompanied by a schedule of live appearances. But what has coalesced in my mind is broader – a collection, with a theme, with a projected dramatic arc – an album.

The strict idea of an album, too, has shifted in form since last I made one. So it seems vaguely anachronistic to throw all my work into a noncommercial, fifty-minute-ish opus. One that’s carefully sequenced, and even has two sides. Well, if I think in vinyl terms, call me Mr Anachronism because I love that form, that incarnation. It gives shape to what it holds – as with using a typewriter, its constraints demand some discipline too. This email, in fact, is being sent today because it’s my 33⅓ birthday – as if to compound the vinyl nerdishness.

Processed with VSCO with kp7 preset
Proof of the Existence of Vinyl

If you’d rather not hear about my creative work or life, that’s perfectly reasonable – go in peace, and please feel free not to respond. If you would, please say so! Just write here that you’d like to be on my list of saints. As I’ve realised that no work thrives when it’s undertaken alone, I’d love to identify my community and share with them the progress of what I’m doing with my one life. Leaving the door open for criticism, feedback, suggestions on what sounds good, looks good, or whatever you want to constitute your side of the conversation.

What I’m imagining is a fortnightly email from me (shinier, and less horribly wordy than this), with some writing on and links to things that have inspired me in recent times; personal updates; access to works-in-progress; big questions about life; smaller questions asked in search of advice. In one of the songs on my projected record, I write about the impulse to live creatively, and from there to living that life communally. That song turns around on the phrase “call upon some saints’ assistance”, and that’s exactly, unashamedly what I am doing now.

Will you walk with me? Whether you consider yourself saint, scholar or other, I call upon your help and continued friendship.

With all this saintly talk, I feel I should mention the patron saint of music. Her name is Cecilia, and her feast day is marked later this month in the UK. As a little sonic something, I offer a link to a demo version of a piece I wrote. It’s far from fully realised – forgive the general wonkiness – and being instrumental, isn’t indicative of the whole album’s vibe. Details of said album, and why I think it utterly worth putting into the public sphere, are forthcoming. But somehow it seems appropriate to start
here.

 

Thank you for reading,
Dream well,

Michael

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