Posts Tagged ‘Peter Gabriel

14
Mar
17

3/14/07 – First Post

Well, here we are at last — my first official blog.  It does feel good to be reaching out to you (whoever you may be) after all this time!  With the release of my new album just around the corner, it goes without saying that these are exciting times for me….and what a pleasure it is to be finally one-on-one with you.

The new album, “IN THE TEMPLE OF THE MUSE”, was recorded with many of the same musicians and friends that helped me out with my first album, “IN THE HOUSE OF STONE AND LIGHT”:  Neil Taylor (Tears For Fears, and now working with Robbie Williams); Brian Fairweather (my partner from my Q-Feel days); Jack Hues (Wang Chung); and Bill Dillon (of Robbie Robertson, Sarah McLachlan, Peter Gabriel fame) all helped out on guitars.  I was lucky enough to again have Jimmy Copley on live drums.  He’s well known for his work with Tears For Fears, Go West, Jeff Beck and Paul Rogers.  So I had an excellent supporting cast, yet again, to make me look good.  The remaining instruments, and all the vocals, were played or performed by yours truly.  It was a great adventure to play everything from Spanish nylon guitar to 5-string bass to all manor of keyboards.

I also took the liberty to engineer and mix the album myself at home.  As always, my demos were the fundamental root of all the recorded songs, and I believe the rough, organic mood in which these songs were recorded shows the songs off in their true spirit.  As the new songs were very personal, I wanted a rawness and spontaneity to be present in the home recordings.  I used a great deal of vintage analog equipment to achieve this.  I’m a great believer that demos are masters, and that the studio should be a church of creativity and pure emotion, and not a sterile factory.  In many ways, that’s why I chose the title of the new album, “IN THE TEMPLE OF THE MUSE” (which, by the way, was the name of a famous book shop in London back, I believe, in Lord Byron’s, Shelley’s and Wordsworth’s time):  Many of the songs were written, and recorded in the studio simultaneously.

Anyway, the release of the new work is, as I mentioned, just around the corner.  Artwork and design, photos, electric press kits, etc., etc., are all being finalized as we speak, so …… we are nearly there.  This is the first release on my own independent label, IRONINGBOARD RECORDS, and I must say, it has been fun doing it myself….a terrific feeling of freedom.  Taking the responsibility to make choices that are usually not allowed the artists by the major (corporate) record labels, has been refreshing and rewarding – something I needed to do at this stage of my career.

Ultimately, it’s all about the songs for me – their emotions and their message.  From as early as I can remember, the song was everything … and still is to me.  Having said that, I’ll finish my first official blog and get back to the home studio, and of course to the all-important cup of tea (I am English, after all).   Thanks for listening.  Speak to you soon.

Martin.

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20
Nov
07

11/20/2007 – Signposts

I was just recalling how music, in particular certain albums, has influenced me during pivotal times in my life.  Whether as a schoolboy – full of rebellion and attitude; or as a teenager frequenting the local dance halls looking for girls; or as a budding bassist/songwriter learning every lick from every 45-record I could get my hands on; or as a mature man experiencing life’s ever-changing triumphs and disappointments, certain albums and songs have come along to mark milestones, as it were, in my life.  When I hear these recordings again today, I am instantly transported back to the time and place when those familiar melodies first seduced me – complete with all the emotions and feelings that I felt way back then.  How many times has a song become consolation for a sad moment or a celebration for an occasion of joy?  Music, like no other art form, has the power to embed itself into the fabric of our life story.  For instance …

I remember, as a teenager, traveling with my parents to America for the first time.  As a result of my father’s career in aviation engineering, we moved constantly between military air bases, and I often felt lonely being separated from my friends back in England.  I would spend my time secluded in my room, listening over and over again to the pastoral magnificence of Genesis’ progressive rock masterpiece, “Selling England By The Pound”.  This album, with its visions and atmospheres of ancient Albion, ignited my imagination and became my passport home to the green fields of Southern England.  It became my confidante and good friend during lonely days and nights.

At a crucial crossroads for me in 1973, I remember hearing Elton John’s seminal double album, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”.  Every song on this epic work was a mini-movie unto itself.  I was entranced by Bernie Taupin’s cinematic and literate lyrics.  Not one track on this inspired work was filler material (a very rare phenomenon these days!).  Not sure at the time whether I should pursue a career as a professional soccer player, a graphic design artist or as a – God forbid – musician, hearing this album made my mind up for me.  So, I purchased my first serious guitar and set off for the Yellow Brick Road myself, hoping to become the romantic troubadour I secretly, deep down, longed to be.

Of course, any music by the Beatles holds fond memories for me, as I grew up in their heyday, with their songs.  In particular, whenever I hear, “A Hard Days Night,” I’m whisked back to my school days and my first crush on a girl in my class:  I recall trying to impress her by singing the song to her during a fateful lunch break (I hasten to report, she was infinitely more interested in the cookies and milk that she was devouring than she was in my passionate performance!).

Each one of us has our own personal musical soundtrack, so I thought it would be fun to share mine with you.  Here are twenty albums that have hugely influenced and touched me:

 

1. A HARD DAYS NIGHT – The Beatles 11. THE PRETENDER – Jackson Browne
2. ABBEY ROAD – The Beatles 12. WHAT’S GOING ON – Marvin Gaye
3. FOX TROT – Genesis 13. JOHNNY THE FOX – Thin Lizzy
4. SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND – Genesis 14. MUSIC OF MY MIND – Stevie Wonder
5. GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD – Elton John 15. CATCH A FIRE – Bob Marley & The Wailers
6. SECURITY – Peter Gabriel 16. THUNDER THUMBS & LIGHTENING LICKS – The Brothers Johnson
7. I AM – Earth, Wind & Fire 17. THE GOLDEN AGE OF WIRELESS – Tom Dolby
ZIGGY STARDUST – David Bowie 18. SO – Peter Gabriel
9. COURT AND SPARK – Joni Mitchell 19. THE COLOUR OF SPRING – Talk Talk
10. THE MOTHERSHIP CONNECTION – Parliament 20. A WALK ACROSS THE ROOFTOPS – The Blue Nile

 

In today’s rush of noise, speed and commotion, it’s somehow reassuring to re-visit the music of more innocent times, when a simple tune and mood stirred our deepest feelings, reached into our hearts and became our trusted companion; these remain emotional signposts for each of us throughout our journey.

 

“Come, said the muse

Sing me a song no poet has chanted,

Sing me the Universal.”

 

  • Walt Whitman

Thanks for stopping by.

– Martin

P.S.  I was recently made aware by a friend, of the desperate plight of the Yellowstone Buffalo.  Please visit www.buffalofieldcampign.org to learn more and help.