posted on November 26, 2007 at 9:14 am

i propose a new music
a music not paying lipservice to the blues
a music freed up from key and tempo restraints
music that can morph organically up and down
slower faster slower
music in which the instruments co operate
not run through their set parts
instruments that operate as a conversation
instruments which illustrate the words
instruments which come in play their bit and depart
instruments content to be points in a tapestry
let the musicians question every single note and beat
and ask themselves
let the musicians open minds match their dexterity of fingers
let their deep traditional knowledge be matched by spontaneity
let the songs be long or short
with without words
in all or no languages
let the aim of this music be to be gloriously Beautiful
every single time
let its standard be ecstatic bliss
let it explore every level of music
let the music be a true accompaniment to the words
as actors are to other actors
not merely the backdrop or scenery
let the musicians dare to embrace any silences necessary
let the singers sing wild powerful songs
let the singers be old and young
let the singers be men and women
let the singers sing every word with thought and feeling
let the musicians strive to bewitch and intoxicate
let startling originality be the most revered attribute
(so long as it contains Beauty)
experiments will not be admired for their own sake
only if they uncover Beauty
Beauty defined as that which exhilarates through its excellence
by the love and thought applied to it
by its classical ideal
and its modern innovations
the pursuit of lovely otherness
the pursuit of the gods own music
the pursuit of symphonic ambience
the pursuit of orgasmic crescendo
let the words be different
let the words contain truth and imaginative fantasy
let the words be written from love
even if words of hate or bitterness
let them be unbearably poignant
let them rhyme or not
let them be clever or not
let them be sensual or subtle
let them never be oafish
let the music be free
let the concerts be free
let the music be subsidised as we now subsidise war
let the music ring on and on
let the music describe the great universe
and the intricate abstract
let the music come
will it
demand it
expect it

36 Responses to “music from a perfect world”

  1. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 November 2007 at 10:07 am #

    A noble ideal….but as you once said to me…is it art? Beauty for the sake of beauty renders it as mere decoration….not that there is not a place for decoration, it certainly serves a purpose…but my belief is that the truest art contains a closer examination of the stuff of life. Beauty as a result of the artist’s investigation of this I think is ultimately more valuable and engaging.

    Does metal music conform to this standard? I don’t know a great deal of the genre but on face value I’d say a good deal of it certainly could. Fantasy, displacement, alienation etc. The human condition.

    The role music plays in one’s life can surely not be easily boxed.


  2. avatar
    esne snoner | 26 November 2007 at 10:07 am #

    you really should get out more sk – the way you describe your perfect music is often the way i feel at any number of live shows though especially at the likes of womadelaide basking in the beauty of the gardens there and surrounded by like-minded music fans soaking up one performance after another of pure music from totally authentic performers – yes to me it’s already out there – music from a perfect world – sounds like a great title for a new church album ps for a big treat get ye down to the sound lounge on sat night to catch the alister spence trio delivering a close to perfect set of music with a stunning visual presentation

  3. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 November 2007 at 10:18 am #

    You’re music, words and voice already do that sk. You are so beautiful to meeeee.
    Love Amanda

  4. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 November 2007 at 10:38 am #

    amen, steve…i listen to classical music from time to time and to my ears a lot of the ideals that you espouse in today’s blog are encapsulated in pieces of this music…the pure beauty and ebb and flow of it…
    love always
    -The Hellbound Heart

  5. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 November 2007 at 10:50 am #

    dont you do that already sk?sounds like the new cd’s are going to be exquisite!…whens this pain killer going to bless/bliss our ears anyway……am rather taken aback by the concept of this music…you truly observe everything…and that is what makes YOUR art sublime…matter of fact ,in my mind,alot of your blogs dance to the music you have described today…have a smashingly gorgeously lovely night!…love to you,as always,gen xxxxx ps. you forgot to mention the “cow bell” :–*)

  6. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 November 2007 at 10:55 am #

    hahahaha!!! :–*) ???? bloody elle! slight typo! TAKE 2: ;*)….maybe i should leave it to the professionals!!!….love x…gen

  7. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 November 2007 at 10:57 am #

    “let startling originality be your most revered attribute
    (so long as it contains beauty)experiments will not be admired for its own sake
    only if they uncover beauty”

    If only more “Hip” music magazines such as NME and Q understood what you’re talking about here, Steve. Then we’d have Steve Kilbey and The Church on their covers instead of all those shallow, hyped Flavour Of The Month type of bands.

  8. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 November 2007 at 11:00 am #

    Forgot to write my name, but the comment about “hip” music magazines was by me.

    Thomas Thomsen, Denmark.

  9. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 November 2007 at 12:30 pm #

    one mans


    is another mans

    sensual or subtle

  10. avatar
    matthew | 26 November 2007 at 12:46 pm #

    Yeahh, that’s my kinda music, m’man (oops, that was a little bluesy) But I’m all for it, SK.

  11. avatar
    better | 26 November 2007 at 1:01 pm #

    deep into the note….

    I imagine water pouring
    into gaping mouths and closed eyes
    thats what music sounds in my mind


    jaime r…..

  12. avatar
    veleska1970 | 26 November 2007 at 1:23 pm #

    blogges like today’s remind me of why i love you and the church so much. who else can create this kind of artwork?? i’m never disappointed.

    lotza love….

  13. avatar
    matthew | 26 November 2007 at 1:26 pm #

    agreed Veleska.

  14. avatar
    Melissa | 26 November 2007 at 1:52 pm #

    Bravo SK 🙂 A wonderful, wonderful read today.

    Even though I can barely play or sing a note myself, I have always had deep appreciation and understanding of music. So many of the qualities you have listed here, the Church have in spades. 🙂

    I was listening to a live CD a friend in the States sent over to me, by Maria McKee who (IMO) has one of the finest voices I’ve ever known. One particular song had me in floods of tears because it was so damn beautiful. I love the effect that music has .. life wouldn’t be the same without it!

    This blog reminds me of a quote from a movie (American Beauty)..

    ‘Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it, like my heart’s going to cave in.’

  15. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 November 2007 at 2:03 pm #

    Sounds like King Crimson to me.

  16. avatar
    timf | 26 November 2007 at 3:11 pm #


  17. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 26 November 2007 at 3:41 pm #

    today’s blog was appropos for the church’s multi-talented frontman.

    the problem with ac/dc is the lamentable reality that millions of people are attracted to their discordant and hellish sound. Both of their vocalists did and do scream instead of sing. If they were an instrumental band they would be ok but angus young does not have the riffs or virtuousity of J. Beck, steve vai, steve howe or joe satriani.

    Rap artists totally devoid of talent are making millions and ac/dc sticks to their noise pollution musical formula to make millions. More power to them but it proves that the majority of rock music fans are generally inane and that’s a shame.

  18. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 November 2007 at 3:42 pm #

    but B.Bon, isn’t beauty always for the sake of beauty? i could be missing your point, but if a closer examination of the stuff of life reveals beauty, what is the sake of that beauty? isn’t beauty always for beauties own sake or does it have another agenda? no matter how you approach it, doesn’t beauty always loop back on itself once you’ve found it? how can something that results in beauty not be beauty or for the sake of beauty? where i think you’re leading us astray is in associating beauty for the sake of beauty with decoration. now decorations ‘purpose’ is not the purposeless purpose of beauty to find and be itself like say music from a perfect world. no, no, decorations purposeful purpose is to conceal. decoration, by default, implies the opposite or absents of beauty and maybe worse, deception! boom boom bon bon!

  19. avatar
    ben | 26 November 2007 at 4:58 pm #


  20. avatar
    melquiades | 26 November 2007 at 5:51 pm #


  21. avatar
    knot painting | 26 November 2007 at 6:26 pm #

    “Truth is Beauty
    and in Beauty Truth”, eh?

    And for those who seek answers, remember as my beloved Director of MFA Painting used to say..

    “Art is not therapy. Art is Art for Art’s sake.”

  22. avatar
    davem | 26 November 2007 at 6:39 pm #

    That’s you, that is!!!!! 🙂


  23. avatar
    fantasticandy | 26 November 2007 at 8:33 pm #

    you just described the sound of your own band.
    andy L.

  24. avatar
    the dean | 26 November 2007 at 9:11 pm #

    Does sound like the ideals of the likes of Fripp and KC but they do not souly seek beauty.
    Perhaps the church at a corroboree may be closer.
    Perhaps the background static of the stars, or the sound of insects in the night.

  25. avatar
    lily was here | 26 November 2007 at 9:18 pm #

    Beauty is your senses reacting to a deeper knowledge. It doesnt have to be a physical form. I always thought that all art was free, but at a price. Brien C, i do agree with your comment. There’s
    appears to be a lot more people in the world wanting to lose themselves in heavy metal, its a primitive thing, westerners gettin’ tribal 🙂 but beautiful music like The Church is more spread out among many styles and there are appreciative audiences, its just they’re following different groups and not just one or two bands, if that makes sense?

  26. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 November 2007 at 10:00 pm #


    Let there be an album with todays post as the lyrics!

  27. avatar
    JONNY NOT YET SO HOLLYWOODISH | 26 November 2007 at 10:05 pm #

    eye agree with Andy L., you just described me choich band in ‘a’ way no other can…
    Ne ik’O’

    ps. write on esskay…

  28. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 November 2007 at 10:05 pm #

    – i propose a new music –

    A near perfect list of laudable proposals which may spell a new approach on YOUR behalf but by no means new to MUSIC – all of those outcomes have been achieved before, if not by you by other musicians at some point in time.

    And where there’s diversity there’s conflict. There’s no accounting for beauty. We have no universal measure for means let alone beauty.

    I think I know exactly what your means ‘propose’ but there will ALWAYS be MANY who don’t.

    MungoPushul x

  29. avatar
    Thelonious | 26 November 2007 at 10:20 pm #

    SK, sounds to me like you talkn bout JAZZ!!

  30. avatar
    mattdavison | 26 November 2007 at 10:49 pm #

    ThAts jUst M.A.T.S AS FAR AS iAM CONCERNED…………..


  31. avatar
    CSTCoach | 26 November 2007 at 11:12 pm #

    this was beautiful. i will print this and post it next to my desk, to inspire my writing.


  32. avatar
    damien | 26 November 2007 at 11:54 pm #

    Steve, have you ever listened to Ascension by John Coltrane? I think that record is an example of the kind of musical dialogue you describe.

  33. avatar
    Anonymous | 27 November 2007 at 12:07 am #

    “Instruments that operate as a conversation”. What an apt description of the church’s music. Speaking of music, saw Joan Armatrading & Bryan Ferry last nite – 2 class acts. Ferry’s still got it, just like your good self. Age is just a number. You’re in your prime in so many ways.

    Now what happened on Sat? Kevin 07? What about Steve’s Reprieve??!! Gee, boss, I was half way through next year’s diary for you. Ah, probably just as well, it was going to be a real gig fest. The burning ends of the candle may have met in the middle.

    Hope rehearsals are going well, with no argy bargy. Really looking forward to the upcoming show.

    Lady Di

  34. avatar
    daniel12 | 27 November 2007 at 12:12 am #

    Lovely blog Mr K, I really do most like your blogs about music.
    Yes I know you should be granted poetic licence on this one but Mr Bon does have a good point too.
    I was thinking the same thing though i doubt i would have expressed it so eloquently. (great quote re art/decoration)
    But boorish depressing etc etc does have it’s place in real expression and i’ve heard you yourself use it to great effect.(eg The Dissallusionist. best road song ever written)
    I’m totally with you on blues based rock though. It has it’s place but theres certainly an oversupply of it. In fact i’d say theres a general oversupply of 4/4 beats with rudimentry chords out there. At a point the difference between various popular genre’s is just window dressing.
    I dunno , after my own musical aspirations went bellyup i drifted into working on shows and maybe i’ve just heard to much of it.
    My body ached from lifting stuff and my ears still ring.
    But just this year i got a new job. It’s nothing glamorous but i get to hear a lot of Opera. Just when i’d thought by jaded damaged ears had heard everything this other musical universe presents itself to me. The most glorious sounds i’ve ever heard unamplified and comming from all directions. Music so rich and well crafted it makes me feel naive again. Pucchini, Verdi etc, some of it really is musical composition/expression in it’s highest form.
    In my humble veiw it meets much of the criteria of your blog.
    It’s just a pity it’s so dam expensive.

    Oh yeah and i’m not gay either.

  35. avatar
    Anonymous | 27 November 2007 at 3:32 pm #

    Kilbey, you constantly tell these people to stop kissing your ass, but you really like it, don’t you? Unless they’re gay, apparently you don’t like those “poofs” at all.

  36. avatar
    steve kilbey | 28 November 2007 at 1:23 am #


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