posted on October 17, 2011 at 10:43 pm

the listeners here as the beholder

if there is one thing that i am very pleasantly surprised about

it is martin kennedys and my decision to plunge into commissioned songwriting

the idea was initially martins which he casually mentioned one day

eventually after some thinking about it i kinda just blabbed it all out

on facebook of course

and left mk to sort out all the details

anyway the results have been astonishing to me i now admit

you see these commissioned songs still must have been excellent

they must have been intensely personal yet pleasantly universal

they must have had had integrity whatever they were about

and whomsoever they are for if indeed that was their purpose

regardless of anything else mk and i purvey integrity

we purvey humour too along with the gravitas

we do spiritual we do pop we do atmospheric ruminations

anyway the songs we have come up with have captivated me

first let me say some things about mk

he is getting incredibly good at this thing and better all the time

martins music is warm subtle understated deceptively simplistic elegant

somehow so far

he has had the inexplicable uncanny ability of creating a perfect track

every single time

he is very very very good at what he does

in this sense he is an artisan

he is realising the directions in your commission as actual music

he interprets your wishes and he is the prime mover in the process

the singing can only be a reaction to the music as per our process

the singing must be married to the music invisibly joined

but hats off to the guy who comes up with the music first

in this sense martin is the other guy in all those duos

those ones that comprise of the singer and the player

such is the division of our labour

although martin is now performing some excellent backing vocals

anyway he just has the knack the gift  the way

he has perceived his niche and he nails it constantly

he tailors this music for a vocal he hasnt heard yet

but  he’s  simultaneously suggesting it and preparing its way

he at this one particular thing is so on form right now

in fact he has proved himself to be an excellent collaborator

every track he has come up with has been of a shockingly high standard

a master craftsman he concocts the music methodically and with calm focus

no wild erratic genius

no touchy prima donna

no sulky ego

martins got the song and its waiting to go

its streamlined its versatile its timeless its classic style

its never messy awkward or bombastic

martins music has a certain intrinsic transparency and honesty

it achieves what it does not thru trickery or sheer grunt

but by an almost mathematical patterning of elements

as the various instruments react with and against each other

always a real sense of that trademark elegant simplicity

a quiet confidence is radiated

martins music has a strange spiritual component

although that is all you can really say and leave it at that

nonetheless it is clean positive healthy logical music

mk does not wallow in noise or discord or racket or dissonance

it is good music in all the many senses of the word

the music implies martins own quiet dedication to his craft

without drugs or headlines or nervous breakdowns or trauma

he sits down in his studio in his house

and he assembles brilliant music thoughtfully and seamlessly

endlessly recycling subtle devices (some of the same ones as me)

when i say this

i mean small phrases repeated against changing chords for example

whatever he does exactly i dont care to analyse that closely

his method is not in itself a mystery and it definitely yields results

yet it has some other mysterious ability to create magic

you can dissect it to a certain extent but the mystery remains

there is a magic at work here

but mk is an artisan in this context

and he is unique too…nothing else sounds like him

so i turn up n he gives me the music he has composed for each piece

but i think of martin as an architect in some sense as well

and his buildings would be sleek if thats what he did

and most of all

above everything else and its something you cant just expect

it is always evocative

and for me as well it evokes/invokes the singing

and this is my part of the gig now

i must sing this persons song for them now

in their words and mine which must and should intermingle

it has been delightful

that i have been able to use whole lines from the brief

ie someone has described something they wanted in the song

and lo! it has fallen into place for me as a complete line

of course like mk i am an artisan here

and i have twenty years on him working on my thing

and here i do my magic if i can

because somehow… these songs …some in particular are good

beyond any reasonable duty to be a good song for 1000 hard earned bucks

yes you expect a good song for that and youve a right to

youve trusted us to come up with something

something you cant even begin to imagine yourself

except you’ll know if its corny or unsuitable or condescending

i will admit now i have adopted other singers approaches more here

you see i am an artisan myself too in this regard as well

and i examine my palette of characters

to see who will sing each song

and i allow myself way more latitude than a normal song

because i am being commissioned to deliver something

for example i believe on albums like desire especially

bob dylan has a good way of approaching narrative lyric

a way of telling a story and certain techniques on many levels

the words themselves the timing the feeling of urgency etc

that strengthen and increase the songs ability to cast a spell

you know its just a singer and a song but somehow you are drawn in

the very best singers and songs draw you all the way in

until they are suddenly creating some actual magic

some intangible and beautiful resonance when it all adds up

mk and i are artisans at the service of any who can afford our expertise

of the 12 or 13 songs weve done so far i believe all but one hit the mark

ie the customers were satisfied (that is a gross modest understatement of course)

we tackled our brief

we got in the stuff they wanted

we got in the feelings and the possibility of personal touch

and then because we are such damn fine artisans

me and mk

weve accidentally come up with a few bona fide 4 minute gems

those people got lucky because some of them are brilliant songs

i mean i dunno what mk and i actually thought we would come up with

i knew theoretically we could make good on our promise of a decent song

listening to some of these however

we have delivered so much more something beautiful and moving too

the one crowd who were unsatisfied got their dough back from mk

they were opportunistic i believe

and could not possibly have complained unless they were ninnies

i recontextualised some mundane stuff and it sounded like lou or van

mk had the perfect music too

they got their money back

but they still had the song to use if they wanted

ironically they were well-to-do too..often it is that way

anyhow except for that we have succeeded in a nebulous gig

we have come up with some fantastic songs

and that in the end of the day

is really the main thing

and for me

it always will be

i know you know that

still i am very pleased at the success weve had

and i am genuinely pleased we can offer this to those who want it

a world class song

melodic concise intelligent and eminently listenable

we make it look easy


file under :

customized pop gems for discerning types

who want to commission a slice of genius for themselves.

results guaranteed















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