Saturday, June 3, 2017

love philtre by the church from further deeper

'our minds are made up'

musically i don't know what's going on, all instruments blend into something with the complexity they say makes up a good wine. i'm not a drinker of the wine but i am a thinker of the wave, water or sound, and here is subtle tones filled with a sensual beauty that appears immediately elegantly simple. yet put your finger upon it and it's gone. like that quantum idea. the song is both particle and wave and you can only perceive one state. 

this is the church's new incarnation, and it's difficult to write about because it is very different from what came before. 
one has to adopt a cosmic view here. 
the church without mwp is a new church, everything changes because there is a new element we are unfamiliar with. it's neither bad or good. values like that are pointless. 
as fans we all invested in this band. we all think we are attached to the band and musicians whereas what we really are attached to is the music. this in itself is a good thing, all things must change and value cannot be quantified in terms of before mwp or post. it is what it is. equal but different.

our minds are made up.

in such a simple sentence such a grand idea. this is common in steve's writing, he captures ideas the size of a universe and reduces it down into a few words. i don't know if it's a trick or a skill, it always leaves me in some kind of awe. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

'june' from forget yourself

the floating world, disembodied we pass over the ancient lands into a youth filled body that looks out over the horizon, from towering cliff tops as the deep blue mediterranean breaks upon rocks below. a sailed vessel heads towards shore, the oars synchronised and the sail comes down like an elegant origami in reverse. brown skinned men working under a suspended yellow sun. possibilities bounce across the water in gleaming gifts as you speculate she may be on board carried by hope and sweat and toil and the energy of a peoples need for myth or truth, all are bound by beauty. 
the animal kingdom expects the best, eggs hatch and small beaks open for the first time, the flowers explode into vivid colour and their wondrous scent's drift in the invisible currents. you see the rabbits in fields, they move like erratic particles through the fields, you see the swallows above in some exotic formation, a school of airborne fish in choreographed precision. you hear the buzzing of cicadas, the bees and the crickets an insect orchestration to a fertility rites promise. 
and as it comes, as it crescendos to it's beautiful zenith, through your bones, through your flesh and into your very spirit it passes, for even june must fade out and the vessel heads away from the shoreline, the sail hoisted, the sun now sinking. the flowers wilting, for every arrival heralds departure.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


so the day breaks and 
 i'm fated to be seriously 

 it's not far 
with all my 

and i can even
 understand a thing or two
what you going to do?


if anyone thinks this is easy
 and everyone thinks it's
deliberately done

 these pieces are easy
but try to put them 
 all together
it's impossible
 do you think you
can please me?


deflated undersaturated 
 i'm captivated

 i hope so
with all my

 and i can almost 
 night from day
what you going to say?


if anyone thinks this is easy
 and everyone thinks it's
deliberately done

 these pieces are easy
but try to put them 
 all together
it's impossible
 do you think you
can please me?


the pieces are easy
  try to put them together
     try to put them all together


and i
 i can almost 
 night from
day what you
 gonna say?


if anyone thinks this is easy
 and everyone thinks it's
deliberately done

 these pieces are easy
but try to put them 
 all together
it's impossible
 do you think you
can please me?


and i
 i can almost 
 wrong from right
 but not quite


your delirious
 it's deliberately done
do you think you 
 can please me?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Pride Before A Fall (Further Thoughts)

There are songs in dreams and you're sometimes here, and you may not know the song but it's there and it reminds you of this other time. I hear this song moving over the airwaves, over the hills and valleys of southern California moving eastward crossing the atlantic, echoing in some remote home in Edinburgh, through the streets of London, a bright DJ spinning a re-mix in Germany, it's playing a cafe in Poland, Prague, and Spain... and someone somewhere starts to wonder all over again, it's as if time/space has folded, this is the one... the one we all knew was there... the one the Exe's lusted after but could never have... instead you gave them everything else in between, and the difference would be hardly negotiable except for the fact... that music isn't a career measured in dollars... it's a compulsion driven by the hearts of poets and the minds of mystics and isn't regulated or accountable to trends of popularity which govern the marketed sales crushing and killing the economy of our spirits... compositionally, musically, lyrically this songs speaks to everything we know The Church to be, everything we have believed in, obsessed upon, and wished for... it's is a dream... an answer... illuminating hope while spinning a cautionary tale... telling us our limitations are real... but are efforts are not in vain... 

Pride Before A Fall

on tippy toe quite you go 
so not to wake the sleeper
and well you know 
now that'cha look
it goes further/deeper

pride before a fall
dark before the dawn
fall'n,  fall and fall
calling to you all


you face the blame 
graceless ashamed
but baby it's unclear
you fan the flame 
empty flame of fame
but it burns hot as steel

lust and anger, pride and sloth 
we two cut from the same cloth
all that envy, vanity
gonna be an end of me


on tippy toe careful and slow
find the news awake her

pride before a fall
dark before the dawn
fall'n,  fall and fall
calling to you all


seek light from the stars tonight
up on the night sky
live long as this song does
she's caught in the spotlight
she's home in the night sky
live long as this song does

Friday, May 2, 2014

On Angel Street

Where else do we go?

So many other places, but why go there? Where does it lead?

How many other times have I been here?



Meta-for-whatever reason-cally?

If you read these words you might already have an idea

what is said, unsaid, or left


othertime and places

familiar faces

so much and

so far to go..

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

after everything now this - numbers

obtuse lyrically yet the thematic narrative seems to portray a type of meditation on death, when your number is up, its up baby. there's no bargain one can make with the universe, no deals done, exchanges or plea bargains, no escape. you are born and die, that's the ritual i think steve hints at. 
and then within the chorus a stream of consciousness assault upon how we are all equal in death. privilege, rank and status hold no escape, even time because it's running out.
it's the opening song on a magnificent album of emotional and almost pathos-like energy combined with the melancholy  mood of steve's lyric. 
can i just mention that this music is absolutely magnificent on headphones, the guitars are mean and lean, perfect, the drumming has such an interesting feel, styles shift and morph from almost military to some sort of calamitous wall of rock and roll played by octopi, tim's drumming is outside any drum box i ever heard, i really think he's got a unique style of building rhythms, i can't really even begin to explain it because the process is a painting resulting in something complex and deep yet beautiful but difficult to describe. 
theres a brilliant keyboard sporadically thrown in the mix, it's barely accessible yet it give's the song a flavour that you surrender to immediately.  
the harmonies are perfect, the effects on the instruments indicate an ear for radiophonics and tone. 
i like the command in steve's vocals, he's got that sage like knowledge and the words fall out like they would some old roman god telling the us mortals the cosmic joke in answer to a dumb question we ask. 
'oh yeah...' 
someone said to me once, rock and roll is about attitude, and this song has an attitude, but it's not the usual anti authoritarian, rebellious right of passage angsty attitude, it's not political, defined by division, ironically it's the uniting principle we are all in denial about. 
this the ultimate fatalistic song, your numbers up, no one gets out alive, its a fucking brilliant song and its even better to hear it preformed live. 

i'm aware theres a prophetic notion out there about the song, it was written just before 9-11 and contains some imagery of events yet to pass but i think this is actually insignificant and incidental to the song, it certainly ties it to a time and event yet i think for myself its beyond an event, it's a song about an inescapable fate everyone of us faces, and in a strange way it becomes healing, uplifting and kinda glorious in the same way i feel about, 'block.' 
these songs seem to have a spirit within them that nothing can stick to, they can't fail to appeal to the element within me that is also spirit. 
these songs may appear dark to the uninitiated but they are made out of light and that's the spirit of the church for me in a nutshell, it's why this whole cd and the church as a band stand out for me, music made from light.

Monday, November 4, 2013

shriek an afterward

for a band that writes such visual music i long wondered why the church had never written soundtracks for film and thus many years ago while wandering aimlessly through the back streets of glebe (inner city sydney) one languid summer afternoon i bumped into the tall ethereal guitar player peter knoppes and asked him about this, to which he mused, 'what film should we write a soundtrack for?'
i thought deeply and replied, 'i'll have to get back to you on that.'

to be honest so many movies fail for me, no matter how good the story or the narrative, the special effects and the cinematic glory they fail sorely due to the soundtrack irritating me. i really do believe that if you spend millions on a films location, effects and wardrobes, lighting and cast then you should consider the soundtrack equally as important. 
few directors do, it must be some marketing deal, sell a commercial soundtrack, link a brand with a movie and sell sell sell, package, package, package, the church are not a commercial band and although i've heard 'under the milky way' placed here and there in a number of movies, it's an accessible hit song placed amongst others and possibly the only church song used in movies. yet there are so many brilliant songs that could accompany cinematic imagery.

there are great soundtracks,'trainspotting' has a good soundtrack from a diverse range of bands, 'dead man' has a perfect soundtrack composed by neil young, croninberg uses sound very well as does the wakowskis in 'cloud atlas' so there are exceptions to the rule.

i tend to take a great interest in soundtracks, i appreciate the use of sound with image, i like the way some music contrasts against the narrative of image when it works, i like the clash of juxtaposition, 'nightclubbing' in trainspotting works perfectly, as does the wonderful strauss theme in 2001, yeah these films are only great as their makers have considered the sound equally as important as the vision. 

so i went away from glebe and begun thinking about what type of film and story would suit the church and i ended up writing a screenplay. it was a true story based on events i'd experienced but like most things i do, it ended up in some sort of half finished state.  
many years later i started reading 'venuss underground' by jeff vandermeer a sort of steam punk, fantasy, intelligent, versatile and imaginative and then the church announced they were recording a soundtrack to a new vandermeer novel, 'shriek an afterwards,' and i realised my half finished screenplay was really inappropriate for the church.


i'd hazard a guess, because shreik is outside the boundaries, it's a completely mind blowing story and the descriptions, situations are fabulously inventive, and in the world of art the church seem to have the same ethos. the music is challenging, experimental and as transgressive to match the story. it's a perfect marriage, a progressive explosion of imagination without definition while exploring the relationship between two siblings, one an elite ex society artist janice and the other her historian brother who has written a document about the mysterious subterranean history of the city of ambergris, and the mysterious grey caps, a mushroom like spore civilisation. 
shriek is part of a thematic work vandermeer writes consistently about, a universe if you like but it's so far out of the boundaries of social norms that it's called fantasy by those whom require labels. 
lyrically the band use a lot of dialogue from the novel, there's some excellent readings from steve and tim over the music which is as perverse and dextrous as the strange narrative itself, as if hp lovecraft and mervyn peak had decided to form a rock band and write songs about art, sibling rivalry, publishing houses and mushrooms with advanced weaponry capability. 
i'd love to actually have a copy of the film for my collection, i'm not certain if it is available in hard copy, but it really is worth a look, i've posted the link at the top of this page.
i love that the church chose to do this project, it's so different from the journey bands take when it comes to recording for a movie, i imagine they didn't get paid a lot for it or even make a fistful of dollars, yet somehow as always the one thing the church always seem to do is remain outside the norms, challenging their listeners, pushing the envelope to the point it becomes a gift wrapped present in a box that has bigger dimensions on the inside than outside, and always remaining vital while holding on to an ever diminishing integrity when it comes to music and films. 
as far as a cd goes, there's a lot going on, it's not a collection of radio songs, it's more a travelogue, great for long journeys in the car through strange environments, the landscape shifts and morphs, there's always something in-between, it's the church doing some sort of space jazz, it's free form, spontaneous, surprising and obtuse and it always sounds different each play. 
there is some interesting production going on, effective use of effects, guitars turn to a swarm of wasps, the drum beat and percussion punctuates the immersive world of vandermeer and the vocals take on many forms, steve pushing the limits as he takes turn of phrasing and twists and turns it inside out and back again.

just as a post script to my story i started with...
...i asked peter what he was doing in glebe and he said the church were playing a free concert that afternoon on a rooftop of a shop. 
it had been many years between church gigs, and i didn't think steve even lived in australia anymore so you can imagine my surprise. later that afternoon i stood and watched in a crowd of people as the church played a few tunes and i remember standing next to a girl from europe, i asked her how she liked australia and she said, 'i love it, where else can you see the church play on a rooftop for free.'
i could have kissed her but her boyfriend was much bigger than me.

as far as film soundtracks go i still am not sure but there's a rich collection of old gothic movies that could use an update of sound, jean cocteau's trilogy of films, perhaps even the russian classic 'stalker' by tarkovsky would be amazing to watch on a beautiful big screen with the church preforming live music composed specially for it, i guess at the end of the day it doesn't matter, it was just a passing whim of mine, a wish perhaps.  

the sexual act from 'jammed'

the sexual act

Sunday, September 29, 2013

stardust from the deadman's hand ep

for anyone who doubts the versatility of the two guitar players and the brilliant progressive nature of the church as musicians, 'stardust' hosts and holds the essence of the bands masterful ability to create something akin to sublimation (technically passing from solid to a gas but also emotionally as something unacceptable into something more acceptable) and then there's the lyrics and their delivery...

listen to the lines steve sings, and the tone he uses, he's on the other side, haunting the living.

come on people... what a conceptual masterpiece of literary execution, the angry ghost! 
who else could write a song like this? 
who else can deliver it to us on the perfect bed of atmospheric guitars... this ain't rock and roll, this is.. the other side.


the great machine from hologram of baal

i was in a cafe with a girl with red hair, drinking a coconut juice drink while she had a moroccan iced tea, which looked lovely, all those dark green mint leaves floating amongst the crystalline ice cubes.  
we were thinking about a future together, something i seldom do but it seemed appropriate given we in love, she had galaxies in her eyes and i could spend my whole life just lost in them, discovering all the places i'd ever wanted to visit. my mouth was just about to say something life changing then someone pulled the plug, it all went, crazy, people started running to the windows, food fell onto the floor and wine glasses shattered, someone pointed at the crowds of people shuffling along the road. hundreds of people, mostly men dressed in scruffy clothes, they were beggars, jokers, the mad crazed poets, minstrels and circus girls, buskers and artists unshaven, weary, tired people all running past us towards the church,  the big old ornate building with the beautiful gardens and angelic sculptures towering high in the graveyard. i watched the crowd clamber over the walls and the girl with red hair snuck her hand into mine, and i felt a squeeze and squeezed back with an intense emotion and a little fear. we were uncertain what was happening but whatever it was, we were in it together, the adventurous spirit cruised through our blood and  
we ran out onto the streets and above us hundreds of mobile phones started falling down from the skies, ipods and mp3 players, they just fell and bounced clattering as they hit the concrete some broke open spilling out technological entrails but most seemed to be fine, the ones that fell in gardens and on people all appeared intact. i watched the horde swarm into a wedding party, the bride started to protest but her groom just fell to the floor and turned into a pool of liquid. 
panic on the streets, everyone running towards the church, people pouring out of shops, offices and cars, i look over at the train station as hordes of commuters pour out onto the streets, some people looked terrified, other's shocked, a woman with a pram just held her child close to her and a guy in a suit fell to his knees and put his hands in his head. 
fuck, five years i think, this is more like five hours or five minites. 
amongst all the cacophony of sound i can make out a faint voice singing out of a mobile phone laying on the floor.
the redhead points to a group of women drinking tea, they all laugh hysterically, they look strangely distorted, like old transvestites holding a tea party, caked in mascara and smudged lipstick, it's a bizarre scene, they carry on laughing and shrieking while around them hysteria rises.
i grab someone's arm, 'what's going on?'
he shakes himself away from my grip and gives me a hateful glance but no answers, runs off towards the church square, i notice the laughing ladies are beginning to walk towards the church as well.
a black guy rolling a spliff next to me picks up a phone and passes it to me, there's a song playing, the same one as before, i notice it's playing from all the ipods and phones, as they fall down the sound grows louder, being played at exactly the same time, the words are heard everywhere now just like some strange contemporary chapter from exodus, the voice of an invisible presence. i stand there listening to the haunting voice, the strange etherial music emitted from all around us.
thick black smoke starts to rise from a building across the road, cars swerve, i hear a burst of sirens and gunshots, i hear screaming, howling, whimpering, desperate expressions of helplessness, shouts of parents gathering children in their arms, cars stopping suddenly as the edge of chaos slips through their windows and doors. 
we look up and see the terrible crack in the sky, it's splitting across the fabric of the stratosphere, snow starts to fall through and the temperature drops very fast, straight into the negatives as heat gets sucked out from the mighty crack above our heads.
my mind is caught in paralysis, fight or flee, but there's nothing to fight, nowhere to flee, i do the only thing left to do. i gently take the girl with the red hair and kiss her on the lips, she puts her hands on my cheeks and holds my head steadily nose against nose and we look into one another's eyes...the day they turned off the great machine.