Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Music of the Sphere

Skylar, one of the dancers who arrived earlier than the others to help and also enjoy the little haven Amadeo has built, took me and Marie to what they call the spa: a spring coming from the mountains with healing virtues. YaYa, the neighbour, a ninety-something woman who loves to dance at any occasion has been going there several times a week for her whole life. Her energy and strong constitution is proof of the benefit of the spa.Legend has it that Alexander the Great would come there to recharge and relax. 
There was a spot where one could sit and immerse himself in the water. The water is extremely cold. But the iron and the magnetic field in the area create a sensation of heat. “Your balls will be on fire” Amadeo had said with a mysterious smile.
After ten seconds in the water, I knew what he meant. I didn’t know whether I felt cold or hot. As I sat there, I heard a high pitched sound coming from my right, a spirit humming to itself, a continuous oooooh going up and down, like an ethereal voice calling me. There was no wind, so I couldn’t find any explanation to it. I told Marie who at first didn’t believe me until she sat there herself. Skylar didn’t hear anything. I immersed myself in the water several times, and even with my head in the water, the sound was still to be heard, unaltered.  
"You heard the music of the Sphere" Amadeo said.


Monday, 22 June 2015

If music be the food of love...

Third day with the musicians. Six of them: keyboard, guitar, violin, bass, percussion and drum. Cheerful and jovial as they were, it took some time to know each other musically. I would play them the songs then get them to write down the structure and the chords, and rehearse part by part. It is always a challenge to transpose a studio recording for the stage, and to make the musicians move from ‘doing a lot’ to ‘doing the necessary’ for the music. Musicians in general love to jam and get wild on their instrument. Rock, jazz, funk, latin… There’s something primal and orgasmic in being the musical alpha male. In that sense, I function more like a classical musician when I compose my songs. Once their frustration of doing too little is behind, they realise how each of the notes they play greatly contribute to the architecture of the music. We have reached that stage now. The keyboardist was very moved when I showed him the piano part of Star in the Sun and the way the chords were to be arranged. An outgoing man with a mane of grey curly locks, his fingers would itch and feel compelled to fill each bar with as many notes as possible. Little by little, the spirit of the song descended on him and the look in his eyes showed me that he understood. When right after, the musicians played the whole song, there was a beautiful atmosphere in the room. Finally, we were making music!

Friday, 19 June 2015

In the land of the Gods

I was dozing in the car when my eyes opened and I turned my head on the right. “That’s Mount Olympus” Kosta the driver said. The name didn’t fail to create a strong impression in me. My parents had a couple of books about Greek myths. It didn’t take long before I was completely taken by those legends. Driving past the sojourn of the gods moved me deeply. Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Hermes, Poseidon, Athena, Hephaistos, Hades, Demeter, Persephone, Artemis, Ares, Dionysos, Hebe…

It was not Thessaloniki. There was a two hour drive to reach the little village where Amadeo had renovated an old ruin five years ago and turned it into a little haven for himself. Between mountains and sea, not far from the Macedonian border. “Alexander the Great passed this region before going South to conquer Greece.” Amadeo told me. When mountains meet the sea, when history meets our reality.

“Today, you will just recharge and relax.” Karen told said. I was still very weakened by the recent fever and the long hours on the plane. The weather was strangely much cooler than I thought. I expected some 40C to jump at my face and was pleasantly surprised and relieved to feel the cool, sunny and dry air as I walked out of the plane. The high fever and summer temperature in Taipei had somehow traumatised me physically.
The ride to the small village of Kokkino Nero had a cleansing effect on me. The sight of the mountains and the sea acted up on me like forgotten words of wisdom and the tension accumulated during the past weeks slowly dissipated from my city-boy mind.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Thin Ice

Thin Ice, the music video I shot for one of Jan last January is finally finished! Zed and I couldn’t believe we managed to do it both editing and colour correction in just two sessions.
“Colour correction can be done in just one hour when handled by professionals” Zed told me. “But they charge accordingly!”
Professional or not, I was pleased to see the finished MV. Since we did the shooting in January, I did only have a vague recollection of what we did. And as usual, ‘accidents’ happened: Zed’s laptop crashed and three images kept playing in a loop. Sick as I was, I instantly recognized it as something we had to use in the video. Zed tried in vain to recreate the loop without. But why try to recreate when it was there under our eyes? I took my camera and filmed the loop on the monitor. The loop became a leitmotiv and a key element in the MV.
The final result is quite close to what I had envisioned. I hope Jan will like it!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Reunion with AnPu

The highlight of the day was my joyful reunion with AnPu after four years. I am not sure how I would have managed to get in touch with her again after all these years. Common friends whom I asked to send her my greetings would forget to pass on the message. The email address she gave me years ago didn’t seem to work. Phone messages were not answered… More years would have gone by if it hadn’t been for Adrian who, before he left for the U.S. threw a little dinner party at my place and introduced me to a couple of musicians of his acquaintance, Coen, a young folk singer who had just been signed by Sony Music and Dino his musical director. As the conversation progressed, it appeared that the latter had been AnPu’s keyboardist on her four albums. There isn’t such a thing as fortuitous coincidence.
Words had reached me that AnPu had decided to retire. That sounded as plausible as hearing that a bird was no longer willing to fly.
“I wanted to retire from that pop icon business and start anew under my real name” AnPu explained.
Zed attended the same high school as she did and remembers a lively and very opinionated girl who wasn’t afraid to stand out, be weird and different. Though older and wiser, she has retained those qualities and being political is to her what a good makeup and hair are to most of her female peers.
There was so much we wanted to share and talk about. But somehow, there was no need to fill the voids or the silences.  

We both have plenty of projects we wished to do together. I told her about my idea of having her star in the Shiny Heart / Dirty Mind music video. Shooting would take place in September or October…