About a year ago I somehow found myself within the strange experience of having severe brain damage, resulting in my emotions being exaggerated as if someone had turned the dial all the way up. While I was no stranger to events in my life that were profound and somewhat unusual, this was quite a strange process.
Imagine falling in love like this.
I did and it was magnificent.
Imagine breaking up.
Well that happened as well and it was awful.
Two strange extreme landscapes that I emotionally explored totally.
Now compound that with the side effect of having no concentration, unable to read or even watch TV, cook anything, even talking rationally was lost to me, for I would find myself mid sentence and then suddenly forget what I was even talking about. In fact most days I just sat with my dog and wondered about the terrible feelings of loss and sadness that emanated deep inside my soul, but I could not fully understand or seemingly come to terms with these, despite knowing that my frontal lobe had been damaged and they were exaggerated forms of emotional states.
Then the strangest thing occurred. I picked up an old guitar that was laying around and started to write songs, the words just poured out of my head. Actually the words seemed to come from somewhere else and I felt like I was just the vessel. Being a passionate writer I was familiar with this process. I had read about authors who write like this, a stream of consciousness flowed and I allowed it to occur. In two weeks I somehow managed to completely write the words and miraculously written the music with the aid of my computer and keyboard. I had about 14 songs all sounding somewhat electronic. I burnt these songs onto a CD and immediately as soon as I held the disc in my hand I felt healed.
It was almost an instantaneous response. My concentration has never been perfect but I felt as though I was able to communicate with people at least. And my intense emotional state seemed to ease, my sadness alchemised into a joy, I discovered my heart was not broken anymore but swollen with a passion for living and love stronger than ever before. I was healed.
Music has always had a power over me. Being creative, channelling that energy was an act of healing, my raw state never once questioned the irrationality of what I was doing, I just couldn’t help it. Creation was happening through me, healing was the side effect and as a result I have a few songs.
It was an afterthought to put the disc I had made in an envelope and send it to Left as in Sinister where Val (he was looking for interesting projects) upon hearing requested a meeting. He said he would like to produce a cd of my music.
It was my first time in a recording studio, although I had been in a band 20 years ago in West Berlin, we never really recorded anything although we practised a lot and hung out in clubs. Now I was amongst professional musicians, people like Justin and Vikki B who were comfortable enough to let me direct them in the most non-musical way. ‘Play like you are in hell.’
I said to Justin who nailed it first take.
‘Sing like you are just a gospel singer in church filled with love and overwhelmed with joy.’ And Vikki did. Again first take.
I had heard of eno’s oblique strategies and these were mine.
Val contributed more than just his amazing musical ability and producer skills. Val believed in what I was doing. He knew we were creating something of value whereas I was just creating what I needed to express. I couldn’t have done this without his patience and ability to understand me intuitively. Thank you man.
I also would like to mention that ‘Jazz Cigarette’ is a term I first heard used by my song writing hero Mr. Steve Kilbey who used the term one day. I thought to myself it would make a nice song title, and in the depths of my regret ended up writing it.
I hope you enjoy listening to this music and I hope that if you ever go through any challenging problems or experiences you to can channel it’s energy constructively.
Captain Mission 2008