Lots to love about this video which interprets the song in both an abstract and complimentary way without resorting to literal imagery whilst still using a mainly 'traditional' approach... Also see how the video was put together here by artist Jason Mitcham who discusses the project with one of the The Avett Brothers founder members Scott Avett.
If the video above is unavailable in your country, try this link.
'I don't care about the Church of England' is an obvious soundbite that journalists will inevitably latch onto that Bishop Stephen Cottrell proclaimed during the Chelmsford Diocesan Transforming Presence event this Saturday 21st Jan. I first encountered Bishop Stephen's inspirational style at another conference, Transforming Worship, at Chelmsford cathedral when he was still serving as the Bishop of Reading. Then he encouraged us to think much more creatively and holistically about the experience of what it's like to attend a church, explaining that planning services must go way beyond simply preparing for a liturgical, lectionary based hymn, prayer and reading sandwich.
The Transforming Presence event was convened to draw together around 1,000 people from all over the Diocese, which covers all of Essex and East London, to discuss the pressing issues facing the C of E in terms of attendance, finance and clergy. The process was one of structured discussion and feedback gathered from delegates grouped in tens around circular tables. We were guided through a creative SWOT analysis exercise, each topic culminating in filling out conclusions onto friendly and varied 'homely' forms which were collected and then displayed around the venue.
However, the overall experience was very much like church, a see-saw of good versus the uncomfortable. On arrival at the Brentwood Centre it was a joy to see the Bishops modelling high-vis fashion (see photo above) and directing the not inconsiderable traffic. Regardless of whether some thought that was, maybe, a tad contrived, it positively demonstrated the 'renewal of the mind' from the day's familiar reading, Romans 12, as a way to think in reverse of the expected.
Next one of the truly saddening moments! Depsite the church banging on about the 5th Mark of Mission drinks were served in polystyrene cups with plastic teaspoons... To some that may seem insignificant, but surely a powerful 'evangelistic' message was missed because of that lack of joining obvious dots?
Moving along the next uplifting moment was hearing Bishop Stephen's opening remarks as he unpacked the vision for the day. Sadly this was then swiftly followed swiftly by another downer as the first hymn we sang, despite having great words, was set to the wretched tune of Danny Boy. I must stress this was an exception in the day's liturgy as a whole. However, to me it was such an irony that, as the Brentwood Centre stages professional boxing tournaments, I kept imagining everyone else at the Centre, those making use of the usual sporting facilities etc., must have been left wondering why such a strait laced bunch was so robustly endorsing Fighting some sort of (good?) Fight? OK, I'll fess up, I only see and hear Barry McGuigan's dad singing whenever I hear that tune!
The main part of the day then ensued, with the aforementioned discussions. My table had a good mix, clergy were in a minority (3), our geographical locations and church types were varied. Despite having to bite my lip (a lot!) it was a good process and although, overall, I felt we were somewhat parochial, there were some surprising contributions along with some changes of heart as the day progressed. To generalise, I don't think we were realistic. For example, am I cynical to not expect an imminent revival?
This process was interspersed with other elements, including sharing lunch on the table and simply wandering around to meet acquaintances. A Twitter hastag was running, #timetotalk, which both started to produce some good comments and enabled a Tweetup moment for those of us who partake to meet in real life (ie non-virtually) ;-)
After the lunch break we were called back by singing 'Spirit of the Living God', played most sensitively by Elwin Cockett, now an archdeacon, no less! Next came a really weird moment... We were shown a new video of some relative youngsters, I assume teenagers, talking about church and what it meant to them. Frankly it was dreadful, and that is a gross understatement. It was typical of something a church / Diocesan committee would produce. Great content, awful production. In the car one of my buddies proposed that the way the contributors had delivered their pieces to camera was the result of some rendition process deep within the Guy Harlings complex! In line with the rhythm of the day, and another irony, next up was an interview by BBC Essex broadcaster Ian Wyatt who demonstrated how much better professionals handle things. Ian's programme covering the conference is on iPlayer for a few more days.
So, back to our table and the mission thereon. We resumed by filling out a mythical edition of Diocese's publication 'The Month', predicting the content for the year 2020, fleshing out a Headline we had invented in the last pre-lunch session. My question here is why were we even talking about the print edition without at least acknowledging on-line or mobile / tablet apps and media that we would most likely consume in 8 years time? With converging of Internet and TV technology it is likely everyone will have access to some sort of online media, even without broadband. Of course, it is not the point that was being sought, the possible stories were, but it does show a lack of vision for it not to be even mentioned. Equally not actually having the #timetotalk hashtag displayed anywhere seemed a bit of an omission as people were trying to figure it out.
And so on to the closing remarks that Bishop Stephen gave. He started by giving his imagined headline for 'The Month': 'The Church of England ceases to exist' explaining whilst we have too many churches his solution is to actually have more. He qualified the daring opening statement in the first sentence of this post, 'I don't care about the Church of England', as he concluded, 'but what I do care about is the Gospel of Jesus Christ'. There ensued a passionate rallying call about how inevitable a terminal decline of the C of E will happen, in the short term, unless we engineer radical changes, starting now, which he summarised as 'I do not want to manage the graceful decline of the Church of England'. He added an even more daring thought when he said 'the C of E may still decline, but that's up to God'. His call is for all of us to be transformed, to let go of our preferences and desires, for the church to break from the cultural constraints that may have worked well in the past but do no longer, and to develop such that we, as both disciples and as the church corporate, are distinctively Christian.
It was a priviledge to be at the starting point of this vital and prohetic initiative. Of course, I will not be the only one to have found some niggles but if this collaborative approach is an inkling of real transformation in the way things move forward from now on, that is refreshingly good. Yes, I was pleased to feel part of the day and whilst still harbouring concerns about how big an ask this may prove to be it is one giant leap in a brave direction.
And one more thing... I had one of those weird 'moments'! Whilst visiting the rest of the Brentwood Centre complex to avail myself of the facilities I felt assailed by the loud 'piped' music. It was a strange contrast to be part of what I can only describe as a quite a noisy 'holy hubbub' yet to still find that bit of the outside world so strident when, normally, you wouldn't even notice?
"you’ll have to tell us about an important music moment in your life. Be it funny or touching or something that will make us all want to slash our wrists, whether it involves playing music, listening to music or meeting a music hero, as long as it was important, influential and memorable to you we want to read about it. The sharer of the best music moment, judged by my own indefinable I’ll-know-it-when-I-see-it standards, will win my extra Black Keys zombie poster to have, to hold and to scare young children with. The deadline for entry will be 5 PM EST on January 26, and I will announce the winner on the NTSIB anniversary, January 27..."
Good Luck! I can't wait to read your stories.
Minimalism has really spread into contemporary indie culture rather seamlessly hasn't it? If I were in academia I might discuss societies penchant for assimilation and the marks of fringe-cum-pop culture and use Dustin Wong's newest single as a prime example. Alas I am not so this will not be, anymore than it already is, a rambling yet detached look into social & cultural habits. Regardless Dustin Wong really takes on key elements that personify the more high-culture musical movement/genre.
Yet at the same time Wong is also working towards extending the groundwork he laid with his previous group Ponytail. In fact many moments on "Diagonally Talking Echo" wouldn't be wholly out of place on any Ponytail track, yet he's never attempting to recreate that sound rather aspects of it's experience. In place of a mere facsimile of that band's (former) power, Wong's own voice can be seen in retrospect to be a guiding force now set to go about it's own particular paths.
Dustin Wong's "Diagonally Talking Echo" is taken from his forth coming full-length Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads is available February 21st via Thrill Jockey.
The good news is the message Sufjan Stevens brings us which I wouldn't have found if I'd not searched for the obvious song!
Hands down for coffee...
Haven't we got to the point yet where his albums are issued at birth to each newborn child? If not this world is in a damn sad state.
Y'all know Mr. Brown learned to play mostly at the feet of Mr. Joe Callicott, and as a young man became R.L. Burnside's "adopted white son," playing guitar for Mr. Burnside (and on occasion with others like Junior Kimbrough) for twenty-six years. For the last few years he's been playing and hosting the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic, which presents most everybody you could want to see/hear that rocks that Hill Country sound.
Mr. Brown released an album on the Plum Tone label in 1998 (back in the olden days when I ordered it by phone it was Kenny on the line) called Goin' Back To Missisippi (shamefully out-of-print! Somebody needs to fix that.), one on Fat Possum in 2003 called Stingray, one i'd never heard of called Fast, Cheap, and Dirty with Danish guitarist Troels Jensen in ought-six, Meet Ya At The Bottom via CDBaby in 2008, and now a new double-disc set on Devil Down Records called Can't Stay Long.
Disc One is titled Porch Songs and that's just what it is. Kenny Brown playing and singing solo on Kenny Brown's porch. Recorded over a weekend. That's it. All you need.
Disc two is titled Money Maker. It was recorded live at the 2010 North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic. If you've been achin' for some classic Mississippi Hill Country boogie you can quit it now. Dr. Brown and his band deliver the rural medicine. The thing that I dig most about this live set is that you finally get to hear just what a badass bar band vibe Kenny Brown can roll out (dream show would be Kenny and The Bottle Rockets), yet get artistically deep up in the boogie.
Can't Stay Long is the first album to really deliver Mr. Brown's live thing intact. It stands as both Kenny Brown/ North Mississippi Hill country Blues compendium and companion. Maybe Kenny can't stay long but this album will.
A sensitive live performance of U2's anthemic 'With or without You' by the Belgian girls' choir Scala conducted by Stijn Kolacny and accompanied by brother Steven Kolacny on the piano. First became aware of them when they played and sang Coldplay's Viva la Vida during the introduction to the last (2011) BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Thursday January 12th
Death By Audio
49 S. 2nd Street Brooklyn, NY
9pm | $7 | All Ages
Agail Ag Amoumine's album Takamba on Sahel Sounds & Mississippi/Change records marks a fine beginning to a new year. Amoumine's electric folk is something of a transcendent process that is one part songcraft, two parts technical prowess, & one part showmanship and a deserved one at that. When considering the music which has been pouring out of Africa, particularly the West and North, the past few years contributing to countless compilations & reissues that have spread like wildflowers/fires. Add to this the increasingly larger group of fantastic contemporary musicians and bands that have been releasing and playing music on these shores, most notably including Tinariwen who have toured with the Rolling Stones.