What the sound should be

30 August 2017

What the sound should be…

So yesterday I wrote down my ideas and intention to blog, and of course straight away started to frantically record in the hopes of ‘making things happen’.

I’m not going to get all spooky, but it did surprise me how quickly the negative thoughts flow in, and how, while recording a part on guitar, or programming a section, I’m monitoring so many negative words and criticisms with the thought that none of it is good enough. It’s discouraging, but worse — distracting.

It got me thinking, I really need to work on that negative dialogue to open space up in it to create without judgement, if it’s going to be fun. This brought me back to a book I read 20 years ago – Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner. There’s a great interview with Kenny here, and he unpacks so many ideas so quickly, I spent a lot of today and yesterday writing things down and trying to work out some strategies for implementing these ideas. I’ve had some experience with the meditations and I used to do them back in my late twenties… time to revisit the ideas.

Kenny Werner Interview from Creative Mastery

I love this quote about defining your own sound and finding your voice…

It’s not that I’m avoiding sounding like anybody. I get absorbed in the sound.. it’s an open environment that I accept. The way you find your sound is not something you do actively, you sorta do it passively, by embracing every sound you’re hearing. Now you don’t have that block about what you think the sound should be, and you start to find your inner sound, manifest in whatever your instrument is… – Kenny Werner

You don’t have that block about what you think the sound should be… If I’ve learned one thing from producing myself and others, this is the pivotal thing. Time and again in the studio, the beautiful and resonant has emerged for me from the discarded and overlooked.

I also love what he says about taking time to play, and to be in the moment, rather than endlessly worrying about the outcome and the product. This in part has led me to start blogging, hoping to reflect and catch some of the things I might otherwise miss. But the goal – the goal is to get all Zen Garden about it, right? david Bowie came to the temple in the picture… but famously recorded a Japanese sake commercial here. Maybe that’s a secret to creativity too – finding a sense of zen, but still enjoying the process.


  • I’ve downloaded the meditations from his site, and watched some interviews
  • Every day, make time for meditation and create a space from which to play and produce

Even Jesus baby, loves Japanese poledancers

Despite the bravado, it’s hard for most guys to talk about sexuality. About sex? Well, for sure they can go on and on about pimps, ho’s and bitches; they might wax lyrical about banging someone or nailing it… But sexuality? The idea of being confused, vulnerable, open, undone?

Well it’s not straightforward for me, anyhow. Even Jesus, baby names the yearning and desire that often seems so trangressive, so un-nameable to me. It’s a song in the tradition of Robert Johnson’s Won’t you come on in my kitchen – embracing the recklessness, helplessness, joy and confusion of desiring another.

Sure. Robin Thicke might be shouting ‘You know you want it…’ but actually, the blurred line – the ‘emasculating’ force that pushes him toward panic, dehumanisation, objectification – is that desire is what terrifies him. The blurred line is that he is not – in the face of the other – certain. Desire is most fully, most deeply, yearning for someone who desires you back.

And maybe I oughtta let you go
maybe I oughtta let you know
maybe I would if I could
but even Jesus baby, couldn’t be that good

Yep. Jesus. Friend of sinners, companion of prostitutes. I reckon he too knew a thing or two about desire and the salvation it can offer. And the human-ness and masculinity of embracing uncertainty. And sexuality is by it’s nature transgressive. It quite literally strips us naked. Or at least, when it all goes well.

The original track was recorded in the basement of a church – The slightly left field café church in Glebe, which hosts the amazing Colbourne Ave music club. It was written around mid 2004, and appeared on When you get down to it in 2008. Its most recent live outing saw me improvise the track around beautiful Japanese poledancer – Makiko Hara, at Neukolln’s Ma Thilda bar. It certainly helped me see the song in a new light.

Love and how it finds us? Nothing to do with me…

kyoto screen

I’m a little weary lately
less inclined to run from what runs after me

Nothing to do with me chronicles – in snapshots – a pretty transitional part of my life – and I guess to some extent one that continues now. In my early thirties I went through a major break up, and the ensuing chaos of my life took me in a multitude of unexpected directions. Many of these directions were deceptively and heartbreakingly unhelpful, others became steadfast and enduring friendships.
Continue reading “Love and how it finds us? Nothing to do with me…”