The green light is on. That´s quick. Just got the message from Routenote. In a couple of weeks, you can expect the new album on Spotify, iTunes, eMusic, Amazon, Rdio. I hope so. In the meantime I´ll be working on two little, funny Youtubes to support the album. Furthermore, I will put the album on several platforms like Jamendo, Noisetrade and Bandcamp. Spread the word...bla, bla, blah.
Hai there music lovers! Here's another update. Just finished the mastering & the mixing of the new baby, The Ballooning Brouhaha, my 17th album (9th digital). The most difficult thing to do for me is mastering, but after a lot of working out the last details of the sounds, I'm ready now to deliver. I'm really glad that the working process didn't took that long as the previous album. I guess I got used to the fixed idea of making those big double albums (just like Zappa did), with as much songs as I could fit on them. I always write more, so there's always a melody floating around somewhere on my harddrive. Maybe I'm just obsessed with writing.
This time I've chosen to take just 13 songs that- I think- represent me in the most convincing way thusfar. A really gratifying experience for me. So this afternoon I took the distribution road again, on the digital highway. Routenote will hopefully release this one (my fourth one for them) in a couple of weeks so you can stream it on Spotify. I hope you'll dance, cry, laugh and sing along with it!
If they give it the green light, I'll show you a little promo video. And next, you can expect the covers, the songlist, the process, the guestlist (only one), what can be more on your wishlist? I know something, a balloon!
Yes, that's the title of the new album for 2013. Since the last album, Art Decoy, I've been learning a lot more about Pro Tools, smoother recording and especially the finesses of mixing. If everything goes as planned, this album will arrive a lot sooner than the previous one. I've chosen for a shorter album with about 13 songs. Still a lot is happening, that I can assure you. No, it will not be an "Orson Nietes, The Next Day", I don't want to wait that long! Though I think Bowie is still cool.
BTW, thanks for you listeners out there, always grateful for the feedback. You can buy my music of course, but the main thing is the accessibility of my songs. Luckily for me, that's the here and the now, I've got visitors from all over the world who are in for a listen. But who are they? Who are you? ME.... Well, this baloon will show up in my Grabbelton very soon. The links of the albums are still working, I can see that in the statistics, so I guess it will work out fine. Ok, it's all about ballooning, so are you ready for the next trip? Soon, soon,.....
Here go the fingers again, typing, my head thinking how to begin. Well, here's a patronising starter: hope you all seize the day once in a while.
Well, "we"as in musicians, all used to have a page on MySpace. It became old hat, when other, more flexible platforms stepped in. In the end, I think they are all useful as tools and I'm grateful that I can use them to spread a few tunes. And god, I've been spreading! Like a faithfull catholic, except for the multiplying part- I've got two kids already- I've been creating like a rabbit. A lot will not see the digital www, but now I've finally decided to pick a few loony tunes, combine them with some favourites of the period between 2000-2012.
I've been recording since 1980 with the help of an old tape recorder. As time went by, technology kept me on my toes (Midi and all that stuff), so I could finally record my own digital albums, the first effort, burned on cd in 1998. This year I'll bother you again with some new songs, I've got more than a few in the pipeline already! Meanwhile, I hope you'll enjoy the "new space"......
Today I went back, couldn´t resist to share this croony, after midnight picture with the world.
I started out as a drummer, hiding behind a wall of cymballs and toms. It just fellt natural with my introverted personality. In the late eighties and early nineties I stepped up as a frontman of a band called `Catch My Drift`.
It was the first time I played my songs with a full band and it was a chance for me to get in touch with my extravert side. I mostly played the crazy, teasing clown. We were all Zappa fans, so we tried out a lot of styles, basically rooted in seventies pop blended with funk, rock, jazz, blues, latin and humor. Thebestmemories I have of those days are the the antics I pulled on stage. I improvised a lot to interact with the crowd just for the effect. Funny boy. Now I´m hiding behind a keyboard or guitar, pulling out whatever comes out of my fingertips. Ok, it doesn´t Sound that adventurous, but it´s fun enough for me for now.
In the middle of songwriting, recording, exploring ideas, I am always looking for new platforms to spread my works on. Grateful for those ingenious guys who put a lot of work in creating them! I found one, called Noisetrade that's very professional, easy to work with. A lot different options for musicians. Listeners can download all 8 albums I've digitized so far and- just like a waiter- you can leave a tip to support the good cause.....so why don't you try it out? (I know, there's a "grabbelton" up here, so why bother to go up there?)
And yes, I am working on some new stuff all the time. A lot of ideas I record right away, but as I get older, I'm becoming increasingly critical of the outcome. I just want the best songs to survive. But hey, I am just a creative, but mortal human being with these fustrating limitations. So what I really appreciate is the moral support, the feedback that is so important to keep me motivated, so don't hesitate, keep in touch!
Here are some cool platforms for ya (the list keeps growing):
I haven't listened to radio for years. Well, as a young boy I used to have my own a radio-djshow, rattling out my top 40, as I chose my special faves I bought of a perticular year. I played the best tracks for myself and the rest of the household. I don't do that anymore, because there's not many to choose from. Guess I stick with old seventies stuff I grew up with. I didn't often search in the extreme sections/ styles though. I mean, I love all kinds of music and if an artist has those eclectic, colourful qualities, such as Todd Rundgren, David Byrne or Frank Zappa, I'll always go back and listen to those, problably till the day I die. I do love the rock element (as in Who, Kinks, Led Zeppelin), blues (Muddy Waters, J.L.Hooker) and any of the ethnic, traditional stuff, but not for a whole day. Black music (soul, R&B, funk, latin) did the trick for me and my poproots (10cc 1972-1975 period) got injected with that. Eclectic brew, cross-over, blue-eyed stuff, quirky avantgarde mix.
I still listen to the "new" stuff, as long as it takes itself not too serious. In my opinion, the alternative music scene (journalists hyping) of today do that to the core. They don't even know that they are as mainstream as the AOR eighties nowadays. The real alternative doesn't really excist, because you can't stay in the lo-fi underground forever. It's all in the mind. So, free your mind and.....!
2012 was a very good eclectic year! For me, these three young artists have stood out this year:
Michael Kiwanuka- Home Again
Retro (20, 30, 40ies, etc... next to the bloody eighties stuff) is the word since Amy Winehouse spread her voice all across the ether. So these nostalgic feelings do miracles in these troubled times. That's what is done on this album in very subtle, sympathetic way (like Labi Siffre seventies), with a warm soulful voice that never abandons his african roots. It's comforting, intimate, though familiar stuff.
Esperanza Spalding- Radio Music Society
A lot of great young interesting (mostly) jazz musicans come up today and yes, here's such a serious hard working and ambitious young lady at work. Challenging stuff rhythmically with sweet seventies George Duke- Stevie Wonder influences. Tight played and interesting chord progressions with lovely, floating melodies on top. She doesn't take the easy route, so it's a brave effort.
Cody ChesnuTT- Landing On A Hundred
As a whole it's not as quirky as his crazy debut, but the way he treats the retro-machine is very appealing to me. Ok, Marvin shines through in the vocals, but it's damn fine done. Colourful, uplifting, tighter as his debut. Ok, now what about the older guys? My absolute fave of the year is:
Loudon Wainwright- Older than My Old Man Now
Self-reflective as always, how to combine humor with the "growing older" symptoms. His conversation about sex with Dame Edna in "I Remember Sex" for instance. How it used to be. Hilarious. Thoughtful is his duet with son Rufus in "The Days That We Die", very recognizable that tricky family stuff. No more "Festen" needed. A tear and a laugh is enough for me. Let me grow old then...
David Byrne/ St Vincent- Love This Giant
Not satisfying on the whole, but these two different generations challenge eachother and do the trick with the horns, sometimes they overdo it. It's biting quirky stuff, but it doesn't hurt too much that it's killing me. Yes there's more, like Mike Keneally, Rufus Wainwright (almost AOR), Joan Armatrading (back to the good seventies stuff) and Donald Fagen (no surprises, slick), Scott Walker (waiting for Scott 5, still interesting though). Well there is always more! Pretty mainstream (or is it alternative?!) I guess. Not obscure. Well, it's a bit of everything and for everyone. Check them out!
By the way, my personal musical highlight (the bomb went off!), next to a release of a new album, was to be chosen as a fresh fave by Tom Robinson and to be played on his saturday evening show, next to the likes of Paul Simon, Marc Bolan and Pete Townshend. Thanks Tom, very grateful to be on BBC radio. Read: Tom Robinsonshow Next to listening the new and old stuff, I'm addicted to biographies. Not especially the above artists, but everything, mostly working in the entertainment business. Here's a list of the books I've read past year:
Robert Sellers- Hellraisers (Peter O'toole, Oliver Reed, Richard Burton, Richard Harris) John Densmore- Riders On the Storm (his personal experiences with Mojo Risin') Jeff Kaliss- I want to take you higher (on Sly and the Family Stone) Eric Burdon- Don't let me be misunderstood (his life in lows and highs) Julian Palacios- Dark Globe (very detailed story on Syd Barrett) Mark Wilkerson- The life of Pete Townshend Dave Zimmer- Crosby, Stills & Nash Levon Helm with Stephen Davies- This wheel is on fire (hot stuff!) Dory Previn- Midnight baby (totally unique!) Harry shapiro- Jack Bruce Composing himself Peter Carlin- Catch a wave (on Brian Wilson's dark journey) Stewart Copeland- Strange things happen (on Sting, Sting, hobbies and the Police) Martin Heylen- In mijn hoofd (about Raymond van het Groenewoud, brilliant Belgian singer-songwriter) Simon Callow- Hello americans (his second book about Orson Welles) Janis Ian- Society's child (brave singer-songwriter!) Christopher Sandford- McCartney Lee Underwood- Blue melody (his times with and without Tim Buckley) Hans Lafaille- Showbizz blues (Cuby & the Blizzards drummer tells his often funny story) Bertus Borgers- Weg van hier (Sweet d'Buster sax-player reflects on his youth) Billy James- A dream goes on forever (first of two books on Todd Rundgren)
And a lot of stuff I still have to read, before I go blind...O, and I watch movies, and, and... Well, guess now you know it. The "Where did I get my inspiration from?" That was 2012 for me. Hope we'll have an eclectic and energetic 2013 then, cheers!
I usually have no problems falling asleep at night, but sometimes the loose ends of the day crawl into my head and keep me awake. Damn, last night I fellt so restless, after spending hours and hours working enlessly on different new songs during daytime. Not satisfied, because the day ends at 24 hours and I just wanna go on. Patience is a virtue I've got to give into. The restlessness is not by all means negative. I'm trying to get a grip on the flowing word and soundmachinery, that's in my subconcious mind. So during the time I couldn't sleep, all those clourful ideas came together. I couldn't wait to see the light of the day. There and then, after a nice 3-cup of coffee (!), I enthousiastically put my fingers on the keys or between the frets of my guitar, but, there was nothing really flowing here. "Don't push it", I heard a gentle voice saying in the hairs of my neck. Then suddenly my heart dropped a mile into the ground. I froze, as I watched my monitor: I couldn't get that damn mouse working. What I saw was a miror image of the state I was in: total standstill. Just recorded a bunch of intense vocals and then it all froze before my very eyes. Ok, the world won't stop, so I gently pushed the reset knob on that big, senseless machine, but then I realised I forgot to save all the recorded parts ... Jeeezuss, I know it happened before, but it's just very fustrating. So I took a deep breath, pauze for a moment. Trying to keep up with the rest of the high spirits I've got and do it all over again, as it often worked before. Finally put something sensitive into the musicbox. Still got that nagging feeling of the lost and vanished melodies I sang the first time, so the day ended in a kind of anti-climatic way..., or not?
That narcistic, creative life is a big bubble, I know: it has to burst into little pieces to get a chance to make it whole again. All the little things matter. A nice comment on my daughter's new clothes or the joking around with my son. That's the drive that keeps my boat float for a while. And then there is the outer world. What do I care? Well if someone plays your song on the radio and if that someone is Tom Robinson (who wrote some very moving songs like "War Baby" that got me through during some rough times), than that little outside world moment means something to me. Just as I wanted to shut down the machinery I happened to notice that "Bomb Won't Go Off" was played again, now on Tom's saturday show, the Tom Robinson Show. Starts at 1.03 and at 1.11 he did try to narrate my bio in dutch (?!) after the song was over. Hilarious! When you ever need the outside world, that moment surely arrived in time. Generous man...
Check that playlist btw! Just after Paul Simon
Buttuh, nothing special, every person is a microcosmos....
Joost The Vanished Dutchman is, as you might have
guessed, from The Netherlands. Inspired by the likes of Gino Vannelli,
Todd Rundgren, Miles Davis, Boz Scaggs, John Martyn, Sting, Terry
Callier, he started out as a drummer before turning his hand to writing.
His latest album, Art Decoy The Bluebeard Boy, was released in
September, and he describes himself as a "zelfbevlekkende, narcistische,
selfkickende, obsessieve, uitknijpende liedjesmaker" which loosely
translates (I think) as a "self-denigrating, narcissistic,
self-flagellating squeezer-out of songs"...Tom Robinson in his announcement on BBC radio 6.