I realise I've been posting a lot of other people's videos recently and not really 'putting out' creatively myself. Unfortunately this will continue for the next week because I am training for the Bristol Half Marathon next weekend and don't have a lot of time to write or paint. 'Training' in this context means running five or six miles every couple of days, cycling to work, reading less and feeling vindicated to chomp down as many Wispa bars as I want.
Following in this trend, here is someone else's song. You invariably remember Vanessa Carlton from when she played that piano somewhat annoyingly down everyone's street. But let me tell you, she's so much more than just a magically moving grand. She's just released a new album (somewhat inexplicably, there have been two in the interim, one of which wasn't even released in the UK), called Rabbits On The Run.
It was recorded in Peter Gabriel's studio in Box, North Wiltshire, shockingly close to where I live - I'm surprised I didn't hear her whistling past, tinkling the ivories. She says it was partly inspired by Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time and Richard Adams' Watership Down. It features a kid's choir and was recorded directly onto tape, a now antiquated process due to the proliferation of technology in every industry, which gives it an ethereal quality, as if she's sat at the other end of a long corridor and we're just getting the echoes.
It's all very well to tap your toes along to a cute pop song and say defensively, 'Well, it is very catchy,' and quite another to genuinely like an artist or song that comes under fire consistently by popular culture. Because, of course, then you come under fire. But I feel like we might not have to do this with this collection from Carlton. The plinky-plonky piano and elegant, sparing use of strings to emphasis mood (rather than saturate sub-standard pop to morph it into a ballad), along with Carlton's voice, also not stretched past its capability, but used softly and evocatively, lull me into a contemplative mood, as if I've been sitting at a rainy window all day. It's roughly more Bon Iver than Michelle Branch. There's also something to be said for discordance giving way to vulnerability, imperfection and then beauty. But I'm not sure how to word that yet so I'm just going to leave the idea hanging for now.
This is my favorite off the album so far. It's called Marching Line. I like the sparse music, long moments of silence, the roughly abstract lyrics and the entire feel of the piece. It's a thousand miles away from A Thousand Miles (scoff, scoff!)
It also makes me think of this moment:
Which makes me very happy. It might even get me through the 13.2 miles next week. Although, they'll also be a lot of THIS going on then. If you want to support me (don't worry - I'm not asking for PIN numbers!) then you can send some money directly to the OXFAM EAST AFRICA APPEAL, which is who I'm running it for.
Now, where are those Wispas...