Friday, November 27, 2009

Launch gig recording up for free download!

For those of you who missed out, the soundboard recording of the launch gig is now up here.

Most of you will probably want the mp3 files - right-click and hit "download linked file" to download them. (Audiophiles can grab the flac files and expand them to full CD-quality audio.)

Romans 7
Icarus >
Reba Loop Jam
Part Trust
Lilies & Sparrows
Come Awake (David Crowder*Band)
Since 3 Days Ago
Farther Up and Farther In
Angels with Dirty Faces (The Beulah Band)

Happy listening!

p.s. Dan Glover Band?, who opened the evening so tastefully, have a couple of their tracks up here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

AHMTS Song by Song 11 - Starmaker

listen here (and download for free)

The most recently written piece. All the other songs were in place in some form at least, but the album still felt incomplete. It wanted two more things: 1. a title, and 2. a song - for which I already had a semi-formed concept:

I’m quite happy to discuss all sorts of things about God: complicated doctrine and theology and where dinosaurs might fit into the picture and something of what he’s like in a theoretical kind of way, but often pull up short of describing what he actually means to me at a more personal level (even now, I think only one of my songs mentions Jesus by name in the lyrics). So perhaps this one goes a little way towards remedying that.

Then the other week Karl pointed out a little throwaway sentence in Genesis (v1:16b), which says simply “He also made the stars.” Incidentally. By the way. A little side-project because it amused him. Title and punchline wrapped up right there.

From a musical point of view, this one was quite a challenge. The melody, chords and timing worked fine in the verses, but trying to work out just where to put the notes in the mid section and guitar solo was a total git. Now of course, I can’t see what the problem was, but at the time it was just brain-meltingly confusing trying to remember when to start the next phrase. Fun though! - I like 7/8. It was also nice to work on something a little different in sound - it puts me slightly in mind of 90s pop band Dubstar - anyone remember them?

Friday, November 20, 2009

3 Free Single Downloads and Store Update - Physical & Digital

The three single from Also, He Made the Stars... are now available for free download at DLDown's download store - just click the images below.

Also, just wanted to let y'all know that DLDown's physical and digital stores have now been combined into one. Practically this means:

  • CD purchases include an immediate download of the album.

  • You can preview both the songs and the album artwork before you buy.

Check it out here!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

You people say the nicest things...

A couple of my blogging friends have kindly taken it upon themselves to include me and my music in their blog posts:

1. There's a smashing review of Also, He Made the Stars... at New Life From Old.

2. There's an equally smashing review of the launch gig (proudly featuring support from Dan Glover Band?, whom you should also check out) at Grace Note Showers.

Muchos thankses.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

AHMTS Song by Song 9/10 - Hide & Seek/Found You

listen here and here

I think perhaps everyone feels like this sometimes - that lonely feeling of ‘What’s going on? And why have I been left to deal with it on my own?”. It was written more about my relationship with God than anything else, but I think the addition of Lorna’s harmony vocals accentuates the human relationships aspect too.

(For any MBCers: cue hand movements. “...these-way relationships and that-way relationships and the-other-way relationships...” :o) )

I like the feeling of unresolvedness that's left at the end - these things don't always tie up as neatly as it might look like they're going to, or we might like them to.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

So, we went to a debate about assisted dying the other night...

For once, a ‘serious’ nothing-to-do-with-DLDown-or-music post. These are simply my own opinions/observations/reactions to some of the things that we heard discussed (at least as I understood them). I can’t claim to have any kind of experience of this, but it was very clear how emotionally charged the topic is. I don’t intend to belittle any of the anguishing experiences some of those present had evidently been involved in.

For a little background, you may wish to have a glance at:

Assisted Dying: A Good Death or a Choice too Far

Margo MacDonald's proposed End of Life Choices bill

Also, this post highlights a few of the grey areas (the blogger's views, not necessarily mine).

It was fascinating. We heard emotional statements put forward by both speakers, one very much ‘against’, one very much ‘for’ the legalisation of assisted dying (or since it involves the individual’s choice, assisted suicide is probably a more exact, if more aggravating, term). It certainly raised more questions than it answered, but maybe that’s not a bad thing.

Obviously, I can’t tell you what stance I would take if it were me in that situation, either as a suffering individual, or as a friend or family member - I just haven’t been put in that situation. However, over the course of the evening, I found myself inclining more towards the ‘against’ arguments, if only because the scope of the speaker’s answers and reasoning were so much wider.

So here’s a few observations/questions which I would have liked to raise, had I thought of them at the time, and/or had I not thought they would only aggravate an already emotional discussion:

  1. It was ‘agreed’ that the proposed bill in question not only deals with terminally ill patients suffering from a painful or debilitating condition, but would also encompass others including those whose mental, existential or physical condition makes them not want to live any longer:

    • How and where can we draw the lines?
    • Is a person suffering from, for example, depression (which may be temporary), or Alzheimer’s (which is not), in a position to make a rational decision about this?
    • What safeguards would be put in place to protect the vulnerable, or those who feel (rightly or wrongly) that they have “become a burden to others”?

  2. Should it be medicalised? Or is it a social issue?

    • Who can carry out such assistance?
      • doctors?
      • friends?
      • family members?
    • What is the difference between assisted dying and euthanasia? And the cessation of life-support?
    • Would doctors be required to assist, or could they opt out?
    • Would the inclusion of assisting “patients”‘ deaths change medicine from being solely a healing profession, and can we allow that to happen?

  3. The ‘for’ speaker referred often to ‘autonomy’ and ‘the right to choose the time, manner and place of our death’:

    • What is autonomy? In what sense does any human live in isolation? Is there a distinction between autonomy and selfishness, and if so, what?
    • Are these really rights? No, really? Where do they come from? Who grants them?

  4. The ‘against’ speaker spoke extensively about the impact of such legislation on wider society:

    • What is the value of a human being? How can we judge it? Do we want to head towards a culture where your worth is dependent on your use to society? To what extent are we in that culture already?
    • In what way would this particular law change be a step onto the ‘slippery slope’ of changing other laws, and changes in attitudes and society.
    • What is the potential for abuse of the system, allowing murders to be veiled as compassionate acts?

  5. The ‘for’ speaker effectively dismissed the concept of ‘the sanctity of life’ as a deluded faith-based anachronism (and thus effectively dismissed the opinions of any person of any faith into the bargain):

    • Is an atheistic belief any less an act of faith than a theistic one?
    • Does the concept of ‘the sanctity of life’ (with or without that grand title) resonate with those who are atheists or who profess no faith?
    • Can you legitimately leave out from this debate the opinions of those with some sort of faith? (Perhaps in this country the ‘faithful’ make up only a minority - looking at the world as a whole, it is almost certainly atheists who are in the minority.)
    • How do the views of a person with faith apply to this debate? For example, should all members of a certain faith adhere to a particular ‘party line’?

In my impression, the ‘for’ speaker was on the defensive a bit, accusing her opponent of “brainwashing” the audience with emotive examples, before going on to do exactly the same thing with equally emotive case studies from the other side.

To be honest, both speakers had some pretty bald statements which frustrated me, but one particular “I rest my case” from the ‘for’ speaker set me screaming (internally!) “What case? What case? All you’ve really said is “I think we should do this, therefore we should do it - it’ll provide immunity for few individuals” and backed it up with a couple of isolated examples which do nothing to address any of the bigger societal and legal implications!” Her entire contribution to the discussion on new laws opening the way to other law changes, society and attitude changes was “there is no slippery slope”. That’s not debate, that’s denial.

But I think what swayed me most was this:

On the whole it felt like the ‘for’ case was based around “I”, whereas the ‘against’ case was based around “how can we preserve the value of the individual, protect the vulnerable, and work to the best of our abilities to improve people’s situations”. Maybe that’s just me submitting to emotional arguments, but I know which of those appeals to me more.

As I said before, I can’t honestly say that I might not sway the other way if it were me or one of my loved ones.


(As a final footnote, it was also interesting to observe the distinct polarisation between the reactions of old and young (I’m obviously generalising, but the trend was quite evident):

There were several groups of older people who had obviously been through some incredibly difficult and distressing times. However, while trying not to belittle that suffering, judging by the muted cries and sharp intakes of breath that greeted the ‘against’ speaker, they were obviously having difficulty hearing past the emotion, and weren’t taking in what he actually said about the wider implications. The younger people seemed, on the whole, much more uncertain, but also much more open to debate. I suspect that’s a reflection of genuine emotional involvement with these issues rather than a case of stubbornness growing with age - at least I hope so!

One of the most encouraging contributions to the debate was from a gentleman who is a retired police officer. He appealed for calm rational debate. I don’t know if that’s possible, but I think we need to try.)

Launch gig videos

A big thank you to all who made it out to the launch gig on Thursday. Here's a couple of wee videos courtesy of BrunetteKoala:

Dan Glover Band? - One of Two

DLDown - Since 3 Days Ago

More videos coming soon courtesy of the mighty Faramir Chowyunthin Gamgee, hopefully with lovely synced-up soundboard audio...


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

AHMTS Song by Song 8 - The Turning Song

listen here

This is one of the very first songs Tim and I ever wrote, not long after we started jamming together in 2005. This one of course features Mr Buick’s mighty saxophony.

The title came before we had written any of the lyrics: when we were working out the interlocking sax and guitar riffs at the beginning, we just couldn’t keep track of how many times we had played the phrase, and thus how to move to the next section together. Tim hit on the method of turning through 90 degrees each time through the riff, so when he was facing the right direction again we knew we’d done four, hence The Turning Song. Genius! Fortunately, we got a bit better at it than that before we ever played in front of any microphones...

The lyrics sort of fell into place after that - something roughly along the lines of the parable of the lost son. As my old pastor Matthew said (I’m quoting roughly from memory, and he may well have been quoting from someone else): “There’s no good thing I can do to make him love me any more than he does already, and there’s no wrong I can do that will make him love me any less. He loves me because he loves me because he loves me.”

Thursday, November 05, 2009

AHMTS Song by Song 7 - Left to My Own Devices

listen here

Nope, not a cover of that Pet Shop Boys one! Though I do have something of an unexplained soft spot for some of their stuff...

I don’t really know what to write for this one...

I guess it’s a reflection of the fact that whilst I find believing the basics of my faith relatively easy, carrying out the implications of that can be much harder. There’s often that sense of ‘I could/should be doing this better’ or ‘there must be more to it than this’.

Then again, we've got to start somewhere, and to want to want to do something could be the first step towards actually wanting to. Which in turn is a step towards actually doing it. Whatever 'it' is.

As you’ll have gathered, I like complicated or layered parts, so for the drum parts I had to hold myself back from doing anything that didn’t fit the monotonous feel of the song.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Thanks to all to made it out the Halloween gig with davesnewbike and Fair Witness. A great time was had by all!

Don't forget the album launch gig on Thurs 12th Nov at the Lot - details here.