Archive for the ‘(Re)Tune’ Category

Of the many things that I love, I derive a significant amount of joy in listening to music and finding new artists. Many of you who know me have probably experienced, and subsequently worried about me, as I “geek out” over a new discovery. Near to my appreciation of music, is my love of letting people know about new songs/artists/sounds I’ve stumbled upon. Every week I am going to be introducing a new (or new-to-me) song that I am currently enjoying… and try to convince you on why you should love it too.

About a month ago I was listening to Pandora and heard Gotye (“go-tee-yay“) perform “Someone That I Used To Know”, and was immediately surprised at how fresh and yet familiar the sound was. Reminiscent Phil Collins, the Police and Toto it is a modern re-boot of all of the sounds I love from the 80s. It is whimsical and reflective but with an a chorus that is livid and impassioned.

While the break-up song will always have a place in music, Gotye takes the convention past the angst-y one-sided lament that we see (e.g. Ain’t No Sunshine, With or Without You or the classic favorite Cry Me a River). Halfway through the song it shifts into a duet bringing the reality that is true with any break-up… the other person. It is a “formula” that I am amazed isn’t employed more often. It takes it from a song that I would honestly love anyway, to a solid favorite. It also reminds me that sometimes the best innovations are the most obvious in retrospect.

The rest of “Making Mirrors” is easy to let play again and again, despite how amazing all the songs are, “Someone That I Used to Know” is my favorite of the collection.

I am not the only person who has this opinion. The covers of this song abound. Have a listen, and check out the two covers included.

Taking an already amazing song and rearranging it so that it can be played by 5 people on one guitar (which I might like as much as the original), or sung a capella by a beat-boxing quintet is worth your time.

Trust me.

Someone That I Used to Know

Gotye

Someone That I Used to Know

Walk Off The Earth

Someone That I Used to Know

Pentatonix

Have a great day,

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Imogen heap has released heapsong2 = Propeller Seeds.

The initial idea was tied to how sycamore seeds fall… which is incredible if you have never seen it before.

Also cool, but in a different way, is that this song is recorded so that with headphones you are totally immersed in a 3D environment. Try it out.

I have needed to pull back all morning.

I have been working on a sermon for tonight, and I have gotten so wrapped up in the need for it to be excellent. I have been going through the desire for people to look upon me with favor, and my pride has been getting the best of me. I have been spending some time in prayer and worship and the following passage kept coming to mind:

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Paul to the Corinthians

In the power of God… I have been reminded again and again about the greatness of the God we serve. Even from the most unlikely of places. This morning I was listening to a song by “Moby”… umm yeah… okay I know that my struggle with this sermon might be divine retribution for having 90s techno-dance music AND still listening to it… but bear with me for a sec. There is a song that he wrote back in the early 1994 called “God Moving over the Face of the Waters”.

Take a listen. Really. Its worth it.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

We serve an awesome, powerful, glorious, amazing God… who is even able to use Moby to bring me into worship and a deeper relationship and love with Him.

Keeping that in mind I’m going to wrap up this sermon.

About three months ago I took part in an online project by a musician that I have loved for years, Imogen Heap. From conception to delivery, heapsong1, which later became Lifeline, involved two weeks of input and collaboration from hundreds of fans, and changed so many of my thoughts on social media, art and the creative process.

It was also a staunch reminder of how much work it takes to make anything of value and beauty.

If you haven’t heard the piece I’ve included the video below (note: Its a bit avant garde) . In addition to this is a video of how the entire project worked.

I love music. I love seeing the creative process as well, especially with an artist whose work I so thouroughly appreciate. I love being challenged to think innovatively about a problem, and how to pause and look at the world around me with fresh eyes.

I am not sure of how God works it into my heart, but so often He will use poetry, and music and art to pumice my heart and renewing the sensitivity with with I experience the world around me. I love that He doesn’t tire of reminding me of his glory that is reflected in his creation. I love that he can take a project put together by a secular artist, and use it to invite me into deeper relationship and praise. I love that worship isn’t only the songs we sing bookending the sermon, but that it can, and should, be interwoven with every aspect of our lives.

Today at 3:00 the next project begins and over the next two weeks heapsong2 will emerge. Check out the website if you want to join in on all of the fun.

I will probably post about it every couple of days.

Matthew Henry once wrote:

Every object we behold calls on us to bless and praise the Lord, who is great. His eternal power and Godhead are clearly shown by the things which he hath made. God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. The Lord Jesus, the Son of his love, is the Light of the world.

Last night I stopped and stared at the stars and was so amazed by the sheer magnitude of creation… and how breathtaking I forget it is.

I was talking to my roommate earlier in the day about how worship is more than the songs that we sing to open and close a service. While the music is certainly crafted to bring us into an awareness of the greatness of the God we serve, the heart of worship lies in our response not to the music, but to the nature of the goodness, and graciousness, and greatness and glory of God.

An author I have always loved reading put it this way:

It is delightful to worship God, but it is also a humbling thing; and the man who has not been humbled in the presence of God will never be a worshiper of God at all. He may be church member who keeps the rules and obeys the discipline, and who tithes and goes to conference, but he’ll never be a worshiper unless he is deeply humbled. ( AW Tozer, Worship: The Missing Jewel, 4,5).

To that end, to see in some small way the things wrought about through God saying: “Let there be…”, I thought I would put up a video of a single day of a single mountain in Iceland. Also part of Psalm 104.

Oh, that the eyes of my eyes would be opened, and the ears of my ears unstopped… that I would humbled and reminded by actually seeing more frequently and clearly the greatness and glory of God.

 You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
                          they flow between the hills;
       they give drink to every beast of the field;
                           the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
 Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
                             they sing among the branches.
        From your lofty abode you water the mountains;
                             the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
  You cause the grass to grow for the livestock
                             and plants for man to cultivate,
        that he may bring forth food from the earth
                             and wine to gladden the heart of man,
 oil to make his face shine
                             and bread to strengthen man’s heart.
         The trees of the LORD are watered abundantly,
                             the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
 In them the birds build their nests;
                             the stork has her home in the fir trees.
        The high mountains are for the wild goats;
                             the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers.
(Psalm 104:10-18 ESV)

Yesterday I admitted to being wrong and silly when it came to how a person plays the guitar.

The day before I talked about the how God uses tragedy in our lives to draw us to know Him and love Him more fully and accurately through the story of Job.

Thankfully, not many of us will ever have to endure the pain of losing all of our children, all of our possessions, and then go through a painful season of physical sickness. While this might seem like it renders the book of Job into a worst-case scenario, that we pray never happens to us, there are so many things that can happen in our lives that mirror the utter destruction we see in Job’s life.

The great thing about Job is it a narrative that we can identify with. There is something to be said about our heart and our mind’s ability to engage with truth when it is lived out.  Here is a brief story about God being in control and working compassionately through what seems like destruction and loss.

I love the line in this video… “the things that He is most concerned about, in my worship to Him, is for me to never forget that the instrument He is most concerned with, is the instrument of my heart.

This morning I was listening to an album of classical music that was written in the mid 20th century.

I find it absolutely amazing, but Maria, one of my favorite people who works in this building, came up and asked me what I was listening to, and it wasn’t the “What are you listening to, I want a copy of that” type of inquiry.

Actually, Maria is one of the only people I see on a regular basis. I work in a large vault in the basement of my building, and Maria, who is the bulding’s custodial manager, is really the only one who comes down here with any consistency. The great thing is that her English is about as good as my Spanish and we have an awesome time working through how to communicate with each other.

At first I thought Maria was saying that the music was too scary, but then I realized she meant it was too gloomy, it made her feel like it should be raining.

As we went back and forth testing the boundaries of our vocabulary, I explained that I didn’t want to listen to music with words (lyrics), and she put forth the challenge of me changing my music to something more like a picnic rather than a rainy day… I SO wish I could explain how we got there.

Our meandering conversation ended up with us laughing, her appropriately mocking my tastes in instrumental music as we went through my iPod… that is until I reached the album Fates by Erik Mongrain. With Maria’s seal of approval, and a nod that it reminded her of a picnic we both continued about our day.

I am sitting here on my coffee break and I realized that I haven’t listened to this album in over a year, and I’ve forgotten how much I like it.

It was a strange find, and I bought it after I watched a grainy youtube video of Erik Mongrain playing a guitar. Not just playing a guitar, but hammering one, it was something different than I had ever seen. I remember thinking, quite adamantly, “this isn’t how it is done,” but the sound was both exciting and also so unlike what I thought a guitar could produce.

I love learning that I am wrong.

Check it out: