Said the Gramophone - image by Danny Zabbal
by Dan

Today there is great news: Sean's book Us Conductors made the Giller Prize shortlist. But I don't want to say anymore, besides that I am so unstoppably happy for him I can't keep from grinning, proud, amazed, but also: "of course!"


So today I will post a couple of things I've been working on because life is short and I hope you like them.

FIRST is a proof-of-concept video as part of CBC ComedyCoup, a television "accelerator" (read: contest) towards a single winner of a $500K half-hour prime-time pilot. Our show is called One Night Only. Your views and faves and follows and ratings and shares are all the gold coins we need to collect. If you like it, pass it on.

SECOND is a music video I helped out on. Yes! There is still music today! The marvelous new band Brave Shores teamed up with some of my closest friends Tony Ho to make a lovely little celebratory romp (not without its darkness of course) that I think you will also like.

by Sean
Anatomy Lesson, by Patrick Henne

James Irwin - "Face Value". When yr heart's so crowded; crowded with reflections and every reflection still separate, distinct. Minutes in an hour, faces in a crowd, motives like fish in deep currents. Whenever I am standing,, you think, standing at the bar, I am teetering. A tower on the verge of falling, all its rooms filled with scholars. A woman puts on a record, a shiny black piece of vinyl; you listen to it, teetering. Whole schools in yr heart, a hundred mirrors. The guide of a rhythm: a beat you can dance to, for a sec, making yr teetering seem graceful. A drumroll that tumbles like a falling moon. Guitars that ring like starlight. Synths all blurring, rain poured onto everything. And a voice, thank god for that voice, a guide through the empty night. Someone to murmur, like an arm around your chest, I am not becoming you / I am not becoming me. [website / soundcloud / previously / James Irwin is currently unsigned]

Luke James - "Love XYZ". A few minutes of arthouse R&B. akin to Miguel, Frank Ocean or Jessie Ware, but "Love XYZ" leans in instead of back - it's seduction as forward press, as push and push, skin on skin all asking. James craves his lover, goes to them, pleads. And yet he is undesperate. Ardour is around them like incense smoke. In the sonics of the song: distant schoolyard voices, hidden strings, dancing motorik. The hunger is layered overtop these subtleties - a chorus of calling; a voice that lands on its edge; rebounding beats that come & come & come again, undeterrable. You rarely hear a love-song that feels like a soft touch and also like a hard one. Here is one. [buy

(image is Patrick Henne's painting, "The Anatomy Lesson.")

by Sean
100% Polyester

Sharon Van Etten - "Our Love". I have probably listened to this song 75 times. You can consider me an expert. So after you have listened once, twice, 70 times, what I am going to suggest is that you listen to the moment just after 2:24, when this pretty song sounds an awkward, human beat. The overblown tom drum, or whatever it is, feels less like a beat than like an utterance - a confession from the rhythm section, a plea, a belch, something messily & bodily, less considered than the rest of the song. Less finely wrought. In such a pretty track, the human part is crucial:the sigh of a bending guitar string; the fading strain of Van Etten's voice. The suggestion that "Our Love" isn't just the recollection of feeling but a feeling itself. That it isn't theatre: it's a moment in time, remembered.

(photo via Alexis O'Hara)

by Dan

There's a song I left amidst the papers on your desk. I wiped the phone receiver clean, but could do nothing about the coffee ring. The window was open a crack, was that on purpose? I closed it. I hope it doesn't get too stuffy in there. That whole place seems to be tweed fabric stretched over metal. It's hard to remember when it rains, that it's not raining everywhere. That somewhere it's very nice. There's a film playing in my head when I close my eyes. It's of a rabbit being peeled like a banana. It's hard to remember when there's music playing that somewhere there is silence. I left a song amidst the papers, you'll find it if you look. It's long but you can read it if you like.

by Sean
Patrick Fitzgerald's flowers

Grass Widow - "Time Could Bend". "There are six ways to sing," the teacher told her. And so for the next two years, she learned the six ways: highsinging, lowsinging, clearvoice, falsetto, nightingale, hog. Every week, she studied the six forms; with lectures, in workshops, at home with a textbook and a tape-recorder. Her notes were smudged phrases, blotted treble-clefs. Her meals were composed of simple, separate elements: starches, proteins, fibre. Sometimes, for dessert, she would prepare a perfectly-layered yoghurt parfait. The woman dreamed of voices - separate voices, harmonizing voices, overlapping voices. She dreamed of clearvoice that was lowsinging, falsetto gone hog. She imagined her teacher looking through a telescope, staring at the moon. "Sing like a moonbeam," he said, "a moonbeam through a lens." [buy

(photo source)

by Dan

Hani Zahra - "Ma's In A Vaze"

Hani Zahra are different shapes of sticky rice, and they're in hidden places all over. You find them and it's food.

release show tomorrow at The Knitting Factory

by Sean
By Nicolas Amori

Jeff Bird - "Souvenir Flutes". A baby blue tug goes putting down the Amazon. It is a battered boat, seaweed-stained, but its tiller still works, its radio, its hand-cranked orange juicer. There is a crew of three: a captain, a navigator, a cook. One of them is a ghost; they know one of them is a ghost, hear the rattling chains every night, but the other two haven't figured out which of them it is. At every meal, at every anchor, every time they spy another ship on the river or a bird of paradise on the shore, two are thinking, Are you a ghost are you a ghost are you a ghost are you a ghost? The third, the ghost himself, is not thinking anything. He is the perfect imitation of a man, afloat on the water, travelling somewhere. He sups with the humans, plays cards, talks dreamily about family back home, their distant destination. When they go to sleep he lifts his phantom chains, rattles them, stalks the deck. He feels lucky to be here, where it is humid and noisy, where the air smells of red flowers. The insects are chittering. The birds call. Around dawn, three men will sit up in their cots and stare across the room at each other and wonder.

[Jeff Bird plays music with Cowboy Junkies and a thousand other people. He also plays the theremin. "Souvenir Flutes" is from Rhythm & Entertainment. More music here.]

(image by Nicolas Amori)