Tuesday, October 21, 2008

There are no goodbyes... But sometimes things just need to be broken.

Poor Jasmine. My poor poor Jasmine. (She was my guitar...)

Hello everyone,

I thought I'd send you a little update but PLEASE don't let this photo of poor ol' Jasmine lead to you thinking we're having problems in the studio, ok?!

Quite the contrary in fact. It really is going absolutely amazing. I am literally bursting with joy (yes yes yes, a sad joy, don't worry...) with the way everything is shaping up.

And Jeffrey 'The Bear' Townsin? What can I say? Not only is the man a great friend and a true drum god but his enthusiasm and determination is really helping to drive this album along. Always full of ideas and a desire to keep trying things until we feel it's just right. Honestly, he's being brilliant.

I must admit though that we're in the studio over 10 hours a day everyday and these last few days have been pretty tough. Jeff's girlfriend (Hi Nina!) has come over for a quick visit and I really should have used this as a chance to take a little, though much needed, break myself. But did I? Of course I didn't.

And now look at poor little Jasmine... She certainly didn't deserve that!

But you know, sometimes the stress, the tension, the uncertainty, and, well, just the noise that complicates our lives, can become this excruciating hum and something has to give, right?

And actually, I feel much much calmer now... (My little hissy-fit was only about 15 minutes ago!)

How up-to-date is that? You're practically an eye witness to the destruction! (Although I'm now posting this from home a couple hours later...)

So anyway just a few little things besides saying how happy we are with the album blah blah blah...

Josh Rouse: Sweetie (MP3)

We'll sleep on rooftops
We'll ride on bicycles

Baby, we'll get married

Don't you want to, Sweetie?

Girl, you sing with me



I really want you to hear this song. It's such a great song and it ties in nicely with one of the songs Jeff and I are working on now.

Actually there's a little story to be told about my trip to see Malcolm (Middleton) and his girlfriend Verena in Glasgow (His new album is going to be absolutely brilliant, of course, and Verena makes wonderful carrot cake!) but I'll leave that for another time...

So anyway, I'm on the train home and I'm listening to Sweetie and it's one of those happy-sad moments (Do any of you ever get those?) where I'm thinking 'God I would love to get married' but I'm also thinking that no one will ever want to marry me because really, at the end of the day, I'm just a fuck-up. Pure and simple. I'm a fuck-up.

But I was happy as well. And the train was speeding along. And the sun was shining and Josh just sounded so in love and was singing his La-la-la's and his Baby let's get married's and I'm sitting on this train and get to thinking that, yeah, I'm a fuck up but I'm still lovable, right? And yeah, I've got my hang-ups and my little idiosyncrasies but hey, I'm not THAT bad and so I started writing my own song for those of us out there that are, well, maybe we aren't exactly perfect but...

I'm jealous
And possessive

Insecure, neurotic and obsessive...

And I know that I ain't easy but I love you

Oh I love you

And that's gotta mean something
Yeah doesn't that mean something?

Especially these days
When nothing seems to mean anything

(I guess I'm not painting a very pretty picture of myself here, huh?)

So needless to say, after I'd written it I thought it was absolute shit and just kind of threw it away (of course) but when Jeff and I started working together again I told him the idea 'behind' the song and he asked me to play it on acoustic guitar. Surprisingly (well I was surprised, I mean, it's a not a very 'cool' song...) he actually thought the song was wonderful and really sincere and now, after us working on it (and changing it rather dramatically, it sounds much closer to early Sophia...) it's become one of my favorites. Result. (Cheers Jeff!)

Oh and since I'm not going to post any of the new album yet I thought I might start posting some of the cover versions I like to work on while I'm at home. I recorded this song a few weeks ago. I hope you like it. Please remember it was probably 5am or 6am (so I either sound drunk, which I'm not but sounds cool, or deliriously tired, which doesn't sound nearly as cool but is unfortunately true) and it's just me and a microphone and my guitar sitting in my front room pretending that I can actually do these songs justice.

This first song I'll post is "Call Me On Your Way Back Home" by Ryan Adams. You might remember that I also had his song My Winding Wheel on my 'Best of 2007' list? I have to be honest and sadly say that I 'm not overly in love with absolutely everything he has ever done (but that's easy to say about EVERY other songwriter I appreciate greatly as well) but he has a few songs that, well, say everything to me. Maybe even for me. And for those few songs I would hold him up there with the best of the best. I mean, I hate to sound like a fanboy here but, when I first time I heard him sing My Winding Wheel - Ruth Gottleib (Violin) and Sarah Willson (Cello) of the Sophia 'Strings' Collective had invited me to a concert when they were playing with him as part of his acoustic band - well, all I can say is that I understood those words. They were so touching and honest and vulnerable. "Buy a pretty dress and wear it out tonight for all the boys you think can out do me... " Honestly, it gets me every single time.

But anyway, I love Call Me On Your Way Back Home as well. The idea that even moments after you've left someone you want to hear their voice again because you miss them so much (well, that's what I take from the song anyway) I just think is absolutely wonderful.

So like I said, I hope you like my version...

Sophia: Call Me On Your Way Back Home (Acoustic) (MP3)

Oh and one last thing I'd like to let leave you with is this great little excerpt from a new Daniel Lanois DVD: Here Is What Is.

Jeff and I watched this in the studio a few days ago and Brian Eno just says a few of the most wonderful sentences ("Beautiful things sometimes grow out of shit...") about the creation of Art and, well, maybe if I would have listened just a little more closely I wouldn't have let the outside worlds noise (and, I might add, my inner noise) become quite so unbearable and my poor little Jasmine would still be with us.

(I don't know WHAT I'm going to tell Jeff when he gets to the studio and sees my guitar tomorrow... But I left him a little note with a smiley face and a flower on it so I hope he knows I didn't go completely insane!)

OK everyone I gotta go now but please be honest and true, to both yourselves and to others, hold your heads high, be proud and remember, it's gotta mean something...

Take care,



Nangijala said...

hey robin, thanks for the update !! this is very nice - i like the way you share these things, it's kinda keeping the spark glowing in the dark... anyway, about RYAN ADAMS i do feel the same way i guess. i super like his first solo album. then i left after "rock'n'roll" something... though i've enjoyed his two piano-driven records... well, otherwise, all that makes me think of these three guys i've been listening to quite a lot lately and you might really enjoy their music:

- WILLIAM FITZSIMMONS. he put out this album called "the sparrow & the crow" and it's really heartfelt. the story of a cruel break-up. between hope & pure depression. think of iron & wine for the music, and... sophia for the lyrics... ;-)

- J TILLMAN - awesome voice. songs like "minor works" and "for an hour with you" will make you bleed in a good way, of course.

- BODUF SONGS - dark acoustic music with a voice a bit like (once again !) iron & wine but with some kind of a gothic imagery... his new album is haunting: How Shadows Chase the Balance


last but not least, have you heard "re:stacks" by BON IVER ? i wish you could cover this song... it'd be just brilliant, i suppose. this song is for you. and it's like "jealous guy" you'd wish you'd written it...

i might post these songs later.

ok, be well !!!
and those carrot cakes sound like the supreme longings of gods...



Nangijala said...

oh and HAPPY BIRTHDAY by the way !!! right ? :-D much love ! =f=

Matthieu said...

and what are you going to buy as a new guitar ?
should i suggest taylor guitars ? they're totally amazing (but hey fragile !).

thanks for sharing all this & hope to hear you next LP very soon. great cover by the way


matthieu, french fan since 1992

franky said...

hey Robin, my friend ! Frank (the sad bastard) from Lausanne here ! how's life ! it's been a long long time ! hope everything is sweet for you and you're still rocking around......; )

catch me on Facebook (yeah, i'm pretty modern you know) if you feel like ! my name is Frank Matter !

cheers my friend

ps : www.myspace.com/theuglysuit

a pretty good band

Loops said...

Don't ask me to tune this poor Jasmine ;-)
All the best for the recordings !

Jeroen said...

Hey Robin!

You are LITERALLY bursting with joy??
That sounds pretty painful. :-)
Just kidding. Keep up the good work!


tausendsassa said...

Robin, I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to a new Sophia album and hopefully live shows. Your emotionally intense and painfully beautiful music has been a companion over the years and always will be. Thanks for sharing all this.