There is a strange but compelling attraction to Whales for me. I don’t really know why only that it is there and very strong too. It feels like an emotional bond of some sort and I am struck by the way they do not set out to attack people, in spite of much persecution by people. It’s as though they are wiser. Maybe they are the custodians of something. I’m sure the scientist and biologist will give me the cold explanations of their presence, place and purpose, but it will never shake my belief that there is something very special about whales, something intangible. I hope you enjoy this poetry with sound. It is my own poem read by me and the music is my own playing and composition. What I’ve tried to do is impart to the piece something of what I feel. Enjoy and best wishes….Neil I’ve called the poem Thermoclines Thermoclines a poem by Neil William Holland. a.k.a. Soloneili What am I following, this pull call pull of something higher? Rising and bellowing thermoclines mellowing deep subsonic viscous noise, resonating through rib-cages, grasping aortas, whale song. Blues, Minkes, Orcas.
Click on post heading to hear the track.
This is recorded through a THX certified microphone using bespoke layered sound design played on an Oxygen2 61 key midi keyboard combined with a Tibetan singing bowl that took me a few years to find (finding the right singing bowl for you as an individual is not an easy thing if you believe in harmonics in respect of people as well as objects). The track is sufficiently long (just over ten minutes) to enable relaxation and subtleties are obtained through rhythms and weight via the velocity sensitive keyboard when playing. This is the first of a series aimed at meditative qualities that help in the search for the state of Nirvana, or simply to chill out with, depending on your own perspective.Best wishes always. Neil
Just some eye and ear candy I’d like to share. I got a free backing track on a magazine cover disc, added a few extras and wondered if a lion’s roar could be musical? Then I layered some animation et voila! Hope you enjoy. Best wishes. Neil
I think one of the nicest things in life is to paint pictures and of course this can be done in many ways. I hope you can enjoy sharing this one in the form of a poem I’ve written and recorded. Thanks for reading and listening.
Summers, in all their meanings, go quickly don’t they?
A Page I Turn To
Under a summer of larks
we lay on our backs cloud-spotting,
defining our young dreams, hopeful
hearts full of bright sky.
We lay among the meadowsweet
holding hands on mossy pillows
and beneath fingers of trees
dappled by threads of sunlight.
Light, light were those moments
innocent and bright.
It’s a page I turn to stirred
by a song a sky or, heaven knows why.
Those heady days we kissed, and took to the earth,
at home in our loving-rooms of barley, wheat and rye.
A photo of Harry Patch
I always wanted to pay my own tribute to this remarkable man, and always felt that one day I could perhaps find the words to create a poem. However, since embarking on my journey to explore imagery and feeling, that may amount to a ‘poetic’ feeling using tone and sound alone, I have grown more and more to appreciate what seems to be an almost hidden form of language enshrined in sound which is capable of stirring emotions in the same way that crafted poetic words can stir emotions. I apologise if I’m not articulating this as well as I hope but I suppose that all I’m trying to say is that if a title points the listener in a certain direction then it seems possible to generate the same emotional response in a listener that I feel myself.
Ever since seeing the late Harry Patch talk on a TV documentary about his experiences in the great war I have remembered the man, not daily perhaps, but he seems to crop up in my thoughts at odd moments and this is something that gives me pleasure. I never want to forget Harry Patch, nor the many others who endured the war and including of course those who paid the ultimate scrifice for all of us. I seem to be on a parrallel journey of poetry and music where both are perfectly capable of leading my mind into strong imagery and strong feelings too. How this all works on someone like myself creatively I’m not too sure, but one day recently I sat down at my electronic keyboard and selected a certain sound, the tone of which resonated inside me and then I started to play. I cannot read music and cannot play any instrument, but by ‘feeling’ my way forward testing notes and combinations I heard that something was emerging that reflected how I felt when thinking of Harry Patch. I will never forget how he relayed in the documentary the moment he cradled a dying soldier in his arms and suddenly the soldier cried out “Mother”, just as though she had appeared there before him. He then passed away. I hope you feel what I feel inside this musical piece which it seems is composed, arranged and played by me even though I cannot read music or play a musical instrument. It seems odd to me that this can happen. Thanks for listening and best wishes. Neil
I pose the question, ‘Can all things be said with words’? It begs the question that some things are best said with flowers, perhaps an apology, or an expression of affection and love. If you surprise someone with a weekend in Paris, or any gesture really, is it another form of language. Can a painter deliver a message to you as you stand in front of a painting, or give you at least a sense of place or an invitation to journey somewhere in your imagination. I find the concept of semiotics interesting, the language of signs, and wonder when it comes to communication, ‘how much is enough’? It isn’t always nice things that are communicated, gestures alone can communicate threats for example. However I prefer to dwell on nice things.
This is all relative to my interest in poetry and how it works within us, especially within me really. I seem to ask alot of questions about how things affect me. With all this in mind I post here a piece of music I’ve produced that I hope has the same affect as standing before a painting, or reading a passage in a novel, or a poetic statement. I’ve given it a title, and I simply hope that a listener can paint imagery and narrative inside themselves through it. I don’t know what you might feel, but there is a melancholy to it for me, a story, a young girl or woman receiving a hurtful lesson about life, not a disaster but a an experience shall we say, for someone who may then need some loving arms to turn to, a mum or dad perhaps, and an explanation of why?. I hope you enjoy another stage along this journey with me. The title is ” I waited so long but you stood me up.”
Continuing along the lines of my post regarding narration I return again to my love of poetry that derives from promptings without words. Much as I love linguistic poetry and the written form of it I also love the concept of poetry which can be seen in almost anything.
It is about imagery and a place that something, anything, takes you to. A place that is perhaps outside of the ordinary routine we all find ourselves in. In terms of classical music I think one of the most powerful pieces for me that has a way of affecting my state of mind is Barber’s Adagio for strings. I absolutely adore that piece of music. A more contemporary piece of instrumental music that affects me is Leonard Cohen’s Tacoma Trailer. I never get tried of listening to such music. How it works and why a piece of music can have the ability to convey an essence of feeling in this way is hard to articulate. I only know it does, much the same as Emily Dickinson’s poem Toward Eternity does, and many other poems too.
The creative spark behind this piece of music that I’ve produced here is my memory of the Mawdach Estuary in Wales. The journey along the road towards Barmouth is extraordinary in its beauty as the view unfolds between leafy trees that host one’s winding car journey. The effect is to lift the inner spirit and I often reflect that the great painter William Turner must have experienced this as I know he painted Barmouth town looking back from the wide and inviting beach, the apron which offers its smooth contrast to Barmouth’s mountainous backdrop.
There is something uplifting about oystercatchers wheeling in the breeze before alighting upon the glass-like mudflats, something hopeful about the tide smoothing its incoming waters along the channels that vein the estuary, something alive about it all. I hope you enjoy what I like to call my music-poem. Best wishes. Neil
Hello all poetry, music, sound and art lovers out there. This is a post about exploring narrative in its many forms. Many people tend to think of prose when mentioning narrative and it is not surprising when we consider that narrative is closely aligned to the art of story telling. Not far behind prose and sometimes hand in hand with it is poetry, where we see a vast amount of narrative writing that concentrates the prose into a different level of sensitivity we regard as poetic.
I believe another form of narrative is sourced from within music, classical music or instrumental music for example, or ambient music. This is where our own imagery supplies internal visual responses that are our own subconscious, our inner selves responding to sound alone, sometimes aided by the title of a piece which points us in a certain direction. Stories have the capacity to set scenes as do soundscapes and from these launch-pads it is possible to experience a sense of journey and wonder. Lyrics and sound combined also give us a clear narrative to follow, either through complete journeys or open ended phrasing.
It is this holistic sense of journey triggered by the various mediums which captivates me, and in sharing this blog I hope I’m reaching out to anyone out there who resonates with a need to explore.
One of the greatest conveyors of ‘places and people’ through narrative that I’ve come across is the much published poet and writer Sherry O’Keefe. I recommend reading her work and I think you will find a wonderful depth to her writing. She is a talented photographer too and the photographs themselves (that accompany some of her blogs) offer more than face value, frequently showing a brilliant sense of composition and often capturing an essence of the subject. The way she embraces narrative is to be acutely insightful, with an ability to deliver observation at a level exceeding simple prose. I hope you will follow this link and see for yourself how this marvellous contemporary writer weaves a magic spell through narration. The ancient art of story telling lives on.
You may have to copy and paste the above link into your browser as it hasn’t highlighted.
Still exploring this theme of narration, I offer you three more links to explore, featuring three pieces of my own, each with a story to tell, each in it’s own way and I hope you will go on a different journey in each case.
This track is a soundscape called ‘Sun Rising On an Aztec Temple’.
This instrumental track is called Rosebud Blooming (actually about a woman going through a bitter separation )
This track of spoken word and music combined with my poetry is a dark piece.
I hope that you can listen and visit the links to explore the variety in terms of narrative, and here’s to you all in creativity, and especially your involvement with narration as a writer or reader, or indeed listener. Sincere thanks and best wishes. Neil
This poem is about the difficult subject of dementia. The poem refers to a couple who are together from childhood into old age and first I wrote the poem then later I explored tonal pictures via my midi keyboard until I felt I had found a complimentary melody that echoed the imagery of the poem. I think it’s interesting to combine words with sound and music. Perhaps music is also about putting across subjects in a certain light, just as words do. We all develop our own imagery listening to music alone, but when it is given a more narrow focus via words too then it plays a slightly different element in the combination, supportive I believe, contributing to the overall tone of the creator’s intention, a point that isn’t lost on film makers and advertisers of course. Anyway, here’s to you in your own creativity and I hope this rather poignant piece is similar to an interaction with a form of music-gallery. Just click on the orange link to hear the poem. Thanks for listening. Best wishes. Neil
Separation…a poem about dementia
We hear the notes
as the blind piano tuner
merges his world with ours.
We marvel, two children
in a school hall
not knowing our song has begun.
Now sixty years on
I clasp your hand.
You don’t know me anymore
and I try to give you back our children’s names,
like a blind piano tuner
searching for an echo
to a familiar note.
This poem was originally written about a painting that featured a woman holding a syringe. It seemed logical to place it as a performance piece into the scene of electronica, reflecting the club scene’s darker elements. In the tone of it I tried to put across musically (my own composition) the insistence of addiction and the seediness of the world of drug addiction. Please click on the orange link to hear it and thank you for listening.
My Darkling Kiss
Dealer dealer where art thou?
Give me thy needle pray,
within the life you give to me
I’ll die again today.
Bloody thing that I behold
and clutch unto my bosom,
a viper’s syringe
a single fang
my life in microcosm.
Into my vein I drive your succour
‘aagh my sweet,’ the bliss.
Never has a human touch
surpassed this darkling kiss.
In my arms and dear I hold you
with lifeless eyes I cry.
Let mortal man as one behold you,
my shame, this vein and I.
Some hours of respite dearly bought
I need not climb the wall.
Through glassy eyes I gaze upon you,
beyond perdition’s pall.