Soothsayer

Just added Soothsayer to my Zazzle Store  this image is from 2007 and while it was never one of my most popular works from my Visionary art collection I always liked it. Once you see the face with the third eye, it's obvious why I called it this.

I still withhold judgement on the ability to communicate with the great beyond, during my time on the Mind body and spirit circuit I witnessed some amazing things, also I had some wonderful conversations with people that knew things that where both profound and inspirational.  I also came across a lot of charlatans and fakers that took advantage of the lost and vulnerable.

As I believe that everything in the universe is linked then maybe somewhere there is a collective memory bank of all things that have ever happened, Could it be that there are those that can link into this. Who knows for sure? No one, but that doesn't and shouldn't stop us wondering .

For the love of music - Peter Ulrich

Repost from my old blogger site. 

Over a year ago Peter Ulrich (ex- percussionist for Dead Can Dance and This Mortal Coil ) released his third album ‘ The Peter Ulrich Collaboration - The Painted Caravan’, so I thought I would finally talk a little bit about Peter and his music from my perspective.

I first met Peter Ulrich in the mid to late 1970's, I would of been around 9 or 10, whilst Peter was working weekends at my Dads DIY store. Discovering that Peter played the drums, my father knowing that I had always loved the idea of playing drums arranged it with Peter so that I could see his drum kit and have a go. Peter was very accommodating and let me bash away on his kit like one of those wind-up monkeys. He then demonstrated how the drums should be played and I was 'well impressed'.

Peter, who was a few years older than me, like it or not had just acquired a new buddy and I've been bugging him ever since. It is a lifelong friendship that I have truly valued. Peter and I have music, humour and when we get the time a love of deep elongated conversations in common.

I think the one thing he has valued in me is the ability to give him a honest opinion on his music and I, likewise have always valued his views on my Art. What I admire and yet frustrates me about Peter is his unwavering focus on producing the music he wants, not bending his style in anyway to fit in with sounds that may bring him greater public appeal. Peter will not compromise his art one 'jot'. He knows the way he wants his music to sound and if it means he has to wait years (and he often has) to produce it exactly then that is what he has done.

Peter looks nothing like what you would imagine a musician who’s work is often called gothic folk should look. He is well disguised as a suburban man but don’t let his conformist appearance trick you. One thing Peter is not is dull and predictable. Unless you have listened to his previous works from 12’’ Single "Taqaharu's Leaving" in 1990 to his CDs "Pathways and Dawns (1999), Projekt and Enter The Mysterium (2005), City Canyons you can not really begin to understand his wide musical spectrum. The lyrics to his musical tales touch on the light and dark of human existence: faith, war, superstition, love, lust and betrayal to name a few. Peter is a wordsmith who in times gone by may have made a handsome living writing poetry and prose.

His sound may, once in a while, sound medieval but his recording techniques are up to the minute often producing songs with other musicians spread across the seas via the internet. He is a truly talented musician that excels as a traditional percussionist but also has mastered the art of all forms of keyed, stringed and blown instruments. Peter like most englishman suffers with a bad case of modesty when it comes to his musical ability. He will use terms like 'I get by' or 'I tinker', but most of us can only ever wonder what it would be like to play any instrument half as well.

Outside the music box

In life I have found there are two types of stuff (that’s a technical term). 'Stuff 1' can instantly be appreciated and understood but soon becomes dull and superficial. 'Stuff 2' is out of one’s comfort zone that challenges but once understood offers more and more over a lifetime. I would place Peter's work in the second camp. Someone who only listens to an Urich song once will miss the lyrics, the layers and the point.

I don’t want to make Peter's music sound like it’s hard work, it’s not, it’s just outside the limited confines of the everyday music box. For a generation brought up on Radio 1, x-factor and other corporately packaged music this will be strange. Strange in the way sitting around a table with china plates, knives and forks is to people brought up on fast food from a plastic container. Mr Ulrich's greatest struggle ultimately is the one faced by any artist that attempts to do anything outside the ‘norm’.  It is the act of locating and connecting with the audience that is ready and waiting to embrace their work. Fan bases in any field of the arts are seldom to be discovered on one’s doorstep and Peter's work, like that of Dead Can Dance is best known and appreciated far from home. Don’t beat yourself up when you've never heard of someone or discount their work, it is often the case that those that are the most popular in the musical field are seldom the best. The mainstream media is attracted to many things but it is seldom talent.

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About The New Album
Be in no doubt the new album The Peter Ulrich Collaboration - The Painted Caravan is going to take you on a magical musical journey. Every track is a different town with unique tastes and customs.

Peter's love of all musical styles come to the fore on this album, more than anything he has ever done. We travel from deep, dark woodlands to sweeping open spaces both musically and lyrically. To put it another way, I have described it as a 'psychedelic' trip, it carries you along through light and dark, beauty, ugliness and at moments tip toes on the edge of insanity.

Below are my favourite tracks

Children of the Rain  is the pop song on the album for me. When I first played it for my wife she started dancing around like the people at Woodstock!!! Her words were 'it is an awesome song!' reminds her of the feel of a Crosby, Stills and Nash or a Peter, Paul and Mary album. If it is given airplay then I have no doubt this will be the ‘hit’ off the album (do they still call them that!)

Pureland is beautifully haunting and stays with you for days, I found myself singing 'then there was you' time and time again. I like its rhythmic chant, a rocking backwards and forwards in a warm blanket of madness… I like it lots…

The Secret Gardener - Some great Bono’ish vocals on this track which has the feel of a rock, folk sea shanty.

Hanging man goes without saying the real folk song on the CD - this also has a very good slideshow video (below), that goes with it.... Ok I’ll come clean - the graphics on that were created by me under a pseudonym :-)

The Tempest is without a doubt Peter's best vocal to date and takes you out of the album in true Ulrich style.

Click the links below to buy 'The Peter Ulrich Collaboration - The Painted Caravan'

From Market Square
From Amazon
For more info on the Album see canyons.net

My final thoughts

A great deal of love and work has gone into this album and I would be doing Trebor Lloyd who runs the City Canyons and produced this collaboration a disservice if I didn't thank him for his support of my friend and making his musical concepts a reality.

If you like the work of Peter Ulrich I urge you to tweet and blog about this new album  or simply repost this. It’s horribly corny even gag-able to say but Peter Ulrich is not only a good friend but a very nice guy who deserves all the recognition his talent and works get. Whatever the outcome from this 3rd CD I know Peter will continue to write and play because it’s in his DNA. Everyday is a new dawn with a new pathway to explore and it’s always for the love of the music

Cyber Girl Pin-up

I've started creating a range of virtual Pin-up girls and to kick it off here is our very own Ashley Munro. I have always loved the America Pin-up girl art of the 40's and 50's sexy, cheeky fun without being Pornographic and so I thought I do my own spin on this classic genre it. These will be available as Cards and postcards (to start with) from my Zazzle store Pin-up dept. 


Have a Smashing Week

No one ever said that life was easy and at times it may seem the harder you try the less you achieve. If that describes you then all I can say is just wait  a while because another set of circumstances are just around the corner, let's hope these ones are good for you ... AV

To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float. - Alan Watts