29 December 2006

Sunday Mornings

homemade breakfast
strawberry milk
a thick newspaper
What memories do you associate with Sunday mornings?

k-os . sunday morning [follow link to MP3]
This could very well be the "feel good" song of 2007.
Regardless, it'll keep you dancin' thru the rest of 2006.

26 December 2006

Christmas Blessing

I'm so "addicted" to my nieces that I can't even wait to get home today and post pictures taken with an actual camera (as opposed to the one in my cell phone). I told a friend earlier today that, after spending some time with my family over Christmas, I was reminded that they are my greatest reminder of God's love for me here on this earth. What blessings He hath bestowed upon us.

This is my six-month old niece, Kiera. She is a beautiful reflection of the innocence and light that entered this World some 2,000 years ago with the birth of little baby boy who would one day save the World. Last night after all the commotion that occurs when opening gifts with your extended family (including four kids under the age of 6), I held Kiera in a quiet corner of the living room while she slept. As I often do when I get the chance to hold her, I just stared into her face. Tears streamed down my face as I lovingly observed her peaceful aura. It's heavenly! I can close my eyes right now and see her and feel all the emotions her presence drags from the depths of my heart.

A few minutes later she awoke, fussed a little and her mommy was quick to whisk her away into more comforting arms. And that's the way I like it -- as little crying as necessary, for all too soon, she too will face the darkness of this World. I guess my prayer is that just as the arms of her mommy will provide comfort during her infancy and childhood, the grown arms of that same baby boy will surround her and protect her at all times.

22 December 2006

That's what Christmas is all about...

For my readers without a high-speed internet connection, I've included the words from Luke 2:8-14 (KJV), as proclaimed by Linus at the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas:

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

15 December 2006

Six for '06

Here are six songs, released this year, that are not only musically stunning, but have meant a great deal to me for various reasons. If you've enjoyed them as well, drop me a comment. As always, follow the link to the MP3. And grab them quick, the links are only good for 7 days. For more information on these artists, check their links on the sidebar under [Nu]Sounds.

01Kate Havnevik - New Day
This song has every element necessary for a perfect song -- string arrangement, heavily-layered electronic programming, angelic vocals, smart yet simple lyrics, a slow build to start and a dancy ending. As Kate, herself, explains: "Its all about rising, waking up, coming to life and embracing a new day." It's a beautiful landscape of a song. A treasure uncovered as the last song on Melankton, which also happens to be one of the best albums of '06.

02Milosh - The City
Milosh states: "I started playing cello at the age of three and looking back on it with these older eyes, I have to admit that I have always had an intense attraction to songs that are sad, soft and beautiful." I can totally relate (except the part about the cello), no wonder I like this guy's sound so much. This track comes from the most beautiful album of the year, meme.

03Sparrow House - When I Am Gone
I recently blogged the lyrics of this song that really touch me deeply, but it's the stripped down innocence of the instrumentation that speaks the most to me. It's just that you believe everything he's telling you lyrically because his guitar and piano speak the same message in a different language. This is truly one of those tracks that you will have on repeat for an entire evening.

04Cat Power - The Greatest
I've blogged this one before. Just listen and tell me if her smoky vocals don't speak volumes beyond her already-dense lyrics. Fall in love, again. But just know that it has nothing to do with love.

05Band of Horses - The Funeral
Two guys. One extremely unique sound. I can't even tell you what this song means to me (and I mean that literally). The imagery of a "funeral" stirs my soul in ways that surpass the actual event. In all honesty, it represents something different every time I listen. Try it out for yourself.

06Thom Yorke - Harrowdown Hill
If you're a regular reader, you're probably sick of hearing about Thom Yorke at this point, but what can I say, the man is brilliant! Point and case, the short piano breakdown on this beautifully haunting track will subconsciously ring inside your head for weeks. We think the same things at the same time/We just can't do anything about it.

13 December 2006

Let Go

It gains the more it gives
And it rises with the fall

* * *
So let go, let go
Just get in
Oh, it's so amazing here
It's alright
Cause there's beauty in the breakdown

Lyrics by Frou Frou, Let Go
Photo by Matthew Oliver

08 December 2006

When I Am Gone

Come on take me down
Once it’s lost you know we'll never have it back
And there was nothing I could do to change the facts
You know I tried, you know I tried

I threw you all I have
I should have known
It never falls just where you plan
And there are rules I was not meant to understand
I should have known, I should have known
Understand I should have known, I should have known

* * *

You put your love upon the cross
You know you sealed it in the darkness all along
Did you think that I could roll away the stone
I’m just a child, I’m just a child
You know I tried, I’m just a child, I’m just a child

Sparrow House - When I Am Gone [follow link to MP3]

Artwork by digital-eloquence

04 December 2006

Symphony of Life

I had the pleasure of hearing the Hershey Symphony perform this past weekend, under the direction of Dr. Sandra Dackow. The highlight of the evening occurred when a stage full of strings performed Morten Lauridsen's O Magnum Mysterium. Nothing against the choral, brass, wind, or percussion sections, but there is just something magical about the simple beauty of a stage full of strings. The piece was beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that I fought to hold back tears through most of it. It spoke so abundantly of wonder!

So today, my friend tells me that it's normally performed as a choral piece, and that Dr. Dackow arranged the orchestral version. It was a crushing bit of news. The pain of knowing that I may never hear it again, in that form, nearly moved me to tears a second time. I fear that in every sense, it was truly a one-of-a-kind, perfect piece.

But here's the thing -- do you not see the flawed reasoning above? It seems quite foolish to hang my head in despair over losing the perfect piece. I mean, I should be searching for that next piece that'll move me even more. And the fact that I went into the evening not expecting to hear such a beautiful piece should speak to me of the hope that exists for the next symphony. But in my humanity, all I desire is to hear that piece over and over and over again. I guess I'd rather be comforted by something familiar, than risk finding it in something unknown.

Photo by JK Orvik

01 December 2006

Woman At The Well

All the answers, all the gold
There was a guy back then

She forgot that he was told
She was a fountain then

Entire, inspired, down to the fast wire
She made a fountain then
In fire, in fire, down to the last wire
She was a fountain then

He was her friend
He was her friend

She supposes he is wet
She was a fountain then

She would owe her clothes and head
She let it move her then

Entire, inspired, down to the fast wire
She made a fountain then
In fire, in fire, down to the last wire
She was a fountain then

Sufjan Stevens - Woman At The Well [follow link to MP3]