Video for the first two songs, using the incredible Tyll The Giant animation is here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJ-zOapOoN8
Made between January 28th 2018 and April 1st 2020.
The Owl - Piano, bass, vocals, electronics, all photos, logo, ramble.
All the pictures are from Portugal (see each track for a different one)
Storms recorded in Orlová, Czech Republic.
Please listen on headphones if you can...
This album is dedicated to my Mum (RIP), Mike, Blanka, Google Translate and places I used to live (physically and mentally) that have shaped me today, and is about how to deal with and process the death of parents / family / closest people to you, and how to learn the art of appreciating every single one of the smallest pieces of good things that happen in your existence.
Thank you for joining me on The Owl Express, on the circular from my mind to Hell and back.
Honestly, are you ready to embark?
This time there's a (long) story...
(Hey, Mike, have I ever told you about that time I went to Portugal?!)
In January 2018, I went to Portugal for 8 days and took in Lisbon, Sintra and Faro. I flew on my own, only the second time I'd ever done that, and it was after a particularly bad Winter of reclusing and heavy drinking.
I met with friends at a festival in Lisbon for a couple of days at the start, had a great party time then went off venturing on my own and saw some truly mindblowing things.
All these places are incredible. For a street art and architecture geek like myself, there were wonders everywhere. I had many 'big moments' on my travels, turning left instead of right, getting lost and finding interesting stuff, the public transport journeys in between each area, and especially because of the big immersive albums I was soundtracking my days with.
Each place felt like I had gone to a new country; the changes in style of surroundings and atmosphere, and every day there were new challenges, experiences that I will always remember, and I also met some very excellent people, who taught me some valuable things.
I had absolutely lots of time to think, and had a clear mind to do it in. I managed to put to rest some thoughts that I had been dwelling on for decades, and had new ideas for how to improve my life when I got home.
For once, I felt like the world was on my side, like it was rooting for me at the sidelines, giving me immense hope that everything was alright, and so once I arrived back home, I felt unbelievably energised and ready to take control of life, of myself, of projects.
I immediately started recording sounds that have ended up on this release.
A few days after getting home from this life changing journey, my mum died.
She was well into her 80s, and beginning to get frail and tired in life, but, I wasn't prepared. None of my family were.
I'm not going to turn this into a shock or sob story, that's not the point of this. It was more to put this into context, and to say how extreme the highs and lows of life can be, and even when you don't think you can keep on going as a result of this, you can, you absolutely can!
The resilience in humans is unbelievable, but you have to be open to it, and realise it in yourself. In the absolute darkest moments, it is ALMOST impossible to remember this, but, just for one second, try, look for any distraction and you will be reminded.
I think about these particular extreme events and things that happened during those two weeks every day. They had profound impact on many aspects of my life, regarding everything that had gone before, to everything that was about to happen!
This release is dedicated to that illuminating time in Portugal and to my Mum. She was an incredibly nice, polite, friendly, beautiful soul and I feel lucky to have met her, let alone to have been her son.
The reason I make this music for me in the beginning, is to purge, to help understand, to soundtrack my own world. If anyone wants to listen, then, great stuff, but, it's not about that. I do this as much for a challenge to myself, to know that I can create, and to do that as best I can, and to make things that I want to listen to.
I also write things like this, as a reminder to myself, of things that I have got through, of times when I felt like I was taking my last breath, and decided against giving up. If someone sees it, and takes anything from it, then it makes going through this, and taking the time to put those thoughts into order and speaking about it worth it.
You never 'get over' or 'move on' from the death of a loved one. You can't, and you shouldn't. All you can do is eventually accept, absorb the memories and enrich your future with them, be thankful that those people were in your life at all, and vow to yourself that you will do just that little bit more with your own self, be it just being a little nicer to others. Be inspired and be inspiring.
This release is also for Blanka. So here we are today (release date), and after many more magnificent ups, severe life-threatening downs and lots of changes in my life, lots of introspection and sorting through things that persistently troubled me and my brain (see OWL#7 for a bit more insight), I then meet the most truly inspiring, beautiful person I will ever know, or know of in the world... and so a completely new chapter of being inspired to do the best I can with who and what I am begins (see OWL32 and 47 for fun sounds made with my all-time favourite human!).
You never know how life is going to turn out, and regardless of your thoughts of the quote maker, 'If You're Going Through Hell, Keep Going'.
This album is all about that journey to Hell and back, because I have made it many times; in fact I've made friends there, but, you can always return to the safe place in your mind and take on board what you have learned and use it for something more productive and helpful.
Everything is just imagination, so, even when violent depression and anxiety is squeezing the life out of you and stabbing every limb, be it situational or chemical, it IS still possible to just push through it, no matter how desperate anything can feel.
Speak up, to me, to anyone at all, always. Seriously, if you've hit that rock bottom, and somehow you've happened across this record, summon up the energy and message me.
Also, Google Translate is one of the greatest things ever for connecting people around the world. Always have it at the ready on your phone when you are around people speaking foreign languages to yourself. The adventure this gave me on this journey made me smile, and a new confidence for traveling.
The journey through life can be hell, but it's still always worth looking out of the window to look at all the interesting and illuminating stuff along the way. Arm yourself with a good soundtrack and practice deep listening / meditation to music, and the dimensions you will exist in will be much more fulfilling.
Nice one for stopping by, and if you made it to the end of this (music and writing) then I am truly and incredibly thankful to you. I hope it is all something of an experience.