Posts Tagged ‘Music’

You Give and Take Away

A (late) Lenten posting, that’s been on my computer awhile: some scattered thoughts on the Book of Job. (This’ll be the last substantial posting; the blog’s been dead for a while anyway. Though I plan on putting up sketches occasionally, as I like the look and feel.)

Job in the rubble

(“Blessed be the Name of the Lord”, by Beth Redman)

This song used to puzzle me. Praising God in good times and bad: understandable. But why do the Redmans sing “You give and take away” with something almost like ecstasy? You can exult in praising God, but how do you exult in God both giving and taking away? I did not even recognise the source of the song, because when Job famously says “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the Name of the Lord” (Job 1:20-21), I imagined a tone of dull despair or controlled stoicism, rather than rapture. He doesn’t seem impassioned until he begins to rail at Heaven.

This is something that can’t be fully explained, although I came to understand by having something of a bad day myself (not approaching Job-level misfortune, however); and being unable to react in any other way I played this song and sang and finally understood. Job doesn’t stop praising God; he can’t say anything without agony in his voice so he offers pain and praise together. You give and take away. It’s the heart of the song, and sometimes it’s the only thing you can say.



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A suitable song for the season: Nick Cave, “Get Ready for Love”

Alas, he screws up the lyrics (getting the lines mixed up, and deciding just to wing it). The album version contains the notable lines:

well most of all nothing ever really happens
and God rides high in the ordinary sky
then when we find ourselves at our most distracted
the miracle that was promised creeps quietly by

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Albertus Magnus, Doctor Universalis

Today, the 15th of November, is the feast day of St. Albertus Magnus, teacher of Thomas Aquinas, known in his day as the Universal Doctor for his range of writings, beatified in the 17th century and, in 1931, canonised and declared patron saint of SCIENCE! He is credited with the discovery of arsenic, making him the first known discoverer of a chemical element; although so great was his reputation that many mediaeval alchemical texts were falsely attributed to him in the hope of attracting a larger audience.

I wished to mark the day by posting by posting a slightly frivolous hymn about doing SCIENCE! that I wrote a while back, but, alas! I cannot afford decent recording equipment. Until I can acquire some, here’s a provisional version recorded using a webcam.

St. Albertus Magnus, ora pro nobis! And especially for me, as I need to get cracking on some science-related programming tasks today; I am easily distracted, and it is not to the glory of God if I fail to perform my appointed tasks through lack of focus.

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Blue Alert

For Maclin, and any other Leonard Cohen fans out there: if you haven’t checked his collaborator Anjani Thomas’ “Blue Alert” album, you should: the words are Cohen’s (polished a bit by her – I think they were mostly unpublished fragments), but the voice and musical style are her own, and very different. Here’s the title track, on a good old-school Cohen theme: love as warzone:

For contrast, an oldie from the man himself, on the same theme:

(Listening to that song always makes me want to be listed with the enemies of love. Not because of disagreement with its take on love and passion – although I do dissent from it – but more because I just like that line.)

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The State of Things

There has been a dearth of posts for a week or more, alas; mostly because I moved country and found myself with less internet access (in my free time; I’m actually writing this at work, bad godescalc, bad!) and also many things to do. I now reside in an old eastern european town, marred by the hideous, modern (for their day) concrete monstrosities beloved of Communism, and am trying to learn a language that appears to have been invented in Morder by an especially sadistic Nazgûl. There are also upsides, like cheap beer (a euro per pint!), and beautiful scenery, when one isn’t gazing at concrete, and pretty girls, although conversation with them is obstructed by formidable language barriers. All in all, an adventure (which is but an inconvenience rightly considered, quoth Chesterton); I thank God for the opportunity to come here.

While I work on art for new posts, and also on magnetic response properties of molecules in a 4-component relativistic framework (I may go into more detail when I understand what I’m doing myself, but I don’t yet), here’s an old favourite: an obscure Australian (I think?) Christian heavy metal band called Detritus, who released 2 albums in the 90’s before vanishing from the face of the earth. My mother liked this song a lot, which may not reflect well on their credibility for being truly metal, but ehhh, who cares.

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Push it

This is the sound that keeps me awake
my head explodes and my body aches

Garbage, “Push It”: a very bizarre and incomprehensible video, although if you go to the youtube page and look through the comments far enough there’s various interesting theories as to what it all means.

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A Weeping Song

Apropos of the post on misery last week: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, “The Weeping Song”, 2 chords and a whole lotta misery:

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