The guitar lends itself very well to ambient music, between skilled players, pedal effects, and the imagination of diverse musicians. It can go from the sweet and soothing to slightly acidic and beyond, with every flavor in between. It’s an incredibly diverse instrument, made even more so by the use of processors and effects.
Today we hear selections from two recent releases: Stephen Briggs’ new B.R.E.N.T., and the epic Cousin Silas and Friends vol 5, which contains over five hours of music just by itself!
Stephen Briggs – B.R.E.N.T. (2016)
– “Gingko Biloba”
– “Resting potential”
– “Nissl substance”
This the first release on Stephen Briggs’ Bandcamp page. Named BRENT after a good friend of his brother’s, the album includes seven tracks, all with names that relate somehow to the nervous system of the human body, an area in which Stephen is well versed.
Sometimes known as the God of Thunder from Down Under, Stephen Briggs is actually a quiet fellow living amongst an idyllic setting of hills, vineyards, mountains and the ocean.
Playing left-handed, Steve’s technique includes finger picking, volume swells and looping to create soundscapes sometimes of enormous size whilst at others delicate and intricate.
Cousin Silas and Friends vol. 5 (waag_rel088) (2016)
– “Monday AM” – Cousin Silas & Ian Haygreen
– “Rolling Waves” – Cousin Silas & Jack Hertz
– “80 Fathoms Down” – Cousin Silas & Graham McArthur
– “The Engagement” – Cousin Silas & Head Joint (Michael Jobborn)
– “Medication Time” – Cousin Silas & Chris Newman
– “Economies Of Agglomeration” – Cousin Silas & litmus0001
– “Between Heaven And Earth” – Cousin Silas & Kuutana
– “Winddrift” – Cousin Silas & Baxter Tocher
– “Accretion” – Cousin Silas & Jeff Appleton
– “For 5 Friends” – Cousin Silas & Michael Brückner
Collaboration, cooperation is the epitome of what the human experience should be, and so rarely is. Something truly beautiful can be born from working together, sharing a vision and journeying on the road of creation with one or two close friends. Cousin Silas and Friends celebrates both friendship and collaborative creativity. And there’s more to come!
The Final Note
Today’s edition of At Water’s Edge is built around the guitar, and also celebrates creative collaboration. Too often in the music world, the focus is on the soloist, the rockstar in front of the band, the diva, the hot dog shredder, the standout.
This applies to many other things about modern life, too: high scores in tests or games, competition in sports or at work, individual performance, standing out in a crowd, unique looks or ideas, rugged individualism. Gamesmanship.
But that model doesn’t serve us as well as we think. Life is far less of a competition than some would have us believe.
This is not to say we should not honor individual talent and genius — how boring would life be if we were all merely mediocre!
But the truth is that we all need each other, even the most talented among us. Everyone comes from somewhere; and while there is such a thing as genius, it takes other people to teach us what we know, and the experience of being and working with other people to make us who we are. Our unique experiences are what give us our individual identities, and at the same time, we cannot stand alone.
Constant competition, especially when it’s simply not necessary, breeds resentment. We’re certainly not racing for the finish line — everyone gets to the end of life at some point — so stepping on each other along the way helps no one. Not even yourself in the long run.
The modern definition of “success” isn’t, really. You might achieve temporary gains in the form of a big house, a nice car, a beautiful mate; but true success, and the joy and satisfaction derived therefrom, is found when our efforts help more than merely ourselves or our immediate family.
The truly talented recognize this, and use their talents to serve in some capacity. The truly successful also acknowledge that their success is due not merely to their individual efforts, but to all the people who helped them along the way. If a so-called “successful” person tells you that they did it all on their own, don’t believe them. They’re lying to you, and probably to themselves.
It takes a village.