𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 - this week: A Little Odd - Dom Piper
Welcome all to 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connolly - an artist in his own right. Here, Charles delves into the greatest brand new singles brought to you by the best unsigned artists on our electrifying and eclectic set of 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝘼𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙩 𝙎𝙥𝙤𝙩𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 playlists.
𝘼 𝙇𝙞𝙩𝙩𝙡𝙚 𝙊𝙙𝙙 - 𝘿𝙤𝙢 𝙋𝙞𝙥𝙚𝙧
Charles is feeling a little queer, as it were…
This may upset or offend some readers of faith. No particular faith. If you think you might be one of these people, it may be best to skip this one. Trigger warning over, now let’s commence.
It has come to my attention that artists see the world differently. As if a veil has been lifted and all is simpler and clearer. Artists question things more. The simplest thing can be intriguing. A “normal” person may ask how something works. An artist is perhaps more likely to ask why. The purpose rather than the technique. Think of it maybe in terms of the army. Soldiers are ordered to do what they’re told, and the soldiers unthinkingly oblige. But a higher rank may question the initiative. In this way, I become a snob. An artist is a better being. There. I said it. But I know I’m in good company. These days we have all sorts of subliminal messaging from a higher power (or lower) to make the common man (or woman) do what they want you to do. And these folk unquestionably do it. Without even realising they have been asked (polite way of saying commanded). And why are most people compelled to react this way? Two reasons. Laziness and fear. The fear comes not so much from what might happen if they don’t do what they’re told, but from being the odd one out. The laziness is shown by their preference to do what they’re told rather than use their own initiative and reasoning. Plus, the blame would not be on the “innocent” people, if it were to have been the wrong decision in the first place.
But this all goes back long before social media, and even way before the Press. It goes back to the dawn of society. I touched on this lightly a few reviews ago. There was no police force. But there had to be a way to get people to fall in line and be good little boys and girls, and therefore good, honest, passive adults. After having seen innocent people cowering from the threat of being hit by a club, the highest ranking overlords realised the power of fear. Fear is the answer! Or so they thought. And so God invented religion. Or someone did, anyway. Possibly the cleverest plan ever made. To make the entire population fear absolutely nothing at all. Something made up. Something that doesn’t exist. Let me say now though, I have the utmost respect for pretty much all religions, as long as they don’t harm people or warp them to the point where they are barely human anymore. There is often beauty in religion. It can do good. It can make people feel all warm and fuzzy inside - what could be better?? But what about their reasons for being a good person? I mean, if someone says the words “I’m sorry”, but doesn’t mean it, is that a true apology? Are they saying it because they feel remorse, or because they feel they should? Do they believe in morals, or do they fear the devil in the afterlife?
What about heredity… I’m not talking about titles, money or genes. Or jeans. I am talking about faith. My family has never been particularly religious. The odd Catholic school here, the odd church mass there. And of course, there’s Christmas! But really, I don’t think we have ever said a prayer together or anything like that. Never been to church on Sundays. I’ve never drunk Communion wine (made up for it with other wine though). And yet I do believe I am on the whole a good person. This is not because I feel I do the right things, but because of my reasons for doing the right things. I have a conscience. I care. Not too much, but certainly more than enough to be considered decent. Others though, have had an unfortunate start in life, where their parents or grandparents are devoutly religious - not a bad thing in itself. The problem lies with the passing on of said traditions. That it must continue down the line, no matter how much civilisation changes and no matter how much the child does not want it. This little blob of a baby should learn what is right and what is wrong by using what is within us from birth. Our conscience. You only have to listen to Jiminy Cricket: “Always let your conscience be your guide”. But it does need nurturing. It shouldn’t be all preaching and brainwashing. We get enough of that from the internet and the modern world in general. I must emphasise again that I am not against religion, but simply concerned for the harm it can cause. Think of it like fire in the hands of a child. Fire is vital, but one must be cautious.
One such artist seemingly agrees with me. A poet, no less! Dom Piper from England is a thinker. Having been with the New Artist Spotlight for around 10 months, he is fully into the grand cult that is the NAS, and chooses the religion of music over any other. In Dom’s brand new unique and subtly masterful single, A Little Odd, he charmingly and affably takes us through his thoughts and views on religion and how while it is utterly fine for some, it is not for everyone. He is against the preaching, but is perhaps the son of a preacher man. Dare I quote my own song again: “you could be one of us, happy with all of us” - I actually wrote this with demonic children in mind, as they rip the head off a teddy bear - made me chuckle. God, I’m a warped individual. And you thought it was a nice fluffy song (I suppose it was, until I ripped the head off)… Back to Dom: Mr. Piper is first and foremost a poet. He writes his songs like most us don’t. Lyrics first. In fact, they don’t even start as lyrics. They are stanzas making up a complete poem. After some time, the melodic lilt becomes true melody, around which the chords are snugly formed. Thus, the song is born. This is the reason Dom’s lyrics shine. They are the centrepiece for the adornment that is the music. Should I therefore say the lyrics are king, and the music is just staff? No no no! For he is far more than a poet with a guitar. More offending here: I don’t really like Bob Dylan (except for a few odd tracks). This is because I always put the SONG first. And a song consists of music and words. Dylan’s words are astounding. He is a true poet. But for me, the music has never lived up to the verse. Unlike Simon and Garfunkel, who usually managed equality in terms of both sides.
Let us talk about Tom Waits. Most of you have probably heard of him. Some of you will praise him to the skies, some of you will find him unlistenable. Most have probably either heard one or two songs, or heard nothing at all. He is one of those “huge if you know” or “obscure and unknown if you don’t” - if that makes any sense. Waits has made some cracking songs over the years, but much of his back catalogue is not for everyone. It could perhaps be termed “inaccessible”, like much prog music. Not that he makes prog. So why do I mention young Waits? Because Dom has evidently been influenced by Tom. But get this: I prefer Dom. The reason being, Dom manages to retain the feel of that quintessential Tom Waits sound, but not only makes it his own, but makes it accessible. It is more pleasing. More satisfying. And never for a second predictable (or unpleasant). You know the clanks, plocks and placks in Tom Waits’ music? Oh no, I forgot, you’re not familiar with his music. Well Waits uses a lot of percussion, rarely in time, but always sounds right. Dom recorded his own clanks, plocks and placks himself, using literal pots and pans in his garden shed (a little odd), and with that same rhythm that seems to both push and pull with an overlapping nudge. In fact, the whole track seems to have the feel of a tug of war: interesting given the topic of the lyrics - heave HO! As the music lunges in equal ebb and flow, Dom rather casually and coolly sets up line after line of perfect sense, in the most realistic southern drawl - like a Nashville trooper (from England). He tells it like it is. Like it is obvious and clear. No preaching. Just musing out loud. He almost makes us feel stupid in not noticing before. The simplicity is what really makes it work. No heavy use of metaphor. No hidden meanings. Dom shows class and style in his delivery and in his refreshingly understated English wit. The absurdity of it all would make some foam at the mouth with disgust - whether one agrees or disagrees with its content. But does Dom lose his temper and go red in the face? Like me, he just smirks a little from the corner of his mouth, as he lightly ponders with no weight at all. To observe and chuckle is far more healthy than involving oneself in the crux of the matter. Is it philosophy if the thoughts seem light-hearted? I would say so. To quote Dom, he is perhaps “an omnipresent absentee”.
A Little Odd was produced with a little help from his friend, Muddy Waters. Sorry, Murky Waters. Ach, MICKY Waters. Apologies. Micky is the bassist for the successful rock band The Answer. He is also Dom’s guitar tutor, mentor, producer and bassist. Does Dom need all this? I would say not. Should he therefore dispense with Waters. Absolutely not! The point is, Dom wrote, played and sang the song. Think of it like George Martin to The Beatles. Did they NEED him? No. Were they far better with him? Yes. Despite Dom's incredible talents, he's still taking the Micky.
Although their mix was splendid to begin with (and I mean SPLENdid), Dom felt the need for a true professional to complete the mix and to master it. Instead, he turned to me. Rarely am I blessed with such a sacred sound before having got my hands dirty, but was this a blessing or a curse…? You see, normally my job is to mix from an unmixed state, and therefore any tweak is usually a positive. But when it began by having been touched by the hand of God, I really didn’t want the wrath of Satan on my back, should I have spoilt all that had been laid before me. Basically, I didn’t wanna screw it up. Thankfully, I apparently didn’t.
What we end up with here is one of the most original tracks to appear on the NAS. And there’s a hell of a lot of competition there, let’s face it. To be honest, this is one of the most original pieces I have heard in years, within or without the New Artist Spotlight.
Don’t play with fire, or you may find yourself a new friend in the form of a devil.
Or, just don’t because it’s a stupid thing to do.
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