Stories from inside life's big top.

Posts from the “Music” Category

Pulse Of The Rhyme: Cedric Till

Posted on January 6, 2017

One of the most impressive things about Cedric Till is the respect that he has for words.   About to turn 28, the Berlin-born rapper and spoken word artist stills rowdy rooms with the power of his poetic expression. You know something special’s about to happen when he gets up on a stage, quietly smouldering with the intensity of not only having something to say, but having thought through how to say it a thousand times over…   Up there, he lights a fire, digging deep into the machinations of his experience and fashioning carefully-chosen phrases into rhyme, rhythm and reason. No-one draws a breath until he finishes his gentle speak-singing narratives, usually flashing a wry, shy grin in conclusion.   In “a world…

Electric Ladyland: Tatyana Krimgold

Posted on August 31, 2016

You could say that Tatyana Krimgold is the perfect Wahlberliner…   A writer, singer, acoustic musician, electronic music maker, yoga teacher, event producer and occasional stand up comedian, Tatyana is one of those adventurous ‘creatures’ for which Western Europe’s “poor but sexy” artist colony is so famous. Its eclectic, creative ‘bio-dome’ atmosphere has been attracting artists for well over a century, with no sign of letting up in spite of looming takeover bids by opportunistic entrepreneurs and residential gentrification.   As a musician, part of Tatyana’s creative practice is to allow herself to dare greatly: to move outside of her comfort zone whilst applying the “structures” she’s studied and learned across the years. Unafraid to play, discover and experiment with her music, she also…

Everything Louder Than Everyone Else: Killerbirds

Posted on August 28, 2016

Earlier this year a music dream was realised: I got to see the Killerbirds play live.   I know one of the ‘Birds: Prue Allan. I count her as a friend, a beautiful, wise, hilarious person with a giant heart, and, a rocking good yoga teacher. I got to know her over the five years I spent living in Bendigo, frequenting her yoga classes for some much-needed respite and restoration.   We hadn’t known each other long before I kidnapped her to take A VERY LONG DRIVE to the outer south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne (read five hours in the car together.) Travelling in my sardine-can-sized Getz, we drove there and back in one day, me fuelled with the kind of drive-by ‘buying mission zeal’…

New Romantic: Stella Turner

Posted on June 22, 2016

“I love William Turner: that’s why I took ‘Turner’ as my performer name,” Stella Belinda Franke tells me as we walk down a busy Berlin street, looking for an impromptu photo shoot location.   Her eyes glint with inspiration as she speaks the Romantic landscape painter’s name. It turns out the artist now known as Stella Turner loves to talk about art, and music. As we dodge cars, dog shit and stinging nettles, she manages to cram a lot into our brief conversation. Her aliveness is palpable.   Stella Turner also loves to play music. I first saw her belt out a couple of well-honed originals late one open mic night in Berlin. While clearly in her formative stages, she had something special to…

Hearts Wide Open

Posted on June 20, 2016

This is my music video tribute to ‘the present moment’, in all it’s authenticity, goofiness, love, humanity, beauty and ragged wonder…

‘Salted’ by Cooperblack stars “Cooperblack” (then Jeremy Conlon, Simon Kormendy & Oliver Budack), and a rag-tag group of Darwin friends with playfulness and courage in their hearts. Recorded in 2009, before I even knew what mindfulness was – and meditation for that matter (I now study and teach both) –  I also layed claim to inventing a new genre: Music Video Diary.

 

It even got played on rage.

 

Inspired 1000% by Jeremy‘s exceptionally beautiful song – such an exceptionally talented musician and composer! – footage for ‘Salted’ was (mostly) recorded on one infamous Darwin balcony, in the heaving, sweaty climes of Northern Australia. Channelling Warhol (one of my biggest documentary inspirations), I asked my willing ‘non-actors’ to sit together, listen to the song “and kiss when you feel like it.”

 

Furthermore, “I’ll leave the room once I hit record. Just be yourselves. The rest is up to you!” Such was my sparing yet golden direction…

 

The biggest challenge was getting the song playback to work and not tipping over the wee camera! (I’d bought a very cheap, crap tripod.) Some months later, one afternoon, my talented, kind filmmaker friend Tom Salisbury drove several hours to edit it on my kitchen table. For nix.

 

Looking back at ‘Salted’, I still find it such a funny, intimate, moving clip. A series of moments unfolding in real time of people just being: being playful, being thoughtful, being authentic in ‘the now’… And trusting the music to support them in front of the camera and me ‘behind’ it (well, in the other room), whatever the hell they thought I was doing! Some people have moved on from Darwin; some from each other… The beautiful dog Chio is no longer with us. Jack the galah flew off into the bush. Yet there they all are, perfect – and perfectly themselves – embedded in a sweet, living, present moment experience, together.

 

It’s a tribute to love, actually. While it might be difficult for some to watch now, I feel so grateful to have been allowed to submerge this moment (and song) in the river of time (and video) with such a bunch of bighearted people, to one of whom I’m now married.

 

I’m also reminded that impermanence is a constant and vulnerability only a kiss away. And while a great physical distance now cleaves us, I  love that we’re all still in each others’ lives, somehow. This funny little clip unites us us together, forever. Much love and thanks to Jeremy, Oliver, Simon, Jess, Mega-Jess, Deb, Karen, Lauren, Aaron, Amy, Erin, Jack the galah, and vale Chio the dog.

 

Travelers, it is late.
Life’s sun is going to set.
During these brief days that you have strength,
be quick and spare no effort of your wings.

(Jalal ad-Din Rumi)

  • Words + video: Megan Spencer
  • Poem: Rumi

Girl To The Front: Kate Seabrook

Posted on April 6, 2016

“Australia-born, Berlin-based photographer with a fetish for metro systems, giant strawberries and punk rock.”   With characteristic word economy, this is the sentence Kate Seabrook uses to describes herself in her photographer profile.   It’s spot on. And characteristically again, just as humble.   Since beginning her photography journey in 2009, Kate has had work published in a slew of Australian and international publications (Mess+Noise, Berliner Morgenpost, Tagesspiegel, Couch, Tip and the Sydney Morning Herald’s ‘Good Weekend’ among them.) And her epic, independent ‘Endbahnhof’ passion project (photographing the iconic underground stations of Germany and Europe), was recently featured in Berlin-based, literary travel publication, ‘Elsewhere: A Journal Of Place’.   In addition to ‘rockumenting’ music stages on two continents, Kate has a soft spot for…

Buzzing + Humming: Samantha Wareing

Posted on March 16, 2016

Sam Wareing and I first met when I visited Berlin in July 2014.   It was the height of a stinking hot summer, extremely humid, and glorious as Berlin summers are wont to be. I remember being shocked that a Central European city could have such capacity for a ‘Darwin summer’, a place I’d also lived, with weather I’d been equally astonished by.   My husband Oliver and I spent 10 days soaked in sweat zooming around the cobble-stoned streets, getting to know the city. At the back of our minds we were scoping it out hopefully, as a potential place to live. Meeting Sam, and listening to what she had to say about it, helped clinch the deal.   I was also there…

Der Himmel unter Berlin (Heaven Under Berlin): Tim Anders

Posted on March 3, 2016

I literally stumbled upon Tim Anders and his music in a tunnel, en route to a rendezvous at the “Berliner Siegessäule” (Berlin Victory Column.)   As the Victory Angel towered over me gleaming in the sun, I heard Tim’s voice way before I saw him. It seemed to float up from the underground and into the busy street.   Descending the stairs his music echoed around corners and filled the labyrinthine, ‘otherwordly’, fluorescent-lit space, like a cloud that had somehow escaped from the sky above and had taken a wrong turn.   Many metres later I spied him from a distance, singing his heart out for no-one in particular and anyone who would listen.   I asked if I could take some photos of…

Sorrow

Posted on January 26, 2016

  David Bowie was my first major music crush – obsession, truth be told.   I spent an inordinate amount of time listening to his music, researching it, travelling to obscure suburban record stores to track down titles absent from my collection, taping friends’ records when I was too poor to buy them, and reading about him, voraciously.   It wasn’t always like that.   After years of persistence by my friend Lisa, the penny finally dropped. It was November 1983; we were in our final year of high school. I was at her place and we were listening to ‘Hunky Dory’.   “Can you tape that for me?” I asked, my interest in his 1971 album finally piquing after what had been the…

Brother From Another Planet

Posted on December 10, 2015

“If it’s electric we can play it,” Jeremy Conlon once declared in an interview about his long-time music project, Cooperblack.   Despite being published in the Northern Territory’s most ‘infamous’ daily newspaper – and pictured perched high atop a wobbly tin roof, astride a cherry-red vacuum cleaner and against the brilliant blue sky of Northern Australia – he wasn’t kidding.   Brandishing the machine’s chrome-metal tubing as if some kind of divining rod of “rock”, his playful grimace suggests, given half the chance,  he’d jump at transforming that domestic cleaning appliance into a magical, kick-arse “electric” instrument …   Either that or go into battle with a crazy cosmic creature from the outer planets.   Influenced by otherworldly pop pioneers like Bowie, Kraftwerk and Bauhaus, Conlon…