THE LOWEST POINT OF MY LIFE

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‘The Exmoor Ponies of The White Cliffs’ by Zoolon

The other day I saw this Japanese tourist girl taking a selfie stood next to a petrol pump at the garage down the road. I thought, ‘why?’ She seemed happy enough though. There was no madness in her eyes. Maybe she thought it was a vintage English static robot?

The next day my mum gets wind that I’m off to Canterbury to get some guitar strings. She asks if she and dad can tag along for the ride on the promise they pay for my breakfast at the French bloke’s café. All I really wanted to do was buy the strings and get back to the studio but didn’t want to appear offhand.

When we’d finished at the café I get the strings. On the way back to the car park we pass the Ann Summers store. For the benefit of anyone who doesn’t know, Wiki says that, ‘Ann Summers is a British multinational retailer company specialising in sex toys and lingerie’. My mum wants to go inside the shop to get fitted for some underwear. Nothing deviant, but still a bit close to ‘too much information’.

Inside she gets whisked off to a fitting room by a girl with a haircut like Richard III except dyed blue (I think) and no hat.

richard III

Dad and me are left stood in the shop. I say, “I’m getting bad vibes. People are looking at us. They probably think you’re an old pervert and I’m the rent boy. We ought to wait for her outside.” He says, “Good plan.”

Outside, Dad wanders off to get a newspaper, so there I am, a 25-year-old bloke stuck standing outside a sex shop waiting for his mum. The random thought hit me that this was the lowest point in my life. This musician’s street cred, my entire cred in tatters for all of time.

It was 35 minutes later she came out of Ann Summers without buying anything. 35 long, tense minutes I’ll never get back.

Time for some music. A few months back I was commissioned by the wonderful poet, Vivian Zems to put one of her poems to song. I did just that. Vivian has very kindly agreed to allow me to showcase her number on ReverbNation. Here it is, ‘Older & Wiser’. She is a great writer.

If any of you poets out there fancy having your poems turned into song, then contact me via the link at the top of the blog.

Lastly, the opening track from my Rainbows End album, a song called ‘All Winter Long’.

Apart Vivian’s song – Copyright © 2017 Zoolon Audio.  All rights reserved.  Unauthorized copying, reproduction, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting prohibited.

 

 

TRACEY SEAGULL & A MEMORY STICK

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‘Tracey the Seagull’ by Zoolon

I met Tracey last week when I was crossing the Channel from Dover to Calais on the way to Dunkirk. When she posed for this photo I had no idea just what a freeloader seagull she was. After the photoshoot, outward bound, just outside of Dover Harbour, Tracey had a bit of a think then had a casual catwalk glide across to the sunny side of the ship and found a spot on the deck rail out of the way of, but still in sight of, human passengers on board. It was there she got herself sat down comfortably and didn’t move a muscle, taking in the rays, until we reached the Port of Calais where she joined Francois the Gull and his pals on a croissant hunt. What a life.

Anyway, I think a memory stick found in a drawer is the modern-day version of dusty old suitcase found in an attic. You take a look inside and find stuff you’d totally forgotten about. I found this, a thing I wrote in 2013 when I was living in a house close to a pebble beach in a road called Canada Road. I forgot I’d ever written it.

NO AUTUMN LEAVES

It’s a shame there’s no trees down on Canada Road

Got no autumn leaves down on Canada Road

You’ll hear the ghosts of Marines, in their infantry greens

Marching to a band down on Canada Road

 

A young mum pushes a pram down on Canada Road

Her mobile glued to her ear down on Canada Road

The bloke up the ladder, he couldn’t look sadder

Clearing out guttering’s on Canada Road

 

On Canada Road I see an old man

Outside the chemists, some pills in his hand

He’s swearing at a biker, he thinks Arsenal need a new striker

Down on Canada Road

 

You can’t be invisible down on Canada Road

Eyes peek from behind curtains on Canada Road

Sally Army and Mormons and some pissed up morons

Doing their thing down on Canada Road

 

Get salty storms down on Canada Road

You can’t beat the sea breeze down on Canada Road

Except when it blows from the East, it’s one mother of a beast

They say Julius Caesar invaded England down Canada Road

 

I’m down on my knees down on Canada Road

There’s just you and me down on Canada Road

And some blokes digging holes, stuffing ham and cheese rolls

Repairing a gas leak down Canada Road

 

It’s a shame there’s no trees down on Canada Road

Got no autumn leaves down on Canada Road

 

Time for some music. ‘Silent Films’ from my Rainbows End album. Hope you enjoy;

To liven things up a bit, here’s Marina & The Diamonds and their song, ‘Hollywood’. I understand she’s in the studio recording a new album right now.

My albums on sale at Bandcamp;

Apart from Marina – Copyright © 2017 Zoolon Audio.  All rights reserved.  Unauthorized copying, reproduction, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting prohibited.

 

1860 – ‘FRANCE HAS GOT TALENT’

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‘Summer Storm in Pas-de-Calais’ by Zoolon

The first song ever recorded. That’s a big thing. These days, we take our music for granted forgetting that before we were able to capture sound all there was, was live music and birdsong. No piece of music could be duplicated exactly the same as each performance of even the most basic of melodies would never sound the same twice. So, here we go. The very first song ever recorded. In 1860 the Frenchman, Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville (Ed to his close mates; bewilderment to most others), invented – although, at the time he overlooked the all-important playback facility – a piece of kit and recorded ‘Au Clair De La Lune’. Thanks to today’s technology we can now listen to it. The name of the girl singing is not known. I just hope for her sake she didn’t give up her day job. Here we go;

Right, some sound art using samples. I posted some of these when I first started blogging. My album, from 4 years ago, ‘Cosa Nostra’ is a sound art concept album. I themed it around a traditional ‘Romeo & Juliet’ type story. The track from the album I’m posting today is called, ‘Coming to the New Lands’.  It’s the fourth scene of the concept. The basic story is better explained using this extract from the album cover notes;

Cosa Nostra: He grew up on Sicily the eldest son of a Mafia Don.  She too, the daughter of his father’s fiercest rival. As children they played together although their parents knew nothing of this. Eventually they fell in love – a clandestine affair. There came a day when her father discovered their secret. She had brought shame upon her family. That shame couldn’t go unpunished. Her father ordered she be shot dead – an execution. Her own brother the executioner. Her lover found the body. That day he discovered grief, anger and thoughts of revenge.

The executioner took flight to New York to seek shelter and income running his family’s business affairs there. For his part the lover followed the executioner there. He took an ocean liner across the Atlantic. Once in the city he set a plan to kill the man who had murdered his girl.

Each scene was composed as first-person observations of the eldest son. ‘Coming to the New Lands’ is aimed to reflect his first experience of being overwhelmed in a big city like New York, before he gets his act together and goes on the hunt for revenge. Hope you enjoy;

https://soundcloud.com/george-blamey-steeden/scene-4-coming-to-the-new

Now for something special – the new number just released by Florence + The Machine – Sky Full Of Song. I promise you’ll love this!

As of about now, I have also posted a new piece on the Morality Part blog. Morality Park is a collective of fine poets, writers and artists. They are worth a visit. Here’s the link Morality Park

Copyright © 2014 Zoolon Audio.  All rights reserved.  Unauthorized copying, reproduction, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting prohibited.

A BALD HEAD & AN iPHONE DEAD

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(a pic I once took with my now dead iPhone)

Until I dropped it and watched it die, I never realized that my iPhone was my external brain drive. It stored all the things my brain never got to handle or know about.  I tried to resuscitate it. No luck. Dead iPhone.

Then the strangest thing. Obviously, I had to get a new one. It was early morning when I left for the phone shop in town. The pain was it was so cold outside, the temperature +2, costing in the wind chill factor -4.  So, I got dressed for the occasion, Arsenal beanie, hoodie hood up style. Everyone I passed on the way down town was wrapped up as warm they could, except for a middle-aged, bit overweight bloke with a 100% totally bald head walking ahead of me. The cold didn’t seem to bother him. He had a t-shirt on. Jesus, just a t-shirt – well trousers as well obviously. Anyhow, we get to the High Street, him still ahead of me. When he gets there, he goes into the barbers. As I passed the barbers the bloke was sat in the chair ready for the haircut to start, and the barber stood behind him holding a pair of scissors in his hand looking bewildered. What was that all about? Surreal.

Anyway, I don’t think this one has had an airing recently. It’s the title track from my ‘Dream Rescuer’ album. First the lyrics, then below the music.

DREAM RESCUER

You rescued dreams

And nightmare schemes

Spinning around inside your head

You kept them in your diary

A book you said you never read

 

Come morning

Come daylight

You’re lost in time

A dream you dared to dream

Come morning

Come daylight

You’re lost this time

I hope I said goodbye

 

You rescued dreams

And nightmare schemes

Spinning around inside my head

Pressed Petals

And four-leaf clovers

Turning the pages

Of wild illusions

 

I am a great fan of the creative perfectionist Lana Del Ray. I think her work, musically, lyrically and visibly is amazing. I got sent this link of Lana and Adam Cohen (son of Leonard) the pair of them covering a Leonard number, ‘Chelsea Hotel’. It’s better than good;

Apart from Lana & Adam – Copyright © 2017 Zoolon Audio.  All rights reserved.  Unauthorized copying, reproduction, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting prohibited.

SHE’S JUST A SHADOW ON A WALL  

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(artist unknown)

‘I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song,

I just can’t remember who to send it to’

From the song ‘Fire & Rain’ by James Taylor, 1970

When writing lyrics for acoustic songs it’s sometimes easy to get stuck for words that fit the melody or vice versa. A bit like trying to put a small t-shirt on an XXL frame. Besides, I’m not a natural poet. When this happens, my fall-back position comes from when I spent a couple of years studying decades of lyrics written by great songwriters. Of all the ‘fall back positions’ I found/read, the two lines above work best for me. To me they tell a story as well as influence a creative a mood. Simple genius, often inspiring.

Anyhow, back in December 2016 I posted my song, ‘Just a Shadow on a Wall’ from my concept album ‘Liquid Truth’. The ‘concept’ of that album was my take on Plato’s ‘Allegory of The Cave’.  When I posted it back then I didn’t include the lyric. Now I’m posting the words written raw before they became a song – before the music arrived. I remember it was the key track to the album in terms of developing songs to fit the allegory. Maybe read ‘raw’ it’s not a poem, just my words. 

JUST A SHADOW ON A WALL

You draw a line; a line in the dirt

I ask you what it’s for

You tell me I can cross it

You should have told me more

You tell me that; you tell that it’s time

For you to set me free

Unshackled from these chains

I might find my destiny

Nothing is so precious

That it cannot be undone

By word or by the dagger

Or a step towards the sun

You tell me you; you tell me you got bored

With the game that we play

That you want for me to move on

You’d be grateful anyway

I ask you if; I ask you if you’ll grant me

Just one final wish

Just the one final wish

‘Can the dancer travel with me?’

You take some time out thinking

Then you treat me like a fool

You laugh as you remind me

She’s just a shadow on a wall

…A shadow on the wall

Whatever, here’s one of my older numbers that I haven’t posted for an age and a day. It’s about a subject close to my heart, namely the way mankind is treating our Planet Earth. It’s called ‘Red Planet’. I hope you enjoy and by the way, the links to my two latest albums are on the side of this page if you’re interested in listening or buying – just click on the pics. Have a good week, Zoolon aka George.


Apart from the unknown photographer – Copyright © 2013 Zoolon Audio.  All rights reserved.  Unauthorized copying, reproduction, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting prohibited.

AN AFTERMATH & A PHOBIA

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When I discovered it in the fridge I thought, ‘Brilliant, it may look like it’s been in the hands of a sculptor whose polished it a bit, but it’s a proper French croissant and it’s mine all mine’. The first clue that it wasn’t a croissant came when I picked it up and it weighed about what 20 sacks of croissants would weigh. So odd. The thing was, apart from the weight, there was also the smell – nothing like the magical scent of a croissant. I’ve checked it out and it’s called Oscypek (that word reads like it’s a kind of wild bird that has a habit of biting Australians), a surreal smoked cheese made of salted sheep milk from the Tatra Mountains of Poland. As cheese goes I’m sure it’s a really great cheese yet looking at it worries me. It has a certain presence that makes me uncomfortable. Odder, odd. Later a mate told me I must have ‘Taurophobia’. I hadn’t a clue what that was but found out it’s a fear of cheese. I hope not as my dinner tonight is a favourite of mine, macaroni cheese.

cheese

Anyway, I’ve been writing about turning ‘poems into songs’ recently (if you’re interested, see the link at the top of the page). I thought I’d reverse the process and try to convert one of my own lyrics to poetry and give it a new title;

THE AFTERMATH OF THE ‘BIG ONE’

Stars instead of streetlights

Two moons instead of one

Touch the edge of heaven

Give breath to a dying Sun

After the blaze of glory

Comes the flickering light

What’s left has no shadow

No vultures in flight

Take off this mask

See how it burns

In the game of Russian roulette

A weapon now rests at your temple,

Your time on the trigger just drags

Take off this mask

See how it burns

Give breath to a dying Sun

Don’t blink, smile or hide

Please, whatever you are or might have been

Or maybe will be, maybe not, just

Give breath to a dying Sun

Like I’ve always said, writing a poem is harder than writing a lyric!  Music time. Here’s a short collection of my songs just posted on ReverbNation. I’m testing ReverbNation out in terms of another promotion source for my stuff. I’ll see how it goes. I hope you enjoy listening.

If you want to buy either of my two latest albums, ‘Rainbows End’ or ‘Dream Rescuer’ the link is via the cover art on this page.

Copyright © 2017 Zoolon Audio.  All rights reserved.  Unauthorized copying, reproduction, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting prohibited.

OLDER AND WISER

TURNING A POEM INTO A SONG

I recently had the privilege to be commissioned by the gifted poet, lovely lady and WordPress blogger, Vivian Zems, to turn one of her poems she’d written called ‘Older and Wiser’ into a song. Vivian decided on the genre for the composition and that was all I required. I got to work on this collaboration project and not long after I sent Vivian her completed song. I was well and truly chuffed to bits when she told me just how much she loved the final product. Since then Vivian has produced a brilliant music video to accompany her song (see/hear above vid).  Vivian’s blog can be found at https://smellthecoffeeweb.blog/ and I strongly recommend a visit.  Thank you for the commission, Vivian.

It was back in August 2017 I posted ‘When a Poem Becomes a Song’. The object of the post was to introduce my new, seriously affordable product.  I’d thought for some time that there are some great poets and writers out there on WP who may not be musicians, who would like to see their creations produced as songs. Better still, the songs would become the royalty free property of the writer. I explained in that earlier post (https://zoolonhub.com/2017/08/16/when-a-poem-becomes-a-song/) how the whole process works.

The reason I can produce my material at a cost massively less than others in the market is simply because I handle the whole process myself. I keep my overheads low. There’s no individual fees for a composer, musicians or vocalist hire, studio hire, production, mixing and mastering or other third-party charges involved as I do all the work myself. It is because of this my charges are a tiny fraction of what otherwise would be the case.  To back up my credentials I can advise that I have a 1st Class Degree in Creative Music Technology plus a number of albums (including one of sound art) to my name, plus I play a number of different instruments and work from my own studio – low overheads!  The writer gets to approve the final product before parting with any money.

If anyone out there is interested and wants more information, then simply email me at zoolonaudio@gmail.com and I’ll get back to you.

As another example of how words written by another can become a song, one that ended up on my Dream Rescuer album called ‘Sunlight and the Dust’;

If any of you are tempted to see your work become a song you know where I am.

Happy New Year, Vivian; Happy New Year to everyone.

Zoolon aka George

ALL WINTER LONG

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There’s always something random, surreal even, to be seen if you keep your eyes open. I got up at silly o’clock yesterday to go the cinema to catch the new Star Wars movie. The older, large bloke behind me in the queue to buy tickets got himself a triple scoop strawberry ice cream cone…really! It was 7.30am. I got to wondering how he’d cope with it when the lights went out in the cinema. I needn’t have worried, he scoffed it in just the two major chomps on the way to the screening. Impressive in an unimpressive way. It reminded me that I’d forgotten to eat any breakfast, but I passed on the idea of ‘Ice Cream at Dawn’. Also yesterday, I found my rubbish handwritten notes of some ‘maybe lyric’ words I’d forgotten I wrote. It’s something I wrote two summers ago. I never did get around to a title.

There’s a carnival in the square tonight

Fireworks, a carousel

Clowns, a helter-skelter

A street market where the tortured buy and sell

 

From the window of a high-rise

We can watch the world go by

And from within our secret hideaway

We’ll watch a tired sun die

 

We can make up stories

Of what’s going down in the street

The punches and the kisses

The high-flown and deadbeat

 

Rest with me a minute

Watch the scene unfold

Stay a while, I’ll prove to you

All that’s precious isn’t gold

 

And all along the riverside

Where the lost and beaten lay

The flap of wings disturbs the quiet

Of the moon and stars at play

Time for some music. Here’s a song, All Winter Long, from my newly released album, ‘Rainbows End’. This one starts out acoustic then builds itself a whole new platform. I hope you like it;

Click here for ‘Rainbows End’ album link if you wish to just listen or buy 

Copyright © 2017 Zoolon Audio.  All rights reserved.  Unauthorized copying, reproduction, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting prohibited.

 

(If you would like to reblog this post you can do it only the Reader as I am on the business subscription)

OBSESSION’S NOT A PERFUME

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 It’s a logical conclusion

No time for turning back

Obsession’s shut the door on you

That’s a thing they call payback

 

Obsession’s not a perfume

It’s just a self-centred private curse

An ever-growing cancer

You’re not the cure; you’re not the nurse

 

You’re in denial about the gathering up

Of all the hearts you led astray

Yet when those broken hearts cried for you

You pinned them on a green hill faraway

 

You turn sweet dreams into nightmares

You can do it with just a smile

You sold your soul for a lock of my hair

Kept it hidden away in some old file

 

It’s a logical conclusion?

Is that a window or just a crack?

Obsession’s outside looking in

‘If you want it darker’ paint it black 

(a ‘work in progress’ fresh off the pen lyric waiting for a bit of melody magic)

The new album will be on its way soon but for now here’s and old number, the original version of ‘Sunlight & The Dust’ – as opposed to the version on my ‘Dream Rescuer’ album. I hope you enjoy;

https://soundcloud.com/zoolon/sunlight-and-the-dust

Copyright © 2017 Zoolon Audio.  All rights reserved.  Unauthorised copying, reproduction, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting prohibited.

 

WHEN A POEM BECOMES A SONG

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I trade both online and offline as Zoolon Hub. I’ve recently added another new product to my business aimed mainly at others in the music industry. However, I thought some of you poets or lyricists out there might (or might not) also be interested in the product – especially so if you are not a musician.

 
Perhaps I should explain. This new product is one whereby I can put your work to music in a variety of very affordable ways.

 
Simply email me on zoolonaudio@gmail.com with your words and ideas and I will compose anything from a melody for you to take away and add the voice yourself or if you want, I’ll turn it into a complete mixed and mastered song – and all stations in between. Basically, you tell me what you want and I’ll produce it for you, the bonus being if you’re not happy with the basic, initial melody there is nothing to pay. If you are happy and want me to progress with the project then you will find my charges very reasonable and importantly, your poem/lyric aside, the rest will be entirely down to me. No composer, musicians or vocalist hire, studio hire, production, mixing and mastering or other third-party charges involved as I do all the work myself. Because of this, my charges are a tiny fraction of what otherwise would be the case.

 
An example of my work? Here’s a song from my album, ‘Dream Rescuer’. The lyric I worked with is from a poem, ‘Sunlight & The Dust’ by Mike Steeden.

 

It might help to explain a little about my pedigree insofar as music is concerned. I have a BA (Hons) First Class Degree (1st) in Creative Music Technology; a complete working knowledge of various music software such as MAX/MSP, Logic, Reason, Bitwig, Ableton Live etc.; I play a number of different instruments, have established skills in terms of the production of Sound Art, the composition of lyrics and melody, plus the mixing and mastering of music.

Regular songs aside, here’s a few examples from YouTube of some of the things I play around with.

 

 

If you’ve got this far down the page you may be wondering about the dreaded ‘royalty’ aspect. In this regard, and at no charge beyond the initial agreed fee it is simply a subject open to negotiation. If say, you send me your own melody in a ‘dum-dee-dum’ type self-recorded format and I simply put it to guitar then what you get back is an entirely royalty free piece of music that belongs to you.

Generally, if you go for the whole shebang – as in me creating a complete song from your poem/lyric –  and decide to market it, and (if only!) it goes on to make a bucket full of money then any royalties over and above your marketing and other reasonable costs would be shared 50/50 and an agreement in place covering that. With a complete song, or any melody for that matter, it is important for you to understand that I would undertake never to use the melody or the song I have produced for you ever again, anywhere, anytime, anyplace unless you’ve specifically asked me to do so.

Lastly, sometimes (rarely) it may be the case that I feel a specific poem is not one I can work with and do you proud. If that is the case I’d let you know at the outset.