catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 3, Num 1 :: 2004.01.02 — 2004.01.15


Music 2003

What was the soundtrack of your life in 2003?

*cino staff picks: Many albums, songs and recordings served as accompaniment for the drama of our lives this year, but some music was played more than the rest. In particular, Over the Rhine’s Ohio, Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief, anything by Johnny Cash and The Rolling Stones, Bjork’s Vespertine, and for Christmas, The Blind Boys of Alabama and Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas.

S.C.: Kevin So, Along the Way—I came across this CD this summer, just in time to teach about Asian American literature to my English 11 classes. Though they didn’t always appreciate it, it was a wonderful experience for me to take these words that expressed so well the struggle of being Asian American.

D.D.: Jason Upton, Remember—EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE, must listen to this at least once.

G.S.: With the help of our daughters, we discovered newgrass in 2003. I think we probably played more Nickel Creek and Alison Krauss than anything else on our CD player. Late in the year I listened—once, carefully—to Bruce Springsteen’s 2002 The Rising, and cried my eyes out, which counts for something. Early in the year, I received as a gift from my brother the Dutch singer/songwriter Stef Bos’s Van Mpumalanga tot die Kaap, a most melancholy album of mourning for Africa, and for the loss of “home” in various senses. Bos’s weaving together of the cabaret traditions of Brecht and Brel with the sounds of African pop, and a smattering of rock, is probably my favourite music in 2003.

J.V.: Cold Mountain—T-Bone Burnett’s renditions of civil war era ballads and hymns proved refreshing and inspiring as the historic music jumped back to life in a way that seems strangely relevant to our lives today. Taking the listener beyond the tired three-chord commotion of power rock and roll, the album delivers a legacy and forgotten art to the champions of acoustic American music—our forefathers.

What was the best concert experience you had this year? What made it so special?

*cino staff picks: Michelle Shocked, at the Image Journal of Arts and Religion Conference in Seattle—She turned a brightly lit, sterile room full of academics and Christian intellectuals into a cozy, intimate house of praise and fellowship among fellow brothers and sisters of Christ. There was a moment, about three or four songs in, when the whole feeling of the place changed, and when Michelle felt it happen, the music changed, too. We could really feel the Spirit of God come upon us, but it took the right kind of music to welcome it in.

And nothing this year can compare with the gathering of Christian musicians at the first annual Festival of Faith and Music at Calvin College. David Bazan sang some new songs and messed up an old favorite (“Be Thou My Vision”). David Eugene Edwards of 16 Horsepower sang his dark songs next to the Danielson Family’s zany ones, and it all ended with several beautiful songs presented by Linford and Karin of Over the Rhine. It was great to see the diversity of music made by Christians all on one stage in one night.

W.D.: twothirtyeight, at the Social in Orlando, Florida, in March—It was the last time that I saw them play live and I was really close to the stage. I didn’t know that they were breaking up until about three weeks later. Also, I was able to speak briefly to Chris Staples (lead vocals/guitar) and I thanked him for making music. He said, “I do it for you, man.” I laughed. Little did I know that they would stop making music so soon after I thanked him. I am glad that I was able to thank him.

D.D.: Tea Party and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, at the Orpheum—Because Tea Party is so musically talented and hearing them play with a full orchestra made the event so cool. And the Orpheum is a beautiful place to be in.

S.L.: I’m not a big fan of concerts; the rowdy crowds and sensational light shows usually distract me from the music rather than draw me in. But I discovered a whole new kind of concert this year at ZooTunes, a concert series held on a big lawn at Seattle’s zoo. With Aimee Mann’s soothing voice serenading us, with our bare toes nestled in the grass, my wife and I watched a golden sunset transform the towering trees that enclosed the park. A sea of people, many of them families, sat eating their picnic dinners and playing with babies; I couldn’t help but watch their serene, happy faces and contemplate how much God loved each of them. With the light, the music, and the bond of community in the air, I couldn’t help but imagine it as a slice of heaven.

What was the best album released in 2003?

*cino staff picks: There were many great albums released this year, but of the major releases, we’ll have to go with Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief as the best album released in 2003. Radiohead’s newest release seems to best capture the spirit of the last year. As the U.S. threw its weight around in the Middle East, many Europeans questioned America’s motives and actions. The resulting confusion, animosity, fears, and dangers are all represented in Radiohead’s newest album.

G.S.: Erm, I don’t know. I think the most significant album released this millennium is probably Nickel Creek’s 2002 release, This Side, though. I doubt newgrass will ever gain Top Forty influence, but I think that its musical influence will be heard in whatever comes after the very, very boring post-grunge rock that takes up so much airtime at the moment.

J.V.: Neil Morse’s Testimony—The album is beautifully sculpted and chiseled out of the rock of progressive music. Including beautiful symphonic arrangements intertwined with cleverly chosen modern rock instruments makes this album a treat for any musician. Music as complex as any Yes album, yet as serene as a Tommy Walker praise chorus, and with lyrics that delve deeply into the human struggle of who and where is God and why do we need Him. These elements, along with the progression of Morse’s own search and ultimate salvation, makee this album a right of passage not only for Morse, but for all of us who have made the trek from the darkness to the light. Morse was the founder of the acclaimed secular bands Spock’s Beard and Transatlantic, which created a resurgence of progressive-rock music in Europe and the US. His departure from the secular progressive scene was explained, by Morse, in a letter to his fans as a calling from God for his talents to be used for the Kingdom.

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