The Mindful Bard – Library Voices, Hunting Ghosts

Books, Music, and Film to Wake Up Your Muse and Help You Change the World

EP: Library Voices, Hunting Ghosts

Soon to be released on Young Soul Records (see interview this issue)

Your existence is a pinprick on a paper continent.

The patron saints all patronize me.

Step off the map and float!

And you float and you float and you float and you ohhh . . .

from ?Step Off the Map and Float,? Hunting Ghosts

I used to wonder what would happen to folk rock once the pantless, towheaded children of hippies grew up and decided to create their own music. What would they have to rail against? But when the bulk of the children of hippies did come of age there was still plenty to rail against, and they had the advantage of being cheered on by parents who were often more nonconformist than they were. Library Voices are a case in point.

Library Voices do not sing in library voices. They sing like drunks at an Irish wake (albeit drunks with perfect pitch). They sound like the punk offspring of The Incredible String Band. Their music is the kind that gets you through the worst depressions in your life by teaching you not to take that life so seriously.

I remember getting through one such episode in university with the help of The Nice, Godley and Creme, and They Might Be Giants. Their lyrics and arrangements were delightfully brilliant and exhibited an attitude of comic defiance of the oppression of industry and institutions, a defiance I really needed to hear.

I thought of them as my day-at-the-circus bands. Every generation of culture makers needs its day-at-the-circus bands, and I’m so glad this one hasn’t been let down.

The Hunting Ghosts song titles alone are windows to a zany universe ripe with hidden meaning (?Step Off the Map and Float,? ?Kundera on the Dance Floor,? ?Things We Stole from Vonnegut’s Grave,? ?The Lonely Projectionist? . . .), but have a good listen to the words.

Mike Dawson’s lyrics are not designed to lull and suppress. These are danceable tunes for bookish sorts, especially those bookish sorts with an affinity for science fiction and ?60s authors.

The music is upbeat, packed with space sounds, straight-ahead rock-and-roll riffs and rhythms, and Motown energy. The melodies are incredibly listenable and yet a perfect fit for the sometimes convoluted rhythms of the lyrics.

Hunting Ghosts lives up to five of The Mindful Bard’s criteria for music well worth a listen: 1) it is authentic, original, and delightful; 2) it makes me want to be a better artist; 3) it displays an engagement with and compassionate response to suffering; 4) it provides respite from a sick world, a respite enabling me to renew myself for a return to mindful endeavour; and 5) it stimulates my mind.