Album Review: Corban Samuels ‘Death To Birth Part 2′

Death To Birth Part IIAn eerie drone builds over the tinkle of what sounds like a toy piano… the  sound building and growing, setting up the start of the second chapter of this dark world… the illusion… the journey… the story… the mystical world of Corban Samuels. Welcome to Part 2 of the dark ‘other worldly’ place that Christchurch songwriter Sam Reed has created with his Death to Birth E.P.’s under the name Corban Samuels.

Keeping true to the first album, Sam has kept the cinematic approach. While this approach has it’s strength, as in the way you read each chapter of a book in order, it means that the album is not really one you listen to for your favourite single. While others have had this sort of approach to writing  ‘concept albums’, I have yet to hear something put together in such a story-like flow as this is. It’s great to know that Sam had the sense not to disrupt the story with what would have only been a filler or hit single. Sam gets it…. when you’re creating something so cinematic, so grand, so dark, you’re taking people on a journey. You can’t let the illusion go, otherwise people will snap out of the world that you have created around them. This is a dark album, although not as dark as Death to Birth Part 1, which in some parts was quiet uncomfortable (especially if you were listening at home alone in the dark).

Sam sets up the album with over four minutes of instrumental. This works well with this style of album. It’s like watching the title sequence of your favourite thriller music, or maybe Harry Potter movie.

The first words that are uttered on the album come at the start of the 3rd song called ‘Tonight’. “Dear Friend, those tears you cry are not wasted at all” . The vulnerability of the song draws you in as Sam sings, “Let me Dance with you, let me hold you tight, let all your cares be forgotten tonight” – it’s sweet, yet it’s dark. It’s like listening to a love song in a Tim Burton movie…. it’s endearing, but like lovers caught in the dark.

For maybe the first time over the 2 E.P.’s ‘On the Outside’ gives us some light, some hope to the story. It feels like the clouds are parting and the rain has stopped. You can almost feel rays of light touching the skin of the players of this story which you have become a part of.

The album finishes with the same cinematic approach to the start of the album… a great book end.

The closest thing I can think of in the concept style of music that Sam comes with is the music that ex-DC Talker Kevin Max has brought out the in the past. Sam brings a very alternative or indie pop rock approach to the table and while it’s great to see someone putting out stuff that doesn’t fit neatly into the mainstream music market, it has to be a lonely road. This is not the kind of music to make friends and influence people… these are albums that challenge you musically, challenge you mentally… challenge you!

Great work Sam for sticking to your guns. You really can’t do concept albums like this half pie and you have taken leap of faith needed for this.

 

(To see the review for Death to Birth Part 1 click HERE)

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Churches and Public Toilets

Church Public Toilet

Without being crass, but I was in a public toilet recently and I couldn’t help but think to myself “This is the way that many people treat church”

How can you say that?

Well it’s like this… People come to a building and the do ‘their business’, they dump their trash and they get rid of anything that makes them feel uncomfortable.
They might be lucky to be in a public toilet that plays music, however the station that’s playing isn’t really to their liking.
They complain about how uncomfortable the toilet seats are…
They come, they do their business and leave… and they’ll hold on until next week when they will do it ALL over again.

In fact the only people who come into the toilets to do anything else are the cleaners and maintenance staff, who often struggle to keep put with the amount of people who enter while they try and keep them feeling like this toilet is a place to come back to.
Some toilets even have a trust of people – volunteers who help with the upkeep of the toilet and who have a heart for the community the toilet is in. Often they don’t even have the power to change much within it.

OK… so it’s a metaphor and like almost all metaphors there has to be a point where the similarities stop, however there is enough for us to think, ‘Is this the way we should be treating what the Bible calls “the Bride of Christ?’ or ‘ do we really get OUR role within the church?’

How often have we been guilty of just coming to church and ‘dumping’ our problems on God, complaining about the music that is being played, complaining about how the temperature isn’t to our liking, the seats are uncomfortable and the list goes on?
But I wonder, if we ARE the church, then should we be seen as the maintenance staff and volunteers of the trust rather than the people using the facilities?
Wouldn’t this change in mindset stop us from thinking that church is “Just a Sunday thing”?

I mean, what are YOU doing for the church?

But I’m too busy… I’m not qualified… I’m (insert excuse)
How easy is it for us to come up with excuses for only doing church on Sunday in a “you serve me” capacity?

Church was never about just meeting on Sunday… in fact church was always about a gathering of people, a movement.

Friends of mine recently said “What does your church do that points to God?”
When you think of church in those terms “What do I do as part of church (the movement/gathering of people) that points to God?”
My lifestyle?
My daily interactions?
My work?

Church is an idea that is SO much bigger than just a meeting on Sunday… and a building…

How do you look to view your church?
Are you the cleaners?
Or are you just coming to church to dump on God?

The “If” apology

The Art of Apology

Have you started to hear this apology more often recently?

“I’m sorry IF I offended you?”

I recently heard it from the CEO of a company I work for

The ULTIMATE non-apology apology.
It might be something that you’ll hear mainly from politicans or your boss who has decided a form of action but didn’t think of the impact to others within the organisation.
It may even be a phrase that you have used “I’m sorry if you felt like that” or “I’m sorry if you felt offended” or “I’m sorry if what I said hurt you”

This kind of apology shifts the blame onto the offended party, and denies personal acceptance of wrongdoing, as in “I’m sorry if you were offended by what I said”.
The “if” implies that the apologiser either doesn’t even know they did wrong (and did not bother to find out) or else does not acknowledge that they did wrong and so are pretending to apologise because they feel obligated to rather than because they are actually sorry.

There is no confirmation that the apologiser actually regrets anything or has learnt anything from what they did that was wrong. According to John Kador in Effective Apology, “Adding the word if or any other conditional modifier to an apology makes it a non-apology.”

So how should I apologise?

Here are the typical 5 steps, they don’t have to be in this order however it would usually be good to touch base with each

1. Admit your error, own it… don’t deflect or pass on the blame!
2. Acknowledge the harm you have caused… That’s the whole point of the apology
3. Express that you’re actually sorry
4. Ask for forgiveness… forgiveness isn’t something you can ‘take’ it has to be given to you
5. Commit to change… if you are going to apologise you don’t want it to be a regualar thing, lets change the way we do things going forward too!