Joel C

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    524
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About Joel C

  • Rank
    Stuck in traffic somewhere between Canterbury and Rome

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
    http://www.joelclarkson.com

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Mile High City

Previous Fields

  • Occupation
    Composer
  • Favorite movies
    Good Night and Good Luck, Babette's Feast, Ushpizin, Everything Is Illuminated, Tree of Life, Much Ado About Nothing, The Village, Fiddler On The Roof, The Lord of the Rings
  • Favorite music
    Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Stravinsky, Gorecki, Tavener, Pärt, Lauridsen, Adés; Max Steiner, Bernard Herrman, Elmer Bernstein, John Barry, Rachael Portman, Bruno Coulais; U2, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Over the Rhine
  • Favorite creative writing
    Alan Paton, Chaim Potok, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Madeleine L'Engle, Graham Greene, Wendell Berry
  • Favorite visual art
    Carvaggio, Rembrandt, Millais, Holman Hunt, Singer Sargeant, Renoir, Fujimura

Recent Profile Visitors

1,686 profile views
  1. ...And just like that, we have an album! Listen to it on your favorite streaming service, and grab your copy here if it catches your fancy.
  2. Hi folks, I know I'm not around much, but as mentioned in a recent post, I still haunt the boards a bit to see what's going on. This community used to be a real reference point in my life, and I still enjoy keeping up with what's going on for other people, and keeping anyone who may be interested up-to-date with my own creative pursuits. For the past year, my sister and I have been enjoying taking a break from our respective academic pursuits to do a little band music. We just released the first single from an upcoming album we're currently recording, and it's called 'Disappear'. It's free for the next couple days, and I'd love for you all to take a listen. You can listen and download it here. Thanks for reading (and listening)!
  3. What a fascinating conversation, and per usual for me over the past few years, I come to it after all the good back-and-forth has already happened. Comes with the territory of a crazy life. Much of what I have to offer here will echo what others have said, especially Nathaniel a couple posts back, but I think it’s worth saying anyway, even if just to affirm a particular narrative as consistent with others as well. This seems like a somewhat diagnostic thread, at least for those who feel that there has been a shift. I joined A&F ten years ago last month. It was as I was in my final year as a teen, and grappling with my world in a million different ways, not the least of which was my artistry and faith. A&F was a sounding board for my emerging creative sensibilities, and many people here patiently walked with me as I figured out my path, especially during a few “wandering” years, before I finally landed at Berklee College of Music in 2009. I owe a great deal of gratitude to those people for playing their part in my artistic and spiritual formation during that period, and for sharpening my mind before I entered a larger creative arena. During Berklee, however, I necessarily dropped off the map to focus on my education. By the time I finished and came back around to see what was happening here, new people had arrived, a few people had left, and while the conversation had remained more or less the same, I was no longer an “inside” contributor. One of the great things about A&F has always been the focused conversation between people who grow with each other, but one of the downsides of that is that new people are sort of ignored until they’ve put in some mileage. I know this idea has been rebuffed by some people in the past, but it was true for me when I first started contributing in 2006, and it was true after Berklee. I tried a few times with various conversations to get back into the swing of things, but never felt like I was able to get any traction, and so eventually I gave up. I’ve posted from time to time, and left updates about my artistic pursuits, but haven’t received much response. Nowadays, I check in from time to time to see what’s happening, but by and large only as an observer. As it has turned out, my day-to-day life has taken up more and more of my world. I go to a fraction of the films I would have in the past, and listen to far less music, though I make much more of it. I’ve been working in film music for the past four years, and this coming October, I will return to academia for a year-long master’s degree at Cambridge in sacred music. As a consequence, that which began as a means through which to inform my understanding of artistry and faith has actually launched me into a world in which I don’t have as much time for it, because I am now attempting to live out those themes in my own life. I don’t know if there’s anything in particular to glean from all of the above, apart from the fact that I’m deeply grateful for what the board provided me throughout formative parts of my young adulthood, and though it has become inaccessible to me in recent years, I will always look back fondly on my “golden era” with A&F.
  4. Well, I'm certainly not willing to draw such exact lines as this author does. But even as someone who deeply respects Bowie's musicality and songwriting, I guess I don't understand why being discerning about Bowie's use of imagery and symbolism is wrong. As someone who believes very strongly in the existence of sacramental potential in everything, it's hard for me to feel that this isn't in some way an outworking of Bowie's inner world. Perhaps the author of the article you cited went too far in drawing conclusions, but is it really so hard to recognize, throughout the video, either symbols associated with darkness, or the distortion of other symbols associated with light? And if those devices are recognized, why is it not legitimate to express a sincere sense of being disturbed by those images? This is certainly not meant to either affirm the thesis of the author you cited, nor demean Bowie's legacy as one of the great songsters of our time. And yet, I wonder if sometimes in music, the occult is simply the occult, and feeling upset or disturbed is a completely appropriate response.
  5. After writing songs for over a decade, I've built up quite a library, but because of the busyness of life, I've never been able to do much with my material. I've worked in other parts of the music industry with varying success, especially in film, as a composer, orchestrator, and conductor, but I've always wanted to do something with my songwriting. My sister, who is just about to head off to Oxford to get a graduate degree in theology, has also written a great deal of music, but apart from playing our songs for our fam from time to time, neither of us had ever done much with our respective songs. Finally, this summer, we snatched some time aside and put our noggins together to produce an EP, under the band name Two Benedictions. We're super proud of what we came up with, and are spreading the word everywhere we can. The project is entitled, Sun of Man, and is currently available on CD Baby (soon to be iTunes, Amazon, and everywhere else music is sold). We've been surprised to get over 600 likes in a little over a week, and a lot of people are responding positively, so that's been cool! Love for any of you to take a listen. CD Baby Facebook
  6. "Confessions of a Prodigal Son", a feature film I scored, and which my brother wrote, produced, and starred in, is in the midst of a run of a number of theater showings nationwide. We've already screened in Colorado Springs, Chattanooga, and Dallas, and we have upcoming showings in the LA area, St. Louis, Wilmington NC, and potentially Boise, ID. More to come soon—hosting a showing is open to anyone who wants to, and we keep seeing more locations pop up in the list. If any of you are interested in attending any of the showings, you can purchase your tickets at our film landing page. Though both my brother and I have been pursuing independent careers in the film industry in LA for a while, this is the first project we worked on together, and we were greatly surprised and delighted when it got picked up by Cinedigm, one of the biggest independent distributors out there, for a wide DVD release March 24th. Would sure love for any of you A&F'ers out there to catch a showing! Check out the trailer here.
  7. Last year I caught a showing of this film at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica. All I can say is this film is handmade for the big screen, and whereas parts of it seemed dated to me when first watching it in a home environment, the big screen version in a dark theater, with a real sound system, was engrossing and magnificent, and felt shockingly fresh and current. Can't even imagine what it must have been like to witness this film when it first came out in 1968. I don't experience that kind of cinematic magic and wonder very often.
  8. Actually, you mentioned Iona as a band you enjoy. Joanne Hogg has actually done some independent stuff. She did an album of hymns, Looking Into the Light, which, among the multitude of tepid regurgitations of the same church music in CCM, is a lovely breath of fresh air. Definitely still in the celtic-ish vain of Iona.
  9. Agree, those two artists were/are perhaps teachers first. It is rare to find higher minds like theirs combined with first rate musical talent. Quite a calling. I like your pointing out the immigrant analogy. Maybe that's why the faith of Americans has not flagged to the extent it has in Europe. One of my favorite scriptures "They only saw them and welcomed them (promises) from a distance. And they admitted that they (themselves) were aliens and strangers on earth." Heb 11:13 The early Peterson is his most musically catchy for me. It may be that the ideas in his later music are more insightful. You probably have a better grasp on that aspect of their work. I'm familiar with everything of his through The Far Country so now you have me curious for Light for the Lost Boy. Thanks for the tip Joel. Light for the Lost Boy is very different in some ways than his earlier stuff. It's darker, more introspective. It starts off with a song about how we have these birth pangs for being reborn into a better world than this one, and uses a traumatic death scene from The Yearling to express that longing. It's really a gripping ride through disappointment, spiritual fatigue, dark nights of the soul, and ultimately, hope for a better world. Highly recommended. I think Sara Groves is fantastic, and certainly operating on the same plain of songwriting sensibilities. To be honest, I can't say that I know a lot of female artists within CCM period, but that's probably mostly due to to the fact that I sort of got off the CCM train about 10 years ago, and the only current artists I know are the ones that I admired then and continued to follow. I will say that Jill Phillips is a wonderful songwriter. She runs in the same circles as Andrew Peterson (most visibly through the Rabbit Room). She's a really refreshing and honest lyricist, and has a similar sound to Peterson.
  10. Whatever else may be said, it should be mentioned that Sects, Love and Rock & Roll is an enviously great title.
  11. Glad you mentioned Rich Mullins and Andrew Peterson, Mike. Notwithstanding occasional humorous cheese like "Alrightokuhuhamen", Rich Mullins was one of the finest songwriters of his time, particularly for those attuned to more eternal themes. Liturgy, Legacy, and a Ragamuffin Band is absolutely stunning in its scope and comprehension of the correlation between the United States as a country full of immigrants "lonely for their home", and Christians who are immigrants, longing for heaven. It was immensely influential for me, and would still find its way on to my personal list of the finest records of the 90s. Andrew Peterson is the spiritual and creative successor to Rich for me. His songwriting is pristine, honest, and immensely approachable, while maintaining an unusual insight into human experience. Those early albums you mentioned are great, but I like Love And Thunder, The Far Country, and his latest, Light for the Lost boy even more.
  12. Yup. That's about the sum of it. I enjoyed it as diversion, and occasionally for its aesthetic appeal. If the story were half as delicious as the characters seem to think their food is, it would have made it a much more interesting film. Obviously, as such, one instinctually draws parallels to Babette's Feast, which is such an exquisite specimen in the food-film genre that it's a bit unfair to use it as a bellwether for other food-based films. I would actually more closely align it to Chocolat, a film which used the theme of a foreign family opening up a food-based shop in a suspicious French town much more effectively. As a matter of fact, my greatest criticism of The Hundred Foot Journey is that any time I would consider viewing it, I could just watch Chocolat instead and get a better (or should I say more palatable?) viewing experience.
  13. SPOILERS for both CALVARY AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY As divine providence would have it, I watched this film this weekend, only a week after reading “The Power and the Glory” for the first time. I was deeply affected by each individually, but together they packed a one-two punch to serious theological questions I’ve been working through. Back in July, I visited Oxford, UK, for a conference. While I was there, I attended solemn mass at The Oratory (location numero uno for John Henry Newman aficionados). During the homily, the priest, reflecting on the 20-year anniversary of another priest serving at the Oratory, remarked that without the priesthood, Christ isn’t brought amongst the people. I have been interfacing with Catholicism for a couple of years and over that period many objections to the faith have been removed for me. However, one of the most prominent remaining points of difficulty for me has been this concept of the priest as the embodied representative of Christ in the world. Having spent the first two decades of my life with the broadly protestant conception of the universal “priesthood of the believer”, in which the ecclesial priesthood is effectively defunct in the kingdom of Christ, the concept of the priest-as-mediator has been a very difficult pill for me to swallow. This is probably compounded by the fact that at times I have witnessed devastating failures of pastoral leadership, particularly in my journey through Evangelicalism. The homily in the Oratory really bugged me, and had been nagging at my subconscious up to the point that I read and watched the aforementioned works. All I can say is that “The Power and the Glory” planted a seed in my mind, and “Calvary” fertilized it. Both the whisky priest and Fr. James are deeply flawed, multi-dimensional people, and yet there is some sort of mystical, inexplicable drive in them to return, against their own self-preservation, to be Christ to the people, and ultimately to offer themselves up. There is this sense that if the Whisky Priest had left the State and fled to safety, or if Fr. James had gone to Dublin instead of to meet his killer, Christ—the sacrificial lamb giving of himself for the sake of broken people—truly would have been withheld. In the ensuing discussion after the film, one of my party responded to that idea by saying that like Fr. James, all Christians can be that example of Christ’s sacrifice for the sake of others. And yet I am struck by the concept that priests are those who set the precedent; they are the embodied examples of the high priest, Jesus, and by providing the presence of Christ in the eucharist and through the sacraments, the people truly are able to live as those who are the priesthood of the believer. This believer-priesthood doesn’t have to be a detached concept suspended in abstract; it can be as if connected to the vine, through the narrative of the church, or more specifically, through the repeated story of the sacraments. I can’t say that I have completely made amends to my theological misgivings, but as with past issues, I can feel the growing sense of peace and understanding, and I find myself surprised and grateful for the imperfect—perhaps even unintended—conduits of the message of the gospel, McDonagh and Gleeson.
  14. Actually, while the iPod classic was indeed discontinued, the Genius Bar should still cover you with support on a 6th generation iPod. If it's out-of-warranty, you'll probably have to pay for any repairs, but the appointment is always free no matter what. I'm with you though on what a wonderful device it is. I've had a 5th generation classic iPod for almost a decade. The screen is cracked, and the casing is pretty scratched up, but it still works, and I still use it as best as I can in my car for my tunes.
  15. I have thousands of songs from a variety of sources—CDs that I have ripped to my computer, my own recordings from Logic and GarageBand, mp3s I've purchased from Amazon, e-music, or any other retailer—and iTunes. Instead of having to plug my phone into my computer to sync that digital content, iTunes Match uploads all of those files to iCloud, regardless of whether they came from an iTunes purchase or from a CD, so that I can access them on any device at any time. Peter T Chattaway wrote: : I don't see any advantage to the Apple cloud except that it puts all the eggs in one basket -- and then, as someone noted earlier in this thread, it becomes difficult for the user to disentangle himself from Apple's infrastructure. Well, the latter point would only be a problem if one felt the need to "disentangle" themselves. I've been using Apple devices for 10 years and have never felt such a need, so it's sort of a moot point to me. However, the broader point is that the cloud is more than just synced files. With Apple, I can answer any SMS or MMS text message from my computer, regardless of whether it came from an iPhone or not. I can also answer any phone call from my computer if my phone isn't handy (which is quite often for me). If I am out of range of wifi, I can create an instant hotspot from my computer, as my Mac is synced with my phone's hotspot software. Particularly handy for me, my phone and my computer will remember the last thing I was doing on the other device, and will prompt me when I open it where I left off. In other words, if I'm working on a .doc file in Pages (Apple's word processing program) on my iPad, and I switch over to my computer, my computer remembers what I was doing on my iPad and has the document ready for me when I open the lid of my laptop. It's the little things. Personally I think keeping eggs in multiple baskets is overrated. I prefer to carry less baskets, not more.