Milton Man Gogh: The Great Reset

From what I remember I knocked out a first draft of this pretty quickly, then sat on finishing it for a few weeks (at minimum) which may have helped approach editing without too much of a sense of attachment to the draft, but affected the overall flow in a detrimental manner.

Most of my interview and review work now appears on Culture Eater.
My colleague and I set up a Patreon to further develop Culture Eater as a source of good quality arts coverage from both ourselves and our contributors.

We’re looking at what we can give to supporters as we don’t want to set up a one way relationship, so suggestions are welcome. Podcast Eater is one of the things we’ve got going and (aside from the next few weeks) new episodes are available through there first.

Please consider supporting, or at least sharing the Patreon page with others. Please also check out what our wonderful contributors are contributing.

I hope you enjoy.

Milton Man Gogh exist. Coincidentally enough The Great Reset also exists.

The Great Reset starts with “3 Action Formula” which starts in murkiness and gradually builds in energy. It almost seems like the group just threw whatever they could together but it’s a controlled mess. The group play it all smooth and strike out with a joyous cacophony when they can warrant doing so. However, it remains serous (and groovy) music.

The following song “Youth is Wasted on the Young” is much more tame… at first. Milton Man Gogh throw a few oddities in here and there, but otherwise it feels relatively regular. Gradually space, squeaking and perhaps an implied sense of indecision come forward as percussion rolls, crashes and flickers about whilst the sax keeps on noodling away. Bass comes and goes, moving in a way that both slots in and slides away from the main rhythm. Eventually all align and a big push toward a big crash commences. Before complete release, however, the trio pull back and return to something closer to the start. It’s as though something made out to be bigger than it was.

“See You Round the Traps” is a really gentle song. It keeps things slow and relatively simple which abets a significant weight. There’s a large amount of space and so there’s more time to hear and feel each sound and note.  Toward the end there’s a bit more of a sense of going big. but even so Milton Man Gogh don’t overstep. They hold back and let the mood continue to permeate; doing so paid off in spades.

It’s almost as though “See You Round the Traps” is of mourning of an ending era, or of remembrance of a past long gone; It’s difficult to say, but there is a strong undercurrent that lies somewhere near those things.

The Great Reset‘s “The Great Reset” comes in two parts. The first starts slow and kind of spaced, and feels distant and stark. There’s a sense of tension that comes forward, though it remains subtle. It’s lurking and creeping about, not willing to reveal itself. However, at the end things start picking up in intensity which then leads into the second part.

Here Milton Man Gogh keeps things heavy but there’s now a sense of tension in a groove that comes forward. Space remains and soon saxophone reaches out as though trails of smoke. The song eventually shifts into what almost is a call and response and the group ride on through a menace and drama that speaks as loudly as it does quiet.

Of course not willing to beleaguer the point, eventually Milton Man Gogh shift and take on more space. Bass and percussion play around and slowly warp and shift, unable to settle, much like The Great Reset as a whole. Soon things seem to shatter but the trio keep on playing until the call and response returns. Things get filthier in sound at this point and it nears the end but it doesn’t feel like a climax, and it’s not and a lot of energy just starts pouring out. Soon Milton Man Gogh bring things back a little and play with a stronger sense of climax and so they just go big. Then the song ends suddenly.

Maybe The Great Reset loops back to the start. Considering the conceptual and narrative feel to the whole thing, could make sense. However, it’s not exactly a perfect loop and so it’s possible that Milton Man Gogh are just having a bit of fun with the whole idea. Maybe they’re trying to set up a suggestion of clues where there are none; I don’t know. What I do know is that they make the most of the time they’ve afforded themselves here. At times there’s a lot going on; at others very little, but the music changes as required. It never feels pointless or random, despite what the surface suggests.

Milton Man Gogh are a highly talented group but what they do is not about technical wizardry. They’re taking what they know and using it to make something that is theirs. It’s something they share and, much like with prior releases, The Great Reset shows that what they do is worth experiencing.

The Great Reset is available here.

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Milton Man Gogh: How To Be Big & Small (At The Same Time)

This was written in 2019.
It’s not great. I think I was feeling things out a bit more than I realised. There’s certainly progression in terms of how I was writing when compared to previous years, but this is quite rough.

Most of my interview and review work now appears on Culture Eater.
My colleague and I set up a Patreon to further develop Culture Eater as a source of good quality arts coverage from both ourselves and our contributors.

We’re looking at what we can give to supporters as we don’t want to set up a one way relationship, so suggestions are welcome. Podcast Eater is one of the things we’ve got going and (aside from the next few weeks) new episodes are available through there first.

Please consider supporting, or at least sharing the Patreon page with others. Please also check out what our wonderful contributors are contributing.

I hope you enjoy.

I saw Milton Man Gogh last year.
Unless I’m remembering things incorrectly (which I likely am), How To Be Big & Small (At The Same Time) presents a very different Milton Man Gogh to how they were when I saw them.

Milton Man Gogh sound very much like a jazz band that sound as though they pull from a number of different elements to craft their sound. A number of the songs are pretty punchy, angular and warm, and there’s an overall conceptual feel throughout the album.

Whilst at times it seems like someone takes the lead, overall the album is a group performance. The members weave in and out of each other, almost in a way that challenges each other to be the best they can in any given section. There’s a lot of effort going in which translates into some really fine, strong sections.

“How to be Big & Small (At the Same Time)” is one of two of the album’s songs to feature vocals. The singer makes good use of elongated notes for expression, and Milton Man Gogh play gently and minimally behind her. It’s a song more about mood than performance, sounding sensual and mysterious whilst remaining as playful as the rest of the album.

The second, “Small Town Hero” is a bit more of a performance piece. It closes off the album with some light instrumentation and vocals that get across a sense of fondness. It strongly invokes image through being really clear, light and airy, but it doesn’t force imagery upon you.

Despite some slight excursions “Small Town Hero” is probably the most traditional-sounding song on the album. The song pays respect to musical history, but it also looks forward. After all the excursions through sound, the song makes for a really nice, pleasant and appropriate way to close the album.

Probably the best qualities that Milton Man Gogh exhibit are their fluidity and flexibility. They’re able to move around each other and shift gear with what sounds like no difficulty whatsoever. There’s a smoothness to how each song progress and little, if any sounds awkward. This leads to How To Be Big & Small (At The Same Time) containing some really strong songs. There’s a kind of flippancy to the album mixed with a great deal of passion.

How To Be Big & Small (At The Same Time) is available here.

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A Poem About Uncertain Weight

This is heavily influenced by something my partner and I have been dealing with for somewhere around a year now, but ramped up over roughly the past two. Just a long slog of trying to have things happen and then having to take it further due to inaction.

Anyway, not a good poem. Perhaps too vague, or not vague enough. I don’t know.

I hope you enjoy.

A weight shifts rather than lifts
A reprieve is felt and there’s no rest
The walk continues on
And things keep accumulating

Decisions bound the weight
In an uncertain manner
And so fatigue grows and burns
As the walk continues on

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Firmly Within the Sound

A photo of Yoda of MONO, but from this year rather than 2020 which was when these two were taken.

Anyway, there’s a sense of stillness to this photo. There’s a sense of stillness in a lot of photos, but this one in particular, I think. It seems almost entirely devoid of motion, but I can confirm Yoda was moving.

I feel like the photo also feels like it wasn’t taken at a concert and that likely has to do with the space around Yoda. It’s isolating; this could’ve been taken almost anywhere.

This is my submission into Leanne Cole‘s “Monochrome Madness” for this week. Participating is pretty straightforward and something I recommend. If you do, then include the tag “monochrome-madness” in your post.
If not participating, then at the least check out Leanne’s photography as well as what other people submit.

A lot of what people are submitting will likely end up here.

I hope you enjoy.

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Spreading Over a Blue Sky

Another sunset photo.

I tried to capture the change in colour here. It wasn’t as balanced as I’d hoped, but I think I still got something. It’s pleasant and easy, I think, and sometimes that’s enough.

I hope you enjoy.

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Hat Shadows the Face

This is Sean Meadows of June of 44.
I like this photo as it doesn’t feel much like a gig photo.
It might have to do with the lighting and the hat. Not sure.

I hope you enjoy.

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The Motion Between Heaves

This is a photo of Taka during MONO’s recent performance at Manning in Sydney.
I took this during “Riptide” which was the opening song of their set.

I think this is just a good action shot. There’s a stillness and there’s a nice amount of space, and in working with rather than against the red I feel I was able present form in a way that’s striking.

As a side note, here are some photos of Taka from when MONO were in Sydney in 2020.

This is my submission into the two hundred-and-forty-second Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. The theme for this one is “New Experiences“.

Whilst having seen MONO prior to this performance, shooting at Manning Bar was something new for me as I hadn’t shot there before. There’s also some of the material being different due to touring in support of their 2021 album Pilgrimage of the Soul leading to an experience that felt familiar and new at the same time and now has me thinking about differing forms of repetition and how those differences are experienced by performer and audience, but I digress.

Another reason why I feel this counts is having another opportunity to shoot MONO as it allows me to try and capture something that is new and not quite the same as what I’d captured of them before.

The host of the Lens-Artists challenges cycles weekly between the following people:

Week 1 – Tina

Week 2 – Patti

Week 3 – Ann-Christine aka Leya

Week 4 – Amy

Week 5 – John Steiner

Week 6 – Sofia Alves

Week 7 – Anne Sandler

Week 8 – Donna

Week 9 – Guest host

Anne is curating this one. The next one is curated by Donna, and I think there is a hint in Anne’s post about what Donna’s might be. Best to go check it out.

I recommend participating in the challenges. They’re open enough to allow for a fair bit of thinking about approach and closed enough to keep focus on meeting the theme of each one. If you don’t participate, you should still check out what others of the Lens-Artists community are submitting.

I hope you enjoy.


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Five-Hundred Word Challenge 1237: No Hour of Power Today

Gonna try and do something today that’s not an hour of power. Just gonna try and get a few things cleared out of the way so they no longer are sitting here, staring at me as I need to clear a few things out of the way so I can get on with other things, but let me tell you, I am exhausted.

It has been a long year and I feel as though in it I have lived eons and grown into something else. It hasn’t been long at all, but I am feeling it and all I can keep doing is pushing through everything and hope that things ease up a bit sooner rather than later.

It’s a slog but you get through it. You push and you keep trying and all that, but that’s not what I want to be diving into at thee moment. I want to try and express something a bit happier, or at least a bit more neutral. We’ll just have to see if that happens, however.

Well, we don’t. We don’t have to see at all. I just need to not write about shitty stuff and it’ll all be good. Maybe I will write about shitty stuff, however. It won’t do anything good, but it may be a good thing or something. I don’t know. I think of things to say and then I don’t think properly about saying them, though sometimes I do and sometimes that creates a situation where things are good, or something. Sometimes it creates a situation where things are bad.

It creates situations.

What am I even going on about here?

So I was sitting at my desk and I was throwing stuff at the wall and even though nothing was sticking I still ran with it all as that’s what you do sometimes. Sometimes you just use whatever and it may form something that you can use. Of course that doesn’t happen all the time, or sometimes most of the time, but some of the time it works and so therefore you just do the best you can. I think here it hasn’t helped at all, but that’s neither here nor there so I’m just gonna keep on thundering forward in the hopes that I can make it all work.

Falling back on bad habits. Need to push on forward. Need to think of something sad and miserable to write, then turn it into something happy. Maybe there will be some more reflection. I don’t know and I don’t profess to care to know right now. I started this writing and now I feel I’m in too deep and so I don’t know as to where else I can go from here.

Maybe I can just go over there and sit there for a while and see what happens. That could work. Maybe I’ll get to see some fish doing some fish things, or maybe I won’t.

Maybe I’ll just read a book for a while.

The time it took to write five-hundred words: 05:44:03

If there’s something I’ve gathered from this bit of writing, it’s that my ability to write at an accelerated pace has suffered a little more than I’d hoped. A fair few more spelling errors than usual resulted and I think it might have to do with various injuries flaring up a bit. Not sure.

The quality of the writing itself is poor. Aimless and meandering with no intention to be aimless and meandering, and does little to convey much. Does a lot to convey a little, however.

Written at home.

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Yoshino Aoki: Bitter Air

One listen for this one.
Early on into this I felt unsure as to what I could write. This is a piece of music that effectively creates atmosphere through minimalism and I don’t think I was able to switch off from actively thinking about what I was writing. As such, whilst I covered the song, I think this bit of writing could’ve done much better in that covering.

Yoshino Aoki’s (青木佳乃) “Bitter Air” (“苦い空気”) is from the soundtrack for Breath of Fire IV, Breath of Fire IV: Original Soundtrack.

I hope you enjoy.

Bells, or at least something bell-like rings out among a dulled space. It rings out in an eerie melody and it forms a pattern, and occasionally something like a still air blows around, or at least seems to in a fragmentary manner.

A tension weaves its way through and spreads out, and those bells continue ringing out, soft but prominent, and they leave space and continue on as the tension seeps on outward from them, and they soon fade out as the song ends.

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Purple in the Moment

This is a photo of one of the members of A Broken Sail when they played at The Lansdowne last week supporting June of 44. I hadn’t shot at The Lansdowne before and so, being unfamiliar with the room and the lighting, ended up with a lot of photos such as the below.

It’s moody and it’s in colour, and I know little else what to say. I think the person was firmly in the moment here, but the photo makes it seem far more dramatic than it was.

I hope you enjoy.

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