Tag Archives: Bram Cools

2014 as a year of demodernisation for me


I know I’m babelnot very active as a blogger right now, and most of my posts at the moment are older writings that I’m finishing now and finally posting after a long time of waiting in the pipeline. There’ some stuff I need to finish (about Christianity and capitalism, and about racism for example) but I don’t have the time and energy at the moment, and I’m focussing on work, children, gardening lately, and most of my writing has been fiction in Dutch, so it doesn’t fit on this blog.

(My fiction can be found at Oranderra, but most of it is Dutch. I do hope to one day continue my series of ‘the paralian priest and the acosmist nun’ though.)

I will still be writing blogposts here about a whole variety of subjects when I have the time and inspiration for it. (And there are some unfinished things that will be finished and posted too…) But in 2014 I will be starting a new project, which I call the ‘demodernisation’ of myself, which will most probably lead to some blogposts too.

So what do I mean with ‘demodernisation’? I feel it is the natural next step after my ‘postmodernisation’, that might have helped me a lot in some areas, but it did not help me much in a lot of other things…
Some years ago I found the ‘emerging church discussion’ through the internet, and learned a lot from it, or learned the right words to describe how I already saw the world, for I am a native postmodern. But I must say that the whole ‘emergent’ stuff has become more and more frustrating to me. A lot of it is just American anti-reaction to a fundamentalism that I don’t know, and acts more like a photo-negative of that fundamentalism. No-one can expect me to be interested in a photo-negative of something I don’t care about. The photo and the negative will generally be equally uninteresting to me.

And the other problem is that the more photo-negative of fundamentalism enters the picture, the more modernist Christian liberalism (the natural negative view of fundamentalism), which has never interested me at all. I think it was Scott McKnight who said that McLaren at the time of ‘A new kind of Christianity’ did not arrive at a new one at all, but an old one (referring to older protestant liberalism) that actually wasn’t old enough. Although I like a lot of McLarens earlier books and have benefited greatly from them, new liberalism just makes me lose interest, and I’ve seen that in most corners of the ‘emergent’ dicussion. (Also, I and just clueless about the American ‘liberal PC’ stuff. It’s just alien for me and feels like a new form of fire and brimstone preaching from a new corner to me.)

So, the project now, with my postmodern identity established, is to go way beyond postmodernism and Western though to reconnect with my Christian (and human) roots outside of modernity. My flirting with Eastern Orthodoxy is already part of that, and I will try to read more about non-modern, non-Western forms of Christianity, and also other religions and philosophies from everywhere. (I want to know more about native American thought systems, taoism and pre-Christian European thought for example.)

I do think that I will also go back more to my Lewisian roots, and explore Chesterton and MacDonald more for example.

(Not that I don’t value some things about modernism, like human rights and gender equality, the realisation of how serious the destruction of ecosystems and extinction are, and general growth in scientific knowledge about the natural world, and modern medics. But apart from those and other advancements, there is so much we have lost, and so much dark side to even a lot of advancements, and so on…)

My ideas on magic and the occult are part of what you can expect, but I will try do ‘deconstruct’ more  things and look from other angles than both Western modernism and post-modern hyper-enlightenment thought.

I hope to I can keep on having very interesting conversations here with all of you…

peace

Bram

 

Some old critique to ‘true love waits’ and Joshua Harris…


true love waits
and that’s okay
but you seem to spend your time waiting
ain’t that extremely frustrating?

(the irresistible 21st century virgin boy)

Last week I had a serious flu and I was quite sick, and not able to do much at all, not even reading or thinking, so I was lying on my bed listening to old CD’s with demo songs that I recorded years ago, when I still used the nick/artist name ‘the irresistible 21st century virgin boy’*. One of the old CD’s contained a song I kissed waiting goodbye that I thought was lost forever, one of my earlier attempts to do something with beats and guitars together in a real song. But it also  vocalised  some critique to a book I mentioned in a recent post (‘I kissed dating goodbye’ by Joshua Harris), and I suppose more broadly to the rhetoric of the people of ‘true love waits’ , who then haTLW2d a Flemish division here in Belgium that sent me a lot of news letters because I once had carelessly signed one of their pledge cards on some christian event. (It seems they’re out of the running now though , can’t find anything of them anymore lately…)

The song itself was dismissed later because I hated how I hadn’t been able to find a really fitting melody on the sometimes quite random chord progressions. Re-listening there’s something in it that I like, and some things that I hate (that really bad word flow of the ‘don’t concentrate’ part for example.) But is was a good try, even if it got forgotten without ever been played again…

[please listen to the song 'I kissed waiting goodbye' here https://soundcloud.com/bram-cools/i-kissed-waiting-goodbye (lyrics are there also) and tell me; does it suck completely, or is there still something interesting about it?]

The title ‘I kissed waiting goodbye’ does not mean that I (with my weird artist name) had any problem with the idea of sex as belonging into a marriage relationship (I still believe in that, even though I don’t think a state marriage has much to do necessarily with the definition of marriage) but the whole imported ‘purity culture’ had some exaggerations that I found quite weird. And the local people that preached it were quite peculiar specimens too btw… The emphasis on waiting and not doing stuff was what was getting on my nerves…

Like I said earlier in my recent post a purity culture I don’t know, some of the critiques to ‘evangelical purity culture’ I’ve seen lately are describing something I don’t recognise at all, but I did have my concerns with what I did see. If I would have encountered weirdos like the 2 creeps in Sarah Moons latest blogpost my concerns would’ve been a lot bigger. And it might be that I didn’t even register some of the things that didn’t make sense to me, I think that’s how I never picked up those gender roles in Harris’ book if they are there. my brain didn’t even notice them because they made no sense to me, and they got thrown with the ‘this is too American’** garbage bin.

(Remember that an ‘American writer’ for me is as distant and exotic as an Italian cardinal, and Indian Sadhu  or an African Touareg songwriter…)

The whole movement always was a bit too obsessed with sex for my taste. (an obsession with having no sex all the time is just a weird form of sex-obsession.) It seemed like all they wanted to talk about was how to not have sex, and that was not what I was looking for, I was looking for how to actually grow in my relationship in all kinds of areas. All that talk about what not to do is not good for building a relationship. what people need is positive advice about to grow in love, and not just sexually!!!! there’s much more to a relationship than that, and focussing a relationship on that will make it unbalanced, be it a relationship focussed solely on sex or one focussed solely on avoiding sex …

One of the things I probably dismissed as otherworldy nonsense was the idea of ‘never being alone with someone of the other sex’, including the one you’re not yet married to but having a relationship with. As someone who had been always single with a lot of female friends some of which I saw alone regularly such things just didn’t make sense and didn’t get registered in my brain. It was not something that could convince me anymore than the idea that Belgium does not exist… (It would never haver worked with me and my wife either)

Another point that I found troubling was that I did not see how filling people with a ‘no sex’ message and conditioning them all the time to not touch and not be intimate would ever be reversed on a wedding night. I was too realistic to believe such a thing, whatever promises of ‘great sex lives for those who wait’ were gives. I just didn’t see that happen with such an obsessive attitude. And I later read a lot of articles that affirmed, sometimes from people who were completely blocked down sexually, so it wasn’t a false concern… I know it did work for other people, but I who was already blocked on sex and completely turned off by a world around me that seemed to sell sex on every corner but no love was more traumatised about sex on that moment. And in need of simple honest not overly sexual intimacy. It would actually take years of very slowly growing in intimacy before I would even be ready for sex and by that time I’d be ready to get married too.

By the way, there is something really problematic about all the weirdness this kind of movements does attach to the Christian ideas about sex and marriage. There is something dangerous about a good idea or a truth being hijacked by people who exaggerate in preaching it, and lump it together with nonsense and worse… It might work as a really good vaccination to ever believe it again. Those preached to who are first convinced but later see that the ballast is nonsense will most likely throw away the child with the bathwater… (an example of that here)
See also Ken Ham and his weird form of young earth creationism as litmus test for Christianity…

But let’s close with what I think is important about true love: it loves! And loving is not about not doing things, but about doing things. Apophatic theology (saying things about God by saying what He is not) can be an interesting way to communicate truth about God, but not doing certain things is not the essence of any form of love, and if it is you’re distracted from the real thing…

peace

Bram

* There was something sarcastic in that name, mainly the ‘irrestistible’ part… I’ve been single and eh, extremely celibate until I was 22 or so.

** Nothing racist about that. Other cultures always have things that are found to be nonsense and irrelevant by outsiders. But I do think I can indeed say that ‘too American’ is a valid reason for a lot of Europeans to  dismiss something…

Bram Cools : ‘Noisetrade essential songs sampler’ now available for free download!


The list of ‘essential Bram Cools songs for dummies‘ that I’ve posted a while ago is now available for free download (unless you want to pay, that’s possible too) on noisetrade:

You can listen and get Noisetrade sampler 2it here

Tracklist for the ‘Bram Cools Noistrade essential songs’ sampler:

    1. Coca cola
    2. Father I’m tired
    3. Unfair competition
    4. Qualities
    5. Key
    6. Doos vol cornflakes
    7. I’m not flirting
    8. Praise the Lord
    9. Nettle fields
    10. Consumer’s delight
    11. Albatross (indie-folk mix)
    12. The chosen one
    13. My old name (original tape mix)

(And yes, the artwork is loosely based on the first verse of the first song, but those were aliens that did come over to paint circles (and more) in the fields, not just to drink coca-cola)

enjoy

Bram

2 new Bram Cools songs


I haven’t been playing music for ages it seems, which has something to do with a small baby and stuff like that. But listening to old recordings I decided it is time to finish a lot of almost-finished and half-finished songs before making new ones… Which led to the bandcamp release of 2 songs I’ve been working on since forever… They’re not my usual style (if such a thing exists) so I just bundled them into a two-song single.

The first song is some dark metal-without-the-metal thingy about the way in wich images of women are used in our digital country. The second one is an electronic rock tune about a failed postmodern savior. At one moment I thought about including those 2 songs in my cyberluddism album, but they didn’t fit…

Both songs can be listened and downloaded here on my bandcamp.

BYTEtext

byte of my byte, pixel of my pixel

softly spoken to my eyes
images of naked flesh they tell intimate lies
how could I want her if she’s not mine
how could I want her If she doesn’t even exist
how could I want her

and this game will always go on
in this world Venus is just a slave of Mammon
how do I fight against those evil gods
oh lust in the eye only also is adultery yes it is

softly spoken these intimate lies
could I just not turn away my eyes
why should I look at her if she’s not mine
why should I look at her if she doesn’t even exist
why should I look

and this game will always go on
in this world Venus is just a slave of Mammon
how do I fight against those evil gods
oh lust in the eye only also is adultery it is
oh beautiful re-creation oh sweet deception
byte of my byte and pixel of my pixel

The chosen one

Am I the chosen one
who’s gonna save the world
am I the chosen one
from the ancient prophecy
they all told me that I was the one
they all believe will deliver
they all see something that I’m not
And I’m here face to face with evil

I’m just a pointless stupid postmodern guy
on opium for the people I’ve always been so high
distraction much more pointless than the most deformed religion
I’ve wasted my whole life and now I’m ready for nothing
the great nothing

I’m not chosen one
that was gonna save the world
I was not the chosen one
from their stupid prophecy
they still think  that I was the one to save them from evil
they still believe that I will deliver the way their fairy tales told them
but here I’m being  torn into pieces
it wasn’t me they needed to fight this evil

I was just a pointless stupid postmodern idiot
I didn’t learn a thing, I cannot use their stupid magical sword
and now the world must end, and evil will take over forever
I’ve wasted the world  I wasn’t ready for nothing

should I’ve been the chosen one
that could’ve saved the world

enjoy

Bram

“Father I feel”, or cyndi McCoy playing “Father I’m tired”


When you make songs you also create the possibility for people to play them themselves and do their own thing with it. This is a beautiful rendition of “Father I’m tired” by Cyndi McCoy:

Enjoy!

Bram

‘Sketches for a liturgy’ available again!


And now some news from the Bram Cools music front. For those who don’t know, I do make music, but not everyone is going to like it since it’s a bit rough and weird sometimes… (Listen to an older compilation called ‘I am the Belgian Christian lo-fi scene’ for example to get an idea…)

Years ago, in 2007, I took the RPM challenge, and recorded an album in a month (februari even, the shortest)! It don’t think it’ll ever reach the top-40 though (none of my music ever will I’m afraid…) since it was a weird, raw, lo-fi and not very professional concept album loosely based on the classical liturgies. It had all kind of weird musical styles, and was sung in a lot of different languages (Dutch, English, Latin, Greek, 2 words of Hebrew and one word of French) There was an electronic repetitive Kyrië, an avant-hop psalm of praise (in 5/8 meter), a lo-fi folk self-written creed, etc…

I made some home-‘pressed’ CD-R’s’ at the time, but they have been ‘out of print’ since forever, and the music has been unavailable for quite some years now… I never even dared to listen to it because I was afraid that I’d hate it for being rcorded too hastily, and since I lost the tracks in a computer crash, I’d never been able to rework them again either.

Listening again years later I don’t find it that bad, so I decided to make it available again, with some songs slightly remastered.

And the re-release is… Tararara…

NOW!

From now on it can be downloaded via the ‘Gloria in Te Domine‘ bandcamp site, where I want to share my more ‘religious’-minded music (like worship, praise, gospel, meditative and liturgical stuff, if I’d ever be able to play such stuff….) You can get it for free or choose to pay for it if you like… And if you like soundcloud more, you can also find it here.

Tracklist for Bram Cools – sketches for a liturgy:

13. Amen
So you can all download the album in the format you like for free or for the price you like …. If you want to use them and need chords or lyrics or so, please contact me…
Anyone who likes any of the songs?
shalom
Bram

Bram Cools Classic song: Father I’m tired


And now for something completely different, one of my own songs. Someone told me today that she likes the song, and it’s been stuck in my head ever since. Like most of my songs it’s weird, and this one could be described as a lo-fi psalm with noise orchestra and a choir of clones of myself (long live multitrack!)…

Yes I know it’s not a ‘real’ video, and I also know I’ll never get rich and popular making this kind of music, but I do like it myself, and I play it for the few people who so like it… And this is one of the songs that some people find really good (which surprises me), while others hate it (which doesn’t. Those people of the second category can just listen to something else [no, you won't be rickrolled by clicking, but it might be worse] and skip this post and everything about my music, or just read teh lyrics and pray them or sing them to gregorian melodies or the tune of the latest Matt Redman hit…

Father I’m tired (Bram Cools)

Father I am tired (Father I am tired)
Father l feel empty (Father I feel empty)
Father I feel lost (Father I feel lost)
help me to focus on you (help me to focus)
help me to focus on you (help me to focus)
help me to focus on you (help me to focus)

I’ve been distracted
the emptiness calls to me
I’ve fallen asleep
in the centre of Babylon

fill me up with your spirit
fill me up with your love
fill me up with your life

unconditional love
compared to this love
this whole world is so small
i t could dissolve in a cup of coffee
how can l be distracted
how can I be distracted
how can I be distracted

(This song is on the ‘I am the Belgian Christian lo-fi scene‘ best of compilation, which can be downloaded @ Bandcamp, for free if you like!)

shalom

Bram