Tag Archives: CCM

‘Contemporary Christian Muzak 2004​-​2007’ is finally here!


It might be 8 years too late, but here it is: Bram Cools presents ‘Contemporary Christian Muzak’ (2004-2007) is finally available as an album. (digital download only now, but if there is demand a CD-R edition might be produced too!)

So what is ‘Contemporary Christian Muzak’? It is not at all elevator music composed for use in megachurces as the name might suggest, but rather a weird lo-fi/indie project from Bram Cools with spiritually-minded songs for all audiences. The songs here are from the time when it had its live incarnation in the ‘Contemporary Christian Muzak’ collective (2004-2007). Since the band itself has not been recorded the versions here are the original demo-versions with Bram going in extreme multitrack mode sometimes, playing a whole noise-orchestra all by himself!

Weird things are going on indeed on this album. The opener ‘St-John opens’ will probably scare some people away already with its free-form impro, but don’t worry: the rest of the album will mostly contain actual songs and not just freaky soundscapes… The second song and  Bram Cools classic ‘father I am tired’ for example shows some of what can be expected: Bram in excessive multitrack with a lot of instruments, vocals and noise, and a psalm-like cry for help in this dark world. Throughout the rest of the songs we find a musical universe that is far from mainstream and will never be commercial, with very diverse arrangements, compositions to express the spiritual struggle and the search for a life centred on Love.

So give it a listen and if you like it you can download it free or at a chosen price, and share with people who might enjoy it.

peace

Bram

(And thank you for clicking!)

PS: Find more Bram Cools music for download at bandcamp.com. (All music is currently ‘choose your price’)

Traclist:

1. St-John opens 01:49
2. Father I’m tired 03:40
3. Elvis has left the building 05:10
4. Qualities 05:06
5. dead end streets 03:19
6. stones cry out 04:17
7. last words to the first Church 03:28
8. Feelings say nothing 05:22
9. the hippie song 04:40
10. Without You I’m nothing 03:46
11. not a tame lion 03:55
12. Yeshua 03:07

Bram Cools music electronic re-release: CCM II: psalms and prayers in lo-fi


(This is an update about the strange music of Bram Cools) Years ago I had a band called the Contemporary Christian Muzak collective (or CCMC). We tried to play some kind of experimental Christian music that did both try to connect to God and make some interesting sounds that hadn’t been used 100 times before already. Most of it was some kind of rough folky indierock, although we had some very weird free-from noise and experimental impro-parts as well… We only did a few concerts but we did have a lot of fun, and I really miss those days! But time passes and things change, and the bandmembers had families and other bands and other stuff going on, so it all sort of fell apart. We never did any studio-recordings as a band, and no real CD-worthy live recordings have been made. So all that’s left is my own home-recorded multitrack-versions with mostly myself on a lot of instruments. (And Bram Beels on didgeridoo sometimes) I still need to finish some of those songs, but the plan is still to have all the CCM songs available one day. But because that day will not be tomorrow, I will make some of that music available in another way:

So today we announce the bandcamp re-release of:

CCM II – psalms and prayers in lo-fi CCMIItracklist: 1. onzevader (intro) 02:30 2. dead end streets 03:17 3. the hippie song 04:28 4. not a tame lion (MiniDisk version) 03:46 5. Elvis has left the building (lo-fi mix) 03:59 6. Father I am tired (MiniDisk version) 02:38 7. stones cry out 04:13 8. last words to the first church (lo-fi mix) 03:52 9. Yeshua (MiniDisk mix) 04:28 10. qualities 05:47 11. feelings say nothing (reduction mix) 06:22 12. dood aan de graankorrel* 03:13 (* originally a hidden bonus track)

It’s very rare Bram Cools demo CD-R (on 15 copies originally) that was available only on one concert of the CCM (Contemporary Christian Muzak) collective in 2006. (Which was actually the last time we played under that name if I remember well) It does contain some classics in standard versions, and other songs in completely different incarnations, but it has most of the songs that we did play live with CCMC in one version or another. Some of those were recorded solo on MiniDisk, others were arranged very sketchily in primitive lo-fi manner…

Find more Bram Cools music for download at bandcamp.com. Or check out this older overview here on this blog.

(All music is currently ‘choose your price’) enjoy (if you’re into that kind of music…)

peace

Bram

Christian music as a genre?


Michael Gungor, the guy who wrote the instant hit ‘God is not a white man‘, has written a very interesting blog post about the genre of christian music, a topic I am planning to also write about in the near future.

The 2 problems he sees with the ‘Christian music’ category’ are very interesting:

First there is the issue of discrimination.  If a record store had a “gay music” section, people would be infuriated.  Why?  Because it’s discriminatory.  To relegate someone’s art to a small subculture of sub-art simply because that person is gay is wrong.  It hurts that artist.  It hurts all of us.  I think it’s the same with Christian music.  There are plenty of us who are Christian artists who have no desire to simply stay within some CCM ghetto around people that all think the same about everything.  There are plenty of us who are open minded to the thoughts and opinions of others who would love to enter the conversation of our culture not as a superior, bigoted judge of the rest of the world, but as a fellow human being who also has opinions and thoughts about the world that we live in that we love to express through music.

Being placed in the Christian section is the musical equivalent of a pizza company being forced by somebody to call their pizza place “Pete’s Christian Pizza” even if they’d rather not.  Can you see how forcing a business person to label their business a Christian business just because they are a Christian would be discriminatory?  It is the same thing forcing a musician who simply wants to make beautiful and honest music into the Christian category of music.  You might as well paint a scarlet letter across our chests.

Secondly, I think that this categorization hurts the art.  Because this category exists, it comes with baggage.  Imagine if you were a Republican, and you really believed Republican values, but you found out that if you wanted to make a record that it would be placed in the small Republican Music section in the back of the store.  That might effect how you make the music…  If you are going to make a “Republican record” as opposed to simply making a record as a Republican, it would probably effect the art.  In fact, it might have a tendency to overtake the art and turn it into Republican propaganda.  The music becomes secondary to the message, which means the music is probably going to suck.  You can only rhyme “Limbaugh” with so many things after all… (more here)

Michael is right on in my opinion. What do you all think? If we’d be consequent and put music in categories of content, we’d have a ‘hate and violence’ section with a lot of rap and some metal, and an ’empty oversexed nonsense’ with a lot of top 40 R&B and pop. Now that would be interesting 😉

And the next song (a 2001 hit from the dutch symphonic metalband within temptation) would be definitely in a  ‘pagan gaia worship’ corner of the record store… I’ve always found that the whole CD sounded a lot like a Christian album but then  from another religion, and that’s not really a compliment I’m affraid.

stay (un)tuned, I hope I’ll get back at this topic soon…

Bram

Bram Cools – I am the Belgian Christian lo-fi scene!


cover
Edit: I am the Belgian christian lo-fi scene can be downloaded lossless @ bandcamp. Be sure to check out the other music too….
 
For those who may be interested: a new compilation (on CD-R) is available with an overview of the music I’ve been making over the years? The CD can be obtained from for me (free gift), and can also be listened to and downloaded at last.fm.
For those not familiar with my music, I’m not gonna describe it in detail, that won’t work and you better just listen if you’re interested. It’s situated somewhere in the direction of indie and lo-fi, with mostly a lot of folk in it, sometimes somewhat psychedelic, or even plainly experimental… Only for the specialists maybe….As the title may insinuate, the music consists of lo-fi homerecordings, and the influence of my faith on my music cannot be denied. But don’t expect anything like CCM or Christian rock. It isn’t exactly hillsong or stryper…

tracklist

1. Repetitivus primitivus
2. Father I’m tired
3. Qualities
4. [MDinterlude]
5. I’m not flirting
6. unfair competition
7. you (short version)
8. key
9. coca cola
10. cumulonimbus ex machina pt I
11. don’t kiss me
12. feelings say nothing
13. planet
14. doos vol cornflakes
15. Kyrië
16. draackendooder dansch
17. dood aan de graankorrel
18. my old name (original tape mix)
19. cumulonimbus ex machina ptv II
20. agnus dei (industrio)

shalom

Bram

my first band


Once I had the inspiration to put a band together to play some of my songs.  We were called the contemporary Christian muzak collective, and my songs did never sound better live than with those guys… It was soms kind of lo-fi/indie/worship-noise style of music that is not easy to label. and now the first show ever (startforum festival 2005) is on youtube. Sorry for the bad quality.

the musicians:

Bram Cools: vocals, Guitar

Bram Beels: didgeridoo, vocals

Micha Milants: drums, vocals, harmonica

Dirk Banken: percussio, melodica, vocals, guitar

Nick Lauwerijssen: keys, vocals

check it out:

It’s a pity the last song is incomplete. It was so psychedelic…

I miss those days… thanks to Karel aerts for the recording!

shalom

Bram

Derek Webb’s controversy


So I’ve been listening to the supposed ‘controversial’ new Derek Webb single ‘What matters more’. And I was totally shocked… Check it for yourself:

YEs I am really shocked when I heard that song! Really, does he really mean that??? What an awful stupid way to ruin a great song with such a terrible arrangement… sorry Derek, the electronics don’t work for me… sounds to cheap to me, or too empty, don’t know, and it ruins the beauty of the voice. But maybe that’s just me…

Now about the controversy… what’s that about? I don’t understand the whole shit-thing. Maybe a cultural issue, but why even bother about such a word? Americans are really weird people… Remember, all you americans: We in this part of the world have learned to use the S- and the F-word from your great culture… We use them all the time, and no-one gives a bleep… It all is so inconsistent to us. why would anyone be offended by a word that just means poop?

It’s a weird cultural issue. No, a subcultural one really, from some weird conservative kind of ghetto… Frankly, I way am more shocked by this kind of sensitivities than I could ever be by the lyrics of this particular song…

But then again, the Christian music industry is just weird…

The weird thing is some people just are reacting against the use of that one word, and then they don’t even listen to the message. Which is something that should be heard I affraid… But maybe I shouldn’t go in that discussion and just qoute Brian McLaren’s response when asked about gay marriage: ‘You know what, the thing that breaks my heart is that there’s no way I can answer it without hurting someone on either side.’

Gays are not the enemy, hate is.
satan is.
pride is.
and stuff like judgementalism and legalism and farrizeism…

Oh and check out my little song I made with some Shane claiborne samples… (Hope he doesn’t mind…): can’t find a home

shalom

Bram