The Casualties of Modernity

The 20th century left many things wounded or dead in its wake. A shattered Greek vase, a vandalized Madonna and child, a fractured statue of the Buddha. All things that once meant much to humanity, but were abused and tossed out as delusion by modernity. Instead, in their place, reason, science and statistics were elevated to the status of supreme deity, with the expectation they will eventually understand all and give salvation from the hard stony truths of mortality. Since Darwin and his purely materialistic creation myth, humanity has lost any sense of Spirit, and its fundamental duality with matter. The proper domain of reason and science is the objective world of matter, where things can be quantified, experiments conducted, and reason used to solve problems. The subjective realm of spirit, however, lies beyond scientific inquiry, and is qualitative, and best understood through poetry, myth, music and art in a figurative or allegorical fashion.

I for one am sick of the bleak, meaningless old tale told by modernity, which has left many people terribly neurotic and despairing, particularly as they face aging and death. There has been no experiment that ruled out a higher power and the afterlife,  as these things remain mysteries, and outside the realm of science. The imbalance of the modern reliance on the left hemisphere exclusively perhaps should now be reconciled with the qualities of the right hemisphere, such as intuition, feelings, emotion and a sense of spirit that pervades nature. Indeed, a reintegration of nature, art and spirituality with the technological tools modernity has given us may be one of the great imperatives of the coming century.

Man’s Favorite Tool

Reason has always been one of man’s greatest tools. With the long march of modernity from the Enlightenment to the 21st century logic and science has firmly established the mechanical and mathematical nature of matter and the objective world. With this knowledge the engineers have dazzled us for over a century with their mechanical and electronic wizardry, from trains and automobiles to computers and the internet.

Like any tool, however, reason and math can be used for both good or evil ends depending on the intention of its user. It could be used, for example, to produce vaccinations against deadly diseases and enhance creativity with computer software, or alternatively industrialize the workplace to maximize profits for a few, and devise more efficient ways of killing people, such as concentration camps and smart bombs. Indeed, computers are an extension of man’s reason, and can perform algorithmic tasks determined by the left hemisphere, and represent man’s latest and greatest tool, but also carry the danger of misuse. 

Staying exclusively in the left hemisphere world can lead to problems however. It is logic and reason that idealizes with its images of perfection, and while this improves things sometimes, it can also lead to dissatisfaction with the real, and purging of all that is deemed as an imperfection. In a strictly logical approach there can also be sleights of hand that draw logical, but misleading, conclusions such as post-structuralism and arguments for atheism. Furthermore, the left hemisphere’s desire to categorize with binary classifications can lead to the dismissal and stereotyping of people and things by not accommodating their inherent complexity.

The solution is to ground out our logic with the right hemisphere, which appreciates things as a whole, and can contain dualities and complexities missed by a strictly left hemisphere approach. This is avoided by many people, however, because unlike the left brain, the right cannot be wielded like a tool by the ego, and presents what it wants, when it wants, much like our senses. Indeed, patience and acceptance are needed to reap the right brain’s benefits, including acknowledging that even our own minds are not completely under our control. The mystery religions of the past and Zen Buddhism stress the importance of having such an experience that transcends  reason and leads to wisdom and a better appreciation of reality.

Review of Crime of Passion

The latest album from Canadian singer/songwriter Paul Kloschinsky, Crime of Passion, continues burnishing his reputation as one of the finest singer/songwriter talents working in today’s indie scene. He’s a poet and recognized photographer who brings both a literary and cinematic aspect to the songwriting that’s welcome and artfully included. Kloschinsky sports a number of influences, but they are clearly filtered through his own personality; he has a traditional aura, but there’s a thoroughly modern slant to his writing that never leaves his music spinning in some sort of cultural backwater. Crime of Passion is an eight song release with a number of tracks demonstrating his willingness to stretch out both as a musician, songwriter, and vocalist. There’s excellent balance on the album, however, and a number of the songs are focused and aim at appealing to the broadest of all possible audiences.

he jangling acoustic churn of “I’m Still Waiting” doggedly embodies the same wanting Kloschinsky depicts in the lyrics. There’s a slightly ominous edge to the guitar figure, but it’s nothing that Kloschinsky pushes too hard on the audience and his facility with the instrument is obvious. There are some light string touches and stripped back drumming further fleshing things out, but the center of the song is his voice, tempered with some echo, but still every bit as hard charging as the arrangement. The title song takes a much more gradual pace and trods, perhaps, more familiar lyrical ground than the opener but it’s still a finely tuned track that makes great use of its language and strikes just the right musical note. “I Believe” has an exuberant pop bounce with some understated horns and lyrical content that, despite being constructed around a central phrase, branches off into a number of interesting directions.

The album’s second longest song “House Up on the Hill” is, arguably, Kloschinsky’s finest moment on Crime of Passion. The meandering near-country folk vibe is joined by a recurring woodwind touch bringing an added lonesome quality to the song that makes for a good match with Kloschinsky’s voice. The narrative qualities of the lyric are quite strong. “A Poignant Point in Time” seems to share many similarities with earlier songs, but there’s a surprising rock spirit discerning listeners might hear lurking just beneath the vocal. It’s also the album’s shortest track yet sounds complete and remarkably fuller than its sub three minute running time might indicate. The finale “Gates of Heaven” runs a little longer than the aforementioned “House Up on the Hill”. It begins with an ornate but evocation organ introduction before segueing into another striking Kloschinsky guitar figure. It has a steady mid tempo pace and some sharply observed lyrics that explicate as much as they obscure. It is an truly impressive and weighty curtain for Paul Kloschinsky’s finest song collection yet. It has a decidedly low key, restrained vibe – but bristles with intelligence and musicality impossible to deny. Crime of Passion will draw in anyone who appreciates sharp and thoughtful artistry.


Jason Hillenburg

Reviews of “Nobody Knows”

Indie Music Reviews

Award winning Canadian songwriter Paul Kloschinsky has established a much deserved reputation as a formidable talent, but his latest full length release Nobody Knows likely pushes him onto a much brighter stage than before. Rarely are albums so unified and, yet, so difficult to pin down stylistically. Kloschinsky maintains a strong uniformity of mood and atmosphere while displaying all the characteristics of a musical chameleon, seamlessly alternating between various strains of genre without the seams ever showing. This fleet-footed facility places his work in a rare class. Kloschinsky’s recording has a distinctly low-fi ambiance, but it enhances the intimacy of the release. The ten song collection sounds like songs written in the wee hours when bleariness skews our perceptions in attention-catching, imaginative ways.

“Fallin’ for You” provides an excellent primer on Klonschinsky’s style for any novice and an affirmation for those familiar with his earlier albums. Klonschinsky is a well-rounded songwriter, but there’s a distinctly cinematic or narrative-based quality to much of his work “Fallin’ for You” embodies through its wealth of specific detail and the undeniable voice informing its narration. There’s a strident pop rock element present in the guitar playing. Things are much more tempered on the album’s title track than the opener, but the same atmospherics pervade despite being employed to different ends. The more meditative mood means a different use of energy, not less of it. Placing the album’s title track so near its opening curtain denotes a certain confidence  “Do You Remember?” has an understated mournful swing underscored by the slowly unfolding violin lines laced through the arrangement. Kloschinsky takes an equally deliberate approach and his careful reading of the lyrical

“I Long For You” covers familiar territory in popular song and Kloschinsky lifts the muscular drumming straight from his rock and pop influences, but there’s an insistent acoustic pulse and attentiveness to melody throughout the song distinguishing it from run of the mill folk rock efforts. “Ravish Me” has some of the same insistent rock energy heard in earlier song, but its an even leaner aesthetic powering this song. Kloschinsky focuses on melody as much as ever and the effort rewards listeners with another memorable entry. “Sing for the Silence” is one of the more interesting tracks on Nobody Knows thanks to its subtle, yet exotic, musical turns and the droning emotiveness in Kloschinsky’s voice. Vibrant harmonica turns the album’s penultimate number, “Tell Everybody”, into a breezy pop folk rocker light on its feet and bubbling with assertive charm. Nobody Knows ends with “Xmas Time Is Near”, the album’s shortest tune by far. The amped up shuffle gains added color, like much of the material here, from the inclusion of violin.

Paul Kloschinsky has released a handful of albums reaffirming the fundamental strengths of melodic and emotionally direct songwriting. He takes things a step further with his strong sense for the visual and powerful storytelling gifts. The supreme achievement of the album, however, is Kloschinsky’s ability for bringing those elements together in a completely realized musical package. Nobody Knows is his finest work yet.

9 out of 10 stars.

Jason Hillenburg

Paul Kloschinsky, like many of our finest talents, has largely worked off the radar as one of the best songwriters in the indie scene, but recognition is increasingly forthcoming. The laudatory critical notices continue piling up, awards are handed out, and Kloschinsky’s long pull away from the rest of the pack is closer to reality than ever with his latest release. The ten song collection Nobody Knows is anchored by some tried and true musical elements, for instance acoustic guitar and violin, but Kloschinsky’s songwriting vision extends far beyond unoriginal recreations of traditional music. He brings a number of influences to bear on the songwriting and incorporates them all into his songs with a steady, confident hand.

Some might quibble with the presentation. The album’s sound has a muted, funereal quality, but while Kloschinsky’s DIY realities demand certain concessions, there’s not a single production decision affecting the material in an averse fashion. If anything, the muted sonics give the material unintentional atmospherics it might otherwise lack. The title song is an ideal example. It is a meditative effort, but there’s a mood of artful restraint surrounding the song. Kloschinsky sings like a man who knows more than he’s letting on. “Do You Remember?” has a much more studied, openly sensitive air. Kloschinsky’s musical skill set means he understands the ideal marriage between arrangement, melody, and lyrical content. The added bonus, however, is that Kloschinsky understands how to finish it all off with his thoughtful delivery. “I Long For You” is one of the album’s more direct songs and his condensed, tightly packed intimacy drives much of its effectiveness. Songs like this flirt with commercial influences without ever pandering for attention in any significant way.

Kloschinsky spends much of his songwriting energy exploring connections to experience through his songwriting, particularly romantic entanglements, and the bluntly entitled “Ravish Me” covers much more ground than typical songs of its type. “Sing for the Silence” is certainly one of the album’s more unusual moment, practically a quasi-psychedelic acoustic turn with dreamy, elongated vocal melodies and an accompanying arrangement that achieves its effects through accumulation rather than any outright hook. “Can’t Forget About You”, however, practically demands a full fledged rock arrangement. The acoustic drive of the song has remarkable stridency for the relatively laid back nature of this album and its steady rise will prove an exhilarating listen for many. “Tell Everybody” has a vague Dylan vibe, but Kloschinsky never overplays his hand and lapses into outright mimicry. The album closes with the pleasingly layered “Xmas Time Is Near” which manages to honor the holiday it celebrates while moving listeners in a far deeper, more surprising fashion.

Nobody Knows continues a string of first class releases from Paul Kloschinsky and rates as his most sustained effort yet. His efforts are accessible, yet readily surrender perhaps surprising depths to listeners willing to travel with him. This is traditional music filtered through the prism of an unique personality and certain to leave a lingering positive impression on any astute listeners.

9 out of 10 stars.

Lydia Hillenburg

Carlitos Music Blog

Paul Kloschinsky’s career spans five albums and the latest, Nobody Knows, brings together many of the same elements distinguishing his earlier releases. Thoughtful songwriting, solid structures, sharp instrumental talents, and a frequent emphasis on melody helped set his work apart from many contemporaries and those strengths abide on Nobody Knows. The album’s songwriting spirit, however, takes some unexpected turns along the way and they enliven an already sturdy work with a sense of daring and anything is possible desperately lacking, usually, in such releases. Kloschinsky is never a paint by numbers performer or songwriter. Even his DIY method of recording brings an unusual veneer to the work and helps weave added atmospherics where otherwise none might have existed. Kloschinsky turns everything to his uses on Nobody Knows and the result is an impressive ten song collection.

He kicks the album off nicely. “Fallin’ For You” doesn’t tackle any new subject matter for popular song, but Kloschinsky pours old wine into new bottles with more than a little style and facility. He keeps his guitar playing practical and quite direct – there’s no virtuoso trips on a Paul Kloschinsky album and not a single gratuitous note to be found. The same economical artistic vision helps shape the title song into one of the album’s marquee numbers. It’s one of the album’s best examples of understatement while still carrying a discernible personal flourish that sets it far apart from similar efforts in this vein. Klonschinsky often shows a wise and knowing sense of life’s absurdities that eludes music’s more literal minded songwriters. The slow swirl of strings and light percussion married with Kloschinsky’s acoustic guitar molds “Do You Remember?” into one of the album’s finest moments. The melancholy melody never overtaxes listeners with over-familiarity and lulls you in from its opening notes.

“Ravish Me” sprints out of the gate with a sprightly bounce that’s equal parts pop confection and even hints of commercial alt-rock bleeding through. There’s little question that, if he so desired, many of Kloschinsky’s songs could find new life as rock tracks and “Ravish Me” is no exception. He has a sharp ear for melody that never lets him down. “Can’t Forget About You” has a ton of propulsive energy and never relents from the first bar onward. Kloschinsky delivers an appropriately laconic vocal, but he’s attentive enough to varying his phrasing at key points for more effect. “Until You Said Goodbye” affords Kloschinsky a final opportunity to indulge his love for orchestral influenced pop music. The results are much more mixed than earlier efforts thanks to any uneasy union between the vocal delivery and lush backing track, but the song is far from irredeemable. Instead, it feels unfinished somehow, tantalizingly close to its fullest realization, but still falling just a little short of its potential. “Tell Everybody” is a nice late addition to the album thanks to its brisk pace and jaunty musical voice.

Artists like Paul Kloschinsky and his songwriting sensibility is increasingly rare in these fragmented times. However, these lonely voices are still wandering the wilderness, spreading their songs, and investing their time and heart into a tradition long predating them and sure to survive them. Paul Kloschinsky is a proud member of that tradition. His songs on Nobody Knows, like the four albums preceding it, are well worth your time and money. 

9 out of 10 stars.

Bradley Johnson

The Journal of Roots Music – No Depression

The fifth recording from Canadian songwriter Paul Kloschinsky, Nobody Knows, is a full length release well poised to capitalize on the growing critical notice he’s received for his most recent efforts. The ten songs on his new album reaffirm his constant strengths, center on his abiding virtues, and lunge free of his comfort zone is often surprisingly frequent ways. Kloschinsky doesn’t have a virtuosic voice, but his instrument has surprising versatility that allows him to convey his own songwriting for a potentially wide spread audience. There’s an understated rock and roll spirit imbuing what can otherwise be justly labeled an artsy folk album and some of the songs could certainly substitute their acoustic guitars for Fender Telecasters with little rearranging. Like all of the best songwriting, Kloschinsky’s creations are elastic and breathe. Nobody Knows, as a whole, is an important work.

It opens with the sharply paced “Fallin’ for You”. Kloschinsky certainly has thematic ground he likes to frequently cover, most often relationships between people, but he equally favors the brisker side of arranging. The opener maintains an impressive pace and scarcely gives the listener a moment to breathe. “I Long For You” is, arguably, the album’s best example of a high grand style Kloschinsky adopts on a handful of tracks trying to meld the sonic values of classical music with his stripped down acoustic arrangements. The experiment is not wholly successful, but “I Long For You” likely represents the high water mark of his attempt. Much of his songwriting efforts are confined to melodically strong but traditional fare like “Ravish Me”, but even these relatively upbeat songs embody the aforementioned idea that, with few changes at all, these tracks could work as quite impressive rock songs.

One instance of Kloschinsky busting out of self-constructed boxes is “Sing for the Silence” and his songwriting sounds quite convincing in its attempt to bring his soft-pedaled acoustic textures into accord with more exotic Indian flavored fare. “Until You Said Goodbye” is a final stab at another genre hybrid, bringing together classical instrumentation with his folk song roots and the result is quite pleasing. Kloschinsky delivers a fine, understated vocal. “Tell Everybody” seems to take a nod in the direction of songwriters like Dylan and Petty, perhaps with a dash of John Prine thrown in, but Kloschinsky’s point of view is his own and the melodic virtues of the song have no clear antecedent. The album’s finale, “Xmas Time Is Near”, surely rates as one of the album’s more thoughtful songs and a wholly appropriate closer.

Paul Kloschinsky’s upward trajectory continues. His songwriting covers all of the expected bases, but it’s heartening to hear someone so in command of their powers be so willing to reach beyond them and try to expand their frame of musical reference. His efforts at blending different styles on Nobody Knows are what gives it much of its merit and character. There isn’t any filler to be found among its ten songs and the album’s appeal grows with repeated listening.

Paul Kloschinsky – Nobody Knows

9 out of 10 stars.    

Cyrus Rhodes

The New Saviour

As conventional religion has stopped meeting most peoples needs as a way to deal with the mystery and mortality of life in the past century, these needs have been nonetheless met by a new, albeit implicit, source. It seems that the new supreme deity is now science, with its promises of salvation with its statistical studies and inferences, which are treated like holy scripture, and are supposed to point the way to a longer, healthier, happier life. It is also to science people turn to explain the mysteries of life, and some think it has solved the fundamental questions. Indeed, science’s Darwinian creation myth is considered fact beyond question, and a bleak, material, random universe is the only explanation allowed in most serious, academic circles.

Perhaps in this new century its time to stand back and take a philosophical approach to reason, science and statistics, and identify their strengths and weaknesses in the search for truth. I feel they are good at dissecting and determining the mechanics of the material world, or matter, but in terms of the subjective, spiritual realm and life’s most profound questions they fall terribly short. Its still to the great spiritual teachers and philosophers that one should turn for the answers to the great mysteries, and how to have the good, long life, and deal with the inevitable mortality of us all. It is time to put our faith and hope for salvation back where it belongs, and not give it all to the damn scientists.

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Non Religious Faith

Like a lot of people these days, organized religion doesn’t do it for me, with its rigid rituals and dogmatic positions. Since reading Nietzsche as an undergrad, I have thought like him that Christianity and morality are problematic. I interpreted his statement that “God is Dead” to mean the Christian God was no longer going to meet the needs of most people in the 20th century, but as to the actual existence of a higher power, Nietzsche was just a mortal like the rest of us, and the answer is still shrouded in mystery. Along with karmic justice and an afterlife, these three beliefs form the basis of my faith, and have not been ruled out by science.

As I enter the second half of my life, and can see the brevity of our time here, and have lost some loved ones I had in my youth, I don’t know how you deal with these tragedies without believing in something. The solace that we will see our loved ones again, and that all our effort to learn, love and grow will not be ultimately meaningless and just reduced to dust, and that the end is something to look forward to, provide a meaning to our pilgrim’s journey here that science, math and statistics can never give.

Unlike organized religion, I believe the diety to be non-denominational, and not just for some sect you were fortunate enough to be born into, and to be accessible to anyone with an open heart, and that have the courage in this science obsessed society to dare to believe. The alternative is just the random, chaotic, meaningless existence that science proposes and which provides little comfort as we inevitably pass through the life cycle with its certainties of aging and death. The beauty and mysteries of nature and the universe suggest an architect to me, and therefore a purpose to our lives beyond the random and absurd.

If these thoughts appeal to you may I suggest you check out my other newsletters on this site.

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Thanks for your support of my music,

In song and in spirit,

Paul Kloschinsky

Heart Over Head

It seems the head reigns supreme these days. The long march of reason, and its offspring science, from the days of Socrates and Plato through the Renaissance and Enlightenment to the present day has put forth rational argument and empiricism as the pinnacle of methods in the search for truth. Man’s left hemisphere or reason not only guides our approach to understanding ourselves and the natural world, but can also generate an ideological system of rules and idealistic version of perfection that condemns parts of humanity that could be accepted as part of our imperfect glory and natural instincts. Indeed, our human, all to human disposition is denied by these moral systems, and like a harsh light, produce the deepest, darkest shadows, that eventually emerge in the horror of the return of the repressed.


In contrast to such moral dogma, our conduct could instead be governed by the human heart, with its capabilities for love, compassion and empathy. The soft light of tolerance produces the smallest shadow, and counteracts the labyrinth of mind produced when people condemn themselves for being merely human, and deny some of the fundamentals of human nature. Our desires and reward centres need to be gratified somehow, whether with the regular vices, or if denied, can emerge later in much more destructive forms.


For me the human heart, or ethics, always reigns supreme and trumps the arguments of the human head, or morality. I find this leads to a kinder and more accepting attitude to both myself and the others in my life.


Paul Kloschinsky