Listening to an album called Monastic Love Songs might not be what you feel like doing right now. On the other hand, given that most of us have been living a much more solitary, reflective life than we've been used to over the last fifteen months or so, it might be something worth giving a try.
This is the name of a new album from David John Morris and appropriately it chronicles just this experience. Morris gave up his guitar, drugs, sex and alcohol to spend nine months in Nova Scotia's Gampo Abbey. This is the resulting document. Not surprisingly it's a deeply reflective one.
Grounded on the sparse, basic acoustic bedrock that the likes of Neil Young, John Martyn and Nick Drake favoured, Morris is much more flamboyant lyrically and vocally. Favouring the kind of flourishes the likes of Donovan, Roy Harper and Al Stewart were known for, this will not be for everyone, and could be dismissed as mannered although it is clearly a genuine and ambitious attempt to convey the experience he underwent.
I liked it for the most part, though its ongoing and continual dialogue with elements of the Hippie Love and Peace discourse means it's probably not an album that will feature highly on my playlist over the coming weeks. Nevertheless, those more prone than I am to this kind of stuff should find much to enjoy here.