Tuesday, 31 March 2009

currently distracted by...

Jar of fools by jason lutes. Story about a conjuror on the verge of a breakdown, his senile mentor, estranged girlfriend and the homeless father and daughter con artists they befriend. It's a brave attempt at a Harry Crews style cavalcade of freaks story that almost succeeds. It's let down only by the slightly contrived and rushed feel to the ending. the art is clan, clear and concise. Not my preferred style (i like a more scratchy look to my art (Eddie Campbell is the man as far as I'm concerned)) but it flows nicely and suits the tale very much. A good read and one that I think warrants a re-read but probably not for a while.

The Difference Engine - William Gibson and Bruce Sterling - Gosh! So very good. Never read any Sterling before but I'm a long time fan of Gibson. This, their collaborative steampunk novel (probably more correctly described as inter-connected novellas) was an absolute corker from start to almost finish. The picture they paint of a London (indeed a world) changed before it's time by the genius of Charles Babbage is simply awe-inspiring. You can taste the smog and feel the starched collars.
At it's heart there is a relatively straight forward spy vs revolutionary storyline but orbiting this is a bewildering array of subplots and narratives that occasionally impact upon the main in ways that are not always immediately apparent.

audio caving

the weather has been kind to us here in swansea so we spent this past weekend behaving like tourists. Took the opportunity to jump in my increasingly poorly sounding car and hit some spots that we hadn't been to in a while or hadn't been to at all.

Saturday was spent roaming small seaside towns doing some shopping and i finally managed to get myself a new black shirt. I'm fairly colourful normally but there's nothing quite like walking out on a beautiful spring morning dressed head to toe in black.

Sunday I got dragged on one of Sue's (Sue is my partner) excursions into the myths and legends of this soggy little country we call home. She's currently researching and visiting the faerie-lore attached to the South Wales area (www.faerietrails.co.uk) which seems to mean me dragging my fat lazy ass up and down a variety of mountains. Today though found us in a cave in the brecon beacons called - Porth Yr Ogof (the Gate Cave) - where I managed to set up the microphone and do some recording.

I was happy to let the machine run for the first 5 minutes but my inner fidget got the better of me and i started playing around with the stones and puddles around me. It's not the best thing I've ever done and unfortunately the batteries cut out so it all ends rather abruptly but it was fun to do so i thought i'd stick it up here in case anyone fancies a listen.

download here

Hopefully the rescued portion of the new WWR will be online this weekend. I lost most of the issue when my 'puter died and all I have left are the reviews i'd handwritten into a notebook. I'll revisit all the other albums along with some new stuff for the next issue but this next one will still feature around 10 new (and corking) albums for your delectation.


Saturday, 21 March 2009

(crack of) dawn of the dead

I am by nature (not choice) an early-ish riser but this morning i crowbarred myself out of bed at 6:30 to get rid of some accumulated crap at the local car boot sale. i have a collector mentallity (i'm not proud of it) and so can easily fill a room (or several) with stuff within a week or two. My saving grace though is that when i decide to offload then i can do so without a backward glance. i think i like the purge almost as much as the binge.

So, 7 o clock on an unseasonly bright, sunny and warm saturday morning we found ourselves pulling into a car park already full to bursting with cars. If you've never had the dubious pleasure of one of these events then let me set the scene. picture a car park...fill it with cars...all with their boots open. you with me so far? good. now, behind every car put a table...cover the table with detritus of your choice but make sure it's mostly utter trash...now, add hordes and hordes and HORDES of blank faced and bleary-eyed zombies shuffling endlessly up and down each aisle monotonously repeating the phrase "I'll give you a quid for it."

If you can get your head around the strangeness they can be a pretty fascinating experience. a good boot sale is full of the interesting and the unusual (both the people and the stuff) whilst also brimming with the ridiculous and the bizarre (both the people and the stuff). I banned myself from looking around this time - i was there to sell - but in the past i've found some real wonders. The one that particularly sticks in my mind is the prim late middle-aged lady standing by her table full of crocheted and knitted baby clothes and extreme nun-sploitation videos - needless to say i bought them (the videos that is not the knitted clothes) and they were good - Behind Convent Walls is the one title I can remember.

Anyway, the LPs proved to be the most popular thing we took and I made about £65 quid on them which was half our overall take. Not bad for a mornings work and the best bit is we've cleared out a serious amount of the crap from our cupboards. There'll be a load of stuff going up on ebay over the next couple of months. Books at first but i'll be adding cd's and ephemera later. keep an eye on http://shop.ebay.co.uk/merchant/elviscoffee for some bargains.


Friday, 20 March 2009

back on line and way behind

After a month of being, to all intents and purposes, computer less I am finally back online in the, relative, comfort of my cosy little studio. I'd managed to infect my machine with the recycler virus whilst trying to access some free 70's tv which has meant reformatting my hard-drive. As such I have nothing left on my pc. all the reviews i'd written for the next issue of WWR are gone as are all the programs I use for my music and the label. It's going to take me a while to get everything back up and running so please bare (sp?) with me while i do so.

The QW shop is open as usual and will be expanding once I get things back on track. I'm hoping to start offering select choices from the zine. I simply cannot afford to offer everything that's featured but i'll aim to get some copies in of my absolute favourites each month.

in the meantime, have a watch of this...


Monday, 16 March 2009

Traveller returned

I've just got back from a weekend spent with friends in Glastonbury. That's Glastonbury the town as opposed to Glastonbury the festival.

For those who've never experienced Glastonbury (the town) then let me set the scene. One street (hill actually) that bends at a right angle at the bottom (like a capital L) featuring about 20 shops selling all manner of New Age paraphenalia, a couple of book shops and some good vegetarian cafes. The whole place is themed around some spurious notion that it's the mythical Isle of Avalon (I think 'mythical' is the key word there) and as such has built it's entire identity around New Age tourism.

I have a strange - or maybe that should read strained - relationship with the place. It's just too fucking nice! The people are nice, the shops are nice, the buildings are nice, the litter is nice - aaaaargh! Within half an hour of arriving I'm looking to buy the foulest pornography available - 'anal puppy sluts' or somesuch - so i can sit and read it in the town square just to sully the place a little - does this make me a bad person? - I think not.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not a complete curmudgeon (just mostly) - I like the fact that it's got a free and easy vibe to the place. It's all just lacking that edge that I need to keep me interested (or even conscious). Sue, my partner, on the other hand loves it there as she can let her inner hippy run riot and so i get dragged from crystal shop to crystal shop looking at shiny rocks and assorted tat.

It was good to meet up with some old friends again though and I had plenty of time to write some more reviews (the new orchestramaxfieldparish album is a corker) and also managed to do some reading - Concrete vol.2, (which was good fun although the russian agents in the everest story were a little cheesy), John Wagner's History of Vilence which was way better than the film, The Push Man by Yoshihiro Tatsumi which was an interesting change from the usual manga dreck and i managed to finish reading The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes an interesting, but flawed, stab of alternative victoriana - not quite steampunk but with the addition of, i suppose, magic (it's never really clear) that leads for some quirky and unexpected twists and turns.

Home again, home again, jiggety jig.


Thursday, 12 March 2009

views over the horizon

there're a couple of projects simmering here so i thought i'd give a heads up as to what's on it's way.

April will see my new solo album called 'She Loves To See The Sky'. It's a longform drone piece that i made at the same time as the Mote ep. it's more intense and minimal than that ep but features much of the same gear.

June or July will bring a new collaboration between myself and Banks Bailey called 'Sojourn'. at the end of '08 I was working on a new piece which just wouldn't sit right. I was on the verge of binning it when i realised that i had some unused recordings sent by Banks for the Holocene project. I gave them a try and they sat perfectly in the mix and really lifted the piece.

A long time coming but nearing completion is the DVD project 'Aurarora' that i've been working on with two friends, Rhod Thomas and Steve Jones. it's been a long project for the guys - i did my part over a year and a half ago - but it's mostly complete. Rhod has previously put images to two of my tracks. he's got a good eye for ambient imagery and Aurarora is looking very nice so far. below should be one of the older videos.

also before the end of the year there should be another album with Darren Tate. we've not got past the discussion stage at the moment but what has been finalised is that we will be working to a 'no electrically generated sounds' rule. This is something i've wanted to do for a while so i'm quite looking forward to it.

i'll probably add to the release list over the year but this is all that's finalised so far.


Wednesday, 11 March 2009


Welcome to the first posting of the new blog for all things relating to us here at Quiet World and Wonderful Wooden Reasons.

I hope to update this thing regularly as it's a lot easier to do than it is to update the website, especially at the moment as i've successfully managed to wreck my computer by accidentally installing quite a catastrophic virus whilst in the search for free TV. Karma's a bitch but you've gotta laugh I suppose. Until I can get it fixed I'm reduced to quick surfs on other people's machines.

I'm spending much of my newly acquired free time writing the new issue of WWR. I've got about 7 reviews written in the last 3 days of some terrific music that has come my way via labels like Digitalis and Dreamsheep. I'll get the new issue online as soon as i'm able.

The latest release on Quiet World - Wet Rat Year by myself and Darren Tate is selling fast. Initial feedback has been good which is pleasing. Not everyone has liked it - Frans at Vital wasn't too keen - but we always knew that this one would polarise opinion as it's very different from anything either of us have done before. Personally I think it's cracking but i'm as biased as it gets. If you'd like to hear a track from it then please head over to www.myspace.com/psychicspaceinvasion and play the track called '5'.