Sunday, 19 April 2009

Unreleased music

I've just uploaded 4 previously unheard tracks to the player at my myspace music page - here - one (Magnetic West) is a new dark ambient track that I made last night whilst i was uploading the two field recordings in the last blog post.

The others are from an album I made that I never got around to releasing called 'Handle This Wino Like He Was An Angel'. It had originally started out it's life as a folder on my PC where i stuck tracks I liked but which didn't fit anywhere else. I got to really like that folder though and so it became an album in it's own right. The title is deliberately obtuse because the music is deliberately obtuse. It's a line from the Richard Brautigan novel 'Trout Fishing In America'.

If you're not already familiar with his work I really do recommend him to you. There's a really nice site about him here and another here.

Lately i've been tempted to release the album but have kept putting it off. As ever I'm interested in your thoughts.


Friday, 17 April 2009

currently distracted by...

field recordings.

I should be writing reviews for the new issue of WWR which will be finally online this weekend but I'm kinda running out of words so today I've been having a break and playing around with some field recordings i made the other day.

The first is a recording of the stream and the woods near my home. The stream runs in a little valley from the moors at the top of the town down to the sea at the bottom. It runs right behind my house but recording there is problematic due to car noise but a little further along it moves a little way from the road and i was lucky enough to get 15 minutes with minimal cars. I think I probably put the mic too close to the water but the birds were in fine voice and singing the day away.

Washinghouse Brook

this is the view from where i was recording...

This second one is a bit of fun. The next town over has a very small pier and on that very small pier is a very small amusements arcade. It's full of slot machines and grabber machines and one lone pinball machine which changes to suit whichever blockbuster movie was being hyped about 6 months previously - currently it's Dark Knight. I've never been any good at the things but I rested the recorder on the glass and stuck a quid in. This is the recording - i kinda like it.

Batman Pinball

Vibrations from The Wire

Issue 303 of The Wire features, in it's Outer Limits section a nice little write up of the Banks Bailey album 'Vibrations From The Holocene' by Jim Haynes. This is the first time any Quiet World release has made it into the magazine which is easily the most popular of odd music magazines and as such is probably innundated with music each week so, thanks Jim.

I've been a subscriber for 10 years since #173 - I thought any magazine willing to put Lydia Lunch on the cover deserved my support - but I must admit over the last year or so my support has been waning, to the point that i very nearly didn't re-subscribe this year and only did so cause i had some cash in my paypal account. Will I re-subscribe next year? probably not. I don't really know why (or when) I started to fall out of love with the mag but I noticed I was reading less and less of each issue around the middle of last year. I'm not going to make any claims that it's gone 'mainstream' or 'commercial' as that's almost certainly not the case but I think the genres it covers have definitely moved into areas I have little or no interest in. Each month there's another article for yet another branch of techno that I find indistinguishable from the others - this month features a 6 page Primer on music made using the Roland TB-303 for christ sake - while other intersting genres are to a great extent ignored - field recordings, drone, noise, industrial, free improv, psychedelia, post rock, even some good old fashioned jazz.

I get sent hordes of records each month from all over the world yet most of these are ignored by the one magazine that can really make a difference and help these artists get a few sales or some new contacts. I know they are a business and need to 'shift units' but I bought the magazine because there was always at least one article that was an essential read. It's been months now since I've done more than skim through an issue. I now open it at the middle for the reviews and read from there. It's a shame but my subscription has still got just under a year to run (i think). Hopefully things will have changed by then and i'll be back to eagerly anticipating each new issue.

On a different topic I've bought a frankly absurb amount of new music this week and all of it has been by Faust. It's an addiction I know but as addictions go it's a good one and fairly harmless. This last week I've picked up the new album 'C'' which is corking, the double live album from schiphorst 2008 that also features NWW, a limited rehearsals cd, the 'Disconnected' special edition, Faust Wakes Nosferatu CD version, the two live albums on Table of Elements from a few years back (live in Berlin & London) and also the Space Explosion album that Zappi and Peron did about 10 years ago with Moebius from Cluster, Neumeier from Guru Guru, Karrer from Amon Duul and Engler from Die Krupps. An expensive week but sonically wonderful.

The other gem I've discovered this week is an album by 'The Beat of the Earth' which you can check out here. It's a two track 60's freak rock extravaganza, quite german in places - that has been hogging my stereo for the last couple of days.

Monday, 13 April 2009

bank holiday reviewing

Just back from a weekend away in Cheltenham which is Sue's hometown. It was a bit of a flying visit. say hello to the family and have a mooch around the town sort of deal. Didn't really have the time to do much but did manage to spend far too much money on books that i probably won't have time to read until the summer. My best purchase by far is a couple of volumes of the American Splendor anthologies. If you've never read them (or even seen the film) then i heartily recommend you do so. more info here.

Drove home through the Forest of Dean on Sunday afternoon stopping to visit a Faerie site that Sue wanted to find. A well called 'Virtuous Well'. It turned out to be one of those strange sites that have been adopted by both the god and the crystal bothering brigades equally. It's an old stone well built over a meeting of 4 springs. The trees around it are festooned with ribbons and assorted bits of tat that have been tied on as, i suppose, offerings of some sort. Looked kinda cool whatever the reason.

I was going to make some recordings but three other groups of people turned up whilst we were there and also a tractor was ploughing the next field over. The microphone can be quite imposing and i had no wish to spoil other peoples visit (and the tractor made a horrid noise) so i didn't bother.

Monday and Tuesday of last week was spent in the college studio with a couple of friends. It's been a long time since i strapped on my bass guitar (about 5 years) and i must say i've not missed it. We completed two tracks of krautrocky post-rock. think ganger, tortoise or appliance and you're along the right lines. it's all still in desperate need of mixing which we'll be doing sometime this week i think.

In the meantime I'm trying to get as many reviews written and rewritten as i can before i put the new issue of Wonderful Wooden Reasons online. As i type I'm listening to an excellent album by a Spanish musician called Pilar Baizan who records as Baseline (the albums called 'Estado Liquido'). It's so nice to be reviewing something made by a woman. I don't believe gender (or race for that matter) has any bearing on the music a person makes other than those imposed at a societal level (whether consciously or not) but the music I get sent is pretty much entirely 'man' made so it is good to know there's someone out there working in a non testosterone fuelled way.