Saturday, 5 December 2009

today is..

almost over,
late to start,
not necessarily in the right order

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Quieter World

I have an idea for a spin off from Quiet World. For lack of a better name i'm currently referring to it as Quieter World.

The bare bones of the idea is to invite people to make a recording of their immediate surroundings wherever they happen to be at a certain time for, say, five minutes. These would then be archived via the QW site as free downloads.

a new time is then set for another week, month, whenever. kinda like a global audio snapshot.

it might be fun?

if you're interested get in touch.

beer is good...

mornings, less so.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

downloading the Quiet World

Just a quick message to let y'all know that the download page at has been significantly updated to be both easier to use and also to include many of the more recently sold out titles.

It's cold here but there is beer in my near future, bean stew in my nearer future and fireworks tomorrow - yay for fireworks.

Monday, 26 October 2009

an arrival

The new album is finally out. the (rather large) box of discs arrived on friday and I spent the weekend bagging up the first batch to be sent out. After visiting the post office earlier today i now know one thing for sure, that this label business is pretty expensive. Fun though.

The weather has finally turned here and Autumn is upon us with a vengeance. Went for a walk through the woods yesterday. The trees are shedding and the ground is thick with needles and leaves in various different shades of red. From the feel of the weather i don't think autumn is going to hang around too long though. winter is fast approaching and will be a long one. I'd noticed over the last couple of years that we are fast moving towards a state where we only really have two seasons per year - summer & winter. Spring and Autumn seem to be getting shorter with each passing year. it's a real shame, for many reasons but mostly, because they're my favourites.

i have a week off work so have gotten started with the next issue of WWR as the releases are still pretty well piled up after the summer's travails. Two new Andrew Chalk LPs turned up today though and that's always something to get excited about. They're as beautifully packaged as ever and i'm sick with envy (in a good way) at just how good he is at this music making (and sleeve making) lark.
My main ambition for this week though is to clear some shelf space so i'm going to be indulging in plenty of reading and also trying to get some books up on ebay to clear a bit of room here (and reimburse myself for the cost of making the new album).

peace to you all

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

A short temporary visit

Sitting next to my right elbow as I type this is the sample copy of my new album, 'A Brief Sojourn', which arrived from the printers today. It's pretty nice.
unlike recent Quiet World releases this one won't be wrapped in a little poly sleeve but is housed in a half size dvd case. Not one of those slimline ones but one that is half as tall. They look very nice. I'd had a few sent to me via Wonderful Wooden Reasons over the last year so when Darren Tate mentioned that his printers had them in and he was using them for his new album I jumped at the chance to get some for this one.
All being well I should have the rest of them by friday (monday at the latest).

also, the latest issue of the zine is now online at and at
there's over 20 albums featured and some of them are real gems.

btw - i have a facebook account if anyone'd like to add me and say hello.


Wednesday, 23 September 2009

starting to come out of hibernation

Hello my friends

after a suitably slow summer of avoidance of anything that felt even remotely like work i'm starting to get back in the swing and doing things again.
i've spent most of the last 3 months with my head buried in a succession of books and it's been a lot of fun. i'll put some vague write-ups about some of them below.

WWR is in limbo until i can get a new seedee player as mine decided to die on me the other week. it's the fourth player i've trashed in the last 3 years which probably speak volumes about how much i use them.

in the next month or so there should be a couple of new albums from me. the long awaited collaboration with Banks Bailey is imminent - i just need to make some tweaks to the sleeve design - and very soon will see the split cassette on Agharta with Andreas Brandal. I've only heard snatches of his music through his myspace so it'll be interesting to catch some more.


these aren't really reviews so much as things i put on the board at Whitechapel. so if they seem oddly worded that's why...

I've just, as in 5 minutes ago, finished 'The Warlord of the Air' by Michael Moorcock. It was fantastic. It's been a while since i enjoyed anything quite so much. Barstable (the protagonist) is a slightly dim man with a moral compass that points straight ahead. Moorcock takes him on a journey to the heart of his misconceptions regarding the steam-driven 'utopia' he has found himself in in a way that is realistic, believable and wonderously fantastical. I have the other two waiting to be read but i'm going to eke them out over what remains of my holiday.

Michael Moorcock's The Land Leviathan. the second in his oswald bastable steampunk series was, whilst not being the airship and anarchist laden romp of the first (The Warlord of the Air), still a fine way to spend the day. This one spent more time on world building than on plot development which made for a nice gear change but i'm hoping the third will be a combination of the two.

Richard Brautigan - The Hawkline Monster. I love Brautigan. I read his In Watermelon Sugar way back in my stoned youth and loved the unrepentant hippie utopianism of it. Trout Fishing in America (probably his most famous) came next and was also wonderful but in a more poetical Beat manner. The Hawkline Monster is on the surface a more straightforward novel where two killers are hired by Miss Hawkline to kill the monster that lives in the caves under the house. Such a mudane plot was never going to satisfy Brautigan though and things soon take a side-step. For me though it's the gracefulness and the dance of his prose that is the real joy.

have finally finished Lud-In-The-Mist by Hope Mirrlees. It turned out to be a proper windbag of a novel. Endlessly impressed by it's own intelligence without ever really putting that intelligence to work in a meaningful way. By the halfway point i found myself referring to it as Lud-In-The-Mud as a result of the effort involved in wading through the sticky morass of the authors prose. I think there was a pretty nifty little tale in there somewhere but her writing style was distinctly lacking in any sort of wit or melody and as such it never ceased being an effort to keep my attention on the page.

have just finished The Osiris Ritual by George Mann, the second of his Newbury & Hobbes Steampunk mysteries. I thought the first (The Affinity Bridge) was a fun, if a little flawed, romp through a fog-ridden london that mixed zombies, robots and airships into an entertaining neo-victorian thriller. It's recommended for those looking for a more than satisfyingly pulp steampunk fix.
this second one wasn't as good as it's predecessor. The plot was a little rushed and lacked grandeur and scope but mostly i think he sacrificed too much of the world-building that was so well done in the first. I heartily approved of how naturalistic he allows the newly emerging technology to feel but half the joy (for me at least) of this sort of genre fiction lies in how the author interweaves technology and the subsequent cultural and societal changes into the narrative. i felt like i didn't learn anything new about the universe he's created and without that it may as well have been set (to an extent) in our own victorian era.
That said though, Mann has an engaging style and the book was a fun, fast-paced read with a third volume still to come.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Sunday, 26 July 2009

new music on the horizon

just to fill you all in on some new music heading your way soon from me.

i wasn't going to release anything until the end of the summer but i was asked for some music for a split cassette release by Arma from AghartA in Lithuania. I don't really know when it's coming out but it'll be fairly soon. It'll be a limited edition of 50 cassettes and I'm only getting a couple of copies so really if you want one then you'll need to contact arma direct by visiting the website.

My contribution is a 29 minute drone piece called 'The Prescient Machine' and is the first part of a series of releases i've been putting together this year based entirely around acoustic sounds. There'll be at least another two in the series (the next album with Darren Tate and an album to be released next year). Before either of those see the light of day though I'll be issuing the collaboration between myself and Banks Bailey, called 'A Brief Sojourn', sometime in September.


Wednesday, 15 July 2009

something to watch

charlie brooker is a newspaper columnist and tv presenter here in the uk.
he writes two weekly columns for the best of the daily newspapers - The Guardian. his monday column is a hysterical rant about whatever crosses his mind whilst his weekend one is a review (or assault on) that weeks TV called Screen Burn.

This second column morphed into a tv show (Screenwipe) a few years back of which they've done 5 series (all are available on youtube and are well worth a watch even if you live outside the UK)

For the most recent series however things took a slight twist as they renamed the show and dedicated the series entirely to looking at how the news is presented. it's brilliant stuff. interesting, thought provoking and very, very funny.

American readers may like to check out the episode dealing with the US way of presenting the news.

Thursday, 9 July 2009


a flying visit to point your eye bones in the direction of some groovy things to read.

this one is Warren Ellis' Freak Angels. it's an ongoing weekly serial that's kind of a follow on re-imagining of John Wndham's Midwich Cuckoos. It's not the best thing he's ever done but it's very readable and completely free. it's an ongoing tale which has been running for a little while but the link will take you to the first episode.

these others are all autobiographical / confessional type strips. this first one led me to the other which then led to the third.

'ellerbisms' is probably my favourite of the three. It does have a slight tendency towards an almost mawkish sentimentality (but i am a cold hearted individual so take that opinion with as big a pinch of salt as you'd like) but he's unafraid of tackling downs as well as ups and it's regularly funny with a clean cartoony art style that perfectly suits his tales. you'll have to go back a couple of strips to see why he's got a swollen mouth.

The Everyday I discovered through the authors regular appearences in the Ellerbisms strip. his strips are less substantial but have a nicely self-deprecating feel going on. he's just starting a series on his visit to Glastonbury festival. The first episode is a little bit of a whinge about the hassle of getting there which left me thinking that anyone willing to shell out that much money to attend that cattle-farm (literally) of substandard corporate endorsed, major-label, 'sham-indie' twaddle kinda deserves to be treated shoddily. Bruce fucking springsteen!!!!! I mean, come on?

Sorry Comics is an interesting jaunt through the authors experiences. His art really reminds me of something but I can't quite nail it. I've only read a few of these but they're well observed and very nicely executed with a more leisurely (although still short) pace than the other two strips. there are also lots of links down the side of the page to other webcomics that might be worth checking out.


Monday, 6 July 2009

restless mondays

the holidays have finally started. for the students at least. me, i was in work today. it's a very different place when the students aren't there. it's almost creepily quiet but it does give one lots of opportunity to play with all the toys that i don't usually get access to.

today's toy was the upright piano. my piano playing skills are non-existant but i flatter myself that i can, when sat there, produce a nicely minimal construction. as a result I have two 'traditionally' played pieces and two plucked pieces all of which i'm pretty chuffed with. no download of these I'm afraid as they're going into the pot for the as yet untitled new album I'm making with Darren Tate and also for a new solo project I've been working on.

tomorrow's toy is the grand piano in the college theatre.


After work finished i headed to clyne park which is just across the road from my house. It used to be the grounds of the big old manor house (it's called Clyne Castle but it's just a big house) where the folks who pretty much owned Swansea lived. The house is now a halls of residence for the university (rich kids only need apply) and is very nice. As an undergraduate I once helped out at the annual convention of the Association of Social Anthropologists which was held there.
They've recently built some (very expensive) flats behind the castle that whilst being kind of groovy looking and sci-fi are also staggeringly out of character with the suroundings.

here's the castle...

and here're the flats...

(doesn't the big pillar look like a tower of toilet rolls)

like i said, I like them both but not necessarily next door to each other.

But it's the gardens that i really like. Lot's of meandering pathwys through the trees and some real nice views over the bay.

It takes about an hour to walk there, around and back which suits me down to the ground as I'm timing my walks by my copies of the BBC Sherlock Holmes radio series each episode of which is 55 minutes long (and fabulous).

I'm listening to very little music at the moment (although I really should be) as I'm feeling quite 'wordy'. Been reading a lot but what has been occupying a huge amount of my time is my new found fondness for audio books. i've been a fan of radio plays for a while now mostly from listening to the new Sapphire and Steel plays and the adaptation of Brian Talbot's The Adventures of Luther Arkwright starring a pre-Dr Who David Tennant.
They can take a bit of getting used to as they do have a tendency to sound fairly quaint and if you're a sound junky like me it's easy to get lost in the mechanics of the incidental soundworld. But the actors are generally pretty good, as are the production values and so is the writing although as today's listen was the Holmes classic A Study In Scarlet (just a fantastic title) the quality of the writing is pretty much a given. With lines like 'He was beating a cadaver with a cudgel.' how could you resist.

(btw, Lee - if your reading this I need to borrow your bluetooth thingy as that line's going to be my new ringtone)

Audio books are a different prospect. This is simply someone reading you a story. I first tried them as a substitute for music on a long drive last year. I'd spotted the Harry Pottor books as read by Stephen Fry on a download site and got them more out of curiosity about having Stephen Fry (who I'm a massive fan of) read me a story than as to what he was reading. Needless to say they were fantastic. He reads them perfectly and they are a thoroughly enjoyable romp. I have loads of the things now. Neil Gaiman reading The Graveyard Book was OK but he is a little adenoidal and also sounds as though he shares the same voice as Douglas Adams, although it's probably his full time now as Adams is dead. On the subject of Adams it was cool to hear him read through the first Hitchhikers but i got bored halfway through Restaurant. I gave The Stand by Stephen King a go but a combination of the readers horrid whiney accent and the turgid, emotionless, meandering, cliched tat of the text conspired to make it a loooooong and boring experience which, for some unfathomable reasons I insisted on listening to all the way through.

It's going to take me a little while to work though all the Sherlock Holmes but waithing in the wings are recordings of Stephen Fry reading Chekov's short stories, an early radio play of Night of the Living Dead, The Road by Cormac McCarthy and lot's of Kurt Vonnegut.


Wednesday, 24 June 2009

sunshine, students, videos and a little bit of nostalgia

it's a warm sultry evening here in Swansea. It feels like there's a storm brewing which would be a welcome relief. i'm not built for the sun or the heat - i have too much surface area - and i'm much happier in spring or autumn - or even winter - than the height of summer.

i've just sent a very enjoyable evening watching the 2nd year performing arts students doing their version of Equus. damn fine it was too. we've been cursed over the last couple of years in the college with performing arts courses full of absolute wankers but this group (and most of the current first years) have been an absolute joy to be around. They were excellent tonight. it's strange when students you like leave (and there're lots of likeable students leaving this week). you want them to have the best of times and go on and live their dreams but at the the same time it's a shame that you'll often never ever see them again. facebook and myspace have changed that somewhat but still.

whilst i'm on the subject of likeable students (although don't tell him i said so), one of our media students, David Strutt, recently made this video for my track 'Tiny Creatures' from the 'Where have we been in the world today?' album. it's only an early edit at the moment as he needs to shoot some more footage but it's a cool start.

one day though someones going to make me a video that doesn't involve static shots of buildings. i suppose it's the curse of writing slow music.

he also did this earlier in the year as a video piece incorporated into a show by the above mentioned Performing Arts students that was toured around the local schools. the music is '50 Pence for Buddha' from my 'Book of Dreams' album.

if you double click either of these vids it'll take you to youtube and i recommend you try out some of his other vids. personally i particularly like his 'ot at the gallery' animation.

new issue of Wonderful Wooden Reasons will be going online in a day or so.
been so busy lately that something had to suffer and it was the zine. once term finishes in a weeks time i'll be able to dedicate some time to diminishing the stack of unplayed submissions.

the one thing i have been listening to a hell of a lot this week is the Dinosaur Jr album, Farm. It's a real return to form an absolute blinder of an album. if you were a fan back in the day then you really should give it a go.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

melting in the heat

Hello from an unseasonably hot and sunny swansea.

It's been a few weeks since i last wrote anything here so as I'm avoiding the heat i thought i would.

'She Loves to See The Sky' is out and available from a variety of outlets - Quiet World, Aquarius Records, Art Into Life - and seems to be being quite well received which is always appreciated. Thanks to everyone who has picked up a copy. There are two new cds in the pipeline. Sometime soon will be the album i made using some of Banks Bailey's beautiful Arizona field recordings alongside some I made under the pier here in Swansea mixed with layers of keyboard and processed drones. It's an album i'm ridiculously proud of.
Next week will see me start work on the new album with Darren Tate. It's always a joy to collaborate with DT as our working methods are so compatable - he likes making wacky sounds and i like playing around with and editing wacky sounds. I've got him to agree to a 'no electrically generated sounds' rule for this album so I've no idea what to expect from him but i have a battery of bells, whistles, flutes, melody horns, kazoos, harmonicas and ukuleles waiting to be added to the mix. It should be a laugh.
This is the 4th album I've made with DT - The Moon As A Hole, Summerland (also with Banks) & Wet Rat Year are the others - and they've all been quite different from each other and from the music each of us normally make. It's great fun to do and luckily they've all been well received.

Went out for a drink on thursday with my friends Rod and Steve. For those who don't know, these two are responsible for the two videos that you can see on my myspace and at Rod's website. Over a couple of pints or really nice ale at the Joiners Arms in Bishopston (their Three Cliffs ale is stunning) we discussed how we were going to finish the Aurarua audio / video collaboration we've been working on for the last couple of years. An early (and very short) edit was entered in a couple of gallery shows in Swansea last summer and seemed to be quite well received.

My part is a set of three long and dark drones that i recorded about three years ago to which Rod and Steve have been adding images captured around the locale. I think it's stunning and when it's finally finished it can only be more so. Hopefully it'll be done by the end of the summer but I think i said that last year (and the year before).

We're not short of countryside around here but yesterday we found a bit we'd not visited before, the grounds of an old estate in Neath called Gnoll Country Park. Walking around the woods was a very nice way of spending a hot summers day and i managed to make a couple of recordings once we'd got away from the more populated areas. My favourite is a recording I made near the derelict Ice House. You can find it in the rar file below along with another recording made a couple of weeks ago at a place called Craig Y Dinas. I hope you are enjoying these field recordings, they're fun to make as it means i get to mooch out into the wilds and sit under a tree reading a book while my recorder does all the work.

Field recordings

Finally, as I've been asked about it and i mentioned it in an earlier posting. Here's the story of being up a mountain in a cloud.
I've told you before about my partners FairieTrails project where she traces the locations of old welsh fairie tales and then visits the sites. These sites seem to be almost invariably at the tops of mountains or as far off the beaten tracks as it's possible to get in South Wales. Well May Day this year saw us slowly trudging to the top of Pen Y Fan mountain in the Brecon Beacons looking for a lake called Llyn Cwm Llwch. It was nice but slightly windy day when we set off and several minor heartattacks later we reached the top and photographed this view...

it's quite something isn't it.

As you've probably gathered the lake we were looking for is the one in the photo (yes it is as small as it looks) and typically it was down the other side. Not really being that interested in the lake i decided to find a sheltered nook about halfway down and settled down to read while Sioux went exploring. As i got my book out i felt the first drops of rain. Light showers had been forecast so i put my book away did my little jacket up and watched the view and Sioux clambering down the path to the lake.
Some 20 minutes later with the rain still fairly light i glanced back over my shoulder to the summit where we were going to have to head in order to get back to the car. It was gone. In the time i'd been sitting the clouds had snuck up on us from behind the ridge and the entire top of the mountain and our route down was enveloped in thick, cold and very wet clouds.
The walk back to the car gave me a new definition of the phrase 'This sucks!'. The path we were walking was 2 foot away from the edge of the cliffs and the visibility was so bad we couldn't see the edge. All the way down the mountain, without any shelter whatsoever walking into freezing driving rain. Drenched to the skin.
Finally got back to the car about an hour later, shucked off the outer layers and did a 45 minute drive home in a car with no heating (it died the week before), shivering and turning slowly blue.

Anyway, that's probably the longest blog i'll ever write. Hope it wasn't too boring.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

What a long day it's been

it's 1:10 am on thursday 7th may and I'm sat at my pc in the exact same spot i've been sat in since 3:30 yesterday afternoon. My arse cheeks are numb and my back and shoulders are killing me. The reason why i've not moved from this spot all day is that i've been assembling the new album and I finished about 10 minutes ago.

i make all the QW releases by hand, except those that I do with Darren Tate, as it is significantly cheaper that way. I print the sleeves in work or my friend Steve prints them in his work - whichever is the most practical at the time - and then i print the discs using my epson r220 cd printer, cut and fold the sleeves and then put the lot in their shiny little poly wallets. It's monumentally tedious work. I could, obviously, get them made for me but money being what it is at the moment that just doesn't seem to be a realistic option.

The discs arrived today, a replacement box as the last lot i ordered went astray - currently they are, according to the tracking website, in Budapest having visited two German cities on the way. Anyway, the new box turned up at 3:30 and so I thought I'd at least get a few printed and assembled before i broke off for the evening, I just never got around to the breaking off for the evening part. Once i started I just wanted them done so I kept going.

I don't want to sound like I'm complaining too much though as i had plenty of tunes to keep me company. I kept it fairly up-tempo and motivational so the Dresden Dolls' 'Yes Virginia' got an airing (I love that album) as did the 'Into The Wild' soundtrack by Eddie Vedder (don't snigger it's really good) but my current fave listen is 'Only Just Beginning' by Jason Webley. It's a rousingly good time set of tunes that sound like Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen partying at a circus. I heard him first on a youtube clip singing his song 'Icarus' in the street with a heavily medicated Amanda Palmer (she'd just left hospital having broken her leg by being run over that afternoon). I was intrigued enough to give the album a try and it's proper good.

Anyway, I hear my bed calling. If I can face the pc tomorrow i'll post some more field recordings I made recently and also tell you the story of how i spent last friday up a mountain in a cloud.


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.


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 ( 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, 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 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 and play the track called '5'.