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.