Category Archives: Hipstamatic

YSP & Hepworth Wakefield

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A couple of weeks ago I had a random day off work with no commitments that couldn’t be ignored. The weather wasn’t entirely clement but with an intention to do something I’d hoped to do all summer I took a ride up the M1 to Bretton and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. There are 500 acres of open country park which hosts some of the most important modern sculptures by artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Anthonys Caro & Gormley, Eduardo Paolozzi, Elizabeth Frink, Jaun Miro, James Turrell, Ai, Weiwei, Lynn Chadwick, Marc Quinn, Julian Opie & Richard Long.

A steady walk around the grounds takes upwards of 3 hours with the enticement of another artefact in the distance to keep you going. I had hoped to take some ‘proper’ photographs but the light was flat & grey. The best results came from Hipstamatic using a near monochrome fine grain high contrast film.

This first set of pictures are all YSP. Highlight for me was the James Turrell Skyspace which only the experience of it justifies. The Turrell pieces are more commonly known in the wide open spaces of North America but this construction in an old Deer shelter on the estate is graced by the noise of crows and our steel skies. The 20mins I spent there was fortunately solitary and all the better for it.

James Turrell - Skyview, YSP

Click on a single image to open the gallery view.

The gallery spaces are used for temporary exhibitions and currently they have work from artist Bill Viola – not an artist I was previously familiar with. One of his large digital projects was also placed in the Chapel on the estate. This was a stunning piece relating to Ascension & Recension. The short film below gives a flavour of the work but its better seen and experienced with scale the artist intends.

After exhausting the collection at YSP (and my legs) as I was in the area I went over to the Hepworth Wakefield. This is wonderful contemporary art space built to place and celebrate the work of Barbara Hepworth and host temporary exhibitions. Its a surprisingly expansive space with numerous galleries. The current show by Enrico David was defiantly worth a look but the numerous Hepworth pieces and reproduction casts contributed to an engrossing view. This is the gallery view…..

Follow the embedded links for more information about both places.

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November Fog

 

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A quick diary style photo post. I awoke earlier than seemed reasonable this Sunday Morning. Last nights Halloween celebrations didn’t keep me awake and with the family lost to a lie in and spying an early morning fog I took a walk to our local park, Woodthorpe – with my camera & tripod. At 9.00am there where mainly dog walkers and a few council workers.

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These set of images are post processed in Lightroom with VSCO Kodak Gold filter and a touch of Snapseed.

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….and of course, some cobwebbery….

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Once my shoes were completely soaked through I took a trip into town. These are all Hipstamatic using Black Keys Ultrachrome & Murry lens. Pictures include Victoria Park, Sneinton Market, The Lace Market, the Market Square and finally some cake.

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Cornwall Land – August 2015

Bude Cornwall

In previous years when I’ve taken the little blokes on a brief cultural tour of the UK I’ve posted a daily blog on its own page. Admittedly this is for my own entertainment and with a nod to posterity, but its also a good way of sharing some pictures and sharing some links for local industry.

This year we when to Cornwall and in a one off point of agreement with our beloved leader, Mr David Cameron, it’s true that mobile coverage in the County sucks. It took me a day to discover this and I resolved to spare the children from my swearing and grumbling and wait until I got home.

So, her it is. Briefer than it might of been but illustrated appropriately I hope.

Bude

We stayed in an area called Widemouth Bay (thats wid-muth, not wide-mouth, I made that mistake once, not good). It’s on the North Cornwall coast near Bude, just across from the Devonshire boarder. The coastal area is cliff heavy with many stony bays. Its popular with surfers and very dramatic. Bude itself has a wide beach bay with a very shallow tidal area. There are surf schools and a sea pool and its very popular. Unlike many British sea side towns theres a complete absence of arcades and the normal riffle of holiday towns. There are boating lakes in the river lock and some large constructed rock pools with brave kids ‘tombstoning’. Evidence as follows;

Bude Sea Pool

Bude Cliff Sides

Bude - He Did It

Bude Tomb Stoning

Bude Beach Huts

Bude Bay - Bodyboarding

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Tintagel Castle

The weather stayed clement for the first two and a half days before English Summer Time took hold. On the Wednesday I persuaded the boys to indulge some English Heritage culture with a visit to Tintagel Castle. Tintagel is a small village (again on a cliff top) but with a dramatic bay and the historic site on the nearby cliff structure. The castle probably dates back to around 1000AD and is one of the few clearly traced sites of Arthurian Legend. I’m very fond of our ancient history and tracing the Arthurian Legend is fraught with speculation. Tintagel claims to be the seat of Uther Pendragon, Arthurs father, and the site of many battles, and the mysterious and impressive Merlins Cave. Its one of those places with human activity writ large on its collapsed walls and unique for it. The landscape is incredible and as with many neolithic & bronze age sites its evident that our ancestors really appreciated a nice view.

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Eden Project

The Eden Project was a Millennial scheme that took an ecological and world view to renewal and developing technology. I visited there around 10 years age and its great to see how the site (an ex open cast mine) has flourished in that time. It was a very rainy day when we visited so also quite crowded. The organisation was however quite professional and we managed to enjoy the many interesting features of the project.

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The Hurlers

The Hurlers are a unique arrangement of three neolithic stone circles arrange in a line. They exist high on Bodmin Moor and on the day we visited we found a quite scary cloud of…..cloud which could easily have lead to numerous lost children and potential Hound of the Baskervilles terror. I took the best pictures I could in circumstances and in retrospect it was quite an experience to see the artefact overwhelmed by the environment. As an aside I was able to engage the smaller child’s attention to this trip on the basis that the nearest village is called ‘Minions’.

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St Ives & Porthleaven

Whilst geographically St Ives is maybe 40mins from Bude, given local roads and holiday traffic volume the trip took 1 1/2 hours. Still worth the trip. Another town with a very individual identity and locality. As with many Cornish villages, originally tied to the fishing industry it now relies on its natural beauty, coastlines, dudelicious waves and the wonderfully placed Tate St Ives. Always busy and shifting a million calories worth of Cornish Pasties a day in peak season. I didn’t have the heart or parental strength to take them around Barbara Hepworths studio but if you are ever down that way, I recommend it.

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We also took the opportunity to drop down across the peninsular to Porthleven, another scenic fishing village with great coastal views and the remnants of local industry, now threatened with big city seasonal investment. A very pretty place non the less.

Round Up

So, essentially – Cornwall = Good. Shoddy mobile coverage, beautiful landscape, road infrastructures that defy sat nav predicted eta’s, generally friendly locals, great (really great) local food produce, totally stuffed with historical points of interest, scenery that makes any amateur photographer look good …..and above, miles away from the day job. 5/5 whatever the weather.

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NueChromeWaVe – Album4

Vague Wave II

A very brief post to advise that for interested parties I’ve completed a new series of songs.

Most have appeared here in earlier form over the last 3 or 4 months but they are now collated together and available for your listening delectation.

The series has a page of its own which you can enjoy here. This has lots of pictures and a brief summary of each song together with links to additional detail previously posted.

Should wish to own this item it’s free unless you wish to donate to the cause. To pursue this option please visit the Bandcamp site through the links below.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

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Trilithon (Song For The Architect)

Stonehenge 01 ACN 2014

This post will be the last to include a new musical piece in 2014. Its been a good run and for me its been a breathless run, grabbing available time to throw herbs & sources into the mix. This one is the end of the Norfolk Cycle and finishes with a piece inspired by Hampshire & Wiltshire.

Some number of years ago I attended Winchester School of Art and during the first week of December, with Mrs A4+, I went back to have a look around- with the best part of 25yr gap. It was a bit of a flash back pilgrimage, I still have occasional dreams that fix in the town, and I was interested to see any changes that have occurred. The WSA Campus is a lot bigger, there are new shopping centres, but the core of the main thoroughfare and are around the Cathedral are unchanged. With a little more time I would have liked to walk some more of the area, the Water Meadows, the riverside area, St Catherine’s Mount but overall the visit was satisfying.

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The one thing I did want to do when in that neck of the woods was to visit Stonehenge. Whilst its more associated with Salisbury its only 20mins drive away from Winchester. I am really quite entranced by the countries very early history, stone circles and long barrows of the peak district I’ve referenced previously in pictures, sounds and moving images. Stonehenge is the ‘holy grail’ (ok, maybe thats in Glastonbury theoretically) being the largest megalithic structure in Northern Europe. Raised between 3000 & 2000 years BC its an unbelievably impressive example of planning & will. The stones were transported over huge distances, shaped with minimal available materials, organised and plotted with unerring precision and raised by methods we can only guess. The site was used over a millennia and was adapted and evolved throughout that time.

Bronze Age people produced monuments from the Mediterranean, through central Europe and up into the British Isles that have endured and surpassed constructions from later more adept civilisations. I’m always struck by the thought of the individual the directed the concept. No matter what the capability of the hive, there must be an architect, scratching in the sand, watching the sky, pointing the way.

The following images are Holga photographs on 120 film with intentional overlapping.

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Winchester Cathedral is a similarly engrossing edifice. When at college I spent quite a lot of time in there, copying patterns, looking at sculpture and being overwhelmed by the architecture. Despite my issues with organised religion I’ve always been fascinated by the power of spaces such as this. They exemplify wonder & glory even though in the main they were constructed through forced labour, associated poverty and coercion over extended periods of time. From York & Lincoln Cathedrals in the UK, the Sacre Coeur in Montmatre, the Alhambra Palace in Granada and the Sagrada Famila in Barcelona the human impulse to honour abstract and indefinite visions is frightening in its intent.

The following are some motion blur picture taken of the windows in Winchester Cathedral.

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So at the end of all this what are we left with? An admiration of the designer, an inability to understand the effort and methods of the builders and the chatter of history – wedding and flowing in it’s attempt to theorise the cause and inception of these great things.

The song / soundscape that I’ve ended up with is a long form piece, a snick over 25 minutes long. It’s roughly in three parts although the overlay doesn’t lead to clean section breaks. The sections are essentially Conception-Construction-Communion.There are repeated sounds in each that link them but they ultimately form the ‘Trilithon. the rock in three parts.

The track uses my ‘kitchen sink’ of tools including Launchpad (for the majority of the chill/cinematic sounds), Amplitude (for effected guitars and for the first time real bass guitar) and is finished off using LANDR mastering which whilst ‘off the peg’ seems to work well in bringing everything to workable level. The middle section might have the affect of inducing some anxiety but it does ‘come down’ in the closing section. In the words of Bill Hicks “it’s just a ride”.

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The Rain in Space

Dub From Another Planet

 

It’s been a little while since I’ve been able to sit down and indulge a little self promotion. In that time I’ve managed to finish two new songs. Both are in some way the result of finding new apps and web resources. So what follows is a brief explanation of the content and the process.

Dub From Another Planet.

This comes two new discoveries. The first is an iPad application called ‘Launchpad’ from Novation. The Company produce midi keyboards and pads to connect with your device (although I just used the standalone app). The app gives you a number of ‘genre’ styles (Drum & Bass, Hip-Hop, Trance etc) from which the one I’m most familiar with is ‘Reggae & Dub’. I have history with the music of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Dennis ‘Blackbeard’ Bovell and artist like Eek’A’Mouse, MackaB & Ini Kamoze. The app use a grid format with columns of tracks and within that numerous loops and effects which you can play live and record into the app.
Around the same time I started playing with that NASA made available some free to use sounds that have been recorded from electron telescopes and other sources. These include the sounds of Quasars and galaxies. They are quite fascinating and, like looking into the embers of a fire, its easy to find patterns in the chaotic static. The whops and squeaks are all in this case of extraterrestrial origin. Its incredibly fascinating stuff.

You can find more of those here: https://soundcloud.com/nasa

I’ve used sounds from NASA, the dub track and a fair amount of processing through Audacity & Garage Band. And this is the result.

Whilst I’m a little less ‘down’ with some of the other genres in Launchpad the flexibility of timing and adding different loops makes this an endlessly entertaining and creative tool. Whilst I’m more likely to investigate ‘Trance’ my son seems to think ‘Dubstep’ is the way to go.

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Shortly Before The Flood

The second song which came to fruition really quite quickly is a mass of rhythm & percussion loops. The main loop that acts as the foundation is a reverse of copied/constructed digital version of Led Zeppelin’s ‘When The Levee Breaks’. Its running a little faster and doesn’t include any of the lovely fills that a real drummer would use, and its backwards…. The other loops are all from GarageBand and also includes some ‘Rev’ freebies (I think i would enjoy Rev but its a bit rich for me).

The theme of course derives from the base loop but as this sequence as been in many ways informed by our Norfolk adventure earlier in the year I took into mind the sound of rain on a caravan roof. There’s nothing like being in a caravan in a serious storm. The rain fall is amplified and the only thing keeping you from lightening shock is a couple of rubber tyres.

The dripping rain sounds (like a leaking roof resolved by kitchen pots & pans) are from sampled and processed guitar noises. The electrical storm at end is feedback and stretched chords.

It sounds exactly like this and I’m still quite taken with it.

My feature image for this song is a Norfolk picture with a section of a Gustave Dore illustration for Noah’s Ark. Always had a fondness for a good engraving.
I was uncertain of the title for a while but it is what it is. Its a little close to ‘Here Comes The Flood’ and any other number of deluge (love that word) related tunes. I’m happy with it whatever the weather.

The one thing I’d like to add to this the on-line mastering application Landr. I’ve used a few device to try and balance & equalise tracks but as the input is often variable it’s been problematic to avoid those sonic shocks when sequential tunes leap around in volume. Landr seems to solve this and the (free) MP3 out put is really good. For a monthly fee they offer WAV files. In my view I think they should run accounts and charge per track. Their monthly fee for four WAV files is fair but you would need to be consistent to need this. And I’m anything but consistent.

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You Don’t Believe In Witchcraft, Do You?

The Necromancer

Taking a small cue from the current season of Halloween, I’d like to introduce my latest tune. I’m often on the side of not providing deep deconstruction of creative pieces but as I’m only going to skirt around the broader themes and add some rough background and some treats.

Before I start wittering on, this is the meat and bones of the post. A new song, a long song, and one I’m quite pleased with for its continuity and its formation.

In a quick answer to the opening question, no, I don’t. I’m sure there are folk who would intentionally mystify their activities to gain favour, power and money but I doubt they are truly dangerous or possessed of otherworldly powers. Of a more fatal type historically have been those ‘gifted’ with a skill to spot a Witch and claiming of a divine right to persecute and punish any that slip outside of their sphere of control. A nasty business from both sides and sadly perpetuated today across many communities. Fear in the unknown is a powerful persuader.

The mythology of witchery is pan-continental and with extensive history. Folk stories exist from ancient Greece, China and across Europe. Africa and its vast diaspora embrace it and continue to use its power throughout Africa and the West Indies. It’s endlessly occupying in the darker sides of life and bleeds out into fiction of all types. From schlock pulp, comic books, magical realism and beyond we love witchery in all its forms.

Since I was a 11-12 year old staying up with my Dad to watch Hammer movies I’ve always loved the horror genre. I’m less inclined to watch some of the contemporary gorefests that arise. The sense of mystery and the unseen is far more powerful. Along with the ‘Wicker Man’, ‘The Devil Rides Out’ the classic Dracula/Mummy/Werewolf movies I’ve had a long appreciation for ‘The Night of The Beast/Demon’. As it wasn’t readily available I bought an import VHS copy about 10 years ago. More recently I found an import DVD copy.
Now it’s even on You Tube?

Its a brilliant cross over UK/USA production made in 1957. Lots more about it here. It’s interesting to me in that it proposes the relationship between belief in outcomes and how belief can lead outcomes. The original story was written by M.R. James, an historian and academic who wrote several ghost stories. Apparently a new film version of this particular story has been proposed.

My song uses as its lead in an exchange between the two main characters of film – Dr. John Holden, the American rational psychologist and Dr. Julian Karswell, the professorial academic with a leaning towards the dark side. A far more well known use of text from this film is found in Kate Bush’s ‘Hounds of Love’….Its in the Trees! Its coming!…

For your further enlightenment, this is the film in question. Its a wonderful thing.

Sonically the tune progresses in a simple linear way – Introduction>Consolidation>Expansion>Proclamation>Disintegration. Most of this achieved through layers of rhythm and increasing distortion, I did want to include something nailed to reality and was inclined to find a real Witch.

 

Like the fictional Carswell in the movie, Aleister Crowley was an historian & academic. He was a great self promoter and was variously known as the ‘The Great Beast’ and the most evil man in England. In more recent times he has been further mythologised by references from Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne, Ian Gillan and any other Satanic referencing Rock/Metal band.

Many years ago I borrowed ‘Magik in Theory & Practise’ from my local library with one or two strange looks. Its a lengthy and mainly unreadable book that serves in many ways as a diary of Crowley’s onianism and its outcomes. Crowley travelled widely and assisted many archeological expeditions in the mediterranean, south America and China and was undoubtably committed to research and comparative cultures. He was worldly and well informed as well as being somewhat deviant in other areas. Its proposed that during the early years of the Second World War he worked with MI5, along with Ian Fleming, Roald Dahl & Dennis Wheatly producing mystified disinformation for Nazi opponents – it was even suggested that he came up with the popularised ‘V’ for Victory sign.

In the song , during the middle section I’ve used a recording of Crowley intoning a ‘prayer’ about America. One of the main edifices of Witchery is presentation, intonation…. ‘giving it some scary’. Crowley achieves this better than most. There’s a touch of the William Burroughs about it.

This is the recording I used for the song.

The song use a number of processes and apps. Mainly produced using Garageband with added Rev loops. The main guitar was my Eros Les Paul copy (£45 in 1985, nice pots) recorded in Amplitude. I guess I had some God Speed You Black Emperor In mind, or maybe Swans. I’m consistently surprised these things turn out without being completely discordant.

I’m working on that though.

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Sea Song and other fictions….the album.

Sea Song Project

I can now report that my third musical venture has landed. ‘Sea Song and other fictions’ is available to buy and download from my Band Camp page. You can find it here.

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I have written an epilog / postmortem /sleeve note for the project which has its own page here . I hope this goes some small way to explain the project.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

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Sea Song (Water In My Eye) Revisited

I’m posting this for house keeping as much as interest. This has been on the blog as page for quite some time. That particular page will be replaced to reflect the larger project in the next few days but I didn’t want to lose this entirely. So, step back in time to November 2013 and dive into ‘Sea Song’.

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This piece started life in the back of my mind a month or more before we went on holiday in September. I used some ‘field noise’ in a few of my previous audio creations and broadly had in mind something in the ambient vein, lengthy and unstructured, painterly if at all possible.

As I’m not bound by the need to be taken seriously or to generate income from these exercises I’m blessed with the freedom to let the process happen. As with many good intentions I collected far less environmental noise than I had hoped and ended up with only limited material. From the beginning of the piece there is an almost white noise wave hiss, this has been chopped, echoed, stretched and spliced through out the piece.

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The rhythm track is built up using 60bpm sequences created in DMX#1 on iPad. The intent being to slow down the heart rate, much like the calming experience of watching waves hit a beach or as is used further on, watching the flow from a water fall hit the pool below.

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Further related images and sounds were gathered from both Wollaton Park and Newstead Abbey. Newstead in particular has a feature lake that feeds a number of water features, falls & streams that have all given poetic and meditative pleasure for many years. Like the wind effects I used in the Gib Hill piece these environmental backdrops provide an anchored and enduring point of reference for deep lying human experience.

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I had very much intended to create a single lengthy work and the overall extent of the final item (which runs to a little over 24mins) was determined by a 4x stretch of the base wave noise recorded in Majorca. True speed usage of the sound also reveals the only human noise, the voices of children jumping waves.

Through the more intense third quarter the sounds from the waterfall at Newstead take precedence, that absorbing crushing flow (recorded from behind the fall), linked with the guitar feedback and single note bass.

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The still images included here are shot on an iPhone using the Hipstmatic app. Hipstamatic was the reason I first got an iPhone four years ago and still find it to be a hybrid of dice and sketch pad when it comes to snatching an affected memory. In the first instance these had a monochrome sepia tone but this has been removed for a pure grainy B/W final image.

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In much the same way the video content has been captured on the iPhone and processed, de-coloured, filtered and slowed down using iMovie. The hypnotic effect of letting your eyes  defocus whilst staring at the sea or a reflecting pool, Narcissus face flowing into the weeds and pebbles under the surface of the water. The movie was shot in HD and all credit to You Tube for taking the best part of 24hrs to cook the file into a viewable movie.

This is the full audio version of Sea Song (Water in my Eye)

This is the video.

Please enjoy, download and share freely.

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Late in……

Peter Hook Rescue Rooms July 2014

 

This one is overdue and under cooked. In a rare event of two nights out in a row I caught a couple of great gigs last week.

Thursday was Peter Hook & the Light. Currently touring the early New Order albums Movement and Power, Corruption & Lies. I’ve played both of these to death in the past so have been really looking forward to these shows. Hooky doesn’t disappoint. The band seem to spend a lot of time on the road and are tight and enthusiastic. The Rescue Rooms has great sound for a small venue and even near the front it was not so loud as to be  distorted. Encouraging to see a large number of middle-aged chaps joshing at certain points as well.

Here’s a sample of it. It jumps around along with the crowd.

The following clip if from the next night in Holmfirth.

With the current kickball competition on-going they also did ‘World In Motion’ which seemed to get some enthused. For me the closing riot of ‘Temptation’ did the trick. Here’s a properly filmed version.

And then……

Brian Jonestown Massacre July 2014

The following night was the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Currently touring to promote their new album ‘Revelation’ . They are still a 5 guitarapocalypse of psych rock. The new album is a great thing and they mixed new and old material throughout the show. This is ‘The Devil May Care (Mom & Dad Don’t). This was filmed by the bloke standing next to me during the show.

Anton seemed in fairly decent humour and only stopped the band twice to whup them into shape.

This is a song from the new album, ‘Vad Hande Med Dem’. I believe its Swedish.

If you have an urge theres a demo version of the album here. Dig!

 

 

Blue vinyl! mmmmmmmmm……

Brian Jonestown Massacre - Revelation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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