Tag Archives: Music

Motion Blur on The Loke

The Loke

A couple of these pictures appeared on ‘Hemsby Havok’ page for last month. I took a dozen or more pictures using long exposure and moving the camera around. Several retain traces of the place, a low sunset shining through a gap in the hedge at the back of the caravan site, but in the main they are almost completely abstracted. At the time I was waiting for the barbecue to settle down from fire to cooking mode whilst entertaining a bottle of Spanish beer. Now summers gone, like the fire and the beer, but at least there are the memories……

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All of the pictures are post processed in Snapseed for colour saturation and sharpness.

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I’m also including here a new song. This is called ‘The Loke’. I saw this on a street sign in the areas around Hemsby. There is something of a witchy nature to the place. The number of very large churches very close together in what are quite small villages seems to indicate an embedded guilt or need for absolution. I had a need to watch The Wicker Man & Night of the Demon when we got home. It seems a Loke is a cul-de-sac or dead end in this context but Wiktionary suggests ‘from Middle English *loke, from Old English loca (“a bar, bolt; enclosure, stronghold”), from Proto-Germanic *lukô, *lukōn (“lock, opening”), from Proto-Indo-European *lewg- (“to bend, turn”).’
Its the first piece that I’ve done that features a special guest stunt guitarist. We managed to avoid the traditional process of collaboration and its mearly fortuitous that this works. The Soundcloud link shows a subtitle of ‘Pre Reprieve’ as theres a good chance this might not be the final or only version of the track.

As with many of the other pieces this is made with iRig and Amplitube on iPad, includes Ebow and other screech making devices. It also makes more controlled use of the drum builder in GarageBand. I think its quite a step forward but maybe I’m easily pleased.

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More Holga fun & The Great Yare

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One of the ‘left overs’ from the Hemsby Havok page is a couple of rolls of Holga 120mm film. I took a roll of Kodak colour film and a roll of Ilford B/W (both out of date) with me. Unlike iPhonography its old school point and shoot with no preview or review. I very mush intended to make use of every exposure and tend part wind the frames so there are double exposures and near panoramas. After getting the film developed (or washed, a phrase I like) I get them scanned as a single strip and then chop and process them on iPad in Snapseed (with a little bit of Photoshop).

These are mainly taken on the dunes or on the beach. I’ve not added any imagery or cleaned them other than a little sharpness & contrast. They have the vagary of memory, fleeting and not entirely accurate. I still find them evocative.

This is the first set from the colour film roll. I had the view set to 16 frames so the individual frames are a little more portrait than the 12 view. Click on any of the images for full screen view.

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The second set are from the B/W film. The linear & text artefacts are from the editing process, accidental but included for continuity.

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One final addition, also a result of road trip is a musical piece. There are little roads and alleys in the are near where we stayed called ‘The Craft’ and ‘The Loke’ (bar, bolt) which to my mind have a slightly witchy and medieval connotation. For that reason this ‘song’ uses (just like the ‘Hounds of Love’) a little background noise from the brilliant movie ‘Night of the Demon’.

There are 3 or 4 basic levels of slide guitar noise used in this, all recorded one evening after the children had passed into exhausted reverie, using the CBG guitar, iRig and Amplitube. Its turned out unexpectedly very much as I’d intended.

This is ‘The Great Yare’ My advice is to play it loud.

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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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//We tHrEE aND tHe DeAtH Rattle //

WTATDR01

In a slightly irresponsible move We Three and the Death Rattle suggested I might like to review their eponymous first full album. This is dangerous because I’m not a music critic and am liable to use the opportunity for some kind of self vindication of cultural back story and would probably use the sort of snarky and convoluted turn of phrase a professional would never employ. Oh well……

WTATDR are a Leicester based trio of musicians who I’ve seen a couple of times. The first time supporting Josh T Pearson, the second time supporting Mike Watts Il Sogno Del Mariano project. They are an excellent live band. They are loud, committed, skilled and without overt pretence. The singer fills out the sound with maracas and a skill for Theremin teasing as the the others pound out primal bluesy, ripped up r’n’r without the hint of an affected accent. They prowl on their musical references avoiding pastiche and obvious reference. You might find the odd sign post in the lyrics – witchery, black cats, jackknife truck wrecks, swamp dwellers, playboy dolls suicide – more colour than narrative. The broken hearts seem grateful for being given a sense of purpose, alligators bite as it’s in their nature and bombs are built to explode – so lets get on and do this thing.

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Playing the album a few times over the last week I’m convinced that there is some local Grebo DNA filtering through. That pounded out in local boozer back room sound, sticky on the floor Converse soles, tattoos and check print shirt styling (sans sleeves) & fuzzed up glam punk mid-west buzz cut reminds me off ancient Leicester band Gaye Bykers on Acid (and in turn Bomb Party & Crazy Head) all urban funsters building on their teen influences and scratching grooves in vinyl of their own. I still have a deep fondness for that period of music. The missing link between an mis-remembered antecedent and the next big thing that forgot to happen. Grebo was an industrial post-NWOBHM blip that was shouted down by Grunge. It was way to hardcore and poorly scrubbed for quiet/loud dynamics being occupied by anthemic hooks, glam zombies, broken glitter balls and fuzzed up noise.

This is Hey Detonator!

A couple of reviews I’ve found elsewhere suggest the song set doesn’t progress but there’s no need to look for that. Of the 11 tracks, four that I’m aware of have been single or EP lead songs. These are the most rounded songs with the deeper grooves (Alligators, InPatients, Hey Detonator, Split Lips) and have probably had the most studio time spent on them. There are distorted textures and layers in most of the other tracks that are worth the attention – a flute, an organ break, a particularly squally guitar, a almost utterly dog audible Theremin break, a percussive and jazzy drum fill- all well executed sketches which, give them a decent advance and bunch more studio time would fill out and and push up the pulse rate. The guitar sound is really knocking on the door of the classic Cramps – broken blues, sub-pop – and with more overdubs and Dinosaur Jr sized stacks might break out and fly even higher.

This is Alligators….

As mentioned at the beginning they are a really good live band. They look, act and sound the part & play with conviction. Give them some bigger PA, larger audiences and longer sets and they will most likely wail & growl even louder. Listen to the CD on 10, 11 if you have it, it’s r’n’r after all. And they have a Theremin which is a total win, so everything’s groovy baby. I’m looking forward to seeing them again.

Track List

01: Down Out And Deep Fried
02: Hot Neptune
03: Stitches And Winners
04: Split Lips
05: Inpatients
06: Bipolarcoaster
07: Alligators
08: Double Or Quits
09: Hey Detonator!
10: You’re My Ammunition
11: Bitten By Dust

Released by http://www.pawpurrrecords.com

You can buy it here on Bandcamp which is way more Rock’n’Roll than iTunes http://pawpurr.bandcamp.com

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Six.By Seven at the Rescue Rooms

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This will end up as a non-linear piece. Mainly when I have a written thing in mind it gestates for a day or so, or appears fully formed at the moment of it’s birth pretty much without any critical capacity getting involved. A little like throwing fruit at a wall, some of it sticks and looks pretty, some of it drops into the dust.

I’ve mentioned in several previous posts my admiration for Six.By Seven. Their new album (Love and Peace and Sympathy) is a great record. Chris Olleys enthusiasm for the project has been immense and in no small part inspired by getting drummer Steve Hewitt from Placebo on board. Seeing them live brings sense to this enthusiasm.

But, skipping back an hour or so….

One of things that I’ve noticed and noted in previous ‘review’ posts is that even though I’ve turned out for the main event the starters have been surprising and impressive. From WTATDR & Variety Lights, there are a lot of really committed bands playing support the ticket sellers.

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The SIx.By Seven gig had three openers but sadly I only arrived in time to catch Grey Hairs. As they came out to check their equipment I had made some tiny preconceptions which where shortly trampled into sticky mush by their utterly clear mission to leave the audience shaken by commitment and volume. I looked them up when I got home and found their website here Both available recordings are worth a look. I’m particularly impressed by any band that can pull off a fresh cover of a Pere Ubu classic.

Grey Hairs RR02Listen to their take on Final Solution here….

Six.By Seven played the new album Love and Peace and Sympathy. Chris Olley wore a hat that made me think of Fields of the Nephelim which is odd because I never saw them and don’t really recall any of their material. At a push I would wear a hat like that but would probably opt for something more Sam Spade given the choice. The Rescue Rooms have really invested in their sound system in recent years and don’t seem to have acquiesced to any H&S policies when it comes to volume (this being a good thing).

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The set falls under awesome for filing. The band gave it their all, they had some great material that has a solid fingerprint but a good level of variation, and they are very skilled.

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One of the stand out tracks on the album is Truce. I managed to film that one, and its here…………

This is the album version of the song…

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Above all, a great night out. There is real music in the world and it’s nearer than you think.

Epilog

In a brave late night decision making style Chris Olley kindly agreed to a Twitter interview. The full text is included below. I think you’ll find it both incisive and informative.

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

21h

‪@ChrisOlley1 Did you get the video to work eventfully? I need more words for the post. How about a twitter interview. I’ll be Richard Maddely.

 

Chris Olley ‏‪@ChrisOlley1

21h

‪@adrian4acn yeah, Truce, looks great. Who’s Richard Maddely?

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

21h

‪@ChrisOlley1 Only someone totally committed to something other than idiocy could ask that. Well done. Interview has started.

 

Chris Olley ‏‪@ChrisOlley1

21h

‪@adrian4acn Is he part of Operation Yewtree?

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

21h

‪@ChrisOlley1 That’s yet to suggested so let’s move on. ‪@rescuerooms has really sorted its sound system out. So, tell us about the hat?

 

Chris Olley ‏‪@ChrisOlley1

21h

‪@adrian4acn ‪@rescuerooms The hat is a Stetson I found on Brokeback Mountain.

 

Chris Olley ‏‪@ChrisOlley1

21h

‪@adrian4acn ‪@rescuerooms Rescue Rooms was best venue of tour, best venue in UK I’d say! Amazing room, dressing room and PA soundman etc.

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

21h

‪@ChrisOlley1 ‪@rescuerooms Are you just saying that because you might bump into them in the Market Square? ‪#Nottingham is a tight city.

 

Chris Olley ‏‪@ChrisOlley1

21h

‪@adrian4acn ‪@rescuerooms No, we all thought that. Rock City is best venue in UK, I’ve always said that, to watch bands I mean, and play!!

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

21h

‪@ChrisOlley1 ‪@rescuerooms I agree. The National Trust has a preservation order on the carpet apparently….

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

21h

‪@ChrisOlley1 Moving on, the new album has an iconic front  cover. Is there a Beatles reference relating to the inner spread?

 

Chris Olley ‏‪@ChrisOlley1

21h

‪@adrian4acn No, it had all the lyrics on it but we used invisible ink. It was a fuck up but great for signing autographs on the tour!

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

21h

‪@ChrisOlley1 The band is really well rehearsed and slay the songs. How did you meet Steve the drummer and does he come with a H&S policy?

 

Chris Olley ‏‪@ChrisOlley1

21h

‪@adrian4acn Knew him from Placebo days, touring with them, he’s a hard living man!

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

21h

‪@ChrisOlley1 He certainly gave me a day & 1/2 of tintinitus. The tours over now, will you be doing more gigs soon, here or in other lands?

 

Chris Olley ‏‪@ChrisOlley1

12h

‪@adrian4acn Hopefully a bigger tour in November. We will also be playing in Poland in October.

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

20h

‪@ChrisOlley1 Last question. You speak German. Is there a possibility that you could do a Helden and record Waffenstillstand?

 

Chris Olley ‏‪@ChrisOlley1

12h

‪@adrian4acn Waffenstillstand?

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

12h

‪@ChrisOlley1 it’s the closest Google translate could get to ‘Truce’ It’s a shapely looking word.

 

Chris Olley ‏‪@ChrisOlley1

12h

‪@adrian4acn Oh yeah! Truce is Waffenstillstand. In the context of this song though it’s probably more like ‘Ruhe’.

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

12h

‪@ChrisOlley1 That would better in the context of the song as well.

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

12h

‪@ChrisOlley1 So on that note, Chris Olley, thank you and good night!

 

Chris Olley ‏‪@ChrisOlley1

10h

‪@adrian4acn Goodnight Adrian 🙂

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BLUE(Sound)

BLUE(Sound)

With typically mis timed aplomb, on Tuesday I floated my latest musical endeavour. It’s called BLUE(Sound) and so like the previous release ‘No Direction’ places me firmly in the realm of the boy band. Apart from the music aspect…. and my age range, potential demographic, chance of ever selling a piece of product…. Still, at least I’m a real artist (insert smiley face).

I’ve written a fairly lenghty and representative description of the project here and have managed to get the artefact produced, so now I know it’s real. Not unlike Dinosaur Jr who recalled ‘The Farm’ when it came out for being mastered louder than it should be (endless question marks) I’m still trying to get a couple of the songs properly volumnised so they hurt as much as was intended..

The packaging and the blog post include some pictures that I’m quite pleased with. The whole thing hangs together quite well over all.

You can play all of the songs on the Band Camp player below. I definitely recommend cranking your volume up on the two tracks ‘Hallucinogenic Toreador Blues & Gib Hill Blues, especially the latter.

Buy a ticket, take the ride as a great man once said…

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Gordon Giltrap

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This is a quick late night post. Warning! It’s terribly rock’n’roll.

In the really quite lovely setting of the 800 year old ecclesiastical establishment, All HallowsGedling, the respected English guitarist Gordon Giltrap, earlier this evening entertained a full pew set with pieces spanning his career.

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I’m not quite sure how I made it there. A friend emailed me the details a while ago and having some vague recollection of the man I said yes. Very pleased I did as well.

He is massively skilled and the playing was beguiling to watch.

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Here are a couple of videos of two of the most outstanding pieces, although all of it was fascinating.

This first one is called Dodo’s Dream and uses live played loop effects to brilliant effect….

This one he played as the encore and is really quite stunning…..

And I want one of these……

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Pere Ubu & Variety Lights

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Im sure I’ve said this before, but sometimes when you pays your money for ticket, even if its a random whim, there’s a good chance it will be worth it. Case in point this evening.  A few months ago, with nothing on the horizon I checked the diary for the Rescue Rooms and notice Pere Ubu. I last saw them in the mid eighties, somewhere in London, probably around the time ‘Waiting for Mary’ came out. I had cassettes of Dub Housing & The Tenement Years. It was probably cool to be into them. They where the american art rock band that were that little bit more obscure than Talking Heads or Television. Even though their albums had go to anthemic tracks, they hid them well in amongst strangeness and impenetrability.

Before I went out this evening I looked at a few recent performances on You Tube and had a read around This quote seems to sum them up quite well.

“Pere Ubu is not now nor has it ever been a viable commercial venture. We won’t sleep on floors, we won’t tour endlessly and we’re embarrassed by self-promotion. Add to that a laissez-faire attitude to the mechanics of career advancement and a demanding artistic agenda and you’ve got a recipe for real failure. That has been our one significant success to this date: we are the longest-lasting, most disastrous commercial outfit to ever appear in rock ‘n’ roll. No one can come close to matching our loss to longevity ratio.” – David Thomas

Here is one of their recent performances.

David Thomas is the main and central point of the band. He seems tired, belligerent, and has the bearing of  a man who would like a nice sit down and glass of wine (all of which I sympathise with). He must also be creatively driven and at ease with his place in the real world. In the real world Pere Ubu sold billions of albums, only through accidental laziness did they stop being in the global pop charts for around about 76 minutes.  They personally gave Jon Bon Jovi his first leg up the ladder, invented auto tuners so that Cher, Britteny & Bieber could achieve what they did. Following on from tonights discrete personal invite gig at the Rescue Rooms they will open a seven night residency at Wembley which is of course sold out. But thats in the real world and as he pointed out, this is just a dream. He’s the only one who has to suffer wakefulness. Just…

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Here they are with their multi billion selling tune from 1986…..

So there you have it. I’ll confess that I knew vaguely about 3 or 4 songs. They didnt play Mary or Final Solution (the latter probably due to some meat head shouting “Play ‘Sonic Reduction’!”…. if you are going to shout out requests, at least get the name of the song right), but it doesn’t matter. It was an utterly beguiling hour & half and I hope they sold a bucket of merch’ and enjoyed the atmosphere. And I hope David gets a nap and lie in tomorrow. He’s been at this for the better part of 40 years and life in the real world is hard.

David Thomas - Pere Ubu

I have to also mention the support. I’d not noticed that there would be another band on and arrived shortly after they had started. Variety Lights are unknown to me but had a presence and uniqueness that made me put my hand in my pocket and buy the CD. They reminded me of all the things i had been trying to achieve in my recent musical day trips. Except of course they had some skill and ability. According to the CD Variety Lights are David Baker & Will MacLean-Keys. Those who know will know that David Baker was the original singer in Mercury Rev. Once I’ve heard the CD ‘Central Flow’ I’ll tell you more, but it was exceptional. This is their single.

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He Will Never Find Us

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Apostates…. Another song for you. This finished yesterday and almost 100% original content. The main loops and extended sounds are courtesy of my friend Obo (Ken). He provided some midi snatches and mp3 noodles which I’ve hacked, cut / pasted, stretched, phased, echoed and mutilated. Strangely this has ended up as the most structured and almost listenable piece so far.

What is it about I imagine you asking? The vocal for what it is, is a mantra repetition of the title (well almost, it’s actually “He Can Never Find Us”). It references the world in a grain of sand, insignificance, he won’t find us because he’s not looking. Maybe it’s ‘the man’ or the ‘Man’. It doesn’t matter.

So, a happy place song. Relax, you’re just paranoid.

….and….back in the room. Here, better late than never is the video. Due to the ebb and flow of my interest, not in the least what I had in mind. I do however really like the images and think they roll with the theme. The theme being we are in the end dust, stone, memories and deference….and little more. So basically ‘He’ will never find us because we will be small and long gone. Smiley Face!!

 

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Exposed to Infinity – Mark Ward

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