Thursday, May 31, 2012

June 2012's calendar / wallpaper

June 2012's Calendar :: 1600x1200

I really liked this black and white portrait of Pippin and thought I'd share it as this month's calendar / wallpaper. I know it's a bit personal... I hope you don't mind?

Some but not all the usual flavours are included below... the dates on the 1280x800 crowded Pippin's face. I hope you enjoy and thanks for everyones willingness to have my photography on their devices... it is appreciated by me.


iPhone with calendar + iPhone without calendar
980x800 for Andrew Berry's HTC Desire HD

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Loving... the cover of "Please Please Me"

Tonight I was looking for "Twist and Shout" for Miriam. She's a fan of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and loves the seen where Ferris sings (mimes) the song.

I found it on "Please Please Me"... and whilst there I took another look at the cover and was blown away by it.

It's such a great shot. So good, in my opinion, that I did a bit of digging and found this on Wikipedia...

"George Martin, a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London, owners of the London Zoo, thought that it might be good publicity for the zoo to have The Beatles pose outside the insect house for the cover photography of the album. However, the Zoological Society of London turned down Martin's offer, and instead, Angus McBean was asked to take the distinctive colour photograph of the group looking down over the stairwell inside EMI's London headquarters in Manchester Square. Martin was to write later: "We rang up the legendary theatre photographer Angus McBean, and bingo, he came round and did it there and then. It was done in an almighty rush, like the music. Thereafter, though, The Beatles' own creativity came bursting to the fore."

Love it. The perspective draws the eye to the name of the band... and the smiles of the band look so natural, youthful and of-the-moment. I also love the angle it's place at.

Seriously... I can only dream of creating a cover that good.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Summer Bottled... a jaunty tune and a sweet USB

The folks over at Carling Zest sent me this mixtape-on-a-USB-stick recently. They are promoting their new beer with a music promo and since I like my tunes and blog about great music... they thought I'd be a good person to have a wee listen.

Of the three musicians featured - DJ Yoda, Jaguar Skills and DJ Food - only the DJ Food track really grabbed me... but then I'm a fan of theirs and glad they were chosen to feature in their promotional activity. I've embedded the video for you to check out below. It has a really delightful retro feel about it.

I like their approach to making the music... using samples of their samples, so to speak. The cut-and-paste style using these samples reminds me of Hexstatic from the turn of the millenium... and the awesome Matthew Herbert. They have an app out that allows you to try your hand at making music in this manner too. Go here to give it a go.

Now... what is a tea-totaller like myself promoting a beer... well, the nice folks did give me a fab wee USB stick that is shaped as an audio cassette... and I was taken with it as an artefact.

I can't comment on their beer or if it is as zesty as they claim... but the USB, on the other hand, is a fab device and one that has real potential within the DIY independent music / netlabel scene. I'm not sure how much they cost to buy... but at 4gb I could put a number of weareallghosts releases on it or my musician friends could sell their whole back catalogues and make it something special... USB sticks in their present form factor (unless they are Mimobots) just aren't sexy... this one is... and has the potential to be customised further easily with a sticker.

So yeah... enjoy the tunes, have a wee play with the app, drink their beer sensibly and consider ways you can support great independent music.




Alibaba have a good selection of Cassette USB drives... go here to see them.

Coming soon... the 3rd release on weareallghosts

I've just announced over on weareallghosts details of our third release... fans of ambient, electronic and post-rock sounds will be particularly impressed with this four track EP from Apta.

It drops on Monday, 6th June. For more... go to weareallghosts.


PS As an aside... can anyone name the building featured in the cover art?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Loving... Brad Ross-MacLeod's artwork for Free Floating Music

One of my favourite netlabels at the moment is Brad Ross-MacLeod's Free Floating Music. The label features some truly great moments... and has brought me some real joy with their releases from Phillip Wilkerson and Daniel Robert Lahey as well as their Christmas compilations.

One thing that I've been thinking about recently is how seriously good the artwork is on each release. Take their latest release - "Highlands"...

or "breathing may surprise".

Tange's "I Will Tell The Audient Void"...

or the 2011 Christmas compilation "All Is Calm".

Each one truly unique but wonderfully vibrant, clear and expressive. Kudos to Brad Ross-MacLeod for his efforts. His artwork is an inspiration to me... as is his netlabel and his super-cool collaborative attitude regarding the community we are both part of.

I don't think I am alone in my desire to see these graphics adorning 12" vinyl covers!

I would heartily recommend the music on Free Floating... it's my kind of ambient.


Loving... "The Blue Nature of Everyday" by Leonardo Rosado

A wee while back I spoke of "The Blue Nature of Everyday" by Leonardo Rosado... it was released to help him recover financially from a robbery that left him without his laptop and a number of other digital essentials.

I bought it without even listening to it... and actively recommended you to do the same. I was proud to do my bit to help him out.

One thing I have been amiss in doing since then was to comment about how truly wonderful it is as a release. The music became, for a short period of time, a secondary consideration... what was more important was helping Rosado out.

However... I have had the time to listen to it and I have to say... it is a truly marvellous release... filled to the brim with some wonderfully engaging, immersive and mentally stimulating ambient drone.

The soundscapes he presents on this release are just lovely. He has based his drones around the piano... and complemented them, in places, with some intriguing found-sounds. I particularly like the delicate sounds from a music box in "Variation in Blue #2: A Curtain" or the bursts of static or the rain in "Variation in Blue #4: Before the Storm".

There is a delicious mysteriousness about the sounds... like they should form the backing to a post-modern retelling of a film noir. The tracks have a real soundtrack quality to them... and they are a delight to listen to.

"The Blue Nature of Everyday" by Leonardo Rosado is a great release and one that I would heartily recommend. Have another listen below:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Happy 13th Birthday to my Dayna

Dayna & Miriam 180804
[Pictured with Miriam in 2004]

Dayna is 13 today.

Dayna & Miffy
[Pictured at a Dick Bruna exhibit in 2005]

She's grown into quite the geek princess... and I am very proud of her. She has a love for science, gaming, movies (especially fantasy and sci-fi), her MacBook and her iPhone, and her faith... a passionate love that inspires all who know her.

090410_ Dayna #2 (Camerabag'd Instant)
[Pictured in 2010]

Happy Birthday Dayna!


Saturday, May 19, 2012

From Shearing To Stamping... a video about Harris Tweed

Thoroughly enjoyed this video about the making of Harris Tweed when I saw it on and thought I'd repost it for you to watch.

One day I'll own a Harris Tweed three-piece suit.



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Loving... Aaron Draplin - The Inspiration Behind Field Notes

I saw this video over on A Continuous Lean and had to embed it here for your viewing pleasure.

Aaron Draplin... founder of Field Notes... is a really cool guy and what he has to say about the farming memo books that were given out by companies as wee promotions is really interesting.



Drafts for iPhone and iPod Touch

I downloaded this fab app last night that has fascinated me ever since I got it. The app is called "Drafts"... it's from Agile Tortoise... and basically it is a notepad that allows you to send your note to a myriad of different apps... most of which I use.

It connects to Twitter and allows you to send to any of your accounts (see above) - note: it shows the number of words and characters. You can send the note as an email or a text message (see below)... copy it to the Clipboard or send it to "Tweetbot" (I don't use the native Twitter app) or Things. The app finds all the apps you have installed and creates a custom list based on these apps.

It also allows you to save the note directly to "Dropbox" or to a number of other apps (listed in "Open in...") such as "iA Writer"... "Box"... and "Evernote".

Saving to "Dropbox", for example, was painless... select the option:

And it appears in a folder called "Drafts" within the "Apps" folder in your "Dropbox".

Saving to "iA Writer" was also very straight forward... select the app from the "Open in..." option:

"iA Writer" opens up and a dialogue box appears:

You can then continue to work with the note within "iA Writer":

It also works with "Simplenote" but I've stopped using that app because it lacks a Mac client.

The main thing for me... other than Twitter and Text Messaging, however... was the ability to send notes into the 'inbox' within "Things":

I don't use "Things" enough... mostly because it doesn't have an over-the-air sync for all my devices. That said... the ability to type my thoughts and send them to the 'inbox' for refining really does appeal and takes away the delay in capturing the action. I like that.

All in... it's a fab app and well worth the 69p I paid for it. I haven't mentioned all the features - it supports 'markdown', for example... but since I don't use them... I can't really talk about them.

That said... "Drafts" is so good... it now has a place on my iPhone's dock. I love how I now only have one place to capture ideas. I also love it's simplicity and it's exemplary execution... I hope Apple buys up the company and incorporates "Drafts" into iOS.

My thanks to @diecast for tipping me off!



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Seven questions... with Daniel Robert Lahey

After I posted about "breathing may surprise" by Daniel Robert Lahey... I got the privilege of speaking to him via the wonder that is Facebook. He was taken with my review and we got talking. I thought he'd be a cool chap to hear more from... so I asked if he'd complete my wee blog interview... he jumped at the chance.

This is what Lahey had to say:


1) Who are you and what do you do?
Daniel Robert Lahey, living in Seattle, WA, USA. I am a former software engineer, former classical guitarist, and currently unemployed. I have been making electronic music ever since I heard of Brian Eno and Robert Fripp's projects using long-delay tape loops and experimenting with my own, manipulating Bach's unaccompanied violin music played on the guitar. I got my first synthesizer, a Roland SH-101 in 1983. I've been sporadic about making music over the last 29 years, but circumstances have recently allowed me to focus on it more energetically.

2) What are you working on at the moment?
I'm working on finding my own sort of ambient music. I have some formal musical training and would like to meld those tendencies with my explorations of electronic sonorities. I don't have any specific project(s) going on other than really applying myself to making music to which I enjoy listening. I've taken to calling my pieces "thing_###" where "###" is a number between 001 and 999. This allows me to not have to think of a name when I go to save something that shows promise, and it is also a psychological device; a way of giving myself 999 tries at stumbling upon something that I find truly beautiful (I forgot to name the first one "thing_000" or it would have been 1000).

3) Who inspires you?
- Name an artist who has inspired you.
Philosophically? Brian Eno.
Musically? Steve Roach.
Since you said "an" artist, I'll say Steve. His deep harmonic textures are as awe-inspiring to me as the beauty of South-Western USA is to me, Steve (where he lives), and many others. No other ambient musician in my experience has gone as far in capturing the beauty and mystery of human experience. His music is almost as much visual to me as it is aural, and while melodies per se are not prominent in his music, melodies exist in much the same way as they exist in one's subconscious. I think of Eno's "Music for Airports" as ambient music's Old Testament, and Roach's "Structures from Silence" as the New Testament.

- Name place that has inspired you.
There are three places that have all inspired me equally: The Sierra Mountains in California, the deserts of The Southwest, and The Pacific Northwest of the US. I was fortunate to have done some backpacking in the The Sierras in my younger days. If they don't inspire awe in you then nothing will. The deserts of The Southwest are examples of the raw, stark beauty of nature left unspoiled for thousands of years. The Pacific Northwest, with its emerald forests, the Cascade Mountains, and the high desert of Eastern Washington is one of the most beautiful places I've experienced.

- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.
If I had to pick one (which I will say that I do), it would be Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus. My understanding is that it was written on his deathbed, and it sounds to me like a glimpse of The Eternal, like it never begins or ends, but begins and then ceases to be heard. It is, to me the most perfect piece of music I have ever heard. Wait, can I have two? Bach's A Mighty Fortress Is Our God sticks out in my memory as one of the first times I was touched very deeply by the possibilities of harmony.

4) What drives you to do what you do?
Very much the same thing that caused me to prick up my ears the first time I heard two notes played together on a piano. The energy and complexity caused by musical intervals fascinates me, and the discovery of combinations of tones and tonal progressions is so much more visceral and profound to me than any other experience. Discovering and recording such musical moments is responsible for a great deal of my feeling of self-worth, but there is also the sense that it has nothing to do with how worthy I am. Making peace between what might be identified as my ego and my authentic self is what I call "getting out of the way of the music." Or, in the words of Henri Frederik Amiel: "Cleverness is serviceable for everything, sufficient for nothing." The short answer to the question: When I have recorded and am listening to something that I allowed to happen rather than forced to happen, it is as close to bliss as I come.

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express? 
In terms of musical values, I want to find and share harmonies and sounds that are not hackneyed or simply reconstituted. In terms of human values, gentleness and compassion. I want to provide music that touches people deeply and which might help to expand tonal horizons and give a general sense that the world is a beautiful place.

6) What role does community play in what you do? 
There seems to be little or no interest in ambient music in the community in general. No one in my family is even remotely interested. The closest thing to ambient music that I see in the community is Muzak; simplistic, derivative, and insipid music meant for elevators and department stores. So the only community in which I've seen any interest in ambient music is that of the musicians, themselves. There are several online radio stations that have regular programs in which ambient musicians and the occasional enthusiast gather in chat rooms for mostly casual conversation, as well as the occasional foray into the topics of aesthetics, technique, and gear. I do have interest in playing live, however, and at some point I'd like to see venues and events that feature live ambient music getting more into the mainstream. Before that happens, however, Americans would need to learn how and why to slow down and actually listen, and to stop expecting heart-wrenching lyrics, dance beats, and screaming, virtuosic guitar and keyboard solos.

7) What is next for what you do?
In short, I'm working on what people refer to as "finding my voice." I'm allowing myself lots and lots of failures within my "thing" series wherein I wear out the musical devices and techniques that have proven fruitful so far in order to make room for new ones. Facilitated by my current situation, I am finally doing the work that, as a composer I've long known that I have to do: Fail, fail, fail again, and perhaps next time...find beauty. When the music I produce brings tears to my eyes - as one or two already have - then I'll know that I'm heading in the right direction.


Thanks Daniel! I look forward to checking out some of the artists and pieces you've mentioned.

Daniel Robert Lahey currently has an album out on Free Floating Music... one I would heartily recommend. Yes... it is ambient... but it has a wonderful sense of melody and fluidity... and I would highly recommend it. I've embedded it again below to let you hear it. Please support independent music... and an unemployed musician... and pick it up:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Loving... Organized Wonder

I have a love for shared video... especially short talks and documentaries... the kind TED and Coolhunting do so very well. I was, as you may imagine, overcome with joy when I discovered this site :: Organized Wonder :: thanks to a tweet from thefoxisblack.

They see themselves as... a way to share and discover the best talks, documentaries, interviews, short films and various other videos scattered across the web... think of them as Current TV but without the annoyingly hip presenters and *that* lassie who thinks she's funny but isn't really.

I, for one, am impressed and can see myself losing time to it. I am about to watch "Undercity" again, for example.

Recommend you check it out... and dip in regularly.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

This is beautiful... "breathing may surprise" by daniel robert lahey

Brad Ross-MacLeod... the man behind the Free Floating Music netlabel... is someone I deeply admire. His netlabel has and is an inspiration for weareallghosts. His taste in ambient music is impecable and the albums he helps make happen are wonderful.

I say this because I have fallen in love with "breathing may surprise" by Daniel Robert Lahey on Ross-MacLeod's Free Floating Music label.

It is truly exquisite! "Breathing may surprise" is a six-track release that features some truly engaging and restful ambient electronic soundscapes... pieces that vary in length from 5:23 through to 16:46... pieces that caress the mind with their delicate melodies and immersive structures.

Now restful isn't usually a term I'd use for ambient music... especially for tracks that are as melody-rich as these and not solely drones... but it seems apt to me... because Lahey's music does aid my relaxation... helping me to chill on a Sunday evening, for example.

"Breathing may surprise" is an album that needs to be explored... and to be experienced. I, for one, find it very rewarding indeed. I've embedded a Bandcamp player below to let you hear it... enjoy! This is ambient music at it's very best.



Saturday, May 12, 2012

Loving... Riccardo Betti working the Novation Launchpad like a virtuoso pianist

I thought this was fascinating when I followed the link from Coolhunting... filmed live, it shows Riccardo Betti working Ableton's Novation Launchpad like a virtuoso pianist.

Pure genius.


Three videos from that I totally love

I'll be honest... I'd forgotten how good Coolhunting's videos were... but then I watched these three and was blown away... they are totally exciting, inspirational and informative.



Loving... Conveyor and Spanish Prisoners

This week I was once again impressed with the power of social media... especially as it relates to independent music.

Earlier in the week I was followed by the band Conveyor on Twitter. I checked them out... as I like to do... and was deeply impressed with their Sun Ray EP.

Their sound is a wonderfully warm, upbeat and rather psychedelic form of indie rock... a sound that's so now for me right now.

The EP has been a nice palate-cleanser... it has acted as a nice opposite to the music I have to review and am planning to release (or have released) on my netlabel... the ginger to the spice and flavours of the other music on my plate.

I really like their sound and can't wait for their self-titled album to drop.

Now... when I downloaded the EP... I was presented with three recommendations from the band. I like this feature on Bandcamp and see it as a positive means of strengthening 'the scene' and encouraging your peers. This is the second example of the power of social media... recommendations!

One of the recommendations was Gold Fools by Spanish Prisoners... an album of the most wonderfully dreamy and (again) psychedelic indie pop... similar at times to Conveyor but delightfully different too. It is definitely a summer album... it has that lazy hazy kind of vibe to it that is again very now for me. If you like Beach House, Memoryhouse and other 'dream pop' bands then you'll really dig this.

I've embedded players with both releases on below to let you get the gist. Please take time to check them out and support them as best you can.

Oh and if you have a presence on Bandcamp, please use the 'recommendations' feature to support your peers... we are all in it together, afterall.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Seven questions... with Apta

I came across Barry Smethurst aka Apta's music through The Circle Project - Section1: elektronik where he remixed The Eternal Twilight's track "The Child" and, in turn, his track "Like you woke up too late" was remixed by The Echelon Effect. His music is the kind of ambient electronic-infused post-rock that I simply adore.

We got chatting via Twitter and then via email recently after I downloaded one of his earlier albums... he shared a couple of new tracks that he current has up his sleeve (which are fab, btw) and I thought it apt, at that point, to see if he'd answer my wee interview... he was more than happy to oblige... and this is what he had to say:


1) Who are you and what do you do?
I am Barry Smethurst, making music under the name 'Apta', and I do exactly that, as well as eat, sleep, watch poor TV programmes, the usual really.

2) What are you working on at the moment?
Well, as well as the ongoing (permanent) project of trying to get better at the stuff I really care about, i'm working on my first EP. I have only really ever released songs I felt weren't cohesive as a whole, or cohesive, but too short to really give people a reasonable taste of what I'm trying to achieve. I'm hoping to have that completed within the next month, and to have a completed (albeit small) compilation I can be happy with, and try to see if people enjoy. As for my first point, the ongoing goal of trying to get better at something I love will probably never stop, It's something every musician strives for, and even those I consider the pinnacle of their craft are probably striving for more as well.

3) Who inspires you?
- Name an artist who has inspired you.
A huge number of great artists have inspired me to do what I do, I get inspired by new musicians every day, and have a new favourite every week! However, If I had to choose a few musicians that have been instrumental in shaping my sound, and attitude, and ones that I still listen to years down the line they would have to be GY!BE (probably the all-time favourite), The Album Leaf and Keiran Hebden (Four Tet). There are hundreds more that skim through my mind as I list those 3, but they would only be an afterthought, so I'll leave it at that. (Bersarin Quartett - Because it's on the record player now... I had to!)

- Name place that has inspired you.
As I grew up in the countryside, I feel very much influenced by the serenity of open fields, and farms, old houses, barns, getting covered in filthy stuff, that kind of thing. However, in my adult life, I have lived in the city, and that has inspired me in an entirely different way. In Manchester there was ALWAYS a gig that I had heard about and could go to, and pretty much always cool music playing in some bar somewhere. I like the DIY ethic employed in promotion around bigger cities, and the sheer breadth of music on offer to everyone. I think it really makes things seem a lot more possible, and a lot more comfortable for musicians starting out... makes things seem a little less daunting. Not as undaunting as an empty field, but still...

- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.
I have been inspired by everyone I know that encourages me to do what I do. My beautiful girlfriend, loving family, and of course, all the amazing people out there supporting unknown artists, awesome selfless indie labels like Oxide Tones, and fantastic online blogs and magazines that sacrifice trying to appeal to every person possible to give those interested in a certain genres/subgenres an invaluable source to rely upon. It really does surprise me every day the support that people give to you, when you aren't so sure that what you're doing is any good. Everyone needs to improve, but having the confidence to do more is only brought about by those who encourage you, be that critically or in abject praise (The latter, is always nicer ;) )

4) What drives you to do what you do?
I am absolutely driven by the idealistic goal that one day I can make money doing what I love. There really is nothing more to it than that. Isn't that what everyone strives for?

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?
I have a strong belief that no music should ever be written specifically to please those who are listening to it. To do that (in my opinion) is to sacrifice the creative and emotional force behind the music in the first place. That is not to say the listener isn't important (quite the opposite in fact) I just don't feel that something that doesn't come from your heart can ever reach anyone else's. Does that answer the question?... probably not, in terms of values, I guess that's pride.

6) ) What role does community play in what you do?
As I mentioned before, community is hugely important, If I hadn't had the support of the music-making community, I wouldn't have carried on this far, or I might have but no-one would ever hear it.

7) What is next for what you do?
I'm going to keep playing, and recording music, tinkering with sounds, changing numbers on virtual rectangles and hitting things with other things.... and listening to people doing the same.


Thanks Barry!

Please check out his bandcamp page... and have a wee listen. I've embedded the player of the album I downloaded... to give you a flavour for his music. It's a free download over at bandcamp and one I think is well worth taking the time out to consume:

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Seven questions... with Ariel Loh from Stone Cold Fox

I covered Stone Cold Fox's upcoming EP yesterday... and was so impressed I wanted to know a wee bit more about the duo... so I asked Ariel Loh to complete my wee blog interview thingamebob... this is what he had to say:


1) Who are you and what do you do?
We are Stone Cold Fox, an independent band from New York. The creative force of the band consists of Kevin Olken Henthorn and myself, Ariel Loh, although we perform live as a five piece. We play rock music that has folk roots and pop elements.

2) What are you working on at the moment?
Currently we are working on playing live shows as well as recording a new single that will be out in summer and a new EP that will be released sometime at the end of the year.

3) Who inspires you?
- Name an artist who has inspired you.
Kevin and I have different inspirations and although some overlap, the differences is what makes us work well together. I think when we write we can both inspire each other. There are also bands such as Radiohead that inspires both of us.

- Name place that has inspired you.
Kevin is very inspired but childhood and his home in Maine. A lot of our songs are about growing up and nostalgia. For myself, it is quite the opposite: the future and the city (New York) inspires me.

- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.
The power of art inspires me, whether in the form of music or visual. Being able to bring a smile to someone's face and invoke emotion in them with creativity is one of the best things in the world.

4) What drives you to do what you do?
Often when I hear music at a show or even in the street, it can give me shivers through my body, and sometimes tears, because it is so good. I want to be able to reciprocate that same feeling with our music to others.

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?
For the band, we write about different things. In this EP we wrote about something that could be interpreted as sad (growing up) but we decided to write it in a happy celebratory vane instead of a darker sad tone. The songs portray a bunch of aspects of life, some which are happy some which are sad but at the end of the day I think we like to write happy uplifting music.

6) What role does community play in what you do?
I think music and art is a very collaborative thing and I think the creative community is super important. Working with different people creates new possibilities with what you do. Music, video, and art all go together and I think the collaboration of creativity on different mediums is very powerful.

7) What is next for what you do?
Next for us is to keep performing live, gain fans, and keep writing and recording new music.


You've gained a fan in me, Ariel!! Thanks for taking the time out to complete the interview and give us a wee insight into your influences. It's appreciated!


PS... "the Young EP" drops on iTunes on the 18th May. Please buy it and support excellent indie music at the grassroots.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Please help out Leonardo Rosado and get some awesome music in return

My dear friend, label head and ambient musician Leonardo Rosado was robbed over the weekend and needs your help. I'll let him tell it in his own words:

Due to having had my apartment robbed some very important items were stolen, among them my laptop and my SLR digital camera.

As you can imagine this is not only an horrible situation but it also cripples a lot my ability to make music, and run normally the two labels I run (FeedbackLoop Label and Heart and Soul Publishers).

Fortunately I had finished my latest album and now I am releasing it so I can buy at least a new laptop to be back to my activities as soon as possible.

I am aiming at a value of 2000€ so if you can help me by buying my album I would be very thankful.
Rosado is a key player in my musical community... and I stumped up the 6€ without hesitation or, in fact, streaming the album first. His music is first class and I would highly recommend it.

I've embedded the album below to allow you to have a listen. That said... if anyone deserves your help... Rosado does. He's a giver and it's time for his community to give back.


Loving... "The Young EP" by Stone Cold Fox

I love it when I receive an out-of-the-blue tweet or email from an artist or band who would like me to hear their music. Usually these messages come from folks that I've built up a relationship with... but sometimes (exception not rule) they come from someone I don’t know. I welcome all music but have to ask for an offline copy... I do a lot of my deep listening on the train or walking the dog... and streaming just doesn’t work for me in these settings.

Anyway, I received an email from Ariel Loh from Stone Cold Fox... an indie rock duo from New York. He saw my review of Sink \ Sink (his friend, Calumn is part of Sink \ Sink) and wondered if I would take a listen to his band’s latest EP... entitled ”the young EP”. I was honoured to be asked and grateful to be given an mp3 copy to consume.

My initial reaction was delight... the EP is chock full of the most delightfully upbeat, very now, kind of folky, indie rock. My next reaction was one of surprise... with music this good, I was gobsmacked that they weren't already a household name... but I’ll come to that in a moment.

Their music is fab... truly upbeat guitar-orientated rock with vibrant, distinctly ”now” indie stylings. The lyrics are, at times, profound and searching... and at other times light and jovial... but they are all delivered in an earnest, accessible manner that facilitates the kind of unconscious sing-a-long and dance-like-a-loon response... a response that makes their music irresistible to me... kind of like how I respond to Phoenix or Vampire Weekend.

I know I normally talk about ambient, post-rock etc and don't really talk about indie rock... but I have a fondness for some good sing-a-long and dance-like-a-loon music... and ”the young EP” is as good as it gets, in my opinion. I would love to see Stone Cold Fox live... I think they would have a presence that would belie their age and experience... and make for a really great night.

Which gets me onto my other point... why are they not already ”out there”? Sometimes the music industry makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to me.. I mean... why are some bands in the public eye whilst others bask in obscurity? I want Stone Cold Fox to succeed... I want Loh and Kevin Olken (who plays guitar and sings) to be as big as Mumford and Sons. Certainly from listening to this EP... almost on repeat... they deserve to be!

I would highly recommend this EP to you and would actively encourage the band to create a Bandcamp presence to ensure as many people as possible can be exposed to their vibrancy. I've embedded their soundcloud to let you hear them… enjoy!



Monday, May 07, 2012

Presenting... waag_rel002

For our sophomore release on weareallghosts, we have something very special indeed... a collaboration between spoken word poet and soprano Rebekkah Hilgraves and ambient musician and weareallghosts collaborator Cousin Silas... Rebekkah's Cousin Silas.

Have a wee listen below and download it from either or For more information, please head over to

I am grateful to Rebekkah Hilgreaves and Cousin Silas for entrusting this album to this wee netlabel... and to all our listeners for listening and sharing the music so passionately. It is appreciated!


Sunday, May 06, 2012

Loving... ”from these hands” by I’ve Lost

Time is a wonderful thing, isn't it? There are times when we wish the moment was over quickly... and there are other times when we wish the moment would last forever. As I type this... I am experiencing one of the latter moments... and I don’t want it to end.

I'm sitting in my lounge... it's a lazy Sunday afternoon... Gorecki's Third has just finished and I've put on ”from these hands” by I’ve Lost aka Bobby Jones... an album I have been fixated with over the last week, ever since Leonardo Rosado gave me a copy to listen to and report back on.

I have covered other work from him this week... from Sink \ Sink and Gimu... and it would be unfair for me to have favourites because all three albums have touched me in their own special ways... but omgoodness I’ve Lost has me in the palm of his hand right now.

I have a deep love for slow guitar-orientated ambient pieces that just ooze feeling and emotion. I make no secret of my love from Andy Othling aka Lowercase Noises... ”the past is a foreign country” by Venona Pers... and have been very enthusiastic about Cousin Silas’ new sound... going so far as to set up a netlabel to release it.

Jones fits neatly into this niche... with some of the most exquisite ambient guitar playing I have heard in some time. He works with layered electronics... building wonderfully dense soundscapes that become the foundation for his guitar work. Nothing is overdone... his music is unhurried and intentional... it needs words like graceful and elegant to simply and sufficiently describe it... and I love it!!!

There is a timeless quality to this release. If I didn't know it was released this month... I would have thought it from another point in time... one I can't quite pinpoint... but one I find both magical and mysterious.

I think magical and mysterious are also words that could be used for this release. There is something intriguing... that sucks me in and keeps me hostage... like the musical equivalent of an glamourous woman who you can’t quite take your eyes off of. This release has that entrancing beauty... that hypnotic otherworldliness that draws you in.

What's more… there is a track featuring some seriously profound poetry on it… writen, I believe, by Leonardo Rosado himself. You may think it would be destructive to the mood but, to be honest, it is the complete opposite… it's as if the music has been, in some way, building towards it… with the poem - entitled "All things yet to be shaped" being the culmination… the climax of the piece… albeit there is music after it.

I can't stress how perfect this moment was... listening to this release and basking in the stillness... my Cairn Terrier, Pippin, snoring softly in the background. I know the moment will be broken... but I will cling to it for as long as I can.

I am grateful to I’ve Lost for sound tracking this moment and having a direct influence in it. As such I would heartily recommend this release and would compel you to have a wee listen below.

I would also recommend you take the time to soak in the cover art from Ivo Hoogveld… it truly is a work of art. This is one release that deserves to have physicallity… it is just begging to be honoured with an artefact.

Please support independent music... because music this good doesn't deserve to bask in the shadows.


Saturday, May 05, 2012

Seven questions... with Ade Hodges

I featured Ade Hodge's artwork earlier and wanted to know a wee bit more about who him and his art... luckily I have a wee blog interview thingy that helps me when such desires for information occur.

Here's what he had to say...



1) Who are you and what do you do?
I'm a 49 year old hospital clerk by day, helping to bring in the dosh to support an ailing NHS that Cameron-Clegg plc want to privatise, and a painter, fiction writer and music blogger by night/weekend.

2) What are you working on at the moment?
I've always had a fascination for science-fiction and for 'deep space images' - those beautiful Hubble Telescope type pictures showing vast gaseous clouds and exploding nebulas and the like, so having done a bunch of vaguely surreal landscapes I'm now starting a series of 'in a galaxy far-far away' paintings.

3) Who inspires you?

- Name an artist who has inspired you.
Who doesn't? My tastes range from old 'uns like Turner and Velasquez (godfathers of expressionism) to abstract painters like Patrick Heron, and pop art, particularly Peter Blake. I have to say though that I'd cheerfully string up Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin from the nearest lampost given the opportunity, the former for cynically taking the mick and the latter for trivilising art with her self-obsession, and both for giving the middle finger to painting.

- Name place that has inspired you.
Although I'm a Gloucestershire lad, it has to be Cornwall, generally for the rugged landscape and coastline, and St Ives specifically for Tate St Ives - it was so inspired to stick one there, given its arty connections.

- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.
Music - which I listen to constantly whether I'm painting, writing, or blogging - especially that of Cousin Silas, rightful heir to Eno's throne though several shades darker, and the lovely Kate Bush, easily the most imaginative/creative woman in the history of British popular music.

4) What drives you to do what you do?
Bloody-mindedness! I've spent 20 years painting over the same dozen or so canvases and have only recently begun to rationalise the contradiction between the extremes of my artistic tastes - i.e. between figurative and abstract forms. The art world at large has helped with that as anything goes these days (take a look at an American magazine called Juxtapoz) and that's quite a liberating thing. I also have a desire to 'push the envelope' - my own if not art's in general - hence the lack of a recognisable personal style.

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?
I haven't really considered 'values' when I paint, to be honest. I literally just push paint around the canvas until something takes shape, with a vague idea that it will be a landscape or, at the moment, an everyday scene form outer space! Having said tha, one of my landscapes, 'Eden Under Heavy Manners', has a bit of an 'enviromental apocalypse' thing going on as ecology is something I'm concerned about. Other than that, I just want to paint something I'm happy with.

6) What role does community play in what you do?
Depends on which community. I'm new to promoting my work so I've only recently started developing contacts with people in relation to my painting (I hesitate to call it networking as that sounds a bit cynical), and then only people I have something in common with, such as a fondness for ambient music (see the 'pureambient' group on Facebook) or blogging my art through Tumblr, but it's all a bit hit-and-miss. It's great when people hit the 'like' button or reblog your image but less cool when most of your own family and personal friends won't join your Facebook page (he says, grinning through gritted teeth) but I guess I need to be wary of that many-headed hydra named Ego!

7) What is next for what you do?
I guess I'd like an exhibition, if only to get rid of these bloody canvases for a while, and the odd sale would be nice too. Seriously though, I've always been a fan of album cover art, going back to the days of 12" vinyl when you could really see the cover, so I'd be chuffed if someone wanted to use my paintings for that purpose. A musician in Germany has been in touch about his forthcoming release so I'm hoping that will materialise. Other than that, maybe Saatchi, Tate Modern and MOMA will find a place in their permanent collections for me!


Thanks Ade. I, for one, would love to see an exhibition of your work... preferably with a certain Cousin of ours playing a live set. Now *that* would be awesome!

Oh and I would *love* to work with you on we are all ghosts artwork!

For more info on Ade and his work... go here :: :: it's where Ade herds all his web places together.


Coldplay's tribute to MCA

I make no secret of my affection for Coldplay... and was very impressed with their tribute to Adam Yauch aka MCA from Beastie Boys... recorded at the Hollywood Bowl yesterday.

They've received some serious criticism on the You Tube page for this cover but I think it's a fitting tribute. I guess some people need to lighten up.

I'm sure MCA would have loved it.

Anyway... watch it and enjoy... then go and listen to the original song.


Loving... the paintings of Ade Hodges

I love it when a friend's friend becomes your friend... it's a big plus for me on social media. Ade Hodges is a friend of Cousin Silas and we became friends as a result of our shared love of our dear Cousin and his music.

We got talking and I discovered that Ade was a fantastic abstract painter... and just had to showcase some of his pieces on here. They have that something special that really lights up my life... and I hope to work with him on future we are all ghosts projects.

For more on his artwork... including the names for the pieces above... please check out his DeviantArt page and 'like' his Facebook page.


Tron: Uprising

I have to admit... I am a huge fan of The Clone Wars cartoons and Tron: Uprising has that kind of feel about it.

Watch it and see what I mean. Will be series-linking this one!


Friday, May 04, 2012

Loving... "Continuo V​-​VIII" by Earlyguard

Earlyguard is a master of droning ambient soundscapes and I am forever indebted to him for his gift of music. He is currently working through a massive body of work entitled ”continuo” and I recently received the second instalment in the series to listen to and provide feedback on.

Epic is too small a word to describe these four longform pieces whose combined length comes in at 198 minutes. These are pieces to get lost in... to let go and allow the mind to wander. I, for one, welcome the opportunity this release gives me to do this.

The ebb and flow of the individual pieces is delightful... unhurried... relaxed... deliberate and mindful... and I really connect with them in this regard.

I do worry sometimes that we’re losing our tolerance for longer forms of media... we’re becoming more impatient and less willing to accept the drawn out... we want the tabloid journalism rather than the indepth analysis. We’re becoming conditioned to fast as the only appropriate delivery method when... sometimes... slow is just as, if not more so, important. The kind of longform ambient drones Earlyguard produces with such veracity are the equivalent of slow food or indepth journalism... pieces to be savoured... or to be dipped in and out of... but mostly to be given the time to be enjoyed.

I would, in this light, heartily recommend the second part of Earlyguard’s ”continuo” opus. It is suitable for folks who have experience with drones as much as fresh blood coming to the genre with new expectations.



Loving... "They All Left One By One, They All Left The Radio On" by Gimu

Gimu (pronounced with a ”g” like genre rather than gilded) is a truly amazing artist who specialises in the most fascinating soundscapes. His recent collaboration with Kwajbasket (”beams”) is a work of beauty. So when I was given his latest release to listen to and provide feedback on... I was more than happy to oblige.

I love drone... I really do... in all it's shapes and sizes... it’s my thing. I really get lighter, brighter, more open soundscapes... they give me time to think... time out from the daily grind, so to speak... they are my kind of ambient. But that said, I also love dark, Lovecraftian soundscapes... the ominous drones that amply provide a backing for the short stories of H.P. Lovecraft and the folks that carried on his Mythos and tradition... they also provide me respite from the busy-ness of life... and soundtrack some of my favourite elements of weird fiction... I can’t think of ”the call of Cthulu”, for example, without thinking about Emma^lee Crane’s ambient drone masterpiece ”Formatine”. Drone is not mindless, afterall.

And it is here that ”they all left one by one, they all left the radio on” picks up... because Gimu has crafted a series of relatively short (in comparison to others in the genre) - with 9:52 is longest track - soundscapes that, whilst ominous and noisy in places, also have a sense of space and openness.

It would be inappropriate for me to walk through each track... other than to say Gimu has created a cohesive whole that also works individually. I think this release is one that needs to be experienced by the listener... it's a late-night soaker... music that is best suited to headphones and the time to listen to it from start to finish.

If you are not already a fan of droning ambient then I wouldn't necessarily recommend you start here... this album isn’t as instantly accessible as, say, ”beams” for example, or the work of Earlyguard or Peter James. It is, however, very rewarding for fans of the genre and it is a release I would heartily recommend for such folks.


You will be missed MCA!

"...If you try to knock me you'll get mocked 
I'll stir fry you in my wok 
Your knees'll start shaking and your fingers pop 
Like a pinch on the neck of Mr. Spock"

Intergalactic  by Beastie Boys

You will be missed MCA!

Beastie Boys star Adam Yauch dies aged 47

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

What I listened to in April 2012

According to ... this is what I listened to in April 2012. It excludes tunes in the car and on my hi-fi ... but it shows what has been rocking my world ... including Demis Roussos!!!


Loving..."All you need is love" from the Erskine Quartet.

This is so delightful... I just had to share it. "All You Need Is Love" from local string quartet... the Erskine Quartet.



Loving... ”the darkest dark goes” by Sink \ Sink

This week I will be featuring three releases from Leonard Rosado... two from his Heart and Soul label and one from his FeedbackLoop label... after being kindly given them by the man himself to have a wee listen to.

First up we have ”the darkest dark goes” by Sink \ Sink. I had heard of them previously on The Future Element’s inaugural compilation - "Elements 1" - where they are featured, remixed by Stray Theories... but came to them relatively fresh. What I heard initially intrigued me and, after a couple of listens, began to blow me away.

Sink \ Sink features the vocals of Kim Schulke underpinned by some truly fabulous soundscapes from Gareth Schott… with Callum Plews taking care of writing the majority of the lyrics, mixing and mastering... these sounds defy easy description but reside in that wonderful intersection of ambient drone, neo-classical, electronic and post-rock... with some folky tones thrown in for good measure.

The backings could easily stand on their own... they are that good: they are deeply immersive and have a decidedly imaginative quality about them... the kind of music that can easily and effectively soundtrack your day. But combined with the vocals of Schulke they become something beautiful indeed.

Schulke’s voice has an extra special ethereal quality to it... an other-worldy ”out there” expression that is almost dream-like yet most definitely real. Some of the lyrics are profound and some of them are decidedly off-kilter... but that just adds to the magic of the release.

I guess magical is an apt word to begin to define something that is, in many ways, somewhat elusive... somewhat intangible... and yet rewarding to the listener... especially after repeated listens.

Magical also seems appropriate when you consider the calibre of contributors who have added, in their own way, to the recording... folks like Jon Postlethwaite, Charles Gorley, Andy Feldman, Richie Nelson, Alexander Arai-Swale, Peter Wulff, Darren Harper and Gimu... have really helped to make ”the darkest dark goes” something special.

If you like rich soundscapes and enchanting vocals then I can heartily recommend ”the darkest dark goes” by Sink \ Sink. I feel it is an album that will have a lasting appeal to me... one that will grow in importance as the weeks and months pass by.

Have a wee listen below.


PS I really love the artwork from Meredith Collins... it really is something special indeed.


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