Saturday, January 26, 2013

Classic Albums: "J" for "Journey Into The Morn"

What can I say about “Journey Into The Morn” by Iona other than wow ... this is one truly inspired and inspiring album.

Whilst it works well as a collection of truly beautiful tracks ... it is, in my opinion, better consumed as a whole ... from “bi-se i mo shuill (part 1)” all the way through to “when I survey”. I realise this may be an alien concept for some folks ... especially in the day and age of single tracks rather than albums ... but it is really the best way to enjoy what is being presented.

I can't express how much this album means to me. It is an album based on the hymn “Be Thou my Vision and, as such, it is my kind of “religious” music. It expresses my faith in such an eloquent manner... describing common moments beautifully.

I’m not a big fan of contemporary “worship music” ... there are exceptions but in the main this kind of music leaves me cold. It tends to be overly emotive and sonically dull.

Iona, on the other hand, with their particularly delightful blend of progressive rock and folk music get me every time ... and “Journey into the Mourn” is my go-to album when I need a lift or when I feel in need of contemplation.

The combination of Joanne Hogg’s vocals, Dave Bainbridge’s instrumentation and Frank Van Essen’s percussion is truly a partnership made in heaven (pardon the pun). Add to that Troy Donockley’s pipes and wow ... amazing just doesn't quite express it.

It is for me what music should be ... imaginative, creative, progressive and wild-of-heart ... music that is full of feeling and poignant significance.

I would recommend this release to anyone - a member of the Christian faith or not, a fan of prog rock or not - it transcends all these earthly shackles. And I, for one, am grateful to Iona for recording this album.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Classic Albums: "I" for "In the Court of the Crimson King"

In my ongoing journey through my iPod looking for ’classic albums’ we have arrived at "I" and immediately King Crimson spring to mind with their seminal 1969 release "In the court of the Crimson King".

Wow. This album still sounds vibrantly fresh today and definitely holds its own.

Opening with the tour de force that is "21st Century Schizoid Man", it still sounds as vital as it did when I first heard it.

But the album is more than this track, good though it is.

"I Talk to the Wind" is a masterpiece of melancholic wonder … deliciously downbeat with some truly amazing instrumentation. Delicate and yet so powerful.
As is "Epitaph" with it's earnest lyrics and some seriously heartbreaking instrumentation.

The abstract nature of the instrumental - "Moonchild" - is possibly the only downside. It seems out of kilter with the rest of the album somehow. It has never settled with me but doesn't take anything away from the rest of the album … especially when you consider it is the precursor to the album's title track - "In the Court of the Crimson King" - a truly magnificent journey into sound.

 To dismiss this album as "prog" is to lose out of something very special indeed. I've come late to it ... but I'm glad I did eventually arrive.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

My review of "Helios Remixed" is up on

"/... I think this album works because it is consistently good. There are no ’bad’ remixes, nothing sticks out as being inconsistent from the rest. They are all good and all showcase the source material very well.

It is at this point where I fail as a reviewer: I am not familiar with the source material and can not pass judgement on the remixes as they stand in comparison with the originals. But then maybe this is a good thing, because I have approached these tracks as tracks in their own right rather than a reworking of something else, and as tracks in their own right they stand tall, very tall indeed.

This isn’t so much a remix album as a compilation of some really great music. In some ways I am actually loathe to hear the originals as I don’t want to spoil my appreciation for the work presented on this disc.../"

My review of Helios Remixed is now up on ... check it out then have a wee listen below...

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Two recent releases from weareallghosts

"Cousin Silas' 'thank you' to me becomes my 'thank you' to you ... to everyone who has made weareallghosts what it is.


""Coming From The Void (waag_rel013)" is a deeply immersive piece of music … one that entices, enthrals and then enwraps the listener in an otherworldly soundscape. 
It is perfect for moments of solitude or for extended periods of deep concentration. It provides the listener with space to think and to become."


Take time out to enjoy these longform drones ... and support independent music by downloading them, spreading the word and, if possible, leaving a wee tip.


Loving David Bowie's new single ... the Album cover, not so much

This morning I bought the new single from David Bowie. It is lovely ... in a melancholic kind of way. It really meanders nicely before building around the 2:40min mark ... in a truly effortless kind of way ... into something really special indeed. I really like it and am hopeful for the album when it is released in March. Have a wee listen below...

I am, however, not so hopeful about the cover. Whilst no one can argue that it isn't innovative ... albeit not as innovative as the video ... it just doesn't sit well with me. It seems lazy and lacking in imagination. I really hope it is a temporary cover and a better one will be unveiled when the album is launched.

I'll happily do one for you, Mr Bowie? Happy Birthday, btw.


Seven Questions with... Andrew Tuttle aka Anonymeye

I love it when an artist connects with me after I have reviewed their work. Recently Andrew Tuttle aka Anonymeye got in touch after I took some time to consider his recent work on Twice Removed Records - Six Improvisations for Computer and Guitar. We got chatting and I asked him if he'd be up for completing my wee blog interview ... he was and this is what he had to say:


1) Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Andrew Tuttle, and I’m based in Brisbane, Australia. I perform abstract-folk music under the moniker of Anonymeye ( Anonymeye combines elements of folk music, minimalism, country music, and any number of other “experimental” and “folk” sub-genres to create music that veers back and forth between improvised and composed works. I create Anonymeye tracks and perform live with instruments including acoustic guitar, computer, synthesiser(s), banjo, oscillators/electronics, with the occasional element of voice, piano, harmonica, toy zither, and so on.
Anonymeye is a primarily solo project, however I’ve had the good fortune to collaborate with old and new friends on live performances, studio recordings, and re-workings of existing tracks.

As well as Anonymeye, I organise tours and events for Micronations Touring (, and have recently been appointed as Co-Director of New Weird Australia (, an excellent online resource for new, eclectic and experimental Australian music.

2) What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve had a little bit of a break over the holiday period - the combination of heat, a chance to relax, and test match cricket have been a nice little reset. I’ve been working on re-configuring my live performance to create something that is both more “visual” (less furrowed brows, mouse clicking, etc) for audiences, and more “tactile” for me. I’m also working on a fourth Anonymeye album, (very) tentatively titled 4064 (named for the postcode I have written the album in). Hope to get that mixed, mastered, and released before the year is out.

3) Who inspires you?
- Name an artist who has inspired you. 
The band Matmos have been an inspiration to me for years now. I really admire how they put themselves into challenging and difficult circumstances to create new works, and that no matter what they come up with, they don’t repeat themselves. That is really hard to do!

- Name place that has inspired you.
My home city of Brisbane is a constant artistic and personal inspiration. There’s a lot of great cities, landmarks, and places that I’ve been lucky enough to visit over the years as a traveller and as a musician, but there’s something that keeps me coming back to Brisbane. The city isn’t perfect by any means, but there’s enough great music, art, and people to have convinced me that the grass is actually greener on this side. Plus, Brisbane doesn’t get particularly cold - which is a bonus.

- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.
I’ve found over the past few years that cricket is a surprisingly large inspiration on my music creating process. After growing up with the sport, rejecting it a bit in my late teens and early twenties, I’ve come back around to it again the last five or so years in a massive way. I love the idiosynracies of the game, the beautiful moments, and the absolutely weird ones. The sport also requires a fair bit of patience to watch, and I really do like that.

4) What drives you to do what you do?
The fame and money of performing instrumental, beat-less, square peg in round hole music. Boom boom ting. To be honest I just really enjoy making music on these instruments, and while I do branch out into other forms of music making and instrumentation, there’s something that brings me back to playing around with acoustic instruments and the computer. I do love playing live, despite some frustrating moments, as it allows me great opportunities to meet wonderful, creatively minded people, and travel in a different way than the “regular” tourist.

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?
That’s a hard one - I don’t need to necessarily dictate or know how people react to what I do. That said, I’m one for positivity, collaboration, furthering of old and new friendships, and having a happy time, so hopefully this all comes through.

6) What role does community play in what you do?
Even though Anonymeye is primarily a solo project, community is such a large factor in the music I make, the shows I organise, and the things that I do in general. I love that music is such an excellent conduit for meeting intelligent, fun, friendly, funny and talented people - and that all of these people are always interested in furthering themselves personally and creatively. I’m definitely inspired to push myself harder to do new things by all of the great people I get to catch up with regularly and intermittently.

7) What is next for what you do?
As mentioned before, I’m currently working on a new album, which I’ll hopefully finish and find a home for in the first half of this year. I’ll be performing and touring a whole lot more in 2013 as well, with shows coming up to support my most recent EP Six Improvisations for Computer and Guitar (out now on the most excellent Twice Removed label), followed by a fairly extensive Australian tour mid year, and possibly some shows in the USA later in the year if everything turns out as I hope it does. Definitely keen to make it back to the UK and Europe too!


Thank you Andrew!

I've embedded the bandcamp player for Six Improvisations for Computer and Guitar ... please take time to listen and, if you can, support Andrew by buying his music. I, for one, loved it ... I said it was:
... deep music that rewards any listener who is prepare to dive in and become immersed in the sounds presented. Whilst not demanding your attention, Anonymeye certainly rewards the attentive.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Seven Questions with... Andrew Tasselmyer from 'The Sound of Rescue'

I recently got talking with the chaps from 'The Sound of Rescue' ... their album "Furniture Music" made my top 50 releases of note in 2012 and I appreciated their follow on Twitter. We got talking and I asked if they would complete my wee blog interview ... Andrew Tasselmyer responded overnight ... this is what he had to say:


1) Who are you and what do you do?
I am Andrew Tasselmyer. My brothers, Michael and Stephen, and I make noise in a band called The Sound Of Rescue.

2) What are you working on at the moment?
We are in the process of recording a new album - release date TBD.

3) Who inspires you?
- Name an artist who has inspired you.
It is extremely difficult to pick just one! I'll try to speak for the group. A great deal of our inspiration comes from the ideas of John Cage. He held a very unique and challenging perspective of what music is and what it could be. His ideas encourage us to take risks and test conventions.

- Name a place that has inspired you.
We have very fond memories of time spent with our family in the southern U.S. It feels like a comfortable second home for us, and it's always nice to recharge our creative juices down there. It's a refreshingly low-key escape.

- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.
Another tough one...I'd say that the idea of imperfection usually finds its way into our creative process. We like making things somewhat nebulous and unstructured to leave room for accessibility in our music. I'd rather things be real, gritty, and relatable as opposed to overly polished and expected.

4) What drives you to do what you do?
We make music because we love it. You could strip away all of the layers of whatever artistic message we try to send and you'd be left with a simple core: 3 people who are passionate about sound.

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?
We always want to acknowledge the adversity and struggle that is inherent with life, but ultimately we strive to stir in our listeners some sense of hope, positivity, and/or resolve in order to offer encouragement to overcome those hardships.

6) What role does community play in what you do?
Community is essential to understanding and experiencing music. Musical expression is certainly a very personal, individual thing, but it takes on an added significance when it is shared with others. That's one of the most terrifying, exhilarating, and mysterious things about music: trying to anticipate how others will interpret your own musical message. I liken it to trying to express your deepest feelings to someone else - they may or may not "get it," but it's important to get it off your chest.

7) What is next for what you do?
We would like to finish up another record this year, but we are taking our time with it. It's coming together slowly and sounds really great so far. Of course, we will also continue to play live shows as often as possible, and we may even have a musical side project to introduce at some point this year.


I have already posted on their music today. I love it and would heartily recommend it to anyone with ... well ... ears. I am eager to hear their new material and have ... to my shame ... a number of albums in their canon to work my way through.

Please support them in whatever way you can.


If you are not familiar with the music of 'the sound of rescue' then you should be

Wow ... what a long title for this brief post ... but its true ... if you are not familiar with the music of The Sound Of Rescue then you should be.

Their's is a glorious form of ambient post-rock music that deserves all the fans it can get.

I listed their album "Furniture Music" in my Top 50 and should have listed their self-titled release too ... for some reason I missed it.

I've embedded players for these two albums below. Please take the time to listen and, if you can, please support their endeavours by buying the music.


Friday, January 04, 2013

Stylusboy's first 'screen gig' via Google+

I had the privilege to listen in to a wee mini-gig from Stylusboy tonight. This  'screen gig' - hosted via a Google+ hangout - was an utterly delightful way to wile away 30 minutes on a Friday night. The sound was fab and Stylusboy was on form ... playing his vibrant acoustic guitar-driven songs to a small group of friends and friendlies.

It was a fab way to interact with him too. He asked for a cover to play and "Creep" was the first guitar-led song I could think of. He refused, saying 'it was a family show'. You can see my response above ... I appreciated his gracious humour.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time and I hope he does more gigs like this ... it is an effective way for him to 'get his music out there'.


Two more from Twice Removed: “The Pace Of Which” by Benjamin Dauer & “Highway” by Vitaly Beskrovny

We are only four days into 2013 and already there are a few releases in the open that are worthy of note. Two of these releases are from the consistently great microlabel Twice Removed Records.

First up we have “The Pace Of Which” by Benjamin Dauer ... a release I have been wanting to hear for a wee while now. I am a big fan of Dauer’s. I think the ambient music he creates is particularly special and the jazzy beat-poetry that he backs as part of The Dwindlers is outstanding.

I was looking forward to this release and I was not disappointed. “The Pace Of Which” delivers ... it is a varied collection of deeply immersive and engaging ambient soundscapes that make my soul smile.

The music presented is an utter delight ... bright in its outlook ... filled with hope and the promise of a new day, the dark having been defeated. It makes a wonderful soundtrack to the quieter moments and activities of life ... providing a period of momentary solace from the busyness that life brings. Having received this release before Christmas as a download and then as a CDr ... you can appreciate how welcome this solace was and continues to be.

Simply put ... I love this release and would rate it highly ... favourably comparing it to Dauer’s other work in the ambient realm. He should be very proud of this release ... as should Gavin Catling over at Twice Removed ... it really is a belter.

As is “Highway” by Vitaly Beskrovny ... which starts deceptively simply and then goes on to deliver a wondrously delightful album full of atmosphere derived from truly imaginative and creative neo-classical soundscapes.

I love the piano. It is one of my favourite instruments. I love the way Beskrovny builds such beauty using it as his foundation ... “Sunbeams” being a prime example of his dexterity in this regard.

Beskrovny’s use of found-sounds and guitars to create soundscapes like the title track - “highway” - is exemplary too. This track alone is worth the purchase price ... providing the listener with an evocative and engaging neo-classical expression ... an expression that builds and grows into something wonderfully and delightfully euphoric. It is the sound of sunrise, if ever I have heard it.

The remainder of the album builds up and contributes to the ambience set early ... making the release a very engaging one.

I have a feeling that both of these releases will feature in my end-of-2013 list.

Oh and before I go ... I must acknowledge the artwork of both releases. They are both based on brilliant photographs and look great as physical artefacts. Kudos to Catling for making them happen.

Please take the time to listen to the embedded players. If you like what you hear then please support the artists by buying their releases ... in doing so you will be supporting truly great independent music.

I think 2013 is going to be a great year for music.


Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Looking back on 2012 ... weareallghosts

Looking back on 2012, one thing I am very proud of is establishing weareallghosts. During the 9 months it has been in existence we've released 15 different albums ... from single-track drones and EPs to full albums and a compilation.

I am eternally indebted to the artists who have 'taken a punt' and entrusted their music to me. I didn't know what I was doing back in April 2012 and, to be honest, I don't think I do now ... but that aside, I could have only made it happen through the trust of the artists. My thanks go to them.

I see weareallghosts as an exercise in learning and in giving back: learning the intricacies of the netlabel community ... learning the technology ... and learning the design skills necessary to create the album covers. And giving back ... in that I am able to release music, for free, into a music community I have gained so much from. This gives me great joy.

So here's to 2013. We already have a number of releases in the works ... Jack Hertz ... Mystified ... Cousin Silas ... all have work in progress. There are also a couple of interesting things in progress too ... surprises that I hope will surprise.

Thank you to everyone who has made weareallghosts what it is.


Tuesday, January 01, 2013

January 2013's calendar / wallpaper

January 2013's Calendar :: 1920x1200

To bring in 2013 I thought I would revisit an old but popular photo taken with my Olympus Trip 35 film camera. "160210_ Olympus Trip 35_ 008" was taken nearly 3 years ago and is one of my most popular photos on Flickr. It really captures, for me, the spirit of George Square in Glasgow at this time of year.

As we enter this new year, I wish you all the very best. My hope is that you will create rather than destroy, for it is in building up rather than tearing down that we make our mark.

Thank you for your willingness to have my photography on your device(s)... I do appreciate it.



iPhone with Calendar + iPhone without Calendar

What I listened to in December 2012 & in 2012

What I listened to in December 2012. Not enough Christmas music by the looks of it.

And what I listened to in 2012, as recorded by Last.FM.

2012 was a good year for interesting and innovative music ... one that has whetted my whistle for 2013.



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