Thursday, May 30, 2013

My new Filofax Flex Slim and the need to collect as part of GTD

I recently picked up this notebook / wallet combo from Filofax (Flex Slim) from my local T.K.Maxx … it cost me £2 and has replaced my previous wallet. I have it working in partnership with my iPhone5 case … which is one of the wallet types and holds a couple of cards too.

Why swap an ordinary wallet for this notebook / wallet thingamabob? Well … this is where it gets interesting … its all to do with David Allen's Getting Things Done or, more specifically, Leo Babauta's Zen-To-Done update … I need an 'in box'.

I carry a number of notebooks around with me. I have a diary / planner with space for my To Do list … and I have two notebooks for various different notes.

I'm pretty good at keeping lists and work between my diary and a couple of specific apps on my iPhone / iPad / MacBook Pro (namely 'Things' and 'Clear' … with the iOS 'Reminders' app employed at times).

I'm also pretty good at taking notes … and regularly practice taking 'Sketchnotes' at church or when I'm reading a non-fiction book.

Where I fall down is in collecting all my ideas to get them out of my head.

Those familiar with GTD or ZTD will know the following stages:
1) Collect
2) Process
3) Plan
4) Do
5) Review
I noticed recently, as I read 'Zen-To-Done', that I tend to go straight to processing … and don't take the time to collect. I am always processing - taking the ideas and putting them somewhere - and not spending the time collecting. This has become a distraction to me.

Instead of taking time out to process once or more per day … I was continually processing. As such, I wasn't reaping the benefit of an empty head.

In addition, I wasn't taking the time to review … because I was always reviewing … processing and reviewing … and not seeing the benefits of taking specific time to undertake these tasks. As such, the system became the master.

I needed something to collect all my ideas … all the thoughts that run through my head … as well as the things asked of me. But carrying a notebook never really worked … because it was something over and above my wallet. This is where the genius of Filofax's 'Flex' system comes to the fore … it *is* my wallet as well as being a notebook.

Now I carry it about with me wherever I go … and I use the notebook to capture my ideas without processing them. I just dump down the thought and move on … or keep on with what I am working on.

I then take time to process and review … and, in doing this, benefit from a 'change of mental scenery' - I move from one task to another … rather than trying to do a tasking whilst continually working on my lists.

It is early days … I've only had it for 4 days … but already I can perceive a benefit. I works nicely with my diary / to do lists and the apps on my phone … especially when I am at work. It has reduced the need for me to be on my phone which, in turn, has two further benefits:
1) I'm not on my phone and therefore cannot be perceived to be 'on my phone' - folks see smart phones as productivity thieves … and, lets face it, they are probably right (curse you, Facebook with your appealing notifications!!!). If you are not on your phone, you cannot be distracted by it. 
2) It saves my iPhone's battery … which ensures I have it when I need it.
Multitasking is a myth. All that happens is you switch quickly from one task to another. For us to focus and focus with any depth, we need to remove all non-essential distractions … this includes getting all those random ideas that always seem to pop into your head when you want to get deep out of your head … and out of your head quickly. Using a phone as a collection tool takes longer than good ol' fashioned pen and paper … and you run the risk of getting distracted by all the shiny alerts while you are on there.

I think I've found a tool to help me … and for £2 … I'm pretty chuffed about it. We'll see how I get on in the coming months.


Filofax Flex Slim

Seven questions with... The Sound Logic

When I was approached to listen to "T.S.L." by The Sound Logic ... I asked them to complete my wee blog interview. I've said before how much I enjoy getting under the skin of an artist ... and appreciate it when they relax and tell it as it is.

This is what they had to say ...


1) Who are you and what do you do?
We are The Sound Logic, a two-piece band based out of Detroit, MI. The band consists of Jeff Knol on vocals/guitar (left) and Yuri Pavlov on drums (right). We do music.

2) What are you working on at the moment?
Currently we are working on promoting our debut self-titled album, “T.S.L.”, playing shows, booking tours, and writing new music for our follow up album, which we hope to have out by summer 2014.

3) Who inspires you?
Yuri - I am inspired by pretty much everything around me. I try to find something unique and musical in my surroundings. As far as music goes, I love watching the classic drummers, Rich, Bonham, Moon, Baker, Blakey, etc., they always inspire me to play better and keep working on new ideas in my drumming. My parents and my wife also inspire me every day, in that they constantly support me in everything I do. Right now, most of my inspiration comes from the city of Detroit, MI. I spend a lot of my time in the city, and love seeing all the people working hard to keep the city going. The Detroit music scene I think is doing wonderful things, not only for the bands and bars, but for the city as a whole.  Whenever there are shows, local or national, in Downtown, people are out and about, spending money within the city. That is inspirational.

Jeff - Inspiration comes from everyone I know, meet, see, and those I’ll never know exist. That is more of the emotional/lyrical aspect of inspiration. To me music paints a picture in the mind and the reverse is true. A brick wall, dark alleys, or a bright city street all inspire music to me. Most of what i see is Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Detroit MI. Those are the places that inspire me the most. In those places the local artists are a huge inspiration. I love an intimate show with a person sharing who they are with me and 10-50 other people. Seeing/hearing their hard work inspires me to be better. This might be silly but new gear is inspiring as well. A new guitar, drum, amp, etc...really just pull me out of musical habits and make my creative brain work in different ways. It feels really cool.

4) What drives you to do what you do?
Yuri - The number one thing that drives me is the love of music. First and foremost, I am a lover of all music, and I love to play all different styles as well. Just knowing that I created something that people care about, and can relate to, is the most gratifying feeling ever. All of our friends and fans that come to our shows also drive me to continue, and for that I want to say “THANK YOU” to everyone that comes out, supports us, and supports the Detroit live music scene.

Jeff - In the early stages of my life with playing music, it was rebellion. Playing guitar was my way of saying f*** off. That morphed into defiance. I used music to share an idea, or give an opinion. It was just part of activism at a very local grassroots level. Then came aggression. I couldn't get my guitar down tuned enough, heavy enough, or play fast enough. From there music turned inward and became mostly self-expression and storytelling. The sound became more bluesy rock and roll. Now that I’ve typed out how music has been a part of me, I’m not seeing how i explained what drives me to it. I think music is what drives me to it. That and I would not know what to do with myself without it.

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?
Yuri - Unity

Jeff - Hope and passion.

6) What role does community play in what you do?
Yuri - Community plays a huge role in what we do. The entire Detroit music scene is one big community, and that community supports us and the other local artists that are playing music for fun. Without a sense of community and family, I think being a local band anywhere would be tough.

Jeff - Community plays THE role. Communities are groups of people and people are what make music happen. Thanks to all the patrons, listeners, critics, musicians, bookers, promoters, bartenders, bar backs, roadies, bouncers, fans, writers, and artists. Keep it alive!

7) What is next for what you do?
Next we are going to continue promoting our debut album, “T.S.L.”,  which will be available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, etc., in June 2013. We will continue writing music for our follow-up album, and will continue playing shows everywhere we can.


Thanks guys!

I would heartily recommend “T.S.L.” ... have a wee listen below and get your freak on.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I love Stuart Maconie's Freakzone on BBC Radio 6Music

6Music is my fave radio station. I intend on getting a DAB radio installed in my next car ... it's *that* good.

I am a huge fan of Stuart Maconie's Freakzone (Sunday 2000-2200hrs GMT) and Freakierzone (Sunday 0000-0100hrs GMT) on 6Music ... he plays my kind of music ... you know the really out-there prog, psych, folk and soundtrack stuff that I just love.

He has, in the short time I've been listening to his show, turned me on to some seriously great music. His recent Freakierzone with Andy Votel was inspired and has made me want to check out all the artists featured.

I would heartily recommend this show ... get it on iPlayer or on the BBC Radio site >>



Loving... "TSL" by The Sound Logic

I love a good guitar-orientated freakout every-so-often. It acts as the ginger to my musical sushi ... it cleanses the palate and let's me come back to my sustenance refreshed.

Post-rock ... prog-rock ... maybe some post-punk hardcore ... they all work to varying degrees ... but my ’go to’ is some early/mid Led Zeppelin ... nothing beats some "rock and roll". The combination of Plant, Page, Jones and Bonham has yet to be surpassed in the rock genre, in my opinion. I like my rock raw and with a bluesy bent.

That said ... I've never really connected with bands like The Black Keys or The White Stripes. I love them when they are on the radio but never really explored their sound. That will change, however, after I was given the opportunity to hear "TSL" by The Sound Logic ... a band comprising of Jeff Knol (Vocals/Guitar) and Yuri Pavlov (Drums).

I have been thoroughly enjoying this album since I received it ... it feels alive ... there is a real boundless energy about it ... a jaunty upbeatness that works so well with and complements the rawness of their sound.

And it is to this rawness that I gravitate ... their bluesy garage rock is remarkably vivid and foot-tappingly addictive. It's an up-loud, singalong-while-driving kind of a sound that really scratches that specific itch. I could easily and happily summarise that their live show would be one to behold as a result.

The majority of the tracks follow the same general pattern: raw bluesy electric guitar, deep beguiling baritone vocals & vibrant percussion.

On a couple of tracks, the electric guitar is complemented with its acoustic sibling ... which broadens their sound nicely.

For the most part, however, TSL is pretty much guitar, drums and vocals ... in that order ... and that's what makes it such a compelling listen.

It's not the kind of music you put on when you want to have a Sunday Afternoon nap ... and it's not first-dance-at-your-wedding material either. You will not find the meaning of life in the lyrics or have some Jon Anderson-induced epiphany. You will, however, feel good and, more likely than not, get caught up in the moment and dance around like a loon. This is the kind of blatant good-time music that turns the shiest introverts into folk who dance like Michael Stipe in "Losing My Religion".

It is what it is ... and proudly and defiantly so. This is its charm … and this is why I really dig it.

Tracks like "Red Balloon" and "Call My Name" deserve to be turned up loud and played at 11.

Have a wee listen to three of the tracks in the embedded player and if it's your thing … diaries for the 1st June when the full album is released.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Loving... the video for "Abraham" by Tiny Leaves from Andreas Theophanatos

Tiny Leaves - Abraham from Andreas Theophanatos on Vimeo.

I am really looking forward to Tiny Leaves' upcoming album on Futuresequence.

The EPs on his own Bandcamp page ( as well as the sketches on his Soundcloud ( are my kind of sublime ... and this video does his sound justice. It is an utter pleasure to watch. Kudos to Andreas Theophanatos for distilling such beauty.




Have a wee listen to this:

Loving... "Stories from elsewhere" by Rhian Sheehan

Every-so-often I am reminded of the musical genius of Rhian Sheehan ... this weekend was one such time. On Monday (it was a long weekend) Coldplay's twitter feed linked to this video ... it features the track "Little Sines" from Sheehan's exceptional new release "Stories from elsewhere".

Now I don't say 'exceptional' lightly ... "Stories from elsewhere" is an album I totally fell in love with when I bought it a few months back. It will rank highly in my end-of-year review ... of that I am certain.

Sheehan crosses between electronic and neo-classical with the upmost ease ... in fact, he makes it look too easy ... as if the music he makes is utterly and effortlessly normal rather than being truly extraordinary and exceptional.

The soundscapes he creates are so dense ... they are filled to the brim with sound. Loops. Percussion. Samples. Wonky toy pianos. Strings. Synths. They all come together and work together to make up his trademark walls-of-sound. His music is both light and dark ... quiet and loud ... soft and hard ... and always a pleasure to listen to.

In creating the tracks on "Stories from elsewhere", Sheehan has played with his melodies ... manipulating them in such a manner to make them unforgettable. Take "Little Sines" for example ... I dare you try to listen to that track and not be caught humming it at some point later in the day. This kind of moving melody is his gift ... and it is a gift I will happily receive.

I have heard of comparisons between Sheehan and Sigur Ros ... and whilst I'm not a fan of such comparisons ... when you hear tracks like "A Thimble Full of Sorrow" you cannot help but connect the two. I have yet to hear someone come this close to capturing the sound of "Takk"-era Sigur Ros so effectively. Sheehan nails ethereal. Seriously ... he nails it on this album.

I cannot recommend this album more highly. The music contained on it should be used as the incidental music for some of the BBC's showcase nature shows ... "A Thimble Full of Sorrow" could and should be the new "Hoppipolla". I want to see the majesty of creation accompanied by the music within this release. Only the best will do, afterall.

Have a wee listen to "Stories from elsewhere" to see/hear what I mean.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Where less actually more ...

My friend, Simon Douglas, tweeted a link to this site (screen grab above) ... which features a press release for a 'Micropub' in his local area.

Whilst I am tea-total the concept behind the 'Micropub' really got me thinking. They have, in many ways, turn their constraints into unique selling points.

It reminded me of this article on :: :: about a donut shop in Chicago that opens at 8:30 AM Tuesdays through Fridays and 9:30 AM on Saturdays and then closes after their last donut is sold ... usually 1 or 2 hours later.

Now ... I am not one to frequent pubs too often but I do go to coffeeshops regularly. I mainly go for two things - coffee and conversation - usually with friends from work or with my family.

As Starbucks have stopped celebrating all their various blends and other providers (aka Tinderbox and Beanscene) only offer one blend of filter ... I go mainly for the conversation these days ... but I can relate to the Micropub's assertion that they are about 'just good ale and conversation'. I get this. I get the need for space(s) set aside for conversation. In fact, I think it is vital.

I do find this 'Micropub' a strangely compelling proposition considering how it  would seek to completely limit my choice ... UNLESS ... I am there for 'good ale and conversation' and 'good ale and conversation' only.

It's like the food and drink equivalent of a Kindle or an iPod Classic ... it does one thing and it does this one thing really well. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles ... no TV or music or hot food ... and focusses on ale and cider predominately.

For a small group of people, this would be heaven on earth ... a peaceful oasis from the noise of everyday life. For others, however, this would be seriously dull.

But that's the point ... they are working to please their niche ... working to appeal to and attract the small minority of folks for whom a pint and a blether in a peaceful atmosphere is ALL they are after. They don't care if you think it is dull ... they don't care because it's not your thing. All they care about is pleasing their niche.

I like that.

I like their boldness.

I like niches.

I am a niche.

I personally think we need more niche products. I think we need more things that do less ... things that don't do too much but focus on doing what they do really, really well.

I wonder what other things would benefit from this kind of 'less is more' approach? Instead of trying to be all things to all men ... maybe we should focus on the niche and serve a smaller group more attentively?

Not to exclude anyone, though. Just a thing that says 'this is what I am ... take it or leave it' ... that then lets the consumer make the choice.

I think this would be refreshing ... and would be real choice.

After all that's said and done, however ... I do think the 'Micropub' would be better with music ... preferably music from weareallghosts and other ambient netlabels ... but then that's just me.


A couple of recent releases on weareallghosts

New releases on weareallghosts includes a delightful EP from Adam Greenhead aka Coloured Lines ... "Silence in the House of God" features 4 tracks of deliciously upbeat electronic music:
The EP features four wonderfully crafted tracks which are unashamedly electronic in nature, vibrantly coherent in expression, and delightfully downtempo in their presentation.


We also have the 6th dronescape from Cousin Silas:
His ability to engage the listener in a fully immersive sonic environment truly amazes me. I have all his dronescapes on my iPhone and have been known to move from one to another when I am in need of extended periods concentration and/or escape.


Enjoy. Tx

"Reach for the Dead" reversed

Wow ... "Reach for the Dead" sounds awesome reversed. The video looks fab too.

Thanks to James for the heads-up.


Loving... "Reach for the Dead" by Boards of Canada

I love Boards of Canada and have loved them since I heard "Music Has The Right To Children" back in '96. They are one of my favourite electronic duos ... and the fact they are Scottish adds a small modicum of pride too.

That said ... I've tried to avoid the media frenzy of the last wee while: the 12" found on Record Store Day 2013 ... and the announcement that they have a new album coming out in June ... as well as the release of "Reach for the Dead" (above).

Please don't misinterpret what I am saying ... I am trying to avoid the hype so I can come to their music on my terms - I am not trying to avoid BOC.

I listened to "Reach for the Dead" for the first time this morning. I missed it on Zane Lowe's show on Radio1 last night and wanted to hear it before it came on Lauren Levern's show on 6Music this morning.

I love this song. It really sets me up for the album.

I also love that people are really excited for this kind of music ... quirky, off-kilter, glitchy, ambient electronic music ... and I can only hope it will turn folks onto the myriad of musicians that play this kind of music and the labels that support them. It would be a shame if you consider yourself a music fan and *only* have BOC to represent this vibrant and utterly engaging genre (or genres).

What's more ... I really like the video too. It has more lens flare than a J. J. Abrams film ... and looks stunning. It's the kind of video I'd love to make. It has seriously inspired me.



Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Seven compilations of note

In recent days I've picked up some compilations that I consider to be worthy of note ... let me tell you about them:

First up (pictured above) we have the sixth instalment of the sequence series from futuresequence. If you are familiar with the previous compilations in the sequence series then you'll know this album will play host to bleeding-edge ambient and neo-classical music.

At nearly 4 hours long (236 mins) it is a hefty investment ... but it is a worthy investment. The music presented on here is truly sublime.

Stand out tracks include "Ascension" by Tiny Leaves, "We Never Left" by Stray Theories, and "High Altar" by Fontaine.

Recommended. Free.


Next up we have elements/02 from thefuturelements. is a site I have written for previously. I was a big, big fan of elements/01 ... a compilation released in April 2012. It has only taken them 14 months to release the second album in the series ... but it is truly worth the wait.

elements/02 is filled to the brim with 20 ambient, neo-classical and post-rock inspired tracks from some serious players. Stand out tracks include another from Stray Theories entitled "Promises" alongside tracks from Vitaly Beskrovny ("Winter Story") and orbit over luna ("朝日 asahi (morning sun)"). I am also very partial to "Not everything has to be a struggle" by Sky Flying By ... very partial indeed.

This compilation is well worth checking out and is also free to download.


"Celestial Matter" from new netlabel Subterranean Tide is delightfully experimental in nature ... exploring profound topics through ambient music.

As the liner notes say...
Celestial Matter, the fragments of objects of any form that orbit, fly or remain still in the vast darkness of our universe, a wondrous thing when thought about, and even more amazing when you stare up at a night sky and see these objects in their luminosity. But have you heard celestial matter?
You will if you listen to this compilation. Stand out tracks include "Oort Cloud" by Savaran,  "Breathing Through Me" by Gimu, and "Dusty Measures" by my friend Thomas Park aka Mystified.

Well worth checking out ... and as it is also a free download ... there is nothing stopping you.


"Butterfly Effects - James Johnson Recycled" from the Relaxed Machinery Community is an album that comprises remixes of material from several of James Johnson's albums.

According to the liner notes:
30 artists from around the world - all members of the Relaxed Machinery Ning Online Community - expressed an interest in taking part. James provided them with 25 clips culled from eight albums, which included synths, piano, voices and generative tracks. Submitted pieces often included source material from more than one album.

James selected nine pieces for this collection, including work by Disturbed Earth, Altus, Chris Russell and more.

These are all “purist” remixes, using only source materials provided by James.
This is a cracking album that has made my commute to and from Glasgow very pleasant indeed. I intend on writing a full review ASAP but, for now, please check this out. Stand out tracks include those mentioned in the notes as well as my all-time favourite: "Mandala" by Northcape ... which is simple divine.

Recommended. $9.


"Variations of Chopin" from the Glaswegian label too many fireworks is a celebration of the genius of Chopin.

According to Neil Milton, the man behind too many fireworks ...
When too many fireworks moved from Glasgow to Warsaw, Poland in 2010, it did so in the bicentenary year of Fryderyk Chopin's birth. As the celebrations carried on around us, we decided an album of contemporary interpretations of the composer's music would be an interesting idea.

We invited musicians of many different genres to take a piece from the composer and either put their contemporary spin on it or take a theme and use it as the basis of a new composition.

The idea was sadly put on hold but finally in 2013 the Chopin album was completed and it in turn gave rise to the 'variations' series, a collection of compilation albums interpreting an array of classical and contemporary composers.
I, for one, can't wait to hear what's next. This is a cracking album that does challenge in places but does also delight.

Stand out tracks include "Fryderyk Chopin's Concerto for Piano & Orchestra no. 1 in E minor op. 11: Romance" by Good Weather for an Airstrike & Inachus ...  "Tristesse (Fryderyk Chopin's 12 Études op. 10: no. 3 in E major)" by Antonymes ... and "Fryderyk Chopin's 24 Preludes op. 28: no. 7 in A major" by  Clem Leek.

What's more ... if you buy a CD (£5 or more) ... all profits from the sale of the CDs will be donated to our record label's good friend, ex-laeto drummer, Robbie Cooper who is currently battling a rare form of Cancer.

£3 / £5 or more.


"Prehistoric Tar Pit Music" from Jack Hertz' Aural Films label is another utter delight. It features some truly gifted ambient musicians like my boy Cousin Silas, Jeff Duke, William Spivey, Hertz himself, Michael Bruckner and Toaster.

According to the liner notes...
During the Pleistocene period 40,000 years ago, giant mammalian creatures roamed North America. Tar pits that formed when crude oil seeped to the surface through fissures in the Earth's crust. Would trap mastodons and other creatures in their molten grip. When predators came to feed, they were consumed as well.  
Prehistoric Tar Pit Music is a two and half hour compilation of sonic adventures into places that time has forgotten. Listen to the sounds of primordial landscapes, bubbling tar pits, and the echoes of life emerging from the deep earth.  
The idea for this compilation began in the Intelligent Ambient Music (IAM) group on Facebook. The result is the group effort that you can hear now. We hope that these compositions will entertain your imagination with a sonic documentary of what these prehistoric places may have been like.
It's my kind of awesome ... especially since Cousin Silas' track "Inland Lagoon" is featured.

Recommended. Pay What You Want.


Last but by no means least is "The Human Condition - Dedications to Phillp K. Dick" from Sound For Good records ... a 44 track compilation of wondrous ambient music celebrating the writings of one of my favourite writers - Philip K. Dick.

All profits from this release will go to Hospice Foundation of America ... a charity that conducts programs of professional development, public education and information, research, publications and health policy issues.
Their programs for health care professionals assist those who cope either personally or professionally with terminal illness, death, and the process of grief, and are offered on a national or regional basis.
In addition, their programs for the public assist individual consumers of health care who are coping with issues of caregiving, terminal illness, and grief.

A worthy cause and a tremendous download to boot. Stand out tracks for me include "The Transmigration Of Timothy Archer" by Clutter, "Adjusted Here and There" by Phillip Wilkerson, and ... of course ... "The Bradbury Apartments" from my boy Cousin Silas.

Recommended. Pay What You Want ... please give generously.


Enjoy. Tx

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Oblique Strategies ... now online

"Oblique Strategies (subtitled Over One Hundred Worthwhile Dilemmas) is a deck of 7 by 9 centimetres (2.8 in × 3.5 in) printed cards in a black container box, created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt and first published in 1975. Each card offers an aphorism intended to help artists (particularly musicians) break creative blocks by encouraging lateral thinking."

Oblique Strategies is now online. Instead of picking a card ... you open the page >>

I have added a few that I received at random today. I love the concept and will need to pick up a physical pack of the cards at some point. However, until I do that, I'll refer to this website.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Presenting... Circumambient 006

I recently uploaded the 6th instalment of my Circumambient series on Mixcloud and also on

In this instalment we feature a number of tracks from Cousin Silas (it was uploaded on his birthday) alongside music from Sima Kim, The Gateless Gate, Creation VI & Exit to Exist, Frore, Umber featuring Good Weather for an Airstrike, Brother Saturn, Crows Labyrinth and 3+.

For a tracklisting and an offline copy ... please visit

Enjoy. Tx

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Inferno by Dan Brown

Dan Brown's books are a guilty pleasure of mine. I'm a big fan of his easy-to-read, escapist nonsense ... and his latest book "Inferno" has all the hallmarks of a belter.

It stars Tom Hanks ... no, wait ... Robert Langdon and the beautiful city of Firenze aka Florence (a city I visited briefly on my honeymoon).

I know it isn't high brow literature ... and that Stephanie Meyer has more respect in the cultured cabals that seek to shape our reading than Brown does ... but I don't care. I can't wait to escape into Langdon's world and hope you won't mind in my posts are a wee bit sparse on here while I do.


Benjamin Dauer's Save The Pollinators

I love it when gifted folks use their gifts to help bring about change. One such change-maker is Benjamin Dauer ... whose project "Save the Pollinators" has captured my attention.

Dauer is an exceptional ambient musician whose music is a particular favourite of mine. His 2013 release on Twice Removed entitled "The Pace of Which" is simply stunning and will no do be well represented in my end-of-year poll.

With "Save the Pollinators" Dauer has taken his musical talent ... his art ... and sought to use it to highlight the plight of the humble bumble bee and the brown bat.

In the following audioclip, Dauer explains his idea and asks for help:

He wants your help. If you can ... take time to visit his site - - and record a wee message.

His goal is explained on the site:
My goal is to compose an original sound score to accompany your submissions. This collection could stand as a force emphasizing the global impact that these creatures have on our lives. So I would love to hear from you! Please consider contributing your voice, field recordings of bats or bees, interviews with bee keepers or bat experts - the creative possibilities are endless!
Please take the time to lend your voice or your musical talent to this project.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Second Nature" ... A documentary film about Janne Saario

"Second Nature" A Documentary Film About Janne Saario from ELEMENT SKATEBOARDS on Vimeo.

I found this video utterly fascinating and very inspiring when I saw it on thefoxisblack (thank you Alex Dent) and wanted to share it on here.

According to the Element Skateboards Vimeo page...
Second Nature is a 20-minute documentary on Element team rider and budding landscape architect, Janne Saario of Finland. 
The short film allows a glimpse of Saario’s thoughts and dreams, which float between design, art and skateboarding. Though it also reveals the important concurrence of post-industrial areas, sustainable concepts and natural environments, and unfolds the demanding obligation, towards today’s generation and those to come, to create positive and inspiring, local communities. 
Over the past two years, filmer Yves Marchon’s keen eye reels in the various aspects and angles of Janne’s life and creates the perfect portrayal of what Element is most proud of and strives to constantly stand for through their products, artists and team riders: to bring progress to skateboarding in the most honest and ethical way.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Loving... "Internet Archive" from Deepspeed media

Internet Archive from Deepspeed media on Vimeo.

One key consideration when I started weareallghosts was to make the music accessible to those who couldn't necessarily afford to buy it. To do this ... I turned to the Internet Archive. Their resource is fascinating ... and their support for netlabels is unsurpassed.

I am proud of waag's involvement with them and thought this video to be an interesting exploration of all they do.

Here's the blurb from the video's page on Vimeo:

Archive is a documentary focused on the future of long-term digital storage, the history of the Internet and attempts to preserve its contents on a massive scale. 
Part one features Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive and his colleagues Robert Miller, director of books, and Alexis Rossi, director of web collections. On a mission to create universal access to all knowledge, the Internet Archive’s staff have built the world's largest online library, offering 10 petabytes of archived websites, books, movies, music, and television broadcasts. 
The video includes a tour of the Internet Archive’s headquarters in San Francisco, the book scanning center, and the book storage facilities in Richmond, California. 
  • Directed by Jonathan Minard
  • Cinematography by John Behrens, Alexander Porter, and Fearghal O'dea
  • Produced at the Internet Archive on October 22-26, during the Books in Browsers Conference and 10 Petabyte Celebration.
  • Project supported by Eyebeam

Enjoy ... and if you can support the Internet Archive then please do. They are a valuable and valued resource. Tx

The photography of Alan Friedman is something wonderful to behold

The photography of Alan Friedman is something wonderful to behold ... and with this in mind I would heartily recommend his tumblr :: 

His pictures are literally out-of-this-world and make for a very pleasant distraction from the mundane.


via Mark Walters with thanks

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Utterly fascinated by Coffitivity

I listen to music all the time at work. I carry three iPhones (don't ask) and 2 iPod Classics with me most days to ensure I have *the* right soundtrack at any given moment. Whilst my preference is for longform Ambient music and mixes ... I have been known to listen to Death Metal and the sounds of frogs to aid concentration and give me a wee *something* to keep me motivated.

With this in mind, I approach Coffitivity with utter fascination ... coffeehouse sounds that interplay with your music to make you *feel* you are in an actual cafe.

According to Coffitivity ... the mix of calm and commotion in an environment like a coffee house is proven to be just what you need to get those creative juices flowing.

I have tried it ... and I did think it helped. It certainly reminded me of the times I have worked from Starbucks or Beanscene. It was a pleasant and welcome reminder. Give it a go for yourself ... its free and plays from the off so you don't even need to start it up.


Loving ... the video for "Ascension" by Tycho

Tycho is one of my fave electronic artists right now ... and this video for the track "Ascension" from his utterly splendid album "Dive".



via iso50 with thanks

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Saul Bass' birthday celebrated with an awesome Google Doodle

I'm not sure if you saw it today or not ... but today's Google Doodle celebrated the graphic design genius of Saul Bass with a wee video that plays on his iconic title sequences. I screengrabbed a few that I really liked. Watch the video below and enjoy.


Seven Questions with ... John Puchiele of the John Puchiele Ensemble

When someone sends me their album to listen to and consider for the podcast ... I always send them through my wee interview ... I like to know a little bit about them. In my metaphorical couch is John Puchiele of the John Puchiele Ensemble whose album - "Life Cycles" - I recently described as being "on a par with the most evocative soundtracks ... something the listener can revisit time and again."

This is what he had to say ...


1) Who are you and what do you do?
My name is John Puchiele and am a composer of electronic and acoustic instruments having worked in multi-media (film, dance, television, radio, live, recording) for many years. I continue to work in these fields professionally while running my own digital recording/composing studio in Toronto, Canada. I have a Bachelor degree in Music Composition under the tutelage of the late composer Jim Tenney; and a Masters in Psychology. I am also a former member of the Glass Orchestra.

2) What are you working on at the moment?
At the present time I am preparing for live performances that will consist of live performers with some sequencing. It would be my preference to have less sequencing but logistically and monetarily speaking it would be very expensive! I am also working on pre-production for my follow up release, which I hope to have released early 2014.

3) Who inspires you?
Inspiration is a hard one to pinpoint but I would have to say the elements and our world, pretty much. Clouds/sky, land masses, cities, etc….all of it basically!

- Name an artist who has inspired you.
There are so many great artists and composers I find inspiring but if I had to choose I must pick at least three as one would not be sufficient. I would have to say in this order Gyorgy Ligeti, Steve Reich and Brian Eno.

- Name place that has inspired you.
Without any question the Isle of Mull (off the west coast of Scotland) has to be the most incredible place I have ever visited. Just beautiful, serene and frightening at the same time….especially at twilight!

- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.
-Describing a ‘thing’ that might be impossible but if anything comes close it would have to be clouds!

4) What drives you to do what you do?
Sometimes drive can be treacherous as you work and work and realize that sometimes the work that you have created is basically garbage. Knowing that I can toss something away and go right back again a day or two later is the best way of describing my drive I suppose. Mind you, someone’s garbage is another person’s treasure ;)

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?
I value the concept of peace and love, and hope that my music at times intermingles in the mind of the listener to create these thoughts. That is success in my opinion!

6) What role does community play in what you do?
Humans need other people to talk, laugh, love, confront, engage, etc. Community is something we cannot live without! Extending your hand with discussion or music; same difference in my opinion. Music is my expression of connection! Why else would I be writing music, for a wall? For people….a community of people.

7) What is next for what you do?
My next CD release for 2014. I have been approached to write music for a documentary series. I would like to lay my hands on a larger film project one day or perhaps a live theatre/music presentation…who knows.


Thanks John!

Have a wee listen below and, if you can, do what you can to support truly splendid independent music.


My friend Jack Hertz has created a fabulous resource over at ... it showcases electronic music and I am proud to say my wee netlabel weareallghosts is included. I guess it had to seeing how Jack has contributed 2 fantastic pieces to our body of work.

I would heartily recommend a browse through the hundreds of albums on display ... it is a veritable smorgasbord of interesting music.


It's not just Jack but Simon and Doug too ... oooops!!!

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Mr Harryhausen ... you will be missed!

Saddened to hear of the passing of Ray Harryhausen. His special effects were truly special ... I remember being captivated by the various creatures in "Clash of the Titans" ... a film that I still enjoy over 30 years after it was released.

According to YouTube ... the above video is a four and a half minute compliation of every Ray Harryhausen animated creature in feature films, presented in chronological order.

To read the complete creature list ... go to

Oh and the song is "Mon Ti" from the incomparable Tito Puente's album "Top Percussion" ... enjoy.

Mr Harryhausen ... you will be missed!


Loving ... “Life Cycle” by John Puchiele Ensemble

One of the things I love most about ambient music is the breadth of the genre. To call something "ambient" could mean different things to different people. This ubiquity, for some, may devalue the genre and remove it of meaning but for me it just makes me all the more curious.

Take “Life Cycle” by John Puchiele Ensemble. Billed as ambient ... I see it sitting more at the wonderful no-man’s-land between ambient and neo-classical ... not that it really matters, if I am honest because, let’s face it, there are only two types of music: good and bad ... and “Life Cycle” is definitely in the good camp.

Weighing in at 13 tracks and 63 minutes ... “Life Cycle” is a wondrous demonstration of neo-classical expression: effervescent piano & luscious string-like synths pervade the tracks ... creating a delightful soundtrack to the listener’s day.

Puchiele’s ability to create eloquent soundscapes is to their credit - the music presented is deeply engaging and of a quality that will stand the test of time. In fact, it is this timelessness that makes this release so appealing and all the more enjoyable. It is on a par with the most evocative soundtracks ... something the listener can revisit time and again.

There are tracks where the ambient leanings of the ensemble come to the for ... where the track features waves of sound that ebb and flow in a rather hypnotic manner. Tracks like “the big sky”, “thinking” with its ethereal choral effect, and the languid drones of "climbing" exemplify these waves of sound.

Whereas there are other tracks where the neo-classical leanings of the Ensemble come to the fore: tracks like "life gets busy I" with its dynamic string-like synths, "life gets busy II" with its rather vibrant, dynamic and wildly extrovert piano playing, or the deliciously pastoral "from here to there" which features some delightfully ethereal vocal-like synths that really set off the track and close the album perfectly.

I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to this album. It captured and kept my attention ... and I would highly recommend it to fans of the ambient genre, especially those who like the sound of strings.

Please take the time to listen to the album via the embedded player and, if it is your thing, do what you can to support truly independent music.


Saturday, May 04, 2013

Five recent releases on weareallghosts

Its been a busy old time in waag HQ. Since the last time I blogged about my wee netlabel on here we've seen the release of the fifth instalment in the dronescape series from Cousin Silas ...


a belter of a double-album from Cousin Silas ...


and a cheeky wee single from the man himself too ... a track that I missed from "East (waag_rel021)".


We released a brilliant remix by Apta of an exceptional track from Northcape ...


and an utterly delightful ambient electronic album from William Spivey that sounds particularly good in a bubblebath.


Please check them out and, if you can, help support the work of weareallghosts.


Can't wait to see Star Trek Into Darkness ...

I'll admit to being rather excited to see the sequel to J. J. Abrams' Star Trek ... Into Darkness. So excited, in fact, that I bought tickets for a show next Saturday. It will give me something to look forward to.


Off to see Iron Man 3 this afternoon ...

To say I can't wait ... would be an understatement.



I loved Iron Man 3. It lived up to my hype and held my interest through out. I loved the baddies and I really enjoyed the 'defeated' narrative. What's more ... I loved the dialogue ... it was fast-paced and fun.

What I didn't like, however, was the music. Not Brian Tyler's awesome orchestral soundtrack ... but the lack of rock / metal. It was a wee bit too wah-wah for me, if I am honest.

That said ... it is only a minor complaint in what was a great film and a meaningful extension to the Avengers story.


PS ... stay to the end ... its worth it.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

What I listened to in April 2013 ...


I missed one of my iPhones ... as such, the true figures are above. Sorry about that!


Nothing really unusual to note.



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