Saturday, June 29, 2013

Our visit to London ... Day 1

290613_ London Eye

Spent a couple of hours on the Southbank this afternoon.

Before hand, however, we had a whole heap of hassle trying to get our travel sorted - we can buy Adult Oyster cards without any issue but the we'ans need photos for theirs ... with their cards taking up to 3 weeks to get produced. So we need to buy them daily all-day travel tickets ... which isn't an issue except I wish someone that represents Transport for London could actually tell me that. Put it this way ... the folks we sought help from in Paris were friendlier and more helpful than the folks we met today in London.

Anyway ... we went to Waterloo and walked along outside the Southbank Centre ... gazing at the London Eye and the long, long, long queues for it.

We grabbed burritos at Wacaha and ate al fresco.

London is going to be fun ... once we've gotten our bearings.


290613_ London Eye no2

290613_ London Eye no3

"Calypso - is like so..." by Robert Mitchum - 50p on Trunk Records

I was so stoked when Trunk Records' recent email came in and their "50p Friday" album was a personal favourite ... "Calypso - is like so..." by Robert Mitchum.

I've had this album on my iPod for a long time ... I got given it in 128kbps and was desperate to get it in a better bitrate.

It is a mental record ... very, very funny and sing-a-long catchy ... with Mr Mitchum doing a very good version of the Calypso ... a style he learned after spending time in Caribbean. Its a firm family favourite ... especially with Olly's parents. Anne (my mother-in-law) is particularly fond of it.

Thing is ... she's not the only one. This is what Johnny Trunk has to say about it:
Yes, this is Robert Mitchum, the weed smokin' rum totin' super Hollywood bad guy. Think of Mitchum and you imagine Cape Fear, gangsters etc, tattoos, not a man capable of making a Caribbean rum-soaked album, singing in a half-cocked Jamaican patois. Well that's exactly what this is, a true classic. And he gets away with it. Most of the time. All there is left to say is tick, tick tick.
I would heartily recommend this album ... especially at 50p. Snap it up ASAP before it goes.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Seven questions with ... Craig Murphy aka Solipsism

Yesterday I posted a review of "The Cerenerian Sea" by Solipsism & Nacht Plank. I was given the opportunity to listen to the album by Craig Murphy aka Solipsism ... who kindly agreed to answer my wee blog interview when I asked him. This is what he had to say:


1) Who are you and what do you do? 
My name is Craig Murphy and I am a musician and producer of music in various experimental genres. I founded the Herb Recordings label in 2006 and ran it until 2013, when the label was taken over by an American music group who control a variety of independent labels. I now work in an A&R capacity for the group. My main musical project is Solipsism, though I have worked in the past with singer and lyricist Neil Carlill (Delicatessen/Lodger) as part of the psychedelic folk group Shoosh and more recently, I have been working extensively with Lee Norris (Metamatics/Norken) as Ashtoreth’s Gate and Solipsism & Nacht Plank.

2) What are you working on at the moment? 
For the majority of 2013 I have been working exclusively on the Ashtoreth’s Gate and Solipsism & Nacht Plank material. Lee and I are both workaholics where music is concerned and it consumes most of our days in one way or another, so it’s been a terrific working relationship as we can connect on a musical level as well as a work ethic level equally and it has resulted in a sustained period of creativity. This has been great for me personally, as I tend to ebb and flow when working myself. Our first album as Solipsism & Nacht Plank is being released on CD via Databloem Records and we’ve just finished our second which will be released on …txt Recordings in the near future. The first Ashtoreth’s Gate album will also be going out soon on CD via Gterma Records and we also have some other stuff on the go. I also have a Solipsism album due for release on CD soon via Twice Removed Records called "A Distance Between Us" and a few other things materialising in the near future. It’s been a busy year!

3) Who inspires you? 
- Name an artist who has inspired you.
Lots of people have inspired me over the years, lots of places, events and even hazy memories have all played some part in inspiring me, though I can’t really pinpoint any single person as being more inspirational than the other.

- Name place that has inspired you. 
The Isle of Mull

- Name some "thing" that has inspired you. 

4) What drives you to do what you do? 
The single biggest influence on me musically is someone from a largely unrelated genre, Frank Zappa. I’ve been a massive Zappa fan since I was a teenager and he was a great role model for artists who want to do things their own way in spite of current trends and also for artists who want to actually do it themselves. Zappa ran a cottage industry pressing his own CDs and vinyl and even took care of much of the distribution. He resented the power that major labels had and successfully sued at least one of them. His most important lesson though was to show that you can do what you want to do if you have the will and determination to do it and the belief in what you are doing. He pioneered cross genre experimentation in the 1960s with the first genuine jazz/rock fusion album titled Uncle Meat and experimentation would remain key to all his future releases regardless of the structure of the band or the genre he was working in.

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express? 
Escapism, plain and simple.

6) What role does community play in what you do? 
As a solipsist, not very much I’m afraid!

7) What is next for what you do? 
You never know what the future holds, but I’ll keep working on music until I have a better idea.


Thanks Craig.

Craig is a workaholic who has five ... yes, five ... new albums due out later in 2013:
  • Solipsism - "A Distance Between Us" - CD Album: Twice Removed Records
  • Solipsism & Nacht Plank - "The Cerenerian Sea" - CD Album: Databloem Records
  • Ashtoreth's Gate - "Ashtoreth's Gate" - CD Album: Gterma Records
  • Ashtoreth's Gate - "II" - CD Album: ...txt Recordings
  • Solipsism - "Seed Arcanum" - Digital Download: Herb

- Tx

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Recommended - "The Cerenerian Sea" by Solipsism & Nacht Plank

I have a thing for ambient drones. I go to sleep listening to one (or two, if I can't sleep) ... and ... I listen to one whilst working (or two, if its a big piece of work) to aid concentration. I'm a huge fan of this style of musical expression and ... while my netlabel has some wonderful examples to choose from ... I love it when I find a piece from an artist I am unfamiliar with.

Take "The Cerenerian Sea" by Solipsism & Nacht Plank ... a 5-track 71 minute album due to be released on Databloem Records ... an album I was recently given to have a listen to.

This is my kind of ambient ... drone-based but with an emphasis on melody and the imaginative use of noise, glitches, and samples to create and enhance the atmosphere. An atmosphere that isn't quite dark but isn't quite light either ... more a mysterious otherworldy twilight ambience.

The album kicks off with "Imperfect Queen" ... a short-ish drone piece that underpins a delightful melody … a melody that is never drowned out by the noise.

It then moves to "Lush, Polite Heroin" with it's loops of field-recordings that morph into something dissonant yet beguiling. When the melody takes over around the 1:30 mark, the piece takes a decidedly uplifting form which I really enjoyed ... before fading to an almost static buzz. I thought of The Sprawl in William Gibson’s seminal sci-fi classic ’Neuromancer' as I consumed this track ... it has that kind of feel.

We then come face to face with the third track ... the momentous 34 minute opus entitled "Wishbone Four Vaults" which begins with an omnipresent hum before breaking out into some seriously dissonant noise ... a sound, at times, to be endured more than enjoyed ... but one that, if endured, becomes enlightening to those who make it. This is a serious wall-of-sound that does remind of the more frantic elements of nature … like the wind blowing a gale over a body of water. There is something truly elemental about this piece which is a tribute to Solpsism & Nacht Plank's imaginative use of electronics and noise.

The final 2 tracks are far more peaceful ... like the calm *after* the storm. "Dusted Nordic", with its repeated sounds, feels almost hypnotic ... as if I am rising after a long, deep sleep. The underpinning drone vibrates. It forms a subtle melody that warms and comforts ... removing all outside distractions.

The final track - "Escape Point" - is another longform piece ... one that clocks in at 19 minutes. It is bright and airy ... like the breaking of a new day. It is another imaginative piece ... one I found warm and endearing, and definitely in contrast to the dissonant display of power that is the third track. This track balances out the album ... bringing the listener back down after an interesting and varied sonic trip.

I found "The Cerenerian Sea" by Solipsism & Nacht Plank an interesting listen with moments of peace to complement the moments of noise ... the noisier sections may not be to everyone’s taste but I would recommend this release to folks looking for something that, at times, challenges but ultimately rewards the listener.


Oh and Nacht Plank's tumblr too >>

Monday, June 24, 2013

We're coming to London ... and need your ideas


My family and I are coming down to London next weekend for 7 days and need your help ... its been 4 years since our last visit and we need your ideas for places to go and things to see.

Not your usual tourist stuff, mind you ... but the spaces that are a wee bit special.


Think museums, galleries, boutiques, cafes, coffeehouses, recordstores, bookshops ... that kind of thing ... preferably independent and unique.

My friend Royzoner has kicked things off with this list:

  • The Bowie exhibit at the V&A,
  • The Bialy Bagel Shop and Kahalia Cafe on Brick Lane,
  • Whole foods on Kensington High Street for foodstuffs,
  • The Coffee Plant in Notting Hill, and
  • Clapham Picturehouse or the Waterloo South Bank IMAX for a Cinematic experience.
However ... he couldn't recommend a Recordstore.

So what do you recommend? Leave a comment or '@' me on Twitter (@headphonaught).


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Seven Questions with... Ben Steed

I recently reviewed Ben Steed's upcoming album on Twice Removed Records entitled "From Here You Can See Everything" ... where I said this ... as well as other things:
"...What Steed packs into 36 minutes is more than some artists pack into their whole careers. The variety on display and, more importantly, the quality of each track is simply remarkable."
At that point we had yet to connect on Twitter / Facebook etc ... we have since done so and I can confirm he is a top lad.

He happily answered my wee blog interview ... have a wee read below:


1) Who are you and what do you do?
I'm Ben Steed. Hi! I'm a composer based in England. Musically I have composed various genres over the last few years but in more recent times I seem to be moving mostly towards ambient and piano-lead pieces. I have just recently finished my new album 'from here you can see everything' which is due to come out 1st July through Twice Removed Records.

2) What are you working on at the moment?
Right now I am taking a short break from any major pieces of work as I wait for the new album to be released, but I am occasionally twiddling with a live set I am slowly constructing and will soon be finishing up an EP of textural noise and ambiance planned to come out in August.

3) Who inspires you?
So many things inspire me it's hard to really put a finger on any of it. Musically, I'm inspired by so many artists it'd be possible to really start listing them, but it ranges from almost every genre under the sun. Acoustic stuff to noisecore, classical to ambient, post-rock to IDM, psychedelic to reggae… It's a never-ending, ever-growing list! But in terms of inspiration in general, it really is uncountable how many things inspire me. Please excuse this pretentious waffle, but I find poetry in everything, and it all offers its own unique form of inspiration.

4) What drives you to do what you do?
These days, nothing immediately conscious drives me. Music is in my blood, and deep in my subconscious. I LOVE writing and releasing music and there's no way out of it for me now. It's what I live for, because it just is. And whenever people express their enjoyment for my work, it really does blow me away and, if anything, makes me want to keep writing.

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?
Interesting question. I'm not sure if there *are* any specifically desired values. I much prefer people to take whatever they want from the music I make, develop their own opinions and interpretations. That said, I have always loved the idea of immersion, inspired by my own love of being utterly immersed when listening to music. I also enjoy the idea of 'vague storytelling' in my music. Leaving clues in my music towards concealed bigger notions is something I love doing, but I don't know if anyone's picked up on any of it yet!

6) What role does community play in what you do?
A huge one. I value every individual I've met in my life - both in person and online - and regard them at the highest level. There are so many talented people out there who I have had the pleasure to meet and, occasionally, work with. I have never really had a close connection to local communities and scenes (save for about 7 years ago when I was a strictly acoustic act), but there are certainly many communities online that I have come to love. I am an internet nerd, so running into these types of communities are to be expected for such a nocturnal introvert. I would say, though, that there is one community, one 'family', that has had the biggest impact on me and are a group I love unconditionally without question. They know who they are.

7) What is next for what you do?
After this new album drops I plan to, as I mentioned, release a short EP probably in August. After that, my next major release will be in the vein of ambient jazz which will most likely come out next summer sometime. Meanwhile, I am slowly writing my first novel, of which gradual progress is being made. I will also finish this live set I mentioned, and I plan for many more collaborative efforts with people, including my psybient duo Ibotenic and my psy-dub-post-rock-ambient band Access To Alchemy.


Thanks Ben. I can't wait for the EP in August and some Ambient Jazz is right down my street!

"From Here You Can See Everything" is released on Twice Removed on 1st July ::

- Tx

My photos from Airdrie Salvation Army's Open Day

Open Day 078

Yesterday I had the privilege to photograph the first Open Day at Airdrie's Salvation Army. I had a hand in organising the event and it was fab to see it all come together ... through my lens and through my own eyes.

Open Day 167

The event was organised by this man ... Bobby Weir Jnr. A very passionate man with a heart for his community. It was free and featured games, face-painting, hot-rolls and a good, ol' fashioned Army cup o' tea.

Open Day 192

I managed to take over 200 photos ... with 199 making it onto Flickr. I'm more interested in documenting the day than just sharing my best ... so you've got pretty much all I took on the day. I particularly loved taking some portraits. That was a lot of fun ... as was the whole day, to be honest. I was grinning like a loon for the most part all day.

Here's to the next one!

I've shared some of my faves ... the rest are available over on FLICKR.


Open Day 178

Open Day 156

Open Day 124

Open Day 011

Open Day 093

Open Day 109

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Loving... "Legacy of the witty" by Trigg and Gusset on Preserved Sound

There is something deliciously dark and mysterious about the film noir-esque sounds presented on "Legacy of the witty" by Trigg and Gusset on Preserved Sound ... something very David Lynch.

Slow, lazy percussion ... haunting piano ... and some seriously sensual yet rather melancholic saxophone ... all come together to make this late night soundtrack. Add the odd synth and percussive sample ... and wow, what an album. There is even a double bass on a few tracks which is just icing on the cake.

As I mentioned above, there is a very real Film Noir influence ... these tracks could so easily feature in a David Lynch film ... something as equally dark and intriguing as the music on offer.

With Bart Knol on keys, beats, synths, and samples ... and Erik van Geer on tenor sax and bass clarinet ... this is some lovely music. Throw in Dominique Bentvelsen on double bass on four of the tracks and you have something beautiful indeed.

The melodies articulated by the saxophone are simply breathtaking ... they are the eloquent expression of someone who knows how to play ... and play well. Passionate & expressive yet unhurried ... I found these melodies an utter joy to consume.

"Legacy of the witty" by Trigg and Gusset has an utterly delightful late-night vibe ... a wind-down, chill-out, Friday-night kind of vibe. Put it this way ... it's hard to consume on the train after a day in the office - I've been left snoozing and have nearly missed my stop on a couple of occasions as I've tried to take it all in. This is not a criticism but more an observation as to how perfect it is in its intended role.

I would heartily recommend this release and must give special mention to the closing track - "Avant Noir" - for truly encapsulating the fabulousness of this release. Low, growly bass clarinet ... subtle synths and gently, deliberate percussion ... samples and electronic manipulation ... and double bass, lots of beautiful, lilting double bass ... all come together to make this the stand-out track on the album.

My thanks to Preserved Sound for giving me the opportunity to listen to and review this album. It is remarkable. Check it out below.

- Tx

Monday, June 17, 2013

Loving... "A Sense of Uncertainty" by Tom Honey aka Good Weather for an Airstrike

I need to be upfront and call out that I am a huge fan of Tom Honey's ’Good Weather for an Airstrike' project and am incapable of an objective view of his work. His music captivates me and it would be unfair to mislead you into thinking I was even attempting to be non-partisan.

I have followed Honey's project for some years and have loved everything he’s released. His particular amalgam of ambient and post-rock with neo-classical flavouring really works for me and "A Sense of Uncertainty" ... his latest EP released on Rural Colours... really, really works for me.

From the opening drone of "Two Miles of Uncertainty" until the last track - "Two Hours of Uncertainty" - fades to nothing ... I am captivated as a listener.

"Two Miles of Uncertainty" is a delicate, restrained track that slowly and languidly builds as Honey adds layers of sound. The initial drone underpins a repeated piano refrain and some sound manipulation before the main melody appears ... a lilting, pastoral piece that is just heavenly. This is a truly gorgeous track ... slightly melancholic but very inspiring and enjoyable.

From there we move nicely into "Stop Everything! It's Snowing" which features an underbelly of Honey’s trademark backwards samples and piano before the synths take the foreground. A rhythm is played out with a single solitary piano key ... a repetitive, metronome-like effect that brings structure to the track.

The third track - "Lasting Effect" - is unabashedly pastoral in nature. A luscious, full-bodied expression that needs a lazy Summer afternoon somewhere secluded to be fully appreciated ... in fact, Honey has provided a field-recording at the end of what would appear to be such a scene. It is on tracks like this that Honey’s neo-classical leanings become evident. It is truly beautiful.

As is the penultimate track - "Are You Ok?" - which features lush strings and a delightful staccato melody over an interesting rhythmic baseline and a field-recording of people in an urban environment.

It flows seamlessly onto the final track - "Two Hours of Uncertainty" - a short drone track ... one that picks up the original theme of the opening track ... with more of the field-recording from the fourth track.

I loved this EP. It reinforces, for me, how talented Honey is and how, at the right moment, less can and is more. This isn't ’new’ material in where Honey has gone off on a new tangent but more of the same ... he has kept what he's especially good at and got better at it ... like a master craftsman.

I do not consider ’more of the same’ to be a criticism but an observation from some who adores Honey’s sound. I want ’more of the same’ if the same is this tightly quality controlled.

My only criticism is the length of the EP - 21 minutes. Yes, it whets the whistle but it also leaves the listener grasping for more.

All in, however, this is a worthy addition to the Good Weather for an Airstrike canon and kudos to Honey for keeping his quality control super-tight.

"A Sense of Uncertainty" by Good Weather for an Airstrike will be available from his Bandcamp page on Saturday, 22nd June.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Loving ... "Theophany" by Toaster

I’ll admit Toaster’s "Theophany" was not what I expected. I thought I would hear his rather abstract big-sound, techno-inspired electronica ... I didn't ... I don't.

"Theophany" is different because it is more about restraint. His techno-inspired electronic sound is definitely there but in a more relaxed, more ambient setting ... and I, for one, cannot get enough. I've always loved Toaster’s work but "Theophany" is now my new favourite release from him.

The opener - "From the coast, we travelled east" - is a restrained ambient techno number ... layers of synths underpinned by a delightfully driving beat ... with a sample at the end which could be birdsong or could be from the game "Abe’s Odyssey".

"Eventually, we reached the desert" has a slightly chaotic feel to it ... more abstract than the first track. It has an Eastern feel to it through the percussion and instrumentation used that gives it a warmth in keeping with the track’s title.

The third track - "We set up camp, and got drunk" - brings us back to a more ambient form. It retains Toaster’s abstract nature ... easily marked by the weird vocal samples he uses. However, when the percussion kicks in this could be a long-lost Boards of Canada track ... and I love it.

"When we woke up we realised we were lost" is a deliciously somber ambient piece ... one that ebbs and flows nicely and provides a small measure of respite as well as preparing the user for what is to come.

"Night fell. We saw a light in the distance and we walked towards it" follows suit but with the addition of percussion. The synths soar majestically giving the track a decidedly euphoric feel.

The title track - "Theophany" - is the focal point of this album ... and it is a sizeable focal point at that - it clocks in at 29mins in duration. It starts off very low key and languid, with long chords punctuated by sounds that mirror birdsong. It then follows this theme for the rest of the track. The thing is ... Toaster could have released this track on its own ... it's that good. An utterly delightful slice of long-form ambient goodness that I thoroughly enjoyed.

From there the album kind of goes off into more abstract territory again. It's as if Toaster has made his point and now is free to go mental. I, for one, love this unpredictability.

"We made it back to the coast" uses low ominous drones, field recordings and vocal samples to make something very eery indeed. It sits at 14 mins in duration and says a considerable amount in this time. The dissonant crescendo around the 3 mins mark is definitely an interesting moment. When it shifts to a full on field recording around the 4:30 mins mark it gets weird. It's as if he's left his recorder on while he went to get something out of his VW Campervan and liked it the result upon playback. It is strange but yet compelling. I'm not sure if it is completely unnecessary ... especially due to my love of the chatter of budgies, which appear briefly. I'm not a fan of field recordings like this but somehow I found it compelling. I couldn't press forward.

"Theophany" then ends with "We mourned the dead, and drew comfort from God" which opens with deep, dark synths and a sound like the blowing of the wind. It fits perfectly as the antithesis of the ending of the previous track. It then stays on this course for the remainder of the track. Fading out to silence at the end.

"Theophany" by Toaster is an interesting and varied proposition. One that bamboozled me at times as well as entertaining me. It is a release I thoroughly enjoyed and welcome it as an excellent addition to both Toaster’s body-of-work.

It's not an easy listen (not as a result of Warren Daly's excellent Mastering) but then that's the joy of Toaster's work. He challenges you & on "Theophany" I'm glad he did. I will happily go on record as saying this is his best work to date and I look forward to his future.



Thursday, June 13, 2013

Loving ... "From Here You Can See Everything" by Ben Steed

I'm guilty of not giving Gavin Catling & his inspirational micro-label Twice Removed Records the love and, more importantly, the blogposts they deserve. This will change especially considering he has upped the quality of his releases ... I'm not sure how he has managed it considering his quality was already very high but my goodness he's onto something.

Take Ben Steed latest as an example of this. "From Here You Can See Everything" is a music force of nature that moves from solo piano ("River Revuer") through drone ("I can no longer see you") to some seriously good electronica that is blessed by the appearance of Hannah Wall on vocals ("Dhyãna") ... and that's just the first three tracks!!!

What Steed packs into 36 minutes is more than some artists pack into their whole careers. The variety on display and, more importantly, the quality of each track is simply remarkable.

Steed moves effortlessly from drone to electronica ... with each track feeling unique yet part of the collective whole of the album.

"Why can't I sleep?" brings piano, drone and some gorgeous glitches to the listener's attention ... it is so deep and engaging ... it really is an exceptional track.

Steed also moves from short 2min-ish pieces to two 9min-ish ... the first of which - "Song for a distant universe" - is a delightful piece that begins with some field recordings and the develops with the addition of minimal synths and subtle chords on an acoustic guitar. These layers nicely build to fill the track with sound ... a sound that is interspersed with the ticks and scratches from the field recordings. From there we hear a melody presented ... a haunting melody that sticks in the mind.

The 2nd of the 9mins tracks - "Thank You" - starts off with more field recordings ... this time more legible (a café or some kind of social space) ... before an acoustic guitar and then a synth bring some melody and structure to the track. It's delicate & minimal track yet breathtakingly gorgeous ... especially as it builds near the end.

The penultimate track - "From here you can see everything" - features an evocative poem that really made me think. The spoken-word is underpinned and complemented by some synths ... which makes it a compelling listen.

The release finishes with a decidedly euphoric synth & percussion piece that features a vocal sample that reminds the listener that they count ... that they matter. I can't think of a better way to round of a release.

I really enjoyed this release and would recommend it ... albeit please note there is an F-bomb in the spoken word that some people may not appreciate.

"From Here You Can See Everything" is released on Twice Removed on 1st July ::


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Seven questions with ... David Teboul aka Linear Bells

I reviewed Linear Bells recent release yesterday ... and wanted to follow with my wee blog interview. I caught up with David Teboul, the man behind Linear Bells via email ... this is what he had to say:


1)Who are you and what do you do?
I’m David Teboul (from France) and I run the musical project LINEAR BELLS since 2012. I’m a father of 3 diabolic kids, a  husband & a music lover. I‘ve been involved in music creation since I was a kid, playing rock’n’roll at school at the end of the eighties, then, creating electronica pieces in a duo (ACRE4) and with a solo project (EMBARK) in the 00’s. I also created at this period a label called ACRYLIK (now RIP) . Then I stopped music activities in 2007. In 2011 I started again to play some things and decided to try something new … LINEAR BELLS was born.

2) What are you working on at the moment?
Right now I’m organizing my new releases launches : LOST (CD + digital) is OUT since 2nd June on my bandcamp, then I’ll have HELIO GRABADOS (digital only & free) due to June 2013 on TESTTUBE Netlabel ... following that I have PE (one track release) that will be out for July2013 and an acoustic release for Hidden Vibes netlabel that will be out somewhere in Summer 2013.

I also start to think about some project for the end of the year (a release for SUBTERRANEAN TIDE and a music photobook in collaboration of Peter Nejedly) … I’m trying to not play music at the moment …

3) Who inspires you?
I’m a MY BLOODY VALENTINE shoegazer generation fan … I mean, I was totally confused by this band (I was 22 when LOVELESS appears) and I understand that nowadays it still inspired me a lot !!

NANTES is a city that inspired me a lot. I was born in Nantes, this city is really wonderful, with a lot of creativity, a lot of energy and it stills Simple to live in Nantes and if you drive 10km, you’ll be in the fields.

Art paintings, Photos,  are also very important for me, and they are totally part of my projects, I’m a Rothko Big fan and I used to paint … I love taking photos too.

4) What drives you to do what you do?
As far as I can remember I’ve always created things, when I was a child I was making plans, constructing things … I can’t stay quiet for one day, I really need to make things, really needs to make music, maybe it’s what we called to be creative ??

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?
Simplicity & honesty.

6) What role does community play in what you do?
A very BIG role. This part completely change the way we communicate today. For me, because I had a first "analog" musical life, our time is a real treat to communicate easily and worldwide. The downside is that there are now thousands of niches and it is sometimes difficult to get out of the ground ... but I assure you that I prefer our time.

7) What is next for what you do?
I have some projects for the end of the year. I’ll try to work slower for the next months (if I can). I borrowed a Reel to Reel tape recorder and I’m having fun with it, experimenting new things. I would love to finish a double CD album  with cello & piano but I have first to find a new cello (family life = some disasters sometimes !!). and most importantly, I hope to keep the faith in what I do ... if I lose the flame, so I'll stop again.


Thanks for taking the time, David ... your English is far superior to my French!

Have a wee listen to "Lost" below:


Happy Birthday Olly

0230612_ Olly no3

Just wanted to take time to wish my wife Olwyn 'Olly' Mathie a very happy birthday. I'm sworn to secrecy as to her age ... all I'm allowed to say is she is younger than me! And anyway ... you never ask a Lady her age.

I hope you have a lovely day, honey. Looking forward to spending the evening with you.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Loving... "Lost" by Linear Bells

According to the liner notes ... "Lost" is a journey through several cities where Linear Bells literally sought to lose himself. It describes his personal immersion in Birmingham (UK), Altea (Spain), Venice (Italy), Nantes (France) and recounts all the feelings that came with this immersion.

This concept makes "Lost" by Linear Bells an intriguing proposition to me ... he has sought to encapsulate in sound his feelings of being lost in some interesting cities. I, for one, have gotten lost in Venice and its a remarkable feeling. In many ways, it's the best way to see the city ... a city I love dearly. I have fond memories of walking aimlessly in the dark alleyways, hiding from the heat of the day, finding beautiful sites and unusual boutiques. For Linear Bells to seek to capture this feeling in sound intrigued me.

"Lost" is a 4 track drone-based ambient album with exceptionally beautiful artwork. It clocks in around the 50 minute mark which is more than plenty for the listener to get their teeth into - the 1st track accounts for half this elapsed time with the other 3 tracks coming in between 7 and 8 minutes each.

Each of the tracks, like the cities above, has their own vibe.

"Lost-I" is, to butcher a footballing metaphor, a track of 2 halves ... the first half is a glitchy ambient drone with vocal samples layered in such a manner to be identifiable as speech but not entirely distinguishable. This is rather disconcerting ... but in a good way.

The track then morphs around the 11 1/2 minute mark with the introduction of a driving techno beat and further synths. The beat and the synths come from leftfield and really transforms the track ... giving it some real bite. I love it ... especially when haunting otherworldly choral voices are presented at the edge of perception. It is an engaging listening experience.

"Lost-II" features N. Bourasseau and is an engaging drone that is interspersed with the otherworldly 'scanned' voices and the strumming of an acoustic guitar.

"Lost-III" has more of an ebb and flow to it … an in and out rhythm that I find very relaxing. It has a drifting quality that is almost hypnotic.

"Lost-IV" has a scratchy, glitchy vibe about it … with snippets of melodies layered together to create a rather delightful ending to this release. It is delicate, minimal, and utterly captivating.

I found "Lost" by Linear Bells to be an engaging and rewarding listen … one that is, at times, both delicate and powerful … one that is well worth a listen.


Have a wee listen below and if you like what you hear ... please do your bit to support independent music.


Trailer for 'The Desolation of Smaug'

I'll admit to getting very excited when I watched this earlier ... I cannot wait!


Monday, June 10, 2013

Nineteen Eighty Four

“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.”
I don't know why it has taken me until 2013 to read "Nineteen Eighty Four" by George Orwell ... but I have corrected my mistake and am loving it.

It is so apt for now ... so right ... especially with the Shephard Fairey cover.

If you haven't read it ... please do so.


Seven questions with... Simon Housley aka Oathless

As has been my want of late ... when I review an album ... I seek to get behind the composer ... find out a wee bit more about him or her. Simon Housley aka Oathless is the latest in a long list of super-interesting people whose music has touched me and I wanted to know a wee bit more.

Here's what he had to say:


1) Who are you and what do you do?
I am Simon Housley from Stoke-on-Trent in the UK. I make ambient/electronic music under the alias Oathless.

2) What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently collaborating with Tom Honey of Good Weather for an Airstrike and we hope to have an EP ready for release at some point over the next few months. There are a couple of other projects and ideas with rudimentary foundations in place but nothing significant as of yet.

3) Who inspires you? 
I couldn’t possibly scale down my inspiration to a single artist but one of the most important has definitely been Burial. Obviously, no one really knows much about him, but the impact of one person on the world of music created simply with audio editing software on a computer is insane. It just goes to show that you don’t need to be a heavily educated expert in your field to have success; as long as you love what you do and spend enough time doing it anything is possible.

It may sound cliché but I am genuinely inspired by every place I go to and everything around me. Whilst I hardly live in a huge city it’s sometimes good to get out into areas of the Peak District for example. Some of the English countryside is beautiful.

I suffered from depression a few years ago and reach a point that I hope I never have to experience again. Music has always been a method for me to vent negative thoughts so you could say that is a significant inspiration behind my music. It’s getting more upbeat at times though I’m pleased to say!

4) What drives you to do what you do?
I think I’d always be making music no matter what, I love it. There are very few genres that I can’t really listen to so I’m always striving for new styles, exciting ideas and interesting sounds. Most of my friends have never really had a massive amount of interest in the styles of music I make so it was never about wanting to impress others it’s just something I’ve always enjoyed and wanted to do. Having said that, I’ve gained a few fans in the past year or two and now where it’s at the point that people are anticipating releases and can’t wait to hear your work it’s fantastic. Knowing I’ve had a positive impact on other people and given them a sense of enjoyment with something I’ve created is an amazing feeling.

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?
Whilst I’m aware my music isn’t exactly the most upbeat, I’ve always hoped anyone listening to it would allow themselves to be immersed in it and maybe even contemplate their surroundings. I’m quite fascinated by minimalism – not that you’d know if you could see the room I’m in currently – and its various forms so I often try to employ a ‘less is more’ approach to production and hopefully that translates across to the listener as appreciating whatever they may have in life, even if it may only seem like a little.

6) What role does community play in what you do?
It’s an odd one, there isn’t really a local community in my circumstances as there’s no real ‘scene’ for this style and it’s not exactly something you can perform live in your local pub, as much as I’d love to. Community instead for me is the entire world via the internet, which I think is fantastic. Being able to share thoughts and music with virtually anyone on the planet is a wonderful thing and opens up so much potential.

7) What is next for what you do?
There are so many things I want to do. I’d like to have some physical releases, even if it’s in a limited quantity; I’ve had requests in the past so I know people would be interested. As I stated before I would love to be able to do live performances so if I could work towards a format that would work I’d definitely like to give that a go. Release-wise I think I’ll aim for another full length within the next year or two with a range of styles rather than the straight ambience demonstrated on ‘Peripheral’. Until that point, however, I’ll probably release a few singles and I’d also like to do a few remixes.


Housley's new album "Peripheral: Music For An Imaginary Film" is available now over on Hawkmoon Records. Have a wee listen below ...


Sunday, June 09, 2013

Loving... 'Peripheral: Music for an imaginary film' by Oathless

I am a huge soundtrack fan. I have been since my teens. I've always taken great comfort in listening to expressive music … and have always viewed a powerful soundtrack to be more than just the backing to a moment … but part of that moment … an integral part as important as the acting or the setting.

You cannot consider 'Star Wars' or 'Indiana Jones' without John Williams' music. Think 'Jaws' and I just know the music you'll be humming. Hans Zimmer. James Howard Newton. Jerry Goldsmith. Ennio Morricone. All have provided my life with musical accompaniment … and I am richer for it. In fact, I have been known to buy soundtracks … usually from the 'bargain bin' … of films I haven't seen because I loved the work of the composer.

I will always see a good soundtrack as more than just the backing for a film … and look at my love of soundtracks as an important building-block for the music I love, promote, and even release on my wee netlabel.

It is with this in mind that I approach 'Peripheral: Music for an imaginary film' by Oathless … released on the mighty Hawkmoon Records label.

My initial question was, when I began to consume it, was 'Why?' … Why isn't this a soundtrack to a film? It certainly is good enough to accompany a film … not one starring Bruce Willis, mind you … but a film nonetheless.

'Peripheral: Music for an imaginary film' by Oathless really does have a wonderfully engaging 'cinematic' quality about it … it could so easily have been a soundtrack. It is testimony to the talent and expertise of Simon Housley, the chap behind Oathless, that I think this.

He has created some seriously divine soundscapes … using guitars, keyboards and piano, and programming to make something really beautiful indeed. 'Peripheral' is 58 minutes of sheer, unadulterated beauty … and I, for one, love it.

His use of delay and almost 'dubby' effects at the beginning of the album did take a minute or two to get acclimatised to … but the kind of delay Housley utilises really works on this release … it adds to the atmosphere of the first 5 tracks in which it features. He brings an ebb and flow to the music … a rhythmic pattern that engages the listener and draws them into the album.

From track 6 - "Intermission II: Veiled" - onwards, however, the album noticeably changes and morphs into something more traditionally 'ambient' in texture. With the delays gone, the tracks have a more pastoral air to them … especially considering Housely's exemplary piano playing and his delicate use of synths to create some utterly delightful atmospheres.

Take the 7th track - "The Calm Before The Storm" - for example. This is one gorgeous track: sublime synths underpin a sparse piano melody to create a track Craig Armstrong himself would be extremely proud of.

"Skybird" too has a real elegance about it. This, the 8th track, brings a sense of the ebb and flow of earlier pieces (but without the delay) and uses it to amplify atmosphere formed by the synths. It really is an exceptional track.

I could easily wax lyrical about the remainder of this release … but I won't. Tracks like the 3rd intermission - "Finding Max" - with its utterly delightful melody and field-recording of falling rain just leave me without words … or the final track - "Coda, for the End of Days" - which is a 10 minute opus of breathtaking beauty. This is an album to be experienced at first hand ... by yourself ... preferably with good headphones. Don't take my word for it ... taste and see for yourself.

I highly recommend this release and look forward to more from both Housley and his label - Hawkmoon Records - whose output has been outstanding … theirs is a roster of remarkable talent … a roster in which Housely stands tall and proud.

Have a listen below:


Saturday, June 08, 2013

Seven questions with... Joel Pike aka Tiny Leaves

If there is one album I am excitedly waiting on ... it is "A Good Land, An Excellent Land" by Tiny Leaves on Futuresequence.

I caught up with Joel via Twitter ... and asked if he'd answer my wee blog interview. I am delighted that he said yes.


1) Who are you and what do you do?
I'm Joel and I compose & perform music as Tiny Leaves.

2) What are you working on at the moment?
A rewrite of a stunning track for another artist & the beginnings of my next project.

3) Who inspires you?
- Name an artist or artists who has / have inspired you.
Sufjan Stevens' music changed my life.

- Name a place that has inspired you.
Wales & the Borders. I find something special about Wales that I can't quite put my finger on but I know I feel inspired and more whole around its skies, mountains & beaches. I've also become very fond of London's vibrancy & determination!

- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.
A photo on my kitchen wall by Ansel Adams '1942 - Yosemite Valley, Clearing Winter Storm'.

4) What drives you to do what you do?
A belief that we are all made to be intensely creative, to release something unique and of real beauty and worth upon the earth.

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

6) What role does community play in what you do?
Writing music is quite a solitary experience and almost always done alone but I find great energy in collaborating with others across the arts. I couldn't sustain the creative pursuit without the support and belief of others. My wife is my greatest ally and we're part of a local church community who have been a huge source of encouragement in my music.

7) What is next for what you do?
After being in the wonderful South East of England for a decade, I'm relocating back the Borders, taking a more full-time role with Tiny Leaves and embarking upon the next project as well as welcoming the arrival of baby number three. I'm really excited about how the surrounding landscape will impact my music and the thought of spending a lot more time composing, in real daylight hours is awesome. I'll be working on developing the music for live sets with gigs coming up in the Autumn. Did I mention I have an album coming out on June 25th, released by Futuresequence called "A Good Land, An Excellent Land" ?!


Thanks Joel! When you get back to the Borders ... maybe we can grab a coffee or something?




Tiny Leaves - Abraham from Andreas Theophanatos on Vimeo.

I thought I'd share this wonderful video ... and give you a taster for Tiny Leaves' sound. Enjoy.

Two recent releases on weareallghosts ... Scott Lawlor and Cousin Silas

Two recent releases on my wee netlabel ... both wonderfully longform ambient pieces.

First up we have ... "like a pelican of the wilderness" by Scott Lawlor ...
It is an utterly beautiful piece … full of light. It is the soundscape for a truly open space. There is, however, an air of mystery … a sense of the unknown that underpins this space.


We then have the 7th dronescape from Cousin Silas ...
I've never liked the tag 'chill out music' ... I've always considered it a lazy term ... but today, after experiencing a wonderfully chilled out experience, I can happily call this dronescape 'chill out music'.


Enjoy ... Tx

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Loving ... Preserved Sound

Today I received codes to some of the albums from Preserved Sound ... a fab wee record label from Krakow, Poland; that specialises in my kind of awesome: ambient, instrumental, neo-classical and acoustic music.

According to the blurb on their website - ...
Our philosophy is simple: to release limited editions of handmade albums from ambient, instrumental and acoustic musicians. Buying records is about more than just the music (although this matters very much to us too), and Preserved Sound hopes to make products that will be cherished far longer than their digital counterparts.
This is a label I can get behind ... with a roster that includes Endless Melancholy, New Century Classics and Vitaly Beskrovny amongst others ... I don't think that's particularly hard.

I'll be posting on their releases over the next month or so ... but, in the meantime, check out their music over on their Bandcamp page and if you like what you hear ... do what you can to support truly great independent music.


Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Seven questions with ... Gareth Schott, the man behind Sink \ Sink

Following on from yesterday's review of Sink \ Sink's latest album "A Lone Cloudburst" ... I thought I'd find out a wee bit more about Gareth Schott ... the man behind the band.

I'm glad I did ... because I found out one of the musicians in the band - Micah Templeton-Wolfe - records under the pseudonym Stray Theories ... whose album "Even Though I Sleep" is one of my all-time releases. I hope he'll agree to be interviewed too ... sometime soon.

Anyway ... here's what Gareth had to say:


1) Who are you and what do you do?
I am Gareth, I write and record as sink \ sink an ambient shoegaze band from Aotearoa, New Zealand. While I never work alone, I drive the process writing and recording material which I then often build up in collaboration with other artists I respect and admire. I enjoy the freedom of not having a conventional band and being forced to have the same instrumentation from start to finish on each song. My only vice is the cello and I have a permanent cello player in Catherine Milson, who is wonderful to work with.

2) What are you working on at the moment?
Well, we have literally just released our second album, 'a lone cloudburst' on tape via Already Dead Tapes (US) and digipak via Susy Records (Peru), which was recorded second half of 2012 and mixed first half of 2013 by Sean Erin Lynch, a New Zealand musician. We are excited to see how people respond to the album. I am also involved in a spoken word project as Cautionary Tales for Children with sink \ sink's original singer Jamie Dryden, a Scot, who writes and performs spoken word pieces about life in Glasgow. We are aiming to release an EP of these soon. sink \ sink's next project is a soundtrack piece that is hopefully going to be used by NZ filmmaker Julia Reynolds for her latest short film. We are kind of helping her out at this stage helping her clarify what she wants for her film. Hoping to persuade her that she wants our music!

3) Who inspires you?
- Name an artist who has inspired you.
Kevin Shields is an obvious one given our style of music for his independence and unique approach to music. Loveless has never lost its impact for me.

- Name place that has inspired you.
NZ inspires me daily. It's my adopted country. It's a country where you can do anything. There aren't people blocking you or holding you back. I have been my most creative here more than anywhere else I have ever been. It's a get on and do it culture.

4) What drives you to do what you do?
I have always had songs in me, but I have always been in bands with other people. People that I have felt the need to please, musically at least. With sink \ sink I am only answerable to myself and how far I can take the sound I seem to have developed for myself, which other people identify immediately as sink \ sink. Now it is a matter of how far can this go, where can I take it. People are so kind and seem to really like what we do, not on a massive scale, but a more personal level that really makes it worth it.

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?
Movement away from showmanship, performance, ego. Allowing others to come in and be themselves, letting the material develop with the input of others, without stifling that or controlling it. We always strive for beauty and emotion ultimately.

6) What role does community play in what you do?
Everything, it is immediate and it is a connection. I give and take support from so many people without whom I probably wouldn't have the drive to keep doing what I do. I have been so fortunate to work with so many lovely and talented people from Kim and Callum on the first sink \ sink album, both of whom I continue to work with in different forms to Micah Templeton-Wolfe aka Stray Theories whose work I so admire that I have a hard time believing he is willing to work with someone as lo-fi as me.

7) What is next for what you do?
Who knows? We will see how the new album is received and then go from there. There is never a plan or concept when I sit down to write, it is usually improvised over the course of a few hours then knocked into shape from there. What that is going to sound like is anybody's guess.


Thank you Gareth!


Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Loving... DODOnotes from DODOcase

I really like this idea ... DODOnotes from DODOcase ... a notebook specifically designed for the iPhone.

According to their blurb ... the DODOnotes is
...completely made in the USA using traditional craft techniques, the interior of DODOnotes features 30 tear-out pages of Mohawk's Superfine paper — known for its smooth texture, consistency and uniformity. The classic book-like exterior features DODOcase's quality bookcloth with a unique die-cut tray to nest the iPhone. A colorful elastic strap holds the device in place and when the phone is out it can be used to store other loose items such as business cards, cash, and a pen or stylus.

I really like the idea of carrying a notebook with your iPhone. I know you can use the iPhone to take your notes ... but there is nothing as easy or satisfying as scribbling a quick note.

As discussed before, I carry a Filofax Flex Slim with a Muji Passport notebook ... along with my iPhones. I use the notebook for collecting all my thoughts ... before processing them on my iPhone. The DODOnotes is a nice alternative to carrying this wallet.


Loving... "A Lone Cloudburst" by Sink \ Sink

I admit to being notoriously behind-the-curve at times. I only recently got ’into’ 80s bands like Dead Can Dance, Cocteau Twins and His Name Is Alive ... you know, the stalwarts on the seminal 4AD label.

It was to this label and, in particular, Cocteau Twins that my mind went when I first listened to "A Lone Cloudburst" by Sink \ Sink.

I admire the work of Sink \ Sink and was over-the-moon when Gareth Schott contacted me to tell me they had a new release about to go public. Their previous album had set me up nicely and I was slightly worried that this follow-up wouldn't quite meet the very high bar set. I was wrong, very wrong.

"A Lone Cloudburst" by Sink \ Sink is an utter delight. Their sound has evolved in such a manner that the seams between ambient, post-rock and neo-classical are truly invisible. Each track is wonderfully unique ... providing the listener with a varied and engaging experience.

What sets this album apart is the ethereal vocals of Ylva Krantz ... her tone & expression fit perfectly with the tracks presented. A cross between Liz Fraser, Lisa Gerrard & even the sadly missed Trish Keenan from Broadcast ... Krantz’s vocals are an absolute delight ... and so so right for this album.

Emphasising whilst simultaneously complementing Krantz’s vocals is the backing instrumentation. The musicianship of Gareth Schott (music) and Micah Templeton-Wolfe (piano / synths) is apparent when you take the time to consider the walls-of-sound that are presented by the group. Guitars (acoustic and electric). Cello. Glitchy sounds. Piano. Synths. They all work together to create such beauty. There is a post-rock / shoegaze vibe that underpins the whole release - tracks like “Submerged” remind me of My Bloody Valentine and Sigur Ros (which is always a good thing) ... but there is also a lo-fi aesthetic that comes through too ... tempered, in parts, by Catherine Milson’s cello. Her tone is exquisite and her ’just right’ approach is worthy of commendation. Her playing is always just right ... never too much and never inconsequential.

The album kicks of “cherished” ... a soundscape of sheer beauty. Glitchy sounds and guitar introduce Krantz’s more decipherable vocals ... before Milson’s cello comes in and takes the track forward. What an opener!

From there we move to “fade away” ... a more lo-fi acoustic guitar number that has some truly heartbreakingly beautiful vocals and a deliciously melancholic air. Schott’s guitar playing is worthy of note here ... especially when a layer more sustained electric guitar is introduced.

“A distant backdrop” is a shorter instrumental track that opens with a guitar drone and a field recording of rain hitting of a roof before opening up nicely. Milson’s cello is, once more, an absolutely delight ... her lilting, gentle playing really sets the scene for this relaxed piece. Which is complemented with some Sigur Ros-style guitar and ambience. This track is utterly beguiling ... worthy of a dark room and an audiophile hi-fi.

“Submerged”, as mentioned above, is more MBV. A dark, guitar-orientated wall-of-sound with some beautiful vocals from Krantz and some equally beautiful cello from Milson. What makes this track is the slow, methodically paced percussion ... it really brings the track together before the track morphs around the 2min mark ... with less distortion, more acoustic guitar and cello, and no percussion.

“Lämna dörren öppen” is a mysterious track which is sung in a language other than English (I'm sorry, I can’t place it ... it feels Scandinavian / Northern European). This track is where the Cocteau Twins and Sigur Ros meet. It is deeply engaging and wonderfully immersive ... it envelopes the listener in a warn, worn blanket of sound.

“last call sounded” - starts off low and subtle ... a drone greets the listener ... a drone that piqued my interest ... before it is joined with a shoegaze-style wall-of-sound enhanced by glitchy sounds and Krantz’s sublime vocals. This track is very Cocteau Twins ... a swirling head-rush of a track.

“nobody knows” - is gracious and elegant ... a slowburner that brings the full group together nicely ... guitars, cello, vocals, synths ... they all simply work together in such a display of harmony that it would be amiss not to be moved by the sound presented.

The penultimate track - “before” - is equally gracious and elegant ... with vocals that, at times, remind me of Trish Keenan from Broadcast. This is a deliciously ethereal and ambient track ... that is a real pleasure to consume.

The last track - “deep grey skies” - features acoustic guitar, Templeton-Wolfe’s subtle piano playing and more haunting vocals from Krantz. It is a fitting end to the whole release ... especially when it builds in intensity after a minute or so in. It is very much an exercise in light and shade ... and richer as a result.

I do not have a stand out track as they ALL stand out to me. I believe this album will stay with me for some considerable time ... it will not be coming off my iPhone anytime soon. In fact, I am tempted in buying the tape version and resurrecting my old Sony Walkman.

I must take time before I finish to acknowledge the efforts made with the tape release. The artwork and design are first class and have made me consider tape releases with weareallghosts. I found it very inspirational ... which is fitting considering how good the music is.

I would heartily recommend this release especially to fans of lo-fi and post-rock.


Monday, June 03, 2013

What I listened to in May 2013

In May I really got into the new Star Trek soundtracks ... Michael Giacchino has skills!

I fell in love with "Zion" by Hillsong United and "Beautiful Things" by Gungor ... and found the soundtrack to Ralph Bakshi's "Lord of the Rings" cartoon on Rdio ... Leonard Rosenman knows how to pen a good soundtrack.


Sunday, June 02, 2013

June 2013's calendar / wallpaper

June 2013's calendar (1024x768)

I took this photo of the exterior of the Zaha Hadid-designed Riverside Museum in Glasgow and, for whatever reason, never got around to publishing it. Not sure why ... but thought your device would like some awesome architecture.

Usual flavours are below.


iPhone with Calendar + iPhone without Calendar

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Evernote just got more awesome ... with improved emailing features

Evernote just got more awesome!

They have introduced some features that vastly improve your experience when emailing articles to it.

First off ... you can add a 'to do' reminder:
Indicate a note is a reminder by adding ! in the subject line. Add !tomorrow to set a notification for tomorrow, !dayofweek (i.e. !tuesday) to be notified on that day, or pick a specific date using the format !YYYY/MM/DD.
Secondly ... you can add the article to a specific notebook:
Add @notebook name to the end of the subject line.
Thirdly... you can add tags:
Add #tag name at the end of the subject line. This feature works with existing tags in your account.
Please Note: You do need to follow this order: subject, reminder, notebook name, tags.

Lastly ... you can add text to the note:
To add some text to an existing note, put a " +" at the end of your subject line and we'll place the body of the email into the most recent note with that title.
These enhancements have made my Evernote experience better ... and it is a delight to see true improvements implemented in a tool I love.

Good job Evernote!


UPDATE - My journey with the Filofax Flex Slim

I recently posted about my new journey with the Filofax Flex Slim wallet / notebook. After a working-week's worth of use my observations are two-fold:

1) Carrying it everywhere (as it's intended) means that I am more likely to 'collect' incoming information and actions. In this regard, it is working.

2) I replaced the Flex notebook with a Muji Passport-style cahier. The pockets at either side of the wallet will hold a pocket cahier-style notebook. The Muji ones are slightly smaller than Moleskine ones ... both fit and both work. I have a couple of Muji cahiers that I'll use - they are cheap at 95p each ... and they fold flat. The inability to fold flat was the main issue why I replaced the Flex notebook - I couldn't open it flat without breaking the spine.

We'll see how things progress but my initial impressions ... even after having to change the notebook ... has been very positive.



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