Monday, March 31, 2014
Here's what I listened to in March 2014.
Big on my list were artists that I had to review for Echoes & Dust (Christina Vantzou) and This Is Not A Scene (Beneath the Watchful Eyes, Sleepstream and Arms of Tripoli).
Also high on the list were soundtracks from Howard Shore (Hugo), Leonard Rosenman (The Lord of the Rings) and Clint Mansell (Noah).
Music is such a wonderful thing ... don't let your ears go to waste listening to any old nonsense.
PS ... this doesn't include any physical media like vinyl or CD.
I have been enjoying my morning walk from my house to the station in Motherwell. Before the clocks changed, the sun was low in the sky at the time I was walking which led to some striking images like the one used for this month's wallpaper.
Usual flavours are below.
iPhone with Calendar + iPhone without Calendar
I was given "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" by Rick Wakeman by my Team Lead for Christmas 2013's Secret Santa and ... well ... I was blown away. Not only did my Team Lead really 'get' me ... but he was prepared to go out of his way to get me a gift he knew I'd appreciate. I did and I do!
"The Six Wives of Henry VIII" is a fab record ... abstract at times but in a good way ... filled with my kind of prog - inventive and interesting.
Sunday, March 30, 2014
I saw my first Danny Cooke film on The Fox Is Black this morning ... I found "Upside Down, Left to Right" utterly captivating. I find the whole process of Letterpress printing to be fascinating and wanted to share the film.
The film was shot is such a masterful manner that I went looking for more.
I watched this film: "David A Smith - Reverse Glass, Gold Leaf Sign Artist". Another utterly fascinating film on a deeply interesting subject - creating signage using gold leaf and the reverse glass technique.
I then ended up on "OurGlass of Cockington" ... a film about 'OurGlass', a glassblowing studio formed in 1995 and now situated in Cockington Village, located in the South Devon. It is another brilliant video, wonderfully shot in a sympathetic manner.
Cooke's video of deep sea diver Ray Ives in "Ray: A Life Underwater" is truly immersive (pardon the pun) and a visual treat ... as is "Darrienia" with Bethany Rose Harrison's dancing and music by Lockerbie.
Enjoy ... and subscribe to Cooke's videos on YouTube ... I think his best is yet to come.
Saturday, March 29, 2014
I've spoken about the Jackanory version of "The Hobbit" that Olly gave me for my Christmas in 2013. It was a good friend while I was off my work with pertussis.
I listened to it a number of times and consider it faithful to the original novel. Bernard Cribbins, Maurice Denham, Jan Francis & David Wood are all brilliant in it ... and would have loved to have seen it read when it was originally broadcast.
Friday, March 28, 2014
I found this utterly beautiful hardback copy of "The Hobbit" in a charity shop in Bellshill for £2. It is pristine and features truly exceptional artwork from Alan Lee.
I think it was £25 when originally sold ... and was a true steal when I found it. I think I actually squealed when I found it.
My Tolkien collection is an obsession ... and makes no real sense other than as a collection. I mean, why would you want more than one copy of a book?
I guess there isn't any real point to having a collection other than the appreciation of the object itself.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
This copy of "The Hobbit" was given to me by my wife on my 15 year Wedding Anniversary ... instead of a card. It started a new tradition - I'd rather have a book than a card any day of week.
It shows Bag End as I would imagine it ... and looks fabulous on my shelf.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
This is my most recent copy of "The Hobbit" ... given to me for my Christmas in 2013 by Olly.
This copy features an image from "The Desolation of Smaug" and I love it.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
My ambient music podcast - circumambient - is now on iTunes.
Follow this link - https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/circumambient/id846971972 - or search for "circumambient".
I'll be starting from episode 5 ... and will try to add episodes 6 through 9 over the coming weeks.
If you like what you hear, please subscribe and leave a review. Every little helps, after all.
Yesterday I showed you my first copy of "The Hobbit". Well ... this is my first copy of "The Lord of the Rings" ... given to me by my wife-to-be about 20 years ago for my Christmas. It is inscribed by Olly and very precious to me ... albeit I really wish I could find it's dust jacket that was removed to keep it in good nick.
The copy on the left is my first copy of The Hobbit. It has pride of place in my collection ... albeit I have another copy in a far better condition that I found in a charity shop in the West End of Glasgow for £1.
It all started with this copy.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
I was given The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on blu-ray by Olly on the 12th December, 2013. It was an early Christmas present, one that came about because I couldn't find my copy on DVD to watch the night before we went to see The Desolation of Smaug (a film I thoroughly enjoyed).
My wife didn't intend for me to receive it 13 days before Christmas but understood my frustration / disappointment at not being able to source the DVD. Olly understood why I wanted to see the film and kindly gave me the film early, worrying as she did that I wouldn't appreciate it as part of my Christmas ... how wrong she was, it means more to me now. I have not only a good film to watch when I want (the extended version is fun) but I have a story of a wife's love and devotion to her husband, a wife I am proud to call mine.
40 Days of Enough is about understanding the connection we have with things and treasuring the sentiment that is wrapped up with them. My most precious things were given to me by my Olly or my we'ans or my parents ... mostly because of the love that is given with the 'thing'.
I might have too much stuff, as might we all ... but we can never have too much love and must not take it for granted when it is given. It is a kingly gift, like the Mithril shirt given to Bilbo, a shirt that could have bought the Shire.
Friday, March 21, 2014
I love Star Trek. I'm not a big Trekkie / Trekker ... certainly not as big as my coffee-buddy at work ... but I do love the whole Star Trek narrative, one of friendship and adventure, of interdependence and working together for the common good.
J.J.Abram's reboot of the Star Trek film franchise is unbelievable, everything I could have wanted ... I even love the lens flare!
Part of the reason I love them so much is that they are stories I can and do share with my family, we are all big fans of the reboot albeit I think Chris Pine / Jim Kirk has something to do with the devotion in my wife & girls.
When I look at the films I have in my 'collection' they all fulfil this key element - they are experiences for the whole family. I don't own many films that I wouldn't share with them ... I'm not about that. 40 Days of Enough is about knowing the true value of something, the value that comes from a shared, meaningful experience.
Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness are films I've seen in the cinema with my family, multiple times in the case of Star Trek ... and they made perfect sense to own on blu-ray ... so we can relive our share experience.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
I am a huge fan of Christopher Nolan's version of Batman and found these blu-rays in a local charity shop for £2 each. When I saw them I promptly bought them, expressing my delight to the shop manager as I did so.
I am proud to support charities through their shops. I consume a lot of media from them, probably too much. I have books that I've 'found' that I've never read, whilst this is unfortunate I know I've done my bit by donating. I don't want these films to suffer a similar fate and intend on watching them with my family as soon as I can.
I guess one person's rubbish is another person's treasure ... but that doesn't mean I need to overfill my house with stuff I'll never use. The whole 40 Days of Enough thing is about appreciating what I have and not always looking for more, even if it is for a good cause.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
I've spoken about the Blade Runner soundtrack ... and thought I'd mention the boxset I purchased at the same time. It is the pride of my collection, even though my personal favourite version of Blade Runner is the original European Theatrical release ... I like the voice-over, if you must know.
This artefact is something special ... its more than just the films but the whole thing, the whole artefact, that means something to me. It was bought with the proceeds of a special recognition award, received from my employer, and I've kept it together, resisting the temptation to frame the cards or the still, or use the tin as a piece box - something I would love to do but can't.
In today's digital age, the artefact has never been more important. Kindles and iPads have or will rid us of the 'pulp' books and films ... the stuff we'll read or watch once and then forget about ... but they will never rid us of the content we dearly treasure and obsess about, the stuff we want to keep and pass down to our children. Savvy content-creators understand this and look to provide the best version they can, or at least provide something special, something that will last. This boxset is such a 'thing', and it is something I am grateful to own and one day pass on.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
This is a real treat!
David Lawrie has released a video for the title track of his most recent EP “Storm Petrel” ... an EP I described as:
"a worthwhile listening experience … one that stirred the heart whilst entertaining the mind with vivid word-pictures. I could quite happily listen to the music on its own … the instrumentation contained within being something of wonder. However, with the addition of Lawrie’s vocals, something beautiful is formed … something magical and unique … something it is hard not to love."This Is Not A Scene
Lawrie recently teamed up with animator Stas Shch (Stas3dArt) to create something truly beautiful and utterly inspiring ... the video for "Storm Petrel" maintains the simple performance element of his previous video, “Feline”, whilst enveloping it in a wild 3D world where origami skyscrapers grow like trees, sound looks like neon and catastrophic tidal waves are made from particles of light.
Enjoy the video ... and if you like what you here, please support Lawrie by buying his music.
Fellowship of the Ring was the first blu-ray I bought ... purchased with birthday money in 2012 along with my LG blu-ray player. I am a HUGE LOTRs fan and I particularly love Peter Jackson's vision of Middle-Earth. I have the extended versions on DVD and, well, they've been over-played. I needed to replace them and used this as an excuse to buy an inexpensive LG blu-ray player.
There is something special about these films, something I cherish. They are precious to me ... and to have them on blu-ray is a real pleasure.
Martin Scorsese's Hugo is a marvellous film and one of my favourites. I bought it on blu-ray to make up a '3 for £20' deal ... with The Two Towers & Return of the King ... late in 2012.
I had rented it from my local library and had thoroughly enjoyed it with my family ... so much so I received the soundtrack for my Christmas in 2012.
It is a masterpiece, one that has been sorely overlooked by so many people. There is nothing offensive about it to warrant it being ignored, other than it being a bit slow in places. It looks stunning and features some great acting talent ... such as Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ray Winstone, Christopher Lee, Frances de la Tour, the late Richard Griffiths and Jude Law.
I love this film so much that it was the only choice when I was asked to host a film night at my church ... as I said, there is nothing offensive about it, it is a lovely yarn that is suitable for all ages ... and all ages enjoyed it on the night.
I was never sold on blu-ray until I watched Hugo ... it is for blu-ray what The Matrix was for DVD ... and when I watched it I was convinced.
Saturday, March 15, 2014
I have "Olias of Sunhillow" by Jon Anderson on both LP and CD. The CD came first ... bought with Christmas money between Christmas and Hogmanay, 2013; The LP came later ... picked up for less than the CD in Vinyl Villains in Edinburgh recently.
I know this goes against what I was saying yesterday ... and it does seem rather crazy to own both versions ... but. in my defence, I love this album so much. It is a wonderful progressive expression with some seriously great synths ... it sounds great on my hi-fi or in the car.
What's more ... I love the packaging of the LP. The artwork on the CD is a poor reflection of the LP ... it is really bad, in fact. Holding the LP cover and examining it is a real pleasure ... one that we lose with plastic CD covers (not so much card sleeves).
'40 Days of Enough' is about appreciating what you have. Collecting vinyl, in a perverse way, is too ... it is about the albums that are so special that you want (but not need) them on vinyl.
My intention with record hunting is to find albums that I don't have ... but every-so-often an album will be so good I'll grab a second copy. I guess that's the power of great music.
Friday, March 14, 2014
The soundtrack for "Blade Runner" by Vangelis is possibly my favourite album of all-time. I picked this particular copy up in 2007 when I was given a special recognition award at my work. I used the award to buy the 5-disc special edition DVD of the film, this 3-disc edition of the soundtrack and "Lifeforms" by Tom Middleton.
I am something of a Blade Runner nut ... and a huge Vangelis fan ... and I want the film on Blu-Ray and the album on vinyl. I want but certainly don't need.
I guess that's the point of '40 Days of Enough' is to remind myself of what I have ... and separate my wants from my needs like the chaff from the wheat.
Materialism doesn't just tell us we need MORE ... it tells us we need MORE of what we already have. This is something I need to fight against. I recently caught myself buying an album from Poundland (for £1) that I knew I had ... just because I didn't know where it was. It was cheaper to own a second copy than to spend the time looking for my original. That is nuts! It is a waste of money and a waste of space.
We don't need more until we know what we currently have.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
I picked up my copy of "Takk..." by Sigur Rós on CD from HMV in East Kilbride. I bought it in one of their sales for a fiver long after it was released.
"Hoppipolla", the third track, is one of my all-time favourite pieces of music and it still has the power to transform me into a transdimensional space goat even after it got over-exposed on British TV. I had the privilege of seeing them live in Glasgow in 2008 and "Hoppipolla" sounds even better live with fans attempting to singalong.
Sigur Rós are one of the few bands that I share with Olly ... we try to singalong ourselves ... and snigger together when Jonsi sings a word that sounds funny in English: one song in particular sounds like he is singing "urinal". Its one of those 'you have to be there' moments.
"Takk..." by Sigur Rós is my favourite album of theirs ... and possibly one of my personal top ten albums. It is that good.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
"The Invisible Way" by Low was one of my favourite albums of 2013. I picked up my copy when I was down in Leeds in late August, 2013; for work. I bought it in the fabulous Jumbo Records in Leeds City Centre, using birthday money.
I had a great time in Leeds with my colleague Scott ... then went on to spend the weekend with Cousin Silas, Ade Hodges & Kevin Lyons (artists on my netlabel). That was a great trip, one I will never forget.
Music has a wonderful way of reminding us of people and places ... and "The Invisible Way" by Low brings back fab memories.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
I bought the CD version of "In Rainbows" on sale in WHSmith's on Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow; a good wee while after the CD was released. I think I picked it up for £5 or so.
I downloaded the album when Radiohead did their whole 'pay what you want' experiment and absolutely loved it ... in fact, I credit this album as being the catalyst for my love of Radiohead ... it opened the door. I didn't pay for album when I legitimately downloaded it and always regretted it afterwards. I rectified the situation a while later when I bought it on CD.
The CD comes with stickers that would allow you to create a copy and create another sleeve. I don't intend on doing this ... I am tempted to put the stickers on my MacBook Pro but, to date, haven't succumbed to this temptation.
This CD reminds me that 'pay what you want' can and does work ... albeit not on the level of Radiohead's experiment. My netlabel is founded on 'pay what you want' and has been in the black for a good while now. People support good music. I know this because I support good music ... and as long as I am my own target market, I won't go far wrong.
Monday, March 10, 2014
I came to Talk Talk about 22 years after they split ... a few of my friends spoke highly of them and when I found this CD in a carboot sale for a couple of quid, I couldn't say no.
I dug out this CD over the weekend and must have played it 6 or 7 times in total. Its a remarkable collection from a remarkable band ... I'm particularly fond of the bass guitar.
Here's to digging in the crates at carboot sales ... and discovering bands long gone who still have lots to tell us.
Saturday, March 08, 2014
The soundtrack to "Bullitt" by Lalo Schifrin was another vinyl purchase with Christmas money while I was 'house bound' with pertussis aka whooping cough.
I have a deep love for expressive, beat-rich, jazz soundtracks from the 60s and 70s ... and this is one of the best - the main theme is almost instantly recognisable like some of Schifrin's other themes like the theme to "Mission Impossible".
Schifrin's music is timeless and I wanted to have something on his on vinyl ... something lighter and, well, not prog. I have other albums of his on CD - "Black Widow" being one notable mention - and look forward to picking up more of his music.
Friday, March 07, 2014
I am a big fan of Yes ... and I particularly love "Tales from Topographic Oceans".
When I started buying vinyl again, this was *the* one album I wanted. I found a few 'used' in Missing Records but the sleeves weren't right ... yes, I'm particular about albums I really, really want.
I finally picked this copy up over the Christmas holidays while I was ill with whooping cough. I got some money for a present and ordered it online. I love it. 180g of reissue goodness.
I know "Tales from Topographic Oceans" isn't for everyone ... in fact, I know Yes aren't for everyone ... but it works for me, even the dreaded third side - "The Ancients / Giants under the Sun".
Thursday, March 06, 2014
Last night I took Dayna to her Band Practice in Airdrie ... on the way there we listened to "Kid A" and on the way back Dayna insisted on plugging in her iPod and playing her fave Radiohead tracks. I'm not quite sure when she *got* Radiohead ... but I am glad she has.
Today's photo is on my vinyl copy of "The King of Limbs" by Radiohead. I got the digital version when it was released ... and was given this physical copy for my Christmas in 2013 from my parents. I know TKOL is a bit Marmite ... some folks love it, some don't ... I am most definitely in the 'love it' camp. I think it is rather special and do play it often.
I am grateful to my parents for their generosity.
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
I was recently given "Mezzanine" by Massive Attack on vinyl ... the album is split over 2 LPs and sounds fantastic. In the short time I've had it this LP has become an essential recording ... "Angel" and "Teardrop" sound phenomenal.
I am grateful for this album and for the friend who gave me it.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
I am giving up consumption for Lent. I am going to try to stop buying books and magazines; MP3s, LPs and CDs; DVDs and Blu-Rays, and general 'stuff' for the next forty days.
I intend on swapping my incessant need for more with the feeling of enough ... and intend on celebrating this over the next forty or so days ... from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday.
My plan is to post one photo per day with something I have ... not to boast or to say 'look at me' ... but more to remember and to celebrate. I have too much and I intend to use this time to remember what I have ... and to recapture a sense of gratitude.
I will keep posting reviews and the like on here.
Here goes ......... Tx
I took this picture on my iPhone5 while walking between Unknown Pleasures and Vinyl Villains in Edinburgh. There was something about the red of the paint and the crudeness of the letterbox that really captured my attention. I hope it intrigues you as much as it does me.
Usual flavours are below.
iPhone with Calendar + iPhone without Calendar
Saturday, March 01, 2014
As always, this excludes physical media.
The big highlight was Harnes Kretzer's “Petrichor” ... it is a rather exceptional album.