This is undoubtedly my favourite album of all time. It is a work of tremendous and rare beauty, and every time I listen to it I am stunned by just how complete and unique it is.
I listen to it only when I have the time to devote myself entirely to listening to it without distraction, as it just isn’t the kind of music that you can listen to in the background. At least that’s my opinion.
However, I’ve recently just sat down and read the poems that are an integral part of Uncommon Deities. On their own they are incredibly beautiful. As a part of the whole they’re even better. But even so, I really enjoyed reading them in isolation.
I can’t exactly remember when I started liking Blancmange, but it was pretty early on. Probably when they first appeared on something like ‘Top of the Pops’. I’ve liked them ever since. When they made they’re somewhat unexpected comeback I was very happy indeed. Since then the output has been steady and I believe I’ve bough everything.
This latest release, ‘Mindset’, arrived this morning, although it was actually released yesterday. I listened to it yesterday, and it is a solid album. My initial impressions are it is very good and will probably grow on me.
I’m pleased that Blancmange is still going, and pleased to be able to support them wherever I can. In the current climate there are many artists who are suffering and those of us who love and appreciate music need to do whatever we can to support the people who help to give meaning to us. It’s important.
I had this thought about how the sounds around us have changed in so many ways, and in so many others, they haven’t. It made me wonder what would the sounds of the 2020’s be. It also made me wonder what sounds have become the signature sounds of my life.
This is something I’m likely to, or rather, hope to explore in my field recording podcast. If you didn’t know about that, you can find more information here.
I’ve been playing with Endlesss for a little while now. A few weeks anyway. To begin with I wasn’t sure quite what to make of it. Now I’m beginning to realise that I’ve only just scratched the surface and that there is a huge amount more that I can do with it, and also that I can do with others, after all, it is collaborative.
The idea of Endlesss is really simple. You create what Endlesss calls ‘Jams’. Each jam is like a track, except it isn’t. It is much more than that. A jam consists of ‘riffs’ (or it may be ‘rifffs’, I’m not sure). Each of these is like a moment in time when you add something to the jam, and as you build these up, adding instruments etc, you get a journal of sorts showing how this track (I use that term simply for ease) has developed and changed.
Here’s what the journal looks like
In isolation that’s pretty interesting in itself. But the more impressive feature is that you can take any point in the journal and then take your jam in a different direction. For me this is probably the most interesting aspect of Endlesss.
As you can see there are a number of different iterations of this jam and they’re grouped by date. This makes taking ideas in different directions very easy.
I’m not the first to mention that the world is a lot more quiet now. Perhaps not all the people, which is actually a shame, but there is less noise around. Apparently earthquakes are easier to spot as there is less background noise. Birds are making more song, which is lovely, and air pollution is down. These are all good things.
I’ve been recording more things too. Mainly just the quiet of the morning, but other stuff too. So I thought I’d share a few of them with you.
I was aware of this story and the books, but had never really thought about reading them. So when the BBC announced their new series I decided to give it a go. I have to admit that I had low expectations as they’d not exactly done a great job with War of the Worlds.
But, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. It was actually very good indeed. I watched all of the episodes, and, whilst I can’t say it was a story that I found totally gripping or interesting, it was actually good.
I think they’re making more of this too. I would definitely watch more if they do. If nothing else I expect it’ll be diverting.
The other thing it’s made me do is to get the first of the audio books. I haven’t started listening to it as yet, but I’ll get to it eventually.
This is a little journey back in time to before there were iPhones, and when PDAs were big. Ok, not big perhaps, but prevalent to a degree. Back then there were a few applications (we didn’t call them apps back then), that were for music, but, to be honest, they were few and far between. Also there was no standard architecture for things like plug ins on mobile. So it was an interesting time.
One of the most interesting and advanced was Griff. It was a Windows Mobile application, and it had a unique architecture, at least in terms of mobile applications. Griff was essentially a sequencer with a plug in architecture allowing it to be highly extensible.
There was also a reasonable number of these plug ins too. Mainly synths, but also samplers and drum machines. It was very cool in a world before iOS music making.
Whilst it’s not completely abandoned, the web site is still there. It isn’t what it quite was, but you can still find things, and you can still download things I think.
Whilst it’s understandable that Griff is no longer a going concern I still feel a little wistful about it. I remember first discovering it, although I was late to the party. It was a real revelation, and I actually bought a more powerful Windows Mobile PDA to be able to use it.
This is a good project for these times. Especially if you have an old Windows Mobile PDA hanging around. As I do!
Just a quick post following an email I got today. Ableton have put up a very handy page with a bunch of useful things for Ableton users and also non users too. You can find the page here.
In particular you should check out the excellent book Making Music: 74 Creative Strategies for Electronic Music Producers, which is available in multiple formats. I’ve read this more than once and it is very handy indeed.