A bit of a tidy up

If you have been here before, you may have noticed that the menus have shifted around a bit. I have spent a little time tidying things up. If I am honest, I should probably have done that a while ago and should probably do it on a more regular basis too. However, it always feels good to clear a few things out that no longer feel relevant.

A lot of old stuff has now moved to a menu item called ‘archive’. Which should make more sense. I’ve also cleared out a lot of pages that had little or no value.

Survivors: New Dawn 1

Firstly, I have to say that is great that Survivors is back. I am really pleased that Big Finish decided to revive the series. I thoroughly enjoyed the nine box sets that they produced over the years, and, even if they had finished there it would have been excellent. I think I’ve listened to them about three times so far. I expect I will feel the urge to listen to them all again at some point.

New Dawn is exactly what it says it is. A new start for the Survivors series and set some years after the last set of stories. More than that I won’t say, as I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you if you do plan to listen to it.

Without giving anything away, what I can say is that the production values on this set of stories are just as good as all the previous ones, and the same with the performances. I am looking forward to hearing New Dawn 2 in a couple of months.

Here’s to more Survivors.

Apple Watch music apps

I have been looking for Apple Watch Muisc apps since I first got this device. However, to date I have failed to find anything that really ticks the box for me.

There are some though. I can’t say that there aren’t. Here’s what I have been using so far.

Wotja

If you don’t know this app, Wotja is a generative music app for iOS, macOS and Android too. What’s more it works on Apple watch. Having said that, the Apple watch app is effectively a remote for the iOS app. Whilst that works fine, and what’s more is actually quite useful in many ways, I had really wanted something that actually made music on the Apple Watch.

Holonist

Another app that works effectively as a data connection for the iOS app. Again, this is fine, and in fact very useful as the Apple watch app collects a lot of data that is then translated into usable information for making music. But it doesn’t make music on its own. Which is a bit of a shame.

And there is a Holon as well, which is good in of itself. Sort of like Holonist’s little sibling and it does actually make sound, but it connects to the iPhone version.

Shazam …

Of course, there is Shazam and I have used it on my Apple Watch. Whilst it is a music app in many people’s eyes, it doesn’t really fit that category for me. But it is handy to have.

So what am I actually looking for?

Well that’s the real question right. What am I looking for in an apple watch music app? That’s the question really. I think that ideally I’d like an app that allowed me to actually make music on my apple watch independently of anything else.

I can imagine that if Allihoopa had continued that their Figure app might have been a good candidate for just such a thing. The Figure interface could have scaled down to a watch app I think. That would have worked and could have been a good way to start something on a watch then move to an iPhone or iPad and then beyond.

So where does that leave me? I doubt very much that anyone is going to make such a thing, not for just me anyway.

Avant Garde Composers Top Trumps

Now that Christmas is done for another year I thought I would share one of the more interesting things I received. I believe that these came from a seller on Etsy, and I can thoroughly recommend them. They are a lot of fun. I have only played once and that was with my two teenage nephews who very graciously agreed to play a game with me using these.

The cards themselves are quite lovely. Nicely made and with listening recommendations for each composer. Not all of the recommendations I agreed with however.

If you’re interested in getting these, you can find them on Etsy here.

The Wire top 50 albums of 2021

Every year I listen to all of the Wire magazine top fifty albums of the year from their rewind issue. Some years I might have heard of a few of them. Some years I might have even bought one or two of them. But on the whole it is rarely more than one or two.

Usually I find very little that I would want to follow up on, occasionally an artist will stand out for me and I’ll find something new to follow. But more than anything I am pleased to find so much music that, whilst I may not enjoy it, is being created by people who are pushing the boundaries of sound. I find that quite a comforting thought.

I have been a subscriber of the wire for a long time. Probably well over a decade, possibly longer. I like the fact that there is so much going on on the fringes of the world of music. Even if it is music that I don’t like. That is not the point. I just like that it exists, that there are people creating this stuff, having these ideas.

Anyway, if I do find anything that I think is worth noting, then I might just post about it. Who knows.

Survivors: Ghosts and Demons

I bought this audiobook last year as I am a big fan of the ‘Survivors’ stories. But you probably know that already. This story was narrated rather than being a full cast story, full cast being my preferred format. Having said that it is a good story. It fits neatly into the existing timeline and uses the existing characters.

Overall I am just so glad that Big Finish are still making these stories.

Given that the world is still in the midst of a pandemic it might seem odd to be listening to an audiobook about a deadly pandemic. You might even think it was a bit morbid. But I really like these stories. Not that I am saying that they are some way of dealing with what is happening in the real world. Not at all. It’s really just a good story and a good reminder of what happens when our rules and systems break down.

Not for everyone I know. But I would recommend this.

When will WordPress and DayOne integrate

When WordPress bought the journal app DayOne I thought that after some time there would be some kind of integration between to the two. But so far nothing.

The DayOne people posted this on their blog. Which does more than allude to integrations, in fact it promises them. That was back in June last year. The announcement from Automattic goes further still:

That doesn’t mean that everything you journal has to stay private, though. When you want to share specific entries – or even entire journals with the world – you can expect seamless integrations with both WordPress.com and Tumblr to do just that. On the flip side of that, importing your favorite content from WordPress.com and Tumblr into Day One is on the near-term roadmap. 

But so far nothing at all. As a long time user of both apps I have to say that I am a little bit disappointed. I kind of thought that about six months was enough time to get something working, but obviously I am wrong about that.

Hello 2022

I almost feel like I have to write something about the start of a new year. Even though I have no expectations that this year will be any better than 2021 or 2020. The world is still struggling with a pandemic and everything that brings.

In the past I have written about what I plan for the site and made somewhat vague commitments to doing things with it. Not so this year. I have no plans. If there is one thing I have learnt from the last couple of years it is that having a plan is a sure way to make certain that the plan will fail.

I have no idea what 2022 will bring, and I have no idea what I will do with this site. More than that, I can’t say.

Goodbye 2021

For the most part it has been a horrible year and one that I am glad to see the back of. I thought that 2020 was bad, but 2021 managed to be worse. In some ways I want to think that 2022 will be better, but I think I am learning to have low expectations, and then lower my expectations further. That seems to be the best strategy.

So goodbye 2021, you were crap.

RIP Ian Rawes

I am very sad to say that my friend, Ian Rawes passed away in October. You might know of Ian from his amazing work at the London Sound Survey which he ran as an incredible archive of sounds from around the city.

Ian was a lovely man. He was knowledgeable and passionate about sound and field recording and I came away from talking to him always feeling as though I had learnt something new.

I first heard about Ian in a book called ‘In the field’, which I can thoroughly recommend to anyone who has even a passing interest in field recording. In it there is an interview with Ian which fascinated me and I decided that I had to contact him. That was back in 2016. We met for a drink and I found myself talking to a like minded soul who was generous with his time and knowledge. More than that he was a gentle man, and I miss him.

Ian also wrote, or perhaps more accurately, compiled a book about sound words. ‘Honk, Conk and Squacket’ is a great book to dip into every now and then to locate a word that you’ve probably never heard of before. Again, I can thoroughly recommend this to anyone with even a passing interest in the history of sounds and how we have described them.

I’m glad to say that the last time I saw Ian, back in 2019, I asked him to sign my copy, which I will now always treasure.

You can hear a lot of Ian’s recording at the London Sound Survey, but also his recordings have been released by Persistence of Sound.

You can also find their music on bandcamp. I can thoroughly recommend this record. The recordings are superb and listening to them again recently gave me a great sense of peace about Ian.

I will miss him a great deal, but for me, he lives on in these excellent recordings. His work is his legacy, and those who knew him, those who’s lives he touched, will remember him for many years to come.