I am a big fan of Shriekback. I love their music, but a huge part of that is the lyrics they write for their songs. I bought the first book of lyrics. Which was great to read. Now there is volume two and it arrived yesterday. With the first one I found some real gems. I hope to find some more in volume two.
Music is a huge part of my life so it’s almost certain that this category will have a lot of stuff in it.
Goodbye Mr Takahashi
I only learnt today that Yukihiro Takahashi passed away earlier this month. He was 70 years old. I have been a fan of his work for some decades and I still enjoy his music a great deal. I have to say that it actually hit me quite hard.
I first listened to his album “What? Me Worry”. An album made with Bill Nelson, another favourite artist of mine. I listened to that album over and over as a teenager. I loved it so much then, and I still do.
My first reaction to hearing this news was to find the albums of his that I don’t own as yet. There are a few. He had a prolific output. I expect that over the coming weeks and months I will be listening to a lot of his music again.
Shriekback – Bowlahoola
I am a big Shriekback fan. I have liked their music for a long time now. Their latest album, Bowlahoola was released recently and I got my copy in the post.
One of the things I like the most about Shriekback is their lyrics. They are clever, intelligent, witty. Sometimes their songs even make me laugh, but they are always interesting and well put together. This album is no exception at all.
You might think that after all this time they would have lost their touch, but no, this album is just as fresh as ever, and I’ve really enjoyed it.
First impressions of the Orba 2
I’ve had an Orba 1 for a while now, and when the Orba 2 was announced it looked like just the update I wanted. The form factor of the the devices are identical, which is good as the accessories all fit both devices. The original Orba was fun to play with but lacked the ability to use samples, amongst other things. It was still fun, but kind of like a musical fidget toy rather than something that I could finish a piece of music with, (not that I have finished anything in a very long time).
The Orba 2 is a different story. Size wise it is exactly the same as the Orba 1.
In fact they are almost indistinguishable. However, from a functionality perspective they are very different indeed and the Orba 2 is a big step up, as is the app that is used with it.
Thus far I’ve done little more than play around with it and tried out the sound packs that come with the app. I haven’t quite got the hang of getting my own recorded samples into it so far. But I probably will in the new year, or at least that is what I intend to do.
I’m not sure if there is any real benefit to having two of these. You can’t really play them together and I don’t think that there is anything in the technology that brings them together. Perhaps that will come later.
Anyway, for now this is a nice toy, and an improvement on the original. As I get more familiar with it I will post a bit more about my experience with it and maybe even make something to listen to.
The Wire top 50 albums of 2022
Every year I try to listen to The Wire top 50 albums of the year. It is a little ritual that I have been doing for a few years now. This year the last edition of the Wire has been delivered late, but now it is here and I am leafing through it. Normally I try to find all of the albums on Spotify, but there are always a few that aren’t there.
Some years I find one or even two things that I want to follow up on, and even if that doesn’t happen, it is an interesting experience. One that I find valuable even if at times not particularly enjoyable.
As I delve into this years selection I may post about things that I have found interesting. As yet I have no idea.
Masami Tsuchiya, Life in Mirrors
I have been a fan of Masami Tsuchiya for a very long time. In my teenage years I heard the album ‘Rice Music’, and it is still one of my favourites of all time for a whole host of reasons. However, my sampling of his other work has, for the most part, not resulted in a similar experience. Which is a shame, but something that I accept.
This album ‘Life in Mirrors’, was one I had never heard, and one that also featured other musicians who’s work I admire. Namely, Mick Karn and David Sylvian. I had this album on my want list at Discogs for a while, and then, just the other day, one turned up, so I bought it.
As albums go, this is no way as good as ‘Rice Music’. But then it was unlikely to be. I knew that. But, it does have a few good tracks.
Blancmange in Electronic Sound Magazine
If you’ve been here before you’re probably aware that I am a big fan of Blancmange, which is why I bought this issue of Electronic Sound. I used to be a subscriber to the publication, but realised that the issues were pilling up and I was simply to getting through them. So I stopped. However, some issues grab my attention occasionally, and this one did.
The issue also came with a 7″ record.
Which is pretty nice all in all.
The interview was insightful, interesting and charming. A lot of the detail I knew already, but there was plenty of stories in there that made me smile.
I don’t know if you can still get this copy online, but if you’re a fan I would recommend it.
Blancmange Private View
This is the latest album from one of my favourite bands, and released 40 years after their first album. I bought it on vinyl, CD and cassette. It is a good album and there are some good songs on there. I’ve played the vinyl, which is always a lovely experience, but I doubt that I will ever play the cassette though.
As an album it is good. Some songs are better than others of course. A few are excellent.
Over the years I have listened to almost everything that Blancmange have made, and I hope to continue to do that, and I hope that Blancmange will release many more albums in the years to come.
Modified Toy Orchestra – Silfurberg
I make no secret of the fact that I am a big fan of the Modified Toy Orchestra. In fact I think that they are a national treasure. I have a lot of their material including a 7″ single of their amazing version of ‘Pocket Calculator’. In my view it is a great improvement on the original.
So I was really pleased to see a new release from them, ‘Silfurberg’. I bought it on Bandcamp as that is where I buy most music these days. I got the download included in the purchase of the CD, which arrived recently. The CD itself is a work of art and a beautiful object to have. Here are some pictures (quite a lot of pictures actually).
The album itself is pretty good. I have quite enjoyed it. More than anything though I am just pleased that the Modified Toy Orchestra is still going and doing what it does best.
Tom Waits for no man
This was the last show I saw at the fringe this year and it was a truly great way to finish off the trip. I have been a fan of Tom Waits since my teenage years, which is why this was of interest. It was brilliant and reminded me just how much I love his music and lyrics. It prompted me to listen to his music again, and since then I’ve been making my way through his entire back catalogue. It has been a very enjoyable experience.
If you get a chance to see this show, I would thoroughly recommend it.