Sunday, 1 May 2016

All Hold Hands and off we go (A New Album sometime)

Its a long way off, but here is the front cover for the new album. About 80% of the tracks are done or at various stages of completion. Douglas E Powell will again be supplying vocals on two tracks. Demos and audio ideas for the album can be heard here. The main image is from a painting by Greg Palmer called Slush Puppy. The album is set for release late 2016 or early 2017 (I work slow) The album will be CD and digital, I was hoping for a vinyl release as well this time round but don't think that is going to happen now.

Monday, 25 April 2016

The Quietened Village Out Today

 
Out Today and available from A Year in the Country Ghostbox Records Guests Shop
and Norman Records. The Quietened Village is a study of and reflection on the lost, disappeared and once were homes and hamlets that have wandered off the maps or that have become shells of their former lives and times.
Inspired in part by images of sections of abandoned, submerged villages and the spires of their places of worship re-appearing from the surfaces of reservoirs and lakes, alongside thoughts of dwellings that have succumbed to the natural erosion of the coastline and have slowly tumbled into the sea.
Some of the once were and lost villages which were seedlings for this body of work still stand but their populations are no more, those who lived there evicted at short notice and never to return so that their homes and hearths could be used as training grounds for those who would fight during great conflicts between nations.
Such points of reference have been intertwined with possibly more bodeful reasons for this stilling and ending; thoughts of Midwich Cuckoos-esque fictions or dystopic tales told and transmitted in times gone by and imagined/re-imagined in amongst the strands of The Quietened Village.
1) At The Confluence Of The Mitta Mitta & Murray – David Colohan
2) Flying Over A Glassed Wedge – Howlround
3) The Drowning Of Mardale Green – The Straw Bear Band
4) Damnatorum – The Soulless Party
5) Playground Ritual – Polypores
6) Quopeveil – Richard Moult
7) Separations – The Rowan Amber Mill
8) Day Blink – Time Attendant
9) 47 Days and Fathoms Deep – A Year In The Country
10) Lost Villages Of Holderness – Sproatly Smith
11) Bunk Beds – Cosmic Neighbourhood

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Ultravox! (The Island albums and new Box Set 2016)

With the impending release in May 2016 of the 4 CD Island years Ultravox box set, I thought I would share with you how I first came across Ultravox! (the first three albums) and my thoughts on the bands early years. There are four albums in this box set because there is a disc of rarities and TV recordings, so you get the Peels session, OGWT Hiroshima Mon Amour and Slow Motion, Modern Love and Quirks which were on a free single that came with HA!HA!HA!, The Retro EP and some others.
The first time I heard Ultravox! I was round a friends house many many years ago, and he was playing his newly purchased singles. The final single he put on was in fact an EP. It was by Ultravox! a band I had heard of but not really listened to. The EP was live and called Retro. He put the EP on, and I was instantly smitten. The song titles fascinated me The Wild the Beautiful and the Damned, My Sex, The Man Who Dies Everyday, Young Savage; it was Young Savage that really got to me. The power and ferocity of the live version left an indelible impression. I should point out that before they called themselves Ultravox! they were Tiger Lily, who really were not that good, so enough of that. I think it probably was inevitable that I was going to like Ultravox! I was already starting to get a tad bored with a lot of the so called punk bands around at the time, and was latching onto anything slightly different, Magazine & WIre being a perfect example of this. In fact it was the same friend who introduced me to Wire by insisting I listen to Pink Flag  (I saw Wire in 2015 and they are still superb)
I decided from that moment to buy everything produced by Ultravox! (providing I had enough pocket money) The following weekend I picked up a copy of the Retro ep and the 1st Ultravox! album. I was not quite sure what to expect from the 1st album and in hind sight I can see why the public and reviewers/music press were confused. Punk had just exploded in the UK (USA for quite some time) and Ultravox! sort off looked part of it; plastic macs, PVC trousers tatty torn suits, but musically they were more Roxy/Bowie/Krautrock and of course they had keyboards and a violin. Unlike the music press I was not confused by the album, I loved it from the 1st listen. Saturday Night in the City of the Dead, Wide Boys, Life at Rainbows End, I want to be a machine and of course the Wild the Beautiful and the Damned. The only track on the album I never really liked was the pseudo/mock funk Young Americans wannabe Lonely Hunter. Some of my friends were not sure about the album and some of them really hated it with a vengeance; like a number of music journalists at the time. But I did not really care about reviews (Magazine's Secondhand Daylight was panned by the music press, I got a copy within weeks of it being released having already heard it played by John Peel)
Next up was the massive 1977 wall of noise that was Ha!Ha!Ha! Without a doubt for want of a better word this album is punk; but with shades of Neu! (Super/Neu! 2 After Eight/Neu! 75) and Eno (Third Uncle) At times songs on Ha!Ha!Ha are drenched in feedback, screeching synths and violin, the best example of this is on Artificial Life, which starts very quietly with synth and vocal and finishes up at a break neck paced cacophony of Guitars, Violins and Feedback (have a listen to the Peel session version) The album finishes with Hiroshima Mon Amour all Drum machine soft vocals saxophone and keyboards, this track alone was an indicator where the next album/Band were heading to. 
When I heard Slow Motion (1st single taken from Systems of Romance) I just knew the next album would be different. The 1st thing you notice on Systems of Romance is the exclamation mark on Ultravox has gone.....and so was the guitarist Stevie Shears; replaced by Robin Simon. Systems of Romance sounded and still does sound amazing. Systems was produced by Conny Plank (Produced Neu! Cluster, Harmonia, Ash Ra Temple, Kraftwerk, Kraftwerk 2, Ralf und Florian,) and has a fuller richer and multi layered sound. I picked up a copy of the 12 inch version of Quiet Men, which has a thumping and driving euro disco feel to it which makes it superior to the album version. Sadly Systems at the time sold as badly as HA!HA!HA! and and Island Records dropped the band. Ultravox plodded along for a bit longer and then John Foxx left. The other members of Ultravox killed time and worked on other projects (Gary Numan, Visage with 3 members of the wonderful Magazine) before reforming with Midge Ure as their singer and Guitarist and releasing The Vienna album. To be honest I did not mind Vienna; the album has some good tracks on it (MrX New Europeans Astradyne) but for me that was it. I did try to like Rage in Eden (Vienna follow up album), but the album just did not work for me unlike Foxx's Metamatic and The Garden, both musically superior in style and ideas to Rage in Eden. John Foxx's 1980 album The Garden has a track called Systems of Romance plus Robin Simon plays Guitar on the album. So there you are, that's my thoughts on Ultravox! I still enjoy all these albums and if by some strange chance you have never heard them, then do give them all a try. A question that seemed to get asked and worried about quite a lot at the time was "Are Ultravox! punk?????" I think the only honest answer to that is "did it ever really matter, and who really cares." more here.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

A Lighthouse Might Look Long (New tune Maybe)

A Lighthouse Might Look Long was originally produced for project which never came to light. So I am now not sure what to do with the track? Consider it for the next album? or leave for a rainy day.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Lewes Psych 2016

Last weekend I met up with Mr Stevens, Mr Powell, Mr Jupp and Mr McAlpine and we all headed into Lewes for the 2016 Psych fest which was being held at the wonderful All Saints Centre. A fine afternoon and evening was had, and the gents had lots of nice ale (The Lewes Arms). Sadly I did not as I was the driver for the day.
We spent a bit to long in the pub drinking (they did not me, I was on my third coke and ice)
so missed Wax Machine playing. it was a fine evening all round with superb visuals supplied by Innerstrings.  Other bands on the bill that night were Zofff, Soft Walls, Virginia Wing,  Novella and Cult of Dom Keller. Managed to have a chat to the Zofff chaps at the bar (and very nice they were to) Next year I really must find somewhere to stay so I do not have to do the long and strange drive home.

It was the Future

When all the games consoles started to appear in the late 70 and early 80s, I got into it and thought to myself "This is the future" Sadly I got rid of them all, and now spend my days regretting it. We also seem to spend all our time now not talking to each other and just staring at little screens pretending we have hundreds of friends, so I suppose it was the future. 
More here

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

New in progress track. "Mrs Vigo Said Something Rather Curious to me"

Another track lined up for the next album. A bit of tweaking and fiddling to do with it but its in all in progress at the mo. I quite like it.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

A Week off & Salad Fingers the Full Series (1-10)

 I have just had a week off work, and have been catching up with lots of things (new album tracks) I have also re-watched all ten episodes of Salad Fingers. Where do you start with Salad Fingers and his friends Hubert Cumberdale (Barbara Logan-Price), Marjory Stewart-Baxter Jeremy Fisher Harry/Milford Cubicle Penny Pigtails and the very very creepy Dr. Papanak. How do you explain what Salad Fingers is about???????? You don't, you just watch and get drawn in. Boards of Canada's Beware the Friendly Stranger features a lot in the series. Its all strangely addictive.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Consistently Rest Around the Boxes (Cabinet Volta)

 
After the release of my last album A Rest Before the Walk; I was asked to contribute to a few projects in 2016. Whilst working on ideas for these projects I hit upon the idea that it would be good for me to pick one track off each of my four albums and mix all four tracks together. When I say mix I do not mean mix in any highly polished cross fade mix type way. I wanted to destroy these tracks. Slow them down, compress them distort them pile on the echo the reverb distort and reverse. I really just wanted to see what would happen to these tracks. I don't dislike any of these tracks it was purely a random selection, using dice. The tracks are Tom's Dark Science (Consistently Mediocre and Daydreams) The Woodcraft (Boxes Windows and Secret Hidey Holes) Future Usefulness and Happiness (Around the Folly and Downhill) Broken Folk  (A Rest Before the Walk) I had been working on this idea for sometime when I got an email from Leigh Wright/Ephemeral Man asking me if I would like to contribute to  Cabinet Volta Tumblr , I said yes, I realised that I had the perfect place for this track called Consistently Rest Around the Boxes to go. Happy listening.


Sunday, 7 February 2016

Test Transmission Archive Reel 24 on Mixcloud


Its taken me a while but here at last is TT 24. Been a tad busy since the last one; released another album (A Rest Before the Walk) started work on some new tunes for up and coming projects in 2016 and a few changes to life away from music. So on 24 we have The Tornados, Fifty Foot Hose, Ewen MacColl & Peggy Seegar, Slaves, Vic Mars, Crass, The Tara Experiment, Rotary Connection, Douglas E Powell & the Rising Spirit, Henry Breuer, William D Drake, Vic Mars, Richard Harris and loads more. So put your feet up make a cuppa and have a listen. Until we meet again TaTa.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

CDs all Gone

All CD copies of A Rest Before the Walk have now Sold out. There are no longer copies available on Bandcamp and The Ghost Box Records shop. The Digital version of A Rest Before the Walk plus the three previous albums are all still available from Bandcamp and can be got individually or a big old digital bundle. I am now working on some new tunes for the next album plus a track for a compilation coming out in the spring (more on that later, all a bit hush hush at the mo)

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

A Couple of new tunes

Finally got round to recording again. Been a tad lazy these last few months, so used Christmas as a good time to start recording. Expect some more half baked ideas and musical nonsense from me at later date.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies Book and Music

My copy of Folk Horror Revival arrived recently and I can honestly say it is a wonderful book and a very fine read. So much is covered within the pages of the book that I really can not begin to list everything. Superbly put together it is the Brainchild of Andy Paciorek with contributions from some of the Songs from the Black Meadow travelers, Grey Malkin (of The Hare and the Moon) and Jim Peters (Melmoth the Wanderer/Septimus Keen) Available from here. Lots more info on the book at the Black Meadow Blog.
 Also worth checking out is this superb mix from Melmouth The Wanderer

Monday, 21 December 2015

Mr Palmer's Cards a Christmas Ritual

Every year for the past 9 years my friend Mr Palmer makes us a Christmas card. These cards take pride of place on this door. Every year the cards come out and are placed in the same spot on the door. We all have our favorites, and every year we inform each other which ones are our favs. We then sit around debating why certain cards are our favorites and the reason why this is. We will carry on doing this Christmas ritual until we run out of cards or the door gives up on us. This is the same Mr Palmer who wrote the wonderful notes The Walk for my present album A Rest Before the Walk.