Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A record to remember

Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev.

At the age of four it was the first music recording on vinyl - or in any format, for that matter - I could call my own. I forgot about this fact until I heard it played on WRR 101.1 FM during the commute today. The version that the station aired had Patrick Stewart narrating with the Orchestre de L'Opéra Lyon performing the composition, which of course was done quite well. Memories began to flood back of hearing Peter Ustinov and Philharmonia Orchestra (which, come to think of it, may explain the origins of my, er, "Anglophiliactic tendencies") bringing Prokofiev's sublime creation come to life through the medium of a portable record player in my room during the early/mid-Eighties, becoming immersed in the story of Peter's adventurous day in the woods and being mesmerized by the sounds of an orchestra (particularly the oboe and bassoon). Good, good memories.

I haven't listen to Peter and the Wolf since I was a child but this composition has stayed with me, apparently on a subconscious level. When I'm home alone cleaning, doing laundry, and/or any other similarly mundane task, I'll find myself whistling a tune that for all the tea in India could not think of what it was... until today, when I discovered that it was the bit played to represent Peter. Never ceases to amaze me how music can become so fundamentally entrenched into our lives.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The day the music died and other similarly uninteresting events

This past week I took several steps towards completing my goal of obtaining the original Essential Logic and Lora Logic releases on vinyl. I located these jewels of music through the vendors listed on Discogs.com, ordering the Essential Logic singles "Aerosol Burns" (B/W "World Friction", 1978), "Popcorn Boy - Waddle Ya Do?" (B/W "Flora Force", 1979); the Lora Logic single "Wonderful Offer" (7" version, B/W "Stereo", 1981); and Lora Logic's only LP Pedigree Charm (1982).

"Popcorn Boy" was the first order I received, which arrived in the post on Friday. With great excitement, upon returning home from work I hooked up the record player to hear for the first time the single's B-side "Flora Force". Last year I purchased a new turntable made by Ion that I had used only twice since acquiring it, albeit two marathon sessions of transferring my vinyl collection to digital. As I turned on the record player on Friday, though, the machine made a horrible buzzing noise as it came to life. Then it died, only managing to play several seconds of the tune with the apparatus' annoying audio addition washing over Susan Whitby and company's mini-masterpiece (yes, I realize that this is a heavily biased assumption. The woman can do no wrong in my eyes. So, there!) before it shirked off from this mortal coil. Shit.

I had saved a few bob to buy these records but not enough at the moment to purchase a new turntable, especially since I need a plumber now to remedy a malfunctioning shower which developed a leak couple days ago (not long after placing my orders!) that has also spread its liquid terror into the adjoining room. Murphy's Law in play, it seems...

Oh, and I caught the new episode of Doctor Who and did some recording. Big surprise, yes?

(B/W "Moontown", 1980)

Pedigree Charm (1982)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ham and cheese randomness

Linty, lentil, Yentl, Yugo, Hugo, bugle, dental, hairspray, Boris, my knee itches.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A bit obvious but...


Rockpalast, 7 April 1996

Probably a more honest assessment is that I would be happier if it rained and was cooler, and would be happiest if it rained and was cool virtually all the time. Think it's time to pack and head for Scotland...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Resuming normal service

Back to donning the JATSDFM hat. Time to get things done. Did some recording last night for the LCD album and tinkered with a piano piece for the glacial-paced "fourth" album (which I have continued work on tonight). The plan for this weekend is to also continue work on the Phil Ford collaboration and get some tracks finished on my end to send Mr. Horn.

And now residing on the stereo:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Press action

A review of this past Friday's show by Abby Koenig of the Houston Press:

Choreographer and dancer Sarah Gamblin presented a sharp and cutting solo dance performance set against a live musical accompaniment. The music was an amalgamation of strings and keys, with one of the instruments being a homemade electronic Bengali Ektara made from a Folgers coffee container. It was really cool to watch.

The "trio" didn't steal anything from Gamblin's dancing; the spotlight was all hers. Her movements ranged from vulnerable to strong and back again. She exuded a confidence that was beautifully juxtaposed against the music's erratic sensibility. Her 15-minute piece didn't feel long enough; it left you wanting more.

Tour diary: Houston, 14 August

I defer to Bede of Hentai's Historia tourica gentis HIO for the complete chronology of the Houston trip, which of course includes the account of the last day of our adventure in the coastal region of Texas.

Thanks again to the wonderful Sarah Gamblin for giving us the opportunity to collaborate with her, and Ryan Supak and Sara Van Buskirk for their generous hospitality and allowing the HIO trio to stay with them.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tour diary: Houston/Galveston, 13 August

My plan was to post entries regarding this "tour" that would conclude with a Doogie Howser-esque life lesson. Fatigue got the best of me yesterday but tonight I will attempt to do better. No promises, though...

This morning I woke up around nine to an asthmatic cat breathing in my face and a huge dog kicking me in the back. Terry's friends were good enough to give us shelter in their adobe while we stayed in a city that has really grown on us.

The HIO trio packed their gear and headed for Galveston to spend the early afternoon by the seaside. Took a stroll on the seawall and made our way to Gaido's for lunch (a place which the bearded scribe worked at for a week in the late Seventies). The entrance had a horrible smell reminiscent of cat urine (a woman actually made a hasty retreat from the establishment due to the offending niff) but luckily the rest of the restaurant was not afflicted with the odour. After a fantastic meal we stopped off a cemetery on Broadway Avenue J which reminded us of some of the grand necropolises in New Orleans. Mr. Horn snapped pictures of a few ancient mausoleums while I continued to develop a significant sunburned head and face. The image of a wooden matchstick comes to mind...

Back to Houston to unload gear for the second of three nights that Sarah Gamblin and us are performing at the Frenetic Theater (performances which Mr. Ken will probably recount in a more elaborate and elegant rendition of events at a future date... because I am a lazy bastard and a bit shit at chronicling events). To replace a string that broke on Terry's ehru the previous night we made a pit stop at Rockin Robin Guitars and Music. We then stopped off for a spot of dins at one of the wonderful taquieras that has become a staple for our meals during this trip.

Fast forward to the show... it felt like everyone locked in from the outset better than the Friday's performance. It's not my intention to give the impression that last night's show was a disaster (quite the opposite) but it seems that the four of us felt more comfortable and confident tonight. Definitely looking forward to tomorrow's show.

The quartet set course for Moon Tower Inn for dogs, suds, chinwag, and chuckles to end a great day. Life lesson learned? A PowerPoint presentation, a t-shirt with a date on it, and Charles II's hair does not make for a good night.

Tour diary: Houston, 12 August

I'm ruddy tired, so here is the first day summarized: Terry's house, rental car, my work, I-45 South, petrol, walking, sweating, tacos, house, dogs, cats, phosphate sodas, venue, sound check, more sweat, beer, waiting, more beer, performance, and now... sleep.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sound and vision

Yesterday was rehearsal day for the HIO trio and Sarah Gamblin's performances at the Houston Fringe Festival this coming weekend. The plan was for me to head over to Kat and Ken's house for brekkies, then for Ken and I to set course for Terry's house to load our gear (as Mr. Horn is recovering from a surgical procedure and cannot lift anything, unless he wanted to an impersonation of a Play-Doh Fun Factory kit... ), and leave for Denton by eleven to make it to TWU by noon. Due to a dominant plonker gene, though, I overslept and didn't arrive at Kat and Ken's until eleven. Sigh.

I was quite grateful that Sarah showed mercy and didn't garrotte me when we finally docked at a quarter to one. After a couple of productive run-throughs (would had a few more but thanks to my morning tardiness we were a bit short on time. I owe Sarah big time!) the Hentai guys headed to Hooligans for a spot of lunch and some pints, all the while watching my truck with gear loaded in the bed become a bystander in a water balloon fight that broke out on the square. Luckily, nothing got wet. Stupid hipsters...

Wrapped up the day with a lovely dinner made by Kat, and then it was back home for me. Not much of a final paragraph, I admit, but this concludes the post.

And now... How about a video that doesn't pertain to anything that I just wrote?

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Started the day with Erik Satie's Gymnopédies, and I'll end the day with it:

(First and third Gymnopédie published in 1888, the second Gymnopédie was published in 1895.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Now and the recently "then"... whatever that means

Besides the ole nine-to-five today I:

1. Had a thoroughly disgusting lunch via Taco Casa (didn't eat until after four in the afternoon, which was the first meal of the day for me and I was quite hungry. As if that is any sort of excuse... ).

2. Worked on some of the recording projects in the, er, works.

3. Watched The Tudors, and...

4. Listening to The Stranglers' The Early Years (74-75-76 Rare Live and Unreleased) (1992) on the turntable.

Accompanied by a nice bottle of Merlot it is a pretty good night, me thinks.