Monday, April 30, 2007

Princes and angels...

Playlist
Bonnie Prince Billy - The Letting Go
Various - Jukebox on Shuffle Play (over 12,000 Tracks)
21st Century Schizoid Band - live in Japan 2002 (DVD)
Peter Gabriel - Still Growing Up (DVD)
Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
Cluster - Sowiesoso

Wandered along Rose St today and really shouldn't have needed to go into FOPP seeing as how I must've downloaded over 20 new albums over the weekend...

Anyway, I went in and I ended up buying these two DVDs...





The Schizoid Band is good but the Gabriel is great and made me want to get all my Gabriel CDs out...

On telly, I am trying to wean myself off of "Coronation St" and so gave it a miss tonight. Was, however, entertained by "New Tricks" and "Ruddy Hell It's Harry and Paul" - oh, and the highlights of Hearts thrashing Celtic 3-1 at the Potato Bowl...

And the Explosions in the Sky album is brilliant! Thanks to Count Brodski for the recommendation...

Oh - and I also downloaded the classic Cluster album "Sowiesoso"...

Happy days...

Highlight of the Day : The Angel Gabriel

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Of bees and men...

Playlist
Ars Nova – Fear and Anxiety
Mingo Lewis – Flight Never Ending
Nektar – Journey to the Centre of the Eye
Tangerine Dream – Live at Sheffield City Hall 29/10/74
The League of Gentlemen – Better in the Dark (Live 4/5/80)
La Dusseldorf - La Dusseldorf
John McLaughlin – Industrial Zen
Allan Holdsworth – Touching On
Anekdoten – Nucleus
Godspeed You Black Emperor – F#A# Infinity [EP]
Godspeed You Black Emperor – Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada [EP]
Rush – Snakes and Arrows
Rush – 18 (CD-R)
Deep Purple – Anthology
Porcupine Tree – Fear of a Blank Planet
Billy Cobham's Glass Menagerie - Stratus

Up early again and I’m drawn once more to the download sites...

An album I was looking at yesterday and which turns out to be a bit of a jazz fusion masterpiece is Mingo Lewis’s “Flight Never Ending”. Master percussionist Mr Lewis played with Al Di Meola for a while before turning up in one of my all-time favourite bands, The Tubes (which is how I know of him)...



I also found a concert from Tangerine Dream’s halcyon days in 1974, part of which was used in their album “Ricochet”...



As we breakfasted we listened to La Dusseldorf’s debut album while watching some cookery show with the sound down – it seems you can’t switch on the telly these days without a cookery show playing on one channel or another...



After breakfast, I washed up the dishes (and last night's) whilst listening to a CD from Allan Holdsworth, the existence of which I was unaware of until yesterday...



Then I took some time to sort out some CDs which have been lying around for a while in no particular order, having been relegated from the “Latest 100” shelf in the living room to the back bedroom...

Then I burned a couple of discs – Rush and Godspeed You Black Emperor, the latter failing to work on any of my CD players for some reason – poetic justice perhaps...




Apparently, according to Einstein "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man"...


This gem turned up on David Byrne’s blog entry of 24 April – which is weird because John from Impossible Songs mentioned the exact same thing last Saturday as we were dining chez Crispycat...


C’mon the bees!!


Doesn’t look good though - more than a quarter of the honeybees in the U.S. have vanished according to the New York Times while German magazine Der Spiegel reports that beekeepers on the east coast of the United States have lost more than 70 percent of their stock since late last year, while the west coast has seen a decline of up to 60 percent...


Mr Byrne puts forward the theory that it may be a conspiracy involving the producers of Genetically Modified Food...


While I mucked about on the PC, compiling a new 18 track Rush compilation (one song from each of their studio albums from 1974-2007) and read various things, including this about the bees, it occurred to me how hopeless I am and how pathetically worthless my life and everything I do is....

Reading Mr Byrne's blog, I couldn't help thinking that I can't remember the last time I had an original thought...


And I spend almost every free moment I have either listening to other people’s music or creating music which no-one else will ever hear...

Anyway, not to worry - after all, we're all just waiting to die...

While I was, ahem, "busy" doing all this, Hearts, in turn, were busy thrashing Celtic 3-1 at the potato bowl and justice was done at last - I'm tired of Celtic winning ugly and the very, very annoying little gnaff who manages the team...

Unfortunately, the thrashing didn’t seem to ruin the ‘Tic’s celebrations as they collected the SPL Championship Trophy...

We cooked together tonight for the first time in a while – a fairly simple pasta bake with salami – and we grooved in the kitchen to the strains of Deep Purple, fuelled by a nice drop of Chianti...



Two episodes each of “Everybody Hates Chris” and “Joey” were followed by “Coronation Street” before I retired upstairs to do some background on a trip to Ireland soon – Limerick and Cork beckon – and to write this up...



The new albums by Rush (above) and Porcupine Tree (below) entertained me as I surfed, cut, pasted, typed and printed...




In normal Sunday fashion, “Match of the Day 2” finished off the day...

Highlight of the Day : Groovin’ and Cookin’

Saturday, April 28, 2007

77 million albums...

Playlist
Dar Williams – The Best of (2CD-R)
Ian Carr’s Nucleus – Roots
Birdsongs of the Mesozoic – Sonic Geology
Brian Eno - Music for 77 Million Paintings
Ars Nova – The Book of the Dead
Marillion – The Jingle Book
Alice Cooper – Very Best of 1971-2005 (CD-R)
Arcade Fire – The Arcade Fire EP
Le Orme - Piccola rapsodia dell'ape
Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare
National Health – Missing Pieces
A Silver Mount Zion – He Has Left Us Alone...
Ars Nova – Fear and Anxiety
Various – Burning for Buddy Vol 1 (Produced by Neal Peart)
Anekdoten – Nucleus
Fennesz/Sakamoto - Cendre
Marilyn Manson – Heart Shaped Glasses
ProjeKct 6 – End Time
Rush – Snakes and Arrows
Godspeed You Black Emperor – F#A#Infinity
Godspeed You Black Emperor – Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada
Lou Reed – Hudson River Wind Meditations

Up at 7:15 and to the PC to continue some downloading...

Got the new Marilyn Manson single last night – this morning I go systematically through my list of “MP3 Blogs”....

There are some legendary prog names like Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, Nektar, Ian Carr's Nucleus, Ars Nova, Le Orme, Fruupp and loads of stuff I’ve never even heard of over at Demusica Alterque...

And, for the best collection of ambient, weird, electronic, kraut rock etc, including Brian Eno’s “Music for 77 Million Paintings”, have a look at Faunigena...



We were going to drive down to Dumfries for the last QoS game of the season but I had a dentist’s appointment at 11:50 which was taken late and at which I had a filling removed and shored up for future work – this conspired to have us forego our trip and return to base for the afternoon...

But not before a wee walk around the Old Town...



In the graveyard of this church is the resting place of the remains of the economist Adam Smith...

As Anne listened to the unfolding of the fight between St Johnstone and Gretna for promotion from the 1st Division to the SPL, I was listening to new music as it arrived on the hard drive (whilst watching the BBC’s videoprinter)...

In the end, with Queens thrashed 3-0 at home to Airdrie, I was kind of glad we’d not gone along. Last year’s last day game ended in a similar defeat from Dundee...

Gretna won promotion with almost the last kick of the game...

In the evening we watched last week’s “Dr Who” followed by this week's – the latest Dalek adventure – just four of the beasties living in New York in 1930 – not the best Dalek story I’ve seen but, at the end, I’m pretty sure the one remaining Dalek must be the one that turned up in the first “new” series a couple of years ago in the episode entitled "Dalek" (which I bought on DVD yesterday for nephew Ollie's Dr Who-fest)...

For the first time in a few weeks, an Indian takeaway provided the evening meal and we rounded the day off with “CSI:New York” and “Law & Order”...

Highlight of the Day : Loads of new music

Friday, April 27, 2007

Codebreakers...

Playlist
Laura Pausini - E Ritorno da Ti
ProjeKct 1 – Jazz Café Suite
David Bowie – Let’s Dance
Grand Funk Railroad – Thirty Years of Funk
Tool – 10,000 Days
The Church – The Blurred Crusade
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Ersatzreal
Schnittke - Requiem
Various – Downloads from Destination Out

I left home today on a mission...

I believed we had the episodes from last year’s “Dr Who” series where the Cybermen and Daleks slugged it out – and, on the strength of this belief, we’d arranged for nephew Ollie to come by Crispycat Towers to watch it...

He’s now a big Dr Who fan, even though he’s only seen three episodes (but never Daleks or Cybermen)....

He is 6....

Anyway, last night we checked the video in question only to find that we didn’t have the second of the two parts – i.e. we had virtually 10 seconds of “Dalek action”...

And so it was that I made my way to HMV and Virgin in search of the relevant DVD...

Suffice to say they didn’t have it but I did manage to get 2 discs from the Christopher Eccleston series which featured Dalek stories....

I also picked up this 10CD set of various Requiems for £13...



Tasty....

Back home, Ollie had been “delivered” by his mum, Jane who, along with niece Kitty, visited for around an hour or so before I arrived back to find Jane and Kitty gone and Anne making Spaghetti Bolognese while Ollie read his much-leafed Dr Who comics....

We had our spaghetti (with ice cream and grapes/banana for pudding) then settled down to watch the two-parter which ends with Eccleston morphing into the current Doctor, David Tennant – great stuff!

Around 8.30, Anne took Ollie back home...

Later, as we watched “Ugly Betty” and “Law & Order : Criminal Intent”, we realised how hellish it must be to have children full-time. They absolutely demand your attention 100% and your own life must surely just go out the window...

No concentrating on telly...

No recording on the computer without interruptions...

No heat of the moment trips to Manchester to see The Blue Nile...

No holidays without the kids...

We realised we are blessed by having been able to break the encoding of all animals to procreate and lose their lives to their young...

Having said all that though, we enjoyed having Ollie round (for a couple of hours) and will do it again soon – after all, there’s more Dr Who to watch...

I ended the evening by downloading the latest tracks from the great Destination Out website – check it out – crazy jazz!!

Highlight of the Day : Dr Who fest with wee Ollie...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Staying up, bowing out...

Playlist
Brahms – Piano Sonatas
CBQ – Ersatzreal
CBQ – Best of 1996-2006

Bummer today as it was announced Queen of the South manager Ian McCall will leave after Saturday’s game against Airdrie Utd, the last of the season...

He reckons with 3 to 5 more really good players, Queens could be competing for promotion. The last two seasons the team has finished 8th, both times after a hard fought struggle to stay in the division...



But there’s no cash to do this, so it’s adios...

We had an ok season belying the 8th place finish in the league – QoS reached the quarter finals of the Scottish Cup for the first time in 30 years, only to be narrowly beaten by Hibernian, they have just seen the end of their longest unbeaten run for 20 years and have only lost 7 of their last 20 games, one of which was the Hibs tie...

As we did last year, we’ll be at the last game of the season – now they’ve secured another year in Division One, I can no longer be a hoodoo...

No musicking again today (other than listening) and, in the evening, we watched a taped “CSI:New York” followed by “Question Time” and “This Week”...

Highlight of the Day : CSI : New York – yes, things have sunk that low...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Orange...

Playlist
Rheostatics - 2nd Last Concert (Discs 2 & 3)
Andrew Hill - Grass Roots
CBQ - Ersatzreal
Rheostatics - Last Concert (Highlights)



To the gym again tonight (after "Coronation St" of course) and I found it a little annoying that the TV in front of my treadmill was showing cookery programmes with lots of lovely food...

Back home, we watched "Grand Designs" and "Desperate Housewives"...

That was about it today, other than Anne buying far too many Satsumas....

I am looking forward to acquiring new albums by:-
Rush
Marillion
Porcupine Tree
Lucy Kaplansky
Arcade Fire
The Bad Plus

Highlight of the Day : Getting some exercise...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Twenty two...

Playlist
Rheostatics - 2nd Last Concert (CD 1)
Andrew Hill - Black Fire
Andrew Hill - Dance With Death
John Gorka - The Company You Keep
Frost - Milliontown

The Rheostatics fest continued today...

At lunchtime, whilst browsing through my regular links, I discovered that the jazz pianist Andrew Hill died on 20 April...



There is a wonderfully appreciative piece on Mr Hill over at The Bad Plus - Do The Math and, as I read this, I listened to some of the man's great recordings for Blue Note from the 1960's...

You can watch a video of his last performance (filmed on 29 March at Trinity Church in New York) here - worth a few minutes of your time surely...

In the evening we drove out to my mum's for a visit and to sort out her new all-in-one remote control...

This took longer than expected and, while we did so, we watched the Man Utd v AC Milan game. It seemed every time a goal was scored though, we had the TV off or on a different channel whilst trying to sort out the remote...

When I went to make coffee for us, while looking in the fridge for the milk and the cupboard for the sugar, it occured to me how lonely it might be to be old and living on your own. My mum must love it when sister Pam comes up to stay with her every so often...

All-in-all though, she seemed in good spirits...

Back home and joy for Anne as her arch-rivals Hibernian FC had been defeated in the Scottish Cup semi final by bottom of the league Dunfermline (Dr Prog's team). It ended 1-0 via a late penalty, which was cheekily "dinked" into the centre of the net as the goalie dived to his right...

Chum Spike advises that Hibs have now played over 330 games in the Scottish Cup since they last won it in 1902...

Hearts fans and their Hibs stats eh?...

Highlight of the Day : A visit to my mum's...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Rheo-tastic...

Playlist
Ursa Major - Ursa Major
Kansas - The Best of Kansas
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Ersatzreal
Rheostatics - Last Ever Concert (CBC 1 Hr Broadcast)
Rheostatics - Second Last Ever Concert (Full 3hr Concert)

Couldn't sleep this morning after waking at 5:15 so listened to guitarist Dick Wagner's late 60's early 70's Detroit band "Ursa Major", one track from which includes themes used later on Alice Cooper's second solo album from 1976, "Alice Cooper Goes to Hell"...

Then, the best of Kansas - a much maligned band whom I quite like...

Lunch today uptown at the Balmoral Hotel - no CDs purchased...

In the evening, as Anne was out keeping fit, I had a look through my regular links and, whilst browsing the Rheostatics, found one to CBC's hour long broadcast of highlights from their last ever concert on 30 March this year - I recorded it to mini-disc for later burning to CD...

If you follow the link above and you don't know Rheostatics, I suggest you start with the song "Claire"...



Then I found a link to a band sanctioned download of a soundboard recording of their second last ever gig - the small club warm up to the arena the following night...

Watched "New Tricks" (enjoyable but rubbish really) and "Ruddy Hell it's Harry and Paul", which is shaping up to be a good replacement for the much missed "Fast Show"...

Then, rather foolishly, I stayed up till beyond 1 am burning the 2nd last Rheos show to a 3CD set - the gig lasted almost 3 hours...

Highlight of the Day : Rheostatics

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Uncle David's cheating...

Playlist
CBQ – Ersatzreal
Happy Apple – Youth Oriented
Impossible Songs – Rough Boys
Thad Jones – Detroit New York Junction

Up at 7 and washed all the dishes from last night...

Then on to the PC and tidied up the files for the new album, transferring the latest MP3s to the Jukebox – Meg the Black Cat helped out by directing matters from the shelf above the computer desk...



Out for breakfast around 10 – to a new venue, Café Citron at Blackhall. We drive past this place on our way to Patisserie Florentin and it’s usually full but today we parked up and managed to get a table...

Coffee was excellent as was my bagel with butter and jam – while Anne had the fullest bacon roll I think I’ve ever seen....

The added bonus was of course that the “carbon footprint” left by our journey to and from the café was around half of that which we’d have left had we gone to Patisserie Florentin...

Back home, I updated my MySpace page, posting up four of the latest demo versions of songs from “Ersatzreal” (check ‘em out) and added a few news articles to the Crispycat website...

Then I just sat in the living room with Meg the Black Cat and listened to some Happy Apple – tasty jazz!

Then the new Impossible Songs album, “Roughboys” which contains some new tracks and some remixes of previously available stuff – I must say, it rocks – though I may be biased of course...

Check out the link...

Then round to Jane and Bobby’s for nephew Oliver’s 6th birthday party – Thad Jones featuring on the car stereo...



Ollie loved the remote controlled Dalek we gave him (as did niece Kitty) and I almost won Musical Chairs, Statues and Pass the Parcel even though the other contestants were complaining I was cheating which was patently NOT the case...



Back home, “Coronation St” on video, updated the diary for the weekend then “Match of the Day 2”...

Highlight of the Day : Party time...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Nothing is impossible...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Ersatzreal
Horace Silver – You Gotta Take a Little Love
Various – The Dr Prog Years
Impossible Songs – Border Crossing

Up at 7, wrote up the diary and brought my CD Purchases Book up to date - 33 new discs so far in April and 108 so far in the first 111 days of 2007...

So much for getting my CD disease under control this year...

Surfed the net including interview footage with Gilbert and George on the Tate Gallery website and footage of Billy Cobham performing with Horace Silver on YouTube which, unlike the CD I bought the other day, does show off the drummer’s prowess..

Out at 9.45 to the podiatrist and a clean bill of toe health was obtained..

Back home – I re-recorded vocals for “The Golden House” and “He Thinks of You”, remixed “The Angels Took His Soul” and wrote a new lyric for the Velvet Underground based backing track from last week and so “Waiting to Die” became the 20th track for this latest project...

I was going to add some electric guitar to various tracks but decided that was a task for the future....

Then I worked on the running order and came up with a provisional tracklist...

Whilst doing this I was watching the videoprinter on bbc.co.uk as the goals came through – Hearts were beaten after scoring first at Ibrox while QoS were thrashed 3-0 at St Johnstone – but as both Airdrie and Ross County drew, QoS are safe and will spend their sixth consecutive season in Division 1 next year...

Hurrah!!

In the evening, John and Ali of Impossible Songs came to dinner – Anne had been busy for most of yesterday and toady in preparation and the evening went swimmingly with everyone enjoying her signature dishes of home made pakora, veggie curry, pilau rice and nan breads...

A bright pudding of fresh raspberries and some of the creamiest ice-cream I’ve ever tasted followed with coffee to round things off...



With MP3s of the 51 track Dr Prog compilation providing the background music, we chatted into the night about probably mostly music but also my CD affliction...

Ali confessed to having a similar problem re book-buying, so it was good to know I’m not alone...

They left tired but happy (I hope) around 12:30 and it was the end of another good day – more work on the album, Queens staying up, and a great entertaining evening..

Highlight of the Day : Queens survive/A visit from our chums

Friday, April 20, 2007

Indoors...

Playlist
Various - Best of the Best (Jukebox Playlist)

Another night in...

Finally put together the covers for Dr Prog's 5 CD set - hope to see him soon to give it to him...

Watched "Coronation St", "Ugly Betty" and "Jonathon Ross" which featured artists Gilbert & George and two songs from Bryan Ferry...

Last night, we were shredding some stuff and Meg the Black Cat decided to make a nest inside the black bag which we were using to collect the strips...



Cats are funny...



Highlight of the Day : Gilbert & George

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Potatoes...

Playlist
Chopin – Nocturnes
Various – Best of the Best (Jukebox Playlist)
T Rex – Singles As and Bs 1972-77
Billy Cobham/Nordic - Off Colour

An uneventful day…

While browsing in HMV (purchases=none), I was tempted to buy T Rex’s 1972 album “Slider” – one which I’ve never owned, even as a teenager, but often coveted for some reason…

So, I decided to listen to my T Rex singles compilation on the jukebox instead…



Tonight, we watched telly all night…

“CSI”
“Law & Order : Criminal Intent”
“CSI New York”
“CSI New York”
“Question Time”
“This Week”

Pathetic couch potatoes…

Highlight of the Day : Law & Order : Criminal Intent

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Milky cat...

Playlist
Haydn – Complete String Quartets (Disc 31)
Beethoven – Piano Concerto No 2
ProjeKct 6 - End Time
Various – 2-3 Min Tracks

A simple day today…

Started with a bizarre accident though…

Anne asked me to close the cat flap this morning, thinking Meg the Black Cat was indoors…

I did so and went to the kitchen for a bowl of cereal and milk…

Then there was a knocking at the flap – Meg was still outside – so I went and opened it and in she came…

However, as I bent down to re-close the flap, I forgot I was holding my cereal and managed to pour milk all over Meg…

She did that thing cats and dogs do when they’re wet and sprayed the place with milk then started licking the remainder from her back, putting more milk on the living room window…

Oh how I laughed as I cleaned up the mess…

By early evening I was forgiven and I enjoyed some Haydn string quartets and a Beethoven piano concerto in the music room with Meg the Black Cat while I read an article on said Piano Concerto from “A Glenn Gould Reader”…



An ideal evening meal from Anne – salmon filled with spicy vegetables, accompanied by a baked potato and salad…

Then “Coronation St” and then, for the first time in probably a year or so, to the gym for a wee workout – just treadmill and cross-trainer…

Back home, an hour spent on the net reading some articles..

Then “Desperate Housewives” and off to bed…

Highlight of the Day : The Milk Incident

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Horace and Orson...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Ersatzreal
Horace Silver - Stylings of Silver
Horace Silver - You Gotta Take a Little Love
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Concrete

Bought my first CD since 6 April today, Horace Silver's "You Gotta Take a Little Love" - reason for doing so? Billy Cobham on drums...



As it turns out, his performance is a bit anonymous and really shows no promise of what he was to do a couple of years later with Miles Davis or the Mahavishnu Orchestra....

Having said that though, the album itself is entertaining enough. Recorded in 1969, I was able to compare and contrast with my first listening of one of the 6 April purchases, Silver's 1958 recording "The Stylings of Silver"...

All in all, the earlier album won it for me...

I made the purchase at FOPP and also picked up Orson Welles "The Trial", his adaptation of the Kafka book...



I remember watching this with my dad way back and being fascinated by one particular musical theme in the film. My dad couldn't identify it....

Years later I found out it was Albinoni's Adagio for Organ and Strings which, subsequently, has become a very popular piece indeed....

Sadly, on checking this on Amazon, I find it's not going to to be the best DVD ever as regards quality - it's not the restored version - but it was only £3...

In the evening I was supposed to be going to Glasgow with Count Brodski for the Explosions in the Sky gig but Brodders called mid afternoon to advise the concert's postponement until later in the year...

So, instead, I wrote up my review for last week's Out of the Bedroom (whilst listening to Horace Silver), then watched two taped episodes of "CSI"...

Finally, I dug out the CBQ album "Concrete", which I thought about releasing back in February. It sounded better than I remembered and may still see the light of day at some point...

Highlight of the Day : Probably CSI

Monday, April 16, 2007

One step closer...

Playlist
Ken Hensley - Eager to Please
Laura Pausini - Escucha
Dar Williams - The Beauty of the Rain
Bud Powell - Time Was

More work on the album today, adding instrumentation to two of the faster songs, "Rabbits on the Verge" and "The Secret of my Success". I also re-sang the vocals on "Rabbits" and removed some backing vocals from "The Unfortunate"...

That was before and after watching tonight's two episodes of "Coronation Street" and the Grand Final of University Challenge, in which Durham whopped Manchester's asses and Anne and I were able to answer a paltry total of 12 questions between us...

Later on, the first in the new comedy sketch series from Paul Whitehouse and Harry Enfield was mildly entertaining and showed some promise...

Listening-wise, I eschewed the CBQ stuff (which is more of a duty rather than anything else) for albums such as this from the lovely Dar Williams...



Highlight of the Day : One step closer to completing the album

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Minutae...

Playlist
Clouldand Blue Quartet - Ersatzreal

Up at 6:30 and straight to work...

Good fire yesterday though...



"The Golden House" - increased the false ending before the key change - finished at 7:37 am

"The Luckiest Man Alive" - added strings and remixed - finished 9:12 am

"Starting to Worry" - reworked the drums and added strings and remixed - finished 10:28 am

Burned the latest version of the album...

Then out to Pattisserie Floretin for brunch (a croissant and a latte) with Anne and to Sainsbury's on the way home, purchasing a few items for dinner...

Anne enjoyed the unseasonally hot weather in the back garden with Meg the Black Cat while I went back to work...

"The End of Everything" - tidied up the strings, redid the drum track, added a further synths, elongated the final section, remixed - finished 2:11 pm

"I Still Write You Letters" - new lead and backing vocal, remixed - finished 2:45 pm

"The Happy Song" - increased the tempo, new guitar, new lead and backing vocals, added synths, remixed - finished 4:09 pm

"Go Away and Leave Me Here" - new drums, combined with the old drums, synths added, remixed - finished 4:56 pm

"Blue Eyes Across the Room" - remix and treatments, added guitar - finished 5:16 pm

Then burned the second new version of the album today...

A good day's work...

In the evening, after dinner, we watched Friday night's "Coronation Street", "Dr Who" from last night, which looked like it was going to be a bit crap but ended up being not bad at all - and the Daleks are back next week!! - then tonight's "Coronation St" followed by last week's "Ugly Betty"....

Blog update (Thursday to Sunday) - finished 10:03 pm...

Next job - write the review of Thursday's Out of the Bedroom...

And continue refining the new album....

Highlight of the Day : Working...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

You're fired...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet - The Virginia Man E.P.
Arcade Fire - Various Tracks

Despite yesterday's session, I was up today at 8 and, at 20 past was working on a new E.P. for John and Ali of Impossible Songs...

At John's 50th Birthday party I was unable to play any cover versions at all other than "Louie Louie" so I'd said to John I'd learn a couple and asked him what he thought I should learn...

He'd advised The Velvet Underground and Roxy Music...

By 2:30 pm I had a new CBQ EP containing full band and acoustic versions of "I'm Waiting For The Man" and "Virginia Plain"...

We headed down to Queensferry around 3:30 and, after some traffic jam scenarios, arrived around 4:15...



There was a competition for best home made food and Anne was right in there with her famous pakoras although, in the end, she lost out to some rubbishy caramel shortcake that anyone could've made (it says here...)

I was drinking Diet Coke and Dr Pepper while Anne wired in to the red wine....

We built a bonfire, highlight of the day for me - I used to love setting fires when I was wee...



As the night drew in a guitar was passed around the fire and the gathered musos amongst us took it in turns to regale the percussion playing crowd - a 12 bar blues led by CBQ and John on guitars and Nelson Wright on harmonica got things started...

This was followed by a couple of songs each from Norman Lamont, Tommy Mackay, Impossible Songs, Lindsay Sugden, Nelson Wright and Fiona Thom, highlights probably being Norman's cover of "Tears of a Clown" and Tommy's version of "Sugar Sugar" amended to "Alan Sugar" in honour of "The Apprentice"...

Your correspondent chipped in with "Starting to Worry" but, sensibly, declined a second song, despite having spent six hours earlier in the day recording the two songs on the CD....

I figured having them blasted out over PA in the garden was performance enough...

We left around 11:30 and tried to head home on a quick road but got slightly lost, ending up on a dead end outside the airport...

Eventually made it home around 12:30 and checked the football scores - Queens drew (12 games unbeaten) but are one of three unsafe teams - two games to go and five points clear - they could still go down...

A good day - apart from that...

Highlight of the Day : Fire raising...

Friday, April 13, 2007

Explosions in my head...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Ersatzreal
Explosions in the Sky - All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone

No musicking today - but mucho drinking....

Out all afternoon and early evening with chum Spike, meeting Anne around 6pm for more drinking - then, as we left Harry's Bar with the intention of getting a cab up to Count Brodski's flat in Morningside, we bumped into old footballing chum Greg - and, as he was heading that way, he very kindly gave us a lift...

I wasn't too bad considering I'd had eight bottle of Tiger Beer and two of Magners' Cider...

Well it seemed to me like I wasn't too bad...

At Alan's I limited myself to two cans of Stella Artois and Alan, Penny, Anne and I had an excellent Indian from House of India, just round the corner...



Best music of the night was from the album above, by Explosions in the Sky, and, apparently, I agreed to go to Glasgow on Tuesday night with Alan and a couple of others to see this group in action...

A cab home around 2 am ended an enjoyable day...

Highlight of the Day : Drinking and carousing with chums...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

On stage...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Ersatzreal

Anne was meeting her friend Lynn uptown tonight for drinks so I was intending staying in and doing some music/work....

Here are just three of the many different versions of the proposed new album - it changes every time I work on it of course...



James Jamieson called late afternoon and suggested a visit to Out of the Bedroom tonight, so I agreed - doing a quick rehearsal of my two new songs "Lights Out" and "The Angels' Kiss"....

I took Anne into Edinburgh and got to the venue around 7:15 to find just one slot left...

I also found myself roped into reviewing the night - something I've not done for a while...

Jamie turned up around 9 o'clock and managed to secure a one song song slot...

I was supposed to go on last but had to pick Anne and Lynn up at 11 and the night was running late, so they kindly let me go on early...

I did "The Angels' Kiss" first, followed by "Starting to Worry" and closed with "The End of Everything" - illiciting a good reception....

Although I enjoyed it, I thought it was quite a nervous performance - it's already six weeks since my last outing - but Jamie thought it was excellent, and liked the new song...

I left to pick up Anne before Jamie had a chance to play but I'm sure he gave his usual assured account of himself - and John from Impossible Songs said he'd finish the review and mail it to me...

We were home just before midnight...

Another enjoyable performance - I liked playing the new song...

Highlight of the Day : Debuting "The Angels' Kiss"

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Nothing of any import...

Playlist
Alice Cooper – Best of (Jukebox Playlist)
David Bowie – Best of (Jukebox Playlist)
Brian Eno – Best of (Jukebox Playlist)
King Crimson – Best of (Jukebox Playlist)
Yes – Best of (Jukebox Playlist)
Uriah Heep – Best of (Jukebox Playlist)
Cockney Rebel – Best of (Jukebox Playlist)
Allan Holdsworth – Best of (Jukebox Playlist)
Roxy Music – Best of (Jukebox Playlist)
Gentle Giant – Best of (Jukebox Playlist)
UK – Best of (Jukebox Playlist)
The Blue Nile – Best of (Jukebox Playlist)
Genesis – Best of (Jukebox Playlist)
Rheostatics – Best of (2CD-R)
Stanley Turrentine – Never Let Me Go
Stanley Turrentine - That's Where It's At
The Blue Nile – Rarities 1981-1996 (CD-R)

Not much of any import to mention today – in fact, nothing of any import really…

Listened to two Stan Turrentine CDs while Anne and I cooked the evening meal – the second, without his wife playing the organ, was better…



Watched “Coronation St”…

Burned a Blue Nile rarities CD for Macclesfield man, Mr Harding…

Tried to work up a new CBQ piece on Cubase (with little success)…

Watched “Desperate Housewives” – very funny tonight….

Looked at potential new homes on the internet (quite content to stay where I am really)…

Retired…

Highlight of the Day : The music of the Blue Nile

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Beans and woodwork...

Playlist
Billy Cobham – Shabazz
Alice Cooper - Best of (Jukebox Playlist)
David Bowie - Best of (Jukebox Playlist)
Brian Eno - Best of (Jukebox Playlist)
King Crimson - Best of (Jukebox Playlist)
Yes - Best of (Jukebox Playlist)

A day off from musicking again as I short-circuited yesterday with far too much CBQ…

In the evening we had an entertaining night out with nephew Ollie as we went along to see “Mr Bean’s Holiday”. I couldn’t believe how well behaved the wee man was and he was so excited when we took him home, wanting to tell his mum and dad about every scene in the film…

I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would – one scene in particular, where he was trying to stop himself from falling asleep while driving along the motorway at night, reminded me of how I’ve been many times coming home from Glasgow or Dumfries after a particularly long and tiring day – though I’ve never actually resorted to using matchsticks to keep my eyes open…

Of course, “Blackadder” is light years ahead of Mr Bean, which, itself, is a pretty poor relation to Jacques Tati’s “Monsieur Hulot”, which Rowan Atkinson has acknowledged as an influence on Bean…

My favourite Hulot film is “Playtime”, which took three years to make and, eventually, bankrupted Tati. Despite being a major critical success, his insistence on it only being shown at theatres equipped with 70mm facilities excluded much of the market, leading the film to fail to recoup its costs at the box office…



Back at ours, it was the last episode of “Life on Mars” and a good twist to the ending, which I understood to mean that it was 1973 which was the “reality” rather than 2006/7 – though how the “time-travelling” character knew so much about the history of 1973-2006/7 is not explained by this…

All in all, the ending seemed to suggest to me that, despite all its flaws and faults, life in 1973 was better than it is now…

Then I found myself watching a documentary about The Carpenters

They had a lot of good hit singles early in their career with what have now become classic songs but, for me, by the end of 1973 (that year again) (notwithstanding the classic 1977 cover of Klaatu’s “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft”) they were a spent force…

Despite their artistic nadir, the circumstances surrounding Karen Carpenter’s untimely demise at just 32, were tragic to say the least. However, her death did lead indirectly to the wider recognition of both anorexia nervosa and bulimia in the mainstream…

My mum likes The Carpenters….

Highlight of the Day : A trip to the cinema with our nephew…

Monday, April 09, 2007

Along the coast...

Playlist
John Coltrane – The Best of John Coltrane
John Gorka – A Collection (CD-R)
Stan Getz – Tempus Fugit
John Gorka – The Company You Keep
Cloudland Blue Quartet– Ersatzreal
Various – Tracks by People I Like (Vol 1 : CD-R)
Dio - Killing the Dragon

Anne volunteers at the Lothian Cat Rescue on a Monday morning so I took the opportunity to work on three songs today – reworking the ex-Chocolate song from yesterday (I’d put in too many key changes for comfort) and working two others up from scratch...

On Anne’s return, after lunch, we drove down to North Berwick, parked at the very eastern end of the beach









...and walked back along for a game of putting...



...followed by a Mr Whippy ice-cream each and then a walk around the town, taking in the wee junk shop in the main street and an exhibition of artworks by local artists in a church...

Then we walked back to the car and drove along the coast road back home...

Two episodes of “Coronation St” sandwiched “University Challenge” – I was on fire tonight but not quite as on fire as Warwick’s weird lady captain – then “New Tricks”, a quick write up of this and, finally, the movie remake of “Starsky and Hutch”...

Another good day...

Highlight of the Day : A trip to North Berwick – even although Anne beat me at putting, forcing me to pay for the ice cream – after I’d already shelled out for the putting...

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The law of diminishing returns kicks in...

Playlist
CBQ – Ersatzreal
Rheostatics – Best of

Up at 6:40 with another idea spinning around my head – to add key changes to my song “Chocolate on your Bread”...

So I worked for a couple of hours, also re-writing the chorus lyric – the song is now called “The Golden House” and all references to chocolate are gone...

Also wrote a lyric for the previously instrumental title track “Ersatzreal” – my weirdest lyric for a good while...

Then worked up a full band version of “The Happy Song”, one of five which until this recent bout of work had been sitting on the hard drive as purely voice and acoustic guitar performances...

I felt a pang of guilt as I sang the backing vocals and noticed the mic was picking up the sound of Anne hoovering the house...

Eventually, the Law of Diminishing Returns kicked in and I called it a day after about six hours’ work...

To Tesco for a quick emergency provision shop, back home for some lovely coffee and to burn yet another amended version of the album – still a very long way to go....

Today's pic is one taken at the top of Corstorphine Hill yesterday...



To Anne’s mum’s for tea – Easter eggs for the kids (none for me though, dammit)...

We’re taking young Ollie to see the Mr Bean film this week and he wants to visit Crispycat Towers at some point too to see the episode of Dr Who I have on tape which features the Daleks and the Cybermen – he’s only seen the latest two episodes and is a fan of the show. He will be six this month and does not refer to our home as Crispycat Towers...

Back home, Anne convinces me to watch Martin thingy (the bloke from the 70’s cop show who plays Judge John Deed) in “George Gently” – an entertaining decision...

Highlight of the Day : The work done prior to running out of steam and any worthwhile ideas...

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Labour of love...

Playlist
Various – The Definitive Story of CBGB
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers – Works of Art
Various – The Trojan Jamaican Box Set
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Ersatzreal

One of the reasons I get up early is that, once awake, stupid ideas spin around in my head and I need to get up and carry them out. This morning it was to create a chronological grid of all studio albums by (probably) my top five artists...

And so it was that I now have an excel spreadsheet showing the output of David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Brian Eno, King Crimson and Yes over the period 1967-2007 (the Coop has a new album due in the summer)...

A total of 102 albums, 26 by Bowie (including Tin Machine), 25 by Cooper (including his as yet unreleased 2007 album “Along Came A Spider”), 19 each by Eno and Yes and a meagre 13 by King Crimson (though some might say this shows the band’s concern for quality over quantity)...

Over the last 41years, only in 1968, 1988, 1998, 2004 and 2006 were there no releases from any of the five...

So that wasted an hour or so of my life...

Whilst listening to Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers I got to wondering about who all had ever been a “jazz messenger”, which lead me to an interesting “Family Tree” site...

Then, as I did some research on Amazon on the albums I bought yesterday, I worked out how much I’d saved had I ever thought about buying them all because I wanted them rather than because I stumbled across them at a good price...

As I made notes for yesterday’s blog entry I listened to the whole of the CBGB double CD and the Art Blakey 2CD set and two of the reggae albums...

All really good stuff – and worth every penny (I convinced myself)...

Then back to work on the new album after a couple of days off – working up one of the remaining acoustic songs into a full band scenario...

Three hours later, time for a walk up Corstorphine Hill with Anne. This month marks the 20th anniversary of our moving to Crispycat Towers and we estimated that, in that time, despite its beauty on our doorstep, this was only our fifth trip up the hill – but we do hope to up the average as soon as possible, Jim...



Back home and, as Anne went off to Tynecastle (1-0 versus Kilmarnock), I continued working while keeping an eye out for any goals in the six pointer between Queen of the South and Partick Thistle – in the end, a 0-0 draw gave Queens their 11th consecutive unbeaten league game – if only they could’ve done that at the start of the season...

In the evening I left the studio after a good day’s input and watched a great episode of “Dr Who” (the Shakespeare one), the hilarious “Harry Hill’s TV Burp”, and our Saturday Night staples, “CSI : New York” and “Law & Order”....

Finally to bed with the latest mock up of the CBQ album on the cans – it’s changing daily...

Highlight of the Day : Working on my music again after a couple of days’ break...

Friday, April 06, 2007

A good Friday...

Playlist
Thad Jones – Detroit New York Junction
Rheostatics – Best of (1xCD-R)
Judy Collins – Wildflowers
Judy Collins – Where Does the Time Go
John Coltrane – Soultrane
Various – The Definitive Story of CBGB

Up at 6:30 – Good Friday and another day off from musicking as we were driving to Glasgow for the day...

Spent a couple of hours listening to all my Rheostatics albums to discern what really are my favourite tracks...

Anne finally got up and we had a quick, small slice of toast before leaving...

As usual when we go to Glasgow, we parked off Byres Road at the West End, where we went to Little Italy for a lovely coffee and a cake...


A stroll up Byres Road followed and, after a detour down Ruthven Lane, we ended up at Fopp, where I made my first purchases of the day – a compilation of US Punk Rock, two 2CD sets of jazz, Art Blakey and Stan Getz and a 9 disc box set of Jamaican reggae on the Trojan label...

Then we took the subway into the city centre and alighted at Buchanan Galleries and walked down Buchanan Street to the market which is currently in situ outside the St Enoch Centre...

We had a quick look round taking in the sites sounds and, indeed, delicious aromas of the foreign foods on sale and then went shopping, Anne for stuff she likes – me to the bigger branch of FOPP...

I made my second purchase of the day – Dio’s 2002 album “Killing the Dragon”, Billy Cobham’s “Shabazz”, a live album from 1974, Judy Collins“Wildflowers” and “Who Knows Where the Time Goes” (2 albums on 1 Disc), the former including her hit cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” and the latter her version of “Hello Hooray” which predated Alice Cooper’s hit by five years – oh, and another 9CD box of Reggae...

Then round the corner and under the bridge at Central Statio to Missing, where I found a cache of jazz discs, purchasing a couple by Stanley Turrentine “Never Let Me Go” form 1963 and, from a year earlier, “That’s Where It’s At”. I also picked up Bud Powell’s “Time Waits”, Horace Silver’s “The Stylings of” and John Coltrane’s “Soultrane”, all of which were recorded before even I was born....

Oh dear – CD frenzy – 32 individual discs for £42 – 13 titles in all, which, if I’d bought from Amazon, would’ve cost me around £80 more – not that I would have of course. The reasons I bought these particular discs were : (a) I was reasonably interested in hearing the music and (b) they were incredibly cheap....

We met up again back at the market, Anne having bought a few tasty items to her liking and expressing a certain amount of scepticism regarding the need for me to have increased my CD collection so sharply...


A walk along the banks of the Clyde to Glasgow Green followed – the park reminded me of the one in Amsterdam near the Van Gogh museum...

We walked to the People’s Palace and stopped in for a coffee, a sit down and a heat, then back into town and up to Buchanan Street again for the Subway back to the West End, by which time it was around 5pm, so we made our way to Ashton Lane for a pre-dinner drink in the Brel Belgian Beer Bar...


As we walked down to the end of Byres Road, heading for our current favourite Glasgow Indian, the snappily named West End Balti & Dosa House, another of those synchronistic scenarios took place...

Who should we almost bump into but Mr Paul Buchanan of The Blue Nile as he stood at the cashline machine obtaining some of his hard-earned song writing royalties from the wall – I didn’t intrude on his afternoon but perhaps I should’ve asked him if there were any more gigs in the pipeline...

In the Dosa House I’d just been saying to Anne how weird it must be to be approached by people you don’t know but who know who you are...

....and then, as we waited for our bill, one of the guys at the next table came over and said “It’s CBQ isn’t it?” and shook my hand...

Spooky....

We walked back to the car along some of the West End back streets, meeting a wee cat on the way...


Anne picked Judy Collins to listen to in the car on the way home but, after a few songs, gave her up as too hippy-dippy and I recommended John Coltrane’s “Soultrane”...

Back home, yet another CD added to the collection as my awaited John Gorka disc had arrived in the mail...

We ended the day with “Ugly Betty”, “Law & Order : Criminal Intent” and “Coronation Street” – truly we are creatures of habit...

A good day...


Highlight of the Day : CD Frenzy..

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Survivor...

Playlist
Rheostatics - Best of (2xCD-R)
Various - Blue Movies:Scoring for the Studios
Rheostatics - Best of (Single CD-R)
Billy Cobham/Nordic - Off Colour

A day off and Anne was out tonight, so I could have quite legitimately continued working on the new album but, to be brutally honest, I just could not be bothered...

An avalanche of parcels (ok, three) came through the door today - containing three of the four CDS I've been waiting on from e-bay...

I listened to the first, a compilation of music from films, played by various Blue Note artists...

If I'm honest (hey, can you feel the honesty in the room?) it was pretty disappointing, with the exceptions of Billy Taylor's "I Wish I Knew" (the theme from "Film 2007" etc), Willie Bobo's "Kojak", Wilton Felder's "Bullit", Bobby Hutcherson's "Blow Up" and Billy May's "Mission Impossible"...

OK not too bad then, 5 out of 17 tracks and probably worth the couple of quid outlay...

Instead of working on the new music, I spent much of the evening reading articles on the net about the demise of my favourite Canadian band, Rheostatics, who played their last ever show on 30 March at Toronto's Massey Hall...

That, in turn, led me to burn a one disc best of (I'd been listening to my two disc best of during the day today before coming home to parcels of jazz)....

Rheostatics had an influence on Canadian independent music far beyond what might be expected in relation to their own commercial success...

They are talked about in the Canadian press as the Canadian Velvet Underground - they don't sound anything like the Velvets of course....

You can read about their final days here - the article contains various links to more mainstream takes on the end of the band...

So, I'd just finished burning the disc and downloading a bootleg (provided by a band-endorsed site) of their last gig, when Anne phoned looking for a lift home...

So into town to pick up Anne and her chum Michelle...

Now, you know how, sometimes something happens which makes you think "If only I'd done such and such, something which I witnessed or which happened to me, I wouldn't have been witness to or it might not have happened"?

Well, as I drove into town, a little white and brown cat came careering out of a side street and tried to run across the road...

It got caught under the car in front of me and I thought it was run over for certain - but it rolled out the other side and ran in front of the lane of traffic coming towards me, made it to the pavement and then ran off into another side street - I hope the wee beastie will be okay....

If I hadn't waited the few minutes for the Rheostatics CD to finish burning so that I could listen to it in the car, I wouldn't have witnessed the cat incident....

Anyway, gave Michelle a lift home to South Queensferry and then drove home with Anne....

And in the cans tonight, Mr Billy Cobham - one of the world's best drummers, on the second of the three CDs which arrived today, a disc by his Norwegian band, Nordic...

Here he is in his Mahavishnu Orchestra days back circa 1973...



Some man...

Highlight of the Day : Listening to and reading about Rheostatics