Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 - A Picture a Day...

Last day...

UK - Reunion Live in Tokyo
Badbadnotgood - III
Isaac Hayes - To Be Continued
Various - 2014 Songs of the Year
Various - Invictus Club Classics
Various - Northern Soul The Collection
Various - Happy Songs

Last day of the year and December falls off the calendar...

Up early and doing something or other which escapes me now...

To the Grocery Store on foot for provisions, whilst enjoying the music of Isaac Hayes...

Yesterday's roses looking good...

A quiet day of nothing much except music and TV - a  highlight being the last ever Poirot - which has been in out Tivo library for over a year...

Also compiled a podcast of favourite songs released in 2014...

Meanwhile, my year end album podcasts seem to be proving quite popular on Mixcloud...

All set for the end of the year...

Some funky sounds were enjoyed...

...and the plan was for popadoms, pakoras and curry - the last two home made from scratch by the multi-talented Exec Producer, along with her own spicy onions and pakora sauce...

However, after making our way through this mountain of tasty balls of tastiness, we decidedthe cury could wait till next year...

The evening was spent in the living room, surfing the net and watching the not great TV fayre - a documentary on "Still Game" was probably the highlight...

Champagne was enjoyed at midnight and a sad state of affairs meant the Joold Holland's "Hootenanny" was the watching of choice so ba was the offering from BBC Scotland and STV re Hogmanay entertainment...

To bed at 1:30 am...

Highlight of the Day : Anne's pakoras...

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Shopping, listening, dancing, cooking but not directly killing...

The Bad Plus - Inevitable Western
Suzanne Vega - Tales From The Realm Of The Queen Of Pentacles
Bidiniband - The Motherland
Max Richter - Retrospective (1) The Blue Notebooks
Max Richter - Retrospective (2) Songs From Before
Max Richter - Retrospective (3) 24 Postcards in Full Colour
Various - Milano Jukebox 2014
Various - 1,001 Songs You Must Hear Vol 1
John Surman - Adventure Playground
UK Reunion - Live in Tokyo

Up early and to Tesco pre 7am for some shopping for my mum, flowers for Anne and a few things for us provisions-wise...

Back home, with Anne still sleeping, some work this morning on a possible revamp of my end of year list...

Listening-wise this morning, enjoying some those titles listed...

Breakfast at home to the sound of Max Richter's Retrospective, perusing too books on 20th Century art and on minimalism in al its forms...

Having decided against going Blu Ray the replacement Alice Cooper DVD arrived...

Looking forward to that...

Out on some errands and then drove over to Loanhead, enjoying a light lunch at Poddington's before picking my mum up for her Xmas treat - a trip to the ballet...

The staff at the Festival Theatre were superb - here we are awaiting entry into the auditorium, perusing the old posters on the walls - the majority of the names meant nothing to to us but were recognised and reminisced about by my mum...

An excellent view, in what became a packed house, for Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker", a popular Xmas show with the kids - many a budding young ballerina in sparkly outfit was in the sold out audience...

Superb dancing throughout - the storyline of course is extremely slight - young girl attends parents' Xmas Party, receives nutcracker in the shape of a soldier as a present (as opposed to the latest X-Box), sneaks back to the main room after everyone has gone, finds her present, falls a sleep and dreams about dancing fairies, mice, princesses and toys...

And there was an impressive magician...

Much enjoyed by mum - her first ballet in over twenty years she reckoned...

On the drive back to Loanhead, doing 40 on a dual carriageway, I noted a pheasant crossing the central reservation, presumably having already negotiated the other carriageway...

It stepped out onto the road in front of us and a swerving manoeuvre was undertaken, much to the shock of my passengers...

I thought I might just have avoided it...

In the rear view mirror, I could see the hapless bird, twirling on the road in front of the speeding oncoming traffic and I figured, even if I hadn't made significant contact, it must surely now be a goner...

But no, just as the next car was about to make contact, it flew up into the air and over to the nearby fields...


Of course, very lucky that no-one happened to be overtaking me on the inside - and indeed that I didn't lose control of the car - or that, these days, unlike a few years ago, I do not speed...

Mum safely delivered home, we visited Tesco again, having decided I would cook tonight...

Ingredients were purchased for one of my signature dishes, Leek and Pancetta Risotto...

...and your resident chef set to work, using his very own new pan no less, to the sound of John Surman's far out jazz....


The evening was spent watching TV - including the final two episodes of "Some Girls", the very funny "Madagascer 3", "University Challenge", "Charlie Brooker's 2014 Wipe" and a compilation of clips from old Dave Allen shows, which, while of their time, had their moments...

Lights out with UK...

Highlight of the Day : Not killing a hapless bird - although it was a shame for the pig that provided the pancetta...

Monday, December 29, 2014

Quick work...

Various - Albums of the Year 2014 Playlists
Yes - Heaven & Earth
Ochre Room - Box Bar and Diamond
Taketi Uloomu - The Fifth Season
Skadedyr - Kongekrabbe
Silo - Work
The Bad Plus - Inevitable Western

A day of nothing much...

Mainly mucking about compiling playlists and vastly expanding my 20 album list from yesterday...

An entertaining "Inspector Montalbano" mid-afternoon was enjoyable...

We've also started watching the latest series of "Some Girls", which seems to be a lot less funny than the last series...

A small amount of moving furniture in the back room...

...and a lot of music listening today, revisiting LPs forgotten about...

A trip to London in the Spring arranged - flights, concert tickets, accommodation - within an hour of the first suggestion...

Quick work...

Top tea tonight, prawn and chorizo linguine...

Double yum..

Some time spent this evening just sitting in the back room looking at two books, "The Art Book" and "20th Century Art"...

Enjoyable and relaxing...

Re my albums of the year, 2014 is the third year since this diary started in 2005 that The Bad Plus have taken the title...

2005 Brian Eno - Another Day on Earth
2006 Sparks - Hello Young Lovers
2007 The Bad Plus - Prog
2008 Alice Cooper - Along Came a Spider
2009 Dream Theater - Black Clouds and Silver Linings
2010 Brian Eno - Small Craft on a Milk Sea
2011 Alice Cooper - Welcome 2 My Nightmare
2012 The Bad Plus - Made Possible
2013 David Bowie - The Next Day
2014 The Bad Plus - Inevitable Western

Highlight of the Day : Trip arrangement...

Albums of the Year 2014 - including three cloudcasts...

I purchased just over 400 CDs in 2014...

I downloaded almost 300 albums in 2014...

I even bought a couple of old LPs in 2014...

Anyway, this year, to keep things simple, I thought I'd just pick one disc in each of a set of categories (twenty in total) split between rock & pop, classical and jazz - which balances things out nicely, since, as regards CDs, I bought around 170 rock & pop discs (i.e. anything that isn't classical or jazz), around 170 classical, with the balance being jazz titles...

Renaissance :   John Dowland - Lacrimae, Or Seaven Teares
Baroque :   Henry Butler - The Division Violist
Classical :   Franz Xavier Richter - Quatuors Opus 5
Romantic :   Alexander Borodin - String Quartets 1 & 2
20th Century :   Max Richter - Recomposed Vivaldi The Four Seasons
Single Artist :   Kronos Quartet - Winter Was Hard
Collection :   Various Composers - Music from the Golden Age of Rembrandt

1950's/1960s :   Sam Rivers - Dimensions & Extensions
1970-2008 :   Herbie Hancock - Thrust
2009-2013 :   Matthew Bourne - Montauk Variations
2014 :   The Bad Plus - Inevitable Western
Compilation :   Bill Frisell - Works
Live :   Cannonball Adderley - Quintet Live at the Lighthouse

Rock & Pop
1950's - 1970's :   Yes - Relayer (Remixed & Remastered)
1980's - 2000's :   Thomas Koner - Zyklop
2009-2013 :   John Grant - Pale Green Ghosts
2014 :   Bidiniband - The Motherland
Compilation :   Klaus Schulze - La Vie Electronique 3
Live :   Alice Cooper - Raise the Dead : Live from Wacken
Collection :   Various - Virgin Front Line Presents Dub 1975-1980

Here are a couple of cloudcasts, each with ten tracks.  Over the course of the two programmes, I've featured a track from each of the above, in chronological order of purchase...

Best Albums of 2014

I didn't buy many albums released in 2014, here's my top ten...

The Bad Plus - Inevitable Western

Bidiniband - The Motherland
Yes - Heaven & Earth
Craig Armstrong - It's Nearly Tomorrow
The Bad Plus - The Rite of Spring
Morrissey - World Peace is None of Your Business
Suzanne Vega - Tales from the realm of the Queen of Pentacles
Ochre Room - Box Bar and Diamond
Taketi Uloomu - The Fifth Season
Skadedyr - Kongekrabbe

...and here's a cheeky wee cloudcast with one track from each...

...honourable mentions to the only other 2014 discs I bought...

Ars Moriendi - La singuliere noirceur d'un astre
Francois & the Atlas Mountains - Piano Ombre
Armand Margjeka - Hummingbird
Roy Moller - One Domino
Nebelung - Palingenesis
Silo - Work
Ymir's Blood - Voluspa
BadBadNotGood/Ghostface Killah - Six Degrees (Single)

Of course then I started thinking about the downloads and it all started to get a wee bit out of hand...

Here's some lists of those 2014 released downloads that impressed - in no particular order...

Eight mainstream artists of whom most people will surely have heard...
Bryan Ferry - Avonmore
Cheryl - Only Human
Pink Floyd - The Endless River
Bryan Adams - Tracks of my Tears
Erasure - The Violet Flame
Motorhead - Aftershock
Lana Del Ray - Ultraviolence
Uriah Heep - Outsider

Thirteen slightly less well known artists...
Peter Hammill - All That Might Have Been
Ginger Baker - Why
Asia - Gravitas
OK Go - Hungry Ghosts
Bill Frisell - Guitar in the Space Age!
Ace Frehley - Space Invader
Opeth - Pale Communion
Caribou - Our Love
FKA Twigs - Love is my Drug
Phish - Fuego
Mogwai - Ravetapes
Brian Eno & Karl Hyde - Someday World
Brian Eno & Karl Hyde - High Life

Eleven artists of whom people may have heard...
Haken - Restoration
Max Richter - Retrospective
Flying Colors - Second Nature
Marco Minnemann - Eeps
The Pineapple Thief - Magnolia
Neal Morse - Songs From November
Tim Bowness - Abandoned Dancehall Dreams
Enchant - The Great Divide
IQ - The Road of Bones
Big Elf - Into the Maelstrom
Transatlantic - Kaleidoscope

Nine artists by whom I already had work but who are not that widely known...
Thomas K├Âner - Tiento de las Nieves
Justin Rutledge - Daredevil
Farin Urlaub Racing Team - Faszination Weltram
Dieter Meier - Out Of Chaos
Boris Blank - Electrified (Box Set)
Neal Smith - Killsmith And The Greenfire Empire
Matthew Shipp Trio - Root of things
The Samuel Jackson Five - Seasons in the Hum
Sleepmakeswaves - Love of Cartography

Nineteen artists of whom I had not heard prior to this year...
Hammock - The Sleepover Series Volume 2
Camera - I Remember I was Carbon Dioxide
Max Jury - Christian Eyes (EP)
Valery Gore - Idols in the Dark Heart
Snow Shards - Blind
This Will Destroy You - Another Language
Priscilla Ahn - Just Know That I Love You
Stanton Moore - Conversations
Glasperlenspiel - Grenzenlos in Diesem Moment
Trioscapes - Digital Dream Seqence
Bend Sinister - Animals
Substaat - Macht
And One - Magnet
Plymouth - Plymouth
Ut Gret - Ancestor's Tale
Badbadnotgood - III
Searchlights - Searchlights
Alpha Male Tea Party - Droids
Krokofant - Krokofant

And then I couldn't let the downloads outweigh the actual CDs purchased and so, since over 40% of my physical purchases this year were classical discs and there's little mention of the genre in the lists above, here are forty single composer discs which were enjoyed, listed by composer birth date...

1660 -1739
Johannes Schenck - Le Nymph di Rheno Vol 1
Johannes Schenck - Le Nymph di Rheno Vol 2
Jakob Klein - 6 Sonaten fur Violincello und Basso Continuo Op 4
Johann Melchior Molter - Orchestral Works Vol 1
Farinelli - Farinelli The Composer
Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach - C P E Bach Edition
Joseph Haydn - String Trios
Johann Christian Bach - Symphonies
Josef Myslivecek - Six Sonatas for Two Cellos and Bass
Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf - Sinfonias Dm, F, Gm

Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf - Sinfonias Am, D, A
Ludwig van Beethoven - String Quartet No 12 Op 127 (Lindsays)
Ludwig van Beethoven - Wilhelm Backhaus Recital : Piano Sonatas 6, 21, 25 and 32
Franz Schubert - Complete Piano Sonatas
Johannes Brahms - String Sextets
Robert Fuchs - Complete String Quartets Vol 1
Erik Satie - Cubist Works 1913-1924
Alexander Zemlinsky - String Quartets 1 & 2
Alexander Scriabin - Piano Sonatas Nos 1, 4, 5, 7, 9
Charles Ives - The String Quartets

Paul Hindemith - Piano Pieces
Edmund Rubbra - The Four String Quartets
Karl Amadeus Hartmann - Sting Quartets 1 & 2
Giacinto Scelsi - Natura Renovatur
Michael Tippett - Piano Sonatas 1-3
Dimitri Shostakovich - The Two Piano Sonatas and Other Works
George Rochberg - Symphony No 5
Gunnar Berg - Eclatements
Morton Feldman - Music for Cello
Friedhelm Dohl - Music fur Klavier

Aribert Reimann - Complete Piano Works
Gunnar Moller  Pedersen - A Sound Year
Siegfried Thiele - Ubungen in Verwandeln
Karl Aage Rasmussen - The Ballad of game and dream
Harald Weiss - The Rest is Silence
Wim Mertens - Integer Valor Integrale
James MacMillan - Last Words from the Cross
John Metcalfe - Scorching Bay
Sven Helbig - Pocket Symphonies
Jefferson Friedman - Quartets

Oh ok then, absolutely finally, here're thirty jazz discs too...

Clifford Jordan - Blowing in from Chicago
Cannonball Adderley - Something Else
Tina Brooks - Minor Move
Sonny Clark - Cool Struttin'
Lee Morgan - Expoobident
Leo Parker - Rollin' With Leo
Joe Henderson - Our Thing
Andrew Hill - Point of Departure
Stanley Turrentine - Hustlin'
Gabor Szabo - Jazz Raga

Jackie McLean - New and Old Gospel
Weather Report - Sweetnighter
John Surman - Adventure Playground
Esbjorn Svensson Trio - When Everyone Has Gone
John Scofield - A Go Go
John Abercrombie - Class Trip
Polar Bear - Held on the Tips of Fingers
Stefan Pasborg - Triplepoint
David Torn - Prezens
Tim Friese-Greene - 10 Sketches for Piano Trio

Piano Circus feat Bill Bruford - Skin and Wire
Carsten Dahl - Effata
Sebastiano Meloni/Adriano Orru/Tony Oxley - Improvised Pieces for Trio
Machine Mass Trio - As Real As Thinking
Neneh Cherry & The Thing - The Cherry thing Remixes
Carsten Dahl - Papillon
Carsten Dahl - Dreamchild
Bruno Heinen Sextet - Stockhausen Tierkreis
Dave King Trucking Company - Adopted Highway
Splashgirl - Field Day Rituals

I started by offering you twenty albums to sum up 2014 and I've ended up listing a total of 166...

No, wait, what the hell, here're another sixty "rock and pop" CDs which I also enjoyed...

Hey, everyone likes a list...

Rock & Pop
Paul Simon - Paul Simon Songbook
The Velvet Underground - White Light White Heat (Deluxe Edition)
The Doors - Morrison Hotel
Scott Walker - Scott 3
Isaac Hayes - To Be Continued
Wishbone Ash - Pilgrimage
Jethro Tull - Thick as a Brick (Remaster)
The Upsetters - Super Ape
The Upsetters - The Return of Super Ape
Ry Cooder - Bop Til You Drop

The Revillos - Attack of the Giant Revillos
The The - Soul Mining
David Sylvian - Gone to Earth (2CD Remaster)
William S Burroughs - Dead City Radio
Cluster - Apropos Cluster
The Divine Comedy - A Short Album About Love
Moebius Neumeier Engler - Other Places
Francoise Hardy - Clair Obscur
Jean-Michel Jarre - Metamorphoses
Ulrich Schnauss - Far Away Trains Passing By

Keith Emerson - Emerson Plays Emerson
Justin Rutledge - No Never Alone
To Rococo Rot - Hotel Morgen
Justin Rutledge - The Devil on a Bench in Stanley park
Ich + Ich - Vom selben Stern
Rodrigo Leao - A Mae
Arcade Fire -  The Suburbs
Trey Gunn & Marco Minnemann - Modulator
Isa and the Filthy Tongues - Dark Passenger
Zola Jesus - Stridulum II

Jonsi - Go
Ben Frost & Daniel Bjarnason - Solaris
Pyrolator - Neuland
Mark Wingfield / Kevin Kastning - I Walked Into The Silver Darkness
Steve Adey - The Tower of Silence
Band of Horses - Mirage Rock
John Cale - Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood
Paul Corley -  Disquiet
Cuff the Duke - Union
DJ Hell - Teufelswerk House Remixes Pt 2

Ellie Goulding - Halcyon
Ladyhawke -  Anxiety
Malojian - The Deer'sCry
Pet Shop Boys - Elysium (2CD Box)
The Presets -  Pacifica
The Samuel Jackson Five - The Samuel Jackson Five
Sandra -  Stay in Touch
Valgeir Sigurdsson - Architecture of Loss
Trapist - The Golden Years
Wintersleep -  Hello Hum

2Raumwohnung -  Achtung Fertig
Cut Copy - Free Your Mind
Dido - Girl Who Got Away
Dyse - Das Nation
Sophie Hunger - The Danger of Light
Christian Kjellvander - The Pitcher
Paul McCartney -  New
The Pack A.D. - Do Not Engage
Piano Interrupted - The Unified Field
The Stooges -  Ready to Die

Ok that'll do...

Except, here are a couple of box sets not included anywhere above...

Box Sets
King Crimson - Starless
Various Composers - Vivarte 60CD Box
Alfred Brendel - The Alfred Brendel Collection
Walter Herwig - Music for Lute
Gabriel Faure - Chamber Music

And, absolutely definitely finally, a couple of live albums...
Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel - Birmingham
Paul McCartney & Wings - Wings Over America
Elvis Presley - On Stage
The Velvet Underground - Live in Columbus 1966
UK - Reunion Live in Tokyo

OK so just 236 albums of the year 2014...

This is how I waste my time...

Happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A book which occasionally suggests some not great songs...

Various - Albums of the Year 2014
Various - 1,001 Songs You Must Hear Vol 1
The Temptations Motown Chartbusters Vols 1-7
Various - Stax 50th Anniversary Celebration
The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground & Nico
Various - Superbad [Disc 1]
Various - Top Of The Pops 1964-1975
Kiss - Kiss Alive II

Did some compiling this morning - my albums of the year - keeping it down to just 20 (although, writing this a day later, that total has rather spiralled somewhat out of control since then)...

Also had a look through these two new books - one a Xmas present from Andy and Tori, the other a copy of which Anne and I coincidentally gave to Andy...

In the "Songs" book, it would appear I have only around 50 of the entries from 1991 to 2013 and, to be honest, some of those I'd be quite happy if I never heard them again before I died...

Maybe that could be the title of an alternative book "1,001 Songs (or indeed albums) Which If you Hear Once, You'll Never Want to Hear Again As Long As You Live" - snappy...

Nonetheless, listen I did...

Out for breakfast... Patisserie Florentin with Annie...


A cold, crisp day...

Some shopping almost resulted in my purchasing a 6CD set of recordings from Woodstock in 1969 - however, the thought that I'd never listen to them was enough to veto the laying out of cash - something that, to be honest, doesn't happen as often as it should...

Back home and Anne went to her mum's to install some new phones...

I played some records...

...and some funky CDs...

And scoffed an entire Chocolate Orange...

In the evening, mostly tivo and telly, with "Puss in Boots" being much enjoyed concurrently with a very tasty home made cottage pie concocted with tips from a cookbook Annie received from Santa...

Lights out...

Highlight of the Day : Tasty food...

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Chocolate frenzy, as is the way...

Yes - Relayer [2014 Remix]
Various - iPod Shuffleplay
Craig Armstrong - It's Nearly Tomorrow
Bryan Ferry - Avonmore
Morrissey - World Peace Is None Of Your Business
Alice Cooper - Raise the Dead : Live From Wacken
Sam Rivers - Dimensions & Extensions
Peter Hammill - ..All That Might Have Been... CD1
Various Artists - 2014 Weekly Playlists
Alice Cooper - The Alice Cooper Group Singles 1970-1973

Up early and compiling the last Weekly Playlist of the year...

Also mucking about with the new pocket camera, comparing and contrasting with the other two, one of which it's to replace...

This is how I waste my time...

Meanwhile, some research into Blu Ray machines, given that one of my presents, which was to have been a DVD, is a Blu Ray, sent in error...

Uptown to look into matters while Anne availed herself of some new pots...

...I decided the outlay re Blu Raying rather than DVDing wasn't worth it - it does mean of course I can't fully enjoy the Yes "Relayer" package which is also a Blu Ray version...

Hey ho...

Too much chocolate is being eaten - these, home baked by Olly and Kitty...

..were followed later by this, a present from Anne...

It did not take long to scoff whilst recording this week's playlist...


On telly "Pirates Adventures with Scientists" or some such was enjoyed, as were, no doubt, a few other things I've already forgotten about...

"Not Going Out - Outtakes" was good...

Finally, for the record, in footie Hearts scraped a 1-0 win against bottom of the league Livingston while Queens were 1-0 up against Alloa at Alloa but lost a goal with 15 minutes to go...

That's all...

Highlight of the Day : Busy doing nothing...