29 April 2015

Xeno and Oaklander - Par Avion

I've asked myself a hundred times already how Xeno and Oaklander has managed to escape my notice for so long...

24 April 2015

Daughter by Yuck (Oupa)

Waves of infinite tranquility...

Although it says the track is by Yuck, it's actually from a side-project called Oupa started by Daniel Blumberg circa 2012.

19 April 2015

Творожное Озеро (Curd Lake)

Unfortunately, it's not very often that good contemporary Russian music emerges (sorry -- not sure if I have licence to say that). All the more delightful, therefore, is the discovery of a Russian electronic music project that ticks all the right boxes. The music of Curd Lake (Творожное Озеро) is just so indescribably uplifting, so absolutely permeated with optimism and the spirit of summer. Hearing it for the first time last January was akin to flying from a Northern country to a Southern one, coming down the 'airstairs' and feeling a total change of climate, breathing and tasting the exotic.

What's really unfortunate is that Curd Lake was a one-off project, recorded mostly in summer 2013 and later abandoned. There's hardly any information out there about the enigmatic persona behind the music; all I've found out is that early 2014 saw the end of Curd Lake. In a way, I appreciate the decision, because it's too often the case that talent is unsustainable, and that the first songs are followed by second-rate material.It's a disappointing realisation. Having said that, I do so wish the person behind Curd Lake would reanimate the project, because it is easily superior to 80 % of the music currently being recorded (or maybe I'm just not looking in the right place).

16 April 2015

Stockholm Vol.1- Stockholm Music and Arts Festival

It would be absolutely impossible to write just one post about Stockholm, so this is the first from a series. Stockholm Music and Arts was the first day festival I went to (back in 2012), and it didn't fail to live up to my expectations. It might have had something  (or everything) to do with Bjork being on the lineup, but I think that the atmosphere contributed. The festival takes place on Skeppsholmen island, which means you have the best views of Stockholm's Old Town, and you're surrounded by sea, so enjoying live music in a beautiful setting suddenly becomes a reality. It was truly incredible, despite the fact we were knackered after a very long flight. Hoping to go back to Sweden very soon!


 ...I'm always for 'taking pictures with your eyes' rather than with a camera, especially at music events, because only that way you enjoy the moment. But there's really no denying the power that a photograph has in bringing memories to life.

13 April 2015

Daphne Oram by Victoria Morton

Here's a painting of Daphne by the Scottish artist Victoria Morton. It was up in the National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh when I went there last summer, and I'm so glad I went  because I probably would never have come across this painting otherwise!

10 April 2015

Musical saw and theremin: twins separated at birth?

I always thought the musical saw sounds a lot like the theremin, and here's conclusive proof that they belong together:

7 April 2015

Sounds of Summer

Although I'm not that keen on The Magnetic Fields, and this isn't the most optimistic of songs, it always makes things better for me when everything appears desperately bleak. It offers a sort of refuge in reminiscence, which may not be the best coping strategy but I can't help resorting to it on occasion.
Hopefully it has the same positive effect on everyone who listens to it!

6 April 2015

Radiophonic Workshop Live in London

On 17th April there will be a Radiophonic Workshop live show at the Southbank Centre in London! Tickets available here.

Really wish I could go, but it doesn't look like I'll be able to...

2 April 2015

The Space Lady

 Sometimes simplicity (and even imperfection) reigns supreme. 

1 April 2015

Martin Newcomb's Museum of Synthesizer Technology

A synthesizer museum is one of those things that seems, even in 2015, to be fiction rather than reality. There are a handful of  studios dotted around the globe that call themselves  'museums', and they're not what you'd expect them to be. There's nothing like a large public space housing a substantial collection of fully-fledged, top-quality synths, lovingly gathered together and displayed for the enjoyment of the general public (correct me if I'm wrong, this is just the impression I have).

The sad thing is, there have been people in the past who've attempted to provide such a place, but somehow didn't have the necessary public interest. Martin Newcomb was one of them; his Museum of Synthesizer Technology in London, which had over 350 instruments, was shut not long after it opened. I came across this article the other day which includes an interview with him.

 Admittedly, Martin didn't initially have a museum in mind, he simply needed a place to store his growing collection. In fact, he was enthusiastic about electronic music early on but everything was extortionately priced at the time so he couldn't afford a synth until later in his life. He says - "I think a lot of people have a passion for certain things, but usually it stays latent unless they can afford to do something about it." (He could not have been more right there.)

"I gave the museum my best shot, but not enough people gave a damn. Most people were more interested in seeing how long it would be before it collapsed”. I couldn't quite process that. At this point I'd love to say that this is an April Fool's joke, and that Martin's Museum is still up and running, and that hundreds of people have visited it since its opening, etc, etc, but I'm afraid that would not be the truth.

On the up side, the knowledge that people in the past have made wholehearted attempts at making synths more accessible for the public is an optimistic thought. And who knows, maybe it's all still to come...