49

23 January 2022

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No commentary, just music.

 

Please support the artists and labels, you can do so via the linked up tracklist posted below.

 

If you'd like to support me please donate to my justgiving page which supports the work of Sue Ryder, or if you could share via your social media, that would also be much appreciated. Thank you!

[Mixcloud Link]

 



Tracklist

Endurance - Expanding Repetition (Muzan Editions)

Andy Rowe - Belgrade Central Market, September 2013 (Self Released)

Caught In The Wake Of Forever - NV Drowning (Archives)

Malibu - One Life (UNO)

Test Card - We Oscillated Like Grazing Sheep On Grassy Waveforms (Sound In Silence)

Green-House - Peperomia Seedling (Self Released)

Steve Roach - A Few More Moments (Telephone Explosion Records)

R_R_ - Melodic Harmony (Growing Bin)

Susumu Yokota - Saku (The Leaf Label)

Nala Sinephro - Space 1 (Warp Records)

 


[About Numbers]

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50

16 January 2022

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52

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2022 - A Year Of Music?

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Over the past few years I have always seemed to struggle to find a start point for a new blog post, and although as you read this you won't know it, I've hummed and hawed about what image to post and what to write over the past few days, and mostly thought that I shouldn't bother posting anything at all. That latter part is now blown away, so here I go...

I should first of all say hello and wish any visitors / readers 'all the best' for the coming year. Personally, I find it very hard to feel optimistic about the coming year, what with the ever-changing covid situation and the ongoing issues around climate, pollution and destruction of the natural world. So, that's a cheery way to start this off - if we're not all doomed by the virus, the raging fires and floods will mop up the rest of us. Got that? Right. Good. Let's get on with it then.

I've been fairly open on here (to an extent) about the fact I've experienced difficulties with mental health and various physical health issues over the years. I've also shared snippets about the involvement I had in dealing with care and the social care system on behalf of my Mum over the last 10+ years, and the impact that had on my own health / mental health. A handful of people who know me personally will know more, but most of it, the challenges, the conflicts, the battles you have to have within the system, the way things have truly been and felt to me have remained locked up in my own head. Hence my own struggles.

It all took a very different turn over the last year having lost my Mum in December 2020. I say 'very different', but the demands, the nature of the care I could provide and her own circumstances changed over the course of that time, which I suppose is only natural and is the very nature of life. What never changed during the entire time was that I always wanted her, and told her, that all she should focus on each and every day was living her day to day life as best as she could and I'd look after the issues around that - care, health, finance and welfare etc. As long as she could find the strength and will to push herself into getting up each day (or as often as she could when her condition had deteriorated) the rest would be looked after.

Her last 3 years were spent at Sue Ryder Deeview Court in Aberdeen. It provides a home and care that specialises in people with neurological conditions, such as Multiple Sclerosis or Huntington's and those with long term brain injury. She had moved there after spending the best part of 7 years at Coronation Court, a very sheltered housing complex in Peterculter just outside of Aberedeen. I will be forever grateful that these were the 2 places that were able to be secured for her to live in during a very difficult period of her life - and although there were ups and downs and challenges throughout, I don't think there is anywhere that could have done better for her.

The last year of Mum's life was difficult all round. Of course, the pandemic was in full flow and restrictions made things very, very difficult. I didn't get to see as much of her as I usually would, I couldn't keep tabs on her health and care as well as I could in normal times and between her health deteriorating both physically and cognitively, she couldn't engage in video calls like many take for granted. The odd sneaky visit to speak to her through her bedroom window and regular notes, cards and packages of treats and DVD's helped us through, but then she took ill with pneumonia in November and that was one fight too far for her. In reality, she had fought off so many illness and infections on top of her M.S, it's amazing she managed to keep going as well and as long as she did.

For me, losing Mum wasn't just losing Mum. I'd lost her in slow motion since her diagnosis almost 30 years earlier. M.S is different for everyone. Mum experienced a slow and steady decline across her entire being over a number of years. I've described it before to feeling like being in a constant and steady state of grief. I think that because of that, and because I'd had to have open and honest and frank conversations around health and death over a long period with her, I was already prepared in many ways when her time did come.

What I haven't been prepared for, or did I even consider, was how would her not being here impact on me. Not in terms of grief, but in terms of having spent so long trying to build myself into being her support, her voice and fighting her corner, I totally neglected my own health and well-being. I alluded to this when I put together my 'What Now?' mixes / blog posts. I can only liken it to be stuck at sea without an engine, without paddles or sails and no compass. No sense of direction, no idea where I am really and no clue as to what to do. It has had the effect of shining a light on the things I neglected for a long time.

What I do know is that I want to be able to focus on getting myself feeling better. Of course, the general meaning of that is improved health / mental health. But that doesn't just come about by just thinking about it. I know it means I've got to make changes. I know some of the things I want and need to improve on, but the fall down for me is how to get the ball in motion. I have some loose goals in mind, which I won't talk about, but they're there. It is a vicious circle though. No confidence, like rock bottom zero, and a tendency to lack any belief in myself - there's a lot behind that mindset, which I'm not going into here, but safe to say we are all a product of our own life experiences and relationships. I generally am on my own. I don't have a social circle or the cosy friendships I used to see people have on Facebook or if I happen to venture outside into the real world. I don't have a tight knit and caring family / extended family. I have a less than helpful set of experiences dealing with GP's for my own health needs. I rarely see or speak to anyone, so talking myself out of things is second nature, and ruminating about life experience feeds that.

I mentioned in my last blog post that I had loosely thought about trying to commit to doing a mix/selection every week of 2020 and try to find a way to tie that in to a fund raising effort for Sue Ryder, who like all charities have really struggled and been hit very hard during the pandemic. Of course, I think about it (and lots of other things), build it up in my head and then spend even more time convincing myself that I won't manage to do it, nobody is interested in any case and what would I achieve. So, although I want to do things, I end up convinced I can't, so don't.

I have to find a way to change that line of thinking. I may not manage to do what I set out to do, but the only guaranteed way to fail at anything is to not start in the first place.

So, I'm not exactly sure how it all all work, nor if I will manage to do this, but I'm making a start. It's likely that if I can stick with it things will evolve over time (I also want to do the Kiltwalk - but need to find the strength / energy *and kilt).

I've started by setting up a Just Giving page - I've created a graphic (at the top of this post) and linked that up to the page. A small version is permanently located on the side menu.

I've got my first couple of mixes in the bag. The first should have been posted last week if I hadn't talked myself out of it, and the second would be today (Sunday 9th), but both will be posted today. Just pretend the first one was posted last week please.

The intention is to post a new mix / selection each Sunday of 2022, aiming to be at least an hour in length. They won't all be mixes some will simply be selections of music from my record shelves, they will vary in genre, but I hope to make them interesting in any case. Some may have themes, some may be related to issues going on the world at the time, or they may have no meaning or theme at all. I won't be posting commentary on it - it's up to the listener to think about whether there is any theme or meaning. Each mix will have a number, counting down from 52 and will use photography that I have taken myself. I will still provide linked up tracklists and encourage listeners to support the artists and labels, but there will also be a link to my just giving page and I hope that if anyone does listen and enjoy the selections, they may wish to chip in something to my fundraiser.

I don't expect this to do much if truth be told. That's not being defeatist, it's more just because the numbers of listeners on my mixes has declined a lot over the years - possibly due to the way people consume music these days, but me engaging less on social media in recent years probably hasn't helped much either. But to be honest, as much as I'd love to raise lots of money for the very worthwhile cause that is Sue Ryder, I also have to think about this as something for me to focus on and as a building block to the change I alluded to earlier. 

I have to start somewhere. I'm starting here. All being well, I'll be here for a round up in January 2023.

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What Now? (Part 3)

30 December 2021

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It's only about 7 months later than intended, but I finally got around to doing the third and final part to the series of 'What Now?' mixes. If you didn't catch the first couple (and going by the play counts, not many did), you can find out what is behind them and listen to them [HERE] for part one, and [HERE] for part two. Part three is in the player below. Recorded live, one take, no planning and I've not listened to it before posting, so please accept it, warts and all.


It was always my intention to have three parts to this and the "artistic" approach I wanted to have was to reflect moving out of a dark space in terms of mental health, to gradually shift toward a healthier and more hopeful outlook and have this reflected in the tone / feel of the music that was used. I don't think I achieved that, either in the musical output, nor in the personal sense; if anything that's worse than it ever was. That said, I'm still here, I'm still trying to find ways to move forward in a positive sense, so that's something to be grateful for. 

Another thing I'm very grateful for is that my older Irish Red Setter (Ruby), who had a freak accident chasing a tennis ball in August, causing her to have what was effectively a stroke on her spine and leaving her paralysed is making slow but steady progress. Her walking is clumsy at times, and there is some way still to go, but to go from being told euthanasia was the most realistic course of action to where she is now, well it's nothing short of amazing and shows the strength of will she has to not only carry on living, but to push herself to get to a better place. Of course, it hasn't been easy going on her humans, but there is no way the we would give up on her whilst there was a glimmer of hope.

Here's a little video of her climbing a small hill at her favourite place on 25th December, 2021. To go from being completely paralysed to this in the space of fourth months just blows my mind.



Moving on, another thing that I was disappointed and disheartened by in 2021 was that I had started the year with a sense of motivation to get myself feeling better within myself. I signed up for a charity cycle event in support of Sue Ryder who helped care for my Mum in the last 3 years of her life. I was building up my activity levels, doing longer and more challenging walks and started going out for short cycles to prepare myself for the 100km challenge I had signed up to. Then things started falling apart a little and I started feeling under the weather which has been an ongoing theme this year, I found myself having to go to A & E with kidney pain and then of course Ruby had her accident, added on to losing my Mum last December and feeling a lost and lacking direction, it's all been a bit more than my brain can handle. Throw in the covid situation and a raft of other personal matters, it mounts up.

I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to get back on track, but I'm still at a loss. One thing I have been thinking about is to try and do some fundraising for Sue Ryder in some capacity. I'm not sure how, but one idea I had was to do a weekly mix / selection, by way of a challenge to myself really, and have a just giving page linked so that if people happen to stumble across a mix / selection and like it, they may want to chip in the equivalent of the price of a coffee to the page. Truth be told, I'm not sure my head is in a good enough space to commit to something, as much as I want to. Perhaps I'm just overthinking and worrying about it, but it's a reflection of how I am and I'd give anything to be able to change that space I'm in. Let's just see how things unfold in 2022 shall we? I'm not optimistic about how things are going in general, what with covid, the climate and the polarisation in our society. Let's hope that in a year from now we can look back and feel we've made progress on all fronts!

As ever, thank you for taking the time to visit, read my personal rambles and for having a listen to the selection. If you enjoyed any of the tracks within, please consider supporting the artists and buying their music or merch. I'll link up the tracklist below as I usually do.


Tracklist

01. D. Rothon - The Ghost We Bring (Clay Pipe Music)

02. Glacis - You Are Born (Preserved Sound)

03. Hania Rani - Ghosts - from Pradziady (Gondwana Records)

04. Cass. - Let's Keep Us Close Until We Die (ft. Altars Altars) (Home Normal)

05. Amanda Whiting - Gone (Jazzman)

06. Laraaji - Illusion Of Time (Ahead Of Our Time)

07. Greg Foat - Motherly Love (Strut)

08. Trigg & Gusset - Blue Shades (Preserved Sound)

09. Andrew Wasylyk - Avril Hydrangeas (Clay Pipe Music)

10. ambientsketchbook - Life's Greatest Questions (Self Released)

11. Good Weather For An Airstrike - All Is Lost (ft. Jamie Brett) (Hawkmoon Records)

12. Ezra Feinberg - Letter To My Mind (Related States)

13. Kryshe - Fragile (Serein)

14. José González - Head On (Imperial)

15. Leifur James - Time (Night Time Stories)

16. Phi-Psonics - Mama (Nightnote Records)

17. Slow Meadow - Tethered To The Earth (Self Released)

18. Luke Howard Trio - A Plane Of Becoming (Hobbledehoy)

19. Matthew Halsall - Reflections (Gondwana Records)

20. Penguin Cafe - Protection (Erased Tapes)

21. Portico Quartet - Gateway (Gondwana Records)

22. The Cinematic Orchestra - Wait For Now / Leave The World (Ninja Tune)

23. Thomas Méreur - Left Behind and Irretrievably Lost (Preserved Sound)

24. The Search Party - So Many Things Have Got Me Down (Ole Smokey Instrumental Edit)

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Discogs Store Update - October 2021

13 October 2021

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A year or two ago I decided I needed to filter out some records from my shelves. Not that I want to get rid of them, but I do need to free up some space and raise some funds too. It's also a shame for them to sit on a shelf and not be played, after all, that is their purpose.

The process I've gone through has been that I went through my shelves and pulled the ones I thought I'd be "okay" with letting go, putting them to one side. I've been listening to them as I list them on Discogs, if after listening to them I decide I'm still "okay" (I'm not really) with letting them go, it gives me a chance to grade them as well as I can. Not to say the odd thing won't slip through the net, but I think it's the best process, but also the slowest.

Having said that, I think I'm nearing the end of the process. I've sold some records over the last couple of years and I've got around 500 listed for sale as I type. I still have a pile of 20-30 that are almost certain to be added, but after that I'm going to start listening to the remaining records. It might be the case that the odd record here or there will be added, but there won't be a huge amount more getting added for now, although I do have a couple of dozen that are blocked from sale on Discogs, so I'll see if I can offload those on Ebay at some point.



 

If you are interested, you can find a link to my Discogs store on the right hand side of the page. Most records are less than £5, and the genres range from downtempo to techno, jazz to house, ambient to afrobeat. My music tastes are wide ranging, so the records reflect that.

If you happen to pick something up from me on Discogs after visiting the blog, please do let me know, it would be interesting to find out if any traffic from here ends up there. I strongly doubt it.... the blog is still hitting several thousand "views" a month but this doesn't feed through into plays on Soundcloud or Mixcloud, so any feedback would be welcome and appreciated.




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Restore The Soul

5 October 2021

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(Mixcloud Link)

 

Honestly, I have not even been on my blog since I last posted here on 1st May. The site could have been hacked, deleted and turned into a lonelyfans promotional hub and I'd have been none the wiser. It does seem that each time I have an extended period away from posting that the world descends further into chaos, it definitely feels like humans are on a particular trajectory.

 

On a personal level, I continue to find life challenging and slightly completely rudderless since my Mum departed in December. Obviously the Covid situation hasn't helped and is something most of us are finding challenging in one way or another, but aside from that I've had some health issues getting on top of me and actually ended up in hospital on the day I was supposed to get my first Covid jab. I'm not great with needles anyway, they don't mix well with anxiety and overthinking, but I did put my big boy pants on and went for my first jab a couple of weeks ago. I still hadn't been clear on it due to health issues but aside from a painful arm, a little nausea and tiredness for a couple of days after, it was fine, and I get those things fairly often anyway because of how I feel in general.

 

The other issue that's been keeping me away from here, and generally not engaging in much else, is that Ruby, the older of my two Irish Red Setters was involved in a freak accident on August 1st. Whilst out at her favourite walk, doing her favourite thing in chasing tennis balls, she experienced a Fibrocartilaginous Embolism (FCE for short), which resulted in her being completely paralysed at the back end. Initially in a lot of pain, but then followed into no pain at all but no movement, no feeling and no control of bladder or bowel function. Long story short, following some very expensive vet involvement, we were told she would be unlikely to recover if there was no improvement after 48 hours and to consider euthanasia. After discussions with several people who understand the condition or have dealt with it themselves, we opted to give her a week to see if there was any improvement. There was improvement, but it was very, very minimal and the future remained uncertain. The vet wasn't very supportive or helpful, although the nursing team were great and minor improvements continued over the next week or so - once she regained better control of bowel and bladder, it was time to take her home. She has been home for around 7 weeks now - although she isn't walking unaided, she is getting there. She is given physio 4 times a day, she is walked in a field behind the house with the help of a sling although I can now drop the sling for short periods and she will attempt to walk herself (although it looks like she has drunk a litre of vodka), she can sit well, she can turn herself in her bed, there are hardly any toilet accidents now and she can stand and eat / drink. None of these were possible when we took her home. She is now attending hydrotherapy and also gets acupuncture once a week, so everything that can be done to help her recover is being done.

 

Ruby back home.

 

In between, I've occasionally been posting some records on to Discogs for sale, some mostly reluctantly, but I do need to raise funds and clear some space too. Free time has been very limited, and often that free time also finds me feeling exhausted, or perhaps dealing with pain / tiredness linked to health issues. When I have had a moment, I've been trying to get out and do little jobs in the garden to get some sunshine and fresh air. It doesn't feel like more than a few weeks since we breathed a sigh of relief at winter and snow disappearing over the horizon, and now it feels like it is knocking on the door again. What I haven't been doing is keeping myself active online and putting mixes together - in fact, I hadn't plugged my equipment in since the last mix I posted (Reflect guest mix) and had to try and ignore the accumulated dust on my gear to put this selection together. This is not normal for me.

 

In recent years I've been moving a bit more away from the 4/4 / house / tech music sound, don't get me wrong, there's lots I still love about it, but I feel more disconnected from it now, maybe age, maybe the way life has twisted and turned, but I gravitate towards music that connects to me in a deeper sense than just making me want to shake my hips to a rhythm (not that I don't still like that and indulge when nobody is looking 🤫 ). Probably not really describing any of this particularly well, but for me it's music the reflects a mood or a feeling or a moment in life. I suppose, if you know, you know, if you don't, no amount of poorly assembled words from me will make that any clearer.

 

I still have a few ideas for "mixes" in the back burner of my mind. When or whether they see the light of day, who knows. It's been in my thoughts as to whether it is worth me continuing to pay for a web domain and hosting mixes on the likes of Soundcloud. Play counts have dropped off hugely in recent years.... aside from a Mexican wedding company who seem to have my mixes on a loop for some reason. If Le Glam Marriage should venture on here, feel free to fly me over and put me up so I can play some tunes in person 😆 (yeah, as if that would happen).

 

Anyway, until the next time..... take care of yourself and those who you love and care about.

 

-------------------------------

 

If you enjoy any of the music in this selection, please purchase / follow / support the artists and labels so they can continue to do what they are good at!

 

Tracklist

01. Luftrum - Dawn Chorus (Self Released)

02. Andrew Wasylyk - Blossomness #2 (Clay Pipe Music)

03. D. Rothon - The Ghost We Bring (Clay Pipe Music)

04. Trigg & Gusset - Blue Shades (Preserved Sound)

05. Amanda Whiting - After Dark (Jazzman)

06. Nat Birchall - Mirror Mind (Ancient Archive Of Sound)

07. Ishmael Ensemble - The River (Reprise) (Severn Songs)

08. Dwight Trible ft. Matthew Halsall - Deep River (Gondwana)

09. Yusef Lateef - Like It Is (Music On Vinyl)

10. Chip Wickham - Pushed Too Far (Lovemonk)

11. Katya Wonder - Mood (Meteron)

12. Arooj Aftab - Last Night (New Amsterdam Records)

13. Warren Hampshire - Eye Of The Deluge (Athens Of The North)

14. Luke Howard Trio - Phases (Hobbledehoy)

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Sellers Remorse

1 May 2021

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Back in 2019 I decided that I needed to thin out some of my vinyl collection. I need to find some space for future purchases and I could do with raising some funds too. I do get sellers remorse with most things I sell but I need to be sensible too.

I had a busy and successful Ebay store many moons ago, before care became the main focus of my life, but felt it best to go with Discogs Marketplace this time. I'm not 100% certain that's the right thing to do, but I've been using and contributing under a different guise to Discogs since it's first year of existence, waaaay before the Marketplace become a thing. In terms of keeping it simple, it's the way to go, although I may not achieve the higher prices that can sometimes be found via Ebay.

I sold a few bits and pieces from my collection in 2019, but then some 'life' things got in the way, the whole covid thing took hold and then losing my Mum late last year. I'm still grappling with things, still very unsure about which direction to go, but I thought a good start would be trying to do a bit more around music, which has been the saving grace for me and has been for as long as I can remember.

So, as you may (or may not have noticed) I've already posted 3 mixes this year What Now? Part 1 & Part 2, as well as my first guest mix for quite some time, which I called Reflect and was put together for Corsica One. I've got another mix to do in the coming weeks and one or two others that I've loosely been thinking about. My mixes don't get as much plays as they once did but I'm going to keep plugging away whilst I find enjoyment from it.

Aside from the mixes though, I've also started selling via my Discogs Store page. At the moment it's only vinyl and the records I have for sale are the ones that were already graded and up for sale in 2019 (but taken down), although I've a few boxes of CD's to shift too. The vinyl I'm selling is mostly from the last 10 years or so, although there will be some older stuff too and it is very eclectic with everything from Soul to Techno, Ambient to Jazz, House to Trip Hop and everything in between. I'm slowly working my through it all, playing and listening to each record as I list for sale, with the aim being to be as accurate with my grading as possible. I always look to keep prices on the competitive side but I did buy these at retail prices, some I take a loss on and others seem to have gone up in value, so I'm hoping it'll even itself out.

If you're a vinyl head, feel free to check out the links and see if anything takes your fancy and keep your eyes posted for new additions.... I've got a good 300 or so still to get listed.

 

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Reflect - Guest Mix for Corsica One

16 April 2021

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Over the last ten years I've been very grateful and flattered to have been asked to contribute guest mixes / shows to various platforms, like Hypnotic Groove, Box Frequency, Sequenchill and Balearic Social. I honestly don't feel like my mixes are worthy of that attention so when I'm asked to contribute to somebody's platform it gives me a bit of a buzz.

 

Those of you who have read previous posts will know and understand why I hadn't been doing much in the way of mixes over the last year or so, and I'd had very little in the way of interaction with people from music circles, probably as a result of being quiet and me deleting my Facebook. I certainly had no opportunities to do any guest selections, so when Alessio from Corsica One asked if I'd like to do a selection for him to host on his Mixcloud after he'd caught my recent What Now? selections, I jumped at the chance. I'd really like to try and get my "mojo" back and get into some kind of groove again having had a difficult time of things over recent years, so it was really good timing for me and hopefully I'll be able to build a little momentum from here.

 

As with all my mixes, it's unplanned and recorded in one take, which always makes me feel a little nervous when sharing, especially when I've done it for someone else. You'll find the linked up tracklist below the Mixcloud player. If you enjoy any of the music on here, please purchase the music and support the artists and labels.... and any likes, shares on your social media etc are always much appreciated.

 

You can find some more great mixes / music from Corsica One and various guests at the following links. Check them out and give a follow if you like what you see and hear.

Mixcloud  //  Apple Music  //  Facebook // Twitter  //  Bandcamp // Blog

 

 

Tracklist

 01. Biosphere - From A Solid To A Liquid (Biophon)

02. Cosmic Neman - ProximaB (Tigersushi)

03. Sun Electric - Love 2 Love (Music From Memory)

04. Jo Johnson - Discontent Arises From A Knowledge Of The Possible (Self Released)

05. Pauline Anna Strom - The Eighteen Beautiful Memories (RVNG Intl.)

06. Soundstory - Rainstorm (Self Release)

07. Etienne Jaumet - Orage Dans Le Creuse (Tigersushi)

08. Jonathan Fitoussi & Clemens Hourriére - Five Steps (Versatile)

09. Carbon Based Lifeforms - Dreamshore Forest (Analog Remake) (Leftfield Records)

10. James Bernard - UWA10 (A Strangely Isolated Place)

11. Masayoshi Fujita  & Jan Jelinek - Workshop For Modernity (Faitiche)

12. David Moufang - Sergio Leone's Wet Dream (Music From Memory)

 

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