44

26 February 2022

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The world has changed a lot since the last time I posted just one week ago. Or has it? For most people, not much has changed beyond their news diet. I include myself in that. Of course, everything that is happening in Ukraine right now will have a knock on effect and implications for the rest of Europe, potentially globally.


I have written and deleted lots of writing this evening. From the damage done by the ruling classes serving their own self interest and that of big business to the futility of borders, nationalism and "patriotism". The fact that the average person, regardless of nationality, race or religion are pawns within this system and are ultimately the ones who suffer and pay the price, not those in their ivory towers. I end up deleting what I write because I end up feeling like I get lost in a senseless ramble that is ultimately futile. All I really want is for there to be a better future for the planet and for humans to get a grip - we're making a complete mess of everything and for me it feels like the only way to sort it is to start understanding we're not that special and no one person is particularly different from the next. We've got to get to grips with the issues that are harming everything around us, and until we stop allowing ourselves to be divided by the political classes and big business, there is no way out of this cycle of destruction, violence, inequality etc.


Again, I read back that last paragraph and my first instinct is to delete it. Not because I don't believe it, or feel it, but because it feels inadequate and it is. I really wish my brain would give me a clarity of thinking that would lead me to being able to not only express myself better but also to do more and be able help  somehow to bring about a better way, or help provide some relief to people who are on the sharp end of events, not just in Ukraine currently, but wherever people are being let down by their fellow human beings. As difficult as I find these thoughts and as difficult as I find it to process the senselessness of these situations I speak of or we hear about or see through the media, I can't help but think how far removed it is from the people who find themselves in the midst of the violence, extreme poverty or environmental destruction being foisted upon them by others and how they must feel, how detached from humanity and caring and kindness those people will be feeling. I genuinely despise so many aspects of "humanity" but my wishing isn't going to change anything.


I'm very self conscious of my own shortcomings and at this moment can only aim to make contributions via the avenues that are immediately available to me and work towards improving myself to be in a better position going forward to help with the challenge of forging a better future for myself but also on a wider level. I do feel very overwhelmed by negative thinking, it's very hard not to with all that is wrong in the world and feeling unable to affect  positive change. 

 

I'll carry on with my "year of music" and hope to raise some funds for Sue Ryder who do great work for people with severe neurological conditions. You can find out more about them [here] and you can find my Justgiving page in aid of Sue Ryder [here].

 

In relation to the current events, and in keeping with the music aspect of this small corner of the internet, I'd like to encourage you to support the following music labels. The first is Hidden Vibes who are a small label based in Ukraine whose music I've featured in several mixes. I am sure they would welcome any support by means of buying their output.


Secondly, a UK based label that I have really loved in recent years, and a label that has directed their proceeds to charities even before current events unfolded. Preserved Sound are donating all proceeds from digital sales to those who are being impacted by the aggressive advances of Putin in Ukraine. It's a great label with wonderful music helping a worthy cause. Buy their discography and make a difference.

 

If anyone knows of similar efforts from labels please let me know and I'd be happy to share.


Onto the music for this week. It's a selection rather than a mix. The cover is a peace lily which I've overlayed with the Ukrainian flag. There's a fairly obvious theme. As usual, I will try and provide legitimate and legal links for you to buy the music to support the artists although many of these will need to be Discogs links due to being unable to find other sources.

 

Apologies for what I think has turned into a long winded ramble, I hope you understand.

 



Tracklist

Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson - Peace Go With You Brother (As-Salaam-Alaikum)

Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 - For What It's Worth (dL Edit)

Curtis Mayfield - Right On For The Darkness

Charles Bradley - The World (Is Going Up In Flames)

Billy Paul - Peace Holy Peace

Lesley Duncan - Mr Rubin

John & Jehn - Fear, Fear, Fear

Jefferson Airplane - Volunteers

Merry Clayton - Gimme Shelter

Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra - Kiss The Sky

The Undisputed Truth - What's Going On?

Tony Allen - Don't Fight

Timmy Thomas- Why Can't We Live Together (Appo's Balearic Edit)

Frozen Pension - Three Cheers For Fear

Unforscene - The Intro (Waiting For The Rain)

Unforscene - The World Is...

Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson - Peace Go With You Brother (Wa-Alaikum-Salaam)

Bill Evans - Peace Piece



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45

19 February 2022

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#45 finds me going into House music territory. I last posted a House mix a couple of years ago, but that mix had been sat on my hard drive for a year or two, so I think the last time I actually put together a House mix is almost 4 years ago now. I vaguely remember stepping back from it because there was a period of being targeted by a troll(s) who used anonymous accounts calling me all the names under the sun and letting me know in no uncertain terms how rubbish my mixes were and that I should pack it in. I think this one turned out okay, definitely not perfect, but considering it's been so long since I went with 4/4 mixing and it's an unplanned, one take mix, I'm reasonably happy with how it turned out. Fingers crossed for no return of the troll 😂


This past week has been a bit of a mixed bag. I've had a couple of wee donations to my Justgiving (thank you to those who have chipped in - it's very, very much appreciated), I've had a couple of odd exchanges on social media and happily I've been able to make inroads with my current book which I'm enjoying. 

 

On the social media side, it's something that has never sat easily with me. I feel very much on the periphery in the real world and the online world kind of compounds that. Aside from that though, I've always felt it devalues life. We should all know by now about the damaging impact the constant feed of people we know, and often people we don't, sharing the highlight reels of their lives, often cleverly edited or elaborated on. It's hard to not compare yourself to that and feel less because of it - it's a widespread problem. It's not just that though, I've spoken about it before - the damage to our mental health is obvious, but it's also damaging to our attention and focus. That's really what the book I'm currently reading is about.

 

 

It's something I can identify with, I'm sure most of us can. Johann Hari speaks about how he could feel his focus was diminished in recent years and wanted to understand why that was, so he sets about finding out. I'm only halfway through the book and a lot of the focus has been the impact of screen time and social media. I think that it's just reinforced my own thinking about these issues, but that's no bad thing. I've read some reviews that suggest he loses his way slightly in the second half of the book, so we'll see, but it wouldn't be a bad way to illustrate the issue at hand if that is the case, would it? Anyway, it's a good read so far, if you want to read it yourself you can find it here [AMAZON].

 

Back on to the music. Here's this weeks selection. As usual, you will find links to where you can buy the tunes in the tracklist. Please support the artists and labels if you can. If you enjoy the mix, perhaps you'd consider chipping in the price of a rubbish hipster coffee to my Justgiving page which is raising funds for the great work that Sue Ryder do.

 



Tracklist

Kapote - Jaas Func Haus (Art Of Tones Remix) (Toy Tonics)

Homework - Kenny's Strut (Wolf Music)  >>> this was a free download, not sure if that's still the case.

Linkwood & Foat - Push It (Athens Of The North)

Lady Blackbird - Blackbird (Foremost Poets Remix) (Foundation Music)

Soulstatejazz - Rebels On The Way (Banoffee Pies Records)

Norma Jean Bell - I'm The Baddest Bitch (Bargrooves)

St Germain - Rose Rouge (Blaze Early Shelter Remix) (Blue Note)

House Of Jazz - Hold Your Head Up (Urgent Music Works)   >>> available on MCDE - Selectors

Joel Holmes - Pose (Toy Tonics)

Tenderlonious - Still Flute (22A)

Eddy & Dus - A From B (Yoruba Soul Remix) (Freerange Records)


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46

12 February 2022

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This week I've been reflecting on the decision I made at the start of this process where I planned to not add any words to my posts. I've come to the conclusion that I'm dropping that. The blog in its original form was purely about sharing music and mixes that I loved or had made myself and I had grand plans for it with the aim of perhaps being able to make a small income out of it. Prior to the hacking, I would take a lot of time in finding music and sharing information and links to try and help build connections for the artists and label I shared, often writing a little on each of them too. Life takes twists and turns and thoughts, plans and goals change with it, and the blog, for various reasons, really became a space where I'd post my own mixes and share some thoughts and feelings, and I think that's where I want to keep it for now; it's helpful for me to have this space.

So, if the urge should strike, I'll be sharing some words with my posts. I hope those of you who do visit the blog don't mind.

I generally intend on posting my selections on a Sunday. Those of you who visited many moons ago may remember Soundcloud Sunday. Consider it to be Sue Ryder Sunday. That said, it might not always be possible, like this week. I'm not feeling great just now so I'm posting this on Saturday, just in case I feel even less like doing this by the time tomorrow comes around.

Next week I may post a little about a wonderful book I recently finished 'Edith Eger - The Gift' and the book I am currently really enjoying 'Johann Hari - Stolen Focus'. I'm trying to read more, and read things that will be beneficial to my feeling better, these are both very much in that sphere. All being well I may share a few words on those.

Anyway, on to #46 - week 7.


 


Tracklist

Terry Callier - Cotton Eyed Joe (Craft Recordings)

Bobby Wright - Blood Of An American (Melodies International) (Also on Floating Points - LNT)

Bobbie Gentry - God Bless The Child (UMC)

Aukai - Fled Away (Aukaimusic)

Hoover - Absolute Zero (Anthology Recordings)

WW Audio - Spanish Cafe Ambience

The Gentleman Losers - Ballad Of Sparrow Young (City Centre Offices)

Field Recording - Thunderstorm

Lady Of The Sunshine - Lady Sunshine (Flock / PIAS)

Arooj Aftab - Mohabbat (New Amsterdam Records)

Field Recording - Thunderstorm

Irena & Vojtêch Havlovi - She Is Dissolving (Melody As Truth)

Beach Wizards - Midnight Waves (Tracy Island)

Jesse Aycock - First To Last (Scissor Tail)

Ane Brun - All My Tears (Balloon Ranger Recordings)

The Breath - Carry Your Kin (Acoustic Version) (Real World Records)

Karima Walker - Window I (Keeled Scales / Orindal)

Nina Simone - Who Knows Where The Time Goes (Music On Vinyl) (Also on Nils Frahm - LNT)


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47

6 February 2022

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I won't be writing a huge amount during the course of this fundraising effort, but I'm taking stock of where I've got to with the first month done and dusted and now onto week 6 and #47 in the year of music. I have to confess, it's hard going already. I'm sure some might think 'meh, it's easy' and 'there's not a challenge there', but it isn't that easy. Or at least it doesn't feel that way for me.

 

Let me put it out there that in the past 7 weeks I've posted 7 mixes (including this one). The 7 mixes I posted prior to them were posted over the course of nearly 3 years. For me, and I'm sure most people could identify with this, when your headspace / mental health / physical health and other aspects of life aren't clicking or firing on all cylinders, the things you have in the past enjoyed and taken pleasure from don't feel that way. I've been stuck in that place for a long time and every time I post a mix up it's taken a lot of effort to get there. It's a lot of effort to do the very basics in life when things are how they are, so to commit and even get this far feels like something. 

 

I've been slightly disheartened because I'm not sure how to get traction with this, and I end up wondering, do I even want it to get traction? It seems obvious to say that in order to raise funds I need people to listen (and hopefully enjoy the selections enough to chip in (I thought/hoped for like the price of a rubbish coffee or similar). Of course, I'd love to raise as much funds for Sue Ryder as possible, but the other side of me feels like in order to do that as well as possible it means really putting myself out there, trying to draw attention to myself and the challenge, and not having much in the way of confidence (none in actual fact), I really don't want attention or feel in a good place for engaging with people, if truth be told it's all a bit overwhelming. I've pushed through those feelings to an extent and made some light touch efforts like activating an Instagram account to promote things (I really don't want to be on Instagram), I've tagged artists and labels whose tracks I've featured and linked up to on the blog so people can be directed to where they can support labels and artists, but nobody seems to engage with that any more. In years gone by labels and artists would engage with me when I did similar on Facebook, but perhaps the way things are done now has moved on and I've missed the memo, but there's that thing going off in the back of my mind that I'm almost relieved because I'm so used to not having much contact with people, it keeps the status quo intact. I'll just keep plugging away with what I'm doing for now and hope that I can smash my target without much need for much more than I'm doing already.


I didn't mean for this post to turn in to or sound like a grumble and moan, that's not what I want this to be. I want to try and make this a positive endeavour by raising some funds and trying to also treat this as a part of a process to moving myself to a better place. I just felt that I needed to voice the fact that the 'challenge' is actually a challenge on the other side of the screen and pretty much every engagement I have online, even if I'm just shouting into the void like I am here, it's filled with lots of doubts and anxieties.


Anyway, onto the music. This weeks selection is best listened to in a horizontal position with the aid of headphones.

 

 


Tracklist

A Model Kit - Fog (Hidden Vibes)

Wil Bolton - Beneath The Forest (KrysaliSound)

The Green Kingdom - Frost Cracks (Dronarivm)  << Charity release for War Child

Yeter - Dart-1 (A Strangely Isolated Place)

A.R.T Wilson - Sun Sign Cancer (Growing Bin Records)

Emily A. Sprague - Woven (RVNG Intl.)

Andrew Heath - Headland (Disco Gecko)

David Cordero & Miguel Ortero - Polvera (Archives)

Meitei - Utano (Métron Records)

Aaron Martin - Roots Fall Into The River (Preserved Sound) << Charity release for Mary's Meals

Tatsuro Kojima - 0330 (eilean rec.)

Soda Lite - Lyra's Horizon (Inner Islands)

Andy Dobbs - Long Waves  << Field recordings in aid of WWF

Yui Onodera & Vadim Bondarenko - Cloudscape 8 (Serein)

Kryshe - Night (Serein)

Slow Meadow - You Felt Like Home (Self Released (I think)) 



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