Picked this up from the Clay Pipe Music stall at the Independent Label Market in Spitalfields in November without really knowing much about it – a limited edition, I found out later (for what that’s worth). I’m not wholly convinced by the whole ‘instrumental music about place’ thing, but everyone needs an angle and the music is lovely. It has the wooziness that I love in some of the work of the Memory Band, Sparklehorse, and so on.
Very pleased to hear that Earth Recordings are re-issuing one of my favourite Bert Jansch albums (and didn’t I plead for someone to do that just a few weeks ago…?) in February next year:
And they’ve also recently re-issued Jansch’s Moonshine on picture disc (the picture being a fairly horrible jolly Albion, folk-music-overtaken-by-CAMRA style of country pub scene; not one for the living room walls). Not my favourite album of his, but does feature a spirited version of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, which avoids turning into a dirge, unlike many interpretations of that song.
The Individualism of Gil Evans: terrible artwork, incredible album. I struggled for a long time to get into this kind of orchestrated jazz; then the light went on one day listening to one of the Gil Evans arranged Miles Davis albums. This one’s got it all (except Miles): tunes, tone, moods, the funk, and some incredibly intense drumming.
It’s an ideal candidate for a nice vinyl re-issue, though; this c.1974 copy misses some of the best tracks. So here it is in full on Spotify:
I don’t really understand Time Out any more: why can’t I find articles from the magazine on the website? Why are their gig listings so rubbish? Who’s it actually aimed at these days: half the articles seem to be written for a particularly cartoonish representation of the hipster, while the other half sneer at the same stereotype. But it was still nice to see my band in a photo in last week’s issue, even if it was in the Property section…
I’m not sure our performance at the Overground Festival Vintage stage would have encouraged (nor discouraged, for that matter) people from moving to Upper Norwood, but it was a very pleasant event to play. Though I’m still none the wiser as to the difference between Upper Norwood and Crystal Palace.
A good time for Bert Jansch reissues at the moment; and not just because autumn seems like the perfect time for listening to Jansch, Renbourn, and the fingerstyle folk guitar diaspora. Transatlantic Records are re-issuing early Bert Jansch albums and doing an excellent job of the re-mastering get: Bert and John in particular sounds deeper, clearer and crisper than previous versions.
The Earth label are on the case too, with Moonshine hopefully on its way to me in the post at the moment.
Now will someone please re-issue Avocet on vinyl?
A month of wet weeks and surprisingly balmy weekends. A day trip to Whitstable saw unexpected high temperatures – ideal for oysters and fish’n’chips on the beach, followed by a walk to Tankerton and back.
Closer to home, the people behind the excellent Pelton Arms in Greenwich took over the White Swan in Charlton Village: a dismal pub turned pretty quickly into the best pub in the neighbourhood. I was lucky enough to get an invite to the soft launch evening, which seemed like a great success; there’d have been plenty of sore heads around SE7 the following morning.
After doing what felt like too many gigs with my band in June and July I swore we’d do no more than two a month for the rest of the year…then immediately agreed to three in a row in September. It proved worthwhile, though: a charity gig at my local; an amazing night at the White Swan with Simon Hanson from Squeeze depping on drums, and Glenn Tilbrook joining us for most of the second set on guitar and vocals; finally, a great night at the Pelton with a new sax player onboard.
I managed to spend more time than usual at Charlton Lido, with my daughter having swimming lessons there for the first time allowing me a quick ‘extra’ swim on Saturday mornings. One Sunday morning I achieved a life goal that’s been eluding me since the lido reopened in 2012: first into the pool. Swimming under a blue sky in a quiet, heated pool, with just a hint of a chill in the air: pretty much perfect conditions.
A few weeks ago I bought a secondhand record player; a proper one – a Technics 1200Mk2, like what the DJs use.
Why would I go and do a thing like that, since I’ve never really had a vinyl collection?
- Fundamentally, it’s an over-complicated, expensive way of avoiding having to switch my computer on to listen to music. I’ve been using Apple Match for the last 3 or 4 year, and Spotify for the last couple of years, but found increasingly when I put music on via my Mac it a) took ages to get going from switched on (guess I should get a new hard drive), b) once it was running I was instantly into all the distractions of the Internet. I spend enough time staring at screens through the week to know I don’t want to start again first thing on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
- I don’t feel like I really have a music collections any more: years of digitising my CDs and downloading tracks has left me with nothing really to show for it, bar loads of CDs bought in the 90s, many of which are unlikely to get played again, and countless MP3s never properly listened to. I never used to have a problem with iTunes but over the last year or so I’ve found it increasingly annoying to use; each new update brings a heart-sinking feeling: ‘what have they done this time?’. There will be no changes to the UI or OS of the Technics, I’m pretty certain.
- A few things happened over the course of a couple of months that put the idea in my head, and it wouldn’t go away. I went to the Independent Label/Craft Beer Market at Spitalfields and came away with a nagging thought that it’d be nice to be buying some physical music; I read Richard King’s hymn to a record shop, Original Rockers; and finally, my daughter and I found ourselves in the Red Door Cafe in Greenwich one half-term lunchtime. Here they have a turntable and a great big pile of records for customers to choose from. It was quiet in the cafe; we ate our lunch slowly and my daughter got stuck into a sticker book while I worked through their Ray Charles and Elvis collection. Something about it stuck in my head for weeks afterwards. My daughter had never seen a record player in action before, and I really enjoyed handling the vinyl. At the back of my mind getting my own record player vinyl started to seem like a great idea.
So in the end, I ordered the Technics.
Other things I like about it:
- One volume control, on the amplifier. No faffing about balancing virtual volume controls on iTunes, Spotify, sound card, etc.
- It sounds excellent.
- Listening uninterrupted by computer reboots, video adverts, and so on.
- An excuse to hang around in record shops again.
Time will tell if the novelty wears off, but I’m loving it so far.
At £35 a ticket it was good value compared to many medium-sized gigs (though handing over £20 for 4 cans of Beck’s Vier will never seem like a good transaction). Back next year, I hope.