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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Podcasts From The Yellow Room XLIX

More adventures in music that combines the interesting, 
the esoteric, the obscure, the weird and the frankly wonderful.



Sha's Feckel
Build Us A Rocket...
from Greatest Hits 
Ronin Rhythm Records

Starless And Bible Black
If You Fall With You 
from Weirdlore 

Spectrum Road
Vuelta Abajo
from Spectrum Road

Thirst For Light
from Meeting Unknown

Norman Lamont
Anywhere But Here
from Anywhere But Here

from Made In Basing Street
The Last Label

Andrew Keeling
Beacon Hill
from Unquiet Earth
Spaceward Records

Syd Arthur
Edge Of The Earth 
from On An On
Dawn Chorus

from Pyongyang Express

Desert Island Albums IV David Bowie 1.Outside

David Bowie
1. Outside - The Nathan Adler Diaries: A Hyper Cycle

Given the length, breadth and depth of David Bowie’s catalogue, there are plenty of memorable candidates for the coveted desert island disc. There’s no shortage of albums of his which enjoy a much higher profile, not to mention a significant hit count, than 1.Outside yet the strange magnetism generated by this defiantly indulgent concept album exerts a strange fascination that beguiles and intrigues.

With his talent for reinvention clearly undimmed, after a run of relatively indifferent albums, Outside revels in its love of the different and the provocative. The story is a querulous, surreal and often disturbing narrative, with Bowie maniacally providing all the voices, oozing up between the songs, depositing a sequence of aural stains both on and just below the surface.

The fragments of improvisation heard sloshing beneath his bizarre repertory company of voices, - the result of hundreds of hours of improvisation by Eno and the supporting cast of musicians - places the listener almost as another detective; part of the plot, looking for clues, for meaning, trying to filter determining what’s important and what might be mere red herring.

These songs are not the kind to be easily absorbed or co-opted into those everyday moments where music becomes a memento of something shared. Often brutally ugly in temperament and appearance, they resist the usual listener’s habit of emotional appropriation. While we can close our eyes and recall who we were with or what we were doing when we first heard Starman, Heroes or even Let’s Dance, the music of Outside is more akin to some bruising encounter we’ve tried to put to the back of our minds. It’s hard to imagine a couple hearing Hearts Filthy Lesson, and gazing lovestruck into each others eyes and saying “Oh, listen. They’re playing our song.”

These are powerful songs, whose very austerity and lack of vulnerability are also the very key to their granite-edged charm. They world they imagine is occluded and uneasy; a place where compromise was not allowed to soften or neuter the madly twisted, spontaneous origins of the music. Bowie, ever the skilful craftsman, knows how to put a song together. Perhaps more importantly, he knows how not to in order to avoid habit - the perpetual trap that waits for all artists.  

From the industrial crunch of Hallo Spaceboy, flat-lining mournful cries drifting across eddying spirals of nebulous space-jazz during A Small Plot Of Land, the quicksand electronica of I’m Deranged and the dead-eye certainties of No Control, show an artist who might well be experimenting with form and content but who never loses the plot entirely.

Mad, bad and dangerous to know, it remains his most transgressive record to date. Whilst Bowie’s other albums such as Ziggy Stardust, Low, Heroes, et al deservedly huddle together in the pantheon, Outside remains, well, on the outside, loitering with dark intent.

Whitley Bay Daily Photo CLXXXII

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Stormy Thursday

I was sitting at the desk and noticed things were getting dark. Very dark. Looking up and out the window, I did a double take. The clouds were moving at a phenomenal rate, and swirling within themselves at a speed you don't normally see. They looked like they were boiling.

It got really dark and then the rain came. Right royally came down. We watched as the street filled up - raging torrent and all that.

About 20 minutes later it stopped. The skies were no less dramatic though.

And then it rained some more. A lot. Twitter was fizzing with reports of flooding and dramatic events and it was interesting to see the mainstream media playing catch-up as numerous pictures and videos were uploaded and went viral.

As the night drew on we heard from Alys who was stranded in Newcastle, unable to get to Whitley Bay because of the closure of the Metro. No buses or taxis were available because the Coast Road was closed. For a couple of hours Debbie and I rang every hotel in Newcastle and Jesmond, trying to find a room for her. There wasn't one to be had. Eventually they managed to find their way to South Shields late in the evening 

Whitley Bay Daily Photo CLXXX

Monday, June 25, 2012

UMA Meeting Unknown

Meeting Unknown
UMA Music
Now augmented by Andi Pupato, best known for his work as percussionist in Nik Bartsch’s Ronin, Estonian outfit UMA curate another exquisite series of lushly evocative portraits in sound on their third album. There’s a yearning spirit moving within each of the six pieces presented here. Guitarist Robert J├╝rjendal’s delicate but assertive chords and sustained lines prove to be the perfect foil for Aleksei Saks’ ephemeral, misty trumpet. Mixed with Pupato’s gently percolating percussive counterpoints, though their work might be described as ambient, they maintain a tight grip on the movement, detail and dialogue throughout.

The nebulous sonics of Lenten Month recalls the shimmering haze encountered during Eno’s Thursday Afternoon distantly mingled with twinkling Cocteau Twins-like arpeggios. There’s an effortless beauty to be found on the mellifluous Framed Memories, in which Saks’ powerful corno da caccia (a kind of hunting horn) emerges from glistening layers of fluttering harmonics.

Though sometimes austere and formidable, their work remains paradoxically accessible.
This happy state of affairs is blessed with two outstanding guest contributions. Classically trained Estonian mezzo-soprano Iris Oja adds soaring vocals to the elegant sweep of Thirst For Light, while Markus Reuter’s touch guitar brings some of his trademark extra texture to the 10 minute-plus title track.

Whitley Bay Daily Photo CLXXVII

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Whitley Bay Daily Photo CLXXV

Unquiet Earth Andew Keeling

Andrew Keeling
Unquiet Earth
Spaceward Records

Over the last decade or so, Andrew Keeling has covered a lot of ground. Aside from his love of fell-walking, as a composer he’s been striding purposefully across varied territories. There’s been the contemporary chamber settings on Quickening The Dead, improvised music on English Sun (joined by ex-King Crimson violinist David Cross) and more recently, a reversion to his pre-classical roots as a folky on First Things and Soror. The rock-orientated Bells Of Heaven in which Keeling goes electric also provides further testimony to his eclecticism.

Despite such radically different facets a constant seam veined throughout his work has been an unerring facility with melody. Returning to contemporary chamber music, his writing on Unquiet Earth, energetically bustles with bright timbres and strident rhythms on Present for string quartet and the title track, scored for piano trio.

Keeling's careful balance between harmonic impact and understated drama is masterful and Beacon Hill is the album’s outstanding piece. Sombre gently chiming percussion, electric guitar and dark, rumbles of cello and piano slowly part, allowing a keening violin to emerge like a silvery light between pensive clouds. Joined by saxophone, a similarly mournful line is gently etched, yet as the piece comes to rest a pale but hopeful light prevails.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Open Shikara

A lovely evening which brings the neighbours out. Their was no time for idle gossip however because tonight we were off on a mission...

Debbie was on the Whitley Road like a greyhound out of a trap...

to attend the grand opening of the newest restaurant in Whitley Bay, Shikara...

and we weren't the only one's to be in attendance...

The opening was on the eve of Tom's 21st birthday and so we decided to kill two birds with one stone. It was great to see my niece Verity who is soon to be moving to Ireland...

There were local dignitaries and drummers to entertain the crowd...

Azad (formerly of The Kismet) declares the new venture open...

and we head in and upstairs...

shown to a rather snazzy booth...

served with complimentary beer and fizzy wine...

and stars....
and fab serviettes

The food and company was wonderful; lots of chat and lots of laughs.


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