New Blog

Don’t worry, same-old-same-old here on Ijo Pona – however, I have started a new blog. The new blog is only for music reviews. On www.sigilofbrass.com I will write what I think about avant-garde music albums.

So far, I only have around four or so reviews – but it is growing. There is a really good review of Henri Chopins “La Plaine Des Respirs” on there and it is proving a lot of fun. I am already having people submit their work for me to review plus I collect avant-garde music. So, there will always be a back log and there will always be an excuse to purchase new music.

The name ‘Sigil Of Brass’ is taken after the song by Doom Metal pioneers, Earth. Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light II is an album that stayed with me and still gets heavy rotation. Whilst it will not get reviewed on the site Sigil Of Brass – I figure there are enough reviews of that album already – it is a seminal work and deserves to be in everyone’s collection. Dylan Carlson’s guitar is the sweetest it has sounded since “Bees …” album and Adrienne’s drumming is spot on – the Cello and Bass add to the atmospherics of the album turning it in to a slow, evolving, dynamic body of music.

I have a history of running labels, hosting & curating radio shows and performing music in his own right. On this site, I review music that appeals to me. There will be no mud-slinging on Sigil Of Brass. If you think you have an album that you wish me to review then please drop it off using this link.

It hopes to be a friendly community of one chap (me) but I will probably grow bored of it soon and leave it alone – but it has filled the time for a sleepless few nights.

I have also embedded my readio show on the site – I will try and use The Parish News (radio show) as a bridge between the label I have (Focused Silence) and the review blog that I write (Sigil Of Brass).




Whilst it will never pay the bills – it is keeping me out of mischief.

H. P. Lovecraft’s “At The Mountains Of Madness” by Icarus Theatre

The below is what Harrogate Theatre had to say about H. P. Lovecraft’s “At The Mountains Of Madness” by Icarus Theatre . Me and the good lady wife went along to it as a way of celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary. Five years of happiness. I write about the joy of married life all over my blog, so this post will be a review of the Theatre performance that we witnessed last night.

Desperate. Incensed. Exhausted. William Dyer returns from a cursed expedition to the Antarctic.

To protect our world, he keeps deep secrets that he knows the speaking of can only shatter his fragile mind. But as he comes to the realisation that we, the audience, are planning to go further into the penetrating cold than he dared, will his secrets unfold? Will he finally be resigned to speak? Will he share the truth, and give us a terrifying glimpses of – the horror of things that should not be?

They even did a video to drum up the capacity crowd that flocked to the Studio Theatre on the night of the 24th to see Icarus Theatre’s production of H. P. Lovecraft’s “At The Mountains Of Madness”.

The studio theatre was was full to capacity and I was clueless as to what to expect. I am no theatre regular – I have never pretended to be. So, what was I doing at the theatre? I was marking an event by treating me and my wife. The theatre is a treat – and one I wish to indulge in more often after the wonders of last night.

What happened in the performance? Well, I was clueless as to what to expect. On a base level it was one man having a conversation with his radio – on an other level  it was a masterclass in acting with a thespian who held his audience in the palm of his hand as he conducted a one man play.

RSC actor and RADA faculty Tim Hardy was the sole performer on the night – accompanied by atmospheric lighting and audio props that made for a very atmospheric performance. A performance that will stay with me for a while. The images created were of bleak, compounded fear and an unknowable evil – The delivery of the performance really was first class – the theme of insanity was fleshed out as a group of Antartic explorers faced an unknowable foe.

As stated I am no theatre buff – I treat the theatre as a treat. And we were treated.

We were treated to a show that was true to the H. P. Lovecraft original and made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I experienced frisson during last night.

Roll on January for the next Lovecraft installment at Harrogate Theatre.

Dub By The Truck-Load

I have just uploaded the finished product – what is the product? Well, technically it is not yet a product as I am yet to get signed – so it is not yet out on the download-shelf. But, this EP is finished.

As eagle-eyed readers may remember, I have a previous EP called Lion’s Roar that I have completed – read about it here – but, that is yet to be signed too. Here is the newer EP:

As you can tell, I have brought my sound right up to date – It is more of Bassline than Dub (in the authentic style) but it gets me by.

I have had the good fortune to have spoken to a few record labels – all of which were interested in Lion’s Roar – but they needed to hear a follow up to see if I was worth putting on their books.

So, the above is the second release by Guerrilla Dub System – quite tidy.

In other news, me and a good mate are thinking of setting up our own label. Yes. Jason Mawer and myself are thinking of setting up a bass music label – we will be bass-ing it around our shared T-Shirt business, Kalama Insa. I have been tasked with the building of the site and it is getting there – if you want to see the site it can be viewed at www.kalamainsa.com.

All we need now is more music ….. I may release the above EP on Kalama Insa / I may not release the above EP on Kalama Insa. It is a 50/50 split of a decision. Part of me wants the music out there as soon as possible, part of me wants the weight of an established label behind it. We will see.

An Evening Of Music

So, sleepless night since ….. well, the last time I slept was Thursday and it is now the following Wednesday. Ho hum. Managing to get a few hours sleep here and there throughout the day, but my night time routine is shot.

Still, what have I been up to? Music. I have been tinkering with various labels and making my own music – below is an example.

I am quite happy with how it has turned out – not bad at all.

Also, I may be signing a new album to my label. Focused Silence is the name of my label – it deals with improvised and experimental music (alongside field recordings and sound art). Whilst the above may not be a good fit to my label, I have approached Hymen Records in Germany to see if they want to release it – to be on the same label as Hecq would be awesome!

The album I may be putting out on Focused Silence is by The Oxford Ambient Collective. Here it is –

I have offered to master the album – first impressions are that it is a cracking album. May need a bit of level control, but, if I get a hold of the stems then I will be able to polish them up a bit.

Kathryn is still lying snuggly asleep and the street outside is coming to life – I may pop in to town for a double espresso … The day is still ripe with possibilities.

Smerking

England now has twice as many ex-smokers as smokers, according to health officials. Smoking rates across England are the lowest on record, with 17 per cent of the population classified as smokers – the lowest level since records began.

Experts say the decrease may be partly due to the rise in popularity of e-cigarettes. Out of the 2.5 million smokers who tried to give up smoking lat year, one in five were successful. Public Health England (PHE) said this is the highest recorded quitting rate to date – six years ago the success rate was around one in seven.

Regional success In England, the number of smokers kicking the habit over the last four years has fallen fastest in the North East (22 per cent to 18.7 per cent), Yorkshire and Humber (21.9 per cent to 18.6 per cent) and the South West (18.7 per cent to 15.5 per cent). The figures were released as PHE launched its annual Stoptober campaign to encourage the nation’s remaining smokers to quit for the month of October. In 2015, one million smokers used an e-cigarette, 7000,000 used a nicotine replacement and 350,000 used their local stop smoking service to try and quit. Smoking is estimated to cost the NHS more than £2.7 billion a year, according to research in 2006. More than £50 million a week is spent treating diseases caused by smoking.

Professor Kevin Fenton, national director of health and wellbeing at PHE said: “While it is amazing that there are over twice as many ex-smokers as current smokers in England, there are still over seven million people regularly lighting up. “Alongside unhealthy diet, smoking is the biggest cause of preventable early death in England, accounting for 78,000 deaths a year. Quitters will soon see they have reduced blood pressure, easier breathing and better circulation. Stopping smoking is the best thing a smoker can do to improve their health.” For more information visit nhs.uk/oneyou/stoptober – The Independent

I am the proud owner of a Douche-Flute. The fact I no longer smoke is something that I tried to keep to myself – I figure a lot of people say they are giving up and only last a couple of hours. I know I would be one of them – so I stopped being a tit and did something about it.

I do not miss anything about smoking – my eCig fills in all of the gaps and I am starting to ween myself off that too.

I never really took to the eCig in a  big way – it was just something to fill the gap. Yes, I was still addicted to Nicotine, but at least I was not putting all of those carcinogens into my body like when I was hammering the roll-ups. The science may still be out on eCigs, but they cannot be worse than a regular roll-up.  This infograph tells more –

20sepquitsmokingmatrixweb-760x1418

 

Exits & Epiphanies

Well, where to start on this one ….

This album was composed during the vigil for my grandpa and mastered in the months afterwards. It is still raw to listen to it – so many memories flood back to me when I play this album back on my hifi. What could be seen as a Nazarean howl gives way to the celebration of life – and the loved ones who inhabited it.

I will not embarrass my living relatives by naming names – but this is a piece I wrote – not to stand witness to the man – but to make sense of the emotional turbulence I encountered when I was going through the grieving process.

Am I out of the grieving process? More or less, yes. When I think of the days spent in grandpa’s company I no longer wince at his loss. Instead, I celebrate the life he led. A full life. This album captures a snapshot of a troubled time when I was trying to come to grips with the death of a hero. In this instance, the album has done itself justice – it proved cathartic to produce. Does it bring him back? No. Nobody comes back from the dead. But, the making of this album helped bring me to terms with the fact he has gone.

I really hope I am not stepping on any toes by posting this up here. The album is recorded in Pythagorean Tuning (432hz) and is meant to set adrift on memory. Memory? What of? My hero.

Fish

The good lady wife, Kathryn, is away out at a charity fundraiser. Metal sans Frontieres is a rock night that raises money for Doctors Without Borders (Medicins sans Frontieres / MSF) and it is a right laugh.

I try and go to such things but my sleep pattern is a bit wobbly at the minute and I have had to bow out of tonight’s proceedings.

However, I have made a track – here it is:

It is a very laid back IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) type track. I have made music for years – most of the time with zero success. However, buoyed off the back of the success of Guerrilla Dub System I am starting to experiment again.

See, I only really got in to making Dub to see if my musical chops were where they should be. I have a prodigious output as an experimental artist and I just want to see where I am in relation with other tracks.

‘Fish’ is a return to the norm. However, I will not give up on the use of basslines in dub or put down the microphone for Field Recording just yet. I am quite proud of ‘Fish’ – there is not a single Drum Loop in there – I have been using Ultrabeat in Logic to programe all of my drums for years now. Seems to be working.