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Tim [userpic]

CD

February 18th, 2015 (04:44 pm)

Anyway, it occurs to me that I have friends on LJ who do not see my Facebook or any of the other social media I sometimes use. So you may not know that this is out:
2015-02-18 14.59.06-1

2015-02-18 14.58.02
So if anyone wants it, if you go to our site at spaceheroes.net you'll find links to Bandcamp and Amazon if you want to download it, or I'll sell you a CD

It's all very exciting to be honest.

Tim [userpic]

Top 10 2014

December 31st, 2014 (04:03 pm)

Top 10 2014
It’s Top 10 time again. Although you may claim that the judgement of someone who has voluntarily gone to see all four Transformers movies at the cinema may be a little flawed. Anyway.

Gig of the Year – OMD doing Dazzle Ships at the Museum of Liverpool. Included the unearthed sections of “Dazzle Ships” (Parts I, IV, V and VI) played as a sound art installation in a Dazzle Ship. My favourite synthpop band playing their best album – nothing was going to top this. It’s a tribute to Eagulls that they even got close. Noisy post punk in the Jericho Tavern. Fantastic.

Disappointment of the year – I’m afraid it’s going to have to go to Metronomy with “Love Letters”. It’s not a bad album, perfectly listenable, but I found myself thinking, well, hum ho. After the loveliness that was “The English Riviera” it just felt like a bit of a let-down. Added to a frankly underwhelming gig at the O2 it seemed like a misfire. Hopefully they’ll be back on form next time.

Honourable Mentions –
The Bug – Angels and Devils.  Excellent mashup of dancehall, grime and a bit of hip hop. A bit of inconsistency from the guest vocalists but mostly fantastic.
East India Youth -Total Strife Forever.  Gorgeous electronica. Might be in but includes “Heaven, How Long?” and “Looking for Someone” from the Hostel EP which I already own. Well worth it though for the fantastic “Hinterland”.
FKA Twigs -  LP1. Spacey ambient R’n’B reminiscent of the Witch House craze of a couple of years back, which I liked. Abstract, avant-garde and very very sexy. Not quite enough tunes to make it to the top 10.
Museum of Love – Museum of Love. Solo project from LCD Soundsystem’s drummer Pat Mahoney. If you liked LCD Soundsystem you’ll probably like this. Loses out on originality points.
Total Control – Typical System. Postpunk and a bit of synthiness. Amazing in parts but let down by a couple of uninspired jams. If you’re going to have a song title as good as “Black Spring” don’t waste it.
These New Puritans  - Expanded (Live at the Barbican). Basically “Field of Reeds” fleshed out with orchestra and choir. Sounds amazing and for some songs (“Island Song” in particular) these are better versions than the originals. If the lovely “Where The Trees Are On Fire” had been on it, it would have been in.

EP of the Year –
Jupiter-C – Synthetic Landscape. We saw them supporting East India Youth at the O2 and really liked them. A bit like HTRK used to be. Here, have a listen:


The Top 10 Albums:
10. French Style Furs – Is Exotic Bait. What Arcade Fire might have sounded like if they were a postpunk guitar band fronted by the lead singer from Cold War Kids. Much, much better than that sounds, apart from album opener “Three Friends” which is bobbins.


9. Mogwai – Rave Tapes. Mogwai return to form with their best album since “Mr Beast”. More relaxed that that one, more memorable than anything off “Rock and Roll Will Never Die But You Will”, has vocals on some tracks. A bit like “Rock Acrtion” then, if you want a reference point.


8. Kele – Trick. Lovely housey electronic album full of heartbroken lyrics.



7. Sleaford Mods – Chubbed Up. cleanskies and I had an imaginary side project which we conceived as a band who thought The Fall were mainstream pop sellouts. We were going to have a song called “One Way Penis”. That band is now redundant as Sleaford Mods have got there first. “Chubbed Up” is a bit of a cheat for this year’s top 10 being, as it is, a collection of singles, but they did release a proper album this year which I do not have and probably won’t get as one Sleaford Mods album is probably enough. I will almost certainly hate this by this time next year and wonder what the hell I was thinking about but right now it’s essential.


6. DZ Deathrays – Black Rat. Saw them at an almost empty O2 on a freebie on a damp Monday night. They were ace. Immediately bought both albums from their merch store. “Black Rat” is the 2014 one. For fans of DFA 1979 and the like I suppose, and like them can be distinguished from all the other rock two pieces by the fact that they have proper, proper tunes. I could have picked anything off this album to be honest.


5. Johnny Jewel – The Other Side Of Midnight. Chromatics/Glass Candy mainman releases a half hour instrumental which I’m going to call an album because, hey, it’s my top 10 and I make the rules. I was talking about the unreleased portions of “Dazzle Ships” earlier. Now, imagine that gone disco. Press play and bask in its warmth.


4. Liars – Mess. Liars go full on techno with their best album so far, at least as far as I’m concerned. I may be a little biased here. This one kind of snuck up on me and I realised by the end of the year how much I’d been playing it.


3. Wrangler – L.A.Spark. Another new one to me, saw them at Audioscope where they were a standout band in a strong year. Includes Stephen Mallinder from Cabaret Voltaire and Benge, who did the excellent “Twenty Systems” a couple of years back and has been playing as part of John Foxx’s tour band.


2. La Roux – Trouble In Paradise. Critically acclaimed, spurned by Radio 1 for reasons nobody pretends to understand (too old? I doubt it. Not a guitar band? Dubious, plenty of pop gets played on R1. Really, no idea), this was lovely, La Roux gone disco. Played an excellent and sold out gig at the O2 where she came on all David Bowie and on one point rocked out with her foot on the monitor.


1. Eagulls – Eagulls. Incomprehensible vocals, driving rhythms, guitars a huge swamp, an outstanding gig at the Jericho. There are a couple of bands like this (See also Autobahn) but in the same way as DZ Deathrays in another genre, Eagulls stand out because they have tunes – there  are great melodies in here inside the noise. I can’t say often enough how important this is. Gets to number one because every time a song from it comes on shuffle, it's ALWAYS a "fuck yes" moment. Exciting and vital.

 

Tim [userpic]

Pigeon and Lentil Casserole a.k.a. the most middle class post in the history of the world ever.

November 28th, 2014 (07:32 pm)

Serves 2.
Ingredients:
4 pigeon breasts (we get them in packs of 10 from the covered market. They're pretty cheap)
3 rashers streaky bacon (we used smoked) or the equivalent in lardons.
1 tin green lentils
1 small red onion
7 or 8 forestiere mushrooms (about 1/2 a punnet or a bit less)
2 sprigs rosemary
about 100 ml veg stock
1/2 teaspoon ground pasilla chilli. I originally wanted a red garden chilli but we had eaten them all.

Cooking - this is mostly a matter of adding things to the pot.
Drain the lentils and put into a casserole dish (we used the Nigellaware marmitout that you can't get any more that we bought from Little Trendy Street).
Chop and add the onion.
Add the veg stock - we used 1/4 cube of stock with 100 ml water.
Cut the bacon into small pieces, fry and add.
Chop the mushrooms, fry and add.
Strip the rosemary from its stalks and add.
Add the chilli.
Stir it all together.
Finally, fry the pigeon breasts until they are brown and place on top.

Put the lid firmly on the casserole (you want to retain the moisture) and cook at gas 3 for 1 1/2 - 2 hrs.
Serve with kale.

Tim [userpic]

Teasel

August 19th, 2014 (03:43 pm)
sad
Tags: ,

current mood: sad

Teasel died a little before 10 this morning, at the age of 20 and a couple of months. He'd been a bit under the weather for a week or so but still had a healthy appetite and was walking well although not very far. Last night though he got a bit ill and this morning he climbed up the stairs to see us. It must have been an epic journey for him at that stage. I think he knew. He was refusing food and water although he was purring when he was being stroked. I called the vet for an emergency appointment and when we took him in we were told that his system had basically collapsed and wouldn't make it any more. He was purring and we got to hold him at the end.

Teasel was given to me in 1994 by my then local vet in Dunstable. I had had another cat run over and I had decided I didn't want another kitten because the cat I had lost was the best cat in the world.

They are all, it turns out, the best cat in the world.

The Dunstable vet was a kind man who knew what had happened so when he called to say he had a black kitten for adoption I went along out of politeness. He was the tiniest kitten you ever saw, his mother had died when he was four weeks old so he had been weaned early and had lost a couple of weeks of growth, so even though he was seven weeks he looked much younger. He won me over instantly and I took him home in a cardboard box. The first thing he did was clamber laboriously up my chest and curl up on my shoulder where he went to sleep.

I called him Teasel because he was both fluffy and spiky. A friend pointed out that he was also "a seed head". He was energetic and lively and used to come bounding across the garden to see me. He would crash through the catflap at full speed.

He was a very tidy little cat and would sit on the end of the sofa with his tail tucked round his front paws.

He could totally destroy a scratching post in the space of about three weeks, ripping through the sisal rope and leaving it in bits on the floor.

He was for a time a mighty hunter of birds. I'm glad he stopped doing that. He once caught a swift in flight which I found, miraculously unharmed, at the top of the stairs. I took it into the front garden and lifted it on my finger where it flew out into the evening.

He was a very amenable cat. I had another cat at the time, a grumpy old three legged tom called Stirfry, and Teasel was gentle with him. They could share my lap, one on each leg, with their front paws gripping my knees, sometimes quite painfully.

When I had some bad times he would come and lick my nose.

He used to like to sneak under the duvet to sleep in the winter. If he couldn't get in he had a painful habit of hooking a claw under my lip and pulling to wake me up. I guess from his point of view it worked because he would curl up to sleep against my chest.

He used to hide in a carboard boxes to ambush my legs. Because the box sides were taller than his head, as far as he was concerned he was invisible, but if you looked down on him he would figure he had been seen. If you wanted him to ambush you, you had to go past him looking away while whistling nonchalantly.

I was worried when I moved to Oxford because he was at the grand old age of 12 and I thought he might be too stressed by the move. 12 turned out to be his prime.

When Jeremy first came to my house he was still hiding out of nervousness from the move. He hid under my futon frame. All you could see was a pair of eyes.

He pretty much decided he approved of Jeremy from the off, curling up on her lap and playing with her shoelaces. When she broke her wrist he kept her company, lay against the cast and purred.

He loved to climb and would try and get to the highest point in the house, on top of a wardrobe or on a high shelf.

When we moved to our new house he was, I think, very pleased as we had a garden (with, more to the point, an even bigger garden over the back fence). He had a stone shelf beside the patio where he could lie in the sun.

When we got our new kitten, Harlequin, he was suspicious at first but they seerned to get on. They would share treats from my or Jeremy's hand. Harley always deferred to him and slightly inexplicably let him beat her up, even though she weighed about twice what he did.

He became old and his legs became stiff and he needed a lot of looking after, which we were happy to give him. He always thought he was stronger than he was and would make doomed leaps onto chairs, windowsills, across the room. He perfected a method of snagging his claw in your shirt, then leaping for freedom, and almost, but not quite, injuring himself with the resulting somersault.

His last meal was treats taken from my hand, last night.

He had the loudest purr and the best, most magnificent tail.

I miss him so much.

teasel-kitten
Teasel as a kitten. The bigger cat is Stirfry.

teasel2
Teasel and Stirfry eating in my horrible old house in Dunstable. Note crossed tails which they used to do all the time. Teasel is the closer cat.

teasel1
Teasel with namesake. Note "Viz up the arse corner" expression.

teasel-drawing
I did this drawing of him, also in Dunstable.

061409190107
Waiting in ambush.

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Good to travel


In his prime, checking out the flat.

thecatsatonthemat
This is all mine.


Respect my authority

062910093556
I own the high places


Surprised by robot


Pwned by kitten

2012-06-08 17.00.26
Enthroned

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2 cats 1 lap

2014-03-07 08.22.01
2 cats 1 lap redux

2014-05-06 20.04.07
1 cat 1 laptop. Teasel perfects his arse programming skills.


King of the garden


Rhododendron hat!


On the podium

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The best, most magnificent tail.

RIP Teasel

Tim [userpic]

MKIF

MIlton Keynes International Festival was on again!

We went to Sonic Day yesterday.

First up, Chorus by Ray Lee:


Then to the shopping centre for The Lock Shift Songs
2014-07-23 13.47.29

Then we walked out through Campbell Park to Willen Lake. Campbell Park is like the landscaped garden of a stately home, complete with open air theatre and a cricket pitch. Only, instead of all the tenants being evicted to make room for it, it is there for everyone.
2014-07-23 16.53.25

On the way back, we came across an underpass with some striking acoustic properties                      2014-07-23 16.36.08

Soundfile here

Finally we went to the Pentalum, a huge inflatable by Architects of Air, for a concert by Ray Lee and Kaffe Matthews featuring theremin and resampling.

2014-07-23 14.19.552014-07-23 14.30.012014-07-23 19.24.35

More details here.

Tim [userpic]

Sound Art from Chloe Abrahams

May 16th, 2014 (07:55 am)

http://soundcollider.tumblr.com/post/85895663953/

Tim [userpic]

Soundcollider Tumblr

May 10th, 2014 (08:37 pm)

Right, so I've been playing with the idea of an audio blog for a bit, posting bits of found sound, synth noises and the occasional idea that didn't make it as a Space Heroes song. I think the best way is probably as a Tumblr so here it is. Follow if you're interested, that would be nice. First post is a cat purring.

http://soundcollider.tumblr.com/

Tim [userpic]

Top Ten Albums 2013

January 1st, 2014 (02:52 pm)

Well now. Once again it’s top 10 time. Let’s do this:

Gig of the year – a hard choice between Everything Everything at the O2 (where it turns out that they genuinely can do all that stuff live) and Harrison Birtwistle’s insane Minotaur opera at the ROH. I’m going to give it to the Birtwistle for sheer spectacle and because it was cheaper. Quite a lot cheaper. Standing upstairs at the ROH is, in fact, cheaper than standing upstairs at the Wheatsheaf for an indie band.

Disappointment of the year – no massive let downs of the scale of “Congratulations” or “ Good Don’t Sleep” so it’s going to have to go to Hurts for “Exile”. The decision to go dark and moody seems safe rather than edgy – there’s a kind of off-the-shelf angst here that doesn’t really do it for me. The tunes are decent enough – “Miracle” is as good as anything on “Happiness” - but the main problem is the full on loudness war production, which is full of nasty crunchy noises that make it physically painful to listen to in parts. Stop it. Just stop it.

Close but no cigar:
Chvrches – The Bones of What You Believe. This is pretty good and almost got in but is handicapped by the fact that after listening to it I can’t remember any of the tunes. Literally not one. Not even the tune for “We Sink” which is a great track.
Hacker Farm – UHF. Weird industrial noises, disembodied voices, and homemade electronics – I’m a sucker for this kind of stuff. Not as original as the Guardian seems to think but still pretty fine.
Future of the Left – How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident. You know FOTL by now. Album financed by music Kickstarter-a-like Pledgemusic. Not in because several of the best tunes (including the excellently named “Future Child Embarrassment Matrix”) were on the previous “Man Versus Melody” E.P. which seems a little cheap, although I guess this record being accompanied by two further E.P’s made up for it.
M.I.A. – Matangi. An album born for iTunes shuffle. The tracks are ace (although again suffer from extreme mastering fail) but as an album it’s a bit relentless.
Arcade Fire – Reflektor. I really didn’t like “The Suburbs” – it sounded like a band playing it safe and making a big pile of money. This sounds like a band trying out new things. Much better than the critical backlash would have you believe.

E.P. of the year:
East India Youth – Hostel. Oh, this was great. There’s an album out next year, which I will be buying. In the meantime check this out:


And so to the top 10.

10) Samson and Delilah – V V Brown

A bit out of the blue, this one. I’d never heard of V V Brown. It sounds like a soul singer has decided to make a synthpop album having only read about synthpop and not heard any. The result is surprisingly great. A bit Alison Moyet, a bit Annie Lennox, a bit something all its own.

9) The Next Day – David Bowie

You all know the score on this one anyway. Is it as good as old Bowie? I would argue that it’s at least as good as “lodger” which is pretty good if not up to “Heroes”.  Anyway this is the DFA remix of “Love is Lost” which suggests that next time, he should write an album, get James Murphy to remix it, then throw away the originals and release the remixes as the next Bowie album. Honestly, it’s that good.

8) Inform-Educate-Entertain – Public Service Broadcasting


Samples from old TV and radio programmes played over a background of Krautrock – we’ve heard this kind of thing before but what makes this stand out is the quality of the music. Recently played a gig at the British Library.

7) Govt Plates – Death Grips

Death Grips continue to push the envelope with their mixture of avant garde weirdness, thunderous beats, and shouting. As long as they keep doing this kind of stuff, I’ll keep buying it. Or I would if they didn’t invariably release their albums for free on the internets.

6) English Electric – OMD

An unashamed personal choice here. I love OMD and it’s nice to see them back on form. This album has a couple of odd moments -“Helen of Troy” is a strong song that seems to be trying too hard to be a lyrical cousin to“Joan of Arc”, likewise “Dresden” and “Enola Gay”, but encouragingly the best bits are when they move away from the old template a bit, as on “Our System”, “Final Song” and here on the joyous “Metroland”.

5) Factory Floor – Factory Floor

I liked them better before they sold out etc etc. Actually this is great, stripped down and mimimal. Having said that you can tell the exact instant they signed to DFA because loads of percussion suddenly turns up.

4) Field of Reeds – These New Puritans

Oh Fuck, I love TNP. This album got a bit of stick for being “inaccessible” IT’S A TNP ALBUM WHAT DID YOU FUCKING EXPECT? Anyway. It’s less accessible than Mumford and Sons but more accessible than Harrison Birtwistle. I’d give it maybe 1.2 Nymans. Utterly lovely, if that matters to you at all.

3) Arc – Everything Everything

Another of those albums I should hate – all clever noodly stuff and vocal gymnastics, like the worst of prog. However somehow this sounds completely futuristic. The huge choruses might help.

2) Silence Yourself – Savages

Squally guitar band of the year. This is a brilliant record by someone who’s not afraid to be arty and pretentious and then make an enormous racket. Album contains a track about the suicide of Field Marshall Rommel, which may be something of a first.The enormous racket starts about 1.16 in this clip BTW if you’re feeling impatient.
Which brings us to:

1) After Dark 2 - Various Artists

Yes, a compilation is my favourite album of 2013. More Glass Candy! More Chromatics! More Symmetry! I think it’s become clear that I’m going to like pretty much anything on disco producer Johnny Jewel’s Italians Do It Better label. Anyway, here’s Glass Candy’s gorgeous “Warm in the Winter” which seems right given the shitty weather outside my window. They’d like you to know that they love you.

Tim [userpic]

TVOD

September 29th, 2013 (10:39 am)

After the excitement of the IT Crowd finale and Agents of Shield, we took a punt on the new Atlantis series on BBC1.
Episode 1 "The Earth Bull" but may as well have been titled "Wait, what?" - Time travelling Jason, Pythagoras, and drunken fat Hercules must team up to slay the Minotaur. In Atlantis. Is this the new Bonekickers? Let's hope so.

Tim [userpic]

Doof doof doof

September 7th, 2013 (05:20 pm)



So it turns out the Volca's 5v sync pulse is every 1/8 note. Here I'm using it to modulate the low pass filter on the MS-20 via the external signal processor (could go straight in but using the ESP gives more control over the contour). If it looks as if I'm having fun it's because I am.

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