Facebook Page Up Again

And it needs you! Yes, I know you may have already done this (and I do apologise for the inconvenience), but it'd be awfully nice of you to click on it again.

Following my traditional of sporadic and occasionally regrettable social media suicides, I had removed my Facebook profile after inadvertently hosing the Ochre page (I thought it would be 'hibernating' along with my personal profile, but I guess not!). Now while I'm not missing MySpace, Facebook was a much handier means of getting snippets of news updates out there, and although Twitter has become increasingly useful for this, there's no denying Facebook's convenience and popularity.

I think it'd probably be a good idea for me to install some admin other than myself though, just in case I get trigger happy while aiming at my feet again.

Oh, and I am working on some new music by the way too, if I may self-consciously steer this post towards something a little more newsworthy. More details to come soon (demo track deleted from post).

Physical/Vinyl sales @ Bandcamp

If you've been following Bandcamp's Twitter/blog updates you'll have probably noticed a rather major update: the ability to sell physical products alongside your downloads. Needless to say, I sorted out a bundle for my remaining Midsummer Nice Dream vinyl, pairing up the double vinyl and an instant download for the current sale price of £5. I'll keep it at that price until next week, so if you were thinking about either purchasing it on FLAC or picking up the vinyl, now's the time to act. Consequently, I'll probably retire the Ochre shop in its current state, and divert traffic to Bandcamp for sales.

I've also sent some vinyl to CD Baby, enabling stateside fans to get a better deal on shipping than ordering from me, although at the current sale price it's probably still cheaper to buy direct.

Ochre on Spotify

Just a quick note to let you all know that my Benbecula releases are now on Spotify; I've added direct links for each release on the music page. 'Midsummer' will hopefully follow once Emubands hammer out a deal with Spotify.

A Midsummer Nice Dream Vinyl for a Fiver?

Yes, actually. Time for an autumnal sale! The AMND double 12" will be half-price, at just a fiver plus P&P, at the Ochre shop. For a limited period of around a week, until I thereafter hopefully remember to put the prices up again.

All proceeds will go towards a CD repress of either AMND or Lemodie. Not sure which yet!

Ochre Vinyl Dubplate

I shared this on Twitter last week, but I thought I'd leave a note about it on the blog too (given I don't have a ton of other news right now). I recently got a one-off vinyl dubplate carved up for a certain designer who's been helping me out a lot lately. Can't say I've ever held or played one before, but it's quite interesting---a bit different from your garden-variety vinyl. I don't know how it compares to a lacquer dubplate, apart from being much more resilient, but it does resemble a slab of perspex quite a bit---certainly thicker and more transparent than any 'clear' vinyl I've seen before.

It'd be nice to be able to sell odd one-offs like this, as they really are quite unique. Maybe start a line of Ochre 'Auratic Artefacts'...

Mastering Service and Shop Re-Opening

Now that I'm back in the land of music-making after a summer of ridiculous humidity, pink flamingos and pastel-coloured houses (guess where?), I've re-opened my shop and resumed mastering. Current mastering rates: £12 per track (plus £12 for CD compilation). Current shop inventory: double AMND 12" vinyl for £10 (CDs now sold out). As ever, if there's anything you'd like to see in the shop (more CDs etc.), I'll try and make plans for it.

I now have a new website for the mastering side of things, too: Melograf Mastering!

Also added a nice new album review from The Milk Factory.

New Album ‘Like Dust of the Balance’ Out Now

Like Dust of the Balance

Along with my previous albums, you can stream the whole thing in its entirety here, and can purchase downloads through Bleep and Amazon mp3, with iTunes et al following whenever they get round to it. If you missed out on Lemodie CDs, Bleep now has Lemodie available in lossless wav, for a proper CD-quality download. I had hoped for a repress, but as Benbecula are closing their doors in November, that’s probably now not going to happen.

As for ‘Like Dust’ CDs, your best bet at the moment is to order directly from Benbecula, though I’ve noticed Juno, Norman Records and Rough Trade also have it up for sale. Hopefully the CDs will filter through the usual retail outlets in time, but as it was with Lemodie, distribution is expected to be somewhat spotty for a while.

A Midsummer Nice Dream CDs have now completely sold out; if there's sufficient demand for a repress, I'll organise one down the road at some point.

The Ochre tees and hoodies have been selling quite nicely, and I've added some more designs for the fairer sex too. Send me some pictures of you wearing your Ochre threads and I'll put up a gallery of the best ones.

New Album Soft-Release (Bleep, Amazon mp3)

That is a legitimate term, isn't it? Soft-release? Well the album's out in the sense that it can be exchanged for hard-cash from the likes of Amazon mp3 and Bleep. If you've already swung by Bleep you've probably noticed that they now keep their lossless catalogue in wav format, rather than FLAC. While this might mean downloads are a little longer (less of a problem these days I guess), it'll also mean greater player compatibility without having to decode anything, which is handy (always a step ahead of the pack, those crafty Bleeplings). Shame lossless still carries a premium over mp3, but I'm sure that'll fall by the wayside eventually.

Anyway, for the CDs, we're now looking at next Monday, unless you pre-ordered from Benbecula, in which case you'll have it this week, I think. As ever, you can stream the whole thing on my music page, or Last.fm.

Ochre Apparel Now Available/First LP Review by The Wire

The Wire (click to enlarge)

Combi-post. Firstly, I'm very proud to present a new line of professionally-designed Ochre apparel (currently comprising of some sweet tees and hoodies) sporting Nate Reeves' flowing Ochre logo. Manufactured on-demand through Spreadshirt, the garments feature some plush flock prints (the kind that's slightly raised and soft), as well as some special print treatments such as glitter and sparkle finishes. There are a generous variety of complementary colours available already, but I'll probably add a couple more products, such as some ladies tees. If there's anything else you'd like to see in there, then please feel free to make suggestions.

Worth noting: UK/European customers are probably best served by Spreadshirt.net, as it's based in Germany, but for everyone else, you'll probably want to buy from the US-based Spreadshirt.com.

Secondly, the first review has come back, from the venerable The Wire magazine. I've transcribed the review to text here, but you can probably read the original scan anyway, so here it is. Not a bad start to the album's life, I hope you'll agree. Now roll on Monday!

Have a good weekend.

P.S. Happy Birthday to me, antique-aged thirty...

5 Online Tools to Help Indie Musicians

Here’s a quick review of 5 online services and tools I’ve made use of and felt most helpful to me as an independent online musician, during the past year or so:

1. WordPress

As if you hadn’t already noticed, my site’s based on the excellent open source blog/CMS platform, WordPress, which continues to impress me with every update. It runs on PHP with a MySQL database, which allows me, as a non-programmer, to get a fairly complex site up and running without having to know much about the actual programming-side of things. Yet, it’s flexible enough that if you want to change the look of your site, you can do so without much more than a rudimentary knowledge of CSS---simply tweak your theme however you see fit, blissfully ignorant of the more complex inner workings going on behind the curtain. Even if you can’t be fussed editing your own theme, there are plenty of ready-made themes available to download and activate, from within the WP admin area itself.

Another great aspect to WordPress is its extensibility---there exists a veritable plethora of handy plugins written by charitable geeks, provided for free, affording your site some very handy bolt-on features. As with the themes, you can browse and install plugins from within the admin area---no tedious download/install needed.
Read on…

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Header image: National Ignition cover art, by nkurence.