It's that time of year again when the North-East of England sees the biennial AV Festival descend upon its streets for a week. Working feverishly over the preceding fortnight, I managed to get involved by writing a piece of music for the festivities being held in Newcastle's Culture Lab, as part of the Music & Machines VIII conference. My resulting contribution was a 4.1 9-minute piece called Reception.
This year the symposium shared the AV Festival's theme of Broadcast, featuring a variety of lectures, presentations and interventions by various key writers, artists and musicians. In between the scheduled presentations, artists from Newcastle University presented a series of installations and performance pieces taking inspiration from Jeffrey Sconce's notion of Haunted Media, using sample material sourced from Antonin Artaud's Pour en finir avec le jugement de Dieu, a recording originally commissioned by Radio France sixty years ago for a broadcast that never was (unsurprising, given the blasphemous and and somewhat scatological subject matter).
For those of you who were interested in hearing my very early works, I've added tracks from my 2001 demo CD, AudioMicroDevice, to the music page, completely remastered, with high quality versions also available for purchase. I guess it's the first time for almost eight years that these tracks are available in genuine lossless CD-quality, too.
AudioMicroDevice was originally given away to anyone who asked, and while the tracklist varied a bit depending on what I was writing at the time, I'm quite sure I've managed to collect all the tracks from the CD's various permutations (the discogs listing is pretty much accurate). Some of the tracks went on to be released on A Midsummer Nice Dream, others though various compilations, and so couldn't be included here; I'm just filling in the gaps, making the long-lost material available for those who are curious, for a bit of fun.
Stylistically, it's pretty varied stuff, written before I'd actually settled into any kind of musical identity; some of the tracks were actually college coursework pieces, which might account for the scattered nature of the CD.
After a few late nights spent tinkering with the inner-workings of my site, I'm pleased to inaugurate the new Ochre Download Store! It's basically an extension of the previous music page; in addition to the usual free downloads, you now have the option of purchasing 320kbps mp3s and FLACs of each track. I've been wanting to offer better quality versions of the tracks for quite a while now, so I'm glad to be able to offer some lossless CD-quality FLACs of each track for the first time. Hopefully I'll be able to cover the costs of the store, which is powered by E-Junkie.
I've priced the individual 320kbps mp3s at $0.79 (~£0.40) and the FLACs at $0.99 (~£0.50), which I hope is reasonable, given their quality. For extra savings, you can purchase a bundle containing the whole lot for $15 (mp3) and $20 (FLAC). Payment at the moment is via PayPal, though you don't need an account to pay---you can simply enter your credit card information in directly. Once you've paid, you'll be presented with your download links, which will also be emailed to you.
Of course, you're still welcome to download the full mp3s for free, and although the quality is limited to 128kbps 22.05kHz, this should be enough to still enjoy the music on portable players etc.
So, please test the store, make sure everything works, and let me know if you come across any bugs, or have any suggestions. :)
After recently reading some articles and interviews on Wired featuring Talking Heads’ David Byrne, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and NIN front man Trent Reznor, I got thinking again about mp3s, and how best (if at all) to sell them directly. Looking at how Radiohead and Saul Williams have priced their downloads, can we glean any more clues yet as how best to price music downloads alongside CDs?
If I had to profess some sort of New Year's resolution, it would probably be along the lines of 'be more productive.' So, apologies for the radio silence over the past couple of months or so; I've been pretty much occupied by some festive employment, which will thankfully draw to a close this weekend. I'd like to think that from then on I'll be a little more forthcoming with blog updates and future project information.
But just to let you know I haven't been completely idle, as apart from the Ed Chamberlain remix, I've also been collaborating with the industrious multi-instrumentalist Benet Walsh, whose name you may recognise in electronica circles from his work with Plaid (providing guitar for the tracks Ralome and Eyen, among others). Hopefully we'll have penned a couple more tracks together, in addition to those we've already completed, for release at some point this year.
On the mastering side of business, I've been enjoying some rich and varied projects ranging from Gaelic laments to experimental ambient, house and metal---hopefully this will continue through 2008!
I've recently polished off a remix of Ed Chamberlain's track 'Styge', available at some point in the hopefully not-too-distant future on Baselogic Records. You can hear the remix in its entirety in exquisite 22kHz 96kbps nigh-fidelity on MySpace. I'm fairly certain when it drops it'll be 12" only.
Also, I've finished uploading decent streaming mp3s of A Midsummer Nice Dream to Virb, so you can preview the album there before buying it, should you feel so inclined, from Toytronic (because as far as I can tell, it's one of the few places left where you can still find it on CD and 12"). After all, you can't buy what you haven't heard, can you?
Benbecula Yearbook 2006 marks the premiere of an annual Benbecula release retrospective compilation, with a bargain price tag of 99p for all twelve tracks! It's a download-only release in association with Bleep, featuring the track highlights from albums released last year. The artwork is also available here for download in high-resolution print-quality, so you can make your own CD sleeve/insert, should you wish. Purchase here.
My contribution to the release is 'Bluebottles', from my most recent Lemodie album (also available on Bleep, naturally).
Although I'd joined quite a while back, I've only now just gotten round to actually putting some content up there. For those who have no idea what I'm writing about, Virb is basically almost everything MySpace should be yet isn't. The music you upload isn't badly butchered down to a poor quality pale imitation of what you uploaded; nor are the images you upload suddenly peppered with unsightly jpeg compression artefacts. The interface is clean and user-friendly, featuring nice modern shiny web design touches such as AJAX elements, and has a decent straightforward flash music player too (and doesn't appear to limit the amount of music you can upload, either). It also appears to be highly customisable, though I've yet to really test that side of things.
All it's missing is the user base! Time will tell whether Virb can attract anything like the amount of users its rivals can, and whether this will impact its generous hosting terms. But if you're on there, feel free to drop me a comment... and add me! ;) virb.com/ochre
Here's another live set provided courtesy of the kind folks at Musikcafeen, recorded at the start of the year in Århus, Denmark, for the Prototype event. Also playing on the night was the wonderful fiddle-thrashing Frog Pocket.
Phew, what a day last Friday was. After taking five and a half hours to travel a route that should have taken no longer than about an hour and a half, I finally made it to Glade, just in time to play my set. So much for the three hour notice! Many were held up outside the venue thanks to a severely flooded road/roundabout and the subsequent rescue operation to fish unfortunate children from the local primary school. We almost literally had to push the boat out when it came to just getting to Glade, as my trusty Polo sailed through eighteen inches of floodwater on many occasions, but I made it to gate three eventually and upon parking in a farm, I hurriedly set off to the ID Spiral Stage to play my set.
Thankfully the rain abated for the rest of the day (hopefully for the rest of the weekend -- I didn't stick around for the whole shebang, as much as I wouldn't mind catching Plaid and Squarepusher) and despite wrecking unsuitable footwear with the fetid sludge that covered the venue on my way to the stage, I managed to quickly set-up and played a two-hour set that thankfully went without a hitch. I was due for just a 90-minute set, but after following artists struggled to make it through the weather on time (understandably) I was asked to continue a little longer. Had quite a lot of material loaded up in my Ableton Live set, so this wasn't a problem.
Thanks to everyone who managed to make to the ID Spiral Stage and catch my set -- I hope you enjoyed it, and continued to enjoy the weekend.