Finishing the new album

photo 1Having begun with very rough musical sketches at the end of 2009, it’s quite hard to get my head around the idea that my new album is actually finished and just about ready to master after all this time. There have been several large gaps of many months in the process, here’s a couple of previous brief blogs from 2013 and 2010.

Since the first self-funded album (Burnessence) back in 1983, one of the reasons that I have not always been happy with finished material is the lack of time (and money) spent to get the production up to a reasonably high standard. The best results have been achieved when we’ve set the bar a bit higher, as on Finding New Ways To Love (2004). In more ways than one, the new album is a follow-up to that, even though I also released Vision On in 2007. Including the Burnessence LPs and the Infinite Ocean mini-album (1997), this will be my seventh album release altogether.

photo 3Co-producer and engineer Julian Tardo has been as supportive as ever at Church Road in Hove. Julian has had extensive experience with a wide range of successful contemporary acts, including work on sessions with The Antlers and The War On Drugs, amongst countless others. It’s a mystery as to how he has been able to put up with so much of my artistic madness for so long – top bloke! Based on his experience with my album, he has written a blog on Long Term Project Management, discussing such matters as how we began in Logic 8 and finished in Logic X. Between us, we’ve just about held things together.

View from the computer - Julian (right) and myself

View from the studio computer, on a good day

The album will probably go up on Bandcamp first, with perhaps something on Soundcloud as a taster. If there is sufficient interest, there will be a CD release to follow. What’s it like? Well… it’s very me. There’s some progrock, there’s some seventies, eighties and nineties influences from different genres. Having ditched the original title of Spirit Level after it popped up in the career of Brian Pern (the BBC3 parody of Peter Gabriel) I am currently going for…

Whose Dream Are You Living?

Cancel The Apocalypse by Andrew Simms

CancelTheApocalypseMore economic growth! It will solve everything! Or will it? In this book of relentless and exceptionally thorough analysis, Andrew Simms of the new economics foundation (nef) carefully exposes the many weaknesses of an economic system committed to growth at all costs. Perhaps more importantly, he is equally masterful at presenting the many practical alternatives that could help us (and maybe will have to help us) out of the mess we are in.

Certain basics are questioned in the opening chapters. The measurement of GDP only shows the quantity of economic growth, it says nothing about the quality. Is it really okay that banks literally create 97 per cent of the money in existence, simply by loaning it out? What is going on in advanced economies that leads to so much unhappiness for so many? Simms continually questions the whole value system, using countless quotes and examples from everyday life, history, science, politics around the world and just about everything else. Chapter 9 is particularly powerful as he rips into the advertising industry.

AndrewSimmsOne of the recurring major themes is the need to re-connect with our environment, with each other and with ourselves. “I believe that the way ahead – and I am fully aware that this involves inviting the scorn of that same culture – is to fall back in love with the world, and each other”. Andrew Simms presents us with suggestions for the way forward, many of which have already been tried and tested in different cultures at different times. Revitalizing local economies through co-operatives, shortening the working week, a move away from the doctrine of neoliberalism as taught in universities. “An obvious forward step is to shift the balance of corporate ownership and governance away from the domination of the shareholder model.” Towards the end of the book there are some very interesting observations and comments about China’s economic development. There is a clear, human and refreshingly sane voice, throughout this intense book. Nice one Andrew.

100,000 views – thank you

The all-time views for this blog have just passed 100,000. Thank you everyone 🙂

I started it back in December 2006. I didn’t really bother too much for the first few years, a lot of my early entries (now deleted) were more like facebook posts, which wasn’t around then – life without facebook, can you imagine it!?

Even though I’m not exactly a prolific blogger, I started developing things a bit more seriously at the beginning of last year (turning on the “likes” and “shares” was a good start…) which led to over 32,000 views for the whole of 2014. Over 50,000 of the all-time views have been for the Sanctuary Housing posts, the top all-time post being “Are Sanctuary Housing Above The Law?” with over 45,000 views.

Thanks again.

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