Summary Of New Stuff

Welcome to Winter and a happy new year. As I only seem to be sporadically updating the blog nowadays, it means, when there is news of new releases, there is a lot to report. So, besides the November release of the album, ‘Broxen‘, I’ve been very busy working on quite a few remixes and collaborations since last time I posted. Broxen has had some really positive reviews and airplay on BBC Radio a few times; which is a buzz that never leaves you, as an independent musician with no PR as such. So, many thanks to Adam Walton and Tom Robinson for playing my stuff on their shows, it means a lot.

Also, as ever, Mark Whitby and Pete Jackson of Dandelion Radio have been really supportive and playing tracks from the album. Both of them have invited me to do a live session for their respective February and March shows, which will be aired on rotation throughout those months.

In December, I recorded a spoken-word track with Equinox, featuring his words and voice and my music. It’s one of several collaborations between Equinox and various artists. The album, ‘It’s Hard To Be Happy When Your Head Is Full Of Sin’ (release date tba) will be a cracker, I’m sure.

The other major news is that my collaboration with Marie Craven has recommenced with the mini-album ‘Chasing Headlights‘. I’d really like you to hear this. Marie and myself have worked together for about 8 years, this time with poet James Brush, who provided the  words.

So, back to Broxen…… here are excerpts from a great review by Louder Than War.

“An artist that is continually evolving, Broxen brings forwards tracks of increased maturity and addiction. Influences from krautrock are obvious and the occasional oddness only helps to ensure that the Wales based Wiganer doesn’t fit into any shaped box……

Call it lo-fi, call it D.I.Y., call it whatever you will but Broxen is a fine collection of mixed beats, styles and ideas from a man not prepared to stand still and spread his electro wings. With further collaborations from Rob Halcrow (Picturebox), Manfred Hamil (The Shed Collective) and Colin Robinson (Big Block 454, Jumble Hole Clough) included together with a fine appearance from Squarepusher on album closer MIDI Sans Frontieres, this is an album that has already received widespread acclaim and reaction.”

And finally, video-maker MD/Shoots has produced some great trippy visuals for ‘No Maps’. Please do check out his other work also.

 

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A Glance Backwards…

As is customary at this time of year, one tends to evaluate, reminisce and review the past twelve months. It’s a pre-requisite for the act of moving forward; hence the tradition of getting all misty eyed about the previous year and then making resolutions about the coming year: I’m going to lose weight; I’m going to work harder/less; I’m going to be more understanding in a relationship; I’m going to devote more time to family & friends; etc.

Well, I’m no exception. I’ve got quite a bit to look back on, musically, from the past year; and I’ve got a fair bit to look forward to.

So, besides the Olympics, economic decline and the impending apocalypse; what happened for Dementio13 in 2012?

I released two albums, both of which I’m very proud of, for a start: “Crash St.” in March and “El Lissitzky” in June were released fairly soon after one another, but had been in the recording and pre-production stage for around six months previously. They were the culmination of everything I’ve done musically during the past 10 years and so, I feel, they were my best work to date. My music’s not to everyone’s taste; some think it’s too diverse, some think it’s not tough/experimental enough, some think it’s too gentle and that’s their prerogative. However, I attempt to find a balance between tunefulness and experimentalism when I record….that’s where I’m at. With these two releases, I tried to do that as well as paying homage to all the music I like and know by the artists that formed my musical tastes. ‘El Lissitzky’ was as much about Factory Records as it was about Russian Constructivism. Here’s my favourite track from ‘Crash St.’:

2012 was also a time to discover new music; by both ‘established’ artists and DIY independents. Suffice to say, that’s a distinction which is fairly irrelevant, as the quality of both categories is indistinguishable from one another. My shortlist (if I was compiling such a thing) would certainly include Matt Stevens and his band The Fierce And The Dead. ‘Guitar heroics’ is a term often used to describe viking-like rock posturing; however, Stevens plays with fluent, sometimes humorous, invention with a knowing wink to rock’s slightly absurdist past. There are also lots of great references to film music and multiple genres which lift this music above rock self-reverence. Another candidate for my fave music of the year must certainly be Colin Robinson of Big Block 454, Churn Milk Joan and Jumble Hole Clough. The latter of these three projects show him to be a masterful exponent of restraint (especially compared to the wonderful Dadaist energy of BB454), creating atmospheres and spaces rather than grooves and noise. Lastly in this short shortlist would be Steve Kelly (aka the now defunkt SK123) in his guises as Macerator and Douglas Deep. Electronic music is a splintered affair…….the sonic possibilities offered by technology often can lead to too many options for the musician. Therefore, it’s often necessary to invent multiple personas to delineate between the stylistic differences of one’s output, as Kelly has done. He employs as much skill in his use of computers, controllers and his sound-palette as the previously mentioned artists do with guitars and effects. Beats are his ouevre, though he is deft at creating atmosphere as well. His music is invigorating, inventive and vastly underrated. All three of these artists have released quality music this year and they’ve also proven to be jolly fine people as I’ve either met, or conversed with them; they’ve also been great supporters of independent music; I can’t recommend them enough.

There are also a handful of people deserving of thanks for their continued support of my own music. The writer and musician Oli Arditi has reviewed and promoted my main releases this year as both Dementio13 and Cwtch. His writing style is rare in that it explores cultural theory in an extremely wordy and eloquent way while conveying a sense of enthusiasm and non-elitism. As music blogs go, it’s as much a lesson in context and structure as it is a review of music; and makes for a refreshing and informative read. Arditi does not treat us as idiots and rather than ‘dumbing down’, he ‘clevers up’! I am now a regular reader of his blog as I know that, even if I have no intention of listening to the music he is writing about, it will always make for an interesting read. Then there’s Dandelion Radio…..what these guys (particularly Mark Whitby and Pete Jackson) have done for my music is immeasurable. In playing to a large and loyal listener-base, Dandelion have helped promote and disseminate independent/DIY music further than any artist on a tight budget could do so. In February and April, I performed two live mixes for Mark and Pete respectively.

Right, I think that covers most bases for now……apologies if I’ve missed you out but time is fairly short and this could turn into quite a tome if I were to mention everyone who has supported my efforts (and there are many of you). I’m adding the finishing touches to Laurence Made Me Cry‘s album mix today. Then I’m off to post it to Jo (who’s been patiently waiting for ages for me to get it ‘right’!). Her album’s out on 11th March 2013 and is thoroughly recommended…I should know as I’m now very familiar with these tracks!

Have a great Christmas and I’ll see you on the other side….

Cwtch – “Silver” EP nothing to do with global sports shock!

Hello,

As you may well know, when I’m not recording as Dementio13, teaching as ‘Sir’, or moaning/ruminating as Paul The Miserable Bastard, I’m recording as Cwtch with my  talented antipodean collaborator Marie Craven. We’ve been really quite busy over the past few months, what with new solo releases and (in Marie’s case) preparing/rehearsing live projects. But we always find time to make some new stuff as Cwtch.

Well here is our latest offering, released to no particular fanfare, with no big promotional ‘build-up’. What can I say about it? Well, we’ve made music which we want to hear. We’ve made the music despite a distance of thousands of miles between us. We’ve taken the best bits of what we do as solo musicians and thrown them into the blender. 5 songs which call to mind music past and present, mainstream and niche.

I hope you can share in this music….and, of course, if you like what you hear, share it with others….. we kinda rely on that.

SILVER

Please enjoy.

Time & Technique

I’m back at it, then. The day-job’s still a bit manic at the moment, but I’m managing to wedge in some serious music-making and ‘production’ as well. Still, I’ll soon have a full six weeks away from work when I can rejoin the human race!

So, hot on the heels of the ‘El Lissitzky’ release is a much welcome return to the world of Cwtch. Just when I was starting to get those post-album “what next?” pangs; Marie floats some lovely vocals over to me with the remit of ‘doing something with them’. And so I have.

Only it wasn’t quite as straight-forward as that. Which is no bad thing. Marie and I have always worked in quite a disconnected way: she sends me vocal lines, I play around with them, usually working very quickly, then send the (almost) complete track back to her for final opinions/late ideas. It’s normally done and dusted quickly and efficiently (that makes it sound like a cold, calculated process….it’s actually anything but that!). Also, when you receive a gift of vocals of such quality, beauty and personal investment; there’s a pressure to do them justice.

Anyway, as I’m tending to be much more reflective and evaluative when I’m recording nowadays, the process with Marie has slowed down a bit. We’ve been to-ing and fro-ing with emails and files all week. I’ve been tweaking and refining, while Marie’s been re-recording passages and revising the order of things.

This is the nature of working with someone 10,000 miles away. Incredible to think it, really. Ten…. thousand….. miles. Were we in the same room, recording; we would no doubt discuss and revise on the spot. But that’s impossible in the case of Cwtch.

Aaaanyway, enough of me eulogizing in wonderment at advances in network technology, what about the track? Well, it’ll probably be the first of several tracks, which may make up an EP. Which may or may not be released before the end of summer. That is for certain…or maybe it’s not. Glad we’ve got that cleared up, then.

I’ll post a preview on Soundcloud as soon as we’ve finalised it. In the meantime, here’s our most recent release (a year ago).

Tank Yew

Hello electro-beings. I’m trying to unwind my head from a manic period of work by listening to Kraftwerk’s ‘Tanzmusik’. It is, indeed, bloody lovely: driving, melodic, whimsical, ethereal…

Anyway, it dawned on me that it was only just over a week since I released ‘El Lissitzky’, my 6th album (or, to be more correct, my twelfth album….but one I haven’t deleted!). It seems like it’s always been around, not just sitting on Bandcamp for nine days. Anyway, in those nine days, people have been downloading, tweeting, sharing, blogging about and reviewing it; just as I’d hoped. So, thank you loads, people. You are the glue that holds this independent/DIY music thing together.

I’d also like to thank a few broadcasters who have supported the music and, particularly, played tracks off the album on their shows. These include Mark Ryan at Amazing Radio and Pete Jackson at Dandelion Radio…..both stations championing new, emerging music and I thoroughly recommend them.

Also, whoever has put my music on torrent sites or free download sites……thanks. My music seems to be cropping-up in all sorts of places.

So, what’s next? Well, never one to sit about on my arse, I’ve been busy working on music for my renewed collaboration with Marie Craven, known as Cwtch. At the risk of alerting the self-congratulation police, I am really liking the sound of the new track in progress. Well, I would wouldn’t I? That’s why I make music….to hear music I actually like!!!

The new Cwtch stuff will be available whenever it’s ‘finished’. Early days yet….

Love and Cheetos to you all…..

Reviews, releases and performance

Hello, you. As per usual, I’m very busy with ‘work stuff’ and am still able to spend quality time writing/recording music. The new album is coming along quite nicely though; I’ve got a decent body of tracks collected together which I’ll whittle-down to around 1 hour of music at some point. What keeps me going is, of course, the sheer pleasure (and occasional frustration) that comes through playing and recording music; as well as the occasional kind words of listeners, fans, friends, musicians and reviewers.

And so, it was particularly pleasant this week to receive, not one, but two reviews from writer/musician Oliver Arditi. Now, I’d been reading Oliver’s blog before these reviews, on a recommendation from Matt Stevens. His writing impresses me for a number of reasons. He writes about music on his blog (he also posts regular literary reviews and creative writing on his Tumblr site), reviewing various styles of DIY artists’ music in an, undoubtedly wordy, but erudite and engaging way. He has an obvious love of his subject, but also looks below the surface of the music, considering the personal, cultural and contextual significance. He avoids cliche and, more importantly, comparisons, in his reviews (something many reviewers/bloggers are guilty of…me included, of course. But really, comparing the music of X to the music of Y is just lazy!). I thoroughly recommend his writings on new releases. Anyway, he wrote two rather favourable reviews for ‘The Hobbyist’ album and for Cwtch, HERE and HERE.

I would also like to remind you that I’ve got two live sessions coming up in Feb and March 2012 on Dandelion Radio. They’re already recorded and they include some new material and narrative soundscapes. I’m going to put them up for download on Soundcloud from April.

Looking Backward To Go Forward…

Well, that’s virtually it. My summer’s nearly over and I’ll be returning to the day-job with some enthusiasm, but a slightly heavy heart. So it seems like an appropriate moment to take stock and evaluate the last 3 months. And also to mention some completed mini-projects which haven’t seen the light of day yet…but will do soon.

The main production of the summer was The Hobbyist, of course. I have been really heartened and encouraged by the response, from the number of downloads and comments. I’d just like to take this moment to thank all those who downloaded, bought, shared, commented on, or supported the album. Seriously, it’s really made all the difference.

A more recent and, as is my way, a speedier production was the new Cwtch EP, which was only released this week. Marie did a brilliant job on the vocals and, as ever, it was a cinch to get the music recorded around them as a result. Even though we work ‘together’ with 8000 miles, or whatever it is, between us; we still manage to make unified music. It’s a cool way to work.

So, those were the main projects. But I’ve been busy on the remixing front too; most of which haven’t been released yet. Mainly because they are being released as part of other artists’ albums or as bonus tracks. These release times are estimates, but I think they will be available soon-ish:

Remix of Alone‘s track ‘Fizzing’ – it will appear on his new EP which I think will be released in September.

Likewise with Jewellers‘ track ‘Amber’ which I remixed at the beginning of July. I think that might be a bonus track on their EP, around Sept.

I did a re-build of Pinklogik‘s track ‘Playing With Sticks’. Jules is releasing an album of remixes of the track by a variety of artists around December/January and my version will be on there.

Finally, I’ve entered a competition to remix Tara Busch‘s track ‘Rocket Wife’. Not to win of course (nervous cough!), but more as a challenge and because it’s for a good cause (The Bob Moog Foundation). That’s posted, but won’t be made public at the moment.

So, as a result of all this, I’m taking a break from recording for a while. I’m going to concentrate on practise and discipline! I want to try to get my bass-playing up to scratch! So, I’ll be practising and keeping any moments of genius (!) to myself!!! Also, I think I need to make some longer-term plans regarding my music, rather than just letting music ‘escape’ every so often! I think I’ll be back in the saddle after Christmas….that means 2012, basically.

So, thanks again for your support (yes, you!) and thanks for reading.

Cwtch have been at it again…

Marie (Craven) and myself have been working on a new short collection of tracks and, I’m happy to say, it’s now available for download at Cwtch Central for free/pay-what-you-want.

It’s a warm combination of abstract lyrics, impeccably sung vocals, analogue atmospheres and stark beats. Marie thinks it sounds a bit like Boards Of Canada; I can see the comparison, but I think it sounds like Cwtch!

Anyway….please feel free to download, enjoy, share and pass it on.

Peace out brothers and sisters…..