palindrome pal·in·drome | \ˈpa-lən-ˌdrōm \ : a word, verse, or sentence (such as "Able was I ere I saw Elba") or a number (such as 1881) that reads the same backward or forward
Hey everyone, and a Happy New Year to the lot of you.
Since the end of the summer I’ve been working on an album, called CARRY THE MARTYR, releasing tracks as I go: No promo, no noise, just having fun in the studio and uploading stuff when it sounded kind of finished.
While I’ve totally loved producing the painstaking piano soundscapes of PENINSVLA and CELLS, I just wanted to make some fun music, with my heart, not my head. CARRY THE MARTYR hopes to be just that.
Well, since breaking up for work before Christmas I’ve been working at ironing out creases and gluing the whole project together. It’s done and there’s 10 bloody tracks of the thing. While I often find my music hard-to-describe, not this album. This album is 100% house music. 120bpm, 4-to-the-floor from start to finish.
Listen and download for free here: carrythemartyr.bandcamp.com and it’ll be on Spotify et al soon.
And now, as a New Year’s present, it’s yours. I hope you enjoy it on your New-Years-Resolution runs, at your New-Years-Resolution gym sessions, and while scoffing 20 toblerones in your car sat on the driveway as you fail your New-Years-Resolution diet.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
(A note on project names: Every time I release music under a different name, I get the same questions: Are you not doing XXX music anymore? Has XXX band broken up? Is this a new XXX?… Nah, guys, it’s just a way of segmenting my increasingly ridiculous back-catalog. Plus, I loves me a new logo.)
As more time passes, I’m less and less sure if effort, or hard work makes a difference at all to productivity. I mean we all know, deep down, that hard work doesn’t equate to higher earnings, otherwise nurses would be millionaires. But does greater effort lead to greater… anything really?
Here’s a track that came out a few days ago that I produced with Eleanor, in an afternoon. Sure, we could have done things a lot differently if we’d had longer, we could have spent longer on the mix and post production, but what this captures is something very special; raw creativity (mostly hers!), done and dusted.
We could have spent a month on this track, we could have used better gear, found a better space to record, but we didn’t. And not only did we express something in a creative and energised way, people seem to be enjoying it.
The same with my little side-project Carry The Martyr, which has been composed mainly on headphones on my laptop in lunch-breaks, on trains, and outside my kids evening swimming classes. Just add 10 parts inspiration to every 1 part effort. There’s now 5 tracks of the thing in just a few weeks, and sure I’m enjoying it so much that when I have a more significant body of work I’ll mix everything down paying a lot more attention to the process and master everything to make it flow a bit (a lot) better.
One of my favourite artists is Salventius, who creates amazing one line drawings in seconds. This kind of reminds me that he’s standing on a mountain of practice, experience and work to get to the place where he can create these beautiful images in a few seconds, but at the same time the product doesn’t match the speed or effort he puts in at all!
And, because I’m naturally pretty pessimist this eventually leads me to think of all the times I’ve sweat blood and tears over projects and they’ve turned out… okay. Today marks 5 years since Bex and my last single as Kinetic Monkey. The whole album took ages, took a lot of headwork, we promoted hard, and… yeah. it’s okay. It’s a decent job, but it’s not by a long stretch the kind of music I’d hope would come from 100% effort.
And I’m not knocking effort. If something’s worth doing it’s worth doing well. Passion and dedication are important to us as humans, but this myth of “hard work pays off” needs to die. Who is it that said “The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good.”?
My wife is a photographer. I know, I know, we’re all photographers in the age of the iPhone, but what I mean is my wife takes photos for a living. And she does it bloody well. So well, in fact, that people give us free holidays in return for her taking some photos while we’re on said holiday’s and popping them on instagram. You should go check her instagram out. It’s here: https://www.instagram.com/ourbeautiful_adventure/
So this week I’ve been away in Scotland with my family, just north of Loch Lomond, while my wife takes the occasional photo. It’s been BEAUTIFUL. If you haven’t been it’s hard to describe quite how remote mid-Scotland feels. There’s nothing around but mountains and lakes, oh plus whisky and hot tubs.
But as my wife took breath-taking photos of beautiful landscapes, I was utterly out of my comfort zone with a camera in my hands.
I’m not really a landscape kind of guy. As my friend Darren put it, my style is “grainy / black and white / old people”. I don’t think I’m a proper street-photographer, but urban environments are definitely my jam, photography-wise.
Anyhow, I took my trusty Leica stuffed with grainy old black and white film, and my little digital mirrorless, as I fancied some immediate feedback on my attempts at landscapes.
I didn’t want to abandon my grainy black and white style, but didn’t know how that’d translate to lakes and mountains.
Anyway here are some shots (all shot on digital, haven’t processed any film yet!)
Thursday though, I abandoned my family to finish their holiday while I went to a work thing I’d committed to before the holiday was on the cards, and I had 45 minutes to kill in central Glasgow between trains. So what did I shoot? Yup. Grainy / black and white / old people. Here they are.
So, the crazy guys at ASM Retro still make new cartridges for the OLD old game boys. This halloween they're releasing an album on a Gameboy Cartridge, and it's featuring little old me!