Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

I’ve been in such a strange mood all day, without really being able to figure out why. I’m struggling to articulate the feeling; almost wistful, but not quite, and over absolutely nothing. It rendered me unable to even contemplate writing, which was my agenda for the day. Hmm… what to do?

I gave the oven an overdue clean, but that failed to stir up any sense of achievement. Then, I watched The Three Doctors followed by Arc of Infinity, but neither were able to distract me, and not just because they were both a bit rubbish. As evening descended, I tended towards Morgan’s Spiced Rum, followed by Triple Sec, Morgan’s Spiced Rum and Triple Sec with Coke*, and a desperate snifter of Peach Schnapps to quell the malaise. It barely touched the sides.

Ultimately, the only action that managed to lift my spirits was sitting in the garden, in the gushing rain, listening to Teen Dream by Beach House (10 Mile Stereo, twice). Deep exhalation, music booming through headphones, rain pounding. So, unexplained disquiet, eventually vanquished. At least it dispels my own personal trope that I have to be gloomy to write, so that’s a positive lesson.

Actually, I don’t know whether it is due to my improved demeanour or because I’m a bit tipsy, but The Caves of Androzani is pretty damn good so far. Well, apart from the guy in the gimp mask. Now there’s a cheap-looking armadillo monster. Maybe I spoke too soon.

* I blame Nic for this. I do well to avoid drinking Coke since it is a nasty, body-shocking concoction, but my efforts usually consist of little more than not buying it, which is easy. However, Nic came home with two six-packs of Coke, and when it is in the house I find it very difficult not to partake.

© 2011 Ashley J. Allen, All Rights Reserved

  • Causality (hornfingerproductions.wordpress.com)

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I went charity shopping today. I picked up a copy of Star Trek: Conquest for the Wii for £3. It looks a bit rubbish, but I thought it was worth a punt at that price. Philanthropy, it seems, is incredibly exhausting – my body jellified upon my front door re-entry – so I spent the remainder of my day watching season five of Futurama and thinking up the five members of my ideal fantasy band.

So far I’ve got Omar Hakim on drums (other candidates: John Densmore and Mitch Mitchell), Noel Redding on bass (other candidates: Jaco Pastorius and Kim Deal), Graham Coxon on lead guitar (other candidates : Bernard Butler and Kevin Shields), Richard D. James on… well, pretty much anything, but mainly synths (other candidates, though not directly comparable: Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, and Frank Zappa), and Charlotte Hatherley on vocals and rhythm guitar (other candidates: Harriet Wheeler and KatieJane Garside). I was tempted to squeeze Mike Patton into the group, but the idea of a female vocalist appealed more, somehow. I haven’t thought up a name yet. A surprisingly productive day, methinks.

© 2011 Ashley J. Allen, All Rights Reserved

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I’m now glad that I didn’t pop out for drinks with friends earlier. I feel awful, which is inevitably going to preclude me from writing a proper entry today. It was going to be great, too: I was going to rant about Zack Snyder‘s terrible, terrible films. I thought that the vertigo had gone – enough to encourage me to do a little yoga yesterday, which is far more intensive than I remember, but then again I used to have some muscle mass – but it returned this evening, accompanied by another nausea-inducing headache (that may have been M & M-related).

But, before my body decided to throw a tantrum, look what I did:


Yes, after nearly six months living in this house I got around to displaying my CDs (although, not all of them fit in the stand, and it irked me to put them elsewhere, out of sight). Alphabetical order, too, in case you had any doubt. It’s been about a year since I used physical media to listen to music, so I’m well overdue a CD listening day. But, why the Hell do I own a Thomas Dolby album? When I was a kid in the Eighties, I thought that the music of the future would sound like Thomas Dolby. I count my blessings every day that my youthful premonition did not come to pass.

© 2011 Ashley J. Allen, All Rights Reserved

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I swear, if I see another drug-induced trip sequence set to White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane I’m going to freak out, and I can assure you that my freak out will be more imaginatively scored. It has become such a cliché that it should never feature in film or television again, not even in a knowing, post-modern way. The Simpsons seems to use it in that capacity at least once every season. It upsets me how bad that show has become. I think I’d pick something like Astronaut by Beach House instead.

Speaking of Beach House, their last album, Teen Dream, was my writing soundtrack today. Excellent, and set the perfect tone. I just wish I’d managed more than a page, but I know why I didn’t. I foresee another problem ahead, say another page or two. The reluctant protagonist needs to be convinced to remain with the ensemble.

Only problem is, this will be the second time I’ve had to work out a reason for him to stay. The first time is plausible, and a good fit for the story. I’m afraid that the second time might come across as contrived. Maybe that because it’s the same character, both times, that talks him around. I need to step away from the original source material and be a bit more imaginative.

Ooh, I think I just solved it. Maybe this blog isn’t so pointless after all.

© 2011 Ashley J. Allen, All Rights Reserved

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Remember my fear a few days back that my coconuts would be too mature to contain coconut water? Well, I received them. They sat in my fruit bowl as I pondered cracking one open to view its contents. Then, a brainwave: I could simply shake them! So I shook my coconuts

…to hear the satisfying sloshing I was hoping for. Hooray! But look at what the idiots at ASDA did to my bottle of Morgan’s Spiced Rum:

Incompetent bastards! I’m waiting for them to return to replace it with an untagged bottle. I don’t often drink any more, so this was meant to be a special treat and ASDA have ruined it. Boo!

My replacement has just arrived:

Hooray again! Now, since I don’t own a machete, does anybody know how to effectively remove the top of a coconut?

Yay! New track from Battles! More news for celebration! Oh… That’s not quite what I was expecting. I’m not sure I like it. It’s intriguing enough for at least one more listen, though.

© 2011 Ashley J. Allen, All Rights Reserved

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I love Rasputin by Boney M. It takes real balls – or maybe just great ignorance – to cast one of the most “evil” (I hate using the word evil; it’s vague and quite reductionistic. It’s often more complicated than a moral absolute. Probably not the place to debate it, though) and sadistic figures in modern history as a wayward Lothario (or, a cat):

Most people looked at him with terror and with fear/But to Moscow chicks he was such a lovely dear

…only to briefly lament his more undesirable deeds:

It was a shame how he carried on

About a man who once raped a nun? Sheer brilliance.

I had another awful headache today, until I decided upon a brief foray into Chorlton and visited this place:

Photo by John Hartley

Remarkably, it’s a Wetherspoons pub, called The Sedge Lynn. I love the Art Nouveau styling, especially since it is so at-odds with the surrounding architecture. I sat and had a coffee; within minutes the pressure in my head abated. I just hope that I don’t suffer the anticipated hangover from my increased level of activity over the last two days, especially tomorrow. Why? I’m going to start writing again (hopefully). When I think about it I get a nervous flutter in my belly. I’ve missed that.

© 2011 Ashley J. Allen, All Rights Reserved

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Screw it. I’ve just spent the last four hours re-recording one of the tracks from yesterday and I’ve encountered the same problem and I have no idea what is causing it. It sounds fine to start with, but around the two minute mark both the bass and the drum tracks starts playing out of time, as though their tempos were independent to everything else.

The reason I don’t know what is causing it is because I’ve sequenced every track at 160 beats-per-minute. It should all tally, but it doesn’t. Apart from a slight wobble on my first day, I have been using the same technique and equipment to record during the whole of February. Why now? Since there is seemingly nothing I can do to solve this, my stubbornness has been vanquished.

I have experimented with putting a guide track before and after – 00:00 and 04:00 – the bass and the drums. Before recording they are perfectly synchronised, but after they have been separately recorded the drum track is nearly a second longer. But how? This is going to bug me all night. I’m tempted to send an abusive e-mail to Adobe, à la Tom Hicks Jr. That would have been topical a year ago.


I had to try again. This happened:

Yep, screw it. I’m done.

* Obscure reference, and one of my earliest childhood memories.

© 2011 Ashley J. Allen, All Rights Reserved

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