Week from Monday 5th December 2016

Here comes December, here comes the colder weather, here come the FUNNY EARS...

My twitpeeps and I exchanged some hearts, stars and little bendy arrows over the subject of SOUTH AFRICAN JAZZ. By that I mean the MADE-IN-EXILE/BLUE NOTES/DOLLAR BRAND/"IN THE TOWNSHIPS"/"BROTHERHOOD OF BREATH" school of spontaneous music and nothing to do with gymnasia full of kids clanging on oil drums! ...which somehow led to a comparison of various JOHN SURMAN projects of the 1970s. I actually came up with something that even the mighty SID SMITH hadn't heard! Then I got ten-out-of-ten in an online ROBERT FRIPP quiz. I personally thought it was a bit too easy, but I'm not allowed to express an opinion.

There is a 'NEW' piece of music by IGOR STRAVINSKY, heard for the first time since it was written for Rimsky-Korsakov's funeral in 1908. To these FUNNY EARS, it has a definite 'Wagnerian' shade of gloomy (finest kind!). I managed to catch the WORLD PREMIERE (the morning after) on the yewchoobs, but now it has gone again. So I can't post a link to it here, you'll just have to take my word that IT HAPPENED! Meanwhile, on a more upbeat note, I nabbed another rather good KING TUBBY'S dub collection for £1.50 at a local charity shop...

The 'INDIAN SUMMER' has yielded some nice subject matter for my #ViewFromTheWalkies photo album. The sun doesn't venture much higher than the rooftops at this time of year, so the clear blue skies and the long shadows play nicely about the rusty trees and architecture. I also managed to catch some good sunsets, back-lit vapour trails and all!

Okay guys and gals, this crazy little thing we call MUSIC has certainly had its ups and downs in 2016. This week, we lost founding father GREG LAKE. But it's that "PICK-O-THE-YEAR" time of year again! This am THE SHINY NEW THINGS that have set my toes a-tapping this twelvemonth:-
New Releases 2016

1) Miroslav Vitous - "Music of Weather Report" (ECM)
2) Radiohead - "A Moon Shaped Pool" (XL)
3) Anoushka Shankar - "Land Of Gold" (DG)
Also (in no particular order):
Stick Men - "Prog Noir" (Iapetus/Bandcamp)
Ian Boddy - "As Above So Below" (DiN)
King Crimson - "Radical Action..." (DGM)
Markus Reuter - "Live In Pomona 2016" (Iapetus/Bandcamp)
The Mute Gods - "Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me" (Inside Out)
King Crimson - "Live in Toronto" (DGM)
Steven Wilson - "4½" (KScope)
Reissues, Archive & Back-Catalogue

1) Gil Evans - "Plays Music of Jimi Hendrix" (RCA)
2) Yes - "Tales From Topographic Oceans" (Panagyric)
3) Budgie - "The MCA Albums 1973-75" (MCA)
Also (in no particular order):
Miles Davis - "Tokyo'73" (Iconography)
King Crimson - "Beat" (DGM)
JBK - "Playing In A Room With People" (Bandcamp)
Markus Reuter - "Todmorden 513: Premiere Performance" (Iapetus/Bandcamp)
King Crimson - "Tour Box 2016" (DGM)
Man - "Original Albums Series Vol.2" (Parlophone)
King Crimson - "Three of a Perfect Pair" (DGM)
Miles Davis - "Bootleg Series Vol.5: Freedom Jazz Dance" (Sony)
King Crimson - "Rehearsals & Blows 1983" (DGM)
Santana - "The Early Broadcasts" (GoFaster)
Week from Monday 12th December 2016

I'm blasting a recent gig by MAGMA before I venture out into the murky morn... a monumental version of "THEUSZ HAMTAAKH" and the one in which they seem to mention saveloy sandwiches a lot. Fans of the Lady Mondergreen can have a field day with Magma.

Highly variable weather this week. No two consecutive #ViewFromTheWalkies piccies are atmospherically similar! I had to make two trips to Gozzy this week, sorting out some envelope labels for our friendly neighbourhood insurance consultants. I also took in a trip to Southampton to buy my Xmas prezzy to myself... Yep! You guessed it! Yet another MILES DAVIS box set has just come out! "FREEDOM JAZZ DANCE" is volume five of "THE BOOTLEG SERIES" and is a fly-on-the-wall, warts-and-all document of the studio sessions for "MILES SMILES". I fully expect it to feature frequent mumblings of the word 'MOTHERF***ER'.

#ViewFromTheWalkies Surely SOMEONE must have written a book or article about HDR (High Dynamic Range) imaging and called it "EXTRA TEXTURE! READ ALL ABOUT IT!"?

DREAM DIARY... Moved into my "cousins' house"... It was only just up the road, looking out over the same fields, but everything was slightly different... huge tracts of open space and lots of clearly-marked new footpaths that weren't there before...

Week from Monday 19th December 2016

I've long been convinced that it was ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY, on the Nineteenth Day of December, Anno Domini Nineteen Hundred and Seventy Three, that I went to my FIRST EVER PROPER GROWN-UP POP CONCERT... But I've just discovered, through the dubious magic of social media and GOOGLING FOR THINGS, that this was not in fact the case. The HAWKWIND gig at PORTSMOUTH GUILDHALL didn't happen until the third of January...

Given the dire 'BREAD & CIRCUSES' content of an average night's telly (at this or any other time of the year - "BRITAIN'S BIGGEST X-BAKERS STRICTLY GOT MICHAEL F***IN' McENTIRE ON ICE"), I now find myself saving up even more of 'THE GOOD STUFF' to watch at the weekends. I spent this Sunday engrossed in Martin Scorcese's epic (nearly three-and-a-half hours in total!) BOB DYLAN rockumentary "NO DIRECTION HOME", followed by a couple of HITCHCOCK's finest ("VERTIGO" and "REAR WINDOW", for probably the squintillionth time each).

Today, I make my final(?) visit to GOZZY of this year, tying up a few bizniz loose ends and printing off a cover for the RADIOHEAD CD-R that I compiled over the weekend. Then I'm picking up where I left off with my current favourite SWEDISH CRIME DRAMA... Over the holidays, I've promised myself that I can BINGE-LISTEN to all five radio series of "THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY".

I've been 'EARWORMING' the music of PRINCE all week. Serves me right for picking up a bunch of his albums secondhand from various charity shops... The best catch of the week though was a copy of BILL EVANS' groundbreaking piece of multitrackery "CONVERSATIONS WITH MYSELF", found halfway down a pile of CDs on a market stall in Winchester, for fifty of your English pence.

Week from Monday 26th December 2016

THE HOLIDAYS THEN... I've enjoyed a couple of days WITHOUT television, WITHOUT turning on the computer, WITHOUT even playing any music... just 'GREAT RADIO' all the way. Unlike the rest of the population, who feel they have to respect 'TRADITION' for whatever reason, I also found that I was eating LESS than I normally would. I've lived almost like a cat. Left to my own (lack of) devices, I subsisted on nuts and nibbles, the hours marked by regular cups of tea.

I haven't even broken into my 'PREZZIES' yet, each being things which will require time and dedication. I have treated myself to a new ANDROID phone, so I will need to set aside a huge chunk of time before the new year to familiarise myself with it, to transfer all of my wotsits, install my choice of doodads, sync it with all my various whatchamacallits and to generally make it MY OWN (all before I can decommission the OLD phone). Then, of course, there is a new MILES DAVIS box set to 'STUDY'...