Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Pearler Review from Poland

Łukasz Komla from the online music publication  contacted us to point out that he'd reviewed A Pearler over here 

It all seems pretty positive!
Nice to see that in addition, attention is being paid to the likes of Julian Redpath, Joao Orecchia and Givan Lotz.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Pearler

A Pearler, the new album by Ramon Galvan AKA Galvan is completed and available now to stream and purchase on Bandcamp

All words and music by Ramon Galvan

Recorded by Ramon Galvan and Nic Da Silva, except (7) recorded and initial mixing by Dan Manojlovic at Sui Studios, Cape Town

Mixed by Nicolai Roos
Mastered by Simon Ratcliffe at Sound and Motion, Cape Town

Cover painting and layout by Jesse Breytenbach

Special thanks to Nic and Pierre for playing on this and sharing your ideas, Nicolai for tireless mixing and the constant enthusiasm to try different approaches, Dan for the initial recording sessions for some of the material that appears on this album and invaluable mix feedback, Americo for assistance with musical instrument repairs and Jesse for the beautiful artwork. Thanks also to Dirk Hugo for providing a temporary studio environment to allow this album to be mixed.

Happy Hunting!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Guide For The Perplexed

Why did Les Blank call his film Burden of Dreams?

Cinema emboldens us. It helps us surmount everyday life and encourages us to take our hopes and desires seriously, to turn them into reality. When things were going badly I headed back to Germany in an attempt to hold together the film's investors. they asked me if I was going to continue. "Do you really have the strength and will?"   I said, "How can you ask this question? If I abandon this project, I will be a man without dreams. I live my life or I end my life with Fitzcarraldo." It wan't possible for me to allow myself private feelings of doubt while making the film. I never had the privilege of despair; had I hesitated or panicked for a single second, the entire project would have come tumbling down around me. The final film ended up basically as I had always hoped it would, with the exception of the Mick Jagger character. Months later Claudia Cardinale said to me, "When you came to Rome four years ago and explained your ideas to me and all the difficulties we would have to overcome. Now I've seen the film, and it's exactly as you first described it."

If you watch Fitzcarraldo and have the courage to push on with your own projects, then the film has accomplished something. If one person walks outside after watching one of my films and no longer feels so alone, I have achieved everything I have set out to achieve. When you read a great poem you instantly know there is a profound truth to it. Sometimes there are similar moments of great insight in cinema, when you know you have been illuminated. Perhaps, occasionally, I have achieved such heights with my own films.

Werner Herzog - A Guide for the Perplexed
Conversations with Paul Cronin

Monday, May 18, 2015

Outer Tumbolia on Bandcamp

We've put Outer Tumbolia on Bandcamp to make it more accessible (I think that download link expired) and their presentation and streaming player is one of the best.

Also this gives us the opportunity to work the kinks out of the process to prepare for some new material to follow...

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Memories Of Static

"Languorousness" figured increasingly in commercial Hawaiian music in the 1930s and 1940s (despite King's alarm at its "jazzing-up"), and it certainly remained a key motif of the Hawaii Calls radio program. Broadcast weekly from Honolulu, and heard around the world from 1935 until its cessation in 1975, the program promoted an image of Hawaii as earthly paradise - one that visitors were encouraged to physically visit, as well as imagine. Staged "under the old banyan tree in the courtyard of the Moana Hotel," the "liveness" and seductive authenticity of the setting was much stressed. Indeed, some mainland listeners to the original broadcasts apparently imagined the oscillations in the shortwave signal to be the sound of the waves lapping on Waikiki. When the signal was improved the producers received complaints from listeners, and thereafter a microphone was placed near the water to pick up the real ocean waves.

Echo & Reverb
Fabricating Space in Popular Music Recording 1900-1960

Peter Doyle
Wesleyan University Press

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tromba Marina

I had the good fortune to visit the Cité de la Musique in Paris quite recently and spent a criminally short period of time moving through its permanent collection of musical instruments in the Musée de la Musique.

A multilingual headphone and console setup allows you to dial into a multitude of recordings of the actual instruments on display as well as sync up with several interesting short video documentaries covering subjects ranging from the history of the contemporary orchestra, lutherie and brass instruments through to indigenous tribal music performances and the more modern Avant-garde incorporating all manner of electronic and computer-based music synthesis.

The collection includes many ornate early keyboard instruments,
 including this rather ingenious 'portable' harpsichord.
Amongst the variety of stringed instruments  once holding pride of place in the orchestra are various Viola da Gamba, this strange monstrosity (below, left) and the even stranger and very scary sounding Octobass (below, right)
At nearly 3 and a half meters in height it requires a certain degree of elevation for the player and further assistance from a series of levers and pedals to fret the instrument. Typically a second player is responsible for bowing.

Speaking of awkward stretches there was also a 'gymnasium for the hands' designed to stretch, strengthen and otherwise contort the hands of the most accomplished piano soloists as well, I assume, a horde of wannabees?
Further treats lay in the modern electronic music section of the collection which included a Theremin and Ondes Martenot.
Ondes keyboard (left) and Palme diffuseur or speaker (right) with sympathetic strings. Edgard Varèse's Ionisation gongs can be seen in the background.

Still very much recognizable as musical instruments, Ondiolines, early Moog synthesizers and EMS VC3 synthesizers eventually give way to the hardware of the consoles of Musique concrète and the synthesizers of music academia.

Pierre Henry console (left) and Gmebaphone (right)

In spite of all of the above and  a rather fascinating 'World Music' exhibition, the true highlight for me was the discovery of the Tromba Marina.

The Marine Trumpet (also known as the Nun's Trumpet - women were not allowed to play actual trumpets in the church in Germany in the 1600's) is essentially a bowed monochord. It is fretted by lightly touching the nodal points on the string to excite its natural harmonics. A specially constructed bridge that is allowed to move and vibrate freely against the instrument's soundboard produces a buzzing sound with each bow movement making a sound not dissimilar to a trumpet.

The instrument eventually fell out of favor in the 1800's. Small numbers still exist due to revivalists and enthusiasts and - thanks to the Musée de la Musique. And no, no Dulcitones in sight.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Knock

Another Cheap Seats performance is available to view. this time for the song "The Knock"

The performance of "A Man to Avoid" is available here
For other Cheap Seats performances go here