Thursday, February 23, 2006

Unexpected Lea

Every so often there comes an album which is special. An album which, for you at that time, gives new life to a genre you though was dead, uninteresting or irrelevant. It's like buying an album that you always knew you should buy, but never quite got round to, and when you finally do... you understand what all the fuss was about. Like getting tired of jungle and then hearing "New Forms" by Roni Size, and understanding just how exciting it was to be there in the first place. Like wading through the endless late-80s shred treacle, soulless and self-gratifying, and then hearing "Passion And Warfare" and realising that it is possible to do technical guitar music and keep the soul and elegance alive. Like being put off later Fleetwood Mac by blinkered traditionalist guitarists and then hearing "Tango In The Night".

That's how I feel about "Hold Your Colour" by Pendulum. Go and buy it at once.

Christian rock is still waiting for an album like it. Hurry up!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Stuck in Folsom prison

All of you neeeeeeeeeeed to go and see Walk The Line at the earliest available opportunity. Seriously. It's amazing. The kind of film where you don't want to say anything as the credits roll, because then it will stop.

By the way - party at mine on Saturday, bring drinks.

Monday, February 06, 2006

I'm in touch with what is beyond your horizons

Evening interweb geeks. I was just about to not post on the ol' blog, when I realised that actually I've had quite an exciting week. So here it is, I have a new studio! Whoop. It's uber exciting... I went in today and had a rather productive day, which creatively I really need a lot of. I'm trying to tidy up all my old tracks at the moment - I have several that are half finished and need to get done, so the plan is to finish them off and release them on the internet and through my upcoming podcast.

Speaking of podcasts you can get the MVonline podcast on the iTunes music store, search the podcasts for "mvonline" or "manchester vineyard".

Anyway back to the studio, it is at an undisclosed location near Stockport and I'll take a camera tomorrow and post some pictures.

I had to buy a table for the studio and went on a table hunt. It was looking bad, not a table to be found apart from glass dining tables at three times my budget (£50). But then! In "Remar" furniture in Levenshulme, I found a rather nice (ish) chipboard and formica affair which extends at either end, so it could be made to fit the studio perfectly. Some bargaining and it was mine! It even went in the back of the car, hurray for the Citroen BX say I.

Until next time.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Bicycles - icicles - tricycles - testing

A very good evening to you.

On Friday I went to a gig, which was nice. It was Test Icicles headlining, supported first by Damn Arms, from Australia, and then by Help She Can't Swim.

The main reason I was there was that one of my oldest friends from school, Ro, was doing merch for HSCS, it was ace to have a reunion since we haven't seen each other for roughly 6 years. Awesome!

A few pics here....

Me and Ro, mid-ROCK...



Click for bigness...


HSCS, that t-shirt is Ro's you know. He was meant to be onstage but his first shot at Manchester stardom was robbed by a soundcheck kerfuffle. Darn... still, the t-shirt made it onstage!



Click to biggify...


And Dev from Test Icicles.



Click to embiggen...


Since I'm tired, here is a very short review on each.

Damn Arms - hmm. Don't connect with crowd. Singer sounds like Morrissey , ie can't pitch very well and needs to be careful of nodules. Shady facial hair. Shave it! Guitarist manic. Bassist/backing singer good, has attitude, can play, looks good. Drummer pounds out beats despite chronic jet lag. They start to win over the crowd after a slow start, lacking a bit in material though. Some emo kids throw bottles, which worries Dev Test Icicles because "shit man, they can fucking play their instruments". By the end of their set Damn Arms are rocking.

Help She Can't Swim - best on the night for me - I'm not just saying it - strange emo indie post hardcore something or other band that they are. They have a laugh and so do I. They use a £3 keyboard which commands respect. Drummer rather good despite looking about 14. Animated on stage, they connect from the off. People know their songs. Obligatory instrument swapping ensues. I like them, more live than on record, always good. I feel compelled to buy a 7" single. "Fuck your band, suck our band" they say, and everyone here seems willing to go along.

Test Icicles - Nutters. "Test - test - test - test" chant the crowd as the lights go down, I'll admit to goosebumps. Dev plays a pink Squier, well done sir. Singer kneels down for the first two songs. They appear to be down by 1 x drummer and 1 x bass player. However they do have 1 x ipod and 1 x silent band member called Andy (with long blonde hair) (allegedly) to make up for it. The crowd love them. Songs seem to start and stop more or less randomly and it's never guaranteed that whoever's playing/singing will reach the end of the song at the same time as the ipod. Ultimately entertaining, though with more "we're ace" attitude onstage than their talent can justify... although Dev in particular proves to be rather handy on the pink Squier, he used to listen to Joe Satriani I'm sure. So not my favourite band, though I met them to say hello to before the gig and they are all thoroughly nice chaps. They seem to have a hardcore fanbase, so who am I to judge? Their album is going to sell very very very well, I think. Frankly, it's not music. I'm not sure what it is, it's like nothing I've ever heard before. That's good... right...?

That's your lot because I have to be up for church in the morning. Night night :-)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Cast me that pod!

Crikey, I haven't posted since Nov 12, that is seriously lazy.

So, all the stuff that we missed out on... I can't believe shops are playing Christmas music already. Looking forward to Christmas? I haven't done my shopping yet, better get a move on. Nearly Christmas! Happy Christmas to you, happy Christmas to you. Man, boxing day is always well boring and depressing, can't wait for new year. Happy new year! What an anticlimax. Hurray for 2006! I'm not sorry to see the back of 2005, it sucked.

Right, now that's out the way, what news? Well... let's do a list;
The Ruth Hill album is progressing nicely, featuring me on guitar/bass/some keys and other random instruments (mandolin!) plus producing.
2006 is going to be an ace year, I've decided.
Site going ok.

BIG NEWS is my plan for the Rob K podcast, which you'll be able to sign up for soon.

Also God's told me to give lots of my original music away, rather than holding onto it thinking I'm going to release it at some point, so I'll post some exciting details on that soon and I hope you all enjoy it.

Take care, Rob :-)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Pomp and... stuff

Remembrance day is a funny one.

I'm watching the Royal British Legion thing on TV at the moment. They play fanfares (one of the trumpeters splits a few notes - slap on the wrist for him...), lower flags, and read poems. Poppy petals are falling past the faces of veterans, wrinkled like old oaks, and everyone is very serious.

I almost feel sad that I can't really understand what it's like to be part of something like that. I've heard that some people from older generations remember the Second World War as the best time of their lives, a time when everyone pulled together and supported each other. If one was feeling particularly cynical one could point out how nothing unites like a common enemy - a shared belief that there is a force that is more evil/uglier/more powerful than oneself... that would be off topic, though. Also off topic would be to wonder about Revelation and what we have in store (maybe I shouldn't regret not living in wartimes)... as the prayers are started by a head boy of some college or other, "Ever living God... through Jesus Christ Our Lord..." does he really believe it? One to ponder.

Anyway... my point being - I can't understand the true meaning behind the festival of remembrance. There's no point pretending that I can. While if I were at the festival no doubt I would join in with the prayers at the appropriate time, the three cheers for the Queen, and remove my headdress when told to... if I had to come up with some way to show my own appreciation - and I do appreciate it very much - that wouldn't be the way I would choose.

The festival of remembrance lets people show reverence and appreciation through ritual. I don't really do that very much. It'll be rubbish - it's often said - when all the people that actually remember those times are gone, and we as a society won't have any direct reference to them any more. But it will be (I think) equally rubbish when the kind of people that are honestly able to express their collective response to things in that way are gone too, because then we might not be able to express a response at all. I mean, I've never really thought about how I truly feel about this issue until now, because the ritual doesn't strike anything really true in me. I respect it, but I don't actually join in with it.

So at this point I should consider this issue and see what I come up with. But Almost Famous is on TV, a film that I really love because it gets me all fired up about music again. So I'm going to watch that.

If I'd been born in the 60s I would have been rock'n'roll-tastic. I'm proud to have been born in the 80s mind you. At the moment my hair is a bit longer than usual, which feels pretty hardcore. Oh yeah.

Stop press - HOW ANNOYING are Tesco/Nivea/Febreze/Flora adverts? Anything with that "oh we're so wholesome" music on (Febreze is particularly offensive in this department), well-spoken voiceover artists dropping their Hs to appear more common (OH MY GOODNESS if I find out who it is doing that on the Tesco adverts I shall slap him)...

Apologies for length/girth/pretentiousness. As I always say - no-one's reading anyway...

Don't clap between the movements. Seriously

A mere 18% battery life left in this laptop, so I must write fast. Incidentally, the battery life in my ibook has gone a bit lame recently. It used to be good for 5 hours and now it only does 3.

I went to an evening of classical (and other) music this evening - a charity concert to raise money for our church building fund. Maybe I'm evil and bad for thinking this, but at the moment I don't feel that bothered about not having a building. Mind you, I don't have to deal with the aggravation of having to organise our weekly meetings in a nightclub. I'm sure I should be taking more responsibility/ownership of the whole thing. Anyway, the evening was rather good, with singing, pianoing, celloing and guitaring on the menu. I did a bit of PA. Various uncultured people clapped at the wrong times though - philistines. I suppose I am privileged to have had a classical upbringing. Or something.

Went to Starbucks this morning with a friend and then it rained and we got very wet walking back. I find it comforting that Manchester winter is coming back. You know what to expect, at least. I don't like half hearted annoying rain, I prefer torrential downpours, preferably with gale force winds and widespread flooding. But I'm not a girl so I'm not bothered about getting my hair wet. Moral of the story: a) Rob needs to be less judgemental/sexist/random; b) carry an umbrella.

Got a new phone! Here it is; http://www.expansys.com/i/b/b114267.jpg . Geekery is mine for the taking, it's got even more stuff on than my A925. The main thing is that it will be friends with my ibook.

In conclusion; I'm well bored at the moment. If you have a short (or long) film that needs a soundtrack, give me a shout, dear reader(s)*.











* Pushing my luck with the plural, frankly. I know I have one reader, though not if I don't count myself.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Music kicks ass

Well, I've listened to the Seal album (IV) a few times and it's not completely what I expected. It doesn't completely convince me in places. Some of the arrangements sound like... like a tracing of a really good song, rather than the song itself. His voice is awesome, though. The excellent "My Vision" is probably the highlight for me so far - co-written with Thomas Newman, incidentally (he of echoey American Beauty piano fame).

Tonight I went to see the Mad, Bad and Dangerous tour - John Otway, Wilko Johnson and The Hamsters. Otway never fails to disappoint, though I had never seen him minus Big Band. Mayhem ensued, as per usual, with Richard's guitar work sticking its head up occasionally and saying, "I kick ass". Which he does. Johnson and The Hamsters were new to me, I was very impressed by The Hamsters and eventually by Johnson as well - though it took me a while to come round to him. He doesn't play much and his guitar is universally out of tune, but his stage presence is magnetic - he struts/runs/shakes across the stage when soloing, all the while with a "did you see that?" expression towards the audience. His bass player, Norman Watt-Roy (ex-Ian Dury & Blockheads) was excellent; unbelievable groove and superb ballsy sound as well, playing a Jazz through a large Trace Elliot stack. Slim from The Hamsters really really can play guitar, too. The night finished up with an "everyone-on-stage" rendition of Wild Thing and then (the joy!) Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick. I had a really enjoyable night and will probably go to see the tour again at Bolton Albert Halls on Nov 4th, if anyone wants to join me...

And in other news; the Lukas EP "Sold Out", which I've just produced, sold out in 10 minutes after their gig tonight. Hurrah! Though they did only bring 20 (I know, makes it a bit less impressive). (smug)I said they needed more...(/smug) anyway, it bodes well! I'm pretty happy with it, as well, which is rare. The overheads on "Guarantee" were a problem but with quite a bit of compression they were giving the guitars a run for their money (the guitars were taking over the arrangement before). Get a copy from Lukasnet. Now on the cards; a track for Jules Rendell, soul/jazz/ish, some funky RnB for a girl named Steph, and a remix for Beccy Higg. Plus some media tracks. And finish my website! www.robkmedia.co.uk coming your way soon...

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Gimps

Idiots (well, bots) have been posting adverts on my blog. So I've turned on word verification (although the adverts did make me look like someone was actually reading my blog). Have it, corporate scum bots.

Incidentally, I now have the interweb in my dinky little home, so expect more bloggage from now on. Like anyone's reading this...

Rock!

Word up all of y'all. I've been recording with Lukas this week - three tracks of (pop) ROCK! It's been good. We got a phat sound thanks to the use of amps that were far too loud. You can probably get a copy of the EP off their website... look out for the use of a Park G10 and a pound shop microphone after the first chorus in "Glory Supporter".

Producing a track for Jules Rendell this week as well - well, starting it, I don't work that fast...

Going out to Circle later on (Manchester) (guest list woo) to see The Bluebirds , a band I did some recording with a while ago. (They used to be called Bluebird Kid Clark) Further bulletin later on... I also bought Seal's new (well, 2003) album today, produced by Trevor Horn - woo yay. "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" is still my favourite song in the world ever.

I need to buy more CDs this year.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Cover me!

We've worked out that if we want to learn all the songs we'd like to with the covers band, we'll have to learn about 7 a week. Hardcore! That'll be interesting. You can look at our lovely done-in-5-mins-on-photoshop promo photograph, and listen to some also-recorded-in-a-quick-and-dirty-fashion tracks here.

Church now has a building, we're back at K2 in MMSU on Oxford Road, Manchester. 3 Sundays out of 4... and on the other Sunday, exciting things will happen.

I had an odd time in worship this morning at church. I was playing guitar and our rehearsal went really well, and then when it came to it we sucked and played with no confidence. It makes me wonder if anything else was going on, spiritually speaking. Any ideas? Post em!

I'm off home because I have to get sleep in preparation for lots of work this week. Night night :-)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

All my homebrews inna place

Well well well. I return! I know you've missed me. Anyhoo, what news? I was excited the other day, one of my long lost friends appeared on my msn. Twas great, his blog is here, check it out!

I've been finishing off the innervation website, you can look at a beta version here, and soon it should be up on the main innervation site.

I have a new wonderful piece of fridge poetry. I can't remember it at the mo, so I'll post it when I'm back in my house. I did write a fridge haiku too, though (well, it's 17 syllables anyway)... here it is: "Nefarious miscreants endeavour to bargain with my squirrel."

If anyone knows of an available meeting room in Manchester on a Sunday night, for about 200 people, please contact me, my church is about to be homeless.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Nuff 'Urbs

No postage for a yonk, so here I am! No replies either I note. I need to publicise this blog more. On the other hand, I can write whatever offensive controversy I want, since the odds of anyone reading it are slim.
Been very busy, making tracks and websites. None of them are live yet, sadly, but when they are I'll be posting links. I bet you all can't wait.
If anyone has any super duper design ideas for www.innervation.org , which I'm currently rebuilding, then post them. I'll be putting up the beta-ish version within a couple of weeks so that's something else to keep you on the edge of your chair.
In other news, I'm listening to a tape series called "Father's Heart" by Jack Frost (no, really) which is dead good. You can see the website at http://www.shilohplace.org and assess things for yourself, which I feel is something that Christians should do - don't turn your brain off! Or something. I would explain myself further but a) I need to go and do some work and b) the chances of anyone reading this are practically nil anyway. Confused? Post your confusion!
Have a productive day, dear readers.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Hate something, change something

Word up blog readers. Sadly yesterday one of the DVDs failed, twice, I think because I was trying to fit too much on it (even though it is masquerading as a 4.7Gb disc it appears that it won't work with anything over 4.0 - that'll teach me to buy discs from a certain high street electronics retailer which shall remain nameless because I work for them)... so today I'm STILL burning DVDs.
I'm using someone else's computer, said person is doing up a house and I'm SURE that there's brick dust on the keyboard. But this computer is 20 miles from the house! Some kind of alien DIY matter transference, I think.
Do you hate music? Tanya Headon does. Check it out!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Yaaaaaaawwwwnnnnnnnn

I'm archiving the Reach album, or "All I'm Living For", on to DVD today. It's taking years because the mac here only has a 1x speed DVD burner, and there's 14Gb of data to archive. I haven't yet worked out if it's theoretically possible for me to finish it before I have to go home.
It's raining today. Soon I'll post pictures on this blog and make statements like that a whole lot more interesting.
I've decided that if such a thing exists, I'd like to do a degree in humour. Yesterday I was struck by the fact that even seemingly surreal, random humour is still dependent on context. We have a fridge poetry set in our kitchen and I wrote on it, "squirrels use bad magic", which I believe is fairly funny. Admittedly it doesn't look that funny written here but that's because the fact that fridge poetry humour is made out of complete words, pre-set, rather than letters, changes the "humour dynamic"... or something.
We also have fridge magnet letters, and these show the difference. Writing "squirrels use bad magic" in the letters is not as funny as when it's written in the word magnets. The key to the humour of fridge poetry word magnets is creating randomness which is offset against the fact that the reader knows that all the individual words are "normal" (as opposed to random). Random here refers to pseudo-surreal humour rather than "random" in the traditional sense.
With the letters, however, the bar is raised in that one has to create randomness but the reader cannot reference the words to anything else. Reading "squirrels use bad magic" written in the letters is not as funny because one reads the sentence as simply that, rather than four separate entities - the words - being placed together in an unusual setting.
The current favourite in the letters is "I use anthrax on cross dressing vagrant goat farmers".
This is also interesting as part of the appeal of fridge-based word games is that passers-by can rearrange the sentences and so (particularly with the single letters) the phrases written evolve over time and become shared by all the participants, rather than one person being the author, and so everyone creates something for everyone.
The above phrase evolved as follows...

I use ajax on my hair
I use ajax on my hairdresser
I use anthrax on my hairdresser
I use anthrax on cross dressers

and finally

I use anthrax on cross dressing vagrant goat farmers.

Note the use of a comedy animal, a device used by random humourists to increase the humour of a sentence. Adding one of these animals instantly makes a sentence funnier, for example - weasel, goat, badger, ocelot, vole... and (less funny) monkey, penguin etc.

Make of all this what you will. Reply to me!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The pupil has become the master

I finished mixing the Reach album, "All I'm Living For", yesterday. I'll be leaving in about 5 minutes to take it to mastering. It's all very exciting, and almost unbelievable (but praise the Lord for it!) that we're at the end of this 6-month road... further details to follow later!
Thought for the day; more things should come in aerosols. For example, vinegar, ketchup... many more foods would benefit from this. Also shaving foam - one could spray it on from a distance, which sounds chaotic but fun. Think of more and reply to me!
I admit that I haven't thought through the damage to the environment which would result from all foodstuffs being put in aerosols.
If this post seems random, I am, I think, more tired than I've been for quite a while. Certainly the most tired I've been since this time last year when I was finishing my degree work. But after all, randomness is what we've come to expect from blogs. Why should I buck the trend?
In other news, I played at Po Na Na last night, at a band night featuring the excellent Shmoo and the I-haven't-heard-them-before-but-they-were-ok-if-you-like-that-kind-of-thing (kind of heavy epic electronica) Indra.
I think that's Indra's site anyway.
=DISCLAIMER: Rob K is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced here, which is a good job really because Indra's site is severely lacking in content. View it at risk of your own frustration.=