new Tunes

▶ Clark remixes Richter!


▶ Robert Henke – Lumière II via Boiler Room


▶ Sleepland – ripples over the frosted glass


▶ The Internet – Girl ft. KAYTRANADA


▶ Laura Mvula – Overcome ft. Nile Rodgers


Found sculpture


driftwood almost looks like an ink drawing!

Waikanae Estuary Birds


Went for a walk out to Waikanae River mouth, along the beach & back in the estuary – lots of bird life!
Love the patterns of feathers on this Pied Shag



I really think this Pied Stilt should have evolved to include a little top hat



a Southern Black-backed Gull


White-fronted Terns having a party

All bird id via NZ Birds Online

All shot captured with Canon 5DmkIII and EF100-400L lens + 1.6x extender

Detritus 376

▶ wouter van Veldhoven: four tape recorder techniques for minimal techno: looping, delay, reverse delay and saturation


▶ interesting news that Kodak are releasing a new Super 8 film camera, but OMG it is so fugly… compare it with the Beaulieu on the left… The new Kodak one looks more like a small fridge


▶ A bird feeder/acoustic amplifier?


▶ via Expressivee


▶ interesting mallets for playing gongs


▶ word substitutions that make reading the news more fun: xkcd


▶ I’ve seen the gold vinyl that was sent with the Voyager 1 back in 1977 but had never seen the 116 images included to give ‘aliens’ an idea of human life



▶ 10 minute interview with Carter Burwell


▶ wow – highly stroboscopic short film


▶ 20 great movies with very little dialogue


▶ wow – Tri-X is 62


▶ Millenials & music – a funny rant about a lost generation (lost to corporate ‘music’?)


▶ interesting article about the influence of Japanese art & design on Bowie


relatedly I have a small wooden drum thing I bought in Vietnam that works similarly – it has a sprung beater & you hold the spoon part up to your mouth and as you change the shape/volume of your mouth it varies the pitch… I’ll upload a video demo of it, hmmm NEVER! 😉


RIP Bowie

updated, fascinating to hear the solo’d vocal tracks!

updated, William S Burroughs interviews Bowie (thanks Chris)

On March 20, 1979 David Bowie took over England’s biggest radio station, BBC Radio 1, for two hours to play some of his favorite songs at the time on a show called Star Special….

David Bowie Star Special Tracklist:

The Doors: “Love Street”
Iggy Pop: “TV Eye”
John Lennon: “Remember”
? & The Mysterians: “96 Tears”
Edward Elgar: “The Nursery Suite” (extract)
Danny Kaye: “Inchworm”
Philip Glass: “Trial Prison”
The Velvet Underground: “Sweet Jane”
Mars: “Helen Fordsdale”
Little Richard: “He’s My Star”
King Crimson: “21st Century Schizoid Man”
Talking Heads: “Warning Sign”
Jeff Beck: “Beck’s Bolero”
Ronnie Spector: “Try Some: Buy Some”
Marc Bolan: “20th Century Boy”
The Mekons: “Where Were You?”
Steve Forbert: “Big City Cat”
The Rolling Stones: “We Love You”
Roxy Music: “2HB”
Bruce Springsteen: “It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City”
Stevie Wonder: “Fingertips”
Blondie: “Rip Her To Shreds”
Bob Seger: “Beautiful Loser”
David Bowie: “Boys Keep Swinging”
David Bowie: “Yassassin”
Talking Heads: “Book I Read”
Roxy Music: “For Your Pleasure”
King Curtis: “Something On Your Mind”
The Staple Singers: “Lies”

the following is a repost from his 65th birthday…

Did he have any influence on you? If not, skip this post…. But if so name your two most influential iconic songs…. Here are my two:


Bowie (apparently) playing koto? Combined with Enos chordal drones & that tearing jet synth sound…



And I’ve ranted about the piano by Mike Garson in this song before – f.c.k.n.g_._g.e.n.i.u.s!




Lastly, ten creative lessons from Bowie in Berlin and I would add #11 spend some time in Berlin! I’d also suggest you check out this great photo – the comment nails it: “£10 says Bowie doesn’t remember this”



Fripp, Eno & Bowie in Berlin

“For whatever reason, for whatever confluence of circumstances, Tony, Brian and I created a powerful, anguished, sometimes euphoric language of sounds. In some ways, sadly, they really captured, unlike anything else in that time, a sense of yearning for a future that we all knew would never come to pass. It is some of the best work that the three of us have ever done. Nothing else sounded like those albums. Nothing else came close. If I never made another album, it really wouldn’t matter now. My complete being is within those three. They are my DNA.”



Arrhythmia arrived!


mmm (non) mysterious package arrives all the way from Barcelona


thank you Plankton Electronics – for the great/inventive module and for not exporting those godawful foam or polystyrene pellets – we like recyclable packing!




Same size HP as my Livewire AFG… now to have an unquantized gridless jam!

film: The Revenant

Warning: spoilers below – see the film before reading this!!!
And some advice:

    see this film in a cinema with great projection and sound


I repeat: do not read on unless you have already seen the film!

For an action movie this film has more in common with Tarkovsky than the ilk of brain numbing Hollywood blockbusters. Shot in story order and on an Alexa 65 and 99% in natural light the cinematography of the film is truly exceptional – kudos to DOP Emmanuel Lubezki, this could well be his third Oscar in a row! While the landscapes are beautifully captured and contribute hugely as one of lead characters in the film, the staging of many sequences is also truly exceptional.

Nothing pulls me out of a film as fast as lame visual effects, and by lame I also mean unbelievable. Even in a fantasy film if I stop following the story and note the VFX then its lost me… The trademark fluid staging, following action but shifting point of view without coming across as overtly ‘designed’ is a true testament to the skill of the crew and the ILM visual effects department, but even more so to the aesthetics and restraint of the director.

There is an interesting interview with Lubezki here and some info on the bear attack visual effects here

Of course a huge factor in the films success is also found in the soundtrack and it is interesting to read of some of the creative process sound designer Martín Hernández pursued very early on, some of which made it right through into the final mix. Via MIX magazine “sound designer Martin Hernández started exploring music and sound options with director Iñárritu for several sequences. “We did these little sound exercises, what we called haikus—a small poem or short idea that makes sense on its own…”

Working with a huge team at Skywalker, there is also some great insight into Iñárritus aesthetics in this Soundworks video where Randy Thom describes him as being someone who doesn’t believe in firing all his ammunition at once and this approach really shines in the mix as our sonic focus is constantly in motion, following the action and emotion of the story, with a beautiful evolving blend of score & sound design and some very interesting choices in what we hear during moments where hearing everything would have been far less evocative….

The bane of many action films has to be the score – it often feels like theres some deaf old guy down the back asking if they can make it all louderer and more epic, more pounding drums, more, more, MORE – yeech! (Coincidentally before the screening I attended, there were a number of trailers and they also seemed to be designed primarily to be LOUDERER. Even a trailer for an emotive drama had those stupid pounding drums & distorted stings on every second cut… please, give it a rest!)

Again kudos to Iñárritu for casting & commissioning a far more restrained & considered score by Ryuichi Sakamoto (with Alva Noto and Bryce Dessner) – he discusses how the score came to be in this interview @22.10

And for the second year in a row, the score to Iñárritus film has been rejected for Oscar contention.

Via Indiewire

Why did the Academy Music Branch reject the score by Ryuichi Sakamoto?

Iñárritu “That was sad news. It was also tragic to deny Antonio Sanchez for “Birdman,” it was devastating and unfair, which I complained and appealed. They thought the drums were not emotional, did not carry the emotional power of the film. What?! This time, ‘Wow!’ We are appealing. They said the music was incredible, the tapestry was so cool, but they didn’t understand who did what, it was very confusing. This was the plan, to blend the sounds of nature and the complexity of nature with no way to understand what is what. The complexity of that tapestry in concert is not accidental. The percentage was more than 56% Ryuichi, what it needed to be to be eligible….

…The Academy is demanding that the way young musicians approach making music for film is narrow. That’s super sad, they should be exploring new ways. Music is so powerful, that’s an undeniable shame. This is the second time they are not doing it right for colleagues in the work. And this is scandalous. Ryuichi sent a beautiful letter to them. I hope they reconsider this. It’s a serous threat for musicians. It’s the wrong message to send to everybody, it will paralyze anyone who seeks to try something different. I respect every branch who may think we are doing something wrong, but if it’s about understanding the tapestry let me and Ryuichi clarify, and they will understand a new way of doing music.”

Its such an odd situation, and I guess a reminder of who the actual Oscar voters are (ie old white guys: 94% white, 76% Men, and an average age of 63 years old). No doubt The Revenant will pickup a stack of Oscars and in the larger scheme of things Inarritu makes great films because he is an artist, not because of the awards he wins. But for Sakamoto it seems bizarre to be disqualified because they can’t immediately understand ‘who did what’ – sorry but WTF?

Storywise the film is a brutal tale of exploitation and revenge, and as a friend pointed out does not necessarily contribute anything new (I plan to rewatch Jim Jarmuschs Dead Man for comparison) but one thing I am grateful to Inarritu for is the lack of a happy ending. A lesser director (or over powering studio) would have had the ‘hero’ kill the bad guy & then jump on the back of the horse with the girl he saved & ride off into the sunset… which would be a fairy tale ending, but the final words the villian spoke, and then the reproachful look the Indian girl gave to the ‘hero’ speak to issues far larger than just this film. Kudos!

Escarpment Track

What a great word: escarpment

Two suburbs up the Kapiti Coast from me is the great little seaside town of Paekakariki – the first time i ever visited Wellington as a child we stayed at a relatives beach house in Paekakariki, and I remember clear as a bell catching the train into Wellington and being blown away at what a huge city it was.

Four decades later great work has been done to create a walking/hiking track between Paekakariki and Pukeura Bay – the track is well over half finished, but only the first half is open. When its completed it will make a great trip to catch the train to one end or the other & hike back….


Starting from the Paekakariki end, the track follows along the side of the train tracks for the first couple of kilometres, before the steep climb begins….


The welcome roar of the ocean


Great work installing the steps – still hard work, but much safer especially when descending…


The views just get more & more fantastic as you climb, at points the track is quite narrow & there are sheer vertigo inducing drops off the side


This is where the track currently ends – looking south towards Pukerua Bay you can see a lot of work has already been done on the remaining sections, with more steps and from the road below you can see swing bridges have been installed!


Not sure if it was the endorphins or simply being in such a gorgeous spot, but it was so peaceful being up here – respect to the people who design & install seating in these perfect spots!


Look forward to doing this track again when it is completed & I can leave the car at home!

More info on the Paekakariki escarpment track is available here and great info & maps PDF for all Kapiti tracks here