You Want A 1996-Themed Alternative Music Card? You Got It!

Just in case the tweet disappears, here’s the card that Emma Jackson (yes, THAT Emma Jackson!) found:

I reckon it was compiled from Mark And Lard playlists of 1996 as that’s a pretty wild mixture of bands / styles.

Seeing White Town on it is really very, very strange!

EDIT!!!

This just in from Emma herself:

Which is even better as I swear I don’t remember being in a John Peel Festive Fifty ever… though Crimbo of ’96 is when I was signing to EMI so everything was completely mental back then.

Synthfest UK 2018

This Saturday just gone, I went to Synthfest UK 2018

It’s an annual gathering both of makers of electronic gear and the end users – like a big trade show but with a way more personal touch.

Here’s a little vid I made:

As you can see from the vid, there’s a huge range of stuff to look at but, more importantly, you can twiddle with it all!

When I was a kid and when huge music shops like Turnkey still existed as bricks and mortar emporia, I used to go to London specifically to try out synths that you would never see up in Derby.

Going round Synthfest always reminds me of that feeling. Where the hell do I start? I just want to play and patch EVERYTHING but there simply isn’t enough time. It’s equal parts joy and frustration. 

And then there’s the makers. How wonderful it is to go up to the person who built something you own and give them  actual feedback. Every maker I met was as super-enthusiastic as the punters. They were all proud of their shiny metal babies and loved hearing how we used them. 

There’s only one criticism of Synthfest I can make ~ it’s a very white, middle-aged, male event. It’d be lovely to see more younger people, more female geeks wandering about and the same goes for black and Asian noisemakers. This lack of diversity isn’t specifically because Synthfest excludes groups; it’s more that it just replicates the existing biases within the music scene. What we have to do is actively combat those barriers to entry, to reach out to people who may not feel they’re invited or that it’s for them. After all, how much of contemporary music isn’t electronic? 5%? Less?

I think we could start to address this by tweaking the program to be more inclusive and more attractive to different groups of people.

Anyway, polemic over, here’s my gallery of pics from the day:

Synthfest UK 2018

If you’re an electro music geek, whether you’re a builder or a player or both, please do check out the next Synthfest. I think you’ll love it. 

Wolfgang Flür

Forgot to say…

When I did a promo tour for EMI Germany, I asked them if it was possible for them to introduce me to any of Kraftwerk, my fave ever band (they were on EMI too).

Well, I ended up having a lovely dinner with the EMI Germany peeps and Mr. Wolfgang Flür (seen drumming on the right here).

He was totally lovely, didn’t mind my outrageous fanboying at all. We talked about synths and electronic music, Stockhausen and Bauhaus.

One of the best nights of my life. <3

Michael Nesmith, Country Rock & (The) Eagles

I just watched the long doc on the Eagles which was fascinating, in the way that all rock docs are.

You have the origin story, some kids sparking off each other, loving the music. Then they get success and become addled by the drugs and the sex and then, inevitably, along comes Mr. Creative Differences. Which, in the Eagles’ case includes hilarious recordings of them about to have a punch up on stage, in the middle of a bloody gig!

I’m glad they had Linda Ronstadt in there and gave her due credit. Too often, female artists get whitewashed out of rock history or relegated to the role of muse. I wonder if the Eagles would even had formed if Frey and Henley hadn’t toured in her band?

What made me a little sad is zero mention of Michael Nesmith. I hate the way that no-one talks about Nez as one of the originators of country rock. Ronstadt covered Nez’ ‘Different Drum’ way back in ‘67, with the Stone Poneys. If the doc could mention Gram Parsons, it really should have mentioned how important Nesmith was on that early scene. ‘Sweetheart Of The Rodeo’ was released in 1968, Nesmith wrote ‘Different Drum’ in 1965! There’s no way Henley and Frey were unaware of Nez’ post-Monkee solo country albums.

Otherwsie, how could you have ‘Midnight Flyer’ which is basically the Eagles ripping-off Nez’ ‘Nevada Fighter’ three years after it was released?

Reminds me of ‘Moi Lolita’ by Alizee and a certain ‘90s one-hit wonder…