06 February 2007


So I finally got myself hooked-up with Last FM. You can see the little 'recently played' chart/link thing at the top left of the page now. I might move it somewhere else later. I've had people recommending Last FM to me for ages, but I never bothered with it because (it might surprise you to know) I don't actually listen to much music on the computer. I mainly listen to vinyl, CD or tape on separate hi-fi equipment, so most of my listening activity will go unrecorded. But what the hell, I'll give it a go, although I'm not committed enough to become a fully paid-up subscriber just yet. To be honest, I don't think I've fully grasped the potential of Last FM (other than to show-off one's brilliant taste in music??) but perhaps it'll prove useful in the long run. If nothing else, it'll probably reveal a lot about my wider musical tastes. I listen to lots of stuff that never gets mentioned here...it's weird that I only feel motivated to write about certain types of music, isn't it?

At the time of writing there's only two MP3s up on the chart, which is what I've been listening to for the past half-hour. One is a long mix, though. It's the latest effort from Siah Alan, aka Patternloader and you can grab it here. His blog has always been a good read, but now he's branching-out into mixing. So far, technically speaking, the results are a bit patchy. But there aren't many people with the balls to do all their learning in public, and of course I empathise after all the struggles I had trying to re-master the art of beat-matching throughout 2005-06. There's still a few moments of greatness in there, and you certainly can't fault the imaginative track selection (and I'm not just saying that because he used one of my 'Gutter dubz'!). My only advice would be (a) don't give up because it can only get better and better and (b) try and keep the transitions short 'n sweet, for the time being - there's a tendency to be a bit over-adventurous with some of the longer segues. But the important thing is, Siah feels an overwhelming urge to share his musical tastes and he knows that mixes are the only ethically approved method of disseminating new music, so he's fucking going for it, and best of luck to him. He's actively encouraging unknown producers to send him their work, so what are you waiting for? I personally took a decision last year that, no matter how much I enjoyed it, I had to stop encouraging people to send me demos, because it was becoming a real problem finding the time to listen to it all, and to give constructive criticism, etc. Some stuff I never got around to listening to, never even replied to, and I bet the kids who sent them figured I was an areshole - and who could blame them? I would love to be a sort of John Peel figure, plowing through piles of demos all day and putting the best stuff in the mix (and getting paid a salary for the privilege!) , but I had to re-focus and get my priorities sorted out. That's one of the reasons why there's no contact info on this blog anymore. It's a shame, I know, and maybe I would've found the next Boxcutter this year, or whatever, but this is how it's got to be from now on. Of course, all my regular producer friends can keep the beats coming (you know who you are) but that's about all I can actively manage to deal with for the time being.

Hey, there might actually be snow in Bristol this week. 70% chance tomorrow night, according to the Met. Office. Cool. It's been a long time since we had a decent dollop of the white stuff around here...