Cassandra Millar: Just So

CD from Another Timbre. Contemporary Music performed by a string ensemble. Unusually, I didn’t find this one via Hear And Now on BBC R3 but a mid-week show on the same station Late Junction.

The pieces that attracted me arenthe seriesnthat make up Warblework. The four sections that make up Warblework are developed from recordings of songbirds, specifically Thrushes. The tunes are very complex and somewhat atonal to my ear. The recordings in this set seem to have all the ingredients of music that will last for extended listening. It’s a feeling of a puzzle to solve.

You my listen to this and find yourself listening to birds in a new way. It’s a shame though that Thrushes are so rare in England now. They were quite common when I was a child. So common that they were one of the first birds I learnt to identify. Thrushes and sparrows are now quite scarce, especially the former. Much of the decline is attributed to slug pellets that gardeners use. Poisoned slugs poison the birds that feed on them. Not enough people know this. Dig a pond instead!

Getting to know Southport

12°C, sunny.

Recovering from a particularly stubborn cold, so I plodded in on the hack bike to town. Google lists 2 record shops which I fancied a browse. You get the best out of shops like that if you get to know the staff. The best ones will find records that think you’ll like. Today, both shops were shut. I’ll try again on Saturday.

I ‘bobbed into’ a couple of second-hand shops too. They were friendly places, one guy offered to make tea and made it clear that the offer was open to customers too.

As soon as I got home, I took fastballs out to the garden feeder, a sudden bursting flutter from the end of the garden is not familiar. The heron is back. That’s a very big bird to land in my garden, and a big bird to take wing to escape. It escaped between two houses heavily gaining altitude. How to Use protect my much loved frogs? Maybe a net over the pond? I’m not using anything that could injure that magnificent bird, but at the same time….

Appreciation.

4°C dry and sunny.

Drive south to collect stuff for my new house. The wait should be over early next month.

Music has meaning again. During the ugliest most stressful stage in my last job, I would listen to music. But it had lost something. I no longer got the shivers. My senses were dulled so much by the accumulated tiredness.

Anyway, I drove home with the iPod set on shuffle. It seemed to be in a good mood. It played interesting tracks with hardly any need to skip any. Even the difficult types of music showed its magic. Fred Frith came up a good few times as well as Zena Parkins.

I have only bought a few discs in the last 12 months but the desire is coming back. Hurry along the time I can set up my stereo.

Late night tales.

Olafur Arnalds, a compilation album on 80g vinyl and packaged very nicely.​

Most remarkable is the sound quality. Perhaps there is something in the technique of mastering at half speed. Small details in the music are vivid. Stunning.

The Ship

Brian Eno: The Ship, double LP.

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The record player is working again. No fix from me, it’s an intermittent fault. I suspect a poor connection to the motor. It uses a 2 phase regulated supply from a built in circuit board (Valhalla). The fault must lie there.
First play sounds good for late evening listening.

Georg Friedrich Haas.

5°C, heavy rain, this morning’s flooding is the worst of the winter here.
Hear and Now – Donaueschingen Musiktage 2015 – @BBCRadio3 “>
Remember how entranced I was by Hans Abrahamsen’s Schnee?
Here is another: Georg Friedrich Haas. It’s the yet unreleased Trombone Octet played on the radio last Saturday.
Full of space, the clean sound is under precise control and unwavering harmony. It times you in the opener, it sounds like school kids playing rather badly. Then it rights itself.

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Georg Friedrich Haas

I want a hard copy, but from where?

Storyville, 13 years on death row.

6°C, dry with white cloud.
BBC: A Death Row Tale: The Fear of 13.
Quite the most moving thing I have seen on TV for many years.

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Credit: Storyville.

Practically a single scene play with just the narrator. If tells his own story in a beguiling manner the revealed gem after gem.
I put the recording on late on a Friday evening thinking I could watch half and finish in the morning.
A man on death row, a drug addict, a car theif was sentenced to death for a rape and murder. He sits in a darkened room, under a single light and tells his story.
In this story, there are frequent glimmers of optimism and unwavering hope. He used the time to teach himself to read properly, to enjoy reading and became articulate. More than that, he’s eloquent.
Yarris tells a story of horror, obvious human rights violations and poetry. Not wistful romantic poetry, this is beauty within a life in a hell. Men in a confined space with a dreadful end story, behaviour is animal. Here is hope.

There are a few edits where outside images break up scenes, the unfolding story evolves and unfolds beautifully. Through my own personal tiredness. .I was pinned to this. Half an hour in, resuming in the morning was out of the question.
My hope is that I can this film on disc, I want to go back to this sometimes. There are themes here for me personally. This is a public space, so I’m not saying now.

Although I’m no criminal, I can take something from this story. There are profound messages about life here. Take a look.