January 2005 Archives

singapore

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arrived in singapore, stupid flight checkin at Sydney meant I did not have boarding passes for my connecting flight(s) then the Singapore types tell me it's all ok i don't need a new boarding pass. Of course they end up t5alking about a different flight than the one I am on.

All got sorted out, but the Qantas experience wasn't very good - nor was Sydney airport to be honest with huge queues in the security side and bad/incorect advice given when I asked for it.

Singapore airport was fun, lots of dodgey electronics and lovely orchid displays. Not really looking forward to the usually quite ordinary Lufthansa service and backwards plane fitouts - often no in seat movies on long haul flights.

Would have preferred to fly an asian airline, they really get it all right and usually are cheaper to boot.

I'd heard Astrid talk about this, but didn't realise there were so few wolves in Norway.

Regardless - the Norwegians want to cull 25% of them, in order to protect their sheep farming. We mostly learned from this the hard way when similar approach wiped out of our iconic species the Tasmanian Tiger.

I feel a somewhat special bond with wolves, not sure why - they are a very symbolic animal and quite beautiful in the own way. Additionally one of my favourite bands from Norway is called Ulver - Norse for Wolf - one hopes they take a stand against this cull, maybe offer some of the proceeds of their upcoming album towards lobbying for stricter protection of this endangered species.

Still a bit wired after seeing the necks. As expected an amazing performance, pity about the audio glitches early in the second set.

January is such an exciting time in Sydney - it's a pity I'm departing soon or I'd be seeing a few more live shows. Last week's performance of The Black Riders was excellent.

Enjoyed Katatonia's Viva Emptiness on the way home, such a great late night album - why is it I have so many good 1AM albums in my collection?

The next gig to look forward to in oz is of course Isis directly after I return in Feb, not trying to hype that show up too much as I don't want to be disappointed but I hope it will be as good as Mindy is hoping it will be.

the site will look damn boring for a while - if you see this page you are viewing the new server and things are proceeding along well. Might take a month for everything to be fixed up again.

With the world becoming more e-commerce friendly every day. why is it that venues and ticketing/promoters just don't get it. Sure they offer ticket sales online. However am I the only person who will travel long distances to see the bands I like?

Far too many times I have had problems with trying to pre-book tickets for shows and been screwed over by country centric focus. Like this gig I wanted to go to in London, they only shipped tickets to an address. No pick up at venue. If I pay and give my oz address what chance will the tickets arrive?

So I ask around and try and get a local London address to send tix to. My first two attempts didn't get responses, lending theory to my i need new friends new years resolution.

Astrid came through with an answer, but I got busy and didn't act on it till tonight. Of course by now the tickets had just sold out.

After work today I procured the second Tord Gustavsen Trio CD "The ground" from Red Eye. This, for once was a CD that wasn't available at JB Hi-Fi.

Listening to it now but will need a few plays to see if it is good as the first one.

Will post more later.

Continuing my belated best of 2004 listings, I wanted to talk about a relatively recent discovery that I think contains the best drum performance I heard all year.

Although technically not a 2004 release, I was absolutely floored by the nuance, phrasing and sounds this drummer managed to produce despite playing at near inaudible levels

I swear there is something in the Scandinavian water that breeds simply amazing drummers. previously most of the examples I could have quoted would have been from extreme metal. Most particularly the preternatural Jean Axel Von Bloomberg (Arcturus, Winds, Mayhem etc) but there are plenty of other drummers performing amazing work at a slightly less god-like echelon.

Of course being able to play perfect double kick sixteenth triplet phrases at 250-300 bpm whilst tapping out jazz fills on a ride and hi hat is not the only measure of drumming proficiency. As evidenced by the phenomenal yet minimalist performance by Jarle Vespestad on "Changing Places", the first album by Norwegian jazz act - Tord Gustavsen Trio.

Unlike all the aforementioned extreme acts, Changing Places can be played at a quiet volume in almost any setting, but one would be missing the true beauty of this release. Sure it's technically a piano driven trio, but the other two members also contribute stellar performances. The bass-work is outstanding and lyrical in nature. However Jarle's performance is so subtle and sublime and rewards close and repeated listening. I doubt he even uses a drumstick for much of the album - preferring to rely on steel brushwork and his bare hands to retain the restrained yet absolute control over his instrument.

The only drummer I have ever heard with a similar approach is another Norwegian, Rune Hoemsnes of The Third and The Mortal, who has continually refuted the traditional thinking that slow paced music must feature basic, sparse drumming. His early work transmutes extreme metal techniques into a folk/jazz framework whilst his electronic programming and percussion on "In This Room" remains a key anchor point to return to as I foray into electronic music.

Many thanks to my flatmate for putting me on to this act and their sublime drummer

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