Saturday, August 30, 2008

It's not a sunset if you can't see the sun

Just about time up on the summer. Back to school/work on Monday. It's
been a bloody marvelous holiday perfect combination of good hotel and
uncrowded nearby beaches. Oh and let's not forget the superb Cafe el
Sol bar in Serra del Marina. Seriously, visit it if you are ever in
northern Mallorca.

I did promise myself no standard balearic sunset photos this year but
seeing as I had my back to the sun I am letting this one go.

Late lunch

Last day at the beach. Waiting for langustines sipping a cold beer.

Open source music?

I have had a bit of time on my hands over the last couple of days (the joys of being on holiday) and this coupled with the trance laden radio station Global FM Mallorca that is permanently tuned on the car radio has led to me fiddling with music again.

I don't think I have actually tried to put together a composition for nearly eight years now. Not properly anyway. Needless to say I am seriously out of practice and my clumsy attempts at the easiest of build-break-build-drop formula are rather disappointing. Still the exercise has taught me a couple of things.

  1. Macs are cool.
    Garage Band, whilst limited, is a very very cool bit of pack in software. Simple loop and sample arranging and editing is a breeze. There are a load of pretty decent virtual instruments and the effects selection and customisation is broad. Now this could of course just be the effect of eight years of progress since I picked up a bit of music software as when-I-were-lad you just couldn't do this kind of thing on a mid level consumer laptop.
  2. Creativity is a muscle.
    It is definitely a case of "use it or lose it". Although I can listen to a tune and de-construct it's component parts and appreciate the work that has gone in to it I have lost the ability to easily put together the building blocks myself. I should practice more and to do so I need to make time for it.
  3. Music needs space to grow.
    Because I have just been fiddling on and off in the evenings I have not been doing the eight hour plus all-nighters I used to do when writing tunes. I think this is a good thing. Being so close to a track makes me lose focus on what it needs and coming back to it after a break I can hear it's strengths and weaknesses a lot easier.
  4. Collaboration helps.
    I need second opinions, critique and compliment. However what is needed is a way of easily passing work back and forth so that collaborators can work on it. Furthermore it would be great if there were some kind of version control, a subversion for music. In the old days passing stuff between collaborators was tricky unless there was a shared set-up or studio. Now with advances in software as they are it should be relatively simple so long as all parties are using the same software.
So with that in mind I dump here the work in progress mp3 of the tune that I am fiddling with and also the Garage Band file. Take it as released under a Creative Commons license for non-commercial use. I would love to get feedback, bear in mind before being too harsh though that it is very very much work in progress and really just accumulation of ideas at this point.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Final Countdown.

Sitting at the ultimate redneck village fête but Mallorcan style I
find myself contemplating the lyrics to "The Final Countdown". Let's
see if I've got this straight... For some reason humanity needs to
leave Earth. I'm guessing this is due to some kind of major disastor
such as massive global warming or solar supernova. So where do we go
in the face of impending doom? Venus (maybe they've seen us) which
kind of rules out the supernova theory and seeing as Venus is a living
study in the greenhouse effect it would seem a bit daft to go there if
your world had become too hot. With this incredible lack of solar
system awareness in mind also note that humanity (represented by the
poodle do'd Germans here) expects that we have "so many light years to
go". I'm not quite sure which route they are taking but last I checked
Venus could be reached in well under ten light minutes.

Moral of the story... Don't trust the interstellar fate of human kind
to the Germans.

Another town, another festa, another beer.

We left santa margalida in search of the night market in Maria de salut. Seems the market was cancelled in favour of the festa. We have stopped for a beer or three to watch the locals throw illegal fireworks at each other.

Festa Beata

Cake, wine, football, music and a cursory nod to religion in santa margalida.

GPS take me home

Used to be that driving around islands in the med was a bit of an exercise in dodgy map interpretation. Then along came consumer GPS and saved us from a world of holiday navigation based arguments.

Beach seafood

Mussels and dorado

Day's end. Tea time.

Beach starting to empty. Going to wander to the bar for some calamari.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Terrace view

Another lazy day spent by the pool. 1 novel down 4 to go. Going to have some food on the terrace in the evening sun then probably settle into a comfortably drunken haze.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Festa de jola

All the towns we have seen so far have given their main squares this roof of white tissue stuff. Something to do with the August festival season. Its a striking contrast against the sky, which is - I guess - the point.

Breakfast time

Breakfast in the salon. A room full of sculpture, blown glass and paintings.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Nobody here but us chickens

Big advantage of this place is the major feeling of privacy. The hotel only has 5 rooms so the only noise by the pool is the occasional sound of the chickens making us eggs for breakfast.

Good morning

Waking up in Mallorca this morning after a sleep only interrupted by the noises of various night animals around the farm. This is the view from the end of the bed onto our terrace. Think I'll go get someone to fill that table with coffee and tasty things.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Finger Trap Area

Getting off the train I spotted the stencil on the side of the
wheelchair ramp. "Finger Trap Area". So... Is it warning or function

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Mmm. Generous with the fish too.

Waiting for sushi

It's sushi night at the best Japanese cafe in town. Once a week only
and only what's available - so tonight no tuna :( The cafe is opposite
New College which is where I was thinking of going to university. At
the time I decided it was too posh. Looking at it now it is very posh
but seriously cool. The whole college is a big castle complete with
gatehouse and portcullis. Ah what might have been.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Museum head

On our way to see the dark knight walking along broad street. One day
I will find out who all these heads are.

Shreya comes to visit