Sunday, October 31, 2004

Saturday Night, Sunday Morning

Put together a tune in memory of John Peel. Titled 'Voice On The Radio', it's a minimalist- ambient piece built around a gentle swell-sweep sequence on a Yamaha DX 200.

Fear and Loathing, Campaign 2004: Dr. Hunter S. Thompson sounds off on the fun-hogs in the passing lane.

Desert Island DJ: How John Peel helped shape American musical taste.

Some Peel radio sessions

Friday, October 29, 2004

My synth noodlings...

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Tribute to a radio god

ONE of the guiding voices of my youth has been silenced forever. John Peel, the BBC DJ who introduced me and legions of other shortwave radio nuts worldwide to some truly exciting new music in the Seventies, has died in Cuzco, Peru where he was holidaying. He was 65.
I was saddened by the news as almost through my entire tormented teenage years, I faithfully tuned in to Peel's weekly half-hour music programme on the BBC World Service.
Lying in bed at night, ceaselessly fiddling with the antenna to optimise the static-filled signal, I would have my ear glued to the crackling speaker, eagerly soaking up the strange and beautiful noise that became a staple of Peel's unfailingly imaginative playlist.
I believed at the time that it was the most thrilling music show anyone could hear on the radio. And the best thing was, Peel somehow always managed to squeeze in as much music as possible in the sinfully short time-slot he was alloted.
I marvelled at the way he'd introduce a band with a few choice words and let the music speak for itself. And amazingly for someone who talked so little, Peel's was a voice you never forgot.
For many years, he was the only true sympathetic "friend" I had. The voice may have come floating from an incredible distance, but it spoke a language you could relate to. Often, it felt like you were listening to an older brother whom you admired for not only his cool tastes in music, but also for his uncanny ability to predict future trends.
It was through Peel's programme that I discovered glorious stalwarts of the British rock scene like Steve Hillage, Rory Gallagher, Robin Trower and Soft Machine, and many promising new bands. One of them was Be-Bop Deluxe on whose album 'Sunburst Finish' (recently reissued on CD by EMI) I never hesitated to shell out the then-princely sum of RM12.
Being obsessed with blues, folk and prog rock at one stage, I wasn't so appreciative during the time Peel kept plugging an endless parade of loud and noisy unsigned bands. But it's a good thing I didn't tune out as much of the music he played went on to become a blueprint for the British punk-rock revolution.
Peel was the kind of music lover for whom honesty of expression and artistic commitment meant more than glibness and technical polish. Which is why he featured loads of intriguingly ragged unknown acts on his show. There was a weird joy in giving your full attention to a band that seemed out of tune yet capable of moving you in ways that their more established counterparts could barely manage.
Indeed, I remember listening to some of the most astoundingly original music by groups that were sadly just swallowed up by oblivion. I can't recall their names or the titles of their tunes, but their sounds are still swirling somewhere in my head.
The tributes that have been pouring in, including one from British Prime Minister Tony Blair who characterised him as "a unique voice in British broadcasting", are a testament to Peel's legendary status as a broadcaster and his enormous influence on the evolution of British rock over four decades.
He was a true original, one who was worshipped as a god by a lonely teenager who owes him an eternal debt for musical enlightenment.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Terrific new music... and it's free!

When you've been passionate about music for as long as I have, you just can't avoid reaching a point where nothing new seems to excite anymore.

Which is why the recent discovery of, a site whose "source for cutting edge music" claim is no empty boast, has me juiced about music again the way I was as a lonely teenager tuned-in to rock and jazz broadcasts on BBC World Service and VOA.

It's a real respite from the soul-destroying trash that bombards you everywhere you turn these days.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Monsoon Misery

Been raining almost every day the past two weeks. Dying to do 100km rides again, but the weather hasn't been too cooperative.

The music's coming on fine, though. Almost done with trax for the new synth album.


Teen-angst classic or juvenile junk?: 'The Catcher in the Rye' is a maladroit, mawkish novel, but there can be no question about its popularity or influence.

The Geek Factor: The election this November will determine whether the nation still wants to be led by an Alpha male.

Maximum Bob: The first volume of Bob Dylan's autobiography, Chronicles, is honest and heartfelt.

The cat off the mat: Anthony Thwaite enjoys A Working Life, Jeremy Treglown's biography of the novelist and celebrated man of letters, VS Pritchett.

The Gonzo Way of Branding: Billionaire Richard Branson has thrived by breaking the rules.

Harmony Central Winter NAMM 2004 VIDEOS

Friday, October 22, 2004

Titles for new synth tunes...

Junk Mail Jive
Love Conquers, War Crushes
The Water Song
The Killing Never Stops
For the Children of the Future
Endless Carnage
Souls on the Rampage
Justice for None
Gurus of Greed
Dubya Dub

Album title: Home of the Knave, Land of the Flea

For my previous blogs, go here.