Whatever happened to

The experimental music studio?

You may recall all the drama around Christmas with deliveries of yet more equipment with fantastic names (moowoosher, minisomething or other the force and a huge keyboard with stand in it’s own special metal case). Well it is now March and the studio is almost clear. It was an experiment and, mmmmh, it became a loadstone of wires. The Synth Lover was not inspired and the beautiful music he had intended to make never flowed. However as with all experiences in life, if it doesn’t work, let go and move on. Or in this case find all the boxes and packaging and get on ebay. Ebb and, flow, in letting go of the need for an entire room devoted to synths and their accessories a Sound Force station with beautiful live accessory (cat) has meant an outpouring of amazing tunes! So that’s all good then (ref. to 2012 UK comedy).

 

tiggi

 

On the island, the Season has begun.

It was with great amusement that I watched the arrivals streaming out of the wee airport and being met by a Saga (hols for oldies) Representative. Upon leaving school I did not want or qualify to go to University and so thrust myself into the ‘workforce’ with a series of part-time jobs whilst doing a Youth training Scheme in Travel and Tourism on the South Coast of England.

In those days airline and boat tickets were written BY HAND, you had to go through a travel agent in order to book anything. Package holidays by Intasun and Thompsons were offering affordable foreign holidays to the masses! We learned to issue train tickets (whose time tables were massive books reissued each year), work as a travel agent and over one week in Benidorm, how to be a ‘rep’. The only thing we did on a computer was to learn how to make a spreadsheet in the second half of the course for one day!

Being the gregarious big mouth that I am I was naturally drawn more to the meet and greet aspect rather than the 9-5 Travel Agency employee number. Handy really, as a few years later the internet blossomed. The middle man (travel agent) was cut from the equation and now most of it is done online – even checking in and printing boarding passes. My people skills honed from years of doing seasons of Sand followed by Ski as a rep gave me the public speaking skills that have provided for my creative expression and spondoolies too!

In fact one of my most lucrative season was for Saga’s American wing, Globus Gateway. We would collect the people from the airport, flog them excursions, take them to the theatre and get lots of tips. I was able to finance 6 months in Australia from 3 months work in London. Nice.

 

breakki

Anyway back to the Island, I was seeing off a friend and had prepared a little on board healthy breakfast tray. She was ever so pleased and snuffled the lot before we even got to the departures area! What a nice compliment for my ‘thrown together from whatever is to hand cake’.

This months recipe is from a real food blog, in case anyone is taking a plane journey and is looking for nibble inspiration….

from peacefuldumpling

Leave it to an English major to find recipe inspiration in the diary of a poet’s sister. Dorothy Wordsworth, sister of Tintern Abbey poet William Wordsworth, was an avid diarist–and a poet herself. She wrote of life in the Lake District of northern England where the natural landscape infused day-to-day life with quiet beauty.

Oat cakes are among the food items mentioned in Dorothy’s journals. Made with simple oat flour and goose fat, they could be easily packed along a trip outdoors. The recipe-adapting English major mentioned above was not me, but my mother. She experimented with blender-churned oat flour and different nut butters (not goose fat ;)) to create her own version of these delightful, healthy snacks.

Vegan Oatcakes

Ingredients:

(Makes between 10-12, depending on thickness of cakes.)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 cup oat flour (can be made by blending old fashioned oats until they are a coarse flour)

1 tbsp. almond butter or coconut oil

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon or pumpkin spice blend

1/3 cup non-dairy milk or water (I used a blend of almond and coconut milk.)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp. coconut nectar

cinnamon and almond slices for garnish (optional)

oatcakes

Directions:

1.  Pre-heat oven to 350F.

2. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients.

3. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients then add to dry ingredients and stir thoroughly.

4.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Flatten dough between 1/4-1/2″. Cut into circles using a biscuit or cookie cutter. Press almond slices onto oat cakes (optional). Garnish with cinnamon (optional).

5. Bake for 15 minutes or until oat cakes easily lift off the parchment.  Allow cakes to cool on a wire rack. Serve, and enjoy!

 

On the video front, this month I have chosen the Emoto water walk for your enjoyment!

 

Musical Dilettante

On being a musical dilettante

‘We are lovers, yet I’ve always had the feeling he thinks me a musical dilettante and that he likes it that way.’

When I was growing up music did not play that great a role in our house. My parents favoured Cohen, the Stones, the Carpenters and classical as background noise. We stopped watching Top of the Pops when my father requested I refrain from singing along! So, on my Ipod I have the Big Chill film soundtrack, the music from Weeds, The Who and The Clash, aerobics 4by4 dance tracks and one ton of relaxation music.

In the mid 80’s, when I first started going out in a small seaside town on the pebbly coast of England I was around fifteen years old. At my friend’s house, who had very liberal parents, we would don our Punk outfits and head off to Brighton or the Brixton Academy, to see the likes of the Virgin Prunes. I was not really into the music but I was very attracted to the ‘scene’, of being different and ‘out there’.

This was followed by a few years of Reggae. I was at Sixth Form and had just discovered the pleasures of Mother Natures Herbal Medicine. The music fitted perfectly and I loved the idea of Rastafarianism as it appealed to my veggi sensibilities. Oh, and then of course there were the Rastas themselves! I was even taught to cook by a five man Reggae band.

Then came the underground Rave Scene during the late 80’s to early 90’s and what a ride that was. From hearing Soul to Soul playing on the radio, to listening to A Guy Called Gerald in a South London railway arch. In those days we did everything ourselves. We sourced the location, painted the backdrops, hired the lights and sound stuff and had our DJ friends play for our posse. It was brilliant, magical, lovely and definitely not just because of the music! It could not last forever. Thatcher’s Criminal Justice Act prevented anyone playing a repetitive beat with more than four persons gathering from 1994 onwards.

Having changed musical genres for a few decades, I remained with ‘house music’ upon moving to Berlin in my 30’s. However it was never about the music itself for me, the Dilettante. I was there for the vibe, the atmosphere, the people and just ‘being there’. Berlin was amazing, we were in the East and the nightlife was fantastic. Yes, sure there were drugs flying around but some people did not even drink. This was a different attitude to the purely hedonistic angle I’d been used to. It was so very interesting to go out all night completely straight and still not come home until the sun had risen over the Fernsehturm. All of this to the boom boom boom of Techno music.

These days I prefer to listen to audiobooks and use music for exercising and meditating. The years have taken their toll, I am deaf in my left ear from too many nights on loudspeakers (I shadow danced for Kruder and Dorfmeister)! This means I can no longer tolerate loud ambient noise, so no more all nighters por moi.

On that note here is the worlds most relaxing piece of music. Sound therapists were able to rate ten of the most relaxing songs, with Marconi Union’s 8 minute trance-inducing tune, “Weightless”, coming out on top thanks to its continuous rhythm of 60 BPM, an ideal tempo for synchronization with the heart and brainwaves,

My Synth Lover first became turned on by electronic music when hearing Kraftwerk. As a schoolboy he saved up and saved up to get a ROWLAND SH09 in 1981 and he has not looked back since. He was able to turn his passion into a career in his mid twenties (full time only after royalties started to come in from library music – not to be sniffed at, as it allows for financial freedom and makes for excellent practise at learning the craft). Thanks to years of study (at home twiddling knobs), trial and error, constant updating, learning, taking constructive feedback, tons of hard work, budgeting, good money management and believing in himself. Having started in Drum and Bass he is now much more of an Eno (Brian) man in his musical tastes.

rowsh09

Here is someone else inspired by music. This is moving and touching, especially as he died shortly after giving the speech……….

For this months recipe I give you the easiest soup in the world!

zucsoup

Zucchini Soup

Take one medium zucchini,

Chop into smallish pieces,

Bake in a hot oven drizzled with oil, sea salt and pepper.

Make one cup of hot water with a stock cube.

Place zucchini and stock in a blender, blend. DRINK!

Wanna make it ‘cream of’, drizzle a bit of non dairy cream on top.

Bet it tastes yummy, if you like zucchini that is!

foodfight

We are loving our new improved healthy lifestyle and are feeling brilliant. The ‘regime’ or holistic approach, if you will, incorporates exercise (trampoline, walking), relaxation (meditation, chi machine), positive outlook (affirmations, creative visualisation) and, of course, the ‘green’ eating regime (Nutribullit juices, 70% raw).

Oh and of course doing something you are passionate about for a living and surrounding yourself with loving friends, family and positive peers. I also recommend some form of altruism. Just Perfect!

: )

 

 

 

Into the New Year,

and how are you finding January? Broken any New Years resolutions? Did you even make any? Have you followed through with the challenge and  are feeling great about yourself?

heart beats

We made two simple yet profound changes – we practice endless gratitude and have attempted to cut out all complaining.Wonderful stuff, try it for a week and see for yourselves!

My bundle of ‘love’, the kitten from the fields, is growing and playing……..Tiggy 12

Someone sent us this for Christmas, my father had recently sent me this link. Perfect. Especially for those who twiddle with synths!

minit

 

 

tweenie

A post in between Christmas and New Year

Hoping you are having a fine festive season, with plenty of cheer to get you headed into the new year.

Guess what Santa got the Synth Lover……..

Touch Baseline, Rhythm Performer and a couple of other unmentionables, heard it being called an experimental studio. Hah, more toys and knobs to twiddle with. I think his Santa Klaus was called Rowland something or other.

Mrs Klaus sent me a baby via the fields near us. Her name is Tiggi and she is one year old and very lively!IMG_6460

Rather than bore you with tales of the cats or more food recipes here something I came across a little while ago. Enjoy!

 

Just because…..

Music is so very special,

music

does not mean….

IMG_6148

 

You can fill my storage cupboard with synthesisers

OR

IMG_6420

decorate my kitchen with your compulsive purchasing

(although it does look cute!)

and please don’t let Felix bully the two girly cats!

IMG_6197

 

Thank you!

On electronic music temples,

out sourcing creativity and playing with food!

berghain

Berlin is known for being different,

not like the rest of Germany, the infamous ‘black sheep’ so to speak.  It is a creative haven for those who are looking for somewhere cheap to live and be arty, express themselves, be socially responsible or an anarchist, with all the connotations  and variations associated with all of these. From the pre war (second) satirical Cabaret performances , the yearly  first of May clashes in Kreuzberg, to the illegal clubs along the Spree in the late nineties, wall or no wall Berlin oozes individuality from every architectural pore and FKK park (FKK Freie Koerper Kulture/ Naturism – it was the one thing the Russians could not stop the East Germans from doing – getting their kit off down the local park!).

During my time there I met, partied and lived with some of the most amazing people from all over the world. Many of whom remain dear friends to this day. So, it was with delight I agreed to proofread some English translations for an Italian friend. The stuff turned out to be about an East German photographer, Sven, who is nearly as famous as the club, a temple to electronic music, upon whose door he ‘bounces’. Now, during my heady party days ‘mit meine Ozzies’ (teenagers raised in East Berlin) we made it a point to gain entry to parties, clubs or homes by means other than the front door. So try as I might, I could not recall ever standing ‘schlange’ to get in anywhere – no wait, there was the line at the Pfefferberg for a Kruder and Dorfmeister gig, it was minus 20 and we were being given shots of Jaegermeister by the bouncers. Anyway, even perusing google images of the BERGHAIN, I can’t recall seeing Sven, though I know I’ve been in the club many times (via rubble and a broken window). In order to remedy this and ask his favourite recipe (he is a vegan!) I shall be popping over to Torino to check out the exhibition. Here is an excerpt of the blurb….

sm

‘Sven Marquardt was born in 1962 in the district of Pankow, in the east side of the city. He grew up, so to speak, in the shadow of the wall that was built just one year before his birth, and that until 1989 tried to prevent the escape of  GDR citizens to the West, becoming one of the most hated symbols of the Cold War in the history of Europe. The presence of the wall and the artist’s private vicissitudes gradually transformed him into a rebel. His photographs, taken with an analog camera and strictly in black and white, develop over the span of three decades and deal with crucial issues, about which Western art has wondered for centuries, namely the contraposition of Eros and Thanatos (Todestrieb), the life drive and the death drive, opposing and complementing each other in human lives and in their eternal dualism between the principles of Love and Hate, Life and Death, Light and Darkness. This personal vision, in many respects melancholic, offers the viewers an opportunity to filter their look through the camera lens and see the world in a different light, by observing Darkness and investigating their emotions without being afraid. Darkness is not intended by Sven Marquardt as a denial of light, but as its absence, therefore not with a negative connotation, but as an unspoken potential, still not reached by the light.’

http://trova-eventi.it/turin-goetterdaemmerung-sven-marquardt-solo-show/

All this art has me thinking about the electronic music I danced to and how my synth lover first got interested in synthesisers having heard Kraftwerk. On this note a short video about progress in technology and future inventions. Makes for interesting discussion material, so consider ‘is it possible to out source creativity to a computer? Take 15 minutes to ponder…..

 

Instead of a recipe this month, I have decided to play the veg instead – enjoy!