The pandemic isn’t just hindering the record deliveries, today I had two interviews cancelled due to pandemic issues, one due to a new lockdown in Melbourne, the other for a sudden vaccination opportunity. Texas hell, post, and pandemic struggles all over the planet Earth but it seems that they are putting a vehicle on Mars today. Our friend William who works at NASA took us to see the Space Center when we were in Houston in 2017, including seeing mission control and the Saturn V rocket which is where the Noctorum – The Afterlife cover came from as I was running around as I do here, taking loads of pictures of things. The front cover was taken where the display cases for the spacesuits were and the gatefold was a close-up of the Saturn V engines. So good news for the Martians and also good news for the unsigned CD and vinyl copies of Poison Stream as they have now been sent out, the signed ones making their way through customs but will be sent shortly (same with CDs).
At some point, we will collect all the reviews together and direct you as to where you can read them should you be interested. In fact, we should do that with the reviews of all the projects, Noctorum, Atlantaeum Flood and future projects. You have probably seen the post and the mailing list confirmation of Saturday’s MOAT – Poison Stream listening party with me, Niko, Ed, Dare and Olivia including the Q&A at the end, the event starting at 6 PM Portuguese time. I’m not sure if you are supposed to wear a funny hat but feel free if you have the need.
The weather has even turned on us here with a cool breeze and sporadic rain expected for the rest of the week, I still didn’t make it into my big coat though, sure it’s not 70 degrees but it’s also not the ice age down here. When you realise that it’s only an eight and a half hour drive to Gibraltar and then two hours to Ksar es Seghir on the tip of Morocco, and just eleven and half hours in total to Tangier. Twelve hours to Africa. Twink from The Pretty Things lives in Morocco as does Seg who did the Helpless You video, so at some point, a trip down there seems inevitable.
I dropped my camera today. It seems like it’s alright but these fragile pieces of equipment don’t take much of a beating before they start to fail. Olivia bought a Spanish guitar for 40€ from someone on the ex-pat site. Talk about a beating. It seems like it had been trodden on a couple of times, it had old strings, one broken and it was strung with the tie-on method. So we had Fernando (from the music store where I bought the Chinese Strat) come ‘round and pick it up to fix it up. It was a reasonable instrument, I hope it doesn’t cost more than it’s worth to repair and get going again.
Sensational supermarket visit today as every awe-inspiring, mind-blowing trip to the supermarket always is but today it was enhanced by lots of photos, signs, doors, buildings and a new interesting subject – aerials. Also today we stopped and watched the massive cranes working on a building site and wondered how these busy ants actually coordinated something so complex to build this monster edifice or whatever it may end up being. One workman saw us gazing at the site as we did for about 10 minutes. He shouted “trabalhar” as if to say this is what work looks like I shouted back “interessante”. I’m not sure he understood how fascinating it was to watch them create this building from dust from the point of view of an outsider – plus he was wielding a Spirit Level.
Music today was the last Tortoise album, The Catastrophist (2016). Oddly on Spotify, it had Rock On (Todd Rittman on vocals), yes the David Essex song, greyed out. I went to YouTube, listened to it there and when I went back to Spotify, it had disappeared. What’s that all about? It was a pretty awful version anyway, completely out of context. I also listened to bits of all the other versions, the original David Essex version from 1973, the Michael Damian version from 1989, and the Def Leppard Version from 2006. I only listened up to the first verse but apparently, there are lots of versions – not including Love In Motion by Icehouse.
One review said this:
Depending on your musical tastes, you’ll find The Catastrophist to be either an excellent 9-track album or a so-so 11-track one. The 2 vocal-led songs sit rather uncomfortably amongst the (frequently stunning) instrumental tracks – though Georgia Hubley’s performance is growing on me. However, the Todd Rittman-fronted cover of David Essex’s peerless “Rock On” sounds like a particularly awful B-side reject and is v. poor indeed.
Tortoise are always a fascinating listen but the singing concept is weird, Yonder Blue with vocals by Yo Lo Tengo’s Georgia Hubley, it’s unnecessary, distracting from what they are good at, nothing against the singers I just don’t want butter on my fries. Fascinating as they are, I’m not sure about this record but having said that if I’d never heard anything else they did I’d probably love it. So just to check, I played it again. Great post-rock, inventive, super cool – if you like this kind of thing.