With all the hoo-ha about Record Store Day and Noctorum’s Sparks Lane being available on vinyl for the first time, Olivia brought to my attention the fact that today is the 29th anniversary of the release of Spirit Level in 1992, who knew? (Olivia did.) The only problem with this is that unlike Sparks Lane, which is still available through Schoolkids Records – Spirit Level has sold out. The days of vinyl records (or vinyls in a different generation’s vernacular) being made in their thousands is no longer realistic, obviously. Mr Ek and the streaming sites have put paid to that but the nerds and mainly DJs kept the format alive – ironic because the whole sit down on the sofa with the gatefold and listening on your stereo experience has absolutely nothing to do with them. But spinning 12-inch singles at dance parties, along with the young’uns who buy the vinyl version of their favourite streamed artist not to play but as a souvenir or a wall decoration sees it holding its own in a digital world.
I’m happily collecting new releases on vinyl as they are so limited that they soon become hard to find. It’s not like the old days when you could walk into a second-hand vinyl store and find multiple copies of an album by your favourite artist or if you wanted it new it probably wasn’t deleted and you just simply ordered it years after its initial release. Try your luck with Peter Gabriel’s multi-artist project from 2008, Big Blue Ball. So, Spirit Level is no longer available because we only made 750 copies and they all sold out. The problem is that if we’d made 2000 copies we might have 1000 left, and it’s not cheap to make them and therefore a financial risk. These days we try to make 1000 copies of my projects and that covers initial sales, with manufacture sorted and leaves some leftovers for stragglers and tours. But Space Summit is an unknown entity and despite co-producing, playing all the guitars and bass and co-writing all the songs, the ‘unknown’ Jed Bonniwell, my partner in the project (a sessioneer discovery), sings and writes the words. Although he does a fantastic job of it you might be less inclined to purchase it as it’s a name you don’t know. But when the pre-order goes up (soon) there will only be 500 copies (blue vinyl) available. So, if you like I’m Electric, I’d get in there.
A case in point is Atlantaeum Flood where we still have multiple copies left. Sadly, tragically, unbelievably we lost Steve Knott, visionary and bandmate in the project to a stroke one month ago. It’s an instrumental album, I play all the lead guitar, Olivia plays the violin, Steve’s wife Lynne is on cello and Steve on composition and acoustic guitars, Dare on all the technical stuff. Everyone who bought it seems to really like it but we still have quite a few copies left on CD and vinyl because, again, it’s an unknown name and an unknown quantity. This is your chance to taste this beautiful record on CD on sale at Schoolkids Records for just $5 and vinyl is still available on their website.
Still working on In Deep Porto, we had a meeting today about it all, will keep you posted on that one as it develops (you can support the process here). I had to leave just before 6 PM for a sesh with Chris in New Jersey and Olivia went and picked up a hoover she bought off someone in a Porto Facebook group. Isn’t it interesting that the hoover is so ingrained in our British psyche that we don’t call it a vacuum cleaner, we just call it the brand name and when Mr Dyson came up with his brilliant new design, it also became known by the brand name. Other examples of this?
I had one eye on the Portugal – Hungary game today and it was all square and in the last 10 minutes, Portugal scored three goals, winning 3-0. Germany lost 1-0 to France with an own goal, this makes the Group Of Death a must-win against Germany for Portugal if Portugal are to go through presuming France are the favourites against Portugal and Hungary and Germany the favourites against Hungary. Confused? It was hot today, nearly a thunderstorm, some low rumbles in the distance, but rain is coming, might have to stay in and watch the football, what a shame.
Music today started with, you guessed it, Big Blue Ball (2008), a Peter Gabriel multi-artist world music project that I wasn’t aware of. I was directed there after listening randomly to a World Party track to find that Karl Wallinger was very involved in the project. Which made me look into World Party to discover that Wallinger had an aneurysm in the early 2000s and was unable to speak. It seems he has recovered, there’s been some more records but nothing from him since 2015 (the website not updated since then either). Peter Gabriel hasn’t had an aneurysm but still, there’s no new material from him either. What happens? Why do these great artists stop being prolific? Kate Bush, please make more records.
Randomly after Big Blue Ball, Pete Townshend came up. I recognised the track as coming from All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes (1982), it’s an album I already liked a lot. He’s another one, why aren’t there more Pete Townshend solo albums? Empty Glass (1980) was good too and of course Who Came First (1972). But there’s been no solo albums since the ‘other’ Rock Opera, Psychoderelict (1993), 28 years ago. But since It’s Hard (1982) there have been just two Who albums in thirty years, Endless Wire (2006) and Who (2019). For a man with his songwriting history, absolute classics. In 1982 there was a Who album and a solo album. What happened? Answers on a postcard.