Motorik Beats

cover_43432117102008I found myself jonesing for some Motorik beats having played Neu’s mighty Hallogallo. One quick google search for a playlist of some kind landed me on this brilliant article on The Quietus.

Having read it, I noticed that Spotify was – at the time of compiling the playlist back in 2009 – missing some of the tracks. So, I recompiled it to add in the missing songs here.

Its ace – check it out if you can. Quite funny to read a claim that Bowie used motorik beats only to then have the evidence (which is 100% spot-on) presented to me via the playlist. Ditto Ultravox and The Human League!

Two book recommendations

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 10.00.32Its the weekend, so rather than talk shop I figured it would be nice to take a break and instead recommend two music books instead, as both are utterly fantastic.

John Higgs’ “The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band Who Burned A Million Pounds” is possibly the best music-related book of the last couple of years. Now admittedly, I’m something of a KLF obsessive (and for those who’ve not heard me spin the yarn, I once faked an entire KLF comeback with my friend DJ Food), but even if you’re so-so on Drummond and Cauty this is still a fine read. The book isn’t a biography of the KLF per se; its more a journey through their career told via their influences. Taking in anything from Situationism to the Illuminatus Trilogy through to the number 23 and Doctor Who, what I love about this book is that it reminds you that now and again pop music can be both incredibly catchy *and* rather subversive at the same time. It doesn’t mythologise the band either, happily admitting that at times the band were guilty of retro-fitting theories around their actions (for example, Drummond cops to never having actually finished the Illuminatus Trilogy – a tome which carries arguably more KLF-related symbolism than anything, including the source of their “Justified Ancients of Mu Mu” title). The faintly comical part for me was the degree to which synchronicity carried so much weight in the book, purely because I then realised there were no small number of synchronicities between myself and the KLF too, as I’ve now worked with various people who also worked with the band back in the day. But I digress – do check the book out, its ace.

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Amazon selling 258 song, 17 CD John Martyn boxset as a download for… £7.49

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 10.58.09My friend Andy just tipped me off as to this rather curious development: John Martyn’s “Island Years” boxset is available on Amazon for £150. Its a monstrous deluxe collection spanning 17 CDs and one DVD; quite the item for completists and hardcore fans (albeit at a pretty huge price to match). Its not just reissues of albums either; there’s a raft of previously unavailable music making this quite the collector’s item.

How come then, that the very same boxset is available on Amazon as a digital download – albeit sans DVD content – for just £7.49? [Update: link removed as item no longer available for sale]

I took a look around, and this boxset isn’t up on streaming services, nor is it on iTunes. So what gives? Have Amazon mistakenly made a digital version available? Is this some kind of exclusive deal?

The more I look around, the more I’m presuming this to be some kind of error on Amazon’s part. Certainly Universal have no reason to limit the availability of this item if they were making a digital version available, and to be blunt if they were picking an exclusive partner I’m not sure Amazon would be the one as they simply don’t generate much revenue for labels via the digital download side, where iTunes dominates the market completely.

So – can anyone shed some light on this? Only 258 songs for £7.49 may even beat streaming services in the “how little can music be sold for?” stakes…

Update: the keen-eyed Adam Webb has just informed me the same release is also on for just £1.99!

Update 2: The Amazon digital version has now been taken down, leading me to conclude this was a clerical error somewhere along the line.’s version remains on sale – for now…

Could music journalism be more profitable away from the web?

The Quietus - coverRecently you may have seen my post singing the praises of the new Quietus anthology, which might just be the finest compendium of music writing I’ve read in a few years now.

Since finishing it though, something about it has been playing on my mind. Perhaps not one thing; more a collection of realisations. In no particular order, these are:

1. I still don’t look at The Quietus website as much as I should – and I’m probably missing some good articles as a result.

2. I do all my leisurely reading via Kindle e-books, books and magazines. This is because I sit at a computer all day for my job; reading news & articles from one just doesn’t work from me. If I am reading from an online device, its my Nexus 7… but even then I tend to limit it to Kindle e-books because I want to focus and not get distracted by that “read for 2mins then surf on” behaviour that comes with websites.

3. The Quietus is, by their own admission, hardly raking in a ton of money from advertising – which, if I’m not mistaken, is their primary source of income as a business.

4. Something I loved about the Quietus’ anthology is that I enjoyed reading about artists or albums I wasn’t so familiar with every bit as much as those I was a huge fan of. Part of the reason for this was that I was reading these articles in an environment where I had the time (and lack of distractions) to really get into them. Had I been reading them on a website, there’s a pretty high chance I would – rightly or wrongly – have just moved on because when I’m browsing I’m immediately more ADHD about how long I spend on content.

Continue reading “Could music journalism be more profitable away from the web?”