Category Archives: Review (Of Sorts)

Sound Of Wonder Is Ace

My mate Scooby hosts the Sound Of Wonder. The Sound Of Wonder is a podcast that gets broadcast on community radio in Harrogate and the USA.

If you want to find out more then head to www.soundofwonder.co.uk

Stewart admits he butchers the links and he has not a hope of getting them correct – we are past Episode 250, now. But they are amazing. They have a very small and a very small listenership. I am one of them and I am also the producer.

Scoob’s good lady-wife has taken to recording the links recently. Despite the massive advancements in technology, a local recording is far better than VOIP with good mics.

The Sound of Wonder is clocking up milestones. I am glad to be part of it. Good work, Scooby. And, thanks….

Ijo Pona - skull
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A 10% Double IPA

Spent most of the day asleep after polishing off the remaining Birthday beers.

Kathryn bought me a crate from Brass Castle – I am very pleased with them; the bees were not pushing me out of my comfort zone and I was enjoying them….

Then, along came Mind Sweeper, the 10% Double IPA.

It was amazing!

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The Luxury Of Discernment

The typical ten-year-old violinist can’t tell the difference between a cheap instrument and a Guarneri. Just as a harried road man simply wolfs down a hamburger, not really worried or aware of its provenance or flavour.

And a bureaucrat buys whatever is cheapest and meets spec, without regard for how well it is designed or the supply chain that created it.

Enthusiasts will work their whole lives to be able to tell the difference in how an orchestra sounds, or how the chocolate is tempered or the simple elegance of thoughtful engineering.

And then, once we do, the incompetent or mediocre stuff isn’t worth much. In order to appreciate the truly great work, we often end up becoming disappointed with the rest.

[bogo]

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Help! Desk!

I have been busy building a help desk for the station I volunteer at. The Help Desk runs in Tawk.to and comes as part of the Chat Widget I installed for the hosts of the shows.

The Widget escalated quickly and then there was the help desk. Do you want to see the Help Desk? Of course you do, the HCR Help Desk is HERE. It is a beauty.

The chat widget is in the bottom left of the site, at all times – except on the pop out player. The idea is that the hosts will be able to correspond with their listenership. This will enable feed back – instant to broadcast. It is a great idea.

If you want to read a bit more about the HCR Help Desk as a Blog Post head HERE. But, look at this..!

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My New Media Set Up

I needed a music set up that would work with SONOS and my iPhone – something that would help me store my massive collection(s) of music. I thought about Apple Music – But, I have several Libraries for that; a Dub Library for Guerrilla Dub System, an arty Library for regular poncing and other, different libraries for friends radio shows.

I needed something to unite them so I can dip my toe in to the collected library, whilst having them separated on my machine.

At first, I had been using Vox Music, the cloud based app that allows people to stream to their phone and (theoretically) the SONOS. However, the connection to the SONOS was very patchy and the streaming to the phone would use up my battery quick sharp – so, I cancelled my membership to Vox.

The next solution to try, and the one that is running now, is that I have set up a Plex Server on my Mac Mini – I figure my Mac mini is switched on when I am up and about, so there would be no need to worry about not having access to the music. The only issue would come when I needed to switch off my Mac Mini (might get a NAS Drive for that).

Plex has a great interface and is really user intuitive. It give a bit of background information to the artist that I am playing and is visually led. I like it – more of this please.

If you are thinking of setting up a Plex Server, have a look at their website (www.plex.tv – I believe) and they will talk you through how to set it up. My sister uses it for her Movies and she swears by it too. I just use it for music, though, And, it is more than capable of handling that. It feeds from the Data Silo Musicbrainz that I wrote about HERE. It is all connected. Hive Mind #1.2

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The Little-Known Mastering Studio

Sigil Of Brass is the best mastering studio I have worked at. It is in a ranted space at Creao Studio, North Yorkshire – I work there with Allan Smyth and it is something I am very proud of, we built it up from scratch.

Sigil Of Brass is a hybrid mastering studio – we use a blend of digital and analogue gear to get what we need – the monitor system is something I am proud of, a Neumann German-made system. I really does let us hear what we need to improve.

I managed to build the site for Sigil Of Brass – it is a WordPress site and you can see it at www.sigilofbrass.com.

sigil of brass logo

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A Review: #OutThereTogether

Hi, I am Andy & I’d like to talk about Open Country and their show #OutThereTogether. Why? Because it is genius, that is why – but, first I have to state a case for it. I admit I am biased when it comes to ‘this sort of thing’ because I do ‘this sort of thing’ as a hobby. Yes, I stand in fields and woodlands to record the Dawn Chorus. The show in question broadcasts on Harrogate Community Radio every Sunday at 2pm.

The act of recording the natural world, the countryside and the animals that inhabit it is called “Field Recording.” Field Recording is a form of Slow Media. I am a massive fan of Slow Media. But where the hell did Slow Media start?

Field recording (the act of recording the natural environment) can trace its roots back to ethno-musicology. As soon as there were portable recording devices, people were in unmapped Borneo and up the Amazon looking for elusive nose-flute playing locals. Then there were also the folk who recorded the the natural world. And, that is where Open Country and #OutThereTogether come in.

See, in 2009, Norwegian television screened a seven-hour film of an unedited train journey from Bergen to Oslo. The programme had its roots in experimental art such as Andy Warhol’s 1963 work Sleep, a five-hour film of a poet sleeping, but by taking “slow media” to small-screen audiences, the Norwegian train journey paved the way for “slow TV”, a new genre intended to offer a break from the relentless pace dictated by much of digital life.

In 2015, the brilliant BBC Four Goes Slow series included a real-time “portrait of the making of a simple glass jug” and an uninterrupted two-hour boat journey down the Kennet and Avon canal. Later that year, the channel paid tribute to slow media’s Scandi roots with a broadcast of a reindeer sleigh ride across the Norwegian wilderness.

While television pioneered the genre, it is in radio and podcasts where the slow media movement has really gathered momentum. One of the most notable recent examples is Walking, a podcast in which the American writer Jon Mooallem steps out into the woods near his home, on Bainbridge Island near Seattle, with an audio recorder wrapped in a sock. Listeners hear the crunch of gravel, the creaking of gates and twigs snapping underfoot, but Mooallem himself stays largely silent. Naming the podcasts one of its best of 2019, New York Magazine said: “The sheer banality of the recordings both clears and focuses the mind.”

While sounds of nature make an obvious choice for slow radio (a la #OutThereTogether), Davey says soundscapes imbued with the hum of human activity resonate just as much with audiences. In one episode, a correspondent takes a walk across Tokyo to capture the sounds of gaming arcades and a baseball batting range. In downtown Nashville, motorbike engines roar as listeners catch muffled snatches of street-side conversations and the sounds of Dolly Parton drifting from bars.

Slow media producers are largely absent from their creations, but some of the most beautiful moments occur on #OutThereTogether when Tom breaks his silence. The thing I’ve found really moving is the sense of the person holding the microphone. Hearing someone moving through a landscape, or opening their window. A lack of narrative leaves listeners free to choose their own meaning. Some may tune in for a sense of solitude. For me, it feels more to me like standing with someone. Cheers Tom & Open Country.

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Review: Sveinbjorn Beinteinsson’s “Edda”

As you will read in the Category Notes for the Post Category that this post is filed in, (Review (Of Sorts), that I am not qualified to give a decent opinion. But, the internet has given everyone a voice, unwanted or not. But, to rehash, the category post for Review (Of Sorts) it says…

Giving my un-wanted opinion in things I am unqualified to talk about.

So, here is my unwanted opinion about Sveinbjorn Beinteinsson’s “Edda.” I have the digital copy – may / may not get the record (probably not). I was tipped off about the recording by a good friend, someone I respect, on Facebook. I will embed the album a la Spotify, below…

Well, what do I think about it? I think it is a really strange and beautiful record. Beinteinsson sings ancient Icelandic language poems in a repetitive rhythm with no backing music. It seems fitting with the bleak outlook of the Covid Lock Down – There is a feeling of something mysterious and ancient in this recording – like I am being carried.

Beinteinsson’s voice compliments The Edda wonderfully – a hollow, woody timbre that echoes from beyond.

I think the thing that gets me about Beinteinsson’s “Edda” is that these songs would have sounded just the same five hundred or a thousand years ago. For that, the recording is timeless. But, this, the modern-day recording is flawless. An old man singing his song, marking his space in time and his place in the history of his people.

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Cheeky Work Blog Post

I wrote this for my work Blog – you can read that at www.andrewbackhouse.design – As a content marketing strategist, I am often asked about Blog writing, especially when it comes to an emphasis on SEO. I may have previously mentioned in my posts about Content Marketing Strategy, SEO (or, Search Engine Optimisation) plays a key role in your web-content being found on Search Engines. The below pointers are aiming to help people in the service sector but if you work in a different sector, such as Retail, then the points found below are still valid.

But this Blog post is pretty much copied verbatim…

8 Points To Think About When Writing A Blog Post

Here is my list of 8 points to think about when writing a blog post for a Service Industry. All of the blog posts I write are written with Long Tail SEO in mind. I will go in to a bit about Long-Tail SEO at the tail end of this post.

Google rank websites based on 200+ Pointers – it is a dark art, and there are only sign posts as to how they operate.

So, here goes… here are my 8 points:

1 – How are you different from your peers?

How are you different from your peers? What sets you apart from a dozen contemporaries? What is your ‘special sauce?’

You need to highlight why people should choose to use you. Are you a family run business? Are you a Carbon Neutral business in Harrogate? State a case for your business through your ethics.

What makes you sell what you sell?

“Why this?”

2 – You Will Need A Bulleted List Of Points

To draft your content, I recommend you write down 20-30 bullet points about how you hope to progress – outlining what will be in the post, this will make the first draft easier to structure. The bulleted list will be fleshed out in to a blog article and then that in turn will become the Blog article.

When we have the bulleted list, it is easier to put together the blog post.

Think of as many items to go on this bulleted list as you can – it will help in the long run!

3 – What problem does this Blog Post solve?

You might be advertising a new service or a new product? You may have big news about your business? Either way, your reader will need to know what the problem was that is being overcome.

You know, you might not be solving a problem with the Blog post in itself – it might just be the signpost.

Now then, this is a bad idea, but you could set out to be blogging for the sake of Blogging. However, you would need to make the bait for the trap with every Blog Post – there should be a call to action in the footer of every Blog post.

Your call to action could be a sign-up to a mail-out (never call them ‘Newsletters”) or the first step on your sales funnel. Either way, you have better things to do than write for the sake of writing; you are trying to monetise the content you put on your website.

4 – How do you help solve your client’s problem?

Are you hands on? Do you just give advice? What steps do you go to in order to help your clients?

As in, what is the service that you offer? It boils down to the fact that you need a “We Do This” + “Get It Here” in every post.

5 – “Why Should I Do That?!”

Your blog post should ask questions of you, the writer, that will put you in the mindset of your client. Approaching your business as an outsider, hopefully you will be able to engage with the would-be blog post as your client would.

Whilst writing the blog post, this air of innocence will stand the post in good stead – It will be fresh eyes working on the article. It will be seen with the eyes of a first-time visitor to your website.

6 – Please, think about writing Style!

Okay, how do you want to approach this Blog post?

Informal and chatty, a bit like this? More formal, sir? A Bit temperate and …. sigh … reluctant?

Researching blog posts that have previously been published on your site will help gain a firm understanding of you core Content Marketing Strategy.

Keep your blog post in line with your Content Marketing Strategy.

7 – What are your keywords?

What do you want to be found for on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page)? How do you want to come across to the client? Which leads me to my next point….

8 – What is ‘Long-Tail SEO’ & Share, Search + Social?

Share, Search & Social are how content is found – when you are writing a blog post, you are creating content. This in turn will be; Share;, shared on Social Media. Search; searched for on search engines, see below about Long-Tail SEO. And, Social; it will be shared on Social Media.

Most people have heard of SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation – I offer Local SEO in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. SEO is the methodology of getting a website to rank well on Search Engines like Google and Bing

‘Long-Tail SEO’ is the process of creating content that ranks exact keywords.

For example, we all want to listen to the radio every now and then so sometimes we Google “Radio Show” and we find every radio show in the world that has a website.

Long Tail SEO is where we narrow the search parameters down; if I was to Google Experimental Radio Show then I would come across The Parish News – which is a site I have been working on.

This is long Tail SEO. It is narrowing your Keywords to an exact match and then dominating the SERP.

So, I have chatted a bit about Long Tail SEO and I have made a case for 8 Points To Think About When Writing A Blog Post. If you want to get in contact with me – click on the button in the footer of this post and we can chat about how I can help you. I offer a blog writing service for my clients; so, if you are on one of the maintenance plans then you will be able to be helped. Thanks for reading.

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Christmastide 2020

Christmas started a couple of days ago for me – I recorded Roots Conversation and drank a bit, the gift giving started then. Scooby & K-Lo gave me a clear vinyl 2018 repress of Creation Rebel, Adrian Sherwood’s tour de force. It is right good.

I gave them this photo…

Ijo Pona - Ernie for print

 

It is a photo of their hound Ernie – imposed on a Spanish nobleman. I dig it if they don’t – but, I think they dig it but then they would be too polite to say anything….

I gave my sister something similar. Paddy as Rudolph II of Austria…

Ijo Pona - Paddy as Rudolph II for print

 

They are approaching excellence.

I bought Kathryn a Handbag and purse – she seems to like them… I received a great haul – Lomo LC-A (Original) and a heap of film. Mum and Dad saw me right too. It was a frenzy of a morning at ours with wrapping paper flying all over the place. Me and Kathryn made short work of a large pile of gifts – we gave a lot out too. I designed a hooded top for my niece and one for my nephew. They both love them I have been told.

However, this was the first Christmas me and Kathryn have spent in our flat, on our own – with Lock down we did not want to disturb our family and pass on any viruses we may have had. Covid keeps on mutating and we are waiting on the olds getting a vaccine.

Kathryn levelled up on wife points – although she claims it was a team effort. I was helping out in the kitchen as Kathryn cooked a two-bird roast with all of the trimmings – it was amazing and we were both too full for afters. We have made a lot of memories this year – not all for the right reason.

See, we have been put in isolation and out of isolation so a few months ago, when invites were being sent out, we were unsure what the rules would be for Xmas. We refused all invites and started to make a few traditions of our own; we started adulting at Christmas. We have been well prepared and taken from good teachers for this.

To be honest, and I am quoting Kathryn here, we were run ragged just cooking a roast – so to have a Christmas where you have small infants in the family must be very tiring, but the rewards would be all the more sweeter. We are happy with our lot and we have passed some thresholds. We Christmas’d.

Whether Lock Down lifts as soon as the vaccine is distributed or whether a new strain will sweep the first born from us I am unsure. But, we did Christmas 2020 our own way and we had fun doing it.

We are now kicking back with a hamper-crate from quite a few of the Leeds Breweries. Kathryn ordered it. I think it was put together by North Brewing or Northern Monk. Either way, the eight beers are fantastic and I am dancing around to the radio.

Harrogate Community Radio has been switched on since we woke up – I take massive pride in saying I live in Harrogate and I take massive pride in saying I help run the community radio station here. It is a glowing testament to the town that there are so many people who give their time to try and make Harrogate a better place.. it is humbling a plan I am part of might be getting somewhere.

Warm-cheeked and bleery-eyed I wish you and yours a merry Christmas – I hope you all made the most of your day with what you could get your hands on and I hope we can meet up in 2021, under better circumstances; I am raising a glass to you and muttering blessings under my breath as I type this, one handed…. x

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