Peace, love and harmony...
...As well as Happiness and prosperity to each and everyone in 2005.
This is the vocal point of the East London based company, Microphonic Limited. Originally founded as a record company, that core activity has temporarily taken a back seat while I service, repair and PAT test professional audio equipment. Here you can discover the daily rants and raves of Colin Bird and what my take is on everything happening in and around my business adventure.
OK its late now and I should be dreaming. However all I can think about at this time is the tragic events down there in and around the Indian ocean, even if I cannot begin to imagine the reality. Surely it is time for all the worlds men with arms to put down their weapons and head for that region to help sort out the problem. It seems natural to me that armies of all nations would be ideally suited to start the operation to put things right. It could be funded by defence budgets who would have no wars to fight because all their resources would be directed to helping those struck by the tragedy. How much bigger does the wake up call need to be ? (this question directed to the heads of all the worlds governments). The bigger picture would be that after working together to fix the worlds problems maybe they couldn't bring themselves to kill each other afterwards.... I must be dreaming. The BBC news reports on this subject are as always top class -
I can't enthuse enough about Mozilla's Firefox browser and Thunderbird email software. If you havent given it a spin yet then head off to Mozilla and find out more about it. My findings are that it makes Microsofts IE seem sluggish by comparison. The additional extensions (plug-ins) are great, there is even a Google toolbar extension (albeit unofficial preview stylee at the moment). Don't listen to me rambling on check it out for yourself. Link
All reggae sound system connoisseurs will know that the staple diet of sound systems are 'dub plates' - which for the novices among you are one off 'specials', music usually cut onto a laquer recording blank on a special machine called a lathe. I found this enthralling website from an Austrian based operation, called 'dr. dub' - there is a fantastic home movie on this site showing a record being cut. Check out the website then at the top of the page go to the drop down menu select 'praxis' then 'movies' then click on a version of dr. dub - the movie for enjoyment. Link
There is growing support to have the late reggae star Bob Marley made a Jamaican national hero to mark what would have been his 60th birthday (February 6th 2005). BBC Music News covers this story - click here. The Bob Marley foundation continues to lobby to have him recognised for his contribution to Jamaican culture - Check out their website click here.
I did a bit of sound engineering on Friday night (10th Dec). This time for me it was a debut gig for the band in question (not a debut for the band) and the venue they played at. 'Soul Conviction' were the band and the venue was 'Poplar Rowing Club' on the Isle of Dogs, London. The Soul Conviction Christmas Party was well attended and the 8 piece band did two sessions of great classic soul covers. Caribbean soul food was served to the partygoers. Sound PA system was provided by the ever popular 'MA London.' All in all a very good event and a very friendly venue. Check out the band's website - click here and the venue - click here.
Had a good old yarn with old mucker and international jet setter 'Jez Coad' today on MSN. He has just flown in from songwriting in the shadow of Mount Etna. Jez likes to listen occasionally to some good roots reggae music when he's not playing in one of his many bands such as 'The Surfing Brides' or 'The Five O's' or song writing in Sardinia... its a hard life innit Jez? - Check out Jez-man at the Surfing Brides website - Link
Errol Thompson, one of Jamaica's foremost sound recording engineers passed away on November 13th 2004. His mixing skills and long career in Jamaican reggae music encompassing nearly all the leading studios and recording artists worthy of mention. Two notable Reggae DJ albums to have been mixed by ET were Big Youth's 'Screaming Target' and Prince Far I's 'Under Heavy Manners' - check out Dave Katz's obituary from the Guardian Unlimited website - Link
Danish company DPA Microphones have taken it upon themselves to educate sound engineers online with their fantastic "Microphone University." They provide detailed information on Applications, Microphone technology, Pro audio terminology/dictionary, Stereo techniques and Surround techniques. Biased mainly towards recording it is essential reading for every sound engineer. Graduate this way >>> Link
Just when I thought everone had conceded to digits just look what Legendary Audio have come up with while employing no less than Rupert Neve to design it for them; A 6U 19-inch Modular Rackmount Mastering System. "A carefully configured collection of new and classic circuits have been combined to produce a unique contribution to the world of Mastering and Analog signal processing." Some of these modules have wonderful analogue sounding features such as; Tape Texture, Classic Audio, Incremental Phase Rotation, and Image Control - Wow! can you imagine the price tag? It's almost enough to make you want to go to the bank manager with a business plan for a mastering suite. Check it out -
The European Commission has had a complaint referral from the Office of Fair Trading in which the consumer body 'Which?' have pointed out that Apple's iTunes track download prices are 20% higher in the UK than those in France or Germany. "It costs UK music fans 79p (120 euro cents) to download one track, yet in France and Germany the price is just 99 euro cents (68p)." More detail on this story can be found at thisismoney.com - Link
A great schooling in everything to do with Roots Reggae and Dub music in the UK can be learned at Russ D's one stop education centre. Disciples, Boomshackalacka and Backyard Movements are words you will soon start to read, hear and understand in the depths of this amazing website - click here to enter. Russ has made fantastic use of "Swish Movie" in developing his site - find out more about this flash animation software at SwishZone.com - click here.
Shure last month announced the discontinuation of their flagship vinyl V15 cartridge due to increasing difficulties in sourcing the exotic materials required to manufacture its stylus. Consolation for existing owners comes in the form of 5 years worth of support in terms of stylii supply. I wonder how many other cartridge manufacturers will suffer the same fate? Should all Shure fans rush out and buy the last remaining V15 cartridges now? More info available at Shure's website - Link
As I was waiting for the TV highlights of Spurs victory today at Blackburn I saw the ex-gooner goalkeeper Bob Wilson commentating into a Coles 4104B. This brought back many memories as I have sold loads of these mics in a past existence as a sales engineer for a now extinct professional audio company who were based near Finsbury Park in North London. Coles however are far from extinct and have been making these microphones for 30 years. Long live Coles - more info. Link
Saw BMD on MSN recently (who, I hear you ask?). Well its an aka of Mike Murphy the man who livicates his spare time to authoring a tribute website to the great roots reggae singer called Johnny Clarke. Which in turn brought about a memory flashback to about 1975 as I was walking through the streets of Tottenham on my way home from something or other and passed down along Park Lane near the Spurs ground. The air was thick with bass which made me stop and I realised an early session was in progress at a youth club or community hall along there. I later discovered that the sound system were called "Youth of Zion" and the captivating tune was "Simmer Down" by Johnny Clarke. Check out Mike's website - Link
Two days have passed since World AIDS Day so it is relevant to observe that proceeds from the sales of the new Band Aid single are going towards relief for the Darfur region of Sudan and to combat HIV and Aids across Africa. Both are undoubtedly worthy causes. None other than Tony Blair himself has purchased not one but two copies of the single from HMV whilst on tour in Edinburgh today. I wonder if he paid by cash or credit card? The single is expected to have sold 300,000 copies by the time the charts are announced on Sunday. More from the official website - Link
One thing guaranteed to brighten up an afternoon in front of the office computer is a constant stream of conscious roots reggae music provided by 'Raspect Radio' which is run by the man called 'Asher Selector' from his base in Geneva, Switzerland. Asher has an almost constant stream of 'brand name' roots reggae artists, sound systems and industry characters passing through his studio. You can find out more about his internet radio station at his website. I listen to his stream via 'Live365'. Link