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IAN BLAKE: Blog

Olympic fever

Posted on August 27, 2016 with 0 comments
Light the Flame, a song by Lynne Pilbrow that I recorded a while ago, has received something like forty kiloviews on YouTube. Must be the most listened-to thing to have emerged from the Blue Bear Studio complex...

Messiaen at Westminster Cathedral

Posted on December 24, 2015 with 0 comments
Heard my favourite Christmas music at a Westminster Cathedral concert yesterday: organist Peter Stevens played Messiaen's 'La Nativité du Seigneur' on the mighty Willis. And for all you organoraks out there, some details:
http://www.westminstercathedral.org.uk/organs.php

Skrying into my beer.

Posted on August 2, 2014 with 0 comments

Apropos of nothing in particular, gratuitously to boot, here's a picture of a fine pint of Guinness, plan view, taken on St. Patrick's day at Canberra's salubrious Irish Club.The busy barstaff attempt to draw a shamrock in Green Goo on the head of your Guinness. As the day wears on, these designs become more abstract and creative. And indeed, I became more abstract and creative too, easing into the flow state before you can say 'Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi'. Somewhere in New Scientist - and I wish I could find it to wave at you Right Now - there's an article explaining how up to half a pint of beer will aid your thinking. Inspector Morse did insist that the odd pint or two was a great aid in solving crime. The effect scales badly, however… Due to the uniquely long-lasting properties of the Guinness head, you can drink the underlying stuff and continue to meditate on the symbols up top. Intriguingly, insight seems to deepen as more of the blackstuff ends up inside, preparing one for [...]
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Vocals, gloves and rumbles

Posted on July 1, 2014 with 0 comments
It was a voicy sort of evening: last night I attended David Howard's Gresham College lecture on 'The Science of Singing'. A musicianly engineer's approach to the structure, care and use of our vocal equipment, the talk featured a chorus of 3D-printed vocal tracts standing up on their driver units like a litter of wee aliens with an alarming affection for barbershop.
After all that it was time for a stroll to Finsbury via Clerkenwell, just so I could wander down SANS Walk, pausing only for a swift half at the Sekforde Arms. At St Clement's Church in King Square there's an improvised music session which turned out to be great fun: no audience, consenting adults just making stuff up. And it was fun in a spacious and quietish way: the acoustic of the church lent itself to long pauses - courtesy of the God of the gaps? - and since there was a piano the other participants were spared an overdose of my vocal weebling.
Tonight, it's off to Old Street to hear what Imogen Heap does with her larynx. [...]
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Ni!

Posted on April 28, 2014 with 0 comments
More Folk Festival fallout: a deal was done and I'm now the (proud, needless to say) owner of a Rauschpfeife. And before you ask, it's one of that 'pneumatic bedpost' family of Renaissance winds which I've fiddled (?) with over the years. It all started when I got hold of David Munrow's LP 'The Medieval Sound', in which he gives a running commentary on a number of pungent sounding reedthings - including the ultimate snartbox, the regals. And I was hooked.Fast forward a couple of years and I was at college, where you could actually get your hands on these things. I headed for the bass end and got cosy with the kortholt (bumblebee in a big bottle) dallied with the dulcian (think low-budget version of the Carmina Burana Roast Swan intro) and wrestled with the rackett: which has far more fingerholes than nature intended…crikey, it's got fingerholes that aren't holes at all - they stick out of the body and nuzzle against bits of your fingers that aren't used to holewrangling… And [...]
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