Line-1 at #36 in Music Week Upfront Club Charts

Another week, another little lift for Line-1. In print this week, you can find me at #36 in the Music Week Upfront Club Charts. This is based on what DJ’s are playing in clubs London, UK, Ibiza, etc. So, I’m pretty chuffed by this! Much thanks to all the DJ’s who’ve been supporting the track! 🙂

 MW_Chart_Pack_22.08.14 - cropped2




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Line-1 at #8 and #92

Pleased to say my first EP in a while has been storming up various charts…

It stormed into #8 on the Music Week Upfront Breakers chart:

Music Week - No. 8

And not only that it has literally stormed into #92 on the Top 100 Dance Charts. Literally! Stormed!

So, that’s all good! Hoping for further developments…we shall see.

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Holden review – Purcell Room, 17/06/2014

Now this was more like it! A man, a massive Doepfer modular synth and a drummer.

First up was the support though –  a man who didn’t introduce himself and then played fairly standard FTB (Faceless Techno Bollocks) for 40 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I like FTB as much as the next man, but when coupled with jittery double exposure ‘contraversial’ video of meat, old people and toddlers having their ears pierced, it doesn’t really cohere as a ‘thing’. So moving on…

Holden was great. Once again I’ll have to retract my Sound on Sound article decrying the use of real drums in electronic music. When the electronics are as pure as this, the fizz and crackle of an acoustic kit is a perfect counterpoint, adding weight and energy. As well as a bit of visual interest!

So, yeah, an hour of hypnotic arpeggiated, full spectrum analogue synths. Some tracks reminiscent of Vangelis lusciousness with an added dash of Aphex Twin Ambient works (Blackpool Late 80s’), others more reminiscent of Tangerine Dream in their hay day (The Caterpillar’s Intervention). Al of which was hypnotic enough to build up momentum and atmosphere, but avoided minimalistic austerity.

I loved it. It was my favourite thing – tight conceptual work that stimulates creativity rather than leading down a cul-de-sac. Inspiring.

Holden – The Inheritors

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Alex Horne @ Udderbelly Thurs 12th June

I bloody love Alex Horne and his vague yet sophisticated humour. I know him through his Radio 4 series’, but we saw him live at Udderbelly last Friday and it was a great night out.

If you know his stuff, then I can assure you it was as you’d expect. If you haven’t – you should buy his CD at once! (If he has one…not sure he has one after some frantic Googline…)

The show was augmented by two guests – the beat boxer Schlo-mo & another stand-up comedian (who’s name I didn’t catch).

My only very slight criticism was that the guests took up a fair chunk of the show and I wanted more Horne!!

We ended with a delightful encore of Henry Hoover, (‘diddly diddly Henry Hoover”). At the end a random Australian gent who was visiting town told me that he enjoyed the show, but felt he didn’t get all the cultural references, ie, the Henry Hoover stuff. I had to admit that I wasn’t sure if it was a cultural reference as such – it’s just a amusing to see five men wearing hoovers on their heads!

Alex Horne

(also remember to subscribe to his podcast!

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Field Day (Sunday) review

Joey Santiago, left, and Black Francis of Pixiesat Field Day 2014, in London.

So we rocked up at around 5pm in anticipation of the Main Event at 9pm – ie, the Pixies. Lovely summer day. First port of call: cash point. Dammit. Of course they charge £3.75 for a withdrawal – curse our forgetfulness in not picking up cash on the way.

Then to the beer tent. Urgh Red Stripe is not a nice beer, so weak. Especially in a can. Luckily we discovered the Greenwich Meantime truck after that.

Then to the tent in which Telegram are playing. Good honest solid rockin’. One track would work really well as a techno track if guitars were replaced by synths. They don’t seem to have much on the Spotify so I can’t prove this to you with audio evidence. I liked the first couple of tracks a lot.

Then to the dance tent as I’ve had enough guitar for now and I’m intrigued by the act name of ‘Ngunzugunzu’. As expected, African tinged minimal electro is playing. And then a power cut to the dismay of the DJ (the female half of the male/female duo). After a couple of minutes the power is back up and after a while the broken beat / Afro / minimal mash-up doesn’t really seem to be getting anywhere after the promising start.

So we go back and listen to Drenge. Who are quite scary. Luckily the tent is full so we sit on the grass outside where the sound is actually a bit better and listen to the duo’s metal-rock. It’s quality stuff, but not my bag.

We hear a little bit of the limp bed-wetting pseudo rock of The Horrors on the way to the food stalls; yuk. We wait patiently for the main event, ie, the Pixies at 9pm.

Finally it is 9pm. The Pixies play. We go home.

Ok, a bit more on the Pixies.
A) I don’t know their stuff that well.
B) Most of the rest of the crowd do.

A1) It all sounds very precisely replicated (like listening to a CD) and I don’t think they deviate from the original song structures much. Certainly no extemporising or lengthy drum solos. Or even saying hi to the crowd.

B1) The crowd don’t seem to care about that, but we are far enough back that there’s only mild swaying and the odd whoop and hands aloft when a song is recognised.

A+B = The Pixies are now a heritage band, pandering to middle-aged fans who want to be reminded of their youth, or to simply be able to say ‘I saw The Pixies.

The most common t-shirts I saw were Pixies T-shirts. But I was pleased to spot Cut Copy and Fuck Buttons.

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Richard Herring gig review – 23/05/2014

Not so much a review, just a note to say, ‘I was there and had a great time’. I like Richard Herring.

This show was called, ‘We’re all going to die’, which included the comedic ruminations on this important topic – and knob gags.



If you get a chance, go see – or buy the DVD which was being recorded when I was there. (I was at the back next to the camera, so if there’s any wobble, that’s my fault for laughing too vigorously)

Or download the excellent, rude, and excellently rude Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast – or as all the cool kids are calling it RHLSTP! – in which he interviews nearly every known comedian worthy of the name.


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Son Lux @ XOYO review – Weds 21st May






First saw Son Lux last December and enjoyed them hugely. I love their blend of clever electronics, guitar and vox. They always does something a bit surprising musically, and the drummer is excellent theatre to watch. 

The biggest difference between last year’s gig at the Lexington and yesterday’s at XOYO was the enthusiasm of the crowd. Son Lux seemed to have picked up several hundred very dedicated fans in those short months, which made for a great atmosphere. 

Bascially go and see them live if you get a chance. The records are very good – but live is a million times better. 


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The Today Programme should not attempt dance music

Was this the most embarrassing item ever on The Today Programme?

A DJ who can’t mix, a professor who can’t explain the theory, and an interviewer who hasn’t got a clue about the subject in hand and has to cut the interview short anyway. Genius!

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Tyondai Braxton review – Oval Space, Tues 20th May


My first visit to The Oval Space in Hackney, and the first thing you see are the massive gasometers that are adjacent, setting the scene for a slightly otherworldly evening. I’ve never seen gasometers this close up and they are impressively looming objects, and allowed me the opportunity to learn all about the differences between the water sealed system and the Wiggin’s dry-seal system. Almost more interesting that the music, I’m sorry to report.

We were a bit late for Luke Abbot’s set, but what we heard seemed like nicely ambient semi-mangled drones; distorted but harmonically pleasant. I noticed Kieren ‘Fourtet’ Hebden watching, so that’s probably a seal of approval.

After a half hour break, the Tyondai group mounted their five white podlike platforms, which they sat upon cross-legged, raised 5 foot in the air. Possbily the most uncomfortable were the percussionists who continually shifted to achieve some level of comfort. I’m not entirely convinced that performing cross-legged is the best position for such physical instruments, but it was pleasingly novel and conveyed an atmosphere of slight otherworldlyness.

The first track set the pattern for the rest of the evening; Tyondai and the chap to his left manipulated harsh bursts of distorted analogue synthery, whilst the three percussionists to his right played stacatto bursts of precise snare/shaker/bongos. Which gradually evolved into a more pulsed beat, locked down by a solid bass drum.

The subsequent tracks were pretty similar; precision drumming and distorto synths over the top. Musically, the percussionists were doing clever poly-rhythms and slicing up the meter in straight beats, and then triplets, etc. Which was all very clever and exceptionally well played – but just lacked a certain something to make it really engaging and interesting.

If they were working out some kind of evolution of the material it was a bit too subtle to figure out, and I’m afraid after about 20 minutes I was actively quite bored, waiting for something to really latch onto. The overall effect was kind of like Steve Reich’s ‘Drumming’, but without the minimalist approach of setting a pattern in motion and watching the effects play out. Notable was the fact that the percussion was being played from a score so it was very precisely trying to achieve that effect, but I still didn’t grasp it.

I wanted to like it, as it was an interesting concept, but struggled.

And then, almost as soon as it started it was over. I’m pretty sure the whole thing was only 40-45 minutes, which given the entry price seemed a little steep. But, on the other hand I was happy to go outside again and be overawed by the gasometers and their looming presence again.

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Note permutations

The equivalent of a writer staring at a blank page, wondering how to fill it, is a composer staring at 88 black and white notes.* The composer is wondering how to arrange them into a pleasing sequence when so many great melodies have already been written – perhaps they’ve all been taken!

(*Actually, a more accurate analogy would be a writer staring at the 26 letters wondering how to arrange those, but strangely that’s not how the saying goes.)

So, to counter the fear of there being no new melodies, I thought it would be interesting to examine the permutations available to a composer writing a one note melody.


1. Two note melodies.
How many two note melodies can be written within an octave?
Easy, they are:

C -> C C’ -> C
C -> C# C’ -> C#
C -> D C’ -> D
C -> D# C’ -> D#
C -> E C’ -> E
C -> F C’ -> F
C -> F# C’ -> F#
C -> G C’ -> G
C -> G# C’ -> G#
C -> A C’ -> A
C -> A# C’ -> A#
C -> B C’ -> B
C -> C’ C’ -> C’

Notice how the final C’ – C’ is struck because it’s a duplicate of C-C. Although the notes are different, the ‘melody’ is the same, and I’m interested in relative pitches here, not absolute.


Twenty-five exciting melodies!

2. Three Note melodies

Imagine my surprise to discover that there are 469 ways of arranging a three note sequence! Quite a lot more than the 25 previously. This number was arrived at using the following rules:

1. All melodies must be fully contained within an octave (C-C’), as very few melodies jump more than an octave in one leap.
2. All chromatic notes can be used; I haven’t restricted to any particular key. (No accidentals would make for dull music!)

3. Duplicates are excluded as we’re interested in melody patterns, not absolute notes. So for example C,G,G, is the same as D,A,A as they are the same melody, but the latter is played a tone higher.

Here’s a grid showing how the three note permutations work. [previous grid was wrong – watch this space!)

It turns out the best way to calculate the number of permutations is to calculate the total number of permutations for the number of notes and sequence length, and then to subtract the number of duplicates. (Remember the ‘unison’ melody from the first step. There is an increasing number of duplicates as the note sequence length increases). Have a look at the grid to see this in action.

This basically gives us a nice easy geometric formula:
(N^S) – (N-1)^S

– where N = number of notes in scale = 13
– where S = number of notes in sequence

Plugging in values of S from 2 (a two note sequence) to 10 (a ten note sequence) gives the following table:


Notes in Scale (N) Melody length (S)


(N-1)^S (N^S)-(N-1)^S Easier to read format:























































And this doesn’t even begin to take into account the fact that the same sequence can be played in a multitude of different rhythms, and never mind the therefore near infinity provided by harmonisation, orchestration, tempo, or heavens above – bringing in a new counter melody!Which gets to a fantastically large number!

So, I think the message is: there is no excuse for writers’  block!

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