Isolated

The world’s first vocoppella (vocoder only) album. It’s about isolation, snow scenes, old books, viruses, loneliness, self-doubt, werewolves, getting old, moths, that darkness which lies within us — being human. Today I wrote my 2020th haiku. Many of the words in this album came from these haiku. It’s also an album about 2020.

If you download the album on Bandcamp you get an extra 11 tracks of extended versions and demos.

You can listen on Spotify if you prefer:

It’s also on all the other music places.

I recorded a long rambling monologue about why I decided to do this project and how it came about:

I made some alternative album art. These stones are hidden around the UK. I hope someone finds one!

Maps – Vocoppella version

Here’s another vocoder cover that I wasn’t allowed to put on the new album; Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Maps – originally by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

I’ve been thinking about what name this type of music could have. My first idea was Folkoder, but I think I prefer Vocopella. What do you think?

Between The Bars – Vocoder cover

As I mentioned, I am going to release a new album when I hit my 2020 haiku streak. This album only uses two instruments – my voice and a vocoder. I’ve been messing about with the vocoder and doing some covers of other songs, but these are problematic to get onto Spotify and Bandcamp so I thought I’d share them here instead. Here is the first:

Between The Bars – Elliott Smith cover

Thanks for listening.

Two Thousand Haiku

It feels like a long time since I posted about hitting my 1000 haiku milestone. Things have changed a bit since then. I now post on my Instagram as well as to haiku.blog, Telegram and Twitter.

Every haiku now has a photo to accompany it. Some are alliterative. Some are acrostic. Many rhyme (whoops should have made a tag for that!). I tried doing a song for each one too, but it was too onerous.

I have found that writing a haiku every day has given me a wealth of material when looking for song lyrics. I will be releasing a new album of songs to coincide with my 2020th haiku, which uses the words from many of the haikus I wrote in 2020.

This is my 2000th haiku. I wrote it on a stone and hid it near where the photo was taken. I hope someone finds it.

New Card Game: Name needed!

I have been working on a new simple card game for a while, so I thought I’d write down the rules before I forget. You will need:

  • 1 deck of playing cards.
  • 2 or 3 players.

That’s all. I like simple games.

How to play

First separate the deck into suits (clubs, hearts, spades and diamonds). Now give each player a suit, and set the other aside.

Your suit is like money; you will use it to buy other cards. The cards have a value of the number printed on them (Ace = 1, Jack = 11, Queen = 12, King = 13).

Take one of the spare suits (e.g. diamonds), shuffle it and lay it face down between the players.

Turn over the top card. This is the first card you will bid on (e.g. 7 of diamonds). The highest bidder will win the card. Every player secretly selects the card they wish to bid, and lays it face down in front of them. When everyone has selected a card, all the cards are turned over. The player who placed the highest bid wins the card (in this example the 7 of diamonds). The cards that are won are kept on the table in front of the player who won them. The other cards are discarded until the end of the game. If the two highest bids are the same value then all cards are discarded and no one wins this round.

Play repeats for each of the cards in the suit (in this example diamonds). By the end of the game all players will have spent all of the cards in their suit and will have won (hopefully) some back.

Scoring

The cards are scored according to the same value as the “money” cards; each card is worth their number (Ace = 1, Jack = 11, Queen = 12, King = 13). The player with the highest score wins.

Modifications

You can play with more than three players, you just need another deck of cards. You can also try different rules for what happens when two players lay the same card.

You can also play without the “spare” suit. Instead players take it in turn to offer their own cards up for purchase. When playing like this it’s a good idea to go around the circle in an ABCCBA order, as the first player has a distinct advantage.

You can also play both variations with an open bidding system, which works like a standard auction.

Improvements?

I need an idea for a name! Suggestions in the comments. Also let me know if you play…

May 2020 Playlist (And June!)

June was a very quiet month for new music discoveries, so I’m going to do May and June together:

Mitski – Your Best American Girl – I discovered this on the Song Exploder podcast. It starts off simple enough, but that chorus… makes my head explode…

Young American – The Vaccines – This is a quiet side to the Vaccines I never heard before, and it’s really good. I never got into the Vaccines but I really like a lot of individual songs, so I should give them another shot.

Glimpses – Alex Ebert – This is another project from the frontman of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. The whole album is good but this really stands out.

That’s Me Trying – William Shatner – I don’t know what to make of this. The words are fascinating. Is it ironic? Is it tongue-in-cheek? Does he know that he sounds conceited? It’s like watching a car crash…

Slow Burn – Mountain Man – I’m just so glad they are making music again. Nothing sounds like this.

Rides Through The Morning – Michael Nau – Just wait for the chorus. It sounds like it was made 60 years ago. Great sound, great song,

This Must Be The Place – Imaginary Future – I know this from the Iron and Wine version, not Talking Heads, but this is a lovely addition to the list of covers!

Hide And Seek – Amber Run – Not a patch on the original, but an interesting interpretation. Hide And Seek is the song invented a capella vocoder songs a thing, and Amer Run have their own song in that form (Blue Haze) so it’s interesting hearing their take on this.

This May playlist feels more like a collection of curiosities than something I will return to often, but that’s how it goes sometimes. On to June…

There are only two songs in this playlist but they are both pretty special:

Daily Battles – Thom Yorke, Flea – Thom once again finds those melodies that tear your heart out and leave you standing motionless staring at it.

Once I Was Loved – Melody Gardot – Hauntingly, indescribably beautiful.

April 2020

I’m very late with this month’s playlist post, sorry:

Lucky For You – Novo Amor, Gia Margart – This bass is really nice; reminds me of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers though I’m not sure what song. Any ideas? Their voices go really well together.

Gloria – Henry Jamison – A nice song, and then you get to the chorus and the bass kicks in and it’s great.

Putting The Dogs To Sleep – The Antlers – I really love those guitar strikes; its a powerful call and response between the vocal and another instrument.

This Is Not Who I Want To Be – Joanna Sternberg – Really exquisite song writing. The melody in the verse is really just a few notes, which I would never be brave enough to do, but the way the chords move underneath really works.

New Partner – Palace Music – This is one of those songs that you’re sure you’ve heard before even when you never have. Unless I had and didn’t remember. Either way lovely chorus; nice overlapping harmonies.

Stranger’s Kiss – Alex Cameron, Angel Olsen – Another duet. The production is really interesting. I thought it must be from the eighties but it’s modern. The song writing is reminiscent of that time too. Reminds me of “Total Eclipse Of The Heart”, which can never be a bad thing.