Author Archives: Tim Hall

Porthmadog Again

Ffestiniog Railway's double-Fairlie A few more photos from norh Wales, starting with 1979-built double Fairlie “David Lloyd George” at Blaenau Ffestiniog, having just arrived on the morning train from Porthmadog. It’s still running in grey livery following an overhaul. Despite being one of the “new” locomotives build since preservation, it’s now 35 years old.
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Angela Gordon to guest with Mostly Autumn

Odin Dragonfly at Bilston Robin 2

Mostly Autumn have announced that Angela Gordon (seen here with Odin Dragonfly at Bilston) will be guesting for two shows this weekend as a stand-in for Anne-Marie Helder, who is unavailable due to prior commitments this weekend.

We’re really looking forward to this weekends gigs (details here) in Tavistock, Cardiff and Bath,  and are delighted to announce that our friend and former member Angela Gordon will be joining the band on stage at Cardiff and Bath – so good to see her back for a couple of shows.

As long-term fans will know, Angela played flute, keys and backing vocals with the band from 1997 throught to 2007, and appears on the first six albums.

The band go on to play the Resonance Festival in Balham on Thursday 31st July and then the Cambridge Rock Festival on Sunday August 10th.

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North Wales

Conwy Castly at twilight.

A few photos from my recent visit to north Wakes. This one’s of a floodlit Conwy castle taken at about ten O’clock at night.
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Today’s new word, courtesty of a thread on RMWeb, is “Crayonista”. It’s a derogatory term for those groups or individuals who propose reopenings of railways lines that make absolutely no economic sense, but look pretty when drawn across a map in crayon. The proposal for a north-south railway across central Wales, linking Cardiff to Rhyl via Brecon, Llanidloes and Corwen is an example of the work of Crayonistas.

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Big Kettles

Tornado!

While my model railway interests centre firmly in the diesel era, there is still room for the occasional kettle on the layout. The first one, A1 Pacific “Tornado” actually belongs to the post-privatisation era fleet. The prototype was only built in 2009, used for charter trains all over the country. Though I’m not certain it’s ever visited Cornwall, it was a performer on the Torbay Express at one point, and I think LNER-style apple green goes well with the WR chocolate and cream coaches used on that train.

Dapol 9F 92226

9F 2-10-0 No 92226 belongs firmly to the transition era fleet. Built in Swindon in 1960, it was part of the final batch for the Western Region that also included “Evening Star”, the last steam locomotive built for British Railways. It had an extremely short life, withdrawn after just five years with the end of steam on the WR. In the early 1960s, Plymouth Laira had a small allocation of these locomotives. As far as I can tell they were all used on the main line east of Plymouth and didn’t run into Cornwall, but modeller’s licence applies. They were (or are, since several are preservcd) magnificent locomotives, and that’s enough of an excuse for running one.

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Knifeworld – The Unravelling

The UnravellingKnifeworld are the brainchild of Kavus Torabi, who also plays guitar with Guapo and punk-prog legends The Cardiacs. The band have made something of a name for themselves on the live circuit. An eight-piece band with a brass section and a bassoon, they play what is best described as completely bonkers psychedelic rock. They have wowed festival audiences and headlined the successful “Stabbing a Dead Horse” tour with Trojan Horse and The Fierce And The Dead.

Their second full-length album is their first record to feature the current eight-piece version of the band, and it successfully captures their big live sound of eight instruments and five voices. It’s a record that takes psychedelia, jazz, hard rock and all kinds of other things, and puts them in a blender to produce something that sounds quite unlike anything other band in the current scene. Jagged angular guitar and woodwind riffs alternate with rich vocal harmonies and sometimes sinister atmospherics. There are hints of the late Frank Zappa’s off-the wall approach to melody and arrangements, and occasional flashes of various 70s King Crimsons. Torabi’s occasionally goofy lead vocal contrasts with the layered harmonies of Melanie Woods, Chloe Herrington and Nicki Maher.

It’s an ambitious and very varied record. “The Skulls We Buried Have Regrown Their Eyes”, which has to be the song title of the year features electronic soundscapes interrupted with a brief but frenetic squalling burst of free jazz. Then there’s the stripped-back spookiness of “This Empty Room Once Was Alive” with its atonal guitars and piano. The minute-and-a-half long “The Orphanage” has a punk feel. There are strongly Zappaesque jazz-rock instrumental passages in “Send Him Seaworthy” and “Destroy the World We Love”. But if anything characterises the power of Knifeworld in full flow it’s the big wall-of-sound workouts “Don’t Land On Me” and the closing epic “I’m Hiding Behind My Eyes”.

“The Unravelling” is a major step forward for Knifeworld, and reflects their current live sound far more than any of their previous recordings. Fans of Zappa should find a lot to like about this record, as should anyone who thinks there should be more bassoons in rock. But this is a record for anyone looking for something determined to strive beyond existing stagnant music forms. Which Knifeworld certainly do.

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Chris Picton – Journey of Broken Dreams

Chris Picton, one-time bassist of Quecia, has a new album out. Two years in the making, Chris plays all instruments aside from a couple of tracks featuring Paul Ayre on guitar. Though largely instrumental, it also features Kirsty McCarrick and Hayley McCarrick on vocals.

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Roko’s Basilisk – Lovecraftian Calvinism on Steroids?

Memetic hazard warningSlate Magazine has discovered Roko’s Basilisk: The most terrifying thought experiment of all time, which postulates that an all-powerful Godlike artificial intelligence will punish everyone who didn’t help it come into existence in a computer-generated afterlife.

SF author Charlie Stross blogged about Roko’s Basilisk last year, and correctly identified is an a nasty mashup of the bleakest elements of Calvinist theology with H.P.Lovecraft’s “Things Man Was Not Meant To Know”.

Leaving aside the essentially Calvinist nature of Extropian techno-theology exposed herein (thou canst be punished in the afterlife for not devoting thine every waking moment to fighting for God, thou miserable slacking sinner), it amuses me that these folks actually presume that we’d cop the blame for it—much less that they seem to be in a tizzy over the mere idea that spreading this meme could be tantamount to a crime against humanity (because it DOOMS EVERYONE who is aware of it).

And now I discover I’m followed by Roko’s Basilisk on Twitter. Should I be worried?

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The Reasoning postpone new album until 2015

The Reasoning at Trinity Live in Leamington Spa

July 2014 news from The Reasoning.

Our album is sounding amazing already, harking back to some of the much-loved musical and vocal elements from our earlier days, but with a great deal of contemporary pizazz. After the whirlwind experiences of the past couple of years, we’re going to take some extra time to really develop and embellish this new piece of work, craft it to its very richest potential and, most importantly, ensure that we give YOU, our dear followers, your most enjoyable Reasoning experience to date. This is going to be a big financial investment for us – outsourcing the recording of drums and, for the first time, vocals, to some “big” studios. We’re also in talks with several mix engineers, both here and on the other side of the Atlantic – more on this soon. Particular time and attention will be paid to the capturing of voices this time around, with Rachel and Seb (our young French floozy) leading the way, ably embellished by Rob and Jake.

The October tour will still be going ahead and will feature some material from the new album as well as their 2007 debut album “Awakening” in full. The tour visits Southampton, London, York, Bolton, Cardiff and Bilston.

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Winter in Eden – With Intent

Winter in Eden’s “With Intent”, the lead track from the forthcoming album “Court of Conscience”, which you can still pre-order from their online shop.

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