Monday, June 29, 2015

Breakthrough

This is a shot I took earlier this month at the nearby historical building, that served in the past as a miltary training school and later as a fine arts academy. At the moment, reconstructions are going on to turn it into a culture complex, including the library. Perhaps not a personal favourite, but it received more likes than any other shot of the past few months, and must have been a near-miss for Flickr Explore.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.033 sec (1/30)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5.0 mm
ISO Speed: 250
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 26. I won't let you down (Ph.D.)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #26, we find UK band Ph.D. with their one hit wonder I won't let you down (#1 in 1982). The characteristic high voice of Scottish lead singer Jim Diamond (of later I should have known better fame) really carried this song with its strong searing melody and great instrumentation (especially the organ part) into the UK top five. One of many British acts of that time that made no impact whatsoever in the USA. Art Rock score: 9/10 (awesome song, one of the 1000 best of all time).

YouTube

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Difficult Shapes and Passive Rhythms

Or, to give the album its full title: Difficult Shapes and Passive Rhythms - Some People Think It's Fun to Entertain. It was the debut album for Liverpool's China Crisis, one of the bands that contributed to my personal soundtrack of the eighties. The cover is a minimalist masterpiece, but unfortunately once more it turned out to be impossible for me to find information on its designer.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Fluid space #2

It is a bit of a curse with Flickr in recent years, many of my favourite Flickr members drop out for prolonged times (although fortunately some come back as well). Take my Flickr friend Susanne Meyer (sannesu): she has not posted since December, when this marvelous abstract became an instant fave. As usual, all rights retained by the creator.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 27. 100 Years (Joey Dyser)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #27, we find Dutch singer Joey Dyser with 100 Years (#1 in 1975). Amsterdam reporter Josje Duister used to write songs and sing them as a hobby, when one day her neighbour, producer Albert Gemerts, invited her to his studio to make some professional recordings. One of the songs was her self-penned ballad 100 Years, which was released as a single under the name Joey Dyser, and went straight to the top, followed by huge sales in Belgium and Germany as well. Josje Duister enjoyed the success, but decided that her job and her family were more important. Silence ever after. A pity, because to my taste this song, with its peculiar drums only introduction, was one of the better Dutch hits of the seventies. Art Rock score: 9/10 (awesome song, one of the 1000 best of all time).

YouTube

Friday, June 19, 2015

Predominant.ly

I found this web site strangely addicting. The Predominantly site lets you select a colour from a large range, and then generates album covers that are predominantly in that colour. Give it a try. Or two. Or maybe a few more....

web site

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Together in the merciful dark

I had thought that Emo had by now run its course as a style of rock music popular with a certain segment of teenage and early tween listeners. But here we have the band Fueled by Hate, from Stockholm, whose first album is storming up the charts all over Europe. Together in the merciful dark is surprisingly good quality emo punk with a dash of progressive rock sounds making a surprising and effective variation on the usual soundscape. Perhaps not so surprising after all, considering that the album was produced by Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt. The title song, available on YouTube, is a good starting point to explore this band. Recommended.

The idea of this little game is to create an album cover for an imaginary artist/group, as well as an imaginary review, following these instructions:

[1] The artist/group: go to the wiki random page generator. The first random Wikipedia article obtained this way is the name of the band or performer. In this case, I ended up with Fueled by Hate.
[2] The title: go to the random quotations site. The last four words of the very last quote of the page is the title of the album (from 2014 onward: any part of a random quotation will do). The random quote that came up was by Mary Stewart: I reached for sleep and drew it round me like a blanket muffling pain and thought together in the merciful dark.
[3] The illustration: pick a suitable one from my Flickr collection. My picture, Ghosts, can be found here on Flickr. The on-line editing was done with the programme On-line image editor, the font settings selected were Horro Hotel 150 white and Chiller 80 red, respectively.

Note: this is a variation on the "Debut album game" that has been making its rounds around bulletin boards and blogs for some time now - the original version called for a random Flickr Explore photograph to be used as the cover. I have been trying to find out who had the original idea, but so far no success.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 28. Paradise by the dashboardlight (Meat Loaf)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #28, we find Meat Loaf's' breakthrough single, memorable not least because of the steamy video (#1 in 1977). Whilst the corresponding brilliant album Bat out of hell contains several songs that are superior, it is easy to see why this song had such an impact - even though its 8+ minutes length far exceeded the usual run time of a single. Some knowledge of baseball and its use in metaphors for love making does help in understanding the middle part, though! Art Rock score: 9/10 (awesome song, one of the 1000 best of all time).

YouTube

Friday, June 12, 2015

Hanseatic

This is a painting my wife made last year. It is an impression of the view from our Kampen gallery, and actually includes our new studio (to the left), which we had not considered buying yet at the time.

The Art of Lu Schaper

Thursday, June 11, 2015

BoltOns

It's been far too long since my Flickr friend David Gumbrell (Auribins) appeared in this blog - although his own prolonged absence from Flickr did not help. Anyway, he is back, and I love this shot with its awesome grey scales and patterns. As usual, all rights retained by the creator.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Seeing red

Here is a so far unused programme that's part of the free software SuperPhoto that came with my laptop. It is called "Colored metal" and I applied it to a photograph I took years ago of a shop window display in Antwerp. It would make an interesting CD cover. The link leads to the original photograph.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 29. Under the bridge (RHCP)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #29, we find funk punk metal band RHCP, who show themselves from their softer side in this timeless ballad ( #1 in 1992). Under the bridge, widely known as City of Angels, is based on lead singer Anthony Kiedis' experience as a drugs addict in Los Angeles. Art Rock score: 9/10 (awesome song, one of the 1000 best of all time).

YouTube

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Kampen orphan house

This is the third time that Dutch painter Cornelis Springer (1817-1891) features in the blog (see for the other two here and here), because I encountered another one of his Kampen impressions on FaceBook recemtly. This is the orphan house at the Burgel canal (now in use as culture teaching centre) from 1862 - we often walk there. More on Springer in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Abstracted street view

Not a lot of response on Flickr, but a personal favourite. This is the type of found abstract that has become a bit of a specialty for me. In this case, a close-up of a manhole cover, pushed a bit more than usual in post-processing (including an orton type treatment).

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.0125 sec (1/80)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5.0 mm
ISO Speed: 400
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr