Local Music Online

After months of procrastination I finally took the plunge recently and signed up to Spotify Unlimited. So far it’s been a very worthwhile decision as the amount of music available to listen to is vast, maybe too vast at times?

As I’m sure many others have done themselves, I’ve taken this ‘Unlimited’ opportunity to explore and listen to albums and artists that I’d not heard before, for many reasons. I’ve also checked out some of those critically acclaimed and award winning albums and artists too.

This has led me to some great new music and has even had me dipping into my wallet to buy albums by artists that I would probably never have listened to without this opportunity.

But, the other thing I’ve noticed is just how often I’ve been disappointed by what I’ve heard. Many of those critically acclaimed artists and award winning albums have left me cold.

I realise you can’t like everything, but I must admit to being surprised at the lack of quality of some of what I’ve heard. That old story about the Emperors New Clothes has come to mind on at least one occasion.

Yesterday was a case in point. I spent the morning listening to some of those aforementioned albums and artists and came away unfulfilled. It was then that I saw a link on Facebook to a new album by a local act, which I duly followed. Immediately the difference in quality was apparent.

This brought home to me, once again, just how well much of the original music output of the Hastings area stands up to the worldwide competition and on many occasions actually surpasses it.

As I’ve tried telling many people over the years, just because music is local doesn’t mean it’s not any good. Often the reverse is true. After all, all music is local to somewhere.

So, if you listen to music via the Internet and want something new to whet you musical taste buds, why not have a go at listening to something from the local area?

Many of our local bands and musicians can be heard via sites such as Spotify, Soundcloud and Bandcamp. Why not search for them the next time you’re there, or just follow the links on their Facebook page or website? It is often the only way you can actually get to hear the recorded works of local artists too.

So far this week I’ve listened to such diverse local artists as Hornet, Dollboy and Vile Electrodes online.

Why not give it a go yourself? You don’t know what you’re missing.

Dollboy

We always knew that Hastings was a great place for original music, and now it seems that word is spreading.

Over the past few years a number of very productive and interesting musicians have moved to our local area. Some well known and some maybe not quite as well known as they deserve to be.

One such is Oliver Cherer aka Dollboy. Ollie moved to St Leonards, from London, three years ago and hasn’t looked back since. He makes music under several different names,  covering different styles and genres too.

So far he’s released five solo albums under the Dollboy name, the latest of which ‘Further Excursions Into The ULU’ came out in 2012 on Kooky Records and he’s currently working on a sixth solo project, amongst other things.

Past Dollboy projects include his third album ‘A Beard Of Bees’ about which The Times said “If the Tardis spat Edward Elgar out into a Shropshire glade with a Roland DX7, a guitar and no direction home, you suspect that the results would not be dissimilar.”

Sounds intriguing doesn’t it?

As if to prove his diversity, Second Language Records (http://www.secondlanguagemusic.com/) are just about to re-release Ollie’s album all about lost underground stations in both London and Berlin. Called ‘Ghost Stations’ it’s a bit of an ambient masterpiece, conveying the eerie quality of those underground tunnels and includes tracks about such lost stations as ‘Bull and Bush’ and ‘Potsdamer Platz’.

To coincide with the release Ollie is putting on an audio/visual show this Thursday 5th September at The Brunel Museum Thames Tunnel in Rotherhithe, South London. More details can be found here, but get there quickly as tickets are selling fast:  http://www.brunel-museum.org.uk/events/ghost-stationsgeisterbahnhofe-by-dollboy/

If all this has whetted your appetite for the work of Dollboy, you can find more info on his website: http://www.dollboy.co.uk/home.html

You can also listen to some of his music here: http://soundcloud.com/dollboy

If the Hastings area can attract musicians with the talent and musical diversity that Dollboy brings with him then I say “keep ‘em coming”.

Otti in the Castle

On Saturday Pierless Music was lucky enough to be at St Mary in the Castle, in Hastings, to see the wonderful Otti Albietz launch his brand new album ‘Bubbytone 2′, which has just been released on BBE Records: http://www.bbemusic.com/

From my point of view, part of the attraction of going to the gig was to see St Mary in the Castle once again. Many of you will probably be aware that the venue has been going through some strange times and has recently been taken over by Buckswood School.

The ‘deal’ does at least mean that this great venue will be used far more than it has been over recent years and Saturday’s gig was hopefully the first of many to come.

Proceedings were kicked off by performances from singer/songwriters Tim Hotye and Dollboy and we even had DJ’s to entertain us too.

Otti himself played a mixture of songs from both ‘Bubbytone 2′ and his first solo album ’1′. Gradually building his set from solo performance, to being accompanied by local flute player Geoff Leigh and finally with a full band, he even managed to fill the dance floor with revellers for his final song.

Special mention must be made of the visually stunning giant cardboard cut outs which decorated the stage. These were produced by bass player Thad Skews and were almost like extra band members.

St Mary in the Castle is certainly a pretty special place to see a gig. The surroundings are spectacular and not what you normally get in a venue. Add in the history of the place, which used to be a church and you’ve got all the ingredients for a special evening.

I hope that we’ll see many more gigs and events at St Mary in the Castle over the coming years and I wish it every success. It is certainly nice to see the place being put to good use once again. It is a unique space that deserves to be used and shared and it was encouraging to see such a good turn out on the evening.

My only concern is that, because of the huge space that has to be filled, the sound quality for louder and more amplified gigs can leave a little to be desired. This was even evident, to a degree, on Saturday. Maybe there is a solution? Having said that, that in no way detracted from what was a good gig and a great evening.

Andy Gunton

More info about St Mary in the Castle can be found here: http://stmaryinthecastle.co.uk/

(Otti Albietz photo courtesy of Sam Kinch Photography)