In an occasional Sonic Breakfast feature, I’ll head outside of my mailbox for inspiration. The PR companies can take a rest for I have a new way of finding music to feature; the random search.
The idea – I use one of the many random word generators online to come up with a random word or words. I then use a Spotify search to see what songs or artists are listed when searching for that word.
I played the game and got ‘buckwheat’. I’d heard of Buckwheat Zydeco before but I confess I didn’t know much more. The internet is such an rich resource tool and I set about exploring. I’m glad I did.
First stop – The Guardian obituary page (here) in September 2016:-
“The singer, accordionist, keyboard player and bandleader Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural Jr, who has died aged 68 from cancer, was a cultural ambassador for zydeco, the traditional dance and party music of black southern Louisiana. He was the first zydeco musician to be signed by a major record company, his albums were nominated for Grammy awards, his songs were heard on movie soundtracks and in television ads, he played at festivals in the US and Europe, and he opened shows for Eric Clapton and U2.”
68 is no age to die. We can all agree on that and lung cancer is an indiscriminate bitch. I watch some Buckwheat Zydeco videos and get carried away in the happy feeling they produce. The online obituaries all say largely the same things. I search for three Buckwheat things elsewhere on the web that might interest Sonic Breakfast readers.
Have I fallen out of love with blogging? A quick look at the sparse, sporadic Sonic Breakfast updates in 2017 might well indicate that to be the case. To my shame, the regular ‘Sonic Breakfast Top Ten Of The Year’ feature didn’t even feature between Christmas and the New Year.
In truth, I have perhaps lost a bit of that fire. It might come back or it might take another form but at the moment the thought of scanning through the ever-growing mountain of E-mails from PR companies and bands desperate to be introduced as the next big thing holds less allure than once it did.
There’s such a quantity of great art out there that doesn’t see the light of day; so much great music that gets released to the slightest of fanfare; so many great films that are left in the editing suite to decay and rot. It all becomes a bit overwhelming. Whilst friends did end of year lists documenting their 100 favourite albums of 2017, I simply wallowed in the corner feeling fraudulent for barely listening to a dozen albums from start to finish in that twelve months.
A couple things are happening in my life that regular Sonic Breakfast readers might care to know about.
(1) After 12 years in the day job, I’m taking redundancy at the end of March. I see this as a positive thing though it’s only natural that stepping out of a comfort zone also brings accompanying fears. My plan is to head to Spain. Sarah has a villa over there. I want to give myself the headspace to write words every day. With a view looking out towards real mountains, the ever-growing mountain of E-mails will surely seem less daunting to deal with.
(2) I’ll be renting my house out – or at least making use of the services of AirBNB. Close friends who’ve seen my house will know that there’s a fair bit of largely cosmetic redecorating work to get through if I’m going to achieve the Spanish dream in April.
(3) The day job workload shows little sign of abating. I’ll be kept busy before I go. Appalling at saying ‘no’ to things, I’ll also still be writing comedy festival reviews for the Mercury during February and knocking together the occasional piece for the fine Leicester listings magazine, Great Central. This all takes time.
(4) I’ve been developing a love for ‘random’ word generation games. I’ve been managing that overwhelming pile of E-mails by not managing them and finding other ways to unearth great music and film. The internet has some great, little tools for generating random words. I’ve been using those words with which to search Spotify or IMDB movie databases. I’ve been forcing myself to expand my horizons; to listen to the music that a random combination of words entered into search tools might spew back; to watch the awful TV movie if that’s what the search results demand. Somewhat amazingly, employing such randomness rarely fails to delight and always seem to inform. Even when the art isn’t entirely to my taste, I’m taken down new and exciting avenues of thought. I’m discovering new things in a way that feels comfortable and pressure-free. I plan to keep playing around with such practice.
Yesterday, to my general surprise, I received a press invite to the incredible Eurosonic Norderslag festival. It takes place each year in January in Groningen, Netherlands and I was lucky enough to head out last year to review it for eFestivals. (My review can be read here). It’s happening next week which gives very little time to plan but after a bit of frantic arranging it does look like I’ll be heading out again. Despite all that I’ve said elsewhere in this post, I’m genuinely excited about the new acts I’ll get to spot.
And tomorrow on Sonic Breakfast, I’ll make use of random word generation in order to introduce one of the bands on the ESNS bill. For now, feel free to take a look at this.