Nepal Post 5 An Australians perspective. This ones for the girls.

What a lot of people don’t know about me is I love color and design. So upon coming to Nepal I was struck by the beauty of the handicrafts and the intricate designs.

So being my mums birthday and all, the fact she thinks I have great taste . I went out to shop to give her a birthday she wouldn’t forget.

First I found pashminas in her favorite colours greens and blues, then I found some pieces that matched with deep rich translucent greens and blues. What you have to realise these pieces if you bargain hard are so cheap compared to the west and have such character.

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But it didn’t stop there, I kept find more pieces that I fell in love with and more came.

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Note the intricate silver work and the richness of the stones. Every time I go away I buy mum pieces from around the world. I have bought things in Venice, Prague , Taiwan and now Nepal. I really enjoy looking, bargaining and matching her tastes to what I am seeing.

All I can say is if I ever get married my wife will be well looked after in that department. So for myself as mentioned in the previous post I bought a medicine bowl.

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I think its absolutly beautiful . To think one man slaved away making that for hundreds of hours is incredible the sound it makes is incredibly hypnotic. I intend to use it for meditation. Focussing on the sound really clears the mind and relaxes your body. They actually gave me a demonstration. I have to say I felt really chilled. Getting back to my point, I love pieces with a story. I prefer things that have character and are a bit beaten up.

I also picked up a Buddhist art work (not pictured) which is incredibly intricate and beautufull . Again it has a whole back story and took an artist 200hrs of work, using fine brush work. It has a lot of shapes that form a powerful symbol when you stand back from it.

Nepal Post 2 An Australian’s reflection

YES I made it, well I made it to the end of the first week of the internship.

Why is it that hard might you say? Well, I have a new appreciation for what an immigrant goes through landing in another country, not being able to speak the language know the systems or communicate.

It is tough being an outsider here or anywhere where you can’t speak the language. Sometimes it feels they are making joes about me behind my back. But hey it’s probably my neurosis. Anyway the good stuff.

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The experience whilst hard is incredibly exciting challenging and ever-changing. If you ever want to do something like this leave your expectations at home and be ready for anything. not only am I shooting stories for VSN but I am training local staff. One day in a woman’s centre who teaches English to adults who have never had the chance.

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woman’s education centre

To being invited for dinner by one of my interviewees who is a homestay host. Eating and enjoying the company of her and VSN’s volunteers.

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Every day is so diverse I went out for a walk around Bhaktapur this morning and found myself in a precession of Hindus chanting an unbelievable eye-opening experience.

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Hindu ceremony

Next week I meet the director of VSN for whom I found out is the brother of the founder and the uncle of the current coordinator. I shot a piece today with the coordinator who spoke with such passion about the future of the Nepalese people and the role VSN can play. I will also be interviewing a fully robed monk in a monastery here in Kathmandu.

After a tough first few days I really feel like I am hitting my stride getting used to everything from the pace of life to the food and knowing the limitations of my equipment. My camera has overheated a few times. When it overheats I have to stop and cool it down. The heat drains the batteries which isn’t good.  On Sunday I am being taken up on a cable car to a mountain top shrine right up the cliff face of the Kathmandu Valley. It should be quite something. Till next time by for now….

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Before I arrived I promised myself to post every day which is hard because of the sheer overabundance of stimulation one has when working in such a country but here goes.

Upon arriving in this far away place, you are confronted by the face your in a 3rd world country. The smells the cracked roads the disheveled buildings. But what becomes apparent is this place has a deep soul like no other I have visited.

Sitting here at my desk in the ancient city of Bhaktapur.I peer out the window to the sounds of tooting bikes and laughing children. Off in the distance, there are temples a thousand years old and behind that the base of the Himalayas.

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Before moving to Buktapur I was staying in the tourist center of Thamel. The streets are lined with sellers selling everything from sex to drugs to fine carpets and everything in between. The pace of life is rapid faster than anything I have seen in the western world. The streets are manic, with what seems like millions of bikes and cars spewing out smoke. There aren’t any road rules oh and did I mention there are cows asleep in the middle of the roads.

But for all this manic speed and oozing of the hoards of its human population. I am just taken aback by how the people have bent over backward to make my travels easier more enjoyable and safe. Their warmth just radiates through there smiles and personalities. Even in the bleakness of the forlorned grey cracking buildings the colors of the woman’s silks permeate and pop out from the sterility of the crumbling city.

 

The population care about one another and have a deep respect for foreigners, everybody seems interested in this tall white Australian, I feel welcomed and almost like I am part of a bigger family.

MORE TO COME….

My Project According2indiemusic.com is now live

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according2indiemusic.com

As part of my transition, from editing news to a content creator, I have as part of my studies in Journalism created according2indiemusic.com.

Here I had to be a one man band. I wrote, voiced interviewed shot and designed the whole project.  The project basically tells the story of Indie musicians, how they make a dollar sell their product and gives a bit of reality to what one needs to know to survive as a self managed artist.

The site has profiles on the 3 participants, Sophie Koh , Josh Voce and Georgia Fields as well as some recordings I made of them playing acoustically. It also has a podcast discussion about indie music and a news and radio package about the industry.

There is lots of media to watch and listen to and lots of things to click on.

I learned a lot from the experience and felt more confident as I did more interviewing. It was a real labour of love and I hope that comes through in the end product.

A competition run on​ social media

I just wanted to make a quick post.

Yesterday I saw an interesting use of Social media I had not witnessed before.  Paul McCartney who star4ts his Australian tour this week is holding a competition. It is to have a meet and greet as well as attend his sound check. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be such a big deal, but what caught my eye was how they are conducting the competition.

Firstly to enter you have to post on any social platform why you are his biggest fan. On top of this, you then have to include a series of Hashtags as well and embed a supplied picture from the promoter. The competition is then drawn and you are contacted via your social account.  The tides are sure turning back in the day you would have to call a 1900 number where the organization would collect monies from the calls or physically send in an entry.  I find this to be a really creative use of it as a communication tool. It allows those who are engaged with him and the brand to feel more that bit more engaged. It builds awareness and excitement for the tour.

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This kind of engagement is the way of the future. By limiting the entry to 25 words one has to be creative and engadged. For those who are interested here is my entry.

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Panasonic AG-AC90 HD Camcorder Time Lapses

Whilst in Tasmania I took my new Panasonic Camera and did some shooting. I really like this little 3 chip HD camera. Its a good size very light and at $2000 very reasonable. It was very easy to take on the plane and shoots really great video. The time Lapse mode is really fun.

When watching the video below make sure you watch it in full 1080pHD to get its full impact

The Fuji XT-1 shooting in Tasmania

A few weeks ago I took delivery of the new Fuji XT-1. For me the camera takes what was fantastic about the XPRO-1 and makes it a lot better. Whilst traveling through Tasmania I got to test a lot of the cameras functionality. Let me tell you folks just about everything that sucked on the Xpro 1 is now fixed on this new camera.

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Firstly the performance of the auto focus in low light is nothing short of fantastic. I never missed a shot. It is a giant leap forward over the XPRO 1. Its accurate its fast and its reliable.

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The above picture was taken in the mole creek caves about an hour out of Sheffield Tasmania. I shot it at 25600 ISO and not only does the shot look incredibly clean I was also able to autofocus with no issues what so ever.

The other huge feature of this camera is the amazing viewfinder. For all those who are wavering because it is an EVF worry not. It is so big and so bright after a while you forget its an EVF and just enjoy shooting with it. It is outstanding..

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Mount roland sheffield tasmania

 

Low light high ISO, fast accurate auto focus are just a few reason why I love this camera. Another is the way it renders details and colour. The colour is rich , detailed but very accurate . Look at the subtle tonal changes in the picture above. I think its more akin to a warm film look.

Lastly I wanted to touch on the cameras handling. I have the optional battery vertical grip. The put it simply the camera has a lovely balance to it in the hand. The only time I felt it was a bit top heavy was with the 55-200 lens attached. But when I had the 14mm 2.8 attached it was lovely in the hand. The feel of the body is of a premium nature and mostly the camera is an utter joy to shoot with.

I also have to mention I shot mostly with the 14mm 2.8 lens . What a great lens it is to.  It is fast and very sharp . Its very light and is so flexible in the way you can use it.

Cradle mountain Tasmania

Cradle mountain Tasmania

The Fiio X3 24bit Hi res portable music player

Remember music before it became disposable?. Remember music when the album was the rage and you didn’t just buy a song? Remember that experience when you put on a big pair of cans and got lost in the music? Not forgetting a time before the famous white fruit earbuds that made music sound like junk? . Well retro is back again. Welcome to the Fiio X3 player. Now for under $200 you can obtain an audio experience more akin to what I mentioned earlier. Gone is that compressed nasty sound of the modern times. This device is an absolute beauty listing to uncompressed 24bit mater files makes you feel like you were in the mixing studio as these album were being produced. The music has unbelievable depth and tonality. The experience for me has been akin to first listening to HIFI music in my youth. Gone are those whizzy compressed highs and un natural mids , everything sounds so balanced and natural.  What makes this even more remarkable is that the player is smaller than a pack of cigarettes and retails for just over $200 here in Australia.

There are a few issues with it though. Take it from me this is no Apple user experience. You have to download the tracks from sites such as hdtracks.com and then transfer them to the player. This can be done in 2 ways. Either via USB or by plugging in the micro SD card you bought to increase the players storage. The transfer of files is slow and laborious because of the sheer size of the master audio files.  The menu on the player is very 2001 . Don’t get me wrong its not horrible its just dated. A firmware update is promised soon where the user interface will be majority upgraded. Also when you buy a micro SD card for the player it is incredibly picky. The ones I have had success with are the Sandisk class 10 cards.

I haven’t yet bought myself some headphones that really show the device of at its best. I have been using a 10 year old pair of AKG’s which still sound spectacular but with a pair of better cans I expect I will get better audio again.

A few other nice things about the player. It has a line out so you can use it to plug into your car or even a home stereo. It also has a coaxial digital out which can output digital 24bit audio to home receivers for the ultimate in high fidelity.

Lastly a few recommendations of some of the audio in 24bit 96khz or 192khz I have been blown away by.

Bob Dylan Blonde on Blonde 24bit 96khz

Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 40th anniversary remaster 24bit 96k

Miles Davis Kind of Blue 24bit 192k    This is spectacular especially the detail.

Steven Wilson The Raven that refused to Sing 24bit 96k . In Hi Res this album shines with depths dynamics and texture.

Elvis Costello North 24bit 96k . Spectacular recording the strings sound great in Hi Res.

 

I will post some other recordings as I work through them.

 

For anyone who wants re enjoy the romance and feel of music again I can’t recommend this player more highly. Its a spectacular buy. One last thing to remember also is as its hi res music, the quality and results you encounter are dependant on source material and quality of what your listening through. Anything that has major flaws they will be highlighted 10 fold in this format. Those albums that are fantastic recordings to begin with will shine brighter than you have heard them before.  A case in point Paul McCartney’s New album for me was barely listenable on cd  . It was far to loud lacked dynamics and sounded very brittle and harsh. In Hi Res it regains its musicality and is far warmer and has depth something really lacking on the cd.

A definite buy 5 stars

 

 

Paul McCartney and Wings Rockshow one night only on the big screen my review.

Tonight I had the great delight of attending a screening of Paul McCartney and Wings Rockshow. This film brings back many great memories. I used the play the live album from this tour all the time as a teenager and drive my parents insane. I have seen Paul many times in person but I was only born the year the film was released so this was particularly special as it wasn’t possible for me to be at this tour. Its especially pleasing that Paul at his very peak can now be viewed in such a fantastic way. The film is great bar a few issues relating to the age of the source material. I also have to say what a band Wings were they were one of the best live acts of the 70’s and here it shows. There material is diverse and there performance as a band are very tight.

Here are my plusses and minuses about the remastered film from a critical point of view.
Paul vocals sounded damm incredible upfront strong bluesy and soulful . His piano was mixed rite up front so I got to admire his piano playing. This is often his overlooked skill , his playing here is sweet and funky where it needs to be.
His bass work is just amazing and sounded great. I loved hearing the different live versions of the material to what I know so well on Wings Over America. The stage patter and in between song stuff just great, it helped give you that intimacy of being there. its funny seeing the band so big on the screen shows how stoned they were Linda and Denny especially. Great being able to see Linda and Jimmy alive at there peak. I  felt like I was there in the arena , it was as if the cinema disappeared and He was playing to me.

A few minor quibbles though . The mix had the backing vocals to low in my opinion , you would cut to denny or linda and there was nothing no audible singing, this was especially prevalent during Maybe Im Amazed. The editing in places is a tad rough especially coming out of the Long and winding road , the cut is very hard and is noticeable . You could definitely tell which was 16mm footage and what was 35mm. The 35mm stuff was so pristine it could of been shot yesterday. Lastly I wanted more horns they were a bit soft in places. Lastly a few times I had the feeling we were listening to some overdubbed songs some felt to dry and not enough reverb from the stadium.

 

His bass work is just amazing and sounded great. I loved hearing different live versions to what I know so well on Wings Over America. In some places the differences were quite a lot in others not so. As this was the last gig of the tour the performances have a lot of energy. In my opinion a lot more than the live album.
The stage patter and in between song stuff just great. Funny moment seeing the band so big on the screen shows how stoned they were linda and denny especially. It was also great being able to see Linda and Jimmy alive at there peak.


Now I look forward to the Bluray of Rockshow and the box set of Wings Over America. Lastly the bad news if you missed it at the cinema its not likely to return.

Glen Hansard Italy Tour film 2012

In April 2013 filmmaker Myles O’Reilly was invited on board the good ship Hansard to accompany Glen and his band around Italy for a few days while touring Italy in Europe to promote his debut solo album, Rhythm And Repose.  This film tells the story of life on road here is presented the whole film for your enjoyment.