Downing Street Sign

UK General Election 2015: The share of votes versus the share of seats

Following the UK’s General Election, there has been a lot of talk from minor parties (most notably UKIP and the Green party) that the First Past the Post voting system does not represent the people who vote for them.

Now that all the votes have been counted, we can start to answer the question ‘would proportional representation have made a difference?’ There are a number of interesting graphs to look at. The first is where the seats went (more…)

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Louder than War piece: where to find new music

Last week, the excellent Louder than War website asked me to pen a piece about podcasts to follow-up the relaunch of the Independent Music Podcast. I tried to make it an interesting piece that combines some of my dayjob theory about choice and habit to satisfactorily say that podcasts are the best way to find new music, and that ours is just one of a number of options.

Not only does cheap recording and easy distribution mean we have more music available than ever before, but human and cultural evolution means that it is more varied and innovative too. On top of that, we have more radio stations, music TV channels, online channels, blogs, websites, fanzines, magazines (yes, still) than ever before. For discovering new music this is a problem, and the explanation for this lies in jam.

The jam experiment is one of the most famous tests in studying human psychology when it comes to choice. In her book ‘The Art of Choosing’, the creator of the experiment Sheena Iyengar explains it in fascinating detail but the crux of it is simple: when a person is presented with many options, they face choice paralysis and the chances of them making any choice whatsoever diminish significantly.

Go and read this piece over on their site, and download the Independent Music Podcast from iTunes.

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The Dead Albatross Music Prize 2014

The thinking man’s alternative to the Mercury – the Dead Albatross Music Prize – has announced its winner.

Chosen by a panel of forward-thinking music lovers from inside and outside the industry (full disclosure, FFP is one of them), the Dead Albatross Music Prize has no entry process, no entries fees and no big bash. No fanfare, just great independent music from British artists.

Paul Ackroyd – the man behind the award – put together a fantastic announcement show to run through the shortlist and announce the winner. You can listen to it below. (more…)

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Strip of 16mm film included in the release

Unwrapping HFF Vol. 1 (Psyché Tropes)

The debut release on London label Psyché Tropes is a gorgeous three LP sound project that takes some of the finest works from audio-visual artists working in Hackney, East London and presses them to 180gm vinyl. It includes some truly exceptional pieces, with contributions from Sally Golding, Tom White, and Mark Peter Wright amongst others.

We’ll be reviewing the record in more detail over the week, but to whet your appetite, in this post you can listen to excerpts of the record as well as images of the record packaging.

You can buy the record direct from Psyché Tropes for £25.99.

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Gareth Main in his record room

Independent Vinyl Podcast #1 – September 2014

Hosted by Gareth Main, the Independent Vinyl Podcast kicks off with an inevitably eclectic mix of the latest independent vinyl records exciting us this month. Kicking off with the debut release from Brooklyn’s Alien Whale, we take in phenomenal new records from The Bug and Lurka as well as reissues of the legendary Bernard Szajner Visions of Dune LP and library compilation The Big Beat Vol.1.

Below is the tracklisting of the podcast, as well as links to buy records from across the web.

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Daniela Casa with Gepy & Gepy, mid 60s

Italian library music: innovation, despair and Daniela Casa

In the world of the internet and too much information about too many people, precious little is known about Italian library music or one of its finest composers Daniela Casa, a Rome-born synthesist and guitarist whose recording career lasted from 1963 through to her untimely death in 1988 at the age of 42.

This month’s release of Sovrapposizione Di Immagini through Finders Keepers represents an essential introduction to one of the world’s least known, but most talented electronic musicians. (more…)

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20000 days on earth

Nick Cave – 20,000 Days on Earth review

Reviewing the arts is by definition subjective, but the presence and originality of Nick Cave is something that few critics or fans question. In the live arena, it’s obvious to all that he operates on a level way ahead of his peers, and to us mere mortals, he’s at an altogether different stage of consciousness. It’s no surprise then that 20,000 Days on Earth has something of an extraterrestrial title to it, what is more surprising is the insight it offers into Cave’s process, even if what is revealed is meticulously controlled.

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