Oxford School of Photography

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Tag Archives: Music

Music Robot

OK this post has little to do with photography but if you have followed this blog for a while you will know that music; new, vibrant, unusual, creative music is a spur (another passion there, Spurs) to us over here at OSP Towers. Each year we get to photograph at Britain’s festival for new and often unsigned bands down on the south coast in Brighton at The Great Escape. This is like a pilgrimage to the unknown because you rarely have an idea what you are going to get but you know some of it will be good. Our interest in photography is often a mirror to that, we like the things that are maybe a bit challenging and unusual rather than obvious. We do get the delight in seeing beautiful images but unless there is a bit more we get bored ever so easily. No, Ansel Adams is not one of our favourite photographers, much in the same way that we can appreciate Coldplay but just don’t care about the results.

This is a huge diversion from the point of this post but that what passion does for you, gets you off on tangents.

We find the music that excites us on the music blogs that feature new bands and artists, we don’t mind much what genre of music it is but more often than not avoid anything that has ‘rock’ in the name (especially if it is preceded by the word classic)  I have just heard about a new site called Music Robot that is an amalgamation of the very best music blogs in the country featuring new music. Seems to be in part organised by our most favourite source of new music The Recommender and brings together a number of bloggers who make recommendations of the best new tracks, the site is clean and easy to use and you can listen to the tracks on Music Robot or go to the originating blog for more info and detail. There is a chance to vote for your favourite tracks and this generates a sort of chart, not sure this is too important to me but some will really like it as it highlights the best, or at least most potentially successful tracks on the site.

This is what they say about themselves:

We are a new music discovery service. Consider us a fresh style of music website that shares the genes of a blog collective and an aggregated music chart.

The best-established music bloggers in the UK regularly uncover lots of fantastic new music on their respected websites, so we pull their selections onto Music Robot. We then ask the public to vote for the tracks that they’ve fallen in love with.

Those votes then boost that track up our chart, so if an artist gets a number one on Music Robot, you will know that not only do the best music bloggers love them, but the public agree.

We have hand-picked 15 of the raddest music blogs, all of which have been selected because of their influence and importance in the UK music blog community. Music Robot wants to put these hard working taste-makers front and centre on our site, alongside the awesome tuneage, because we believe they’re key commentators for emerging music.

Together we bring you Music Robot, the home of the new cutting edge. 

If you like finding new music and are prepared to go beyond the dull outpourings of the main stream the Music Robot should be bookmarked in your smart phone, tablet and computer.

On a photographic note, as this is a photography blog, I usually find that new bands use imagery very well, the photography is often usual and stimulating, I suppose they want to stand out from the plethora of other bands and the images they use is just part of the game.

Here are some images from the current Music Robot site

Band and Gig Photography Masterclass

More from the pages of the Guardian. I should say I have never attended any of their courses so only provide information rather than recommendations, check whether it is suitable for you.

Want to learn how to take brilliant live music or festival photographs? At this day and a half’s workshop, you’ll do just that.

Due to popular demand and to ensure you get the most out of your time, the masterclass will be split into two levels:

Group one: Beginner to lower intermediate.
Group two: Proficient with camera.

In groups of just ten, you’ll work closely with a Guardian photographer and learn how to take professional-standard photographs in a challenging and exciting festival environment. You’ll get professional access and shoot live bands, artist and vox pop portraits, cabaret and circus performers, children’s fete games and more under the expert guidance of Guardian and Observer staff photographers Katherine Rose and Alicia Canter…….MORE

Dates: Sunday 3 June 2012; 11am-6pm
Feedback session: Thursday 7 June; 7.30pm-9.30pm
Location: Apple Cart festival, Victoria Park, E8
Feedback session: Guardian HQ, 90 York Way, N1 9GU
Price: £249 (inclusive of VAT)

King Charles @ The Great Escape ©Keith Barnes

Nick Drake and the Strange Face Project

My two loves throughout my life have been music and photography. One of my earliest teenage memories is sitting on the floor in my friend Lynne’s house listening to Nick Drake. Her brother was the first person I had met whose life was dominated by his record collection and through him I found Nick Drake and many others.

Michael Burdett has such an interesting story and it is revealed in The Guardian by .

A lost recording by the late singer has been turned into a UK-wide photography project.

“One summer evening in the late 1970s, Michael Burdett was scavenging through a skip behind Island Records HQ in London. He was a teenager, employed as a postboy at the label, and had been given permission to hunt through all the discarded demos for tapes he could record over in the studio he was setting up at home.

An object caught his eye. “A scruffy little tape,” he recalls. “On the front, in felt tip, it said ‘Nick Drake‘ and on the back ‘Cello Song’. And at the bottom were the words ‘With Love’ and two kisses. I knew Nick’s material; he’d been dead five years. I couldn’t let it go to the dump. So I took it and kept it.”………”and suddenly after 30 years he knew what he wanted to do: photograph people listening to it.

“For the next year and a half,” he says, “I kept the camera and the recording with me wherever I went. I approached people at random and ended up photographing tattooists, homeless people, florists, mountaineers, City workers, people aged two to 96.” Of the 200 people he asked, 167 agreed. “I think that is the beautiful thing about all this,” he smiles. “It’s not just about Nick Drake – half the people had never heard of him.”

He calls his collection of photographs the Strange Face Project, a nod to the song’s opening line: “Strange face/ With your eyes/ So pale and sincere.” It was also a reference to the peculiar intensity that played across subjects’ faces as they listened. “With four minutes 22 seconds to photograph someone,” says Burdett, “I invariably found that the images were telling.” READ MORE of the Guardian story here

There is a website for more details about this photography project and a documentary being made about it here

There is an exhibition of the photographs from 27/1/12 – 12/02/12 at Idea Generation, here is a link to their site

This is what they say about they exhibition and Nick Drake

Adventures with a Lost Nick Drake Recording

27/01/12 – 12/02/12

Since his tragic death in the mid seventies, Nick Drake’s haunting music has influenced countless artists – from Kate Bush to Radiohead. we are very excited to share a brand new exhibition, telling the story of how the discovery of a previously unheard recording has touched the lives of a very special group of people; the lucky few, who were chosen to hear it.

Nick Drake is hailed as one of the most influential singer-songwriters of the last 50 years yet his is one of the most mysterious and intriguing stories of 20th century pop. Before his suicide in 1974 aged just 26 he was a relatively unknown artist but in his short recording career he had generated a legacy that would go on to influence some of pop’s most high profile artists.

©Keith Morris

©Michael Burdett

Hear Nick Drake HERE