Happy New Year

As the year ends once again and we enter another decade I’d like to thank a few people who kept things going for me in what has been somewhat of a challenging year. The main fun I had musically was working on the UTE 7″ and the Why Clanks CD and Book. They came at at time when I had broken my ankle and was virtually immobile so could at least stumble to the computer each morning to write music that had a purpose rather than stare into space. It gave me time to reflect also on how much I love my part of Yorkshire. The Aire Valley in particularly still gives me shivers and so it was a pleasure to write music that hopefully reflected long walks and days out I’d had there. Therefore big thanks to the UTE team (James Ocklefold, Michael C. Place and Matt Kelly) for getting me involved. Also big thanks to Howard Morrison at Paper Piano Press for keeping me busy in the latter part of the summer. I just loved how this one turned out and it was brilliant to see how it came together working in a pre-internet, cut and paste manner.

George Mastrokostas of Sound In Silence has always given me an outlet for musical endeavours that I may not have released otherwise and so I was excited that he wanted to put a CD out of my Western Edges project. This project came about after I’d moved house and didn’t have my usual recording gear set up and so worked on tracks just using synthetic sounds from the computer. Happily it has now become a project of its own and there is a further album in the worked and we even played a gig with a further one planned for 2020! George also re-issued the Memory Drawings ‘Phantom Lights’ album we initially made as a tour CD. I’m glad this album has got another lease of life as its some of my favourite Memory Drawings music.

For more general support and encouragement thank you to Barrie Cummings at Home Assembly Music, my brother Chris and my girlfriend Julie all of whom to different degrees have had to listen to endless babbling about some track or other that I’m battling with that no-one will ever hear.

This unwanted Oscars speech is now almost over but the biggest thanks is to everyone out there who still buys stuff and supports what we do. I feel honoured each time a record comes out and people buy it. God knows what I’d do if that kind of support wasn’t there.

Happy New Year and all the best for 2020

Richard/The Declining Winter

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2019 Rewind

This is what we did in 2019. Thanks to all those who still support what we do….more of it to come in 2020.

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The Old Have Killed The Young

It’s a line from The Jangling Man by the Cleaners from Venus. Other lines in that song that are just as relevant….

And all you kids in Cardboard City
I hope you’re having fun
And all you voters everywhere
Will remember what you’ve done

It could have literally been written today but it came out in 1990. Nothing changes then or if it does it just gets worse. I broke one of my own hard and fast rules by politicising my Twitter account in the week running up to the election. Generally I’d prefer just to talk about the music not my breakfast or Brexit but I think I was amongst a lot of people getting increasingly panicky about a returning Conservative government. Look anywhere on the internet and you’ll see why voting Tory is a bad idea so I’m not going to get into that too much here. What I want to focus on within our little music bubble is of how we all continue in the coming months and years.

There are hundreds of obstacles in the way in producing and selling music right now including high overseas postage costs, the cost of pressing vinyl and algorithms being against us so we can’t get our message out there via social media or even by email because google hates you seeing our missives.

But this is only going to get worse. Our band barely tours as it is but travelling around Europe as a musician relies on freedom of movement. Green cards and visas will soon be necessary and carnets required in order to sell merchandise. So that is out as an income stream even if we were able to tour more frequently. Unless a good deal is struck (and Boris wasn’t exactly trying hard last time out) then tariffs will be applied on incoming goods. Where do all our records get pressed? Europe. Records are already extortionate and increased production costs will see prices go even higher. We rely on all you wonderful people in Europe buying our records and downloads but further tariffs and even higher postage costs will make these unaffordable for many of you.

So what do we do? Bloody well carry on is what we’ll do until there is no breath in our bodies. Home Assembly Music are already planning a bunch of releases next year and will continue to do this until the pot runs dry or we die. We will continue with all our projects and delve deep into music as a way of escaping our awful country and the people who run it and the people who voted for them. Sadly those with disabilities, who are homeless, ill, unemployed, are from the EU or are immigrants into this country don’t have that same choice.

One positive. If the Twittersphere is an echo chamber then it’s an echo chamber filled with nice caring people. From musicians (some whose music I admit to normally hating), to footballers to actors and comedians, many have shown unbelievable bravery is risking abuse in order to stand up for what they believe in.

There are many many good people out there. But those who have voted for the billionaires for the liars and the cheats and the out and out racists, then all I hope is that when everything comes crashing down completely and we don’t have free healthcare and (less importantly perhaps) your favourite band no longer makes records then you will remember what you’ve done.

It’s all screwed against all the good in the world but we will never give in.

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Memory Drawings – Phantom Lights

This was originally a rush released tour CD we made in time for Memory Drawings near disastrous jaunt through Spain and England in 2018. We thought that was the end for it but Sound in Silence liked the record so much they wanted it on their label so here it is on a special limited edition CDr with their usual lovely artwork. Also my personal favourite Memory Drawings record amazingly enough.

By the way a new Memory Drawings record is currently being worked on in the states by Joel alongside a host of other people. I’m just a distant visitor to the sessions on this one as I’m concentrating on the The Declining Winter / Western Edges side of things but I think I’m on a few tracks and also it means I’m fairly well placed this time in saying that it sounds pretty damn good.

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Scenes From the Back Bedroom Window

Remember this one? Well it came out in 2010 on one of those 3″ CD things that were popular at the time and sold out fairly quickly. I subsequently lost the audio when my computer crashed but thanks to Secret Furry Hole who originally issued the CD we can at least put it up on Bandcamp for anyone who wants it…

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