Zoon Politicon – Black in White

zoon politiconOp 3 juni kwam het nieuwe album Black In White van de Duitse synth pop band Zoon Politicon. Het heeft even geduurd sinds For Several Voices (1998). Tijdloze electropop deuntjes in een lekker tempo om in de maat mee te wandelen.  De eerste uitgave was een dubbel CD met op de bonus disc een aantal remixes. Zelf doe ik het via Spotify met de 1 CD versie. Opener Run Forever is eenvoudig, recht-toe-recht-aan. Wat mysterieuzer klinkt het donkere Mercy.

Wat opener is Moments (het leven gaat door, ondanks alle moeilijkheden). Het nummer werd eerder inclusief videoclip ook als single uitgebracht. Na het instrumentale intermezzo Good Morning zijn Dreamer en Special Kind of Love (de laatste is ook van een videoclip voorzien) knipogen naar de 80’s. Human League en Wolfsheim fans zullen er blij mee zijn. New Phase speelt met flanger en uitsturen over links en rechts. Laag gestemde vocalen zich bekommerend over atoomafval, vervuiling van de ozonlaag en andere narigheid in Candle of Truth. De dag nadert z’n einde, en dus een intermezzo: Good Evening. Timekiller glijdt voorbij.

Het patroon is intussen herkenbaar, wat meer verschil tussen de nummers zou prettiger zijn geweest. Such a Bore leidt naar Sense of Life en de spacy afsluiter Galaxy.

Barb Drozdowich – The Book Blogger Platform

the book blogger platformA book devoted to book blogging reviewed on a book blog sounds like inversion, right? Barb Drozdowich experimented in a first edition of The Book Blogger Platform (2014) with technical details, screenshots, but found better ways to convey her insights, practical tips and helpful guidance for novice and advanced book lovers spreading their reviews through a blog.

In this second edition (2015) technical details and instructions are pushed to a series of over 20 Youtube videos. The booklet itself concentrates on setting up a weblog through primarily Blogger or WordPress, getting (advanced) review copies for free from Netgalley and Edelweiss, and cross-posting your reviews to e.g. Amazon, Goodreads, and Librarything, as well as social media platforms. Barb is honest about (limited possibilities for) making money from your blog, the amount of time it takes to gather your books, actually reading, writing a review and ensure its publication and spread, backing up your blog’s content.

The book can be used as a guideline to set up your blog, as well as a refresher for veteran book bloggers like me. Topics like branding, the use of images and hotlinks, blog tours, as well as your personal review policy, various ways to review and promote books, advertising, and finding fellow book bloggers are addressed. Drozdowich did a tremendous job to have lots of up to date content in her book to help you out, blogging with confidence about your passion: books.

About the author

Social Media and WordPress Consultant Bab Drozdowich has taught at Universities and Colleges, trained technical personnel in the banking industry and, most recently, used her expertise to help dozens of authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She delights in taking technical subjects and making them understandable by the average person. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat’s Books. Barb has published 6 books and lives in British Columbia with her family.

I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased, personal review.

Support Adrian Snell’s Alpha & Omega: the 30th Anniversary Recording

AS_AO_ogh8vrNearly 30 years ago the British composer and musician Adrian Snell released the landmark album Alpha & Omega. Amidst a spiritual journey into the impact the Holocaust had on the Jewish people, and the biblical prophecies of a coming Jewish Messiah in an attempt to reconcile Jews and Christians. Ask for forgiveness and grace for all the transgressions against God’s people, yet convinced of Jesus Christ being the Messiah, the One claiming to be the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. Hope for mankind, and gracious Lord who paid for our sins. Alpha & Omega originally appeared as closing track of the 1984 album Feed the Hungry Heart. The 1986 original album Alpha & Omega is out of stock. I think it was the last LP of the Brit we bought at home, before switching to compact discs. I went to many concerts of Adrian Snell concept albums myself, still treasuring the impact of timeless symphonic rock music meets faith.

Adrian Snell took up the challenge to re-record the album as a tangible result of the 30th Anniversary of Alpha & Omega celebration. Snell and friends will be playing a string of concerts in the Netherlands and they’ll record these performances in order to have the foundation of what will become a re-recording of Alpha & Omega. It will be quite the undertaking: a 60-piece choir (led by Dutch director Maarten Wassink) and a full band with top musicians from the UK & the Netherlands (including past & present members of IONA: Dave Bainbridge, Frank van Essen and David Fitzgerald). And all of it presented with spectacular sound and lights!

Adrian Snell is seeking support in a IndieGogo crowdfunding campaign to enable to:

  1. Fund the live recordings. This will include musicians, producers, editing and mixing fees, manufacturing and design costs.
  2. Expand on the live takes by adding soundscapes, effects and studio takes that will bring the full vision of ‘Alpha & Omega’ to life!

The new recording’s release expected in March 2017.

Ekkoes – Elekktricity

EKKOES_ELEKKTRICITYHet Londense electropop trio Ekkoes bestaat uit Jon Beck, Dave Fawbert en Rosalee O’Connell. Op hun debuutalbum Elekktricity is een vette knipoog naar de 80’s te horen, hoewel de band met aanvullend gitaarspel en eigenzinnige zang hun eigen geluid probeert te creëren. De vlotte opener Last Breath met afwisselend Jon en Rosalee aan de microfoon is een treffend voorbeeld. Liefde in het formaat “Als dit m’n laatste adem is, hoop ik met jou te sterven.”

Niet ech diepzinnige teksten, ook niet in het up-tempo Fight the Feeling en You Just Walked Away. Supervrolijke muziek met een trieste tekst. Heerlijke wandelmuziek op Couldn’t Miss You Any more. Funky gitaarspel als extraatje in Heaven, Net als dit nummer en You Just Walked Away is ook It Goes On als single uitgebracht.



Na het mid-tempo Ice Cold een heel aardige cover van Self Control, de 1984 hit van wijlen Laura Branigan die 2 jaar daarvoor met Gloria een knijter van een andere hit had. Hieronder kun je het origineel beluisteren.

Een stevige rol voor de gitaar in de wave song Second Best, wel heel foute synths in One More Night brengen je naar de titelsong vol arpeggio’s en voice samples, eigenlijk een intermezzo, en de afsluiter Thousand Suns, een sfeervolle ballad.

Diane Davies – Breast Cancer Saved My Life; The Wisdom of 12 Years of Survivorship

Diane Davies was diagnosed breast cancer in 2004. She recovered after a breasts removal operation, and got new implants.  She kept a 302-day journal to record her thoughts, feelings, and interactions with her husband, family, friends, doctors and other medical staff, which resulted in a first book, From There to Here: A Breast Cancer Journey (2005). Now, 12 years later, she reflects on the lessons learned in Breast Cancer Saved My Life; The Wisdom of 12 Years of Survivorship.

Happiness and joy are the essence of living. It’s your choice to perceive and react to your own life changing experiences. Although a Christian, Davies leaves room for faithful in any higher being. Faith is giving up control, being dependent on another. Angels are around us to help us in times of need. Prayer is not just presenting God your wish list, but a plain, honest conversation with Him. Love is a key to enjoy happiness. Life is a gift, as is help from others. Don’t waste your life. Be gracious every day, learn to say ‘thank you’. Lifesavers come into our life for a purpose. Listen and trust what they have to share. Life’s a journey. Davies’ reflections, either in prose or poems, recommended ministries and organizations, are filled with humor and – although on the safe side – personal notes. Her lessons may help you keep focus and perspective in difficult times. By no means this book is a medical guide, or a walk-through of the diagnosis and healing process.

About the Author

Diane Davies is a breast cancer survivor and activist, wife, mother, grandmother, gardener, former elementary school teacher, author, former executive director of Circle in the Field: Peer Support for Breast Cancer, and Bush Leadership Fellow, 2011-2013. She lives in rural Hastings, Minnesota with husband Butch. Her daughter and family live right next-door making it extremely handy for watching her two grandchildren and one grand dog.

Butch & Diane are both retired and enjoy spending time with their family at home and at their lake home on Rainy Lake in Ontario. You’ll find them at home on the St. Croix River in Hastings, Minnesota on their boat, “Fiddle Fartin’ Around.”

The author provided me a free review copy in exchange for an unbiased, personal review.