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A - Z of buying music.

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ZZ Top are not a band I think about particularly often. If I should win Pop-Master, and be presented with ZZ Top as a three-in-ten to win the digital radio, the digital radio is safe (“Erm… Legs … Gimme all your lovin’… erm erm “), but they are a good marker for ‘alphabetically last’. “From ABBA to ZAPPA” the World Records mail-order brochure proclaimed, but we all knew that ZZTop were last in there (Sharp Dressed Man, 12” picture disc. £11), not Zappa. Thinking about it though - stylistically ABBA to Zappa is a very long jump, so maybe that was the point they were making.

Anyway, ZZ Top have a Greatest Hits album … costing £6.47 on Amazon, and the same set of songs is available on DVD for the Greatest (video) Hits, costing £6.99. So, an extra 52p to have the videos as well. Is that the ‘value’ the videos add, retrospectively? (about 5p per song – which is seems fair enough given the videos are only glorified averts – like a DVD of a film that comes with a ‘trailer’ as the only ‘extra’).

Back at the other end of the alphabet, ABBA ‘Gold’ is sitting similarly priced at £6.79 on DVD or £4.99 for the CD version. The £1.80 difference meaning each video adds about 10p per song – but hang on… what’s this? The CD version at £4.99 is actually the CD+DVD version. Which includes the DVD too. So in this case the audio only version is actually devaluing the videos! That’s a damning testimonial of your artistic output … it devalues the work of the director who produced a 3 minute promotional advert for it!

Amazon also sell mp3 versions of these albums. Care to take a punt at the cost? …Ok, pens down, times up! ABBA Gold costs £6.49 and ZZTop Greatest hits will set you back £7.49. In both cases the mp3 versions are more expensive that the CD versions. It seems having a sleeve with your name and/or photo on it makes your CD worth about a pound less than just the music is on its own. Perhaps the pound should be seen as the cost of convenience in having it pre-ripped for your portable mp3 player.

Ebay shows the second hand resale value of these CDs (should you choose to sell them when you realise you can’t tolerate the sleeve at all) is about £2 for the ZZ Top, and about £4 for the Abba. I can’t find a second hand price listed for the mp3 versions. Just saying.

Both DVD titles are available to rent from Lovefilm. Perhaps that’s your better bet.


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ButterflyPolite may have been quiet, but Andy had been noisy.

As well as recording/writing some solo songs in secret*, he has recorded some of the songs for The Pinocchio Show, a play that he’s taking to The Edinburgh Festival. have got the demos for anyone who is interested.  The eagle-eared will notice that Sarah lends her vocal pipes to these recordings too, along with Kate (violinist with ButterflyPolite) and Howard Rose.  On a technical note, the basic instrument recording (of glockenspiel and guitars) was done live using a mid-side technique.  If that sentence meant nothing to you, do not feel you are missing out.

*it’s not particularly secret, but he will let you hear them when he’s good and ready, okay?

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The sleeve.

The 'sleeve'.

Andy’s RPM Challenge album (written, recorded etc during February 2011) can be enjoyed/endured here for free:

(along with his Feb ‘09, and Feb ‘10 efforts).

Three albums surely warrants a Greatest Hits tour.

Format Wars: Boxes of Music.


Whilst some people might choose to release music on wilfully anachronistic media … as delightful and whimsical that music is, the choice of cassette as the distributed format will inevitably limit the number of people that can enjoy it (notwithstanding the ubiquitous youtube).

… or perhaps I have mis-judged, and audio cassette is the future.  I am not the person to ask.  In my continued efforts to shun all things modern I have invested in this…

Music Box

Music Box

It’s a punch card programmable music box, and is shown loaded with my first composition for it (’Penelope’s Theme’).

The benefits of the format far outweigh the downsides as far as I can see.

  • 1. Very cheap media.  And cheap postage.  People will just be buying bits of card.
  • 2. Digital downloads: A .pdf to cut out and punch yourself.
  • 3. Easy gigs: turn up with strips of paper, and not worry about forgetting the cards.
The limitations (diatonic tunes only within a two octave range, very limited length, restricted sonic palette, easy to bootleg) are small prices to pay.
For those without the correct playback system at home, this video will have to suffice.
Enjoy!  Andy. X.

A Secret Message

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Home from Oxjam gig in Leicester.
Tiny little set by a tiny little band in a tiny little cellar.

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Self Love.

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I resorted to ‘buying’ a download of a ButterflyPolite song this weekend, as I couldn’t find the master.

Despite the frustration and slight absurdity of this, it was well worth the money.

- Andy.

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Short Notice.

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Tonight (19th August), Sarah & Andy are popping along to The Musician (Clyde St, Leics) to do a short ButterflyPolite set (a set-ette?) at the ‘Here Come The Girls’ event.

We’ll be on about 10pm.  Come along and mention today’s secret word (”BumbleBee”) to receive a free hug.  (From Andy)

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Come with me…

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…and you’ll be…



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Spent the day composing and demoing new song ideas today.  Whilst there is something pleasing about finishing a piece, and having something to say ‘this is my thing that I have created for the world’*, there is something absolutely magical about where the germs of ideas come from.  Does one have a finite number of melodies and chord progressions to draw upon, and can this run dry?  Does the development of skills and knowledge as one composes means that whilst the well is being taken from, it is also being filled up from other directions?  I do not know.  I do know that I am pleased with ‘Accouterments & Ephemera’ (working title) and, for now, that is enough.

*I suspect this is akin to raising a child, or leaving a rabbit dropping.

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