Saturday 9 November 2013

Interview for Magic Music Box

Recorded in Berlin, broadcast in California and now on the web:
Lord Litter's Magic Music Box

Introduction and Torrey Canyon:

Lord Litter's Magic Music Box International

                           click below
Interview and Music Part One (29'40"-45'15")
Interview and Music Part Two (26'10"-42'48")

All the shows are downloadable at the foot of the linked page and are worth a full listen through if you can.

Lord Litter's Magic Music Box: (click below)
German Language Edition September'13 (from 55"10' to the end)

Who is Lord Litter? In his own words:
Lord Litter
'The show presents the new microcosm of free music production, once known as "independent" or "alternative" music, expressions that - now integrated into the "system" have no relation to their original meaning. Music that is uniquely based on more than 70 years of recorded sound, whatever direction, from classic cassette scene releases of the 1980's to the hypermodern update studio technology results. The emphasis is on long working musicians with a unique quality.
Lord litter hosts radio shows since 1987 and says Vive Le Difference!'

(He is also a musician with countless of his own releases; the latest project is Meta Georgia)
 thanks and cheers!

Support real-music:
(Lord Litter on Radio Marabu is monthly and K-WTF is weekly)

Sunday 3 November 2013

Checkpoint Charlie - the video

The video for Checkpoint Charlie was filmed in Berlin; between Alexanderplatz, Fredrichstrasse and Berlin Hauptbahnhof. 
The S-Bahn remix includes ambient sound and some additional percussion provided by train doors.

The passenger at the end is an unplanned echo of the man-on-fire on Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here' sleeve; but we kept him anyway. Serendipity.
Checkpoint Charlie will appear on the third album when it is released in 2014.

You can watch the video on YouTube here

Friday 1 November 2013

The Parallel Evolution of Checkpoint Charlie

In August 2013 Checkpoint Charlie was just an unfinished riff, while recording the interview for Lord Litter's Magic Music Box I played it into his hard-drive
 and left it there to germinate in Berlin.
Meanwhile, I also took it back to Manchester.
This was an experiment in parallel evolution and the results were two very different songs carrying the same basic musical DNA.
Strangely (and unknown to both of us) each version would be finished and mixed the same weekend during October.

You can hear (and download) both versions via the soundcloud links below:
The Speed Of Sound version

The Armstrong/Litter version

Completely different, but the same:
Vive le difference
Lord Litter's website is:

Sunday 15 September 2013

Sunday 1 September 2013

Saturday 31 August 2013

Scootfest 15 September 2013

Excellent news - A third band has confirmed for Sunday 15 September; so The Universal will now be be playing in addition to The Persuasion and The Speed Of Sound. It's free too.

I met the sound engineer today and the PA will be loud enough; which is always good to know. 

The day will have a real festival-feel with American Classic Cars, lots of Scooters, food, drink, a Scooter accessory market, Scooter-portrait photography and of course plenty of music; both live and DJ'd. 

Scootfest is part of Rossendale 60sFestival which lasts the whole weekend throughout the valley, the Sunday music event is all at one venue at the Old Cobblers Inn, Rawtenstall (BB4 6HR) so it deserves a separate name.

This particular Vespa is unlikely to be there as I photographed it in Berlin last week. But never mind, there will be others.

Monday 26 August 2013


We're live again as a three piece; guitar/vocal, bass & drums.
See us at Scootfest in 60sFest at Rawtenstall, in a marquee outside the Old Cobblers on 15Sep2013. 
The line up features Mr Kevin Roache on bass and Mr Raul Carreno on drums. 
The Speed Of Sound are featured in the new English-language edition of Lord Litter's Magic Music Box on KWTF and the web, the listen-again link will follow.
Hutchins and Rickenbacker at rest during a quiet moment in rehearsal.

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Live and loud

15 Septermber 2013 Scootfest, Rossendale 60sFest; outdoor covered marquee gig. Double header. More details to follow.

Saturday 27 April 2013

Day In Day Out - the video

There is a new addition to the video-bar: Day In Day Out, from The Speed Of Sound At Tree Level. 
If you can't see the video bar you can watch it here 
Filmed in colour overlooking Manchester.
Had to get up 'a bit early' for filming, but the light was just right and the birdsong at the beginning was recorded live with the video shoot and left in because it sounded as if it should be there.

Saturday 9 March 2013

Girl On The Roof

Girl On the Roof is another of the new songs for the third album, you can hear the pre-master mix here 
"There's no convincing her she won't accept proof"

Wednesday 6 March 2013

A fog-inspired dream sequence of a song for the third album.


Both albums are now on Bandcamp, for streaming and download, plus pre-masters and oddities in the Work In Progress set. Have a look the link is here

Tuesday 5 March 2013


The Landstrom Sharkfin Plectrum is a design and function classic.
The red 'gold lettered' Landstrom is flexi, so it bends on impact allowing a much higher terminal speed than would normally be viable, so - however hard the strings are hit - a snapped string is pretty much a thing of the past. They 'dish' with use, very quickly changing shape to match the players' grip - so they don't twist round sideways or fly out of the hand at the wrong moment. There is no need to tape loads of them to the mic-stand. They don't break and are very slow to wear down. The three differently shaped sides give sound variation; the ridged edge is great for skidding down the strings. The 'raised-letter' version is not quite so thin, but is still flexi, so keeps the main design advantages. I've used Landstroms since the early eighties and every now and then I remember just how good they really are.
Never take anything for granted.

Podcast link

Podcast link - Lord Litter's Magic Music Box International 10. This is the English Language show from Europe's outstanding champion of unfettered music, on California's KWTF (the German version is on Radio Marabu). I could say jump to 35'43" but you'd miss a lot of eclectic, diverse, unique, original music if you did that. So listen to the whole thing.

the disc-well of the In A Blood Orange Sky CD digi-pak

Psychedelic Experience

Camden Arts Centre (in London) held a Bruce Lacey retrospective until 16th September. He was George Harrison's gardener in The Beatles film 'Help' and among many other things built a robot that won Alternative Miss World. He is fairly eccentric. 

(Bruce Lacey's painting of the sun) 

I performed with him in 1987; adding a layer of acoustic free-improvisation to a 'wedding' ritual he was presenting as the climax to his exhibition at Manchester City Art Gallery. 

There was not much rehearsal; just a bit of pointing for positions and a couple of questions from BL: "What are you going to play?" "Something a bit like this..." he nodded. "What tree is that from?" (pointing at the wreath round the guitar headstock) "Hawthorne." All he said was "Wow." There have been longer auditions. 

An unusual gig.

If you missed the exhibition the link here should still work.

There is something about f-holes must be that Man Ray photograph

A vintage Antoria acoustic 6-string; from a house-clearance shop in 1985. The bridge is not the original one, changing it dropped the action to a more sensible height. It has a rather nice tone.

Monday 4 March 2013

The Speed Of Sound At A Blood Orange Sky

The 2nd CD is here: Twelve songs, fifty three minutes, in a digiPak with lyric book from CDbaby and also available as mp3 via Amazon, iTunes etc. (Plus; physical callers can buy it in a physical shop at Spivey's Web in Macclesfield at  or buy on Bandcamp and CDBaby)




Atomic shapes and molecule structures were high fashion. Magazine racks, wallpaper, textile prints... Nuclear power had ended the second world war, ensured the stalemate of the cold war mutually assured destruction and was going to be the saviour of the world when the oil/coal ran out. It was a new age, everything was bright -'NewClear' - it even sounds fresh and tidy. 

The imagery of unharnessed renewable energy sources around a newly built nuclear power station is quite potent. 

The first image in the sequence above is a sculpture of Dounreay power station in Uranium Glass by Kate Williams and John Llyod, you can see more pictures here:
Overlooked, was written in July ;89 and was also a fixture in the live set. This re-recording was in June 2011 with Italia and Dano'63

The Douneray photographs are via the BBC and the textile prints are from Kathy Kavan's excellent Another Design Blog.

Throw It Away

Throw It  Away is about the disposability of consumer products and consumer culture.
Large pieces of furniture are sold as fashion items to be changed with the seasons, not as a durable piece that will last decades, electrical goods are already out of date as soon as they are purchased... this song also sees  humanity as a virus prevented from spreading through the solar system by being trapped on Earth (with finite resources) by the layers of orbiting abandoned space junk. At the 1960's rate of space exploration people should already have colonised Mars and Jupiter's moons by now. "There are other planets if we have to go."


Intercept is another instrumental, despite the title (and being clearly related to 'English Elctric Lightning F6') it also functions as a musical oil slick trailing from Torrey Canyon.

Backwards is a fascinating sound, the percussion swells in an unnatural way and ends suddenly. There is no vocal, so no back-masking-secret-message to search for or be influenced by... but then I would say that.