Uforia will be ready for release in the next few days. In the meantime, I've posted another of its tracks to soundcloud:

 

 

Currently reading: Hunting Season: The Execution of James Foley, Islamic State, and the Real Story of the Kidnapping Campaign that Started A War - James Harkin

Currently listening: Spacing Out: The Music of Raspberry Parade - Raspberry Parade

Four short texts by me - Bird #54, Ahh Bitte, West Ramona Spiders, and Sandman, have been published over at Across The Margin. Go here to read them. I love their description of my work; "UK poet and musician Darren Francis’ poems explode with thoughts interrupted, images colliding, experience rendered into microns, reflections and wily juxtapositions, all processed through a diction unwilling to sit still and explain itself." I'm also very fond of the image they've used to accompany my texts (and which I've borrowed; see to the right of this paragraph). My thanks to Across The Margin, and their poetry editor Richard Roundy, for featuring my work. 

 

West Ramona Spiders, Sandman, and Ahh Bitte, will all appear in spoken-with-music form on my forthcoming album Left At The Luna Mansion. As I've mentioned previously, Left At The Luna Mansion is already recorded and mixed and I'll be setting a release date in due course. Bird # 54 will likely appear, also in spoken-with-music form, on my oft-mentioned and still in flux album All Things Left On Earth, which will also likely release later this year.

 

Currently reading: The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict Between America and Al-Qaeda - Peter Bergen

Currently listening: Revolution - Lacrimosa

I said in my last post that, in lieu of the release of Left At The Luna Mansion, I'd be putting out another spoken with-music album in its place (and not one that was mentioned in my Memories of Tomorrow January blog post, in which I outlined my up and coming projects; though I did say there that other things would likely sneak in unnanounced and under the wire).

 

The new album is named Uforia. Here's the track listing:

 

01: Uforia

02: Binary

03: Ancient Sands [interlude # 1]

04: Circulating

05: Aeon This [interlude # 2]

06: Red Room

07: Exit Earth [interlude # 3]

08: Here To Here

 

Voice / text on all tracks: Darren Francis

Music: Darren Francis, except: Binary, music by Logos; Circulating, music by Manmademan.

 

I've mentioned previously on this blog that, at the time I was recording the God Thing album, I toyed with the idea of doing a spoken-with-music version of Spell. I completed Binary, and demo sketches of Red Room and Circulating, but that's as far as it got. Uforia is kinda that album, but not really. Round about when I wrote Circulating, I was working on a book exploring contemporary and historical mythologies of contact with and intervention by non-human intelligences and entities. That book would have been titled Uforia, and consist of separate but interlinked texts, each a self-contained story in itself but all interconnected in terms of characters, overlappying narratives, and themes. I sketched out a dozen or so chapters, and finished a few, but ultimately abandoned it. Why? In large part because many of the texts were too similar, not distinct enough to stand out on their own merits. Red Room, Binary, and Circulating were all intended for this book, as were the text fragments which appear on the Uforia album as interludes. Will I ever pick this book up again and write the rest of it? I don't plan to, but you never can tell. In the meantime, the Uforia album serves as an adequate enough snapshot.

 

I'll put up another post shortly, once the album is available for download. In the meantime, here's a sample track:

 

 

Currently reading: Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate - Abdel Bari Atwan

Currently listening: Collapse - Drew McDowall

I hadn't mentioned it before as I didn't want it to get in the way of my various Nexus posts, but I finished a provisional mix of Left At The Luna Mansion in mid-March. I had planned to put this album out in late April / early May, though this has been temporarily put on hold as a number of the texts are due to be published in different literary journals, so it'll release after the publication of those. I do however intend to release another album in its place, and will post full details of that anon. In the meantime, here's a previously unheard Left At The Luna Mansion track that I recently posted to my soundcloud page:

 

 

Currently reading: Fiasco: The American Military Adventure In Iraq - Thomas E Ricks

Currently listening: Tomorrow's Harvest - Boards Of Canada

A slightly belated entry; the Logos compilation album Nexus was released on 21 March 2016, and is available as a free download.

 

 

 

The track listing has changed a little since my 13 March post; rather than the scattered selection we'd originally chosen, we thought it more appropriate to ensure we include a track from every Logos album. We've released six albums so far, quite disparate in style, and totalling almost eight hours of music. Hopefully the Nexus tracks will encourage the listener to delve further into the Logos cannon; it is after all primarily intended as a 'sampler' and introduction for those unfamiliar with Logos and with what we do. Partly by way of a bonus for those who already have the original albums, we've also included a track from our in-progress album At The Core Of Each Star, which will be finished and released later this year.

 

Currently reading: Isis: The State Of Terror - Jessica Stern & J M Berger

Currently listening: Thunderhead - AirScuplture

My album Nexus is now available for streaming / download; please see below. I'll be adding a separate page to this site regarding Nexus shortly; in the meantime, you can find full details in my March 13 blog post.

 

 

Currently reading: A Maze Of Death - Philip K Dick (still; although it's a very slim book, I've not had much time for reading over the last few days)

Currently listening: Climate Of Hunter - Scott Walker

My album Nexus, outlined in my previous post, is ready to go. Exercises like this, in taking tracks from different releases and sequencing them together, are seldom as straightforward as one might assume. One thing I realised in particular was how much louder the God Thing mix was compared to Future Ghosts. I've learned a lot about music-making, and mixing in particular, since I created God Thing back in 2009/2010, and have taken the opportunity not only to adjust the God Thing tracks so that they sit better next to Future Ghosts, but also to give the whole God Thing album a mix tweak. Nothing in the tracks themselves has been changed, but the whole mix sounds a lot smoother now to my ears at least, less jarring, less elements competing with each other for volume. I think it sounds a lot better. I've replaced the version of the album on my bandcamp page with the new one. If you've previously downloaded God Thing, you may want to download it again (or, or course, you may like it fine just the way it is; up to you).

 

Nexus will be available to download on 21 March. I'll post another update once it's out there.

 

Currently reading: A Maze Of Death - Philip K Dick (taking a break from Islamic State, and from The Third Reich; there's only so much you can read about those subjects in one go before utter despair at humanity sets in, and both have dominated my reading material in the last six months or so).

Currently listening: Nexus final mix

On 21 March I'll be releasing two albums, one spoken word and one by Logos. Just to thoroughly confuse matters, both will be named Nexus, and both will be compilations; in Logos' case collecting tracks from all previous albums, and in the Darren Francis case, collecting tracks from God Thing and Future Ghosts, along with two prevously unreleased pieces. Both will be free to download.

 

These albums have the same name as they have the same purpose. They are intended as an introduction to my work for the uninitiated. They will also be ever-evolving; as and when I release future albums, I'll periodically update the Nexus track content. Here are the current track listings:

 

Darren Francis - Nexus

01: He Knows The Use Of Ashes

02: The Sound

03: 4581 Asclepius

04: Black Olives

05: Fissure King

06: The Puppet Has No Master

07: God, Love, Money, & Other Snares

08: 1995 [The Empire Never Ended]

09: Will I Dream

10: The Movements Of All Mankind

11: Scarecrow

12: Cygnusolar

13: Black Stars Will Have Their Season

14: K & I [Panthalassa Shoreline]

15: The Hills Are Alive

16: Her Constellation

 

4581 Asclepius, The Puppet Has No Master, 1995 [The Empire Never Ended], The Movements Of All Mankind, Cygnusolar, Black Stars Will Have Their Season, K & I[Panthalassa Shoreline], Her Constellation, are taken from the album Future Ghosts.

 

Black Olives, Fissure King, God, Love, Money & Other Snares, Will I Dream, Scarecrow, The Hills Are Alive, are taken from the album God Thing.

 

He Knows The Use Of Ashes, The Sound, are both previously unreleased, and taken from my in-progress album All Things Left On Earth, which I anticipate will be finished later this year. Early versions of both appeared on my soundcloud page a while back, though I've tidied up the mixes since for their inclusion on Nexus.

 

Here's the Logos track listing:

 

Logos - Nexus

01: Everybody Gets Elves

02: Santa Susana Blues

03: Shamania [Solstice Prologue]

04: To Please The Moon

05: Hungry Knife

06: Hypogirl

07: Do You Love?

08: Gehenna Now [2015]

09: Hollow Hills Of London

 

This was a very difficult listing to compile, since some of my favourite Logos tracks are rather long and I had set a fixed running time for the album (80 minutes, enough to burn to a single CD). Hopefully it will encourage listeners to delve further into Logos' back catalogue; there's about eight hours of music there in all.

 

I'll post an update once both albums are available. As mentioned above, both are intended as 'samplers' of my work and will be free to download.

 

Currently reading: Empire Of Fear: Inside The Islamic State - Andrew Hosken (which isn't as good as the Jason Burke book on the same subject mentioned in my previous post, which is excellent and much recommended. I find Hosken, though readable, rather simple in style and prone to sensationalism in comparison).

Currently listening: Exploring The Psychedelic - Liquid Sound Company

Just a quick note to say that I've noticed some of my soundcloud track widgets on this blog don't load properly. My apologies; I'll look into it anon, and if necessary redo the HTML or reload the tracks or use a different site for them. Several of my musician friends have also mentioned problems with soundcloud, so I may have to opt for the latter options.

I've been submitting more of my work to literary journals, and have noticed a rather depressing trend creeping in; some journals charging a fee for submissions. So not only are writers scarce-compensated for their work, they are now expected to pay for the privilege of merely being considered. The issue of writers, musicians, and artists struggling not just to make a living from their creations but even to cover their own costs is a longstanding one, and I don't intend to rehearse it again here, save to repeat the old adage that one doesn't call a plummer or car mechanic to one's house, have them do the work then say one won't be paying them as the "experience" and "publicity" and "getting their name out there" should be sufficient.

 

I'm pragmatic enough to realise that markets ain't what they used to be, and that my work in particular is seldom "mainsteam". That said, I have been published in numerous journals, both in print and online, and have on occasion been paid for my contributions. This is how it should be, but not how it ever uniformly will. I'm a realist; I understand that. But the last thing I'll do is pay journals to even read my writing on the off-chance they may like it and want to use it.

 

There are a lot of writers out there who want to see their work published. For a few years back in the 1990s I did editorial for a print journal - one which, incidentally, didn't charge a fee and did pay its contributors - and waded through a stupid amount of (often poor) writing. Charging a couple of dollars per submission soon adds up to a healthy sum. And no, I'm not interested in the "literary journals cost a lot of money to produce" argument. In print, perhaps (though considerably less so now, with the easy availability of print-on-demand), but not online. And if your journal costs money to produce, ever heard of grants? Sponsorship? Advertising? Trying to be cutesy and kooky by calling it a "tip jar" and not a fee doesn't endear you to me, either; it just makes you look like a prick. Tipping is optional, granted after the event in acknowledgment of and in gratitude for a service. Besides, you expect writers, without whom you wouldn't even have a journal, to do it for the love and with no remuneration; why not you?

 

If all this sounds like the bitter ramblings of a jaded writer, it shouldn't. That it even would is perhaps testament to how much these practices have inculcated themselves into the creative culture. I am of course aware that many journals do not charge fees, and that some pay their contributors. Both are commendable.

 

So what's the solution? Just say no. Boycott any journal that charges a fee. If all writers do that, this frankly insulting practice may at least stand a chance of being curtailed. Favouring journals that pay over those that don't is also a good habit to get into, but not always the most practical. If I like a journal enough, I'm happy for them to publish me even if they don't pay. I keep that one open, and optional, am aware that some people do indeed do it purely for the love; good folks, kindred spirits.

 

Currently reading: The New Threat From Islamic Militancy - Jason Burke

Currently listening: Pandemonium - Killing Joke

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