My DesignersMX Mix – Lorem & Icsum

The Lorem & Icsum design.

I recently submitted my Designers.MX mixtape of music I love listening to when pushing pixels around. It is now available on the site.

I love the concept of this site and have spent the last couple days listening to music that inspires other designers!

My album cover and title “Lorem & Icsum” is a play on the dummy text we often use when mocking up page layouts. The design hopefully encapsulates the style of music.


Jon Hopkins

Jon HopkinsLast night my wife and I went to see Jon Hopkins at Hall One, Kings Place. Who is Jon Hopkins? What is the significance of Hall One, Kings Place?

Let me break that down for you.

Jon Hopkins according to Wikipedia:

Jon Hopkins is a British musician who writes and performs his own music, melody-led electronica. He was born and brought up in London and started playing the piano when he was five. By the age of twelve he was studying piano at London’s Royal College of Music. He has worked with Coldplay, Imogen Heap, King Creosote, David Holmes, Massive Attack, Chris Coco and Brian Eno, amongst many others.

And what’s so significant about Kings Place, Hall One, again let me leave this up to Wikipedia:

Hall One, the main concert hall is a building within a building – a box that sits on rubber springs to give it complete acoustic separation from the rest of the building.

It is built to the regular shoebox geometry – a double cube – that is considered most successful for small concert halls. Structural columns around the hall are set away from the walls to allow curtains to be drawn between the columns and the walls to modify the acoustic for speech or amplified music.

Combine those two elements and you have a jaw dropping live performance, but combine that electronica with beautiful piano compositions, Davide Rossi, a hugely talented violinist and Leo Abrahams an equally impressive guitarist and you have arrived at audio utopia.

The sort of thing you can expect from Jon Hopkins (recorded at the ICA in London earlier this year). Every beat he produces is mixed live in front of you:

If Jon Hopkins is ever touring your town or city make sure you book tickets! He’ll take you on an emotional rollercoaster through aggressive heavy beats to the most tranquil of melodies.

Want to hear something a little more soothing perhaps, turn it up real loud, sit back and enjoy.

Sound familiar?

Joshua Radin

Joshua RadinLast night I went to see Joshua Radin perform at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

Who’s Joshua Radin? Most asked that when I told people I was going.

He is a singer-songwriter from Ohio, America who’s music has been described as folk rock and acoustic. You might recognize his music from Scrubs? Zach Braff seems to love his music as not only does he feature it on Scrubs, but his movies Garden State and Last Kiss.

Emmanuel Jal

Emmanuel JalYesterday I was fortunate enough to hear Emmanuel Jal tell his story, through powerful poetry and rap lyrics at Hillsong London.

Emmanuel Jal was born in war-torn Sudan, and while he doesn’t know exactly when, he believes it was in the early 1980s. He was taken from his family home in 1987 when he was six or seven years old, and sent to fight with the rebel army in Sudan’s bloody civil war. For nearly five years, he was a “child warrior,” put into battle carrying an AK-47 that was taller than he was.

By the time he was 13, he was a veteran of two civil wars and had seen hundreds of his fellow child soldiers reduced to taking unspeakable measures as they struggled to survive on the killing fields of Southern Sudan. After a series of harrowing events, he was rescued by a British aid worker (Emma McCune) who smuggled him into Nairobi to raise him as her own.

Soundtracks and Comebacks

I’m a big fan on the jazz musos from Cape Town, South Africa, that are taking the world by storm with their exciting live, African flavoured, electronica acts – Goldfish.

Courtesy of a link from SA Rocks this afternoon I discovered their latest music video for “Soundtracks and Comebacks”, animated by Mike Scott of Bru and Boegie.

I used to visit Bru and Boegie almost daily and then, all of a sudden, somehow managed to completely forget about the site. After seeing what Mike has been up to animating music videos, winning t-shirt design contests and even developing a new kids show, I am hugely impressed. Great to see him getting recognized and growing from strength to strength. I’ve most certainly bookmarked the site now.

Birthday Bash of the Decade

Nelson Mandela's 90th Birthday Party - 46664 Concert at Hyde Park

On Saturday we braved the masses of face-painted, flag waving, brandy and coke drinking South Africans living in London and congregated at Hyde Park for Nelson’s 90th Birthday Bash.

The party was not only packed with appropriately 46 664 screaming Mandela fans, but a star-studded cast of performers and supporters. Live music was provided by the Soweto Gospel Choir, Amy Winehouse, Leona Lewis, Razorlight, Queen & Paul Rodgers, Annie Lennox, Sugababes, Johnny Clegg, Sipho Mabuse, Josh Groban, Jamelia, Eddy Grant, Loyiso, Andrea & Sharon Corr, Simple Minds, to name but a few!

Below are a few of my highlights of the evening, together with some of the clips of the official TV broadcast – which I hope will stay up on Youtube.

Mann Friday

Last week I went to see the awesome Zimbo band Mann Friday perform at the famous Halfmoon in Putney. (Halfmoon has hosted live music full time since 1963, with occassional performances dating back as far as the 1920s. From The Rolling Stones to Kasabian, Kate Bush to Natasha Bedingfield the venue is steeped in music heritage.)

I can’t tell you much about Mann Friday because I couldn’t find much information about them, not even on their website. What I can tell you is that I am now a huge fan. One quote I randomly found that sums up perfectly what Mann Friday are all about is:

Conscious indie rock that grabs you by the scruff of the heart. Developing a solid reputation for electric live performances and sell-out dates. When daring to take a stab at making a comparison, you may have the following come to mind… A Dave Matthews/Counting Crows cocktail laced with a heroic dose of spiritual narcotics. [Source: Clapham Grand]

DC rocked the house

DC performing at Kings College, LondonLast night, my fiance and I (still trying to get used to saying that) went to see one of my favourite bands, Dashboard Confessional perform at Kings College University in Waterloo, London. It was actually just Chris of Dashboard Confessional performing a solo acoustic set, but it was absolutely, flipping awesome. Chris’s stage presence is astonishing, as can be witnessed in my video clip a little later. DC always manage to completely captivate their groupy fans who all seem to know every word of every song they have ever produced.

There were moments when you could have almost heard a pin drop in the packed out student union building, a sign of the appreciation the crowd had for DC and his amazing vocal abilities. That was of course in between all the screams of fans yelling, “I want to have your babies”, guys included (I might have said it under my breath once. Ok twice.).