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April 29, 2009

Free Big Fish Games

Big Fish Games Logo
Edit June 2009: Not any more, for the large number of you googling this! That's Free as in Beer. Casual Gameplay explains that Big Fish Games is giving away four of its best games for absolutely nothing for a month or so. That's Azada, Hidden Expedition:Everest, Fairway Solitaire and Spa Mania, all available for Windows or Mac. I have already bought the first three of these, and really enjoyed all of them. You need to have a (free) Big Fish account, and you need to be careful when using the coupon codes (FREEAZADA, FREEEVEREST, FREEFAIRWAY and FREESPA) to uncheck paid-for options. When all is well, your checkout total will be zero. And obviously, they're hoping to reel you in and sell you loads more games. Which would not be such a bad thing.

Posted by Alison Scott at 11:56 PM | Comments (1)

April 24, 2009

Current Listening

I realise it has been months and months since I did a 'new music' post. So obviously I can't tell you everything. First, how to buy this stuff: eMusic now has Topic, Fellside, Navigator, Fledg'ling and Talking Elephant records. Most wanted label for me is now Free Reed. Some of the stuff that's not on eMusic is on iTunes, and iTunes is now entirely "iTunes Plus", which is sort of "DRM-free". Sort of because the music has your unique ID in it so they can track it back to you; but the important thing is that you can use it how you want. You are not going to be sitting in 20 years time befuddledly trying to work out how to play music you've paid for. And frankly, that's a sight better than the position I'm in with cassettes. Finally, you can buy CDs by pressing tenners into the sweaty hands of your favourite musicians after gigs in pubs. That's neither the cheapest nor the most efficient approach, but it's very satisfying.

One of the most exciting things going on in my music collection at the moment is Navigator Records. You may remember that their launch lineup of artists was notable because I had seen every single one of them live; that's no longer quite true, but still. Of 17 albums on eMusic on the label, I own 14 of them. I keep hearing that bands I like are signing to Navigator or that Navigator is releasing an album that was previously self-pressed. Fantastic label. Highlights include the various projects of Jon Boden and his mates, the various projects of Kris Drever and his mates, and the new Mawkin:Causley album.

I've bought a couple of songs specifically to learn to sing: a field recording (by Alan Lomax) of William Rew singing "The New Mown Hay", and Ian Dury's "England's Glory", specially for St George's Day.

A request for French music in the melodeon forum (not by me) resulted in a recommendation of La Chavanée, which contains Frederic Paris and several of the other musicians who contributed to Mel Stevens' fantastic collections of tunes from the Massif Central. I grabbed one album from eMusic, but I want more.

On eMusic, I'm filling in my collections of Ashley Hutchings, particularly Albion Band and Morris On, and John Kirkpatrick.

Amazon launched its mp3 store with a huge range of cheap albums, and I picked up a wide variety of stuff for amazingly little, including the fantastic Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band retrospective, Cornology. The entire recorded output of the band, for less than a tenner. A lot of regular albums were on special offer for £3 or £4 (many still are), which is a psychologically important price point for me, and I picked up a lot of the sort of albums that people talk about in magazines. Fleet Foxes, Elbow, The Killers, that sort of thing. I don't like any of them as much as John Kirkpatrick, but there you go. And I filled in several dozen gaps in my record collection at £3 each.

Finally, I took advantage of iTunes' 'upgrade your iTunes purchases to de-DRM them' offer. In my case this cost me the staggering sum of £2.79. I have been very, very, careful not to buy that stuff; all but one of those tracks were bought with a free gift certificate I got once.

Posted by Alison Scott at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)

A couple of bits and pieces

mawkin:causley logo
I have done a proper blog post! Except that I've done it at the Proper Blog. It's a review of the Mawkin:Causley album launch, and it's exactly like I would have written it here. So go read it.

There's going to be an Utterly Fantastic Free Folk Concert in Trafalgar Square tomorrow, celebrating St George's Day. I'm multiply booked and can't go, but it's got a fantastic lineup including Seth Lakeman, Eliza Carthy, Jim Moray, Kathryn Tickell and the Demon Barbers. Free. Wow.

I can't go because we'll be holed up here planning the next plokta.con, happening at the end of May. Do all please come!

Posted by Alison Scott at 09:57 AM | Comments (0)