Albums bought in 2014.

December 7th, 2014 by Reinder

Everyone's doing their end-of-year stuff already. I don't feel like I'm done trying out new albums just yet. Below, however, is the full list of albums and singles I bought (yes, bought, though I've included all the freebbies I've got as well) in 2014. In most cases, they were tested on Spotify first before I bought them, so I already knew I liked them before I spent my money. This year, I kept track of what medium I bought them in as well. Turns out I do actually still like the CD format.

Albums and singles bought/acquired in 2014, not including thrift store finds

Afterpartees - First/Last (Vinyl single, freebie, RSD, 2014)
Amsterdam Klezmer Band - Blitzmash (LP with download code, RSD) (2014)
Ian Anderson - Homo Erraticus (CD+DVD) (2014)
Ian Anderson - Thick As a Brick Live in Iceland (Blu-Ray) (2014)
Bombino - Agamgam 2004 (LP with download code, RSD) (2014)
Kate Bush - Hounds of Love (Audiophile Vinyl)
Kate Bush - The Sensual World (Audiophile Vinyl)
Anna Calvi - Anna Calvi
Collectif Africa Stop Ebola - Africa Stop Ebola (iTunes)(2014)
Deep Purple - Black Night/Woman From Tokyo (Vinyl single, RSD) (2014)
Deep Purple - Live in Verona (DVD) (2014)
Deep Purple - Made in Japan 40th Anniversary edition, deluxe edition (2014)
Fleetwood Mac - Rumours (iTunes)
Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita - Clychau Dibon (CD) (2014)
Peter Gabriel - Back To Front (Blu-Ray) (2014)
Macy Gray - The Way (CD) (2014)
Dorris Henderson & John Renbourn - Here We Go (CD)
Jethro Tull - A Passion Play (40th Anniversary Edition, CD/DVD, includes the Chateau D'Hérouville Sessions) (2014)
Salif Keita - M’Bemba (CD)
Seckou Keita - Tama-Silo (CD)
Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba - Jama Ko (CD)
Bettye Lavette - Change is Gonna Come Sessions EP (iTunes)
Shelagh McDonald - Stargazer (CD, 1999 reissue)
Opeth - Pale Communion (Vinyl) (2014)
Pink Floyd - The Endless River (CD) (2014)
Queen - Live at the Rainbow 1974 (2CD) (2014)
Queen - Live at the Rainbow 1974 (DVD) (2014)
Reveller - Pulse (2:51) (CD single, freebie, RSD) (2014)
Anoushka Shankar - Traces of You (CD, bought in London)
Nina Simone - Best of (iTunes)
Saffron Summerfield - The Early Years (iTunes)
St. Vincent - Digital Witness (Vinyl single, freebie) (2014)
St. Vincent - St. Vincent (CD) (2014)
Kate Tempest - Everybody Down (CD) (2014)
Thompson - Family (CD) (2014)
The Touré-Raichel Collective - The Tel Aviv Sessions (CD)
Rokia Traoré - Beautiful Africa (CD)
Rokia Traoré - Tchamantche (CD)
Rokia Traoré - Tuit Tuit (Smadj Remix) (iTunes)
Rokia Traoré - Wanita (iTunes)
Rokia Traoré - Mouneïssa (iTunes)
Various - Celebrating Jon Lord (2DVD) (2014)
Various - Desert Blues 3: Entre Dunes et Savanes
Various - Prog 26: As Sure as Eggs is Eggs (Free CD with Prog 26)
Various - The Dreamers (Free CD with Mojo, September 2014)
Kristeen Young - The Knife Shift (iTunes) (2014)

I'm not going to say anything about these records just yet - I just want to be able to show people this list if the topic of "what did you like in 2014" comes up, because I know it will, frequently. For convenience, here's a summary of records bought this year that were actually released in 2014:

Amsterdam Klezmer Band - Blitzmash
Ian Anderson - Homo Erraticus
Ian Anderson - Thick As a Brick Live in Iceland
Bombino - Agamgam 2004
Collectif Africa Stop Ebola - Africa Stop Ebola
Deep Purple - Black Night/Woman From Tokyo
Deep Purple - Live in Verona
Deep Purple - Made in Japan 40th Anniversary edition, deluxe edition
Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita - Clychau Dibon
Peter Gabriel - Back To Front
Macy Gray - The Way
Jethro Tull - A Passion Play (40th Anniversary Edition)
Opeth - Pale Communion
Pink Floyd - The Endless River
Queen - Live at the Rainbow 1974
Reveller - Pulse (2:51)
St. Vincent - Digital Witness
St. Vincent - St. Vincent
Kate Tempest - Everybody Down
Thompson - Family
Various - Celebrating Jon Lord
Various - Prog 26: As Sure as Eggs is Eggs
Various - The Dreamers
Kristeen Young - The Knife Shift

...I don't think I've ever bought as many albums in the year they were released as this year. On the other hand, it's clear that baby boomer music still has a massive hold over me.

RoCR: Comic for September 1, 2008 fixed up with digital inks and colours.

November 17th, 2014 by Reinder

The Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan comic page for September 1, 2008 has been digitally inked, coloured and re-lettered.

Bye-bye brother Bartholomew!

Page 64 of Feral. Bye-bye brother Bartholomew!

Colors by Aggie Janicot.

RoCR: Comic for August 25, 2008 fixed up with digital inks and colours.

November 16th, 2014 by Reinder

The Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan comic page for August 25, 2008 has been digitally inked, coloured and re-lettered.

An awkward conversation for Brother Bartholomew...

Page 63 of Feral. Colors by Aggie Janicot.

Colors by Aggie Janicot.

RoCR: Comic for May 9, 2010 fixed up with digital inks and colours.

November 1st, 2014 by Reinder

The Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan comic page for May 9, 2010 has been digitally inked, coloured and re-lettered.

Page 101 of Feral. Colors by Aggie Janicot

Page 101 of Feral. Colors by Aggie Janicot

Colors by Aggie Janicot.

RoCR: Comic for August 18, 2008 fixed up with digital inks and colours.

October 23rd, 2014 by Reinder

The Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan comic page for August 18, 2008 now has digital inks and colours thanks to Aggie Janicot (and me). More to come.

This one had actually been sitting in my files for a few months. I finally got around to adding the new lettering and completing the page today.

RoCR: Comic for April 27, 2010 fixed up with digital inks and colors.

May 11th, 2014 by Reinder

The Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan comic for April 27, 2010 has been given a makeover with fresh digital inks and colors and new lettering. Shading by Aggie Janicot.

Aggie also did this:

Silly version of the page. This could become a tradition.

Silly version of the page. This could become a tradition.

RoCR: Comic for April 11, 2010 has been digitally inked, coloured and re-lettered.

April 29th, 2014 by Reinder

Read it here: Let them stew, I say!. Highlights and shade by Aggie Janicot.

Game plan for the rest of the week: I want to go back to the earliest penciled pages and digitally ink as many of them as I can. In addition, I want to create at least one more new page for Abúi's Travels and maybe one for yet another comic.

Digitally inking those old pencil pages is turning out to be a smooth, easy and fun process now. I am, however, aware that as I gain consistency throughout the series, I'm losing some of the things that only pencil can do. Right now, I'm looking at a silhouette of two characters, but when I look closer, what looks like a flat dark grey shadow is in fact full of nuances indicating shadows, highlights, the hems of costumes, and so on. You can't reproduce that in ink. Well, I can't.

I'm also taking a leaf out of my wife's book and revising as I go. So far, there isn't an awful lot that desperately needs it. While pages 62-70 aren't the very best in the storyline, they are what they are and I'm happy to leave them mostly as they are. But I leave the option to make art changes open on a panel-by-panel basis.

New Abúi’s Travels page on ComicFury, my wife’s comics, and Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan

April 28th, 2014 by Reinder

And while we're on the subject of Abúi's Travels, there's a new page up. This is one of the biggest-looking pages I've ever come up with, due to the detailed backgrounds and the shading and highlights provided by Rona. It's also got a ton of cameos from other webcomics. Backgrounds and crowds make for a lot of extra work, but in this case, it was worth it.

Rona's been updating her own science-fiction comic Hekatomb on a weekly basis for almost a year now. Lately, after a catastrophic CMS update, she's also been re-uploading her vampire horror comic American Gothic Daily in a revised version. What she does is she takes each old page and draws/paints digitally over them, expands the canvas size and adds new materials. While reconstructing the site, she posts the old versions of each page as an addendum to the new ones, so you can see how much progress she has made since she started the comic in 2006. It's a very fast, efficient process with staggering results. Go see it.

I have a week off right now, so I've been working on Feral some. I've been inking penciled pages from 2008-2010 and adding color flats to them, which I give to Rona to add shades and highlights to. Yesterday, I gave her the revised version of the page for April 11, 2010 and she sent me back this:

Too silly is about right.

Silly version of page 97 of Feral

Abúi, as drawn by Donna Barr, plus more on the webcomic Abúi’s Travels

April 26th, 2014 by Reinder
Abúi from Abúi's Travels and Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan, as drawn by Donna Barr

Donna Barr's interpretation of the character Abúi, drawn on her iPad.

The other day I did independent comics veteran Donna Barr a small favor, and as a thank-you gift, she made this drawing of Abúi from the webcomics Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan and Abúi's Travels for me (both comics not safe for workplaces or other small-minded environments).

Abúi's Travels is a bit of an oddity in my range of webcomics. At present, there are two stories in the website's archives. One of them is Incognito, which I originally created as a short guest series for the naturist webcomic The Bare-Pit in 2006. I featured one character from Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan who had been doing some webcomics universe tourism and let her crash into the world of The Bare-Pit. The author of that webcomic continued her adventures, so suddenly there was a solid bit of continuity featuring Abúi. When I wanted to join the Halloween Cameo Caper 2012, I did not want to include another big crossover event into the main Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan continuity, so I decided to create a separate site from which one of my characters could go on crashing into other webcomic universes, and picked the one that had already done a bit of that. So there we have it: Abúi's Travels is the adventures of a faerie from one fantasy webcomics universe, who travels through time and space and has light-hearted adventures. Just the sort of thing I needed to do while my schedule is too full to work on RoCR on any regular basis.
Well, maybe. I managed to draw 16 new pages as of April 26, 2015. The Halloween 2012 event is well into the past and I'm still writing and drawing material for it. Arguably, if I'd spent the time on RoCR, that comic would be ....16 pages further into the present storyline than it is now? But it would still have updated haltingly and with variable art quality. Probably for the best that I don't work on my main comic right now, and besides, I'm having a lot of fun with this project, precisely because it is so unimportant and there's a lot of freedom for me to work with, that I wouldn't have while working on RoCR.

The present story, which interacts with the Halloween Cameo Caper 2012, is called Death Comes to Tyrion, in which Tyrion is a place not a person - nothing to do with Game of Thrones. I'm having a lot of fun with it and I hope people reading it are too. I would like to do more stories, including ones where instead of crashing into existing webcomics, Abúi collides with larger genres or subgenres embodied in newly created fictional settings.

Donna Barr is the creator of The Desert Peach, Stinz and the new webcomic on ComicFury Rental Goddess.

Kate Bush cover of the day #58: The Morning Fog by Sometree

April 17th, 2014 by Reinder

At this point, I'm deliberately searching for cover versions to complete the full set of songs from Hounds of Love/The Ninth Wave. I'll be honest: I don't like the distorted and rather strained lead vocal in this one, and I don't think this adds a lot to the original version.

But what can you do with "The Morning Fog", really? It is the last song on the original album, the lollypop after the emotional rollercoaster ride of The Ninth Wave. Its function is to bring the listener back to earth and the means it uses to achieve that end are fairly basic: "The Morning Fog" goes is one of Kate Bush's most minimal compositions prior to 50 Words for Snow: just a drum beat, fretless bass and acoustic guitar over which Kate declares her love for everyone in her life. It's beautiful, but it's not intended to stand alone.

And boy does this ever stand alone! There's hardly any context to this at all. The YouTube upload is by a third party, who has posted a small number of unrelated videos over the past five years. It has only a static image. Sometree is almost certainly the German band described in this rather rambling Last.fm bio. I probably should have heard of them before, because they've been around for a while and have several albums out. As it is, like I said, I only found this track by specifically for it. Last.fm members have played "The Morning Fog" twice in the past six months. It seems the group has a following and probably deserved better than to fade away like they apparently did.

Anyway. A cover of "The Morning Fog" exists. I hope I can find one that I like better though.