The online portfolio and whimsical ramblings of Robert James Page


This is something a little different from my usual sort of folk acoustic stuff. Sometime last year I started developing a bit of an interest in electronic music. Its a whole lot of fun to make and I've got mad respect for producers in just about any genre.

Anyway. This is one of my very first attempts at anything remotely electro. Its got a sort of jazzy/deep house feel to start with but it jumps all over the place. Pretty cheesy most of the time, but in my defense I had no idea what I was doing.

(RSS/Facebook Link.)

I have subsequently done a few more tracks, some of which I might just share with you one day.

In other news, I spend a fair portion of my weekend listening to Bombay Bicycle Club. I've had their album about 4 months now, I still can't get over these guys. They really are the shizzle. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure I'm one of two people in this country that actually owns their first album, the other being my friend nick.

You're gonna have to order it, but they're well worth it.

Ah, Nostalgia!

The strangest thing has been happening lately. A whole lot of people from Brazil/Argentina/the Mediterranean have been joining my old high school garage band's fan group on Facebook. There's literally been no activity on the page since 13 January 2008, and the band's been pretty much dissolved since before then even, so it's pretty odd.

It did get me reminiscing a little though, and I had a look around and pulled out a couple of old recordings and gig-flyers.

First ever 'gig'. A church battle of the bands. We had a few songs, long fringes and a lot of friends (read: rent-a-crowd). We even got a girl's bra thrown on stage at one point, which is pretty impressive for a rock show in a church hall I must say.

We sounded exactly as you would expect a high school garage band to sound. A little bit of punk, a little bit of rock, some grundge and metal and hardcore and indie thrown in too. You get the idea. This was recorded two years ago at my 18th birthday party.

(RSS/Facebook link)

My party. My band playing. Pretty sweet.

At some stage we had some free time and set up some mic's and did a terrible little demo recording. The Seul est the Wolf Demo contains classics like Mink:

(RSS/Facebook link)

..and a few others, such as this little improv:

(RSS/Facebook link)

Suffice to say its been a while since we've played any shows, and the Durban music scene is probably all the better for that decision. The last nail in the coffin of EC came on the 9th of July 2008 when, with a slight line up change and a new name (CMYK) we played our small repertoire of songs with our friends Lieutenant Vinyl and The Ranks at Big Wednesday.

Onto bigger and better things: I am working on material for a new band with Tyler, who played bass in EC, and Sean, who joined us on guitar for CMYK. We're moving towards a very dance-punk inspired form of indie rock 'n roll that should have Durban dancing and smiling as soon as we get our act together.

I'm certainly excited.

The Way Politics Should Be

I got a rather interesting e-mail today..

Google Wave-0

...Anyway, I'm not usually one to join in on political debates, but this information is so vitally important I felt I needed to convey it to as many people as I possibly could.

What am I talking about?

Heck yeah!

I must say, when I saw this, I wasn't totally convinced it could be real, since I'd never actually heard anything about Aimee Franklin before. We've certainly heard enough from Julius Malema mind you. But, that's her. She's compassionate, morally upstanding, intelligent and productive. She's done a whole bunch of super rad things. But mostly she's a legitimate hottie.

Hell, I'd vote her for president.

Facebook Connect, Twitter and Social Bookmarking

I had nothing much to do yesterday afternoon, so I took some time to do some construction on this blog.. If you're reading via RSS/Facebook, come check it out! I did a little bit of fiddling with the blog template, but not much. I mostly just added some pretty buttons down the side and removed the cheesy box thing from the header. This did however teach me that I have absolutely no future in web design, since I have NO idea how to do CSS/Javascript, and my html is even pretty weak. Nothing I didn't know though.

Onto the exciting stuff..

I've seen a lot of sites lately using the Facebook Connect and Twitter comment features. I've been pretty keen to set these up for a while, but I assumed it would take a long time since it'd need a whole lot of coding (see above).

But its actually ridiculously simple. Even for someone like me.

This website has all you need to convert your regular comment section into a powerful multi-platform Disqus comment form. It works great for Blogger, and will work on Wordpress, Tumblr, and just about anything else you have.

And it looks great too!

There are a couple of other way's to set these services up, but I think that Disqus is by far the best.

Another little tweak was the addition of some pretty sexy social bookmarking buttons to the ends of my posts (Wink wink, nudge nudge) created by Naeem.

I also recently uploaded a couple of songs onto Last.fm, so if you use their service, give us a Shout, or even if you don't, you can listen to and download some of my stuff for free right HERE.

Free MP3s on Last.fm

The Ncalukeni Cowboy

My dad got back yesterday from Kei Mouth, in the Transkei, where my grandparents used to live. My grandad's getting quite frail, so he's been living in a home in East London, and my dad went to clean out the Kei Mouth house with my uncle and divide up some of the furniture and other valuables between themselves, because they want to rent it out in December.

Its a simple enough house, but its got absolutely phenomenal views of the Kei River mouth, the sea and the Eastern Cape hills, so its a really beautiful place.

They had some really great old stuff too, so last night my dad arrived with boxes and boxes of things he didn't want damaged over the holidays.

And there's more coming sometime this week on a truck.

The point of this story however, is not what he did find, but what he didn't. As I was looking through all the boxes I found a whole lot of old bullets, and, since my family has never owned any guns, I asked him what they were for..

Now, my great grandfather was the bank manager in a town in the Eastern Cape, I'm not too sure which, but either way, he was pretty cool. When he was appointed, because they were obviously pretty bad-ass back then, he was given a gun:

An ivory-handled, long barreled, Smith & Western six shooter.

Up until about five years ago, it would have been in one of the boxes, amongst family crests and WWII air-force medals, sitting on my dining room floor. Unfortunately however, a new law was passed a little while ago requiring everyone who owned firearms of any sort to either register them, or hand them in at their nearest police station. So, since my grandad couldn't be bothered to register it, this beautiful piece of history is lost for ever, probably sitting on the desk of some Transkei police captain.

I like to thing however, that some corrupt cop sold it to an Eastern Cape gangster and now, known as the Ncalukeni Cowboy, he instills fear in the hears of his enemies with his beautiful, brightly polished, ivory-handled six shooter.

I Know there's a Better Way

Yes dear people, some more music:

(As always, if you're reading via RSS/Facebook click HERE for the flash player)

This was my first attempt at the sort of layered approach to vocals that a few of the artists I listen to tend to favour, and that I really love. I did this one a little while ago actually, so if you've read my old Wordpress its probably gonna sound familiar, but its one of my favourites of the songs I've written recently.

There's a little verse section in Zulu, so for those not from SA, it's basically just: "Hello, how are you?", but it just represents everything I love about walking around the streets in my neighborhood, or just about anywhere in this country (yes, you can walk around on the streets), because, in the Zulu culture, and the Xhosa culture especially, the people are a lot more friendly and respectful, and a lot more likely to great you when you walk past, even if you don't know them. Its great.

I was reminded of this song, because I've been reading Rob Bell these past couple weeks, and he talks a lot about a "better way" of living, and the sort of spiritual aspects of nature and the world around us that I was trying to express in this song. If you haven't read his stuff, I highly recommend both Velvet Elvis, and Sex God. Very interesting reads. There's some controversial stuff that you may have to take with a pinch of salt, but most of it is very good.

Johannesburg, Facial hair and Clapham Grand

Its been quite a while since my last post, so this is going to be one of those long, boring, wordy catch up ones. I've been extremely busy with work, but since I officially finished Varsity for the year yesterday (assuming I don't have any sups to write) it looks like I'll have a lot more time on my hands, which means a lot more internetz.

So apart from work (which is super boring), some other things have been going on. I've written some new stuff, so that'll be up once I get round to doing some recordings; my moustache has grown considerably; and its two weeks today until I see the Killers in Jo'burg! Woooo! Excitement. I'll be staying with a friend of a friend who I have never met, but I assume she's awesome, because she takes some rather lovely photographs.

Mo Bro

The other night I went to Clapham Grand, a club in Durban. I'm certainly not a big clubber, partly because none of the clubs here play the sort of music I listen to, and partly because I've tended to do things I regret at these sorts of places, but I seem to have grown out of that.

Back to Clapham.

My first impression was so totally surreal that I almost turned around and walked right out. The DJ was playing Lady Gaga, hands were raised towards the speakers in the classic I-hear-you-and-I-like-what-you're-doing dance move, and on the two massive big screens above the dance floor, the Rugby was showing. It was magical

I realised as I was walking around, looking for somewhere to get a beer, that the past two years of studying Architecture have pretty much taken over the way I think about just about everything! I found myself analysing the whole place. Firstly, the dance floor is tiled. This is perhaps the worst design choice. It wasn't a particularly wet night, but somehow there was a wet, muddy layer across the whole floor. It was so bad that a cleaner had to wander around all night with a mop, wiping up the mess. As you can imagine, the floor was also rather slippery, which of course, is not cool.

The tiles are complemented by a raised, carpeted bar area just behind the dance floor. Yes, carpet. I would hate to see that carpet in the day light. It actually stuck to my feet as I walked. Enough said. The space between the bar counter and railing that surrounds the dance floor is a narrow corridor of maybe 1 and a half metres max. That's a generous estimate. Now add bar stools and people leaning against the railing on the other side. Now try and get two way traffic to and from the bathrooms past them. Not good. It does however have a rather nice upstairs area, and the wall paper and panels on the walls are super cool.

Its also got a great atmosphere. Its 20 for guys and 18 for girls, which means there's a lot less unnecessary in-your-face hook ups, drunken stumblers, and no stupid fights. I had quite a good time actually. Certainly don't see myself becoming a regular of "The Clap" though.

Sugarcane Fires

Its nine o'clock on a thursday morning, and I find myself in the lan at varsity desprerately trying to amuse myself. I wouldn't be here at all if it weren't for an irritating little issue with our exam on Monday that I need to try and sort out. Total waste of time.

So, as usual, I turn to my greatest procrastination tool: blogging.

I thought I'd share my second recording from last week with you. Like THIS one, I used the webcam mic instead of my proper microphone, and did some extra, Justin Vernon inspired, layering of guitars and vocals, with some piano and other stuff thrown in.

(Click HERE if the player isn't showing)

Its one of the most spiritually themed songs I've written in a while, but is mostly about the sugarcane fields that used to grow all over the hills around where I live, that have subsequently been replaced with residential development. Whenever the cane was harvested, they would burn away all the extra chaff to expose only the sugary stems, which would cover all the houses near by in a thin layer of ash a lot like burn newspaper. Its about laying off whats not important, and getting to the sweet stuff in the middle.

Let me know what you think..

Ever The Pedestrian..

These past few days, I've found myself thrown headfirst into girl-world. Its a scary place. A lot of emotion. I mean a lot. I've always thought of myself as, for lack of a better term, something of a sensitive guy, but this pushed me far out of my comfort zone. The details are unimportant, but all I can say is, although the whole Men-are-from-Mars-women-are-from-Venus thing is a bit of a cliché, it really is true, and men don't realise that just about everything we say or do has an emotional implication to the women around us.

A word of advice, there are three things that one should not talk about in polite company; religion, politics, and Twilight.

I took a rather long walk today to sort some stuff out and thought I'd share some of my surroundings with you good people of the internet:

Walk (4 of 5)

Walk (5 of 5)

Walk (1 of 5)

Walk (3 of 5)

Yeah, so the edits are rather cheesy, but I was having fun alright!

Also, a little earlier a friend of mine sent me something that quite nearly made me wet myself.
If you want a good laugh check THIS out!
The second song on the play-list's an absolute killer.

Umhlanga Mixed Use Photos 3

Ok, Third (and last) post of photos from my awesome little roof top exploration mission. The other two are HERE and HERE.

Rain water by you.

The Zone 2 by you.

Skyline by you.

Millenium Towers 2 by you.

Here's something really rad that I noticed. I'd always thought the big metal circular things were just (perhaps somewhat unattractive) decorative corner articulation elements, but it turn out they have a pretty interesting functional use...

Lightning Conductor by you.

...lightning conductors. That steel cable goes all the way round the roof of the building before running down to earth.

Well I thought that was pretty clever. Anyway..

Millenium Towers by you.

Light by you.

Pipe by you.

Window by you.

The Zone by you.

Liewe Pretoria

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I recently went to Pretoria, for the Architecture Students' Congress 2009, and much to my surprise had really loved the city. Its probably mostly to do with the whole atmosphere of the conference, but when I got home it just kind of felt like there was a little something missing, and as cheesy as this sounds, I started writing a bit of a love song for the city.

I'll always love Durban more though.

(Click HERE if the player isn't showing)

When I sat down to record this, something pretty strange happened: so far, I've always used my proper vocal mic for recording, its not a great microphone, but its an SM58 clone, and it sounds pretty decent, but this time round I mistakenly forgot to change the audio input setting on my PC and, completely accidentally at first, ended up using the internal mic in my little webcam. I only noticed this was happening when it came to recording the piano bits, because I was getting background noises (my chair creaking, breathing, etc.) in the recording, which was very strange since I'd lined my keyboard directly into the mic-input at the back of my PC.

I ended up recording everything with the webcam though, because it actually has a whole lot less buzz than the microphone was giving me, and gives quite a nice natural reverb. It was also pretty fun to just stand and sing out into the room rather than holding a mic.

I used the same technique on a second song that I'll put up soonish. Comments/crit would be appreciated.

A Pinch and a Punch

Woohoo! 1st of the month. I have my internet back!

Unfortunately, here in South Africa Broadband internet is something of a luxury, so I've been cappedfor the last few days. But I'm back now.

Even more importantly than this, today marks the start of the glorious month of November Movember. For those of you who haven't heard of it, and can't be bothered to read through the Wikipedia article linked above, Movember is a month long event celebrating that most manly of arts, the growing of facial hair, specifically: Moustaches. The pure awesomeness of moustaches is not the soul purpose of Movember, but rather to raise awareness for mens health issues such as prostate cancer.

Last year I tried rather unsuccessfully to accept the mo-challenge, but found my manliness lacking.
This year however, I started nearly a month in advance so that I could grow out a full beard and shave the reveal the 'stache in all its radiant, Starsky and Hutch, Ron Burgundy glory.


Its ON!