Welcome to the home of The Lowest of Low (and FutureRetro Electro Records). Technically, this is the home page. I'm working on it (and other pages in here) and it's slowly but surely coming along now. There's already a lot here. More, in fact, than I realised there would be - this will be the last page to be finished, as counter-intuitive as that might seem.
In the past year, I've been busy writing and recording Nekrololikon (my 9th album), plus presenting a weekly radio show, "The Graveyard Drift", and I neglected this website for a while. I've been working to rectify that now and it's slowly becoming everything I'd originally intended it to be, which is a good feeling.
While you are here, please watch the film at the top of the page, check out the Latest News at the bottom, and please DO have a look around the other pages (most of which are pretty spiffing now). There's loads here (including some cool new clothes and stuff I've been slowly adding into the "stuff shop", and very soon, there will be more of, well, everything. In the Discography and Buy Music sections, you can now listen (here on site) to all the songs and albums I've released. The Video section (under Media in the drop-down menu) also has all the videos I've ever made, running here without any ads or interruptions, and at the resolutions in which they were made. I'm still working on the Art sections at the moment, but I've been forced to realise that I'm a lot more prolific than even I realise. It'll all be in fine order very soon. For now, The Graveyard Drift Promotional Art Gallery is now up-to date, as is the paintings gallery with the other galleries soon to follow. Then, finally this page! Is that backwards? I dunno. I don't think so. I think that if this page was all snazzed up and stunning first, and then sent you to half-finished kind of clunky-looking pages, that would be worse, and leave you with much more of a "meh" feeling. I'd much rather you were thinking about now, "Uh, ok... pfft, whatever. I guess I'll have a look at something" and then click and get a really pleasant surprise instead.
It'll all be complete soon, even this page, so I hope you'll enjoy what's already here (and if you do, come back for another visit in a little while to see more) please be well and stay safe in our interesting times, and please enjoy yourself while you are here. Because that's the whole idea.
Latest News! Oooh!
It probably seems counter-intuitive (and maybe even a little insane), but hear me out. I was feeling bogged down in getting everything together for the Autumn/Winter 2020-2021 Collection. Days and days of editing photo backgrounds, writing up descriptions, etc. It might not seem like a lot to do, but it was kind of making me feel tired and "samey". At the same time, if I wanted all that stuff to be available in time for shipping out before the holiday season, it had to get done. So... what to do?
I decided, to change things up a little for myself, to stop concentrating so hard on getting the "serious" collection all lined up, and to create a whole new fresh and fun capsule collection to fill the void I was feeling. I got really excited about the project (even if it did suddenly mean a whole lot more work besides what I'd already piled on top of myself), and it gave me the energy to do all of it, and then some.
I think it was worth it. I really like the UGLY collection, and in these more recent days, I've even been adding a few things to it. I think the stuff is cool and actually pretty great to look at, and has the kind of "fuck you, I like this" attitude that's kind of lacking in the ultra-conformist herded-by-giant-corporate-brands-loyalty world I'm throwing this stuff into.
I realised that I was working too hard to try to put out a whole lot of really well-designed floral patterns on high-quality merchandise for Autumn/Winter, and that they are just too different to the normal crappy quality and pretty ugly if you look past the branding stuff that people are trained to be attracted to. And it was depressing me. A lot. Because ultimately, working 16 hours a day to put things out that my conscience allows me to, that I know I can stand behind, but wind up being too different anyway is a much larger job than just making stuff and trying to get it seen in places like Facebook and Pinterest (who hide things like mine anyway).
Creating a collection that's still the highest quality, but having a bit of fun and calling it UGLY helped me to carry on.
As it happens, I was severely anaemic, and that was also draining my energy. I will carry on with all of it. But I'm glad this now exists, and I hope you will enjoy the stuff.
HAPPY EQUINOX! (First Steps in Animation)
This summer has been pretty hectic, with no signs of slowing down, even now. Work on the 10th album is... coming along slowly as I've also been creating new floral patterns and other designs for Autumn/Winter stuff for the stuff shop. I've also been going out a lot lately for various reasons, which interferes with my "process" a bit, because the state of mind in which I write music (in particular) is pretty different to the one I have when I'm interacting directly with people in a day-to-day kind of way. If I'm honest, it can get pretty depressing because I start to feel cut off from... well, I guess it's myself, my creative spark, and the connection to whatever wellspring it is I feel connected to when I write music. It's nothing to do with people: I like (most of) the people I interact with, I just start to feel down in the dumps when I'm prevented from spending all my time with music. When I can't do that every day, things can feel pretty grim and I start to want to knock people's hats off (and, lacking hats, heads), which isn't ideal. So, when I'm too tired out to create music, I try to find other things to engage myself, to get back into my own space (I don't do well with "downtime" at all. At all).
I've wanted to learn to make animations for a long time now (it feels like a need), and recently came across some wonderful, robust software called TupiTube. I've had OpenToonz, the Studio Ghibli software for ages now, but for some reason, I felt daunted by it. TupiTube, on the other hand, has a lot of really accessible tutorial videos and documentation. Yesterday, I made a first attempt to learn the software, which is wonderfully easy to use (and robust, with a very solid end-user feeling), and to make some simple first animation. This is the result! It's maybe a bit clunky, since I need to get a feel for doing it, but I feel energised and encouraged enough to continue and (hopefully) get good at it. It seems like a useful string to my bow and happens also to be very enjoyable.
The music in this little video is something I wrote ages ago, just before I started perpetrating the oddities I release as The Lowest of Low. It's called "Chicken Bedtime". I hope you enjoy it!
LOTS OF COOL NEW STUFF IN THE FUTURERETRO ELECTRO STUFF SHOP! (PLUS: NOW ACCEPTING CARD PAYMENTS)
One of the challenges of trying to live and breathe and, well, make some kind of living as an independent musician, artist and designer (particularly in these uncertain pandemic-disrupted times) is finding ways to allow your passions to thrive and (hopefully) pay for themselves. I have a habit of being very efficient in any jobs I take on, and wind up working myself to the bone for little or no pay, which is not only completely pointless, but also takes away from the time and energy I can dedicate to pursuing my life’s mission. I also have a terrible habit of accepting commissions for artwork or web design work and then not insisting on being paid for my efforts. That’s something I’m having to work on, actually...
Luckily, I’m incredibly simple and pretty accustomed to fairly stoic living conditions, so I don’t need much to survive. When I finally quit my translation job, I also conceived of The FutureRetro Electro Shop to support my new, decidedly non-lucrative full-time music career. But not just with ordinary “band merch”. I wanted it to be a thing-in-itself. Another creative outlet that relates to the music, but not necessarily in any obvious way. “Band merch” is pretty much always t-shirts for rabid fans or casual concert or festival goers who want some kind of souvenir. They often don’t have designs that are immediately appealing as things-in-themselves. And that’s what I didn’t want. Sure, there are “band t-shirts” in the shop, but there’s also a lot more. Stuff I hope you’ll find beautiful, comfortable and useful in your everyday lives. After all, if I’m asking you to support me, it’s kind of my duty to give you something of surprisingly good value in return. I’m told I under-charge for the quality of the items, but that’s ok with me.
Now, as of today (28 June 2020) I’ve found I’m able to accept credit/debit card payments as well as Paypal, which I hope will make things more convenient for anybody who visits and encourage y’all to buy some stuff you’ll enjoy. I’ve got brand new Sakura Breeze coordinates going into the shop every day, and a series of “Famous Mountains I Have Known” T-shirts. Please have a look!
BRAND NEW SINGLE, "ALL OUT OF BUBBLE GUM" OUT NOW!
I've never released a single before now, and have always preferred the atavistic, stubborn practice of crafting and releasing whole albums, complete with themes, attention to track order and storytelling that all go beyond the experience of listening to just any old individual tracks taken as stand-alone entities (knowing damned well that 99% of people who come across this stuff will not be encountering whole albums, or play them in order, at all). But this was different, and the time felt right, and kind of urgent.
All Out of Bubble Gum is one that didn't come out of me in time to make the Empire album, to which it is thematically related, and I was a little disappointed at the time because I'd just sent Empire out, and then this song got made. I wondered when (or if) it would fit into a different album, because I'd already started writing and decided on the theme to be treated in Let There Be Light and figured it probably wouldn't fit there. This happens a lot, so I just put it in my "unreleased" folder for the time being. Then 2020 happened, George Floyd happened, and some friends I'd sent it to in talking about how I feel about Black Lives Matter, police brutality and the racism in the US (I grew up there and have watched things get better and then far, far, far worse in my own lifetime) and they all urged me to release this as a single.
I always like to point out that the samples in this track are 52 YEARS OLD because the stuff that's transpiring now is bigger and older and a more profoundly fundamental struggle than some folks might allow themselves to comprehend, and that was always the point of making the song, right from the start. I think it's a really solid track with important stuff to consider, so please do listen to it. (Opens in Bandcamp, for now, but it's available everywhere else if you look).
NEW SPOTIFY EDITORIAL PLAYLIST "THIS IS THE LOWEST OF LOW" : IT'S A THING NOW (AND IT'S GOOD )!!
I have to say, this came as an enormous and very pleasant surprise to me just the other day (20/06/2020).
I'd opened my Spotify to see about adding All Out of Bubble Gum to the "Artist's Pick" feature in my artist's page there. I went to grab the link, and Lo! What should I find, but that someone or some group of someones in the editorial department within the mysterious and shady courts of Spotify, unseen by the eyes of the world, had kindly created this editorial playlist.
Obviously, I feel pretty honoured just for the fact that it exists. I've had a listen to it now (while doing the photo mock-ups for the Sakura Breeze coordinates I've put up in the "Stuff Shop" this week), and I'm even more pleased, if that's possible.
They've done a fantastic and intelligent job of it, astute and sympathetic, which really honours me. And at the risk of sounding kind of puffed up and self-important, the choice and juxtaposition of songs really helped me (even me!) to hear the music (some of which I haven't heard in quite a while) and to enjoy it with fresh ears.
50 of the best and accessible songs ("eesential tracks") from every album are represented there as well as this week's new single. (I'd submitted it for playlist consideration, but this still surprised me). It's a terrific mix they've put together, and I'm very grateful to them for it, and for the obvious care that went into it. I would agonize terribly trying to put something together like it, and it still wouldn't have such a well-rounded quality.
So.... it's only right that I want to share it here, and encourage you, too, dear reader, to please have a listen, add it to your playlists, share it around if you like it, and at very least just.... please enjoy it.
If you like what you see here, please join the mailing list for occasional (like, very VERY occasional) updates about new releases and maybe some free stuff along the way. Your kind support (even moral support) is most appreciated, always. Always. ALWAYS.
Number of star core implosions since last visit: