Five things #13 by Ross Farley

Here are the five things I thought were worth sharing this week: 

  1. Nonkeen (featuring the incredible and prolific Nils Frahm) have just released their second (!!!) album of 2016. It's a bit of an oddball, but saying that, the title is Oddments Of The Gamble (the first album was The Gamble) so it probably shouldn't be much of a surprise. Here it is on Spotify and here's a review by Clash.
     
  2. I recently came across the "Poet Laureate of Twitter" Brian Bilston. His poem Refugees is clever and wonderful. You'll find him on Twitter here.
     
  3. How technology disrupted the truth — A long-read on how social media and technology is changing/ threatening journalism and the world beyond. An article made all the more important and relevant given the apparent rise of "post-fact politics". Here it is in audio form.
     
  4. I've mentioned Seth Godin before on this blog. He's one of my favourite thinkers and someone who inspires me a great deal. I recommend reading EVERYTHING he writes, he's that good. His daily blog is a good place to start. These two posts from the last week are great.
     
  5. Christoph Niemann (@abstractsunday) is one of my favourite people to follow on Instagram. I particularly like his New Yorker covers.

That's all for this week. If you liked this, check out my previous Five Things posts or sign up to receive future posts straight to your inbox. Enjoy!

"What are some cool drum beats I could learn?" by Ross Farley

Every now and then I answer drumming and music related questions on the Q&A website Quora. I thought I'd share my most recent post here with you as it's a question I'm often asked.

Rather than recommend specific beats as the question asked, I recommended a couple of my favourite drum books focused on grooves. I chose to answer in this way as I'm of the opinion that it's more effective and a better use of someone's time to learn how to develop their own ideas. Long term it has much more value. Learning how to play a specific thing that someone's told you to learn is occasionally useful, whereas learning systems for developing your own ideas is useful again and again.

That's my opinion anyway! Here's my answer from Quora.

Q: What are some cool drum beats I could learn?

A: If you after new ideas and systems for developing unique grooves I’d highly recommend Jost Nickel’s Groove Book. It’s one of the best groove books out there and I’m surprised so few have heard of it!

He breaks his ideas and concepts down very well and offers plenty of suggestions on developing his ideas further.

Another option would be Future Sounds by David Garibaldi. Full of cool grooves but less on the systems for developing your own.

I shared a few other recommendations on my blog a few months back which you might find useful.

Read on Quora.

Five things #12 by Ross Farley

Here are the five things I thought were worth sharing this week: 

  1. Last week I visited Kiev (Ukraine) for the first time. It's a beautiful city, the people are wonderful and it's a place that you can explore and walk around for hours — my favourite type of city! It beat my expectations in every way. I can't wait to go back.
     
  2. "Existence, he says, is fundamentally playful. It's less like a journey, and more like a piece of music or a dance. And the point of dancing isn't to arrive at a particular spot on the floor; the point of dancing is simply to dance." — A Nihilist's Guide to Meaning by Kevin Simler.
     
  3. I've been learning German with the help of Duolingo for several years now and they've just released a new app called Tinycards which is designed to help you "memorise anything quickly". Using flashcards to aid memorisation is a learning hack that I've come across a lot and I'm sure this app will be useful to my fellow Learners out there!
     
  4. If you want to be a better writer, read this. Fast and to the point — The Day You Became A Better Writer by Scott Adams.
     
  5. I recently finished reading Maximum Willpower by Jane McGonigal. It's an enlightening book on self-control and limitations of willpower. I wish I'd got round to reading it sooner!

That's all for this week. If you liked this, check out my previous Five Things posts or sign up to receive future posts straight to your inbox. Enjoy!

Behind the scenes by Ross Farley

A couple of behind the scenes videos from Instagram of the gig at Wonder Fields with CoCo And The Butterfields!

Trying to get the attention of the useless monitor guy on Sunday. #drummerproblems #cocoandthebutterfields

A video posted by Ross Farley (@rossfaarley) on

Love this groove... Shame about the drumsticks smacking on the #gopro! #drummingproblems #cocoandthebutterfields

A video posted by Ross Farley (@rossfaarley) on

Five things #11 by Ross Farley

Here are the five things I thought were worth sharing this week: 

  1. An interesting read on the benefits of silence — This Is Your Brain on Silence
     
  2. Fantastic podcast by Invisibilia on how our frame of reference shapes how we perceive the world — "Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin interview a woman who gets a glimpse of what she's been missing all her life – and then loses it."
     
  3. Are you a procrastinator? If yes, go check out Wait But Why's great series on procrastination. Do it now... Future You will thank Present You for it! Here's the first post.
     
  4. This album by Rival Consoles was one of my favourite releases of 2015. I hadn't listened to it ages until yesterday!
     
  5. One of my favourite musicians Ólafur Arnalds is doing this awesome project — "Over seven weeks, he's travelling to seven different locations in his native Iceland to record and release a series of new compositions. At every location he's collaborating with a local artist or group to create and perform a new song which is then released each Monday."

That's all for this week. If you liked this, check out my previous Five Things posts or sign up to receive future posts straight to your inbox. Enjoy!

On the road with Coco And The Butterfields by Ross Farley

Yesterday I arrived back home after playing my first couple of shows with CoCo and the Butterfields at Moonbeams Festival in Yorkshire and Wonder Fields near Exeter.

It was a fun weekend, playing and hanging out with some great musicians. The photos above are from the gigs and my epic journey from Ipswich to Yorkshire, Yorkshire to Exeter and then back from Exeter to Ipswich via London... I don't think I've ever been to so many train stations in such a short amount of time!

Five things #10 by Ross Farley

Here are the five things I thought were worth sharing this week: 

  1. What is music? — A cool video and interview with Jad Abumrad (host of the brilliant Radiolab podcast) on sound and music.
     
  2. NASA just succeeded at the hardest thing they've ever done — Getting the Juno spacecraft into orbit around Jupiter. National Geographic shared this animation showing the manoeuvre used to achieve this feat. I love all things Space, so thought this was rather cool!
     
  3. Ever looked out into the night sky and thought "Where is everybody?". If your answer is "yes", check out this article on the Fermi Paradox by (my new favourite website) Wait But Why. The Fermi Paradox tries to explain "the apparent contradiction between the lack of evidence and high probability estimates for the existence of extraterrestrial civilisations" (thanks Wikipedia). It's nerdy and a pretty long read, but for the curious amongst you, well worth the time.
     
  4. Anki (a robotics & AI company) just announced Cozmo. It's smart (and emotional) toy robot and I really want one! I'm fairly minimalist so not one for just buying random junk, but Cozmo looks pretty awesome.
     
  5. This is mainly going to be of interest to drummers, but even if you aren't one it's still an interesting read and has some good pictures too — History Of The Drum Set.

That's all for this week. If you liked this, check out my previous Five Things posts or sign up to receive future posts straight to your inbox. Enjoy!

Five things #9 by Ross Farley

Here are the five things I thought were worth sharing this week: 

  1. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the football, but yesterday I found myself listening to one Iceland's greatest exports Sigur Rós and their fantastic album Kveikur.
     
  2. "What Is A Polyrhythm? — Beats Taking Turns" — Short video (less than 3 mins) with a graphic showing the polyrhythms... Very cool!
     
  3. Nils Frahm on reinventing classical music: “I like to treat the establishment like a cushion... I don’t throw it out of the window, but I like to shake the dust off it. I want to expand what it can be.” 
     
  4. Can we change who we are? One of my favourite podcasts, Invisibilia, returns with an exploration of personality.
     
  5. Seth Godin is an incredibly wise man. I read his blog pretty much every day and Sunday's post was poignant given all the political goings on this past week. 

That's all for this week. If you liked this, check out my previous Five Things posts or sign up to receive future posts straight to your inbox. Enjoy!