The Journal of Jon Hicks, one half of Hicksdesign.

Bat Labels

The original Batman movie and TV series with Adam West was superb. Not only a glorious technicolour 60s camp fest, with classic scenes such as “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb”, but everything had labels.

BIG obvious labels.

“Lets try the Anti-Crime Computer” one of the characters would say, and there, in its large labelled glory was the very device. The over-obviousness of it all made me chuckle a lot, which the children would take as meaning “I love big signs, and that includes road signs”.

Now, there is the Tumblr blog Bat Labels which has set the task of collecting all of these together. There are many great examples, but surely the “Death Bee Hive Trip Wire” is one of the best…

Troika #23: Best of 2015

Troika #23: Best of 2015

Its an end of year list! Only shorter! This threesome won’t take long to read or listen to, but it took me a very long time to choose just three from so much wonderful music in 2015. To make it easier, I excluded any music that has already featured in Troika, so without further ado, my three most-played are…

  1. ‘Satellites’ by Mew
    Mew’s ‘+/-’ is my album of the year, another epic from the Danish group.
  2. ‘Repetition’ by Purity Ring
    The Canadian two-piece’s second album is a stunner, and this is my favourite from ‘Another Eternity’ (I mistakenly call it ‘Beyond Eternity’ in the podcast – ouch!)
  3. ‘Winter Dress’ by The Amazing
    A slightly mournful track, but it really is gorgeous! I naturally gravitate towards the last tracks of albums, and this is why. A Troika on ‘closing tracks’ is planned for future…

The full Hickensian Playlist of 2015, can be found on Spotify, as well as embedded below for the javascript enabled…

The cover image is from Bring Me the Horizon’s gig at Alexandra Palace back in November, which I have to say, rocked.

How to get this episode

Listen using the player above, download Troika #23: Best of 2015 as an mp3, Subscribe to Troika with an RSS reader or via iTunes.

All music featured is the copyright of the respective artists.

Troika #22: A Hickensian Christmas II

Troika #22: A Hickensian Christmas II

Ho Ho Ho, Part 2!

Here we have another episode of Chrimbo tunes, this time with traditional songs covered by modern bands. These sound a bit more atmospheric compared last weeks more jaunty tunes!

  1. ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ – Sufjan Stevens
    My favourite carol, performed in a plinky-plonky piano style by Sufjan Stevens (again!). Achingly beautiful
  2. ‘Little Drummer Boy’ – Low
    Low specialise in a genre called ‘Slowcore’, and their ‘Christmas’ album from 2000 is a mix of upbeat ditties like ‘Just like Christmas’ to the really rather dark ‘Long Way Around the Sea’. This cover of the traditional favourite is somewhere in the middle.
  3. ‘The First Noel’ – Over the Rhine
    I first saw Ohio’s finest back in 1992 and immediately became a fan. This is taken from their first Christmas album ‘The Darkest Night of the Year’ from 1996, but they recently released a second called ‘Blood Oranges in the Snow’. This is probably my favourite piece of Christmas music – one for Christmas Eve by the fire.

Intro music is ‘Adultery at Christmas’ by Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer

This weeks cover star is our very own Golden Retriever, Olive, named after the Christmas film Olive, the other Reindeer. Next time, I’ll be choosing my three favourite songs of 2015, but until then…

Have a very Happy Christmas!

How to get this episode

Listen using the player above, download Troika #22: A Hickensian Christmas II as an mp3, Subscribe to Troika with an RSS reader or via iTunes.

All music featured is the copyright of the respective artists.

Troika #21: A Hickensian Christmas

Troika #21: A Hickensian Christmas

There’s so many decent Christmas songs, that one Troika isn’t going to be enough! So I’ve split them over two episodes – maybe more if I pull my finger out!

  1. ‘Oh Santa!’ – Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer
    While not strictly ‘explicit’ (there’s no swearing), it is a rather rum tale that minors may find disturbing. Mr B is the inventor of ‘Chap Hop’, a delightful blend of hip hop and chapness.
  2. ‘Get behind me Santa!’ – Sufjan Stevens
    Sufjan is the King of the Christmas song, if you need a good Christmas music that isn’t cheesy (at least unintentionally) you can’t go wrong with his many covers of traditional songs and original Xmas tunes. This one is a conversation between an Anti-Santa curmudgeon, and Santa himself.

    I don’t care about what you say, Santa Claus
    You’re a bad brother breaking into people’s garage

  3. ‘A Snowflake Fell (and it felt like a kiss)’ – Glasvegas
    After two songs played for chuckles, this Troika ends with a more serious tone from Glasgows’ Glasvegas. This is the title track from the Christmas EP, and I love this song, but I particularly put it here as its one of Leigh’s favourites!

More crimbo musicality next week!

(The intro music is ‘Winter Wonderland’ by Lew Stone & His Band)

How to get this episode

Listen using the player above, download Troika #21: A Hickensian Christmas as an mp3, Subscribe to Troika with an RSS reader or via iTunes.

All music featured is the copyright of the respective artists.

Troika #20: Take it Slow

Troika #20: Take it Slow

This time its all about taking it slow. Songs or pieces of music that either sound better, or take on a new form, when slowed down.

  1. ‘Feel it all Around’ by Washed Out
    Ernest Greenes’ project ‘Washed Out’ take the backing from Gary Low’s 1983 single I Want You and slows it to nice laid back pace, creating this lovely slurry sound. I’m told this is also the theme to the TV Series Portlandia, but I haven’t seen that yet.
  2. ‘How do I make you’ by The Chipmunks
    To record Chipmunks versions of songs, they have to be sung at a slower pace, so that when sped up, both the pitch and length is correct. So what happens when you slow the whole back down to the pace of the original vocal? Sludgepop! There’s loads more on Soundcloud. Check out ‘My Sharona in particular – I just felt it was a bit long for this episode,especially when you see how long the last track is…
  3. The Jurassic Park Theme – 1000% slower
    Drawn out to almost an hour, John Williams’ theme to Jurassic Park is a beautiful ambient drone epic! It does start quiet, but the volume builds towards the end! (Original Source on Soundcloud Jurassic Park Theme 1000% slower)

In this episode I also mention about how Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack for Inception was inspired by the slowed down version of Edith Piafs’ “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien”, a musical motif used throughout the story. More on that here.

How to get this episode

Listen using the player above, download Troika #20: Take it Slow as an mp3, Subscribe to Troika with an RSS reader or via iTunes.

All music featured is the copyright of the respective artists.

The Hickensian is the journal of Jon Hicks, one half of the creative partnership Hicksdesign. Take a look at the work we do.

playlist 2016

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