Friday, 8 November 2013

New room, new times.

For the third (and hopefully final) time during my university years I've moved once again, this time - I'm proud and privileged to say - to a much nicer area and certainly not so far from my university campus at all! Since the start of term several student publications have beaten me to the game of how to decorate your student room but nonetheless I thought I'd share what I've done this year to hopefully spark some ideas.

When I moved in my room was pretty bare. Nothing but my bed, an inadequately sized desk and one chair was provided thus my first port of call was furniture and, being a student, cheap and cheerful is paramount. Ikea, you are a saviour.

A bedside table is probably the most helpful piece of bedroom furniture with it being a common host for your lamp, books and, for me, copious amounts of tea. For £25 this guy is an absolute pleasure; easy to assemble, nice looking and plenty of space.The same goes for my bookcase. Being an English Literature student and Kindle sceptic, I have a forever increasing book collection. With no shelving provided in my room, this item was also an absolute necessity on my list. At just £15 I'm flabbergasted at its size and sturdiness. I went for a randomised approach to my shelves as I've always thought natural (but still sensibly placed) clutter can be quite attractive. I bought the hanging ivy from a plant sale on campus and with little attention, this little beauty has grown out really nicely to accompany my collection of books. Candles (£5, Tk Maxx), incense sticks (£2, Amazon) and a clock (£10, Tk Maxx) also made this area a bit more homely.

Wall space is something that I took a long time to figure out how to fill. Whilst posters are a cheap way to beautify your room, when they're simply stuck up I always feel it takes the power out of the picture and looks a little tatty. After a little research I found some cheap poster frames online (£10 ea, I can't remember where from...sorry!). Posters are a great way to express your interests and passions and these frames make them much tidier and gives that treasured music and art much more authority.

Above my bed is probably the most intriguing feature. I bought this vinyl art off eBay for £30 (inc. postage) and I haven't regretted it since. I didn't want my walls to lack variety and another couple of posters might have been slightly monotonous. My room in my old house used to have a really great mural wall and I considered something similar (see here) so after some research I came across these vinyl prints. Ok so perhaps it was a tad pricey but it gave my room a lot more personality and considering the amount of hours I've spent staring at it I think I've got my money's worth already. Plus, it's a great conversation starter. They're a bit of a mission to put up, so you might want another pair of hands if you're out for one.

I spend so much time in my room so I thought it was worth spending some money to make it my own. It might not be your style but, however you want your room, Tk Maxx, Dunelm, and online are the places to look. Not only are they affordable, but if you take some time looking through a lot of their stuff you can make some really interesting looks. The most cost-effective purchase? The canvas shelving in my wardrobe; only £3.99 and it's made such an organisational difference. Best buy irrespective of price? My bean bag: so, so comfy.

You might also want to check out some of these articles that I used when setting up my room. I thought some of the advice was crap, but it definitely sparked my imagination initially;

The National Student;

Student Beans;

The Telegraph;

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Hype Vibes Review; Qbeck's 'Railway Mood EP'

Here's another review I've done for Hype Vibes on Qbeck's 'Railway Mood EP'. The EP is really worth a listen; it's definitely some of the best Tech-/Deep House I've heard recently.

You can check my article here and listen to a preview of the EP below;

 UPDATE (19/01/2014); unfortunately this article is no longer hosted on this website, however I've posted it below;

After making a big break through Seth Troxler’s Visionquest label with impressive work such as ‘Alice’, Qbeck is now full steam ahead with his Railway Mood EP.

Eureka has a slow and almost uncomfortable bounce; haunting whilst at the same time enchanting. Its distinctive breathing samples give a cinematic feel where you’d almost expect it to soundtrack a thriller movie. At the same time it creates an intimacy with his music, both giving it a personified identity and stressing the closeness of others in the urban dance movement.

The reality is that it’s more likely to soundtrack your night rather than a movie, and, considering the brilliant complexity of this EP as a whole, this is certainly not a bad thing. Both Eureka remixes are an imperative listen; the Hooved remix increasingly plays on the echoey vocal samples, giving an even more troubling and rugged take to the tune. Secondly, Mihai Popoviciu’s approach creates a deeper and more dance-compatible adaptation thus seemingly the most likely to make the club sets.

The EP closes with ‘Deadlock’: a rolling, chirpy piece. Whilst the breakdown maintains the bleak and empty feel heard throughout, the clappy samples and animated percussion really lets you know you’re ultimately listening to tech-house. Yet what is paramount on this EP is the title track. Setting the bar high for Qbeck’s contemporaries, ‘Railway Mood’, with its oriental-esque samples and slow rolling, pensive feel takes deep house to a higher level.

What Qbeck essentially does is combine some of the best elements of Tech and Deep House to create – and satisfy the need for – a darker side of house. Whilst the more commercial approaches to house music progressively advance, there’s still a thirst for a gloomier sound. Qbeck, with this EP and the rest of his unfailing back catalogue, definitely makes a decent stab at this. Following successes like ‘Alice’ with this EP, Qbeck seems to still be up and coming and definitely one to keep an eye out for in the future.