Dear Customer and friend of the Far Side,
We’ve been busy improving the Far Side Music web site over the last month by investing in the latest software that has quite a lot of new features to hopefully improve your experience and enjoyment. More on that later, but first here’s some of the new stuff we’ve added.
Japan first. One of our most popular ever albums, partly due to the championing of by the much missed broadcaster Charlie Gillett, was Yasuaki Shimizu’s saxophone interpretations of Bach’s Cello Suites. Nearly 20 years since he released that first album, Shimizu has recorded his versions of Bach’s Goldberg Variations (for five saxophones and four contrabasses). Sounds good to me, wonder what Charlie would have made of it?
There’s another Ryuichi Sakamoto SHM-CD re-release, his 1985 album, Esperanto.
Another re-release is Makoto Kubota’s Kauai March 05 album, plus a Kubota produced album by Japanese bluesman Yuji Hamaguchi, and his remastering of Hamaguchi’s previous album.
One of the guests on Far Side Radio in March was avant-garde artist Haco, who has a new album out.
From the traditional world are three albums of Japanese Musical Instruments, and a best of from shakuhachi player Dozan Fujiwara.
From Okinawa, is the new album by Toru Yonaha
There are six superb albums of Indonesian and Malaysian music mostly from the 1960s. Sublime mixes of Indonesian and Melayu music with jazz, Latin, Hawaiian and other sounds. All very evocative.
On Blu-ray is a film from 1979 of an adaptation of the Bunraku play Meido no Hikyaku called The Lover’s Exile, with English subtitles.
and on DVD traditional dance from Tomogoro Yamamura.
And there’s lots more too!
Now onto those improvements.
One of the mains things is the design is now, at least partly, ‘responsive’ which means it should respond to the size of the screen the site is being viewed on. On desktops there probably isn’t much difference but on tablets and mobile phones the layout automatically adapts to the smaller screen making it easier to navigate your way around and clicking on the buttons you intended. I think we’ve still got some way to go to make it fully responsive, but at least it’s a start.
We’re also able to embed videos onto products, which we experimented with for a while, but the product text would get re-arranged in a bit of a random way and it looked untidy, so we’ve added a ‘pop-up’ window if you click where it says ‘Watch Video’ or ‘Watch Album Trailer’ to give you a better idea on what an album sounds like. We’ve also started to add some Watch icons which usually link to a You Tube video.
We’re starting to use Soundcloud for some of the audio clips instead of hosting the mp3 clips ourselves. The videos and sound clips are mostly found on the new releases so far.
Throughout the website you’ll also see ‘People who bought this item also bought’ underneath many of the products. These are all of course genuine, and hopefully this will be useful information. There’s somewhere where I could add product suggestions but in my experience these software generated lists are not very useful.
You’ll also find Feefo reviews on products, written by customers, now underneath the product that has been written about, which is, hopefully, very useful. Written by real people after all.
These are, with guest Haco, music that mixes Japanese traditional with electronic sounds and a show featuring keyboard players Tomita and Hirofumi Asamoto. Asamoto is a friend of mine who had a bicycle accident in September last year and has been in a coma ever since.
With all this going on, there was less time to add videos to the Far Side Music You Tube Channel
We did find time to upload Kawachi Ondo meets Chindon live footage, more videos from Soul Flower Mononoke Summit and Heatwave, Chinese erhu player Jiang Jian Hua and Indonesian singer Hetty Koes Endang with a dangdut version of a Japanese song.
or stay tuned for the next edition of this newsletter in about a month’s time.
Until then, hope there’s something of interest.
All the best