Saturday, January 26, 2008

Across The Montseny [St. Celoni-Vic trip]

Yamaha RD 350

Couple of weeks ago I decided to explore the Montseny Natural Park. Its a fantastic natural reserve in Catalunya, shrouded by stunning mountains with loads of entwined curvy roads with plenty of green fields and beautiful forests.

Here we go!

First stop

The route was to drive from the Maresme in the coast to St. Celoni and then cross the natural Park through El Brull, then Seva and finally go to Vic on the other side where I was supposed to meet a friend.

Break on through to the other side..of Montseny

Maresme at the bottom

Top view

Considering the sort of narrow curvy roads you get in The Montseny, I thought my beloved Yamaha RD 350 was the perfect partner and the right gear for the trip, so early on Saturday morning I filled the deposit, got a liter of Racing Motul 800 oil [Yes you need to mix that with petrol on a two stroker!] and departed from St. Pol in the coast towards St. Celoni crossing first the small villages of St. Iscle de Vallalta and Vallgorguina.

The roads were a bit humid on some parts, mainly because there is barely no sun in Montseny north face and also lots of trees, so I had to be a bit careful. I have changed recently the pistons so my intention wasn't to go to fast really.
The main thing was to enjoy the views and trip!

As soon as I was getting closer to the mountains I could see some snow spots on top. It was a bit chill day but I was well prepared. You have to if you drive motorbikes in winter, even here in Spain.

Snow on top

I stopped for a smoke or two and got some photos. I could see some old catalan traditional houses all along the way [Masias]. I really envy this people living there.

Reaching the top

Around noon I reached the top of Coll Fornic. I could see nearby Turo de l`Home and Les Agudes mountains which are the highest ones in El Montseny.

El Brull village on the way to Vic

Then on the other side of the montain there was El Brull a tiny village with a catholic church. The funny thing was that the road went through the middle of the old construction which I thought was a bit daft [To say the least really] .

El Brull local council. I think we are missing a flag there he he ..

I could see Vic already on the far distance so as I was getting closer and driving down already I decided to pull over again. Then is when I saw this bloke with skying with some sort of rollers I never saw before. He was going upwards! and he had quiet a long way still. I thought was pretty cool.


Good luck!

View from a Hill

Bit further down got in Seva. I was closer to my destination. Seva is one of the last towns you get in Montseny and is home of a famous catalan Moto GP rider of the 90s Alex Crivillé [and after my trip I understand why!] The old good days of the 500cc two strokers.

Seva entrance

And finally around tea time I arrived to Vic so I headed for the main square [Plaça Major] and after ringing my friend I waited for her in the nearest bar to get a well deserved beer.
Another sterling job of my Yamaha RD 350!

Vic main square

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Exit Calm new video

Rob Marshall@Dry Bar in Manchester photo by Pedro Vila

A few weeks ago somebody was asking for extras to appear on the new Exit Calm promo video. Its a shame I wasn't even closer, otherwise I would offer meself without a doubt.
The final result its been a bit controversial already though and mainly because it looks a bit amateurish. Apparently the band its a bit unsure about, so we might get a new one improved pretty soon. Bear in mind they are still an unsigned act.... but hopefully for not too long.
I am personally very excited with this band, as I haven't been with any other onr for long time. As soon as they book a date on a weekend near Manchester or Lincoln I will be on the next plane.

Exit Calm- Higher Learning video

Rob Marshall@Dry Bar Mcr photo by Pedro Vila

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Javier Monforte

Radio Futura-Enrique Sierra 2nd on the right

Javier Monforte was an underrated Spanish guitarist who played with a few bands on the eighties. His most popular collaboration was with Radio Futura a well known band in Spain at the time, from 1981 until the early nineties when they did split up.
Enrique Sierra was the former guitarist but in 1987 and due to a kidney disease the band agrees to 'hire' a temporarily one. Then its when Javier Monforte joined Radio Futura. They were so satisfied with Javier that he even stays when Enrique was recovered and he also joins them on their next live tour and double album.

Javier Monforte [raises arm] with 'La dama se esconde' in 1992 photo by Enric Mateu

I believe Javier didn't get the recognition he really deserved [Radio Futura was nearly at the end of their career] but to me he was as good [if better] than the original one. I did some research on the Internet looking for any updates about his work but couldn't find much stuff really. I think he is a music producer this days.
I also found this video on youtube which is included on a recent Radio Futura DVD release. Its from some live performance on the Spanish tv around 88-89 I. Although the sound is far from the band's original style, it shows quiet well his quality and music influences. Very 80's!

La Ley Radio Futura

Who said we did not have good Spanish bands on the 80's?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Amos Gitai

Last night I saw a strange film called Free Zone [2005] with Natalie Portman and directed by Amos Gitai. Its the sort of movies that no one talks to you about before hand and somehow, as soon as the film begins you get hooked to it, no matter how clueless you are or how slow the plot is.
Maybe we could call it a good 'Haze'!

Natalie Portman

It was not the sort of conventional movies I have to say, I dont think It will appeal everyone. Amos portrays the middle east complexity through 3 main characters: one Palestinian, one Israelian and one American Jewish. The film is made in Jordan. I think the whole story was about hope and understanding with both arabic and hebrew cultures, on a very much troubled part of the world.
Doing a little search on the internet I found out the director had a pretty interesting filmography to dig in.

I liked the soundtrack and I also found this video in youtube. Apparently is a Jewish children's rhyme called "Had Gadia".

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Exit Calm

And finally here we have the stunning debut single of Exit Calm, most awaited new mastered stuff from the Yorkshire based band [formerly Lyca Sleep].

Exit Calm Debut Single album cover

Higher Learning/awake
New remastered songs are available to listen on their myspacesite

And here is my Manc friend Cath ace review of their last show in 'Night and day' in Manchester.

LIVE REVIEW 18.12.07 Machester-Night and Day Category: Music Exit Calm 18 December 2007 / Night & Day / Manchester By Cath Aubergine

"It feels like something of a travesty that Exit Calm are still on the treadmill of pic'n'mix unsigned nights; often at these sorts of sessions the crowd comprises a motley collection of friends and families. You can spot them a mile off. Not so in this case; Exit Calm have fans, growing in number every time they play. Tonight quite a few have made the journey across the Pennines with them; elsewhere in the crowd is none other than The Verve's Nick McCabe. And from the first long lingering guitar tones, it's not hard to understand why. Standing in the stageside shadows, Rob Marshall is quite simply one of the most incredible guitarists around; echoing the floating anti-riffs of The Chameleons' Dave Fielding, McCabe's liquid formations and the expansive soundscapes of the Sonic Cathedral set - all at once. You wonder if he's got three more of himself tucked away behind an amp somewhere. And already set apart from most of the space-dream revivalists by their sheer intensity, they have a further secret weapon in the form of frontman Nicky Smith - not for him the shamanic posturing of the post-Ashcroft brigade, he doesn't really move much at all, throwing all his passion into his singing. As such, there's just the sound to focus on, and what a sound.

Rob Marshall @Dry bar Manchester 2006 photo by Pedro Vila

Underpinned by a rhythm section that's solidly powerful but with a deep dub feel to it, this is music for the soul, music to drown in, beautiful escapism, with "Reference" and imminent single "Higher Learning" the peaks of a pretty flawless set. They're back at Night & Day on Monday 7th January, and when that single starts picking up the accolades it undoubtedly will, you'll want to be able to say you were there."
By Cath Aubergine

Roll on for the full album lads!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

This Christmas festivities I had a fantastic time traveling with my motorbikes all around the mountains in the Catalan countryside.

Maresme sunset with Barcelona at the bottom

The last week in 2007 I took my all time 2 stroker favorite Yamaha 350 for a ride in El Montseny, from St. Pol in the coast to Vic all through the Catalan Comarques or small provinces [shire] of La Selva and Osona.
Extremely enjoyable curvy roads!

El Montseny on the way to Seva

This first week of January I did also explored the mountains near the coast in Maresme with the Honda 900RR

I hope to upload some photos very soon.