4 Orphans Expanded

Hello all:

I’ve been working feverishly on the ‘4 Orphans’ handmade project, and although the edition is not 100% finished I’m just going to spill the beans about it now to see what kind of response I get. It’s only 8 weeks behind schedule, so I’m doing better than usual! But it was a particularly rough 8 weeks. I usually avoid doing pre-orders, but it’s so close to completion that it’ll barely be a pre-order for most people: about a week for the first 40 or so orders, and between 2-3 weeks for the rest.

The details:

This is a handmade, hardbound-packaged CDR version of the irr. app. (ext.)/Nurse With Wound ‘4 Orphans’ collaboration.

The disc includes all 4 original tracks, plus 3 additional tracks: ‘Formless’, a drastic reworking of the original sources which was created in 2015, and ‘Burren Amateur Zoological Survey 2006’ and ‘A Walk In A Strange Field’, two new tracks built almost entirely from recordings made at Cooloorta and in the Burren. This is almost 30 minutes of extra material, bringing the total duration to slightly over an hour.

The packaging is a hardbound book-style cover containing a 7-page booklet with the full text about the origins of the project (as is included with the download version). The last page of each booklet features an original ink drawing of ‘Bufo gillespianus’, the scarce & elusive Bearded Burren Toad, rendered on a photograph of it’s natural habitat around Mullach Mór (examples below). Also included is a comforting slab of black foam with the edition number & owner’s name hand-inscribed in silver (see photos). The edition number & owner’s name will also be written on the toad drawing page.

More details:

The labour & materials for this project far (far) exceeded what I had anticipated, so I’m asking $40 per copy. This is more than I had intended to charge, but the main point of the project was to raise some funds while I recovered from my medical misfortunes, so I hope you’ll forgive the large-ish price tag this time around. I’m planning to do more handmade editions, but am experimenting with other methods & materials to try to keep the costs lower in the future. This first attempt was slightly rushed, and involved a steep learning curve and several missteps before I got everything figured out properly.

The edition size is 85 copies. I have 45 of those just about ready to stroll out the door. Part of the reason for doing this as a pre-order is that I’m not sure of how much interest there will be (especially with the higher price). If only get 20 orders, then I can adjust the edition size down to 50; if I get 50 orders, I have the assembly procedures streamlined well enough now that I can get the remaining edition of 85 ready within a couple of weeks.

Even more details:

The packaging is not factory-made: it is very much a hand-assembled item. I mention this again because there are the inevitable rough edges and irregularities unavoidable with a hand-made project, and I want everyone to be fully aware of what they’ll be getting. But I’ll also add that I put considerable effort & attention to detail into every aspect of this, and I think that results are very nice. After seeing the completed package, Steve, Colin and Andrew each gave me an unreservedly enthusiastic response.

A few other details I feel I should mention. I added the foam piece because the the spine turned out a bit wider than was really necessary, and I wanted to add some support so the packaging didn’t get damaged during shipping. To make it more relevant than just padding, I added the hand-written name & number. THE FOAM IS NOT EDIBLE.

I also added an obi strip (see photos above & below) so the title would be visible from the spine when placed on a shelf; this did not turn out in an entirely satisfactory way, since the printed paper I used does not crease as cleanly as I would have liked. I’ll investigate some better option next time, but I felt it’s a minor enough point to let pass on this one.

The final detail is that I couldn’t find a resealable sleeve the right size that didn’t have the adhesive on the flap. My experience with sleeves having adhesive on the flap is that they inevitably (& annoyingly) stick to the packaging when you’re removing or replacing the item, and this can sometimes cause damage. To avoid this, I’ve trimmed off the adhesive strip and added my own adhesive tabs to the body of the sleeve, where sticking & damage are far less likely.

The bottom line:

If you want a copy, you can send $40 + postage via Paypal to irrappext@gmail.com. I’m not going to make a shop entry for this yet: I’m hoping it won’t be necessary and this announcement will be enough. For addresses in the US, the total with Media Mail postage is $44 ($4 for a 7 oz. package). If you want it sent Priority Mail instead, the total is $49.

For overseas addresses, the postage is more complicated. The USPS has raised its international rates yet again, so a mere 7 oz. package now costs $14 to send to the UK or Europe. To lower this amount, I’m trying to work something out with a friend in the UK where I send him a Priority Mail bundle of 15 discs together and he’ll send along the individual packets. This would lower the per-disc cost for the bundle down to $5 each. The Royal Mail 2nd Class rates for a 7 oz. (198g) parcel appears to be £2.95 ($4), so that would bring the total UK postage down to $9 ($5 USPS + $4 Royal Mail), and I can knock a couple of dollars off to make a $47 total for the UK. Royal Mail International Standard rates to most European countries is £4.45 ($6), and again dropping off a couple dollars makes it $49 total for Europe. Delivery time will obviously be somewhat longer doing it this way.

Of course, this only works if I get at least 15 overseas orders and my friend agrees to do it. So if you’re in the UK or Europe you can send $40 to reserve a copy of the disc, and I’ll contact you with postage details once I have 15 orders. If the bundle plan works, that will be an additional $7 (UK) or $9 (EU). If it doesn’t, both will be $14, and if anyone (understandably) finds that too expensive, I will refund their $40. Sorry this is so complicated! I hope to get a more straightforward strategy worked out before next time.

Feel free to contact me with questions at irrappext@gmail.com.

thanks for your time

Glad That Year Is Over…

Hello All:

As usual, I’m late in getting this page updated. The reasons for the delay this time are a little bit different than usual.

On December 21st, I suffered a massive pulmonary embolism. This was entirely unexpected. I’d been experiencing what I believed was a muscle cramp in my right leg for a couple of weeks before that, but the source of the discomfort actually turned out to be a secret congregation of blood clots; the clots then decided that a leg is a dull place to be and moved their party into my lungs, and this nearly killed me. Fortunately, I live very close to a hospital in an area with a world-class medical system, so I was able to get into surgery very quickly with doctors who were specialists in my condition. It’s the only reason I was able to survive.

I’m incredibly lucky to have come through the situation more-or-less intact. The quantity of clots in both lungs was so extensive that the doctors were surprised I lived long enough to make it to surgery. Clearly, my heart has more sheer bloody-minded determination than I do, and it refused to quit during the trips between different hospitals despite the severe obstacles it was facing. Medical science has made some remarkable developments: instead of having to saw open my rib cage to reach my lungs — as would have been necessary not all that long ago — the doctors sneaked in through an artery in my leg, sent up a minature plumbing-rooter gizmo to clean out my lungs, installed a little targeted clot-busting dispenser overnight to clear up what was left, placed a filter at the top of the leg artery to catch any more wandering clots, and then sent me on my merry (but wobbly) way home two days later.

I’ve been making steady progress, but getting my ass kicked by my own circulatory system has taken a heavy toll, and it will be a while before I make a full recovery. Last week I had the IVC filter in my leg removed; it had to be extracted through the carotid artery in my neck, as it’s designed to only move in one direction (interestingly (to me anyway), this extraction took place at the site of my last brush with mortality, right next to the scar I gave myself at the age of 12 when I ran through a sliding glass door and nicked my jugular vein with a shard of broken glass). The procedure went flawlessly, although it put me out of action once again for a several days. But I got to keep the filter! It’s a LOT bigger than I’d expected: about two inches tall and an inch wide at the bottom. Out of context, I think it’s quite a lovely piece of futurist sculpture. In fact, it looks exactly like this:

The important part of this story for all of you out there is: don’t spend all day sitting in front of your computer! Get up and stretch at least once an hour. Take a break every couple of hours. This is even more important on long flights, as the altitude creates an even more dangerous situation. It may not seem that sitting too much can have lethal consequences, but it certainly can. Different genetics & lifestyles factor into it as well, but most people are not aware of these issues until it’s too late. Most of the stories I’ve heard since my own embolism (and there have been a lot of them) don’t have a happy ending like mine did: usually it suddenly hits someone who’s completely unaware there’s even a problem, and it simply kills them. I’ve always been a particularly healthy & active person and I don’t have any bad-substance-intake habits: none of that prevented this from happening. Don’t take the risk. Be good to your legs.



There have been a number of developments before and after my medical adventures, but to keep this already long update from getting completely unmanageable I’ll list a couple of things and save the rest for the next one (when more complete details should be available anyways).


Thing 1:

I’ve just posted the first installment of what will be a monthly series of ‘digital singles’: two tracks with a front & back cover and a credits insert, just like a real single. Only digital. I know many of you would prefer a real, physical single, but given the prohibitive cost of pressing vinyl this is the best I can do right now, so I hope you will set your digital misgivings aside and consider supporting this series. I’ll be posting a new single at the end of every month in 2018. I hope to collect them all onto a physical format (probably a CD) once the series is finished, but I’ll cross that bridge once I’ve burned it. You can find the first single at my Bandcamp site here.


Thing 2:

Over the past few months I’ve been posting a series of teaser tracks on Soundcloud under the heading ‘Preamble to 10 Stations’ as a lead-up to the next full irr. app. (ext.) album (which will be called, coincidentally enough, ’10 Stations’), but have consistently forgotten to mention any on this site except for the first one. They’re all still there, though, so if you’re interested you haven’t missed anything. Most of the tracks are outtakes or alternate mixes, but one of the actual tracks from the album has been posted so far, and one more album track, as well as at least one more outtake, will be posted during the next couple of weeks. Since I’m on the topic of the new album, I can mention that all of the tracks for it are now finished. Next up will be the task of creating the packaging, which will be entirely hand-made and include some elements of original art with every copy. The prototype has been successfully completed and all the raw materials have been gathered: now it’s just down to putting all of the little buggers together. I’ll be working to complete them as fast as I can — which right now is at about half my usual speed, so I’ll admit it is going to be a while before they’re ready. Below are all the tracks so far. Full descriptions can be found with each post on Soundcloud.





More soon…