Friday, 23 September 2011

Peter Evans & Nate Wooley - High Society.

Of course the fun of having your own blog is the chance to write what you want when you want, although one does try to keep up a certain rhythm. I just sent in my review of Peter Evans and Nate Wooley's - High Society (Carrier Records), one of their latest projects. It was as you'll see from my review below (on Free Jazz Blog) that I really enjoyed getting into this one, and my initial doubts soon melted away the more I listened to this rather intriguing record. It's amazing to think of how two trumpets - who avoid sounding like trumpets - can create such a rich texture of sounds and music (in the broadest sense of the word). Hearing this record tied in nicely with other music that I've been listening to recently and in particular Steve Lacy's solo work and somehow I was kind of reminded of his endless search for new ways to present his instrument, using the voice, clapping or just making strange duck sounds. And it is also not so often that music comes along that not only inspires but challenges in this way, giving one new ideas on what could (or can) be music. I had to smile at times whilst listening to this as I thought of various jazz blogs and journalists who would not call this either jazz or music. I also wondered what the likes of Wynton Marsalis or Kurt Rosenwinkel would make of this and I should add many of my - mainstream - musician friends would probably not be so enamoured with such a challenging album either. However it seems to me better to develop the unknown rather than perfecting the past when it comes to improvisation and sound. Here Peter Evans and Nate Wooley manage to stay away from any clichés of sound that their instruments would normally be associated with and it is only on the 5th track that the sound of the trumpet actually appears for the fist time ... even if a little modified. 

Anyway read the review below to have a little idea of what I blabbing on about, I hope you get a chance to hear the album one day.   

Peter Evans & Nate Wooley - High Society (Carrier Records, 2011) *****

Being a musician and playing a wide variety of music means that my family (kids and wife) are used to hearing wild sounds emanating from the hi-fi from time to time. But in certain cases I realise that maybe some music is not for wholesale consumption, and this .... is one of them! It's almost like a dream come true for a horn player (in this case trumpets) to be able to sound like Jimi Hendrix playing with feedback, however, it's more difficult to set fire to your trumpet, even with lighter fuel, you can hear Wooley and Evans had great fun making this recording. 'High Society' is as fascinating as it is unforgiving, there's no way out and no reference points to the trumpet as we know it. If you've heard Nate Wooley's Trumpet/Amplifier record then you'll already know how Wooley's starting to develop his style using this set up, here we have both Peter Evans and Nate Wooley blowing hot and cold through their trumpet/amplifier set ups.

It's almost impossible to give musical images for these tracks. Tracks such as I (track 3) make you wonder if the microphone is inside a turbine in a rocket engine, or is that the sound of something out in the desert somewhere? The two horn players use flutter tonguing, blowing, sucking, singing, spitting, banging the pistons, hitting the trumpet, it's all there. The fourth track LXVII starts like two wild animals in a fight, there are growls and screams, rattling, industrial crashes and explosions, music that's not for the faint hearted. However each track is so fascinating that you find yourself absorbed by the sounds as they change throughout each piece, each idea worked on and pushed to it's extreme and obvious conclusion. The sixth track 'XC' is a fascinating piece as .. shock horror .. you get to hear a real muted trumpet sound as it's starting point. The track develops over 13 plus minutes into a real tour de force of sounds, feedback, screams, singing and real trumpet sounds, never  dull moment.

Finally I should say I was surprised at how much I enjoyed listening to this one, and for something that is rather abstract. The music which although very intense is (I found) always interesting to come back to and I'm intrigued to see how they'll develop and follow up wonderful recording. I can only finish with a often used phrase from our chief critic and editor Stef ......... Highly Recommended. 

Tags for this music could be - the wind, the sea, the washing machine, car engines, radio interference, food blenders, vacuum cleaners and the list goes on!


This is the last track #6 from the album it's titled XLV. There's no reason why I choose this piece except that it was the last on one on the album, which seems a good a reason as any .... don't you think?

Check out the article on Nate Wooley's Trumpet/Amplifier here


Thursday, 22 September 2011

Sons of Bitches Brew?

Miles influence vis-a-vis pop and jazz, or funk and jazz had a devastating effect on some areas of this music, giving birth to many hybrid 'blacksploitation' type groups. It also seemed to give an open message saying that jazz musicians can also make pop music, whereas in reality they cannot! In the same way Waldo De Los Rios seemed to think that classical music can be pop, although in reality it only becomes a form high kitsch, which then sells due to it's novelty value. Today hundreds (no thousands) of students in jazz schools, and worst still practising jazz musicians and teachers, still think that the word funky means playing two chords with b9s, b13s, augmented this and demented that as chord types, all on top of a back beat.  

Miles Davis always craved for a recognition that was not only unnecessary but musically unhealthy and spent much of his later years producing music that verged on the edge of MOR or FM, something that his early collaborators could have never imagined. To put it bluntly, he was so busy wanting to be something that he could never be, a pop icon. Unfortunately he wasted (in my humble opinion) many years of his life trying to get recognition for, or from, the world of pop music. However, like many jazz musicians Miles did not understand that pop, like jazz, is a way of being and not something that can be easily imitated. His initial experiments in this field started with In a Silent Way but quickly developing into something far more muscular in the form of the well known Bitches Brew. Although I won't go into those albums here it's certainly interesting to see how Miles developed this area of jazz up until his initial retirement in 1975. Up until that point Miles had been keenly interested in various forms of music and particularly that of modern electronic music such as that of Karlheinze Stockhausen. It seems that he was also very open to the idea of a form of free jazz and certainly used many musicians who were developing more open forms of improvisation. Pete Cosey or Sonny Sharrock on guitars, or Keith Jarrett's use colour in his electric piano solos (an area which he developed in his 'free form' quartet with  Redman, Motian and Haden) showed that Miles was open to other forms of soloing other than that of post-bop. Unfortunately when he returned in 1981 it seems that he had no more stomach for wanting to push barriers aside and was yearning more for stardom on an equal to such as Prince, The Crusaders, Earth Wind and Fire, or Michael Jackson, Sly and the Family Stone, Santana, Sting or James Brown.

Sly and the Family Stone - circa mid 70s
However it would seem that Miles' influences have touched on more recent generations who have seen his earlier work - from his electric period - as a positive message. Over the years I've come across some excellent examples of the spin off from Bitches Brew  influences from the 70s period Miles. Some examples that immediately spring to mind are Brownman (I think it's Nick) or French trumpet player Erik Truffaz (*), London bands Led Bib and Dog Soup all work on a vibe that brings to mind the experiments of the electric period of Miles Davis. What's also interesting to note is how these groups seem to have not wandered off into out and out commercial zone in a way Miles did, making for what in the long term a more interesting and satisfying type of jazz that retains rhythm as it's central focus but interesting harmonic colours also. Watch the Erik Truffaz concert from Avignon on Youtube to see how accessibility and art can go together.

A few months ago I wrote a few words about Example Of Twelves last (it's Pt 3 of a trilogy) and latest release Things Will Be. I was so inspired by this wonderfully understated piece of music that I immediately decided to see what the other two parts of the puzzle would offer - part one of the trilogy is called The way things are, and part 2, The way things were. Riaan Vosloo the leader (and main composer) kindly offered to forward the other two records to me as I'd been so enthusiastic to hear more from this group. The second album which I will no doubt talk about at a later date is a wonderful lush album mixing strings and rhythm section but what I discovered on the first album was not only a pleasant musical surprise but also a rather interesting look at an almost modern day version of Bitches Brew.

Although the album has nothing directly to do with Miles Davis - or not that I know about - I was  immediately reminded of Miles due to a very small quote from In a Silent Way. I wonder if Fulvio Sigurta (**) even realised at the time that this strong interval (G# up to F) would be so suggestive? Anyhow, from then on the music develops in a way that leads the listener through a series of beautiful soundscapes, each one connecting with the next. Part 1 Beginnings/Endings uses a series of weaving chords which somehow mirror the same ambience and scheme of In a Silent Way/It's about that time! The don't keep this as the only idea, the music drifts as in a dreamlike state, Fulvio Sigurta leading the band via gentle phrases. The music changes little by little leading in a logical way to the second section - Part 2 The Madness. This is where the music takes on a much heavier direction leaving Jonathan Spall's alto sax to lead the way with some strong soloing eventually letting the rhythm section (or really the mixing Vosloo) weave a hypnotic spell over the music. What I also find so interesting about this piece of music is the way that Riaan Vosloo has combined so many areas of music - film scores, jazz, trip hop, dub and a few others - into one long flowing piece of music.

Part 1 Beginnings/Endings II

Part 2 finishes with some wonderful clarinet playing (also Spall) in what seems like a small contemporary classical interlude, a duet with piano.  However this is only a brief interlude and the trumpet brings back a post Miles atmosphere with brooding lines that are treated electronically. Another influence that although never hinted at is that of Pharaoh Sanders and maybe Alice Coltrane also, if only by the spiritual feeling that the music suggests (and the titles).    

Part 3 Though lovers be lost, love shall not II

The final part 3 starts with double bass over electronically manipulated pianos and various electronica, giving an impression of a modern day raga, something that Talvin Singh has used in his interesting Indo-fusion projects. Here the listener is brought to the end of this long sonic modal voyage without really noticing .... is it possible? Riaan Vosloo does this with a very nice idea of bookending the beginning and the end with the same ideas of ethereal voices speaking over (or under) the waves of music, leaving the listener to hear the music disappear as if like a boat drifting off into the mist.

Part 2 of the trilogy to follow - The Way Things Were!

All the music is available on Impossible Ark Records.

 * = it's worthwhile watching the various parts of Eric Truffaz in Avignon. I've seen him in concert and can highly recommend the band (and the man). He seems to be able to let the music develop by itself yet - like Miles - move the music in the directions needed, and when needed.
** = Listen (if the links still correct) to Flavio's latest release on Cam Jazz - here.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Music Village - 16/09/11 - Brussels.

Of course one has to blow one's own trumpet (sax in my case) from time to time, why not! If you're in Brussels (Belgium) on Friday why not pop down to the Music Village for a couple of sets of hard-bop?

Every year I try and do a couple of 'straight ahead' gigs based on stuff that I like in the mainstream catalogue. This year Bruno Castellucci kindly offered to play the gig with me. I'll be accompanied by (as you'll see below) my good friends : Ron Van Rossum (piano), Bart Denolf (bass) and the wonderful Jean-Paul Estiévenart (on trumpet). Jean-Paul also plays in my Al-Orkesta project, but that's another story and CD. We'll be playing again early in 2012 for all those interested.

In the meanwhile here's the poster for the gig. Maybe see you there!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Lacy's not here, but where is he?

I was moved to write this little blogpost after searching in vain for hours, days and weeks for recordings of the late Steve Lacy (1934-2004). How sad it is to find that half of his recordings are either no longer available but also difficult to obtain even if they are still in someone's catalogue.  Of course if you check around Amazon or other online sales services you'll find the usual glut of mainstream albums that Lacy recorded, but not however the more interesting stuff which in general has gone 'underground'. Steve Lacy's Solo in Mandara a rare 1975 solo recording made in Japan is nowhere to be seen any more. In fact I noticed on a site (after being sold) at the price of 511$ !!!! I wonder what Steve Lacy would have thought about that? It seems sad to me that albums such as - Live: At the Unity Temple, Clinkers, Weal and Woe (£66 on Amazon UK) or the two wonderful albums with Mal Waldron - Live at Dreher, Paris 1981 Volumes 1 and 2, are either out of print or nearly impossible to buy for the average mortal. I must say that I haven't downloaded so much material before, but in the case of Lacy one only has that nowadays (the net) as a source of his work. It's sad to think that his family isn't seeing a penny of any of this, due to the rather narrow minded view of those holding the master tapes. What's even more absurd is the idea of some great record sitting in it's cover never being played because it's to rare and irreplaceable. It's like having a picture that you keep covered up - and it does happen also!

Steve Lacy's rare - Solo at Mandara ('75)
 Luckily Snips : Live at Environ a wonderful live solo recording from Steve's first return to New York in the early 70's is easily available and full of wonderful music. Some people say the recording quality is not top notch, which is true when listening to his other recordings, but the music is so good there's really no excuse not to have a copy of this in your collection. The last track on side one of this double CD is called Snips. I've included a sound bite of this track so you can hear the atmosphere and the great music.  
Steve Lacy - Snips : Live at Environ
Snips - Tk 7 from the above album.

What also astounds me about Lacy's work is the originality of his approach in developing his material. I must say that I have never transcribed any of his music, somehow that seems pointless, after all it's about improvisation at it's highest level. Lacy obviously didn't use a bop vocabulary either which makes his work even more interesting - no approach tones, no 2-5-1 patterns, few (if any) running scales with tensions such as flattened 9th's or augmented 13th's. There are surely a few  standard ideas, but not in the conventional way that most jazz musicians use them, even the more avant-garde players (*).  I notice when working from the Slonimsky Thesaurus of Scales and Patterns that you find much material that (I suspect) Steve Lacy must have studied and developed over his career, especially in his solo work. Below I've included a (long) track from Live in Mandara it's 35 minutes in length - please take time to listen to it. Here you'll hear many characteristics of Lacy's playing style, taking themes or interval sets to develop his amazing improvisations. It's one piece on the record, however you'll hear how he pauses between pieces before setting off into the next theme  - listen also for the uses of multiphonics, repetition, extremes of register, slap tonguing, over-blowing, singing/growling and the rest.

  Six Pieces from the Tao : Existence, The Way, Bone, Name, The Breath, Life on it's Way

It's also interesting to note whilst listening to these recordings the originality of Lacy's sound and approach. Lacy worked on the music of Thelonius Monk all his life, and also with Monk. It seems the most important lesson Monk taught Lacy was to be an original. Monk had such a truly original style - i.e. it's difficult to copy his playing without sounding exactly like him. Lacy also has a style that is also truly original and thus difficult to imitate without becoming a clone, a true compliment if ever there is one! 

Not only was Steve Lacy a musician but also a thinker, that is to say his music is also about intellect. One can learn much about Lacy and his philosophy in 'Steve Lacy : Conversations - Jason Weiss' a book recommended to me by Sam Newsome another fine soprano player also influenced by the work and innovations of Steve Lacy. Jason Weiss has brought together 33 +/- interviews with the man himself from 1959 to 2004 (he also died the same year). The interviews show someone  that is highly cultured, not what most people imagine when thinking of your average 'jazz musician'.  Lacy certainly isn't to be classed as a jazz musician and was probably the prototype for today's clean living 'open minded' improvising artist, yes I use the term artist. His music and concepts seem to have influenced many artists. Moving to Europe in the early seventies, his interest in Oriental culture  like that of John Cage seemed far ahead of it's time and his compositions often used  haiku poetry for inspiration. He also combined his poetry into his pieces working with the likes of Robert Creeley or Brion Gysin (also a close friend) among others. On Hooky (Snips : Live at Environ) one hears Lacy shouting "Don't go to school, don't go to school" using it as part of the music, the rhythm of the phrase helping shape the melody that follows. I should maybe add that it was a also a message (or mantra) for those in 'jazz schools' which Lacy thought destroyed individuality and so detrimental to the development of jazz.  

A collection of interviews with Steve Lacy spanning 45 odd years.
Finally, there seems much in Steve Lacy's work which is being forgotten by the mainstream music media. College's still only teach post-bop as 'the' music of improvisation. It is normal that whilst we ignore such important advances made by Lacy we are somehow keeping jazz and improvised music from developing into more fruitful areas. I hope that someone will one day collect together much of his vast catalogue and re-issue what to me seems an essential part of today's improvised music scene, and one of contemporary musics most important figures.

Postscript :

Although I only mention Steve Lacy's solo work one should also remember that he also worked  with his  groups, which I have to admit (I'm ashamed to say) I know very little of. I hope to remedy this in 2012!
(*) One player does come to mind is the great Lol Coxhill, a true individual in the improvising world. However, you can hear similarities between Lacy's style and Coxhill which are probably unintentional.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Mouldy Figs or just jazz?

I was amazed to read this morning the fuss that's being stirred up from Kurt Rosenwinkel's Facebook post denouncing the state of jazz today. Fortunately for me I don't have Facebook, and certainly think that any posting via such a ridiculous site is a little lame, but that's another discussion. However it seems that various bloggers have moved in to give their view on the subject, and an interesting view it is. Here's the two blog-posts that inspired me to write a little something - Peter Hum and Ronan Guilfoyle (both interesting writers - and musicians - to follow on a regular basis). As I already mentioned I didn't (haven't) read the original posting that started all this off but wonder why there is so much confusion in what is and isn't good - in this case - jazz?

When I was at art college we had a class called 'value judgements' which meant discussing what is and what is not art. It was an interesting class and one that I have probably carried with me since those days as a way of accepting as much as possible. Often in the final analysis one can only say 'I don't like it' and nobody can argue with that, and if you're sensible you're open to change your opinion at a later date. The discussion being argued (about jazz) is who decides - musicians to be precise - who owns the quality control for jazz, or who sucks and who doesn't. Musicians have been arguing since ever, Louis Armstrong famously said that be-bop was Chinese  music. The boppers called the old school musicians 'mouldy figs', although they had far too much respect for Louis to say the same of him. One wonders what the jazz scene was like in 1930, were there as many 'bad' musicians around as now? I wonder what Armstrong or Buddy Bolden would of thought of Nate Wooley's Trumpet/Amplifier record (I wonder what Kurt Rosenwinkel would think also)? Probably best not to ask, some people can only understand and except their own view of the world, other ideas can be very unsettling.  I should add that remember that Lennie Tristano couldn't swing and was too intellectual,  John Coltrane played too many notes, his music was labelled 'anti-jazz', and that Bill Haley's Rock Around The Clock was subversive music!

What is jazz anyway, and who's aloud to play it?

However, it seems Kurt Rosenwinkel's remark is based on the ability to play jazz, the ability to make it good and look after it (?). Dwayne Burno, another  musician who has strong opinions about quality control, seems to agree with KR and angrily says 'most jazz sucks today .... etc' (one should read what he says as it's too long to quote here). One has to wonder who sucks, and why? It is true, as Ronan Guilfoyle points out, that nowadays everybody thinks they should record and sell CDs, due to the facility in accessing recording technology, either on their own label or via the net. With the death of the music industry there is no more quality control -I'm not sure it was always 'good control'. But what frightens me more is the attitude of labelling good and bad, to swing or not, this is jazz and that isn't? The likes of King Crimson, Jimi Hendrix, J.S.Bach, Steve Reich or Gang Starr  have - to name only a few - all had wide ranging influence over the direction of jazz, or should that be bad influence? Should we blame these influences or praise them and accept that this is a natural process in the development of jazz and other musics? Does that mean that we should be pure to the cause of jazz and if you listen to anything else then you should immediately remove the term jazz music(ian) from any references to you or your groups, not teach in any jazz type schools and the rest? I hope not!

I suspect that Kurt Rosenwinkel's remark was made without the intent to produce soooo much talk around the blogsphere as it has. What is probably more interesting is the reaction it has made and the rabid bile that it has inspired some people to write over what remains a very cloudy area as to who can and who can't. Finally James Hale says in a response to the Facebook post :

'.... young listeners who have wondered what they should check out in jazz. Maybe they just shouldn't bother; they can never be as good as Rosenwinkel or Burno. Someone better is always going to be judging you.'

If I understand him correctly I don't agree, after all that's exactly the point be your own voice and nobody can touch you, something that cannot be taught in a school. Maybe my Value Judgements class was right?

Footnote : If you're wondering who the soprano saxophonist is in the skip (and what he's doing), it's  the great Lol Coxhill. Lol is one of the icons of the improvised music world  and a bastion of self expression, he would be completely amazed that anyone would want to be anything else than themselves!


Thursday, 1 September 2011

Apple Mac - a few complaints?

I wouldn't normally write a post about computer related problems as I'm actually more interested by music and other issues. However, after spending a whole evening on a bug in the computer I thought about writing this little 'open letter' to Apple Macintosh which I've often thought could be a great company, but somehow isn't, even thought they invented the iPhone, iPods etc.  

I'm rather interested with the announcement by Steve Jobs of his retirement from Apple. Will anything change in this rather closed community? Even though I'm one of the Mac owners (in April 2011 Mac had 5% of the market share - PC 92%) I can't say much for the company except that I enjoy using it's operating system. Apart from that there's not much that really makes Mac any better than Microsoft. 

The other night I had a small (still unresolved) problem with my Safari (4.1.3) browser which won't keep it's cookies, causing me to constantly sign in to all pages such as Twitter, Hotmail, Blogs etc. I was reminded exactly how user 'unfriendly' Apple is when it comes to their clients. One of the first things I noticed when becoming a member of the Apple clan is their pretence at being a comunity, but with no real leader - Steve Jobs is just 'Mr Inventive', he doesn't care about what the average  Mac users 'user experience' really is, a little like a politician and a citizen - they're both out of touch with reality! If you have a problem then you're on your own, there is no support, rather strange when you think of how much you pay for your computers operating system. In fact there's very little in the way of feedback from the company itself, it's impossible to contact them and have any real dialogue. Will Tim Cook make a change in the way Apple carries itself as an arrogant company with no transparency and who refuse to address their clients questions and problems? I expect not, but who knows.

Some of the issues that I feel strongly about are actually quite simple things that could be easily remedied. I also feel that by addressing these issues Apple Macintosh would be a much stronger competitor on the market. Some questions (or examples) of a more market/user friendly policy could be as such :

a) Why does Mac insist on trying to sell 'Apple Care' at an extremely expensive price? Would it not be more logical to include this in all purchases of their products? Some people working at Apple mentioned that they don't sell very many Apple Care products, due to it's ridiculous pricing. My thoughts on the matter are that if one included it - all computers at Mac would be guaranteed for 3 years - it would be an excellent selling point. After all don't Mac believe in their own products enough to put their money where their mouths are?

b) What's all the pricing about? How comes different products are priced differently depending on the continent? I find it rather strange and most un-ethical that (as an example) a Macbook Pro costs :
 - In the USA :1199$ (832€ - on the day I converted the $)
 - In Europe : 1199€
 - In the UK : £999 (1130€ - on the day I converted the £)

Notice the difference of 332€ between the Dollar and the Euro, how come Apple has to charge the difference (at a higher level) to European users, do we deserve it? The UK price is a little more difficult to understand due to the fluctuation of the pound. But I find the fact that the Euro price and Dollar price are exactly the same, creepy almost. Are Apple so lazy they just thinks of a figure, and then place a dollar sign or Euro after it?  Just from the €/$ figures above there's a difference of 44%(*), how can it be justified? I should also add that you CANNOT buy you Apple products over the net from the USA to Europe although I suspect this may also be a international thing, however I imagine Apple doesn't want this either.

c) How can a company exist without real online support? After all Macintosh do make computers, don't they? I find it interesting that there is NOWHERE to actually contact Apple (directly) about their products such as Logic, Garage Band, Safari, iPods, iTunes etc. You are 'advised' to go to the Apple discussions forums on their site to solve any problems you may have! Isn't this a little sloppy for something that you pay for? Imagine feeling ill and being told by your doctor to go and find the problem on a chat-room somewhere! Or that the car you bought isn't working, or the phone no longer functions, your electricity is off .. and then being told to "look it up on the web". To me it's simply unacceptable,  I can't understand why European law doesn't oblige them to have a service, and that doesn't mean taking your computer into a shop (and leaving it with them for weeks, and pay to have someone look at it).

d) Why won't Apple tell us what's coming and when, why the secrecy? Can't they interact with their customers on the development of their products? This way we as the consumer can plan our purchases a little more correctly, and that means less waste in this so called eco-friendly age. As an example - recently (well a few years ago) Apple did away with firewire without telling anyone beforehand. What did that mean? Well, Mac had been pushing Firewire products for years - useful for back-up media, film and music software (among others) - and many people had spent much money on these products only to find from one day to the next that it had disappeared, with no explanation - Apple decided that they didn't owe answers to anybody. They have continued it but in a rather modified version on certain computers.

e) In the chat-room forum on Apple's own site NO negative comments or criticisms of Mac and  it's policies, products, updates and changes,  are allowed - they're deleted by an administrator almost immediately! Rather odd I find for a so called 'alternative' company that is meant to be used by alternative thinking people, the so called hippy generation. Why can't Apple accept negative criticism and use it in a positive way to develop their products - hopefully to suit our needs and not their pockets.

f) etc, etc .......... I'm sure if you use a Mac you can add quite a few of you're own complaints.

It will be interesting to see if Macintosh can keep a hold on their market in the next few years. I suspect that they will have a hard time unless they're prepared to compromise, and even now it maybe too late. Other people are starting to make 'Apple' products, but cheaper and better. The iPhone market is up in the air, and Apple wish to keep hold of it, can they? The Hackintosh is already creaping into the market, and of course Apple Macintosh wish to stop it. What is a Hackintosh you may ask? Well, PC's are basically computers that run with Microsoft  Windows  or Linux  (a freeware operating system). They are cheaper because there are dozens of different makes on the market that all have Microsoft system licences, and of course have to compete between each other for a slice of the market. This doesn't always mean quality, but it does keep the prices down. Hackintosh is basically the same, why not have other computers running OS X it would be more competitive and would maybe help Apple to become more transparent?

For the moment I'll carry on using my Mac until it breaks down (it already has problems), but after that I have to start wondering is it worth it, will Apple start listening, or do I follow the Hacks and get on with my own agenda?

Interesting Hackintosh links :

How Hackintosh a Dell Mini 9 into an OS X Netbook.
Install OS X onto your Hackintosh PC 

(*) Maths is not my strong point, so the percentage is my rough calculation.

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