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Beauty As Resistance

January 1, 2019

Thousand Yard Prayer have just released a new album, Beauty As Resistance. It may be downloaded or streamed from Bandcamp.
It will be on all the major streaming services very soon.

Arabian and Persian musical scales and rhythms, middle eastern instruments, a hint of Croydon bass electronica…Transglobal Breakbeat Dub Science from Broken Drum Records. Any sufficiently advanced music is indistinguishable from magic…In a world heading towards barbarism, beauty as resistance.


Broken Drum Records update

December 31, 2018


BDR_2019 first


Years ago
Back in 2012, I wrote an obligatory turn-of-the-year post and, to be frank, not a great deal has changed in what I might say this year.

In that post I mentioned the things that had excited me back in the 80s when I first started Broken Drum Records and releasing music as Secret Archives of the Vatican and that I have discovered and explored subsequently.

There are a lot of things: funky grooves, complex rhythms, bowel-loosening bass, squelchy synths, evocative sounds of Middle-Eastern and Asian instruments, world-creating soundscapes, story-telling titles, genre-confounding juxtapositions, wicked cover art, preconception-defying lyrics, music-industry-ignoring distribution models, enthusiastic and uncynical music journalism – and much, much more.

Last year – 2018
2018 has been a curate’s egg of a year – much like any year! We finally got the studio up and running after a long frustrating break. This led to producing a bunch of new tunes by both Secret Archives of the Vatican and Thousand Yard Prayer. TYP didn’t produce an album but we released several single tracks that, if we’d known, would have made a great album! They can be downloaded as one anyway here.

SAotV did release an album, Pierce the Sky, to the usual indifference of even most who “follow” us in social media. A huge Thank You, though, to those stalwarts who consistently support us and buy our music. We appreciate your interest very much. We remain committed, also, to the idea of our music being available free of charge under a Creative Commons licence for those who cannot pay or choose not to.

SAotV also released several single tunes which may be downloaded as an album here.

We experimented quite a lot with Facebook advertising. This is very hit-and-miss. On most occasions, it has cost us more than we made from any additional sales it generated. However, we refined our approach over the year and Pierce the Sky made just slightly over what we spent in advertising so far. Not a lot!

We acquired some excellent new software, sample libraries ands VSTs, for the studio. It gets easier to manifest the musical ideas we have.

We made the leap into providing our music to all the major steaming sites, Spotify etc. As Spotify receives literally 20,000+ new tunes a day, it is incredibly hard to get playlisted or heard at all. We’re beavering away trying to raise awareness, trying to get added to people’s playlists. We’ve also heard an amazing amount of fairly unknown but awesome music on Spotify and it is influencing our writing. Hopefully that will work the other way around too.

Next year – 2019
We’ll be releasing a new Thousand Yard Prayer album, Beauty As Resistance, on 1 January 2019. Once that’s out there, we’ll get started on a new Secret Archives of the Vatican project. We don’t have any particular direction set for that yet.

Feedback from our listeners is important and we like it, so please comment on our blog, Twitter and Facebook posts. Please share our music and video links on your social media. Add us to your playlists.

Have a most non-bogus 2019 and be excellent to each other!


The Stranger with Two Swords – Secret Archives of the Vatican Podcast 141

December 1, 2018
Here is our latest podcast. We’re particularly happy with this one. These are top tunes!


1   The Stranger with Two Swords – Secret Archives of the Vatican
2   Lights of Istanbul (Original Mix) – NLP
3   Istanbul – Truth
4   Hikam – Celt Islam feat. Aki Nawaz
5   Astapor (Original Mix) – Bad Catholics
6   Persian Trap – Muhammad Razi
7   Tibetan Western – Yuman’dub
8   Sarang (Original Mix) – Janaka Selekta feat Vidya Venkat and Sheela Bringi
9   Arabian Analog (Original Mix) – Chaos Control
10   The Arabian (Original Mix) – Mondy

If you like these tunes, check out other releases by these artists. Buy or stream their music.

Please share this podcast and have a listen to our previous episodes.

Thousand Yard Prayer

November 23, 2018

Thousand Yard Prayer TYP warrior drawing
In 2002, we were producing so much music as Secret Archives of the Vatican that releases were in danger of being too close together. These days, an artist can release music every five minutes if they wish to and it’s no problem. In those days it was necessary to spend some time allowing a release to get noticed and sell a few before hitting the public with a follow up. So, we released Sympathy for Hosea under the name Thousand Yard Prayer. The name has no particular meaning –we have always liked playing with words and it’s a play on the legendary military “thousand yard stare”

Ten Years After
We meant to release a follow up at some point but it took ten years! World
Without End was released in 2012, followed by Nine Ships later that year and Truthseeker in 2014. We chose to  take the sound in a subtly different direction from Secret Archives of the Vatican. TYP would be slightly more acoustic, less electronic than SAotV, featuring frame drums, flutes and acoustic stringed instruments although there would still be some of our distinctive bass electronic underpinning it. There’s also a slightly greater emphasis on Central Asian and Persian sounds than SAotV, which focuses a little more on Arabian elements. However, if you like one, you’ll like the other!

Golden Wonder
Seven Towers was released in 2015 and Golden Section in 2016. For Golden Section in particular, we experimented with videos a little more. These are fun to make but they achieve very little in terms of marketing. It seems our particular listener demographic does not look to YouTube for its music.

In 2018, we have released several individual tracks and no albums yet.
We have also added our music to various streaming services including Spotify and Apple Music but it is one huge struggle to acquire listeners. Spotify alone receives literally 20,000 new tunes every day. We are so niche that we don’t even have adequate terminology to describe what we do. This makes it very hard to present our music to likely Playlist curators.

Back to the Future
We believe our Thousand Yard Prayer project has some life in it yet – we’ve barely scratched the surface of musical possibilities. Our challenge now (as with all musicians) is how to increase our listener numbers in a world where sharing music is easier and cheaper than it has ever been but finding listeners is harder because of the sheer amount of music out there.
We like music

New album from Secret Archives of the Vatican – Pierce the Sky

November 7, 2018

We’ve just released a five track album called Pierce the Sky.

As with all of our music, it is available as a free download from Bandcamp.  Over the next week or two, it’ll be on Spotify, Apple Music and all the online download and streaming sites.

We’re really happy with it – and we hope you like it too! Please listen, comment and share.

What next with our music?

October 30, 2018


Making music is easy. Getting anyone to listen to it is hard.

We’ve been making music since about 1988. We’ve lived through huge changes in the music industry and have seen entire genres, scenes and release formats come and go.

We’ve churned out many cassettes, CDRs, CDs and downloads, to varying degrees of success. Fortunately for us, we do it for the love of making music and not for money – because there has been very little of that. Just an observation, not particularly a complaint.

A very significant development has been the arrival of subscription streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music etc. We resisted for a while, not least because of the incredibly small amount of money these outlets pay to the artists, but it is now the case that more than half of all music consumption is by streaming. If we want to be heard, we need to be on there. Also, it seems that the Playlist has replaced the album for much of the public.

We initially decided to use an aggregator, Tunecore, that we have used before for other distribution. There is a relatively small fee for each album, renewable annually. However, we have no money and don’t want a large annual renewal bill to pay by having multiple albums online. So, we put together a “greatest hits” compilation of tunes by Secret Archives of the Vatican and Thousand Yard Prayer called Transglobal Breakbeat Dub Science. Then we added separate compilations for each of these acts, Chronicle and The Story So Far.

The Story So Far cover  Chronicle SMALL

Then we discovered another aggregator, DistroKid,  which has a slightly different payment model. There is a single annual fee (roughly similar to that for a single album on Tunecore) and you can upload as many albums and singles as you like. So. we’ve been uploading various items from our back catalogue. The process is quite simple and they send it to many online stores and streaming services, including some specialising in China and the Middle East.

Just after we did this we heard that Spotify is now allowing direct uploads by independent artists at no cost. However, it’s still in trial mode, among about 200 American artists only. There is no information about when the rest of the world will get access to this. Seems like a good thing to us, though.

However, the big problem with Spotify is that they get 20,000 new tracks per day. Holy cow! How can anyone get heard in that sea of noise?

Get on official Playlists!

Easier said than done. New material can be presented to Spotify‘s curators for consideration a couple of weeks ahead of release. That’s no use for our back catalogue. We could present new material (there is some ready for release) but our life-long difficulty still exists: we don’t fit into any standard genre. None of the official Playlists are right for our music.

Our next battle, then, is how to get noticed on Spotify, how get on popular unofficial Playlists and how to get added to individuals’ Playlists.

Crocodile Gate – Secret Archives of the Vatican Podcast 140

October 20, 2018

We’ve just uploaded the 140th episode of our most excellent podcast. We hope you like it! Please listen, share and comment.

1 Andalus (Original Mix) – Omarilzz
2 The Crocodile Gate of Khemi – Secret Archives of the Vatican
3 Pillars of Ophirian Sandalwood – Thousand Yard Prayer
4 Ilm al Yaqin – Celt Islam
5 Arabesque Trapstep – Desifre
6 Nomad – Desifre
7 Sufi Dub (Austero Remix ) – Monkey Marc, Austero
8 Chaiya Chaiya – DJ Sukh


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