Arts and Entertainment

With its satisfyingly fat vinyl platters, audiophile-friendly downloads and imaginative catalogue of rediscovered gems (plus new recordings), LP specialist Gearbox is becoming one of the wonders of the age.

Album: Gary Burton/ Chick Corea, Crystal Silence, (ECM)

When the star duo's Crystal Silence first appeared in 1973, it heralded a new house-style of ambient-friendly chamber jazz, where Corea's piano and Burton's vibes seemed to float amidst the listening space like benevolent feng shui sprites.

Album: George Pringle, Salon des Refusés (Deth To Fals Metal Records)

Concerns that 2009's electro-pop resurgence has nowhere left to run are partially allayed by this self-styled "diseuse" – a monologue performer, for the uninitiated.

20 years of the Warp factor

Sheffield's Warp Records celebrates its 20th anniversary in September. Nick Hasted looks back on the cutting-edge electronica/indie label that has produced acts as diverse as Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Grizzly Bear and Maxïmo Park

Andy Hughes: DJ and mixer whose work with The Orb entranced a generation

While the producer and DJ Alex Paterson has been the core member of the ambient, electronic group The Orb for over 20 years, he has been ably seconded in his pioneering sonic endeavours by creative musicians such as Jimmy Cauty, Kim Weston (aka Thrash), Simon Phillips and Thomas Fehlmann.

Album: Sweet Billy Pilgrim, Twice Born Men, (Samahdi Sound)

uckinghamshire landlubbers they may be, but SBP - whose debut album is reissued following its Mercury nomination - pursue a notably nautical theme on Twice Born Men that stretches far beyond the illustration of a storm-tossed schooner which adorns its David Sylvian-designed sleeve. The trio's brooding folk-pop, intertwined with Tim Elsenburg's Guy Garveyish vocals (perhaps too Garveyish for victory, so hold on to your betting money) pitches and rolls like a ship on the waves. A dark rum pleasure.

Album: Moby, Wait for Me (Mute)

Despite Moby's claim that Wait for Me is the first fruit of his decision to make "more personal" and "maybe more experimental" records, it's the closest he's returned to Play, featuring the familiar complement of sombre soul, gospel and choral vocal samples swathed in warmly melancholic string-synth textures and reassuringly logical synth and keyboard progressions.

Album: Sara Tavares, Xinti, (World connection)

At last something different from Cape Verde, via Lisbon. Sara Tavares sings in a kittenish, almost conspiratorial manner: hers is not an art which demands attention to every note, but it's lovely to spend time with.

'Birdsong' radio station taken off air

An eccentric radio station playing nothing but ambient birdsong from a English garden has been taken off air, enraging an army of devotees, it emerged yesterday.

Album: William Orbit, My Oracle Lives Uptown, (Kobalt)

Over 17 million sales will buy you a little time: so Orbit could well afford to bide his on the back of Madonna's 1996 smash Ray of Light, which he produced and co-wrote.

Album: Mountains, Choral (Thrill Jockey)

The Independent's chief rock critic gives an exclusive preview of this month’s releases

Album: Arve Henriksen, Cartography, (ECM)

Trumpeter Henriksen – whose playing invokes the breathy whisper of a Japanese flute – confirms his status as the most compelling improviser on the planet with 12 tracks recorded in Kristiansand.

Paperbacks: Passage, by John David Morley

This sweeping but pacey "palimpsest" of a novel wraps up the past of an entire hemisphere in one mesmerising voice.

Passage, By John David Morley

From Audrey Niffenegger to Back to the Future, culture abounds with fantasies about humans able to travel through time as well as space, an ability that would be both curse and blessing. In an ambitious narrative of considerable imaginative energy, the protagonist, Pablito, sits aboard the Sao Cristobal.

Gong, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

This is Gong we're talking about, and half measures are an unknown quantity in their world. This is a band that knew what the joke was, and their joyous trip to enlightenment and the left-hand path made for an unforgettable, psychedelic experience at Massive Attack's Meltdown.

How to be happy: Developing trust is key to being open sexually

Q. 'I feel embarrassed about giving and receiving oral sex. How can I relax about this? I feel like I'm missing out.' E.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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