I took a trip down to our capital this week to watch the Secret Chiefs 3 during their three night residency at Corsica Studios. The band have multiple “sub-bands” focusing on different styles of music, so each night had a “different” band playing. I could only make two nights, so saw the UR / Xaphan combo plus the final night set of a mixture of various sub-bands / sounds. It was fantastic. They have a new (ish) drummer who is an incredible technical death-metal style player which has added a whole different vibe, great in most of the songs, but I did find it a but strange during some others.
Of course I took the opportunity to take some photos. The venue was packed so it was difficult to get a good position and it took a lot of settings-juggling to even get any photos as i’m new to this style of photography. It was a great learning experience and i’m a lot quicker with my settings now and understand the ISO/Shutter Speed/metering a lot more now… Here are a few pics along with some others around London.
Timba Harris. He played a number of instruments throughout the night, violin, guitar (an Encore no less!), keyboard, trumpet and an egg shaker
Trey Spurance. Band Leader. Had unfortunately injured his foot on the tour so had to sit in a rather comfy looking office chair
The Chiefs in all their glory
Skateboarding next to the Thames
I always try to get a Tate visit squeezed in on a visit to London. This is part of a set of paintings by Mark Rothko. I really like The Tate as I can wander round in awe firstly at the fantastic art on display, but secondly in amazement at some of the seemingly childish scribbles, or blank canvas’, or a couple of swirls 0n a piece of canvas (along with the descriptions of what the swirl represents). Some of it is utterly arty tat IMHO, but nevertheless it causes a reaction. I’ll be talking about the black circle on a white piece of paper at the art museum in New York for far longer than the incredibly intricate painting of some historical figure. I think some art has transcended its very purpose, with artists being almost able to get away with “anything” due to their reputation.
No trip to London is complete without a visit to the London Aquarium. By far the best I have been to in any country.
The very essence of this blog. The fantastic creatures lurking in the depths.
I picked up a book from Oxfam recently, “Play it Again, Chester – Boogies, Rags and Blues for Piano”. These are beginners pieces, so it was nice to be able to pick up a piece of music and learn it relatively quickly. I’ve spent a bit of time during piano lessons on these too and have been meaning to record these for a while, but hadn’t got round to it. What better to do on a bank holiday than waste some time recording on an 80s keyboard! I took the old Casiotone 405 from the top of the wardrobe and recorded three of the pieces from the book. I would hope it goes without saying that these are intentionally….. er……. crap sounding, with the old drums backing tracks. I realise it may be difficult to tell the difference between these synth sounds and a real piano, electric guitar and organ :)
Here they are, cheesy tracks just for fun. Play it again, Chester….. whoever you are.
Blue Waltz (Carol Barratt)
Lazy Haze (Carol Barratt)
Navy Blues (Carol Barratt)
The keyboard they were recorded on:
It feels like I haven’t used my camera in a while, but I have been occasionally wandering the streets so here are a few pics. The last image is my watercolour painting debut! I’m new to painting and have followed a guide from a book – this was my first effort at “going it alone” and using the techniques I’ve learnt. I’ve set up a new drawing/painting area on the blog and you can see it HERE.
Marketing genius, this multi-coloured band wandered the streets gathering the drunken masses liked the pied piper and led them straight to the door of Matt and Phreds where they were playing that night.
Their other bike was a Harley I’m sure.
A great shop window display.
The urban jungle looming.
Back Turner Street
Watercolour of Derwent Water
The second ‘official’ release to crawl out of The Bucket. This is the collection of my favourite pieces since the first EP.
1. ゴジラ (Godzilla)
2. The Moth (M.C.)
3. Wetwork (A prelude)
4. Interlude (Casiotone)
5. I Malfunction
6. II Programme override
7. III System Re-boot
The Bucket of Tentacles has certainly moved on since its inception in June 2012. Back then I knew I wanted to try and record my own stuff but only playing drums left a serious shortfall for recording full tracks on my own, so I purchased a basic keyboard. This then led to piano lessons with the idea to track my progress on piano and upload a few snippets of ideas. This site has since morphed into a whole load of content from basic piano tracks, full tunes, photography and more recently some painting. I don’t think I ever expected really to have this much content!
Onto the EP…. I moved to Manchester City Centre in August 2013 and it has been a huge life change. Very busy at my new job and right in the thick of it in the Northern Quarter. Listening back to these tracks, there is a definite difference in style. I’m hoping more developed, but definitely more ‘electronic’, which is a big change from my rock/metal roots.
I like to think that my surroundings have affected the style. It all happens round here, from the arty, sometimes glamorous bars in the NQ nestled in between the old, derelict run down buildings, the homeless struggling along, but several clutching mobile phones (a reflection of todays society), the fabulous curry cafes for lunchtime indulgence and the surrounding areas affluent travelling in for over-the-top priced beers and cocktails. Insanely talented street art around Thomas Street, Stevenson square and surrounding areas, the canals and River Irwell stretching out covered in more basic tags and dereliction. The café culture sipping cappuccino (even outside when it ever stops raining), and the stream of photographers coming to get their arty fix with a myriad of subjects, and of course, the Common Burger….. mmmmmm…….. Its a far cry from the suburbs of Birmingham. Has city life affected brain and been forged into my musical style? I like to think so. Another factor is the current resurgence of analogue, using the Korg Volcas for those dirty analogue sounds along with other new dance orientated gear/ drum machines has opened up a new stream of ideas – hence the name of the EP.
I hope you enjoy these tracks, I have certainly enjoyed creating them along with all the photographs and drawings that have been uploaded along the way.
Dedicated to two acronyms; the NQ for where it was mainly dreamed up, and VT the soon to become wife who has put up with the endless repetition of track after track whilst mixing and listening back. Thank you both.
Hard copies available in the shop.
Natural equilibrium restored…….
Part 3 – System Re-boot
will be left
Or bone rots
(Poem kindly used courtesy of Jon Adams @soundcube whose Twitter poems, other tweets and shares I very much enjoy).
(There may very well be a remix of this track with some additional collaboration, lyrics and guitar. So watch this space)
Some information on this series of tunes HERE
Geek Info: Sticking with the theme of “Get the F on with it”, this is another piece developed from a very quick idea over the weekend. Only two bits of kit used – all the synth sounds from the Novation Mininova and all drums from the …. *electronic drum roll*……. Roland TR-8. which is a fantastic drum machine modelled on the original TR808. I almost said “analogue drum machine” but its not – Its using the very best of modern technology to make it sound like something old. There must be some logic in there somewhere!
I’ve also been trying to do some painting recently. Not much time to dedicate to it, but I’ve followed a beginners book and did the classic bowl of fruit yesterday. Following a guide really showed me how little I know about painting, but it was incredibly enjoyable. The new “painting” area of the blog HERE
I’ve just had a great week in Keswick. Amazingly for England it has been roasting hot all week. Of course I had the camera snapping away. Landscape photography is a whole other skill to try and learn….. Some long-exposure shots would have been good to try out but as I don’t own a tripod, all but impossible. Here’s just a few snaps taken during the week.
Derwent Water at sunset
Just a window you say? What’s that hanging in one of the panes? A spooky run down shed somewhere around the lake.
Two stumps. And a lake.
Rowing boats (I took the easy option and went out on a motor boat instead!)
Action Dog (probably glad of the cool water)
Castlerigg Stone Circle (mainly uploaded so there is one without water in it!)
Not actually a concerto of course, but I played piano “live” for the first time last night, along with a few fellow students and my piano teacher Daria (as a duo with violin). It was a very nice night and great to hear everyone play. If you’d asked me three years ago if I’d be playing a grand piano in front of people at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, I’d have thought you’re insane, mainly because I had no intention of playing piano or living in Manchester, but it happened!
I didn’t record any of the show (and for my pieces considering some of the “experimental” notes I played its probably for the best), but would post the whole thing here if I had, so instead I recorded the three pieces I played but whilst sat at home. Sorry I cannot post any of the other players’ pieces. In the spirit of being live this was one take, warts and all.
1. Batoidia – a piece by me, dedicated to the beautiful family of rays and skates
2. After the Battle – One of the first pieces I learnt on piano
3. A Spanish Sketch – From the Jazz Piano Grade 3 book, I really enjoy playing this piece!
Here are all the playerz:
I decided to see what I could write, play, record, mix and post in an afternoon, and here it is. Most of my recent pieces have been veering along a dance/electronic path, so I tried to stick with more traditional instruments here. The name? The main rhythm is something I used for the song “Wetwork” in the metal band “…and fate was foolish”. The song was about… er…. murder, so this is the soundtrack before those horrific events occurred.
Wetwork (a prelude)
I trundled down to Birmingham last weekend, Cajon strapped to my back (very useful as a seat when waiting around) for a gig with “The Lowdown”. I posted the songs we recorded back in August HERE before I moved and since then they’ve carried on rehearsing (having beers and chatting) and have come up with a new set. So eight months later I was sent the new songs, we had a very quick run through them on the stairwell of the Lamp Tavern in Dudley and on we went!
Pete, a long time friend and recent band member, had his gigging and guitar/vocal debut and it went really well. I took along my Zoom R16 – the soundguy took a single feed from the desk straight into a mono-track so there wasn’t really much mixing I could do afterwards. We only played five tracks and the soundguy forgot to send the guitar to the track for the first couple of tracks so i’m not going to post those. Soooo……. here are three of them. Much beer and sore head the following day to say the least….. folk’n’roll…….
I Don’t Know
Onto other things….. Part 3 of the bionic tentacle trilogy is currently being re-programmed and will be up sometime soon. I’m still trying to juggle learning piano/recording/synthesis/software/drum programming/writing/theory/photography/drawing and spending too much time not doing any of it!
I’ve also added a links page HERE to just a few of the pages or places I enjoy, so check it out!