Category Archives: Drums
How this site (and me) have changed since its inception in 2012. Loads of music has been uploaded, culminating in three short “releases”; Bucket of Tentacles (2013), Analogue (2014) and The Illicium Lure (2015). I’m very proud of what I managed to pull together as a “solo artist” since starting to learn the piano and its more than I ever really expected, but I developed a new passion, running, which I’ve gradually started sneaking into this blog. Like many things I’ve tried in life its become an all-consuming activity to the extent that there is no time for music and I unfortunately seem to have currently lost the desire. I go running, in the mud, instead and haven’t touched my piano since around April 2016.
I’ve really enjoyed blogging to this site, so I’ve been contemplating how to continue with a running theme, and have now set up an alternative blog at www.allhailthetrail.co.uk
For anyone interested in my running exploits then please have a visit and follow. Otherwise, thanks for following this blog and any comments along the way. I expect to continue uploading Bucket of Tentacles style photographs now and again and who knows, maybe some more squelchy synth noises and horror beats will re-appear.
Bucket of Tentacles is descending to the depths from where it emerged. For the moment…..
Time to get back to the roots of this blog and get some music up! Here is my latest offering – “Fleuve Parasseux”
What’s that rubbish picture I hear you say? Its a river of course, but I have taken the liberty of inconveniencing a few electrons and altered it using the free image “glitching” website available HERE
I love that we have access to fantastic technology, but then try and mess things up so that pictures look old, retro, faded and “glitched” or produce music then distort it to make it sound like its on tape, or add record scratches etc. Why do we strive for perfection and then try and quickly get away from it?
The track itself started as a piano piece which I recorded and then developed all the other parts around it. Whilst uncharacteristically “nice” for the most part, I tried to add my own “glitch”.
New EP coming very soon including a collection of tracks from this blog, a couple of new “interludes” and an older track with new vocals all over it (not by me thankfully!)
A sudden productivity spasm, here are a couple of new tracks. First up “Reload”, an erratic junglist noise-fest with some eastern vibes.
This was an initial try-out of the Roland JD-Xi synth, a crossover digital/analogue synth. Almost all of the track, including drums, are played/programmed on this synth. I even used the vocoder :o) Loving the dirty analogue vibes.
Next up is “Number Stations”. A number station is a mysterious coded shortwave radio broadcast known to be used during World War I and through to the Cold War to send messages to agents in the field…. These broadcasts sound really sinister so that’s the vibe I went with, this was quick, play some of the number station and throw some synth/drum improvisation over it. No icing here.
The picture? I actually hacked apart Victoria’s (old) computer, shone some green and blue lights at the circuit board and snapped away!
I have another new piece on the way, almost a proper piano track. Building up to EP#3 me’thinks.
The title inspired by Morbid Angel’s Hatework, here is a very non metal track including samples of street performers around Manchester.
The geek details: I used a recording of the drunkards in The Unicorn in my last track, so I decided to do some more ‘field’ recording in the City. I used my phone to record clips of various street performers, so not great quality. The core of the track uses a couple of short loops from a live drummer in Piccadilly Gardens and then some “phat” dubstep style beat boxing recorded on Market St for the breakdown. The “radio” intro also features me, Hare Krishna chanting and buskers playing the piano and singing.
In the interests of throwing it all in, I’ve used sounds of bassoon, analogue synth (bass and lead), piano, koto, charang, organ, gang chanting plus some extra programmed drums. The whole thing was a bit of an experiment and might be a bit erratic, but hey, that’s the way I like it!
Hopefully I’ll record a couple of classical piano pieces I’ve been learning soon!
Time off work means being able to throw some noise into the internet, so here it is.
My last “batch” of recordings were predominantly electronic-sounding so I’m trying to explore fusing some more natural parts with dirty synth. This has been slow going and only has a couple of sections, but with very limited time its been a track of bass one week, followed by the drums the next etc. I will certainly have to pull my finger out if I’m going to get a third EP out sometime in 2015….. For the music theory dorks, I’ve been messing around with ‘passing’ chords which is a technique to move from chord to chord by adding a bit of smokey jazz into the equation. As an example, rather than jumping straight from Gm to Cm, the in-between chord is Baug with a Db bass note. I use this technique a few times on this piece.
The pic? A warped photo of northern Fuerteventura with Lobos in the background……
Also here is a basic version of Clair De Lune I have been playing in my lessons. Whilst much “easier” than the full version, getting it to sound smooth and ‘romantic’ is another matter (especially when you’re a “metal” drummer at heart) and I’m not there yet but here it is anyway.
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 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)