Category Archives: Drums

Blue Note

Strictly speaking this is a piano lesson piece, but rather than record it pure piano (mainly because I can’t play both hands together yet), I’ve added some sax, drums and bass.  Its taken from Alan Haughton’s “Rhythm and Rag” book.  Its great to play because the basslines are very James Bond.  The picture? It’s a shark….. because ……well …….er ……. they’re a little bit “James Bond” aren’t they? Also, its about time this blog got back to it’s slippery roots.

Blue Note (Alan Haughton)

SHark

The Moth (M.C.)

london underground

The Moth (M.C.)

The idea for this track came after I recorded the sounds emerging from a building site around the corner from my flat (as you do).  The first beat you hear is me hitting a shelf in an empty room in my house so it had a nice echo to it.  I put those two parts together and hey presto, there is the start of the track.  This has taken my computer to breaking point, mainly as there are three distinct sections; the intro section with organ and “old bar piano”, the techy middle section (causing much jumping around and even some “big-fish-little-fish-cardboard-box” type-dancing) and finally a few sinister hospital-type effects, dropping into some crunching rhythmical metal rhythms.  Then end!

The vocals are a few short sentences from Lev Shestov’s Potestas Clavium (Metaphysical Consolation).  I’ve just started reading this so am nowhere near understanding it.  It appears to be a very religious theme, but I interpret the sentences I read out as the absolute opposite – science never believes it has understood everything, and is on a constant quest of learning and understanding.  The use of this is completely inspired by the Secret Chiefs 3 song of the same name.

Tech specs – This track pretty much evolved and was written as I went along pulling in ideas that were influencing me at the time.  I’ve used my full arsenal of equipment here, layers of EZDrummer programmed drums, techno beats from the Korg Volca beats and even the live recording of a shelf being hit. I’m exploring the Korg Kross’ potential so have used a variety of patches, from the organ, piano and music box in the first section, the electronic middle section (supplemented by Mininova arpeggiator – great when you can’t think of anything else to do!) through to the crunching guitar of the end section – its been great to layer the guitars to get such a big sound.  Its also a challenge playing something on a keyboard that sounds like it could come from a guitar. I’ve tried my best.

For the first time I’ve also used some public domain samples including old army radio static, record slow down and a stolen (I like to say its me paying homage) sample from a classic rap album (answers on a postcard).

There is a potential for a re-mix too with a contribution from Mutate – moulding the soundscapes.

End.

Tweeting is Cheating

I’ve finally moved into the modern age so am diving headfirst into “the internet” and have set up a Twitter account associated with this blog.  I had a Twitter account a couple of years ago but ended up barely looking at it.  If I’m honest I didn’t quite “get it” as I didn’t particularly want to tweet anything, and there seemed to be an endless stream of stuff I either wasn’t interested or didn’t understand.  Here is a second attempt, slanted towards music, music tech and anything I upload to this blog.  So…. add me / friend me or whatever it is you need to do!

Twitter

@BucketTentacles

New track and some piano lesson pieces coming soon!

Reflections

I’ve recorded this piece over the weekend and have titled it ‘Reflections’ in relation to my other post earlier today on Remembrance Day.

Reflections

Reflections

Tech details – mixing this has made me realise I definitely need some new monitors. My old unbranded monitors, kindly butchered into ‘active’ speakers with a Maplin amp by BigBadBeezer have had their day. Time to go shopping…..

I managed to get completely covered in wires by trying to use most of my gear – the Korg Kross features heavily for the more natural sounds, along with warped electronic sounds from the Novation Mininova. Drums are programmed using EZDrummer, but I also dropped in a few subtle parts on the Korg Volca Beats. I was trying to mix natural sounds with electronic and quite like the result.

In the spirit of rambling on, I am also particularly excited about the new Secret Chiefs 3 album which is currently somewhere between California and Copperas St.  Ten years in the making by the sound architect Trey Spurance it is sure to be a gem.  Their music for me is such an uplifting experience – it is a completely different level – the detail, the playing, the composition, the recording quality is unrivalled. Yet the world watches X-Factor…….  sigh…… arrive soon Book of Souls: Folio A.

The New Wave

Here is the new beginning of the Bucket.  Now the tentacles rule, only the mighty waves holding back their slithering wrath.

The-new-wave

What all that means of course is a new piece! Similar in style to my last post, this is a development of the theme… the bionic-tentacle world.  A push on the drum programming (especially the death metal fills towards the end) and still exploring the synth world – its so different to the natural vibe I’ve tried to use before.  More to come……  Other news, I have found a new piano teacher in Manchester – very talented classical player from Ukraine – I’m looking forward to getting back into regular lessons again – and of course some pieces I learn will be posted here.

Also – check out a friend of mines book – Twitch Rises – fantastic descriptive horror writing!

Last Chance to See (Tentacle 8)

T8-pic

Last Chance to See (Tentacle 8)

I started this blog in June 2012 by uploading “tentacle 1” and mentioning that I may do an “octology”.  A year later and I have reached the final tentacle – Tentacle 8.  As it turns out, the octology didn’t work out as eight beautifully moulded and crafted soundscapes, but more a random kludgeon of pieces that happened to end up with a similar name.  Whilst I’ve been uploading plenty of other stuff in the last 12 months, I’ve reserved the “tentacles” for the slightly more warped side of my taste…… so, here is Tentacle 8 – completely inspired by the Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine book – Last Chance to See.  I would have loved to accompany this with a photo i’d taken of any of the animals in the book, but that rapidly becoming almost impossible  …….

All self-programmed drums this time, using the Drumkit from Hell samples from EZdrummer.  The rest is all from the Korg Microstation and my guttural growls.  I strong-armed Victoria into a couple of vocals at the end too 🙂 Thanks VT.  The last year has been a massive learning curve on so many things, piano, keyboard, melody, composition, mixing, music software, MIDI, even photography and picture editing, and a slight bit of drawing ….. so much more to learn 🙂

Tentacle 7 (Big Mouth)

T7-Image

Tentacle 7 (Big Mouth)

Start with moody piano line whilst leaning on the sustain pedal, add a little bit of upbeat oddtime mush, stir in a happy hardcore ending and sprinkle with a tiny bit of MC’ing and what do you get? Tentacle 7 of course!  Inspired mainly by tapping on my desk when i’m meant to be working, the recent Fish Fight TV shows, and the great work of the Marine Conservation Society …….. Big Mouth…. No Voice…..

I’ve finally made better use of the v-drums and recorded multi-track parts to hopefully get a better mix, and i actually sort-of planned this one before recording, so i could actually just play the parts rather than trying to stitch ideas together.  There are loads of different sounds and tracks so its actually became quite a nightmare to keep track of it all and mix – I’ve actually had another go, and uploaded again on 3rd March with a few changes 🙂

This of course means the octology is drawing to a close so i’ll have to actually start thinking of a name for future projects!  Its been a mixed bag with 3, 5 and 7 being by far the most involved – I always have preferred odd numbers though!  So it only leaves Tentacle 8 ……. which will likely be a horrifically noisy metal track…..

(Credit to Bradley the Betta Splendins for posing for the photograph)

Tentillum 6

I had two short ideas for Tentacle 6 based on the same chord progression.  I did intend to develop them into a full piece (and may still do that), but thought i may as well toss them, still wriggling, into The Bucket.  I’m using these pieces to practice soloing, the one in 7/4 is interesting to stay in sync with, so the lead lines (as you can tell!) are off the cuff.  Such care and attention to detail also led me to mix them in approximately 10 minutes.  Perfectionist me…

Jellyfish edit1

Tentillum:

I’ve actually uploaded a far few musical snippets now, so I’ve also re-arranged The Bucket into some very broad categories.  I really just wanted to separate what are intended as full songs from those which are just quick rough and ready ideas.

 

Welcome to 2013!

Bridge

2013 rolls around, and looking at my blog I couldn’t leave a Christmas tree picture as the last post as it’s the last thing anyone wants to see during the bleakness of January! So I needed a new year post!!  Having time off work has been good to spend some time practising, messing around with a few new gadgets (gear page updated soon!), and generally eating and drinking too much.  To help me get used to the user interface of the Zoom R16, I quickly recorded these two short pieces.  Test 2 is me practicing “soloing” over a few chords, so is a bit sloppy, but it’s being uploaded anyway! Victoria also bought me some headphones for Christmas (Shure HD215) so it’s been good to play piano and listen to mixes through some better quality phones!

Test 1

Test 2

Listening back to the pieces I’ve uploaded since I started this blog in June last year, I can hear a definite quality difference in the recording and composition, often because some pieces i’ve uploaded i’ve spent far more time on as they have several instruments or sections, whereas others have been just a quick idea without too much behind them.  For the New Year, I’m going to pull out the pieces i believe are “more complete” to hopefully pull together a selection of songs, and dare i say the word solo EP!

On new ideas, I have the beginnings of Tentacle 6 whirring around and I’d also like to record a few more piano lesson pieces sometime soon.

Resolutions? None…. Just keep practicing, playing, recording, messing about and inevitably buy different gear!

Here’s to a good year to everyone!

Studio2

Tentacle 5 (Trecena)

Basillica

The tentacle octology slithers on as Part 5 rears its ugly head.  Partly dedicated to the potential end-of-the-world “predicted” by the Mayan calendar the track is my audio depiction of before, during and after.

Tentacle 5 (Trecena) 

Geek Area:

Original drums recorded on vdrums, but I really didn’t like the way they sounded (i’ve been having problems getting a good recording from them and trying not to blame my playing), so I used a loop from the kaossilator and hacked it up to be in 5/4 time.  All remaining recording from the Korg Microstation excluding the final piano section.