During my short walk to work, as I edge round the corner into Thomas Street, I’m quite often greeted by a sunrise that almost deserves an applause. Its always on my “to do” list to force myself out of bed on a weekend and be out early with my camera to capture the Northern Quarter in such a great early morning light. This weekend….. I got up, emerged from my flat to a sky that resembled a dishcloth. Then it started to snow on me. Undeterred I wandered the streets anyway and took a few pics as the mist gradually descended, some things aren’t just meant to happen eh? Typically I walked to work the next day and was greeted by a sunrise that could win awards…….
Enough of the moaning, the grim morning and deserted Northern Quarter streets were thoroughly enjoyable so I snapped away merrily trying to capture what I’ve titled here as the Urban Grime. This area is scattered with bars filled with patrons sporting poetic beards and colourful tattoos, oozing a “vintage” vibe which clearly justifies adding £1 to the price of a beer, but alongside that are many abandoned buildings and dubious looking structures, each giving a hint of a time gone by. Here is a bit of “Urban Grime” without a trendy bar in sight. As I uploaded I soon realised I seem to have become obsessed with pictures of doors, no doubt behind each lies a wealth of stories and history.
To accompany the pics here is an quick improvised piece using an arpeggio and drum beat from my keyboard, but connected to my new analogue “Microbrute”. This had the cool effect of the arpeggio triggering the minbrute which meant I could concentrate on warping the sounds throughout. Press record, one hand on keys and the other twiddling dials and it was recorded. A couple of edits to pan parts of the synth track and that was that. Maybe a bit repetitive, but it all turned out rather dark and nasty. Great.
An intriguing doorway on Thomas Street
Suspiciously lurking in Short Street.
Go on. Phone them.
This shop is clearly mistaken as to where exactly they have set up their business
“We’ve been building something”. Have you? Where?
Grime at its finest.
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.
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
An all photography post here. I went on a beginners photography course the other day and whilst I’d previously picked up quite a bit from the net and magazines, it was good to have someone drumming the main principles of photography into you, balancing exposure, shutter speed and ISO. We got ejected into the centre of Manchester during lunchtime to try out our new-found skills so here are a few I took. I’ve taken a lot of “stills” over the last few months so I focused on capturing people this time….
This live drumming enchanted the little girl (and me) ……
Fantastic hair – this young lady was facing the other way and spun round as I took the photo. I think she caught me!
Al fresco dining and al fresco living …….
Sax in the Northern Quarter
I’ve recorded this piece over the weekend and have titled it ‘Reflections’ in relation to my other post earlier today on Remembrance Day.
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.
Here is the new beginning of the Bucket. Now the tentacles rule, only the mighty waves holding back their slithering wrath.
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!