Blog Archives

He is sadly melting…


…. a couple more piano lesson pieces here…. I think they’re both grade 1 jazz piano pieces which have been good to learn especially as both have a couple of improvisation sections.

Blue Autumn (Eddie Harvey)

Blue Autumn – Organ (Eddie Harvey)

He is Sadly Melting (Phil Peskett)

Tech Specs: A couple of changes with my recording set-up ……. I purchased Cubase Elements so have used this to record both pieces, along with experimenting with the free (lite) version of EZ Drummer.

Its my first time with using MIDI drum samples and I’m quite impressed – its really easy to import some great drum loops BUT for my own original pieces it would feel too much like stealing so i’ll either programme from scratch or at least mess up the loops beyond recognition 🙂

The final part of the octology is in development with bits being added whenever I can.  I’ve been using the “drumkit from hell” samples and I’m just warming up the death metal vocals ……

The photo is a flame from todays BBQ…. mmmmmmm…..

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


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!


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!


Tentacle 5 (Trecena)


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.


No long text here, it’s the weekend, I woke up quite blurry and recorded this……………..

The blues….

In my last couple of piano lessons, i’ve been doing a bit of improvisation over a 12 bar blues phrase.  A few things are clicking into place now with scales etc. but it will take a while and a lot of practice.  I recorded the whole backing track with drums, bass, piano and clarinet (on keyboard) and then played piano over the top.  So here it is!


Also, just to prove I have been doing something else, below is a sneak preview of an initial idea that is likely to warp into Tentacle 5….   Its a loop in 5/4 time, created on my brand new Korg Microstation’s sequencer!!!  As i was working on some improvisation I thought i’d record the main loop and just have a go at a solo over the top.  No fancy recording, this was a video camera pointed at me, press record and go.  I’d had some beers (as you can see from the bottle of Stella in the pic – there was even a beer break during recording), so there are bum notes and dodgy timing all over the place (notice how I blame the beer) and it goes on a bit long because i was in the moment!  If this is spotted, i will simply defend it by saying it was “free-jazz” and therefore it is exactly as it is meant to be, its just the listener needs to pay more attention 🙂

So it was the first use of my new and final (haha) piece of gear – the Korg Microstation.  I love playing my Yamaha piano, but it has a very limited range of sounds.  Space is limited, so i searched around for something small with a vast array of sounds and came across the Microstation.  Its discontinued now, so was a bit difficult to track down.  I managed to get an ex-display one hiding on someones shelf in Glasgow for a good price (Guitar Guitar – who were very helpful – even for a bunch of string twangers ;o)  Its got a sequencer on board (although you’d need a PhD in computer science to be able to record a full song on it!), but its great for banging down some quick ideas like the clip above when I don’t really want to get the computer out.  Good times!

Tentacle 4

Emerging from the depths…….

Geekery – This was my first ever dive into the world of MIDI.  Last week i knew that MIDI was “that plug on the back of some of my devices that i’ve never used”.  So I hooked up my Yamaha piano and after much head scratching got it working with my software.  How fantastic to be able to change the sounds after recording them.  This started from some basic piano data which i just messed up with some VST synth – so its just a simple loop but i liked the “messed up” sound of it.  This opens up a whole world of possibilities for me!


Tentacle 2

This somehow began by listening to the magnificent “Gaspard de la nuit – Le Gibet” (1908).  I downloaded the sheet music and attempted to twist my fingers with my only aim to be to get through the first four chords.  I’ve since found out that due to my inability to read musical notation, I’d actually got about 90% of the notes wrong – which must mean they’re my notes now – thanks Maurice.

Those initial fumblings have now been warped into Tentacle 2 (Part 2 of the tentacle ………. octology).  There is only one part to it at the moment, so more may be added in future!

PS Since my last entry, the “Gear” pics have also been added.

So you wanna be a rock superstar?

No this isn’t about the Cypress Hill classic, its about my soon-to-be-ex Tama Superstar drum kit.  Whilst this site is dedicated to audio uploads this is a significant enough moment to share.  My drum kit is sold.  Its being picked up tomorrow.  Taking the ebay pics was painful enough but now its sitting calmly packed up ready to go.

They weren’t getting used and i still have v-drums to practice/record on.  My acoustic days are over……. for the moment…….  Goodbye Tama Superstar!

Tentacle 1

To get things going here is the first short idea to be added to the bucket (i’ll be more creative with names in future).   One of my first piano ideas, its meant to crawl up your leg like a sinister…er…. tentacle.  I couldn’t resist the sitar…….