Blog Archives

Still lurking…..

I was rooting around some of my files today and I came across a couple of songs in production from earlier in 2016 which never got finished.¬† One of them because I just didn’t get round to it, but the other because I was eternally awaiting a bassline from Mat ūüėČ so it kind of got shelved.¬† Anyway I¬†thought I’d post them here so they¬†aren’t forever hidden on my hard drive.

First up, the tentatively titled, Muhgli, inspired by a visit to the curry house of the same name along the curry mile in¬†Manchester.¬† As I emerged from their WCs there was a traditional song playing so when I got home I got out all my hand percussion and recorded a similar beat.¬† Of course it then goes all drum’n’bass after.¬† There would have been quite a bit of work to be done with this, and I really wanted to get an “evolution” theme out hence the stealing of¬†some vocals from an online preacher.¬† Oh the irony of his statements!

Next up, is the working title of “chilled”.¬† Basic structure only, I wanted to get a bassline from Mat and ideally some vocals/guitar from Al but sometimes these things just never come to fruition.¬† Probably one of my most developed pieces in relation to chord progressions, I remember getting some good tips from my piano teacher.¬† I really liked the bridge towards the end which changes to a nice flowing 7/8 time.

Also, my only other finished piece that never made it onto one of the EPs so I’ll re-post.¬† Ectopic Beats.¬† A style of song I’d wanted to do for ages, big doomy riffs and chaotic beats.¬† Really enjoyed this one.

…and that’s the lot…… for the moment……

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Ectopic Beats

WALL

I’ve had an idea in my head for years about doing some kind of big doom metal track with crunching guitars and blast beats. I’ve finally got round to extracting the idea from brain to airwaves. Not content with keeping it straight “doom”, I’ve snuck in some 80s synth pop/rock, dark metal screaming, middle eastern twangs and some other synth warblings.

Not for the faint hearted or anyone with sensitive eardrums, here is ……. Ectopic Beats.

Techy stuff: All drums manually programmed on EZDrummer using the Drumkit from Hell kits, but I also managed to include a short section using the classic TR8 drum machine. For the first time I’ve also programmed all of the guitar lines (played through a Korg Kross) and most of the lead lines as well, using the in-built Cubase synth Halion Sonic. Its a totally different way of working and its been great to try something different and be able to change sounds after you’ve laid a part down, but then I don’t think you quite get the same vibe as “normal” recording. ¬†Great to give it a try though, and that’s what the music is about on the site, trying out different stuff! The Arturia Microbrute also features here, leaving programming at the door, that’s just big dirty analogue sounds and live tweaking.

On other subjects, running is becoming all time-consuming now with the next few weeks dedicated to building up my fitness to achieve a 50km run at the end of March. Followed by the Manchester Marathon two weeks later. It may be my legs that end up in a bucket rather than the tentacles after that. I’m doing the run for sponsorship, so if any kind souls out there want to sponsor me, please visit my JustGiving page HERE

 

Private Show (and some piano)

Private Show

I spotted this whilst out and about and had to get a picture.  The homeless man perhaps trying to enjoy a rare nice moment of life with a good read accompanied by some violin.  At least it gave me the title to this post: Private Show.

On to the point of the post, its been ages since I’ve recorded any piano, so here are a few pieces I’ve been playing in my lessons.¬† First up, is the start of Sarabande in D minor by Handel.¬† I played it a few times on piano and then switched to the strings setting and thought¬† it sounded better, so I recorded it like that.

Sarabande in D minor (Handel)

Here is the piano version too.

Next up is a piece I started learning over¬†two years ago, but then gave up on it.¬† I picked it up again recently so thought I’d record it.¬† It is¬†Bach, Prelude in C.¬† This has been difficult, firsty to keep up the consistency of the continuous rhythm, but then also inject some feeling into it because of its continuous rhythm, but here it is as a record of my progress.¬† The piece is fantastic, with some amazing chord progressions throughout.

Prelude in C (Bach)

Finally, a piece from Jazz Piano Pieces – Grade 2.¬† I bought the book because I wanted to try and do a few pieces that I can learn relatively quickly.¬† I’ve still found them tough though!

Contemplation (Tyner arr. Iles)

Just to finish off with a random picture, here is the outside of Victoria Station in Manchester City Centre.¬† Its an air-filled ETFE roof and looks great in the right light.¬† These couple of pics were from my new Lumix GX7, now at bargain price due to the release of the GX8.¬† I’ve not had much chance to try it out yet other than one quick wander round the city and I didn’t manage to capture much….

DStinton Victoria Station

The Illicium Lure (EP#3)

The difficult third album….. From what started as uploading a couple of sound snippets has turned into¬†three years of¬†music or noise uploads, loads of photos, and somehow a third EP.¬†¬†Here is the latest offering of tracks¬†recorded and uploaded¬†over the last year, this time¬†with some extras and a couple of minor remixes.¬† For the first time, this also includes a collaboration. Track 5 “Thalassa” features vocals written and performed by long term friend and band mate, Alistair Davies. Thanks Al!

The Illicium Lure

1. Lost (Self Inflicted Desolation)

2. Fleuve Parasseux

3. Streetwork

4. Interlude (Tango)

5. Thalassa

6. Cenotes

7. Interlude (Donkey Kong)

8. Number stations

9. Reload

How have “the tentacles” changed since the¬†last collection of tracks¬†“Analogue” in July 2014….?¬† I’ve continued piano lessons, learnt lots and¬†hopefully added more musicality to some these tracks,¬†certainly in Thalassa and Fleuve Parasseux.¬†¬†Listening back, several of the¬†tracks contain¬†improvised synth editing.¬† I’ve always tried to maintain an element of improvisation on¬†several of my¬†tracks but listening back I have no idea how, or what I did in some of the parts.¬† It would be unrepeatable which I think is great but also slightly frustrating!

So another year goes by, Life goes on… some tough moments at work, got married, some great experiences along the way, and a whole new passion for running. Long live the tentacles!

Get a printed copy from THE SHOP

For the copyright purists, for (nearly) the first time I’ve ‘stolen’ a couple¬†of bits and pieces, so here are the details: –

Track 1 –¬†A mere use of a pre-set¬†sequence from the Arturia microbrute, bite me.
Track 3 РThe very premise of this track was recording artists from the streets.  I actually tried to make contact to ask permission but received no response.  Some drums and beat boxing parts are recorded on an iPhone in Manchester City Centre.  The radio intro/outros are pretty much all live street recordings.
Track 4 –¬†A very short piece from a piano magazine introducing the style of tango. I enjoyed playing it so recorded it and solo’d over¬†it!
Track 7 – The beeps and boops are recorded from me playing my 1982 Nintendo Game and Watch Donkey Kong, still working today, move over PlayStation!
Track 8 –¬†Voices and number stations stolen from web postings on the subject. The whole track came together from¬†listening to parts on the web and adding some random synth warblings and a beat…¬†getting it¬†done off the cuff.

 

Fleuve Parasseux

Time to get back to the roots of this blog and get some music up! Here is my latest offering¬†– “Fleuve Parasseux”

River

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!)

 

Streetwork

DJ-Dog

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!

Urban Grime

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.

EDIT Doorway2

An intriguing doorway on Thomas Street

EDIT Short Street

Suspiciously lurking in Short Street.

EDIT Doorway

Go on. Phone them.

EDIT Brixton

This shop is clearly mistaken as to where exactly they have set up their business

EDIT Back Turner

“We’ve been building something”.¬† Have you? Where?

EDIT Street Fog

Bleak

EDIT Thomas

Grime at its finest.

EDIT Tentacles

Mighty tentacles.

 

 

 

Thalassa

Wave

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.

 

Some Noise and Blurred Pictures

This post does what it says on the tin –¬†a few snippets of noise and blurred pictures for the Squidren of BoT followers.¬†¬†First up a short snippet recorded direct onto my Korg Kross, so no mixing or editing, just play for a minute or so.¬† I’ve started using some of these chord progressions for my next “proper” piece so watch this space.

Idea

Next up¬†is a FreeSynth Improvisation, which means a few mins of random wobs and thrubs from a Volca Keys.¬† I love the sounds you can extract from these, I just need to do something creative with it ūüôā¬†It can be strangely hypnotic hunched over a little analogue device squeezing out random noises.¬† Viktoria suggested I was communicating with Whales.¬† But she might have meant Wales.

As this post is a bit of a mash-up, I also started (yesterday) trying to do some long(ish) exposure photography which seems all¬†the rage at the moment.¬† Camera in hand I wandered the streets of Manchester looking for things that were moving.¬† I’m too stingy to buy a tripod so also had to try and find¬†some kind of flat surface to rest the camera on (which severely limited composition), or¬†attempt to stand¬†very still which is pretty much impossible…….¬† It was a learning experience, but I’m going to upload them anyway!

Buses

Alienesqe – I may admit to using Photoshop a little bit

Buses3

Guess the bus number

tram

Depressing shot, because its on my route to work!

drums

The drummer almost ended up not being in the picture if he’d moved any faster!

Incredibly I’ve also started running, and have set up a page on this blog dedicated to it.¬† Check it out HERE¬† I’m currently training for the Stafford Half Marathon which will be a “fun” challenge.

 

 

Bucket of Tentacles – Analogue (EP#2)

The second ‘official’ release to crawl out of The Bucket.¬† This is the collection of my favourite pieces since the first EP.

CD400_out

1. „āī„āł„É© (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 

——————-

ALL TRACKS 

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 caf√© 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.