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 😉 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……
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
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.
It wouldn’t be right to have a musical blog without an official release, so here it is, the very first Bucket of Tentacles EP. The anticipation is all my own, but this is a collection of my favourite pieces over the last year, along with a very limited edition CD cover (limited in that there is only one).
Bucket of Tentacles (17.5 hot minutes)
“My short collection of sounds inspired by, and dedicated to, the underwater world. Like animals and habitats around the world, constantly under threat of destruction. The majesty of the ocean and all that is within it should be preserved. Let the tentacles rule.
All music taken from the Bucket of Tentacles blog, which has, and continues to be, a gradual progression of musical learning and exploration.”
Next steps are …… more piano practice, more composition practice, more mixing practice, and hopefully another EP…..
The Life Side
The Death Side
5. Big Mouth No Voice
7. Last Chance to See
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 🙂
A toxic-trio of short electronic pieces:
A first for the bucket, nothing played on piano here – all recorded using the magnificently titled “Kaossilator” by Korg. This is a handheld unit which has two “banks” to allow you to record two eight bar loops, loads of cool features, defintely geared towards the dance market. I’ve only had it a week or so, so i’ve been messing around and these are the first few loops i came up with.
Have a few piano ideas developing, and a new piece of gear on the way (!!!), so hope to get some new pieces up soon!