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TR8

The Roland TR-8 encourages ‘performance’ control i.e. making changes and sounds to beats as you record rather than editing after, so I thought I’d try and get a quick “improv” done – here it is, just a single take of drums edited on the go and a few synth tracks unrolled over the top!  I’m hoping to get some “proper” tracks up and recorded soon as well as a classical piece I’m learning in my lessons (which will be tough work!), so watch this space.

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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. 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 

——————-

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 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.

Part 3 – System Re-boot

Natural equilibrium restored…….

Part 3 – System Re-boot

 

One day

No one

will be left

To know

We were

ever here

As the

last brick

Or bone rots

History

Will fall

Terminally

Silent

(Poem kindly used courtesy of Jon Adams @soundcube whose Twitter poems, other tweets and shares I very much enjoy).

Part 3 Image (Medium)

(There may very well be a remix of this track with some additional collaboration, lyrics and guitar.  So watch this space)

Some information on this series of tunes HERE

Gun-Yu Trilogy

Part 1 – Malfunction

Part 2 – Programme Override

 

ゴジラ

GD

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

Part 2 – Programme Override

As the malfunction spreads, the struggle intensifies to bring control back to where it truly belongs……

Robot-2-for-WP

Link to Part 1

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.

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.

Piano Lesson Piece and Electronic Noise

Zoom

The title of the post says it like it is.  A few sound bites to be uploaded today…. First up, a piano lesson piece I’ve been working on – Sails by Nikki Iles from the ABRSM Jazz Piano Pieces Grade 3 book.  It’s a really nice relaxed piece and as per most jazz pieces from the book has a solo section, which is not my finest moment, but of course whilst the red recording light isn’t flashing the solos flow out beautifully but are lost forever (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).

 

New Gear Noise

Also uploaded are a couple of off-the-cuff electronic mess-arounds.  I have just become the owner of the rather fantastic Korg Volca Beats analogue drum machine (my review on Amazon HERE), so I plugged this and my Mininova synth into my computer and just went for it.  Bearing in mind both of these are very new so I haven’t really had chance to understand how to use them properly, but in the interests of “just going for it”, I just went for it.  One take in one go and trying to play both things at the same time whilst not really knowing how to use either is a recipe for disaster, but it was great fun anyway!  7 hypnotic minutes (for me at least whilst I was doing it).  It will be great to get a proper piece recorded with these soon.

 

“Sounds a bit like Star Trek”

The final hammering upon the eardrums is another synth jam, again in the spirit of just going for it with no planning – it has four tracks one recorded after the other and according to Viktoria “sounds a bit like Star Trek”.  So that is what it is called.

I have a “proper” piece coming which I’ve actually thought about in advance, I have a few parts recorded trying to mix the organic with the absolutely none organic and I’ll hopefully get it uploaded soon!

The NQ

Here’s a quick mess around dedicated to my new home, the Northern Quarter in Manchester.  As with most Bucket of Tentacles uploads, I try and get a basic couple of bits down and then just improv over to top.  Dedicated to perfection….. I think not sar!  A bit of an experiment with programming drums and the Novation Mininova.

The NQ

Ridelow

I can’t wait to have a good wander round the city with my camera in hand, but the quick pic from my phone will have to do for the moment.  There is some fantastic street art around here, and lots of buildings full of character……

Next few tasks ahead are find myself a new piano teacher (why do so many not respond?!), record a few new piano pieces and then move into a warped next phase of BoT!  And of course, get Viktoria up here with me 🙂

Ode to Birmingham

BHAM

No where near as dramatic as it sounds…… With preparing for moving, I don’t have a huge amount of time to do any “proper” writing and recording, so here is a short moody piano improvisation (which yes, I know is not an ode!).  I had an idea with the left hand and just went for it, so excuse dodgy timing and notes! I recorded this on video camera so you get an ’email received’ bling bling somewhere towards the end, and a creaky piano chair!

Bonus Noise! After i got my new job, instead of cautiously saving money for the move, i instantly went out and bought a Novation Mininova. It has lots of buttons and switches for editing rather than pages of indecipherable menus, so is great fun to play with. Really nice bit of kit.  I can even justify the spend as I’ve just sold my Roland V-Drums which i owned for ten years.  I’m very sad to see them go, but we must move on.  So here’s a couple of messy video camera recordings of electronic type noises just to get me used to the buttons.  I’m looking forward to using it properly in some pieces.

A bit of junglist drums and low pitch rumblings (i may try and develop this into a full piece)

Just messing with the arpeggiator

For the record, its been unusually hot in the UK this week – 30 degrees.  Even playing piano has been hard work.

My only fan:

FAN