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 😉 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……

All change…

Tentacles-for-WP

How this site (and me) have changed since its inception in 2012.  Loads of music has been uploaded, culminating in three short “releases”; Bucket of Tentacles (2013), Analogue (2014) and The Illicium Lure (2015).  I’m very proud of what I managed to pull together as a “solo artist” since starting to learn the piano and its more than I ever really expected, but I developed a new passion, running, which I’ve gradually started sneaking into this blog.  Like many things I’ve tried in life its become an all-consuming activity to the extent that there is no time for music and I unfortunately seem to have currently lost the desire.  I go running, in the mud, instead and haven’t touched my piano since around April 2016.

I’ve really enjoyed blogging to this site, so I’ve been contemplating how to continue with a running theme, and have now set up an alternative blog at www.allhailthetrail.co.uk

For anyone interested in my running exploits then please have a visit and follow.  Otherwise, thanks for following this blog and any comments along the way.  I expect to continue uploading Bucket of Tentacles style photographs now and again and who knows, maybe some more squelchy synth noises and horror beats will re-appear.

Bucket of Tentacles is descending to the depths from where it emerged.  For the moment…..

The Bucket

 

 

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

 

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!

Cenotes

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.

Lost (S.I.D.)

TRAM2

自傷行為荒廃

The tale of being……  well……. messed up.

The boring stuff: A track mere days after the last one? That’s right, in stark contrast to my last effort, yesterday this was turn on the gear and GO, write/play/record and mix in a few hours.  I’ve just added another track and re-mixed today, and in anti-perfectionist mode, that is how its staying.  Mainly using my new Arturia Microbrute (drums on a Roland TR-8) this is lots of dirty analogue noise, and a bit of frantic energy.  I have no idea why but I kept thinking of the classic 80s Sega game Space Harrier.  Megadrive on ebay anyone?

Welcome to 2015.

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 🙂 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.

 

 

Cheesy 80s Keyboard Blues Sounds

I picked up a book from Oxfam recently, “Play it Again, Chester – Boogies, Rags and Blues for Piano”.  These are beginners pieces, so it was nice to be able to pick up a piece of music and learn it relatively quickly.  I’ve spent a bit of time during piano lessons on these too and have been meaning to record these for a while, but hadn’t got round to it.  What better to do on a bank holiday than waste some time recording on an 80s keyboard!  I took the old Casiotone 405 from the top of the wardrobe and recorded three of the pieces from the book.  I would hope it goes without saying that these are intentionally….. er……. crap sounding, with the old drums backing tracks.  I realise it may be difficult to tell the difference between these synth sounds and a real piano, electric guitar and organ 🙂

Merry Go Round

Here they are, cheesy tracks just for fun.  Play it again, Chester….. whoever you are.

Blue Waltz (Carol Barratt) 
Lazy Haze (Carol Barratt)
Navy Blues (Carol Barratt)

The keyboard they were recorded on:

Casio Polaroid

 

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