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The New Wave

Here is the new beginning of the Bucket.  Now the tentacles rule, only the mighty waves holding back their slithering wrath.

The-new-wave

What all that means of course is a new piece! Similar in style to my last post, this is a development of the theme… the bionic-tentacle world.  A push on the drum programming (especially the death metal fills towards the end) and still exploring the synth world – its so different to the natural vibe I’ve tried to use before.  More to come……  Other news, I have found a new piano teacher in Manchester – very talented classical player from Ukraine – I’m looking forward to getting back into regular lessons again – and of course some pieces I learn will be posted here.

Also – check out a friend of mines book – Twitch Rises – fantastic descriptive horror writing!

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Last Chance to See (Tentacle 8)

T8-pic

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 🙂

Tentacle 5 (Trecena)

Basillica

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.

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!

Micro

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 3

Tentacle 3

Here commeth Tentacle 3.  I’ve had loads of short ideas buzzing around and finally got round to getting some of them recorded.

The details: I originally played the rhythm on v-drums, but it didn’t quite sound right for the laid back vibe i wanted, so I had a quick mess around on the cajon played using Vater cajon brushes

In the interests of going completely over the top, I double miked it! A bass drum mic at the back and a shure instrument mic at the front.  With a lather of reverb, I love the result!  I didn’t think a wooden box with a hole in could sound so cool!

I’ve also done my first ever short piano “solo” and, randomly, a shamisen solo (on keyboard of course).  These were unplanned or rehearsed, so are left in with warts and all.

Credit also goes to the Blackbird in my garden who features in the track too.

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 …..er……. 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.