Blog Archives

Run Tentacles, Run

I’ve been dedicating some time to a new pursuit. Running. Very alien to me initially but I’ve become more and more attached to it. I put up a running page HERE a while ago but thought I’d put up a blog post related to any ‘significant’ runs I’ve done.

Two recent ones are the Stafford half marathon and the Radcliffe 10km multi-terrain.

I dedicated a lot of training time to the half and had an aim to complete in 1:50.  On the day I completely ignored all the good advice to stick to my plan and ended up with 1:41:28, a massive achievement for me. So either I didn’t initially aim high enough or somehow just managed to pull it out the bag.  Here’s the extract from my Nike Running page:

Stafford Half Marathon

Second up is the Radcliffe 10km multi-terrain.  This was tough.  Living in the city centre its pretty flat so to suddenly have to face some short and sharp hills really zaps the energy.  I ended up with a new 10km PB of 47:05.

Radcliffe 10km Route

Here’s a picture from Radcliffe, I don’t run, I levitate!

Radcliffe 10K 1521R

Photo copyright – Steve Bateman http://www.runningpix.co.uk/

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!

A Glowing City

I took a late Sunday afternoon stroll on Sunday, camera in hand to see what was happening around the City Centre.  I wanted to get some “people” shots, but sometimes its just not happening so I ended up looking out for nice architecture and buildings.  Of which there is loads!  It was a nice evening and once the light dropped a bit there was a nice orange glow everywhere.  A few of my favourites below.  The first one in particular worked really well, and it all got rather exciting as I got kicked off by security so had to rush the shots!

Arndale

Above Shudehill at sunset

Tunnel

Part of the Town Hall extension (I think)

Seat

Such extravagance! A light up seat

Rubbish2

Its not all good.  Scummy back alley.

NQ

The NQ.  My adopted home.  As much as I miss the Black Country, I wouldn’t have it any other way right now 🙂

Uppermill (Saddleworth)

I finally had an opportunity to try a few long exposure shots with water after a short train journey to Uppermill, a nice little village in Saddleworth.  It seems all the rage at the moment and I really like the “other worldly” effect you can achieve.  I’ll be searching for some more locations for better composition, but here are first few attempts….

water3 Water1 water4

Sombrero Sam (Piano Lesson)

The latest of my piano lesson pieces, but rather than use a piano sound, I split the keyboard into bass and electric piano (which I’m really enjoying the sound of at the moment even though its a bit “gritty”) and just went for it, along with the solo section.  Mistakes a’plenty but its being uploaded anyway.  I’m also learning a very trimmed down/basic version of Clair De Lune which I hope to record soon.  Whilst I know the piece, I’m not “familiar” with it, so Daria (piano teacher) played it to me at my last lesson.  Aside from the fantastic playing, it made me think how can anyone write that! Truly amazing and puts my usual throbs and squeaky electronic sounds firmly in their place.  I sometimes find it hard to strike a balance between listening to incredible music and taking it as inspiring, or making me want to quit as I can never be that good.  But onwards I shall go.

Learnt from ABRSM Jazz Piano Pieces Grade 3:

Sombrero Sam (Charles Lloyd arr. Will Micheal)

 

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.

 

 

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

Lake District (Keswick)

I’ve just had a great week in Keswick.  Amazingly for England it has been roasting hot all week.  Of course I had the camera snapping away.  Landscape photography is a whole other skill to try and learn…..  Some long-exposure shots would have been good to try out but as I don’t own a tripod, all but impossible.  Here’s just a few snaps taken during the week.

Sunset1 (Large)

Derwent Water at sunset

Window1 (Large)

Just a window you say? What’s that hanging in one of the panes? A spooky run down shed somewhere around the lake.

Derwent2 (Large)

Two stumps.  And a lake.

Boat (Large)

Rowing boats (I took the easy option and went out on a motor boat instead!)

Dog (Large)

Action Dog (probably glad of the cool water)

Castlerigg (Large)

Castlerigg Stone Circle (mainly uploaded so there is one without water in it!)