Blog Archives

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

 

Nightlife

Back to how it used to be, just throwing up a couple of quick snippets and pictures!  These were recorded a while ago whilst trying to learn how to use the audio recorder on my Korg Kross and I’d forgotten I’d even recorded anything.  Just messing around, one take, one track after the other.

Nightlife1

Nightlife2

I’ve been following a blog by SliceofLondonLife who’s photos I really enjoy taken on the streets of London.  Most of his/her (? the beauty of the internet!) shots are capturing a moment never to be repeated.  I find that very appealing so I wandered round the local streets and took a few quick pics.  I found myself a bit self conscious though pointing cameras at random strangers, so most of the shots ended up blurred or didn’t quite capture what I was after because I was rushing – lesson learnt for future trips! But here are a couple of them:

NQ1 for WP

The Northern Quarter warming up early Saturday evening

NQ2 for WP

Beermoth, quality beers, and a nice silhouette….

Heaton Skyline for WP

City View from Heaton Park

I’ve also joined Soundcloud, which seems to actually generate a few random hits! Check it out 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

Part 1 – Malfunction

In the beginning, there was only 01100001 01101110 01100001 01101100 01101111 01100111 01110101 01100101

 Chapter1-Picture

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!