Monday, 30 May 2011

Five days to go......

......until the Bungay Bash!!!

Final preparations are being made whilst rehearsing on such things as synth patches, creating folders on the computers for the three sets I'll be playing in and some last minute synth programming.

Clothing is another important aspect for me because I believe that image is important. I'm not content to stand there with my back to an audience in a pair jeans and a t-shirt. That means three sets and three changes of clothing :-)

The Geigertek set is sounding good and I'm pleased with it. New versions of the tracks from "The Garden" sound quite nice and fit nicely with the rest of the set, as does the new material, of which there is an "excerpts" section and a full track.

If you haven't got tickets, get some, the music overall sounds great.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Ian Boddy - Odyssey


ANother interesting little video featuring leading U.K. synthesist and sound esigner, Ian Boddy, talking about the release of his "Odyssey" sound sample pack.

A great collection of sounds.

Midge Ure on Melodyne

Just seen this on Synth Nut's blog. Aside from the Ultravox/Midge Ure aspect (I'm a huge fan of MU and Ultravox), this is a great little video about a fascinating piece of software - if you're into that sort of thing of course (which I am).

New Computer - for nothing!!!

For a while now, I've had to use my PC for live performance, something I've been very uncomfortable with because I have EVERYTHING on it including photographs and music. So you can imagine my absolute joy when today, through a site called Freegle, I came across an unwanted Pentium 4 PC in working order.

I picked it up this afternoon, re-formatted the hard drive (80 gig which is plenty for my needs), and added a decent graphics card and 2 gig of DDR 333 memory from an old PC we have lying around and wow, a working PC that is perfect for live work. Tomorrow morning will see soft synths and a modular environment installed ready for some serious rehearsing tomorrow afternoon.

It's kind of weird because at the same time, the timing of this PC arriving is both perfect and terrible :-) Perfect, because it means I don't have to use my main computer, terrible because of the extra work needed to prep it - but hey, a small price to pay.

Just goes to show that good things can happen when you least expect them :-)


Rehearsals Underway :-)

First proper day of rehearsals following the total fiasco getting the backing tracks sorted.

It's already sounding good!!!

There are some re-workings of tracks from the first Geigertek album "The Garden" and they are sounding great - I now want to re-record the entire album!!! X-D

The pieces from the new album, "Soundtrack For City Living" are coming along nicely and I hope will showcase the overall style and feel of the album.

Bits and pieces of programming are now being done on the MIDI keyboards, ensuring all the settings are right and the synth patches are in the right order!!! Alannah is using an Evolution MIDI keyboard controller connected to a laptop and she'll be using Albino 3, Korg Legacy Collection and Novation V-Station, all going through Kjaerhus Classic effects units.




Backing Tracks Done At Last......!!!

As the title says, the backing tracks for Bungay Bash on the 4th June 2011 have finally been completed :-)

I've just sent them over the AD Music for video graphics to be prepared for them, which will no doubt be absolutely stonking.

With the backing tracks done, I can finally get down to some serious rehearsing. This of course means that the photography and Urban Exploring will be on hold for the next 10 days.

My set is varied. I'm opening with a quirky cover version which hopefully have the "WTF???!!!" factor - it'll be interesting to see if the attendees get it. Plenty of ambient-ish stuff, a bit of up-tempo, a couple of bits from the new Geigertek album "Soundtrack For City Living" and heading back to my musical roots with a bit of classical from the first geigertek album, "The Garden".

All that remains now is to get practicing. My daughter Alannah is joining me on stage playing keyboards and she tells me she's looking forward to it. We're both looking forward to being filmed by the AD Music boffins as there are plans to release a DVD of the performance - more news on that when I get it!!! If the set goes well, I may make inquiries with AD Music about the possibility of a live CD release - nothing like pushing your luck ;-)

Time for bed, it's been a  long day chained to the studio computer, but I think the result has been worth it :-)

Nite nite.

Neil x

Monday, 23 May 2011

Tempus Fugit

Okies, computer disaster this weekend - infact, everything disaster this weekend!!!

I installed an old webcam onto my laptop and PC which seriously badly conflicted with the sound drivers and hen I tried to resolve it all, it looks as though I made things a whole lot worse. So, I had no alternative but to completely re-format and am now about to re-install the software - quite a task considering there's under two weeks to the Bungay Bash.

Took off for an explore early yesterday morning around a derelict industrial estate on the Suffolk/Essex borders. It was quite a fight getting onto the site owing to fences, workmen and nettles. Access was gained and we started our explore only to be busted within 15 minutes and only managing to get a couple of pictures. So, we were philosophical about it, it happens and you just go with it. We then took off to Rougham Hall near Bury St. Edmunds - and guess what!!! Yep, not even 5 minutes and the head gamekeeper was on us. A very pleasant man who we stopped and chatted to for a while, but alas, not one shot was fired off.

It's very nose to the grindstone this evening to get the computers up and running again. I'm looking forward to when the gig has been done and I can get back to work on "Soundtrack For City Living" and get on with sorting out the Little Shoppe for my personal website as well as getting out and about with The Fuji :-)

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Playing live - some doubts

Okay, let's get it right before I start - these are going to be personal views andnothing to do with anyone else. Also, I am seriously looking forward to the Bungay Bash on the 4th June at the Fisher Theatre in Bungay. A great line-up with some great music thoughout the day and I can't wait to get up on the stage and do my thing in three of the four acts as well as meet those that will attend who like what we do - that's the best part :-)

So, the title of the blog has the words " some doubts". And I've got them, I have to say. But my doubts are more to do with the return from so much time expenditure preparing for these events when looking at the falling numbers of people attending. Now, at this stage, I have no idea of how many tickets have been sold for the Bungay Bash, so what I'm saying really stems from the things I read from fellow electronic/electronica musos across the spectrum. I read today of an electronica event up North that offered some quality music (I know because I've heard some of the stuff live first hand), a decent venue and plenty of advertising and media exposure, yet very few people turned up and there is a question as to whether or not the event will be held again. The Hampshire Jam has finished and numbers for the European events are not good. And that's just a few from the many that I have read about.

So my doubts about playing live electronic/electronica music are to do with the question: is it worth bothering with? Don't get me wrong, I love playing live, it's a buzz and when you get a good audience, it's very rewarding from the artisitc point of view. But, a lot of time is put into preparing a set, practicing and sorting out venues etc, but if people don't come, there seems little point. I've noticed more and more that musicians are starting to question the validity of the live performance these days and I find it hard to believe that I am now one of them. Is it becoming a waste of time? Should I be looking at other ways of presenting the music?

The second question is the more valid one for me and I'm considering moving away from wanting to do gigs here there and everywhere, but perhaps dabble with the notion of the Internet concert. Now some will say, "oh, doing it from your living room, not really professional and not the same as actually being there, so what's the point" - fair comment, but where is the fairness and what is the point of any musician investing time and money for a couple of dozen people and whole load that don't turn up?

Times are changing fast and whilst it's fair to say that the musician has to move with the times, so does the listener. Lack of support for live events is seeing an accelerating decline in those events being held now, so much so that soon, there may be none left for the fans not to attend.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Preparing!!!

Things are in full swing now for the up-and-coming Bungay Bash at the Fisher Theatre in Bungay being organised by those awfully nice people at AD Music.

I received a phone call about an hour or so ago from David Wright to say that my live set for the gig needed to be extended from it's present 45 minutes to an hour. This is because the Geigertek set, which will see my daughter making her live debut playing keyboards, is going to be filmed for DVD release!!! Very exciting. Now I have to choose a couple of tracks and sort out suitable backings for them!!!

Had our first Code Indigo rehearsal yesterday and it was very productive - it will sound great and I'm really looking forward to it.

My live rig is looking good and working just fine. I'm using a two MIDI keyboards from Evolution (MK261 and MK449C), a mark I Novation SL61 (as previously owned by David Wright), PC, a laptop and Roland JV-2080. On the PC and laptop, things are being controlled through EnergyXT - I have the 1.4.1 version which, in my view, was the best. Among the soft-synths I'm using are the Korg Legacy Collection (Wavestation in particular), the Minimogue fromn Glen Stegner (a freebie Minimoog emulation VST that sounds fantastic) and the Novation V-Station. The JV-2080 is proving to be a great asset with some gorgeous "moving" sounds - works great on some of the Geigertek tracks.

So, back to the computer to get the extra tracks sorted :-)

I'll be posting some pics of the live rig (as set up in the spare room!!!) soon :-)

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Backing Tracks Done!!!

At last - the backing tracks for the Bungay Bash gig are done!!! At the time of writing, they are currently making their way to my Dropbox account ready for the music magicians at AD Music to do their bit :-)

I have to say, it's been a labour of love from start to finish, not least because of equipment difficulties and time. For someone such as I who is presently unemployed, I seem to have a shortfall of time. Can't figure that one out.

So, the next phase is rehearsal - I've got the keyboards set up in the spare bedroom ready - all I need to do now is transfer the PC and laptop to the said room and away we go. But before that happens, there'll be a Code Indigo rehearsal this coming Tuesday.

Time to sign off, eat some Guernsey rum 'n' raisin fudge, drink some cherry flavoured Vimto and then I might think about a shower - exciting stuff huh?




Saturday, 7 May 2011

Update:-)

Been a while since I last posted anything - really need to get on top of that!!!

Well it has been a  busy time, I have to say. The Urbex Excursion just before Easter was great fun and saw the Fuji getting a good run-down in five separate locations, including a wonderful 17th century manor house in the Cotswolds. The pics are on my Flickr page and I've added a couple of tasters below.

Things are in full swing for the Bungay Bash next month. My set is just about ready for me to start rehearsing - it's approximately 45 minutes long and consists of three tracks from "The Garden", three tracks from "The Timeless Mind", one track from the forth-coming "Soundtrack For City Living" and "quirky" opening piece which work or it will not :-) The first rehearsal for the Code Indigo slot is this coming Tuesday 10th May, albeit without guitarist Andy Lobban - he'll be joining us for a weekend of rehearsals starting on the 14th May 2011.

Because of the preparations for the Bungay Bash, I've had to put "Soundtrack For City Living" on hold, a lack of equipment is is meaning that I'm having to use my PC as part of my stage setup. No matter, once the gig is over and done with, my priority is to finish the album ready for an August release, naturally through AD Music.

Work on the Trinity project is finally underway. We have a wonderfully chiled out piece called "Lazy Heaven" - a cornucopia of acoustic guitar, subtle understated rhythms and luscious inter-weaving pads.

Photography and explore-wise, lots been happening. Several little trips out, including one with a chap called Clive Dunn (not the Dad's Army bloke!!!). Clive has spent the last 40 years working in broadcast television with both the B.B.C. and I.T.V., 25 years of which as a documentary film-maker and has have held several media company directorships in Norwich. He has a passion for photography and is intrigued with urban Exploration, which is how we met. We share an interest in landscape archaeology and are planning to do some related explores later in the year. Other projects are also in discussion and I'll let you know more about them soon. Anyway, we had a couple of trips out to a number of local locations including Bessingham Manor, the Lime Kiln at Newmarket Road in Norwich and Briggate Mill. My photos of these places can be seen on Flickr.

I've got a number of plans for the near future, and all will start happening after the Bungay Bash. One of the first things will be a complete re-do of my personal website, I want to stream-line it and make the galleries a little easier to view. After recent successes with my photos and after some cajoling from friends and loved ones, I'm also going to be adding a little e-shop where I will be selling prints of selected photos and also my music, including the brilliant compilation albums from AD Music. I have two other projects as well as "The Little Shoppe" and I'll be talking about these more later in the year :-)

So, it's been a busy time, and it's going to be a busy time. And it's all good - better than sitting around doing nothing. Talking of which, time to get on with some more gig preparation!!!

Laterzzz!!!

N xxx