Tuesday, 30 August 2011

"Soundtrack For City Living" Update

Well what a day it has been, and a good one at that :-)

I had a very positive telephone call this afternoon from the dudes at AD Music, full of praise for "Soundtrack For City Living". Bar a couple of VERY minor volume/EQ tweaks, it's there, done and dusted. There was particular praise for the two vocal tracks, John Foxx's "Underpass" and "Devil May Care". Generally speaking, vocals and electronic music don't always go together, but I have always been one to beg to differ - I hope everyone who hears these tracks will agree. I also had an e-mail from the webmaster of the official John Foxx website Metamatic, a very pleasant fellow called Rob Harris, giving me permission to use a couple of terrific cityscape pictures he took in Tokyo as part of the artwork for the CD. The two pictures have just the right feel and look for the concept of the album and I'm very grateful for Rob's permission to use them.



And on top of that, the date and time has been set for next week for the photo shoot at Benge's Play Studio. This is a great project for me and one that I simply cannot wait for. I shall certainly be prepping as much as I can before the day. And being as I will be in London, I'm of a mind to take in a little something of an Urbex nature after the session at Play Studio finishes ;-)

Thus far, a good day :-)


Sunday, 28 August 2011

Grasshoppers

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Grasshoppers, a set on Flickr.
Some snaps I took of the little jumping blighters in my back garden. Something different to the usual derelict buildings and rotting cars :-)

Honey Pot Wood, Norfolk, U.K.

Honey Pot Wood, Norfolk, U.K.Honey Pot Wood, Norfolk, U.K.Honey Pot Wood, Norfolk, U.K.Honey Pot Wood, Norfolk, U.K.Honey Pot Wood, Norfolk, U.K.Honey Pot Wood, Norfolk, U.K.
Honey Pot Wood, Norfolk, U.K.Honey Pot Wood, Norfolk, U.K.Honey Pot Wood, Norfolk, U.K.

A series of pictures taken a few days ago whilst out on a topographical jaunt with my good friend Clive Dunn (no, not that one, click his as he's equally as interesting).

Saturday, 27 August 2011

New Studio Planned

Just waiting on the last few bits and pieces for "Soundtrack For City Living" to be sorted and then the short musical sabbatical begins. In that time, a lot of changes are going to made Chez Us, one of which will be the conversion of one of our bedrooms into a studio. Thus far, I've been making music in the living room, it's suited all of us to do that, but the time has come for a more permanent and dedicated set up to be planned. I have to say I am rather pleased, it's not every man who has their loved one come up to them and say "why don't you use this room as a studio" :-)

And it won't be just the physical side of things changing either. I'm changing the digital audio workstation (DAW) that I use (Cubase) to Reaper 4, a fantastic piece of software created by a company called Cockos. I've spent a few days using the 30-day evaluation download and I am mightily impressed. Whilst there are a number of features that Cubase has that Reaper 4 doesn't, I won't lose any sleep over it as I feel that Reaper is far more inclined towards the musician/producer. How you access and configure things is so much more like using a regular desk/rack situation which in my book means more control as in things being done how I want them done and not how a piece of software tells me they will be done. Routine things such as setting up auxillary busses, integrating external synthesizers and effects routing seem so much more logical then faffing around with FX tracks and Group tracks. And it does mean that I'll be using the Roland JV-2080 a whole more than I have ever done - the poor thing has sat on the rack next to me virtually useless. Not anymore.

So, plenty of things to keep me occupied over the next 2/3 months, and a whole lot of it will be creative :-)


Thursday, 25 August 2011

Exciting Studio Photo Shoot

A bit of excitement here at the moment as The Fuji and I will travelling to East London very soon to photograph the studio of Ben Edwards, otherwise known as Benge.

Ben has been producing music since the 90's, his work has mainly been electronica, ambient and IDM. He is best known for his 2008 solo release "Twenty Systems" that featured twenty pieces of music, each made with a particular synthesizer from a particular year, and also his collaboration with the godfather of electronica, John Foxx, on the 2011 CD "Interplay", released under the name of John Foxx and the Maths.

Aside from the fact that I am huge fan of this sort of music and synthesizers in general (read: synth-nerd), this is a particularly exciting project for me as it is something of a weird symbiosis of music and photography. It is very definitely linked to the project on synth studios that I am putting together for after "Soundtrack For City Living" is released, to which I have had some great responses from different synth musicians around the U.K. - photographing Ben's studio is, without doubt, the icing on the cake.

More on this soon :-)

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

"Soundtrack" Update and New Photographic project

Well, we're almost at the finishing line for "Soundtrack For City Living" and AD Music have given me the official release date which is the 30th September 2011. All that's being done at the moment is last minute mix fixes and EQ anomalies. I don't want to seem arrogant, but it is sounding good. There is a wide mixture of moods and feels, the opening track "Beyond The Garden" is very chilled, the John Foxx cover, "Underpass", is very dark and brooding and a track called "Moonlight Interlude" has a very jazzy/film-noir ambience about it. In short, I'm pleased with my third album and I'm very keen to get it completely finished so I can sit back and listen to the efforts of the last 13 months.

I'm starting a new photographic project which links nicely with my musical side. I've been hassling a number of electronic musos to let me take pics of their studios, using the style and feel seen on my Urban Exploration photos. I've already got three positives, all of which are great examples of modern musicians working with hardware synthesizers in the electronic music/project studio environment. It'll take a few months to do as a fair amount of travelling will be required as the subjects are widely flung about the Kingdom, but all to the good.

The first Trinity album, "Music For Angels" will be released in the next couple fo weeks - this is an album of New Age/Relaxation music created by myself, David Wright and Nigel Turner-Heffer - and very good it's sounding as well!!!

Still exciting times :-)

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A Car Graveyard

Within a dream......A farmhouse kitchenUpstairs in the farmhouseBannistersA Car GraveyardLost in time......
A Car GraveyardA Car GraveyardA Car GraveyardGood mileage!!!A Car GraveyardA Car Graveyard
A Car GraveyardGoing nowhereA beautiful woman said to me "Smile honey......"Chaos reigns in a converted coachStuck in time......The office window
A Car GraveyardA Jaguar plays home to waspsA slaughter house within a car graveyardA Hillman Imp(ed)Inside Ford GranadaA nice Ford Granada......good mileage

A Car Graveyard, a set on Flickr.

A load of photos from a little explore that I did with my good lady last weekend. A return trip would be nice as there was so much to see and photograph :-)

Monday, 15 August 2011

Finishing line in sight.........

An 18 hour marathon today saw a massive leap forward for "Soundtrack For City Living" - six tracks have now been completed which means only two more to go and then done, bar the usual last minute tweaks.

Today's work was hampered by the sixth track causing problems with the computer. I'm not sure what the issue is, but I feel it may be to do with my PC being 7 years old - it does well!!! So, rather than spend a lifetime trying to locate the source of the problem, I took the intro to the piece and extended it into a four minute track that's very laid-back in a piano/sax/orchestra kind of way. Totally free-form, I used no rhythms, click tracks or quantising and whilst you can hear it, I think it gives the piece a real human edge. I've called it "Moonlight Interlude" and I have to say that I'm very pleased with it.

The track listing looks a little different now. I've just had a listen through to the thus-far completed tracks and put them in some kind of order. I expect the following may be the final thing:

1. Beyond The Garden
2. Beauty In Decay
3. Underpass
4. Devil May Care
5. Moonlight Interlude
6. A Rainfall Moment
7. West 9
8. Fast Lane

Looking at the approximate timings, once the last two tracks are done, the album should come in at a little over the 65 minute mark. I'm very pleased with the way the album is sounding and can't wait to finish it to hear the final thing in it's entirety - that sounds a little arrogant, but I'm quite excited by "Soundtrack For City Living" and hope that it's well received.

All that's left to do is to process vocals on and mix both "Underpass" and "Devil May Care". "Underpass" is sounding quite cool and I hope that fans of the original will like what I've done with it - I've taken the lead vocal and I've got a blinding backing vocal set done by a girl called Candice Wells and my partner Anne Mancini-Smith - really looking forward to getting to work on that tomorrow. Candice has done a fantastic vocal for "Devil May Care" and I hope to be sorting that song out on Tuesday morning ready to take the full album over to the guys at AD Music on Tuesday evening.

It's now close on 1.45am - enough for today, time for bed methinks. I shall sleep with a smile on my face tonight :-)

Exciting times.