Saturday, 26 December 2015

Oh, there's a new album very much in progress!!!

Oh my, it's been a VERY long time since I posted a blog - my bad. Life has been very busy with family, work and photography since the last time I took to the keyboard, but as we approach the end of the year, things are starting to find something of a balance. But please don't tell anyone ;-)

Anyway, what a year thus far. The photo side of life has seen some seriously cool adventures, not least getting to shoot Heaven 17 in concert, as well as a gig done by legendary producer Tony Visconti, original Spiders From Mars drummer Woody Woodmansey and Heaven 17's very own Glenn Gregory and to top it all, a fabulous opportunity to photograph my favourite electronica lady Tara Busch, who was only supporting none other than Gary Numan and who I invited me to shoot his concert as well. Quite an evening that was as I ended up at the after show party and got to finally meet one of my musical heroes and influences - I wasn't disappointed either.

Musically, I took something of a little sabbatical after wiping the entire "Hollow Sun" album off of my computer - long story, too painful to relate just yet. And because of work commitments, I was unable to continue working with Dean Burnett and Weathered Wall - a shame as we were coming up with some seriously cool ideas. In the meantime, I've gathered a few more bits and pieces of software that have been a real asset to the GTK Studio, not least the acquisition of reFX's utterly fabulous Nexus 2 synthesizer - I also purchased a series of expansion packs as well. This is a synth that I have hankering after for sometime and now I have it. It's basically fucking amazing and I love it!!! I've added a few very nice effects bits as well which greatly improved the overall sound of things, such as Waves' Multi-Band Limiter, H-EQ and TrueVerb.

Now, back in the distant past (2011), I started a small "just-for-fun" project recording various bits and pieces of classical music. Instead of using MIDI files which are very readily available on the internet, I went about this using old and dusty manuscripts from my youth that I found in our garage whilst on a clear-up/out mission and played or step-programmed the pieces into the computer, thereby keeping to the original arrangements and replacing the orchestral instruments with synthesizers. Okay, I know this is nothing new or ground-breaking but as I mentioned earlier, this was nothing more than a little something to do between my many other bits and bobs of life. I've spent the last 4-5 years recording the pieces into the computer and every now and again, I would go back to them and perhaps change a sound here or add a bit of reverb there, nothing elaborate, just something to help me relax and enjoy with no thought of ever doing anything with them.

Well, after the Great Album Wiping of 2015, I lost the will to do any original music, but still dabbled with the classical thing, and then a couple of months ago, I realised what I had sitting on my hard drive was tantamount to an album of music!!! The purchase of Nexus 2 was a massive game-changer as well because three of the expansions I bought were by my favourite sound designer, the truly gifted BigTone (aka Brok Landers) and his sounds perfectly fitted the style of the music I was doing. So as it stands, I've been spending pretty much all my spare time recently working on this material to bring it up to a level that would be suitable for release and I'm getting there. I've also had to check up on licensing as well, and my how brilliant the Performing Rights Society have been - a huge shout out to them as they have been so incredibly helpful - and patient!!!

The next thing I need to look at is the cost of CD manufacturing, which was something that stopped my son Callum and I releasing the F/R-F album on CD - too bloody expensive!!! To try and raise the necessary funding, I am in the process of investigating some kind of kick-starter project, so more on that as it happens.

Assuming that the required funds can be acquired, I'm hoping for a release in the late Spring/early Summer, the date of which will be determined by the success (or not) of the kick-starter campaign if I go down that route. As for the album itself, it will be called "Intepretations" and it's character will be a fusion of a number of influences that will be recognisable, ranging from the inevitable Isao Tomita and Wendy Carlos to people such as Kevin Kendle, Bekki Williams and Billy Currie (his solo instrumental works). Here is the current track listing (definitely in no particular order):

Gymnopedie - Satie
Dolly - Faure
Nimrod - Elgar
Preludium - Grieg
Danse Macabre - Saint-Saens
Toccata - Widor
On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring - Delius
Masque - Khachaturian
Venus - Holst.

There will be others added I'm sure as I have quite a few that could make the album.

So, once this Christmas and New Year insanity is properly out of the way, I'll be making a lot more blog entries, in the main about the "Interpretations" album.

Hope you're enjoying whatever it is you do at this time of year :-)