Friday, 13 October 2017

Afterwards

This week is a 'starting things' week. OK, we didn't get far today thanks to the motorway being shut and all local roads congested so Pat and I came home and chilled instead of going to Longridge for a money meeting. She's (finally) getting her horse installed somewhere this week. So we can plan to take a holiday - something I've been pining for. Yes, even though my life is basically a holiday.

Started a module review - a good one too, or at least different enough to throw the cat amongst the Euro pigeons.
More Bogus Realities thoughts starting to solidify. Sorted the version thing with Amazon, who had been struggling to adapt to my idea of version control, or at least reconcile it with theirs. I'm leaving Bogus Realities at version 1.12 until I get reader feedback with errors cos otherwise I'll never stop making tiny tweaks (yes, I've said this before). Several people have generously compared my stuff with Douglas Adams but I have to say it's a shorter, more northern Douglas Adams, one with less intelligence, wit and drive. Still, I'm grateful people aren't just screaming 'turkey, turkey, squawk, squawk!' Need advice on getting reviews in order to kick off a proper sales campaign.

Finished an excellent book, Earth Abides, by George R Stewart. Despite being written in 1949 it holds up very well, could be the best of the 'apocalypse, it all goes to shit' type novels I've read. I haven't started reading Push Turn Move though, need some time before I do that after all the intense, eye-fucking editing.

Off to see John in Preston today, been a while so will be good to have a chat.

Friday -
it's either an afternoon in the studio or work on 'The Host Contract' which is the new BR that I've been wrestling with in my head. John thinks I should work out the plot in detail before starting. I think he's telling me my vague plots are not enough and that getting trashed and following the path doesn't work as well for stories as music. And there are probably those who don't think it works for music either. ;)

Didn't write, played. Part of today's recording
https://soundcloud.com/smokyfrog/general-ignorance

Amazon sent latest novel but printed an old version. I can see this is gonna run and run.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Synthfest

Synthfest was an absolute triumph, no other way I can put it. It's amazing to think I didn't get to any of the stalls around the wall on the main hall, so missed Teenage Engineering, Nord, Soundgas and even Rubadub, where I'd planned to get a new envelope module and possibly another case. I even missed picking up the General CV module from ES which was my only actual plan of the day. Typical!

I chatted to just about everyone though, even Rich Olpin all too briefly and I never got to return the coffee. Some people I failed to find but plenty I did and was delighted to chat to Gaz Williams, who is just as nice as he seems from the Sonic State videos. He also has good taste - bought an Atmegatron as I did cos they were selling them off.

In an act of stupidity, while clearing away some of the bedding used by the Danish guys, I kicked it through the loft hole and onto the hard laminate floor below. Amazingly, it survived with only a wobbly bass knob and a slight dent to a corner. And some of the personalities developed since I reviewed it are fabulous - really liked the Strings. The delay one was something I suggested - I haven't got the overlay for that yet as he ran out - indeed totally sold out of them. A lot of fun ahead.

Other than that 8-bit wonder, I loved the Touche controller and was most fascinated by the GR-1 granular synth.


Indeed, this was the only photo I took all day. Great UI and the kind of different approach that would, ordinarily, have had me baggsying it for review. It was nice to be asked several times to reconsider my retirement, and of course there's tempting enough gear if I ignore all the toy-town stuff for baby fingers. Trying to resist though. SOS very kindly treated me to lunch and then Kim treated me to a curry later - a really excellent Southern Indian one which we enjoyed along with Airsculpture. So far resisting the Cosmic Smokers gig offer, mostly because it's at the bloody scout hut and I really don't enjoy going there. Pete and I may do some recording again though, that'd be nice.

The book was received really well and sold well too even though it was much more expensive than I'd anticipated. A lot of hard work but the result is great, even if someone added an 'of' between my biog's phrase 'library music' turning it into 'library of music' - presumably they thought they were helping in some way.



Today I spent some time taking my coffee machine apart as it was full of compacted coffee - someone helping again, trying the random approach to operation. Sigh. I think it's mostly clear now but I realised that coffee-free mornings are not for me.

Bought latest Carbon Based Lifeforms download, another Tom Waits CD arrived and I ripped loads of ivy and strangly plants out of the garden. Good day.



Friday, 29 September 2017

Retired!

Monday
Yes, it actually felt like it today (retirement), even if I did get up early and send in a module review.

It rained all morning and I sat reading, without a care. With people actually reading my books now, and even sending feedback, I'm flushed with excitement and creativity. Also completed sniffing through Bogus Realities to highlight yet more errors that needed sorting. Sadly, I didn't start marking them from the start so have missed a few. Pretty sure I missed some because I didn't do it in a different colour, doh! So one day at least one more pass will be required. Anyway, submitted version 1.1 today and did almost nothing else. Hoping my ankle will improve soon, not been to gym for weeks.

My Irish passport application delayed because mum has lost (or thrown away) dad's birth certificate.
Apparently I need to replace my old pink driving licence. Trouble is the new ones have the EU flag on, something I'd love to keep but which I suspect will also need replacing once the fucking nutters actually drive us over the cliff.

Wednesday
Book update available - realised I should have added 'also by this author' or something similar.
Dawn here tonight, Tim here at weekend, Diana keeps insisting she 'must come visit', it's good to be popular.
Pat, reading the Daily Mail Online, tells me there's a giant rat in the Pacific capable of breaking coconuts with its teeth. Who says that organisation never dispenses useful news?
My driving licence is OK.
Got letter from HMRC refunding the UPS refund I already received. Don't wanna upset tax man so dropped them a line saying UPS already accepted their error, so chill. All this cos some stupid jobsworth wouldn't listen to what I was saying. Sigh.

Friday

I thought that I should really work on short stories and had a few ideas while out walking the dog. I could do a collection that stands alone but (my old idea) is part of a larger whole, telling a complete story collectively. This would let me deal with some clean-up parts of Bogus Realities and force me to be concise about it. We'll see how it goes. I'm starting to acquire too many sketches, ideas and general scraps to use effectively if I don't actually start something! I can only keep this stuff in my head for so long before it's replaced.

Oh well, it's almost time to consume the remainder of last night's Thai takeaway (green curry) and contemplate doing a half-decent recording of the little thing I started yesterday afternoon. Working entirely with the Octatrack at the moment, the A4 providing some simple support but I'm starting to ponder the idea of using the OT's MIDI half - probably a foolish notion - but the forthcoming probability thing seems to make it a better idea for driving a single synth, like say a Perfourmer, then putting it through the OT effects... I know, I know. I'm *not* thinking about more gigs.

I notice muffs is still down and they are being quite po-faced about the many suggestions people are making for more PC names for the forum. It always seemed to be some kind of adolescent sniggerfest stretched too far - and I say that having written the novels I have!!!
Anyway, over coffee, I knocked up some alternate suggestions of my own ready to contribute, but the fb thread got wiped. Ah well:

KnobNudger.com
CableCrackler.com
PotPootler.com
CaseCrammer.com
NerdNerdler.com
GeekFreaker.com
VoltCalculator.com
NoiseNurturer.com
FannyDreamers.com
TurtleHurtlers.com


OK, absolutely nothing worth adding. My photos from yesterday's walk are all shit. That 'definitely not smart' phone camera is the worst I've had and nothing comes out sharp enough to use. Arse! :(

Later, there was this: https://soundcloud.com/smokyfrog/thenewcascade




Saturday, 23 September 2017

Heh Elektron love rekindled!

Yes, laugh if you must because that didn't last long, did it?
Almost no time after I thought of putting my Elektrons on ice, I powered them up so the OT could capture some of the cool loops I was making with a review oscillator. I pondered the best way to keep them and decided the OT beat the RC-505 on this occasion, plus the RC end of the studio wasn't powered up ;)

And here's a thing: I was fired up by the prospect of conditional trigs for for the original OT. As this will apply to loops too, it offers all kinds of stuff I always wanted from the OT but could never get - i.e. now I will be able to have loops that are forever properly different, not static, just because various parts of them may or may not play.

It's all good!!

My curiosity about Comic Con has been satisfied - £8 entrance fee to walk around some stalls and optionally pay to get the autograph of various people who have been in various telly series, in supporting roles. The young Hodor was there, the babe with the little pants from Primeval, Blue Lady from Farscape and so on. Most animated and friendly was Kryten, Robert Llewellyn, and least recognisable was Carolyne Munro, of the Hi Karate adverts in the 70s. A friend paid Xander our of Buffy £30 for a scribble, a smile and a handshake. He wore a hat indoors to show he was someone (or balding). Best parts were the people who came in costume, and the funniest of these were those who wore the costume but totally failed to get into character. At least it leaves the afternoon free to crack on with that module review!

Margaret took Jasper to some dog show and together they won the golden oldies award, or something. At 15, Jasper was the oldest dog there. They are now waiting to the end to see if he also wins best in show.

Sorry no Comic Con photos. I took my camera but somehow didn't feel inspired.

I updated the bogusfocus.com website today but it's still shit. I probably need some kind of app to make better ones as my method of doing it long-style in html is flawed unless I can remember any html - or DCF Script, as I tend to think of it.

Did I post any gig pix?


Friday, 22 September 2017

Church of Sound

Well, I'm planning to stop off at Picko's on the way over, been a while since we had a good natter and it seems daft not to call in as I'm passing. I decided that I really don't need to take the Synthi as, during this afternoon's 'connect everything to the gig mixer' session, I was hardly using it. Half the time, noises I thought were the Synthi actually came from the Lyra or the Microgranny 2 (admittedly I have some Synthi samples in there). Throw in the OP-1 and the effects and I can travel light and still do cool stuff for half an hour. Makes life easier.

Did not start any review stuff yet. So that's Friday and the weekend so it's ready for David on Monday. SOS came but nothing of interest in it for me. I wonder if they'll keep sending it.

POST GIG:

It went well, really enjoyed the playing and having proper control over the sound, being able to hear etc. Someone said they were surprised that I was the most experimental of the three, which is cool. Brill sets by Martyn and Peter, could have listened to both of them for hours.

One of Jez's pix - I think he did a room recording and some video which I'll look out for. Should have recorded it myself but good to let the universe have this one.
The drive down was awful - lots of waiting on the M6, rain, frustration. The return was worse in a way because part of the M1 was shut then the A50 was closed and there was this stupid detour I always seem to get plagued with. Got home just after 1am knackered. Still, Friday today and will get on with the module I have. Chatted with Stevo about him doing modular reviews, very optimistic about that and hoping he'll get stuck in and enjoy doing it. Picko played me some awesome music and blew my mind with his ideas about pulsars, aliens, Russians and just about every other topic he could cram into the hour and a half we spent together. Should do it again sometime, if it weren't for my dislike of driving.
Right, at least it won't take too long to put studio back together. This minimal thing is definitely worth pursuing. If COS were closer I'd happily do another, perhaps with a couple of Elektron boxes ;)



Sunday, 17 September 2017

The Waning

Some heated (FB) discussion last night about the poor attendance for today's Awakenings (the one they wanted me to go along to 'boost', as if I've ever boosted anything ;) ). Most notable to me was the fact that most of the participants have been following our weird, restricted brand of 'EM' for many decades. Many of these people have pretty fixed ideas about what they expect to hear and will turn out for, which is basically 'more of the same'. No wonder our scene is still dying the Long Death.

This reassures me that my decision to wind down live performances is the totally the right one. Would have been lovely to go out with a few good gigs (the Cherry Red thing was a big disappointment) and I find next week's Church Of Sound a strangely appropriate way for my 'career' to fizzle away like an old, damp firework. A long drive to play 30 minutes of aimless noodles, all the while thinking of the long drive home. Can't wait! Have found a suitable video though so that's something.

Today I have the builder around doing our wall, looking half dead. While making him brews I must start that module review, consider how I'm going to seal under the library skirting board to keep the slugs out and try and properly solve the damp wall problem. Sure am looking forward to that 'retirement'!!!

A glorious sunny Saturday and I've mostly spent it sitting around. Thank heavens for the OP-1 - a fantastic little companion for sitting around with. I swear its tape mode is the single most inspiring addition and I've made a cool ambient backdrop just by randomly recording, sampling stuff off the radio, overdubbing, reversing, recording some more. Just wonderful.

Today was a good day. Visited my mum (lots to say), picked up Harvey's Source, assembled the new TV stand, sealed the evil slugs out, put the light back on, delivered (all the, oops) apples, didn't deliver book (as filed ambiguously), thought about gig and remembered my OP-1 tape contents, now at -24. Hey presto, gig sorted. Here I play mad shit over the top, loops, MG2 and whatever I feel like:
https://soundcloud.com/smokyfrog/cos_1

Will maybe delete tomorrow. Gig video done. Bookshelves to move back, more episodes of Stranger Things, life is good even if I was on the move and missed this chimney tip!






Oh dear, a while later and I can barely put any weight on my left foot! No gym tomorrow. Old thing, going over on it, thought I'g got away with it, you pesky kids!
Update: Pat thinks I may have broken one of the little bones. Drinking again, bloody madness!
Update (Monday morning) - can still not walk on it at all. FUCK!!!



Thursday, 14 September 2017

Back to Berlin

OK, I've been 3 times now and have still to see very much of it. That's only partly because there's a great deal to see. Ferry was really quite stable but we drank a lot anyway before scuttling to a tiny cupboard to sleep! Anyway, Sequentix is now there, a German company, hopefully to flourish. If Colin's many ideas and plans work out, should be a few very interesting years to come. Still tired though and lots suddenly to do at home - including finding where the slug came in that Colin spotted! So today is all about pulling out bookshelves and sniffing for access points. Probably more work for our builder, assuming he ever comes back....

At least I've had a reminder on CVIO and have set up my tracking - sadly some variation between my many oscillators, even the digital ones. I guess very few people have totally accurate voltmeters. Going to put P3 away and get back into Cirklon, with a view to helping out more with general support questions and maybe even do a few more videos. First, a gig to plan and a backing video to make, and a trip to Ikea, and yet more stuff.

Got hooked on Stranger Things at Colin's so today I smartened up our TV and signed up for Netflix. More review stuff to do also, modules, and more to come. I know, I know, I'm a total whiner. Got a book by Stephen Palmer, fellow electronic musician, and this one is actually published. I intend to read and learn. Might even send him a copy of mine and ask if he'll take a look and offer any pointers. Cheeky I know but if I'm to improve it'll only be by people reading and commenting. At the moment it's all a bit of a darkish hole, which rarely bodes well.

Have finally got my ftp stuff sorted so I can fix the websites, or at least put in some useful links and fix the broken nonsense. Whenever I get chance.










Some other photos are in my iPad so they probably will be used for Instagram.

Right, can't be sat around here all day making virtual lists of things I tackle!