Thursday, 16 August 2018

More Marbles and a (crap) multi-envelope module

Further Marbles exploration shows it's not ideal for melodic stuff, at least in terms of dealing with a supposedly-tuned VCO and then trying to work out what notes its scales are playing. I've been sending notes from the Keystep to its scale recorder but after that I have all the usual oscillator tuning mystery. Will have to bite the bullet and buy a guitar tuner or something. Did consider a module for it but my 3 main boxes are getting quite full now.

Went to the Modular Meets, which seemed fairly quiet and there wasn't much stuff of interest. Bought a Malekko envelope / LFO module which turns out to be software and 'rtz' so will be sending that back if there's no fix. I knew I should have waited for the Quadra to come back in stock as it really is a great module - and it works properly. Cant find any of the new Doepfer A-140-2 anywhere which also looks useful.

Fortunately I wasn't tempted to offer to play a modular gig. Thought I might have been. ;)

Got some days by myself next week. Debauchery would be nice but I don't expect any will come my way. Should get some music and novel writing done though.

Well, Malekko didn't bother to reply to my question so the thing went back and I ordered a Stages instead. Olivier confirmed that it worked properly but of course I should have just trusted him as he knows what he's doing. Getting towards the end of the P&T book and will be glad to no longer squint at this laptop - bloody iMac didn't even last the duration of the book edit. I'll try and fix it but not much urgency now as the time I really needed it coming to an end. Oh well.

No more modules for a while, OK?

Just got a new production mix from Don and I love it - has some Minimoog from Dean too, I could gush.

Stages - great module!

Text from Pat... apparently little William has 'found his dad's dart gun and shot me in the eye, point blank range.'






Thursday, 9 August 2018

Polystylism and other obscure parrot jokes

Radio 3's composer of the week is Alfred Schnittke, a modern composer I'm really liking. He has this cool way of throwing in everything he can think of without any real care to make them sit comfortably together - yet they do. Really inspirational stuff - and properly varied.

Time to order a few I think.

I forgot. It's later now but I'll try and remember. I did order (and just received) a Mutable Instruments Marbles. From the very brief mess with it, without reading the manual or knowing what anything did, I'm already hooked. Just my kind of weird shit, has the kind of 'life' that modules such as the Marble Physics does. Funny that. May do a video tomorrow. Here was yesterday's

I may release an album tomorrow (or today if I like the rip I just did). Problem is that the CD format where tracks blend together doesn't work so well for individual tracks like bandcamp. Maybe I should include a high res mp3 copy of the whole thing too, I think you can.

Our Lakes weekend was lovely, although too hilly for Pat (I picked some stupid walks).







OK I put it out but I might not tell anyone ;)
https://paulnagle.bandcamp.com/album/hiding-in-plain-sight

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

More heatwaves and other global meltdowns

Good job I'm not of a biblical frame of mind, could easily see this as the beginning of the endtimes. That will kick off for real when BoJo becomes PM. What a crock.

Yesterday I did a drone.

Today I went to the dentist who, inevitably, decided I have to come back next week for a filling. So that's another £100 plus. I sure miss my old NHS dentist.

It's hot in the studio So hot I go nude, you know My laptop fries eggs And nads, thighs and legs But beer, blessed beer a cool friend, never fear it's on hand giving succour Ain't Brexit a fucker?

My usual Friday afternoon, deep in novel writing when Pat starts asking if I've put the car seats in. Apparently she bought some, left them in the car and I'm failing by not going out in the stupid heat and farting around with them. Having a partner with absolutely zero interest in any music or words you write can be refreshing but just sometimes, even the most basic awareness would be lovely.

I see I started this blog some time ago but my enthusiasm for it petered out.
The thing with retirement is this: things which were once deemed pointless and a little bit sad are now your meat and veg, the very essence of your being. While things that once you found so jolly well vital to life, the universe and everything are now revealed as the ephemeral nonsense they always were.

Makes you think.

Today I spent some time alternating between my love and hate of the Octatrack, and struggling with the DSI Pro 2, attempting to understand its occasional lack of tightness in its synced delays and its abject refusal to pay attention to the Tunings.syx file I keep sending it. The tunings file should not be giving me a bad temper. Well-tempered it offers, followed by a long, mysterious list of numbers, all of which cause the synth to squeak like a politician upon challenged to produce a Brexit plan. Anyway, I have discovered that the Pro2's delays do sync well enough, mostly and that my earlier idea they struggled with integer BPMs was a red herring. But it is getting lost in a way that my other delays don't - and all I can say so far is that when I stop and start the Octatrack (the clock source), things recover. The delay on the Analog Four remains fine all the time though.
I spent some time programming new sounds and, as usual, hating the envelopes with their stupid linear decay. Yes, I could spend even more time, modulating the decay times with something to try and make them behave like normal envelopes, but in the end I revert to pads, solos and general weirdness and distortion, where snappy envelopes don't need to be involved.

I was going to use the MIDI sequencer on the Octatrack a bit more. Seemed promising at first, but of course Elektron's and DSI's ideas of what constitute a Bank Select MIDI CC are entirely at odds. Both appear to use a single value, either MSB or LSB, and so having the OT set up the right sounds for the sequence is going to depend on starting manually from the right place. Ah well. It's times like this I wonder why the hell I don't just stick to Cirklon, and to which I have no suitable answer.

The dentist hurt me, in almost every way he could. He failed to criticise my shorts, which was the only blessing of my 08:25 appointment. I now have tiny brushes to poke through my teeth since I'm such an abject failure at flossing. And since that was my second abject of the day, I'm going to go and perform the 'bagging dog shit' ritual, one which has been rather challenging of late given we're in one of Jasper's crop-spraying phases. I dearly hope it's a phase.

Let's see if I can finish with a photo


Sorry, that's all I got. I'm never much inspired by the beach.







Saturday, 21 July 2018

Incontinence & suchlike

A slightly odd week really. Been seeing lots of Grandmothers loose in the wild so chased my pre-order (made in May) only to be told it'll be 2 months before mine comes. A little later I see a couple of them pop up at Music Matter - so what gives? Also hearing a few worrying things about quality of power supply, all of which makes me wonder if this retiring from reviewing is such a great idea. Used to be ahead of the game, now behind it.

Wonder if this Instagram link works?

https://www.instagram.com/p/Blc-Siihf6G/

It was a test at doing a video longer than 1 min, alas didn't turn out to be as inspired as I'd want. Did a straight recording just after that worked much better.

https://soundcloud.com/smokyfrog/2018-jul20-ambientjam

I like the sound of the TT-606 anyway. Arturia have a new small analogue drum machine that sounds rather good.

Here's one of Tony's awesome pix (my tent in the foreground)

Today I'll look at some more cars. I think I've seen one I liked (it does almost 80mpg) - diesel but seems quite low emissions and only 3 years old.

Novel has reached another of those points where I need to push through the tangles. It is all coming together nicely though, tying up a lot of the loose ends I've deliberately left dangling from the very first one. Not that anyone but me will ever notice, of course.

I bought a new car today and instantly started feeling like I was letting the old one down. In other manly news, I beat a rat to death with a spade. The new car is a cool colour of dark purple and it only just fits in the garage (they let me try). Only just.






Sunday, 15 July 2018

Week of wonder

I wrote that header on Monday after a fab afternoon's playing and recording (almost 18 mins of cool stuff). Will doubtless have to go see mum this week and faff with her Humax but determined to do more good shit. Am verrah stone, in novel mood.

Listening back, top hole! Drinking the posh gin and thinking a week of more good shit ahead.

Wow, got drunk last night, slept a while on the floor which has not helped my back today! Anyway, like the new stuff and first track fits perfectly on new album. I think it's done now. I swapped the fast, short, catchy tracks so they kick things off and slip into pondery aftery. It flows really well now, the best thing I've done in ages. Running order making huge difference, should possibly think of offering it to someone.

Novel today. Sorted mum's Humax again, well fingers crossed. She bought a new one cos the channels weren't filling up fast enough. Yes, that's the way she rolls. Weather slightly cooler so pleasant to work, for hours, getting drunk and writing.

Well, the replacement Humax is going back and she wants her old one. I can see this saga is gonna run and run. Today was disappointing in that (i) the TT-606 arrived but developed a fault within a couple of hours (ii) I loaded an old Octatrack project only to find it has forgotten all the samples allocated to it.
Sigh.
I did back up the OT but can I actually be arsed faffing around with it? Contemplating putting both Elektrons out of the way and leaving that table for little boxes. Will have to replace the TT-606 as several buttons have failed, how fucking annoying! So that was my day today (Thursday!). Pat back tomorrow, baby staying over again (of course) and I'll probably have to go and faff with Humax boxes cos my mum is incapable of doing any of it herself, even down to replacing one identical box with another in the same place using the same leads. I will be sighing more.

It has not been the week I'd hoped for.

Signal Sounds were brilliant to deal with, sorted out a swap with replacement on Friday and I had a lot of fun with the 606. Still tempted to get the 78 actually, that's how much I like these little things. Also helps you can transfer patterns from one machine to the other.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BlNqcqugd4c/

Didn't record much with it but took the Tanzbar out, which instantly felt like the right thing to do. Had I kept the Tanzbar just for its kicks I'd have kept using them and lost the coolness of the TT kick, which isn't so huge and solid but sounds like a drum machine. Oddly though, it didn't sound as good through Tony's delay as the Model D does, so will be sticking with that setup a while longer. May archive a few pieces for simplicity - the ER-1/Biscuit/Restyler, all of which add more complex elements. Hopefully the Moog Granny will be here in a week or two.

And the novel is coming on well. Have got the two strands nicely organised now (just need to interweave the chapters) and the writing is snappier - a bit more like my old 'Neville the frog' material in its throwaway glibness.

No, I didn't take that pic but I like it all the same...







Monday, 9 July 2018

Tally Ho!

Isn't Tangram wonderful? It's mellow and sweet like a dormouse in cotton wool or a Disney virgin covered in buttercream. Anyway, I got past my novel knot and realised it wasn't so bad - I'd done all the groundwork it was just a matter of writing it, fairly straight, and it's fine in one go.

Should help with other aspects of the story now. Was no need to worry overmuch about the tone, just kept from getting too Stephen King about it.

Studio too hot today, tried and failed to hang out there. Next week may not be one of much music but perhaps it'll be cooler. Can work on novel instead, yay!

Posh bottle of gin arrived today. Alas we're baby juggling today and tomorrow so I'll enjoy it once I get some quiet time next week. Kid's like a frantic perpetual motion machine, has the attention span of a gnat. Even at not quite three could probably do David Davis's job and run his department better than the man himself. Apparent Brexit is back to some bizarre cake and eat it strategy, presumably intended to be rejected so we can sort out the blame early. Odd though to handpick a bunch of people for roles and then take 2 years to reach agreement with them, leaving approx 3 months to test those agreements on the EU. Masterly really. Oops I'm doing politics again.
Update: LOL DD resigned - what a farce from start to finish. If only we had an opposition party right now eh?

Finally said bye to family, and just as I was about to treat myself to a coffee, mum rang with yet more Humax calamities - now trying to decide whether to ditch new one, replace it with something else etc. etc. Wanted me to go right away and help, even though she doesn't know what she's doing. I give in!

I'm going to lock the crazy world away today.

Started reading National Lampoon's Doon yesterday and decided to borrow some of the flippancy for my 'Nobby the fat wizard' back story in the novel. Makes sense as I basically learnt writing from reading Bored of the Rings ;)

Right, it's Monday morning and I'm signing off. If the world ends before my next entry, it's probably not my fault. I can see the theme of assigning fault becoming big over the coming week.


Thursday, 5 July 2018

A week of quality studio time ahead...

Yes, I'm home alone from Mon-Friday next week and planning on getting a lot done. Will be nice to have a whole week with fewer chances of disasters, mayhem and stress. Today's concerned a bald tyre Pat had just spotted and which required urgent replacement on the way home from her weekly volunteering stint. Alas, she phrased this rather differently and it ended up being me apologising for not securing an appointment today, thinking tomorrow would suffice... Oddly, instead of tomorrow she opted to book it for after she comes back.

Took some great shots in the Trough of Bowland yesterday. Here are some:







Well, the weekend before my week of chilling won't be quite so chilled - we're left holding the baby both days (!) Alas this means I'll probably miss the England match on Saturday as we're taking the wee lad to the field day and I couldn't really send Pat by herself. Gonna be hot and he's a lively fellow. Still, I can grin and bear it for a weekend, content of a switch to life at glacial pace afterwards.
Plan to do more of the new sequency album and generally spend time with the modular, which I've sorta neglected due to studio heat and reviews. On a good note, have mostly written up my thoughts on Magneto so all I have to do now is be sure I like the writing.

Phew, still hot though. I'm drinking lots of beer (and hoping my new gin will show up for next week) and listening to lots of music. Don't feel especially creative as I am stuck with a novel problem I must solve - how to include a fairly horrific explanation for the whole series while keeping it light. Something will pop out I'm sure, once I have hours upon hours without interruption.

Don is doing great things with our tracks. I hardly feel I can call them ours given the amount of work he's done compared to me. Rather exciting though.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bk2h4hyAdvJ/