Friday, 23 June 2017

Solstice been & gone

Yep, it's Summer apparently. You can tell this because the heatwave has been replaced by torrential rain. Hot rain though.

My modular reviewing is still going on, having accepted a bunch of things I probably shouldn't - not one of them is interesting! I should seek them out myself as otherwise it's going to drift into being a chore. Still, at least I only need to write as much as each deserves and it shouldn't take too long. More like this though and it'll wipe all that fuzzy nostalgia away. Actually the nostalgia seems to be passing of its own accord already. There are new pieces of gear appearing and I find myself with zero interest in now I don't actually have to.
Pretty bizarre to have 4 euro modules that are all equally meh, wouldn't have thought that possible! :(

Well, the Bogus Realities print has been put back to the 26th, dunno if that suggests the print per order deal is proving difficult, hope not. Anyway, when it comes I'll crack on with red pen and fixes right away in case they stop doing it.

Skip tomorrow, old shed to remove and misc other shite. Should've burnt it all but Pat's ordered now.

Noticed on farcebook some discussion about 'what makes analogue desirable' and the chap who brought it up appeared to think it was the imperfections, lack of precision, wonky tuning and so on. I've got quite good at not jumping in with my opinions these days but it struck me that none of those things would be top of my list. I like analogue because it's (usually) simple, has one knob per function, is fast, accessible and has no lag between control and result. I guess I also like the fact that I understand it, on a basic level, and have developed an instinct for how analogue should handle and sound (hence my long-standing envelope fixation).
Mind you I sold my first Minimoog because it was just too unstable and tracked too unreliably to use. I'd love to go back and swap the early model I had for the one I have now. Actually no I wouldn't - my current one is modded and does groovy things of its own.
And so it goes, as Kurt Vonnegut would say. And so it goes.

Friday is here. Glastonbury kicks off and I'll record as much as I can in order to skip through the majority complaining like a miserable old git.

At full stretch. Yes, planning was never a strong point.
I have no new pix to share. Sorry, must try harder. Yeah, cos that's like me innit...

OK, I took some new pix. And recorded some noodles

Monday, 19 June 2017

Bogus Realities, the 6x9 edit

Well, it's proving a lot quicker to do than FAF. I kinda started by copying all 3 novels into one file and beginning to go through doing paragraphs, fixing obvious mistakes and so on. Before I realised I'd ploughed right through until Liminal Entity, which I'm working on now (about 6 chapters in).

Funnily enough Liminal Entity will be the easiest as it seems to have the paragraph sizings done already. The text reads better the further I get, suggesting my style is becoming slicker, or at least less wordy and pretentious. Shame it's a family visiting weekend or I might even get it done by early next week. Will need a cover though for the whole trilogy.

Once done I'll have another vanity print-off and go through it before announcing it exists. That way I'll avoid the basic errors that leaked into the first edition of FAF. Hey ho, lessons learned. Only then will I be able to continue work on the new one.

Well, that was relatively easy. Completed on Saturday evening while visiting family (yeah, I'm a real fun guest to have). Just need a cover, which is proving quite hard to visualise. Getting a cover to suit even one of these tales was tough but to consolidate three? Anyway, might do a temporary cover for the first edition so I can check everything, maybe work on a painting or two or see if Tim has any ideas.

Some ideas for the cover - not what I'll use but hopefully to trigger ideas in folks who know art and stuff. Gonna print one for me, go through and fix the obvious stuff, get cover sorted, update, tell the world.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

More FAFfing about

Today (Sunday) did very little except see my mum, play piano and listen to the recent session (Uvulitis) which, as usual, has more good stuff than we realised at the time. Tally ho, what!

Well, I reached the end of my read-through of Future Art Factory. It definitely gets easier to read towards the end. The sentences get a bit shorter, I don't overfill every one with adjectives and the story heads somewhere. However, I've decided it would be too mind-blowing to do a major rewrite so I'll go through the things that leapt out at me the most insistently and do minor fixes, reformats, pruning etc. It'll always be an over-large, wordy, confusing mess but given so many people seem to quite like it, I'll settle for superficial tweaks and move on. Unless anyone with an editing background is prepared to go through it properly, being ruthless, pointing out consistencies, repetitions and so on.
Yeah, made updates today and resubmitted the 'final' version for print and kindle.

In parallel I'm a short distance into BF6x9 and still working on the next few chapters of GD. Something to keep me going for the foreseeable. No reviews in, should look for some modular stuff I guess.

Yowch - new main board for  my V-Synth is £328.95 + VAT! Methinks I could find one second hand for not much more than that. Or an XT. :(

Hmm, Tuesday and already I've done 1/3 of the Bogus Realities compilation reformat. Bogus Focus was quite easy and I've not tweaked the text too much. Next 'Beer'. Might take a couple of days for each one, then I should think about a cover for the three together. A painting perhaps, although I should practise a bit first! Maybe Tim will think of something.

Starting this tomorrow. Unless it's sunny ;)

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Special K

OK boys and girls, now you know I don't usually talk about psychedelic experiences but sometimes it's nice to note down feelings and vibes before going off and reading up about what is 'supposed' to happen. So anyway, my last night by myself and I decided to test out the old horse tranq for the first time. Having little idea what to expect I took the prescribed dose and made sure I had the right USB stick plugged into the hifi.

I decided I'd listen to the stuff we'd recorded this week - working title Uvulitis. I can't remember if that falls into the 'real random word' or 'made up random word' category. I had already filed it under 'not our best' although the last two tracks, the ones we recorded Friday afternoon, seemed the cream of the crop.

The effect was not long in creeping in and I found my usual listening chair, sat back and...
1) My body disappeared. I had that euphoric swelling experience (no, not that kind of swelling!) that I usually associate with MDMA or coke but in a very different context. I was vaguely aware I'd closed my eyes, or if they were open they weren't letting much in. As time passed I was aware of the occasional tear and every now and again, I realised I was breathing. Indeed the act of breathing was something I concentrated on for a while, enjoying it, stretching it out, wondering how it related to the passage of time.
2) The visuals were rather different to acid or shrooms. Where acid tends to be geometric, sharp resolution and solid in form, and mushrooms are more organic, fractal, natural-feeling, this put me into a kind of fuzzy, pastelly mush that shifted according to whatever the music was doing. Listening back to the music today it's quite odd and minimal in places but it seemed to suit the experience perfectly. Uvulitis is about an hour long and when it finished, the player moved on to one of the Exoplanets tracks - Lipershey - which also worked effectively. After that I sought out Rory Dow's excellent InSpiral and that was the one that I re-entered reality with.
3) Summing up the experience is not easy. Possibly for the first time I experienced something I'd only theorised in novels - the 'space tadpole' mode of stripped down existence. Viewing the shifting, barely-focused lights and patterns, I had a real sense of floating through or of interacting with some usually unseen substance. It could have been liquid or gas or something else entirely. It was fascinating and for most of it, I was not really aware of myself, the time, the outside world, anything.
I admit I threw myself in. You know how, with some psychedelic experiences, a point comes at which you can cling on to yourself or plunge in and see what's out there, well I felt like a plunge. In for a penny and all that.
4) I don't think I needed any more. The dose was picked to avoid the sweaty, catatonic state I've seen in others and not been drawn to. Mind you I couldn't really have functioned in any meaningful way for maybe an hour and a half. Once it began to clear, I experienced some nausea. Walking was not easy either but I wandered into the front room and watched an episode of Continuum. After that I didn't find anything worth watching so crawled to bed. Still felt a little nauseous but slept it off. Feel OK this morning.

It's not something to do too often. I will go read up on Vaults of Erowid etc. and see how typical the experience was.

Remember - do not try this at home now, y'hear!

In other news, the old V-Synth 'broken scream' has returned. Another main board replacement, hope they are still available! Seem to recall I replaced it myself last time. Only happens in certain patches but... :(

Pat home later. Have missed her lots.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Rookie Errors and a new novel

Yeah, rookie errors in the studio, I admit it!
Somehow, in plumbing up the skinny leads of two separate wall warts, I managed to confuse the P3 power supply with that of the slimline modular case (uZeus thing). As a result the P3 worked perfectly but the modular case worked oddly. Some modules seemed fine. Some didn't work at all (the Rossum stuff I was scared I'd broken). Some worked partially and irregularly - e.g. the Tonestar.
It was removing modules one by one that set me to wondering and eventually sussing. Idiot!

Anyway, Tuesday, spent time with modular, wrote the bulk of the review I had outstanding, played piano a bit, read a few novel chapters in its printed form. Noticed lots of things I should edit but don't really want to get into that now. I have started marking errors for some future time though. Trouble is there are too many, plus too many clumsy sentences, basic things I should have seen, ugly uses of grammar and wordage. Why is it so much easier to spot crapness on the printed page than a screen??? I guess proper writers have editors and folks who are used to this kind of thing.

Later I began work on the one that's been kicking around in my head for a while. I still don't know the ending but that's not too important at this stage. I did chapter one and have started the second. I'm trying to play each scene through in my head fully first, then writing it down as if just witnessed (and probably from multiple viewpoints since my hero is a delusional chump).

Wednesday morning, regretting the late night gin and weed session but glad novel finally rolling. Completed module review and sent in. Need to find something to follow it. Pat's been away 4 days now and I'm ready for her to come home. Best spend the next couple of days wasted.

Election tomorrow so I expect to be depressed again at the depths of human stupidity and capacity for self-harm. Murdoch will get what he wants: an even darker, nastier country. I'd love to be wrong but can't see it.

It's Wednesday night, I'm slightly stoned, slightly drunk and reflecting that today I have read some chapters of the first novel in paperback, made several chapters of edits to Bogus Realities (6x9) and written most of a chapter of the new one. At last my brain feels like it's waking up.  Obviously I must beware not to mix any of the characters up but that seems unlikely. I may finally have a main character that is both likeable and sympathetic. The supporting cast are good too and I have a proper baddie and a pseudo-baddie, an unattainable love interest and lots of stoner dialogue. It's also more down to earth than any of the previous works, which allows me to play with some of the borders. Yep, productive evening/night. Trying to decide whether to drink more gin and do another chapter or turn in.

Monday, 5 June 2017

The cat away

Sunday: recorded some good stuff (sounds that way right now, fresh like), of which this is part

Yep, could be  a good week.

Studio getting closer with the arrival of the new mixer. Have the usual Main/Sub level issues, could use the subs instead but seems daft. Putting FX returns into channels to allow more flexibility in direction, although looks like if I use FX3 return I can send to subs also, will investigate when in a mixer mood. Main thing is it works and does what I wanted. Feels nice quality too, amazing for the money.

As the Microsampler fits in so neatly down there I might plumb it in ready for sampling bit from one of the auxes. Good to fill it with modular noises methinks. I don't need the other FX right now but handy to have the option. Repeater will slot in at some point too, always good to have that in play.

Have not done much with the module review although I have played with it and started to form opinions and jot down notes.

Torrential rain today. Drains coping (phew). Bought myself a lot of stinky food for the week and a very unhealthy amount of beer. Hoping Tim will help me get through it.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Another studio move-around, preparing for a week alone

Yeah, I have wanted to sort the modular corner better for a good while. I ordered a new mixer and will consolidate the 2 small mixers into 1 larger (Behringer Xenyx X2442). I went for this older model not because it was cheaper but because the new one is not rack mountable. In the event, I may not rack it this time but it's an important option to have. I always have other moves ;)

First stage is to get the Digisound back into the fold.
Had hoped for space for the SH-101 but not found it yet. :(

Here's where I'm parking stuff in the meantime. You can see the new piano against the wall. Really hope to have a good long sesh playing it soon. It sounds fantastic! Even made me wonder if I was a cheapskate not buying the full 3 pedal add-on.

And almost there. I have a rack of effects and patch bay to add, plus Repeater and a few other things I might want nearby and ready to use. May also put the 2 303 clones in it and dedicate them to the P3. We'll see how it all looks once the mixer arrives (Monday apparently even though they said today).  And yes, I'm using that old Behringer rack mixer as a stand!

Lots of my friends have said they've ordered the novel, which is really nice but I'm now wondering what on  earth they'll think. Good response from those who have read so far but that isn't a huge selection of people...

Note to self: get another right angled kettle lead. Needed for the stuff against walls. Could find a couple but needed one for the Digisound too. 

Pat off on a riding holiday in Spain on Sunday so I expect a very relaxed week ahead.