Sunday, 5 July 2020

MSB & LSB - ongoing Elektron shifts and u-turns.

Sometimes the little things are enough. Of course we're talking yet another reassessment of how to work with my Elektron gear. With the new firmware for the Digitone (a 'fix' update of which was released just as I was about to complain about the one I just installed), I'm now able to do those lovely slidey legato basslines which sound very nice indeed. The mono LFO feature is useful too as is the overall probability setting. So happy am I with it that I'm considering having it as the master clock (if the word 'master' is still permitted - I think a decision is pending). The advantages are that the Digitone can remember tempo per pattern, which I've always wanted AND it can sequence the Minilogue xd without my needing to make manual notes of the program used. Yes, Elektron finally realised that bank select involves CC0 and CC32. Works well too.

I agreed with someone in Switzerland to swap his 0-Coast for my DPO. I only got the DPO as I hoped it would give me the sound of the 0-Coast in a racked format (it didn't and I never really warmed to it) so hopefully a good deal. Guy seems genuine and has had good comms.

Friday I did another recording of the 'Crypto' track but still didn't really nail it. If anything, made it more complicated but the dubby bass actually detracted. Might take the stems and arrange in Logic, we'll see. I was getting farther and farther away from the solo part I hit on initially too - that may now be lost due to my foolish and amateur way of working. 
Novel - I sorted out the first of my three significant scenes that remain. The next one (the trial) is running around in my mind and I already know how the final hunt will go, apart from one detail that eludes me but which should just magically happen as I write. Then there's a brief farewell chapter in the lab, an unlikely escape over the glass sea wall, then... a look towards returning to the mainland, battling through a zombie hell in order to do a favour for an ancient lizard. I already have some ideas for the name of the second half of the tale. ;)

Saturday Tim came and we recorded some very cool minimal short-form stuff - a series of tracks adding up to around 50 mins direct to stereo, like real men do. I held off from over-polluting, which is a good sign. A bit drunk again, it has to be said. 

Now there's a big hole...

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Arseburgers, faff and admin bollocks

That bloody Irish passport is proving a right bastard. Turns out my own birth certificate was not of the sufficiently lengthy type - so I now have to order another. Doing so is a pain too as the website supposedly has sent me a verification code, but of course it didn't arrive. Note to self: hassle the message forwarding chumps, who will do nothing but bullshit me.

I did a word count on the novel today and discovered it's at the 86,000 word mark - getting quite long considering I have my trial scene, jungle hunt and grand finale still to write. The end is elusively bobbing out of my way even though I've been writing quite regularly. Today I might spend the afternoon in the studio though for a break. (edit: I did, pottering with Hydrasynth but as usual achieved very little except scrolling through patches trying to remember them. I made too many during review period so must have a wipe and go back to some basics with it. Ultimately too much button pushing to be a real pleasure to use although it sounds great).

Weird how as the lockdown eases and my time is eaten away bit by bit, I resent every little chunk lost, never to be regained. It's like the end of school holidays coming not all of a sudden one Monday morning but in dribs and drabs. It feels like I have to go back to school for a few hours, then I lose a whole day, then a few days together. I spose I've gotten to enjoy it too much, miserable, insular bastard that I am!

Hamster coming in 11 days, wee man a few days later, for a long weekend, probably a very long one starting thursday night. Must book car in for its service as light been on for a while now. Bloody computer con so it is. Can't say I've taken to that car, miss my old one, but of course that didn't have four doors...

Hey, I'm moaning a lot aren't I? Not as bad as the Spitfire Audio Westworld competition youtube thing though, where I foolishly said I rather liked the winner. 

Today I entertained the idea of swapping my DPO for an 0-Coast. Good thing - 0-Coast is great and self-contained, the bad is that its in Switzerland and I guess the DPO is worth more. Oh and it'll leave a hole in the modular I never use...

Oh the Irish Passport saga drags on. Turns out I never had the right birth certificate - mine is the brief one and they want another version. Tried ordering but the UK site either isn't sending me the confirmation email or it isn't getting through my forwarding service. What a ballache. Almost wish I'd never bothered as I seriously doubt I want to fly anywhere anytime soon. RIGHT, managed to get the verification email by using a different email address - so the forwarding definitely not working. Arseburgers! Car MOT had expired so booked that and a service, plus Pat's too. 

Weirdly deflated, I'm struggling to start any writing this morning, hope my creative bubble hasn't burst. Got a couple of CDs from Pascal, which are fab but make me feel guilty for not sending him some of my tiny store of weed when he was out. I do admire his work ethic too - track after track of high quality, consistent music. My Scottish Suite seems to have gone down reasonably well, as far as I can measure these things, which is mostly guesswork and delusion. Hey ho.

Time for another coffee methinks. And some chocolate for comfort. It's Wednesday and drizzling a bit. I can imagine anyone who happens across this blog is really inspired by it at the moment. Sorry world, I'll try and cheer up for the next one. 

Probably silly to accumulate yet more desktop debris and leave a hole. PRS in a couple of weeks so if there's a chunk of cash I'll buy something.

Monday, 29 June 2020

Friday Friday Friday Friday Friday Friday Friday

Friday, must try that ting and test its strength. Hope it won't leave me a grinning idiot at teatime. Pat tells me I can have a  friend in a bubble, which is nice. The bubble being the upstairs plus the loo. It's something.

Last night, while half-watching Buffy reruns, I concluded one of my novel scenes that I'd been edging around. I know the bit that comes next and have already begun hinting at my (hopefully) explosive, action-packed final hunt section. Well, there had to be action sooner or later, of some kind anyway. 

Jitsi thing postponed. May have a quiet morning writing then. 
Did a bit. Friday afternoon tripped, messed with Synthi and Lyra. Recorded hours of drones and thought of a good name for drone project. 

Saturday tweaked my first biggish fight, which morphed into a scene I had planned for later, speeding things along a bit. Good. Felt like momentum gathering for a good spurt, amazing how just a few paragraphs can do that. 

Good grief, a week later. Does this mean I've been busy? Well, sorta. Novel going on at a jolly pace, somehow keep finding new avenues to explore before reaching my conclusion, but all good. Have taken to visiting mum again and even allowed first visitor into house (Tim), so we recorded some wacky ambience in the studio, just because. This feeling that things are slipping back to normal is very strange and not too welcome. 

Oh yeah, some twat ripped off an old track of mine, didn't even bother to get a decent sound, just stuck it on vinyl.  Great.

I've been listening to entries from a contest I agreed to judge - a lot of stuff to go through so I'm noting the ones I quite like and those I really like. Very conscious of the recent controversial Spitefire Audio contest for scoring that really silly Westworld scene. Paul L did a serious, quality job and got nowhere. Someone did a lighter, super mario version and won. I loved the winner but I'm in the minority. The absolute best version was the one that took the piss out of the cheesiness, the cliches, the tired old thinking.

It's pissing down and has been for a day or so. Missing summer. 

A photo from before the rain....

Oh, someone gave me a violin on long-term loan. Seemed like a good thing at first. However its bow has no string or gut or whatever but worse there's no bridge. I suspect it's going to be just another useless thing I store and possibly trip over. 

Thursday, 18 June 2020

A fifteen year old gig

And a good one too. The last 'great' Binar gig I think, from 2005. Andy somehow managed to capture its essence into 79mins for the Spindragons CD. The gig stands as a thing by itself though - remarkably few mistakes and nothing I'd be ashamed of showing off. Could be a great candidate for a bandcamp release as a complete, unedited thing but we'll see if I still fancy the idea in six months.

Yesterday I did a thing that sounds good today too. Amazeballs!

Today I will update the Digitone and maybe work on novel. Sun's out but heavy rain forecast. Argued with twats on my morning walk - more fire-lighting yob types. 

Well, I didn't update the Digitone yet. I fired up the P3 and Repeater and KS4 though. 
Part of the ongoing Scottish Suite I guess - just a section needed for the end now, for which I have some ideas. Then the whole thing can be a single mp3, although may have to split for bandcamp. 
Got a request for Ambient Space Monkeys - actually the first but as it was passed on from Picko, I guess I'll do it and then all the CDRs are accounted for. The artwork is... somewhere.

Thursday good day. Got first mix of my Scottish Suite done. Might boost it a little in places. 

Hah! I said 'amazeballs'. What is happening to me?

Source Distribution are amazing! Seriously, I was an idiot, dismantled mic stand to try using it with that webcam.Long story short, can I find where I put the lil screw jobby? NO! I was desperate, looked everywhere, decided had to buy new ones. Asked Source and they sending me some and did so, first class even. Bowled over. Shows it ain't all lizards out there. 

Thursday, 11 June 2020

The Joy Of...

OK, I've seen a number of Bob Ross's Joy of Painting episodes and what struck me suddenly this morning was how many parallels there are with people who make Berlin School music. You start with a palette already set out for you and you copy well-established techniques in order to produce something very much like something else but which, as long as you followed the directions, will end up looking just fine. Fine as in to another person who hasn't yet invested much effort or thought into their art. Gosh, such revelations. 

Today, will I make a happy little sequence, a happy little lead line, a miserable little mellotron obvious chordy thing, a happy little VCS3 wibble? 

It's Monday morning, in case you didn't guess. Yesterday was wonderful - started with baby sparrows being fed (they're like the models for Angry Birds but with the cuteness dialled up to 11). Then I killed a main character in my novel - and how it happened just poured out of my (increasingly unreliable) fingers. I may have overdone the pathos a tad but today's read through should quickly put any of that right. Even better, I have the following (closing) chapters quite firmly in my mind. It's quite exciting to be at this stage, already anticipating the second draft and maybe working a bit harder than usual to get it right. Yesterday evening we had another visit from the hedgehog. 

BTW my point about the Joy of Painting isn't that starting this way is a bad thing, far from it. However, if after 10 or 20 years you're still turning out happy little trees and happy little clouds, someone should probably shoot you in the head. 

After yesterday's running around for hours looking for the Rode screw thing (and not finding it), I did the P3 voice over thing for Pete, or version 1 anyway. I probably talked too much - but with no visuals it's not obvious. Maybe needed a script. 
Today I started setting up the modular to do things, roping in the Beatstep Pro and Keystep as sources along with the Pressure Points and Doepfer ribbon. Made some progress using a lot of my favourite modules. Will work it a bit more until I have something closer to ideal then I'll move the modules closer together so minimise cable mess. 

Today I made the following:
1) Keystep playing Tonestar - a basic monosynth patch through delay and distortion. Simple but something to play.
2) Bloom playing Rings and Pluck. Here it's clocked from the Marbles module so I can trigger bursts of cascading patterns or flip to internal sync and get sequenced stuff. 
3) Ribbon & Pressure Points playing DPO. Using Doepfer EG and the AJH filter. Pretty effective for weird performances but I maybe overdid it by roping in the resonator jobby. 
4) BSP playing Waldorf NW1, FM drum thing and the Erica Picodrum. Some effects on them but these may be least effective collection. More thought required. Maybe this should be more drone-oriented and missing the Orgon. 

Today I made version 2 of the modular setup, still a bit of work to do but learned from yesterday. Did a bit more of Pete's podcast. Put another Binar CDR up - the only one outstanding (I think) is Ambient Space Monkeys. To my knowledge nobody has asked for this anyway. 

Friday tomorrow :)

Friday, 5 June 2020

Productive Cooler Days

The sun has departed, presumably it saw what the council was doing and decided not to bake the earth for a few days. Wise old sun.
Wednesday I tinkered with a Cirklon piece, Thursday I tinkered with a P3 piece. Both use weird polymetric stuff and a few indulgent weird scales. If I hammer together a few more ideas tomorrow it might be enough for a spontaneous facebook live thing. I want to try that wired connection and the new webcam in the dark studio. Today did a podcast thing with Pete on Jintzi (or something) which was good except I didn't have my audio sussed - will fix for next time. I rambled on about the P3 and Cirklon I think. Good fun.

Later, because I'm in the mood, I started gathering in a few threads of the novel, aiming all the characters towards their fate. It's a technique I don't use often but here it's necessary if my ending is to stand up and be believable. Amazingly I have been able to remember most of the points I had in mind which are popping up exactly where I needed them - this having a plot thing (then working to refine and redirect it as you go) has helped me do a more normal book. Whether that's ultimately better is beyond me to say today, but it'll have more familiar shapes and therefore should open more locks than the stream of consciousness stuff.

Put a thing on Soundcloud yesterday and replaced it with another today. Tomorrow there will be more :)

Monday, 1 June 2020

It may be Saturday

Was mum's 80th yesterday. Good to see her. Janet brought loads of cream cake. Jack hyper. I showed him a few things on the old nunchaku but he was more into wildly swinging them around. 

Managed some necessary work on the book these last couple of days. Today I wrote a chapter I'd long needed to write without registering the fact before. It binds together a few loose characters and plot points, while pointing to several future paths. So all good.

I've done little else. Sweet girl. Ho ho. Pat's cleaned the front room and hallway today and I've sat drinking beer, listening to Vangelis and writing more lizard-related material. Have a good handle on the island now and its inhabitants, layout and lifestyles. Just about to drop my monsters with trademark red glowing eyes into the mix, then get ready for some kind of grand finale and post-finale poopy petering out. I must not rush as there's quite a bit of potential in the search for the missing pyramid, the deadly jungle, the mysterious ancient lizards. So even though a few ideas need smoothing out, I'm happy. The few earlier sections I still have to resolve or improve are inconsequential and easy enough. The main problem concerns who is to live and who is to die, as well as how much I leave sticking out for a possible second book to wind up the whole thing.

Sunday came and went.

It's Monday and gloriously sunny again. I went shopping - opted for Sainsbury's rather than the chaos of Aldi. Got easily a week's worth of stuff - will soon be time to chuck some of the greens Pat wanted last week and never used. Too hot for studio again; reading book 3 of the Vorrh. Should pull a few mad garden growths but probably won't. Watched JoJo Rabbit last night, which was excellent, every bit as good as I thought it would be. Bought a Robert Rich album on 'pay what you like'. On first hearing it's fairly insipid - meandering flute in reverb - but maybe its finer qualities are hiding from my uncultured ears. We'll see if they reveal themselves on subsequent listens.

This has been one of my more pointless blog entries. Hopefully nobody wasted any time reading it.