Monday, 26 November 2018

Some theremin, some simplification, the Octatrack pushed aside once again

I know, I know. It's weird because on Monday I did four Octatrack patterns that sounded great and I was planning to do more. Tuesday came and I tried to make the same patterns sound good again - and failed. Whatever Scene thing I did, I couldn't replicate and I got fed up and took it out of the system to show my annoyance. It made me think of further simplifications.
Today (Wednesday), I recorded a theremin part for the new song - the one I did the awful key messing in but which has become this brilliant thing because of Don's bass line and Dean's lyrics. Anyway, Dean made my theremin playing sound better than it was, the hero! May try some of my Night of the Demon samples on it.

Cold persisting. Tried some Albus oil which seemed to clear my nose a bit. Fed up that the only exercise I'm doing it coughing. Was gonna visit Paul but didn't really want to pass it on. What a crock.

Cold still fucking persisting. It's Saturday and I'm meant to be going out to see Mick's band play in Preston. Dunno if I will though.
Novel going well at the moment, largely because I've solved all the problems I had with it and just have a few scenes to write that shouldn't be too difficult. The ending has matured somewhat and I'll jot it down fully soon. In back-combing, I'm going through the fantasy short story that slots in rather well. I don't mind cranking up the Harry Harrison for that as it fits in. All the parts that seemed faffy or complex I've edited out. Anything laboured or drowning in adjectives has gone. I'm happy.

Nic Roeg died. So I wanna watch this again:

Jeez it's Monday and I'm still not great. Cracking on with novel is helping keep my mind occupied though, reaching the fun end stages where I've sketched out the start of the three last strands I'm going to run, ready to pick up on any as the mood takes me. Have formulated the Rules for Godly War, lifted a bunch of stuff from the I Ching and even managed to weave in some Brexiteer levels of stupidity. In another week I should have my first draft, which is a lot better than previous first drafts because this time I back-combed a number of times to get everything lined up. Still some editing to do, some chapter quotes to position, some other minor tweaks but essentially it's nearly there. I have one scene I'm not 100% sure which way it will go yet but that will just happen out of momentum (and a bag of smoke).

Started a new track in which Don sent me an mp3 and I overdubbed a sequence and melody. Could probably have done it better if both my ears were working but no guarantees.

Did a 2019 calendar too. Didn't have such great pix this year though.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Not well but stuff ticking along

Pat's been really ill with a bad chest infection. On antibiotics now and slowly recovering but not there yet. I have a bad cold but resisting getting more. Seemed to go downhill after dropping mum off at private health place yesterday.

Got through the next, hopefully last, roadblock in After Life. I knew the ending but not quite how I was getting to launch into it but now it's clicked into place. Might even be able to tie it up in just another 20,000 words or less (hopefully). Depends how many ends I ultimately want to tie up. Very happy with fantasy section, even though I still have that battle to write up. I may do it at the same time as the other one and do some fuckery between them, we'll see. Don't want to add too much complication at this stage.

It's a week later and I have done very little but fight this bloody cold. Some nice new concept stuff for ANT - the guys doing their usual creative marvels and me sitting grinning on the sidelines like everyone's favourite village idiot. Been working on After Life, went back to start in order that I fully understand it before writing the next section. Some edits leap out as needed but in general it's working well.

Today I plan to do some studio stuff. Turned down a gear review, asked to do one though as Duncan has been telling me for some time I'd like the Deluge. Has to be better than that other thing I've had a while and still is as mature as a spotty teenager with its hand down its pants.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Another little move-around

I decided to retire the ER-1 for a bit and move the Biscuit to the cue output of the Octatrack. Then I could bring back the TT-606 as it seems so much more suited to individual output processing than the TT-78. Yep, I now have both going into the same mixer, this time using just the single output from the '78, which is somehow right. Maybe it's just how I remember my CR-78 but the single mono drum box idea works well and I think about it in a different way.

Processing OT tracks via the Biscuit is good too. I really should have got Denis to do that mod for me allowing me to bypass the bitcrushing sometimes and just use it as a filter. Good I can record the processed cue output right back again.

Had to move the analogue delay to its own mixer channel also, just so I could EQ it a bit. This turned the Lyra and its long effects chain from stereo to mono, but that's actually a good thing too, tames it slightly.

The Odyssey, despite Korg's cockup, sounds great. I'd still maybe have wanted the keyboard version had I known of the issue but no great worries. The PPC on the module is shit too, total waste of time.

Sunday, difficult visit with mum. In the evening went and hung around a fire, found a large, fat frog on the pavement as we walked home. Popped it in the garden near the pond. Pat went to bed, her cold finally taking over. I polished off the fantasy section of my novel, although there's a battle or two to write when I'm in the mood.

ANT stuff sounding awesome. The question of what to do next follows naturally on. I think it's bedtime.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Dopey stoner online.. buys Odyssey, realises Korg cocked up (again)

Yesterday I felt like tackling a small anomaly in the novel so I had a wee smoke. The novel kink was quickly ironed out but then... the next thing I knew I'd ordered a whiteface Odyssey module, because the idea had occurred a while back and I never dealt with it.

The following morning I was pondering what I'd done and noticed that I'd paid £50 more than I should have. So I cancelled - Signal Sounds are pretty good to deal with BTW, you can mess them about and they're still lovely. Now, however, instead of ordering the cheaper one I saw, I'm thinking I could save even more money by not buying it. Tim's real Ody is here and I don't play that, so it may not be essential after all..

Just got contacted by the British Library Sound Archive, requesting some of my music. Apparently they have some of my stuff already but want more. Something to play to cockroaches after the apocalypse or something.

Ahem. The Ody saga continues.
A pal sold me a s/h Ody whiteface and it arrived yesterday. Today I tried it out and discovered why everyone is discounting them so heavily. Korg cocked up. Again.
1) Korg implemented a bodged means of setting single triggering active which, perhaps due to their leaving the LFO reset behaviour of the original, means you can either play legato or have the LFO work but not both. Using their prescribed patching technique (which presumably nobody tested) means the LFO only works when all keys are released. Shame no review looked at this as closely as, say, the Behringer Model D.
2) this one has a noisy slider. Bugger. The quality of all sliders feels poor to me, can't see them lasting long. As I was planning on getting the LFO reset fixed I guess that needs looking at too...
3) Despite my misgivings it sounds really nice. Having all 3 filter options is fab, my fave being the 3rd but all sound good. HPF doesn't seem to do a load over much of its travel, must compare with Tim's.

Summary - Korg could have done much better. The sliders feel cheap and the MIDI is half-arsed. I doubt I'll ever use the PPC as it requires a huge amount of pressure. I suspect Behringer will do the job with more thought, as they did with the Model D. Weird/sad to admit that but Korg seem to have blown their original "we're a big company doing analogue again" vibe. I guess I never forgave them for the Minilogue/Monologue digital envelopes.

Friday coming, hope to indulge myself in music and writing. Almost finished the Marbles review, just need to make it slightly shorter - as usual I've gone on a bit. So much to say though and what to trim?

The Benjolin arrived, or was it the Banjolin? Anyway, it's pretty cool but I spent most of the day on the Ody, which sounds great. Oh and the TT-78 arrived and that really rocks.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Curry Satisfaction

Yeah, I got the curry desires which weren't satisfied last weekend in Sheffield. Finally sorted them this evening - but it was a strange encounter with my only openly Brexiteer friend. We simply didn't discuss it or I think it would have been like when religion comes up with a certain other friend. Jeez. Very weird.

I can't help wondering if that's going to be the way of it in future though. Epic self-harm is brought about by misinformation and belligerence. Instead of dealing with it, sorting out the details and ramifications, we don't discuss it at all.

The curry was nice though. It's Monday morning and I've just bid it a fond farewell. Trying to get in the mood to go to the gym but the mood eludes me.
Things to do this week: fix Les's studio problem, check mum's OK, see John for tea and cake, get some shrooms, tackle at least one of the trees in the garden, do the Marbles review, start the Medusa review (assuming firmware update comes).

The last photo from a session we did just off the motorway. I say 'we' but I didn't participate. There's probably a link somewhere from Divkid's Youtube page.

I didn't talk about Synthfest did I? Well, in short, it was fab. I got to play a Grandmother and realise I don't need one. I would probably have bought an Odyssey desktop but they didn't bring any. I was left with a desire for a GR-1. Saw Dean's band and they were fab, hung out with some cool people and talked until my voice was a croak.

I realise that's not much of a summary. Oh, it was weird driving Kim's left hand automatic there and back but not excessively so. I probably grumbled about the traffic cos that's what I do.

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Odd & Odder

Wednesday. Yeah, an odd day. First I noticed I'd forgotten to pay last month's credit card bill and then I was proved wrong on a spelling matter (faun, fawn) after a visit to a museum in Bolton. I will console myself this afternoon by polishing off some review stuff, or at least progressing it.

Sunday evening and Dean just sent through a new track that absolutely rocks, I love it. Different from the others perhaps but equally marvellous. I don't know how they do it but makes me very happy.

Did some housekeeping stuff - sending dry individual drums from tt-606 for another track, messed with review gear and did a few nice patterns, made copious notes, did simple test of a module with poor tracking to hopefully demo to creators. Used the not-exactly-perfect tonestar as reference.

Novel 'fantasy section' begun. Have most of it in my head, might need a writing binge to get it out in a short burst.

It's all good!

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Morpheus almost fixed?

In one of my long-term projects, I thought I got the Morpheus working today. Fitted new battery, explored the diagnostic menu but kept getting MIDI failure. Thought that perhaps needed an out to in connection though. It was giving MIDI comms errors on the V-Synth when using its thru, suggesting the Morph's MIDI in was suspect (I'm guessing the thru is hardware but should verify).

Anyway, have got it working - but I remember my initial errors were MIDI-related, with it crashing when I played too many notes. Will do some tunes with it and see how it goes - but would be sweet to have it fully operational. Sadly I failed to back up any of my patches, many of which used poly AT. Oh well.

Should polish off a review or two but I have some novel ideas to progress.

Well, the novel ideas went well. I'm now much further ahead and ready to go back and comb a few chapters in order to progress. Good how things I had previously hinted at are coming through, almost as if there was a plan. I also managed to combine some LOTR satire with some social media nonsense and end up with a coherent version of Hell.

New tracks with Don and Dean, sounding fabulous. One of my original sequences badly recorded though, some bleed from one of the aux effects (I think) but fortunately Dean can fix anything.

Cirklon testing going well. New feature slipped in today that finally nails the Steve Reich thing and does it with rare elegance using Track Values. I think this update is gonna be a killer.

Seems the Morpheus not totally well. I'm getting some strange noises from it if I use its MIDI thru. Think it's going to have to go to Tony but may well be a goner. Replacement could be a second Blofeld, we'll see.

Hmm, can't even remember when I started this entry. Lots I could add - album progressing incredibly well, watching the art of production and seeing there's more magic in it than Ali Bongo's underpants.

I was persuaded to do another full length review. Actually it didn't take much as it's a thing Howard dragged me to see at Superbooth cos he knew it was up my street. Must get those Erica reviews done and I think I promised one of the MI ones too, although it has to be said I've promised it before. Time, where is it going????

Yep, it's that time of year again...