Thursday, 10 June 2021

Bank Hols mean blocked roads

 So I'm going nowhere. May try and get Tim around, although if it's hot I doubt the studio is the place to be. We did some valuable cataloging work yesterday, gave names to a few anonymous pieces and listened to them, and marveled. The new stuff is becoming quite a nice collection. Oh, I promised a track to Sequences for their birthday/anniversary/whatever. Guess a Headshock one might scare 'em though ;)

I think we were up the imaginatively-named Place Fell the other day. I mention it now as I just remembered its name. Yesterday, stoned, everything looked fascinating. You have those days too, right?

Seems like I started this blog entry a while back and forgot all about it. That's a good sign, I think. In the meantime we've had a stint as grandparents and done my usual walking in the Lakes. Not done a lot of music though. I sent the album to Ron at Groove but heard nothing since, so I guess he either doesn't like or isn't interested. Got approached by an old party contact asking about doing something - label-related. I sent him some stuff, also mentioned the art/music project. We'll see if anything comes of that. I probably sent them too much, especially of the mulchy ambient stuff but no matter. He does lovely videos and talked about coming here and filming something. 

Been pottering with oil paint again, forcing myself to do very small things with a tiny amount of paint just to get used to splashing it around. Being drawn towards abstract and messy stuff as it's the one area I've never tried to explore. Have marked the canvas into 25 squares with masking tape and randomly doing stuff in each to see if anything looks good. Very hot in studio so a good way to spend the day. Decorator coming in a few weeks which I'm not looking forward to. Pat away next week with Carole but I seem to have gotten scheduled to help Margaret with the horse, mornings only I think. May see if there's time for a shroomy day. 

Sold a Eurorack module after seeing someone asking on fb. Made me feel happy. Would love to sell the lot, or almost all. Some of those delay modules are handy and clock dividers and a few others. Eurorack is a bit like a really narrow country lane that you head down, possibly because your mischievous satnav led you astray, and eventually it gets too narrow to be worth the ongoing effort, or you meet a dead end; then it's the big reverse and an oath you'll stick to decent roads and avoid the faff. Hmm, I could improve that analogy if I felt like thinking about it.

Anyway, some shots from Angle Tarn, which was Tuesday. It's Thursday now.  Might be a Tim day, hope the attic is cool.

Friday, 28 May 2021

More walkies and prepping for some tiring days

 Off a bit further north tomorrow, hoping the weather will be kind. Bloody cold for May. Didn't sleep last night, possibly as Pat was late in bed and I could hear some bloody thing about drag queens, quite loud, which killed that magical (and short) period in which my head understands it's meant to shut down. Anyway, heard the dawn chorus at five past four. Think I got an hour between half six and seven but couldn't be sure. Perhaps as a result, not one decent musical idea today, zilch. 

Friday's potentially scuppered as I'm picking up John from Slaidburn. Will try and get back for lunchish and see if I have anything in the tank for a Friday afternoon sesh. Next week likely to be disrupted as we're grandparenting. In theory for two nights but these things can get stretched mysteriously. 

I'm trying to learn the names of places we go. That one is the top of Pike O'Blisco, which is a mountain cos of its highness. This week we parked at Patterdale and went up a tiring hill near Ullswater. Proud of our fitness we were humbled by tireless old people and by the time we reached the summit there was pretty much a queue. 

Friday evening. Was our 33rd wedding anniversary. Pat went to bed early though, her arm has a bruise where we think the jab went in. Just came up so not sure if related as she had jab a few weeks ago. My second one tomorrow. Pleasant morning with John, recorded some more nonsense this afternoon. Meant to get very hot from Sunday - we'll see. Hope I sleep better tonight. Been waking with pain in upper right arm, no idea why. As my left clavicle was broken yonks ago, the right is the side I sleep on. Now both give me pain, which is a pain. 

We're getting food from somewhere called Gousto. So far, two meals and both really good. Cooking going on here!

Saturday, 22 May 2021

And I disappoint, yet again

 Well now

Tim and I recorded Prograker yesterday and, as I listen, sober, this morning, it's rather chilled out and magnificent. Today is another pissy-downy day and we released our latest EP, just to remind people we still exist. Which we do. Well, I do. I think.

Anyway. Recorded a thing that was OK yesterday (Friday) and today realised that the virtual Glasto clashes with the Eurovision final. In a choice between getting utterly mashed in Longridge and having a quiet night with Pat cheering on Iceland and Ukraine, I think the quiet night wins every time. A real sign I'm getting old. Would miss some of the Longridge folks of course and do feel bad...

Tried doing stuff with the sequencer yesterday but I need to learn it first. The flow was way too slow for getting notes in and doing stuff in the way I like. Must adapt to its strengths rather than rail against its UI. 

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Species Gap, mastered. And a new sequencer

 I went through all the Gas Giant tracks today splitting them into individual files for mastering. I also added one or two noises and whooshes and whatnot where the transitions were a bit suspect or something annoyed. I'm just listening through to make sure the additions, minor as they are, don't annoy in the future. You have to be careful with whooshes so they don't sound too formulaic and I did have a slight pang at one of them. We'll see how it hangs. Then it's off to Dean to sort the mastering - worth it whether we get anyone to put it out as  CD or not. Think I proposed the alternate title Matt thought up for one track as the main album title - he agrees. 

Listening to the 'gaps version' I think I like it better than the usual flow type. Maybe it's the mellotrons but the shorter tracks and spaces between has some Sorcerer-like vibes. 

So that's that. Gonna buy that mixer of Tim's that is knocking around too. It's a simple thing but for all my other mixers I have a two bus system meaning I can route any track to the BB without it affecting anything else. The old one I was using had a Mute/Alt thing going on - which wouldn't have been terrible except that I like to record my effects sometime. OK, often. As soon as you engage the Mute/Alt34 button, the track's aux sends stop working - could see no obvious workaround, unless it was to use the FX only as inserts - but then you can't record them separately, which is a very cool BB trick: you don't have to play the FX track in parallel with the corresponding regular track. Anyway, it's a newer mixer and has FX, which are easy to record also, giving me more options without adding extra stuff.

In experiments yesterday, I found I really liked some of the Klark Teknik reverbs in Tim's mixer. 

Today seems fairly nice so I wonder how many decent days we have missed that would have been good walking days. Oh well, going out on a Friday isn't terrible; indeed I agreed to go to Slaidburn a couple of weeks from now, also on a Friday, to pick up John after a week in a cottage up there. I think this is 'end of album euphoria' and should not continue as a trend ;)

The Virtual Glasto is on apparently so that will be a wild night in Longridge, no doubt. 

Where am I? Sat with a ton of reading to get through. Still have my pal Jason's 'Bremly Diaries' which I tackle a few chunks at a time but on top of that he's sent me a short story too, plus I'm really enjoying a Neil Gaman book Bammy lent me, plus I now have a printed manual for a new sequencer to go through.

The sequencer came yesterday and I spent a jolly afternoon with its creator. I think at this stage I'll tell a few people about it individually as I feel my way around it ready for preparing some feedback. Apologies for being mysterious but I have to respect the dude's wishes, of course. 

Right, here's some photos from Friday's walk.

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Gas Giant progress - almost there!

 For the first time today I laid out my tracks in Wavelab against the (working) titles and a timeline. Not everything I've done succeeds and there are gaps I need to fill specifically. I seem to be rather short of ambient, sequence-free pieces, which is a surprise given the number I made when I only had one Blackbox. Have made notes of things that need doing, which I'll begin tackling this week, Friday probably as I said I'd walk into town with Pat when she gets her jab. Tomorrow we're heading up to the Lakes for a stroll. 

I'm reluctant to export the chunks to Logic for fixing, arranging, overdubs etc. Feels like a backward step so I'm going to try more discipline in the pieces still needed. I know, I know.

I worked on one of the tracks again today, replaced and simplified some of the phrasing. For some reason it took ages to get it right - possibly due to indecision about what to play as none of this stuff is Rachmaninov. Odyssey doing some very cool spacey noises, JD adding drones and XD a fizzy filter sweep. I did wish, quite a few times, to have played it into Logic where I could have analysed and fixed much quicker. 

Pat had her second jab, yay. Different symptoms this time but after a day she's OK again. 

Yesterday (Friday) I ended up recording three sections of 'expulsion', the first of which was a weird minimal techno thing involving VCO1 of the Odyssey which was tuned to as close to the tempo as possible then recorded three times, each with a different reverb. Looped, these produce the strangest effect - as each oscillator gradually drifts over the course of the loop then gets reset when the loop starts again. By starting each at different points, some remarkable phasing effects are heard. I suspect this is something I'll be returning to. The other two parts were more ambient, as planned. 

It's pissing down today. And we have mice again. Thought I heard something the other night. It's the sloppily-filed store of bird seed that brings them, I suspect. 

Yeah, well, I must have been inspired by Tim's godly self-portrait from the other day. Sat down to take a photo of the floor, as you do, and hit a button on my phone flipping the cameras. From then I became fascinated with the sunlight effect. Needless to say, this was after my first bag of smoke but before I recorded anything...

Sent Matt a V1 of the Gas Giant material, as one long mp3. Big relief is that he likes it - would be happy as is. I'll let it stew a while, listen in a few different ways as I compile notes. I'm aware of a few things I'd like to improve, either by short trims or overdubs or suchlike. I think it fills the brief reasonably well. 

Sequencer guy is coming on the 17th. He last visited here when I reviewed the Notron, so goodness knows how long ago that was. Yesterday Tim and I recorded some groovy things - big part of the success was the layered DFAM patterns that Tim was coaxing out and grabbing in the BB. I should listen again this morning but I'm running a bit late and need to get a shower before visiting my mum. Looks like our Janet's bar is a roaring success, will buy her a bottle of something on my way over. 

Sunday, 2 May 2021

First Trek of the year & Knob Twiddlers & (yet another) new toy

 I recorded something yesterday that, initially, sounded naff and cheesy. This morning it didn't sound quite as bad but still probably not suited to the Gas Giants project in its current form. Memotron meant to be here Friday after another courier cockup, which is fine actually. 

The Knob Twiddlers' Hangout thing is on Youtube.

Had a nice walk up near Lancaster today. My phone reckons 9.5 miles and my legs kinda agree. Good for me though, especially with beer days coming....

It's coming to the end of April and I can't help wondering when/if the Osmose will show, what with the semiconductor shortage, Brexit and whatnot. Been sitting on its cash so long now it's going mouldy. Probably nothing I'd have in its place though so will keep waiting. I ordered some of those nice 'Jupiter' aluminium end-cheeks for the System 8 and they look swell. I think it's my favourite virtual analogue yet and likely to remain so unless they ever manage to put Diva into a hardware shell. 
Right, gonna update my Blackboxes to 1.7F and do a video to show the wibbly nature of clips (unless the latest beta cures that). Update: advised to use quant of 1 bar but I do that already. 

Memotron is really nice, superb build construction too and a proper mains lead. Recorded some stuff then again with Tim. It's going to fit in well. Loads of sounds in it.

Sunday again. May too. WTF!

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Sunny Friday Waiting for Pat

 She sounded really tired this morning after the de luxe horse box's heater broke down, leaving them both icy. Poor thing been away too long. Have done a chilli for tonight and rethought the track-in-progress to my satisfaction. 

Basked all morning, noticed myself a bit red so retired to studio and put my ideas into practice, which worked nicely. The scant Perfourmer things from yesterday totally rescued it. Also nice to have the Virus back in action - so much quicker finding stuff I can use or tweak with that (than the Hydrasynth, which takes forever in comparison). Added an obviously 101 sequence but it seemed to fit the slow and ponderous mini bass so a good day. Now waiting wait for Pat and reading more of Edgar's book. I think we might have passed the years of most interest to me but still fascinating to read his thoughts and (presumably) re-imagined conversations. 

Hmm, somewhat relaxed. Best day of week, oddly enough, maybe cos I had no plans or expectations from it. Spooky!

Well now, it's Tuesday and rather wet and gloomy - ideal for some studio time. Finished Edgar's book over the weekend - it ended with some thoughts on art, piracy, low-hanging fruit and other bits. I felt it sad he seemed unreconciled with Jerome and there was no mention of Jerome's work on the excellent Dream Mixes - the only post-Schmoelling TD I can listen to. Not sure I agree that you should put your fruit where people like Geoff and Conrad are guaranteed to reach it but hey, who am I to comment?

Oh, I bought a Memotron. To cut a long story short, listening back to all that old stuff, I decided it was the one instrument I liked but never really got an authentic-sounding version of. By that I mean the full 35 note, 8 second wonder of each tape frame as I have lots of partial solutions. The wonders of Facebook put me (back) in touch with an old Streetly employee who just happened to have a well-stocked one, unopened for a not-unreasonable price. So there goes my half of the last PRS cheque ;)

I did have a slight ulterior motive too: some of the ideas for the Gas Giant album would really suit the spooky strings and choirs of old Berlin School albums. In another sense it's nice/typical that I embrace this so many decades after everyone else did.

Took a walk near Brinscall yesterday. Was sad poking around in those woods without Jasper.