Tuesday, 21 June 2022

MS20 completed & some sunshine. Long walk around Helvellyn.

 The week started warmly so I got into the garden and started clearing a few areas, mostly to give me access for rodent assaults. Yeah, that time again. Tony has done my MS20 and it looks a gorgeous job from the pix. Interestingly he put all the mods on the left hand side rather than the right where I'd expected. (the circuit board he added needed to go somewhere). Will get up there and pick it up soon - John's Wasp is gonna be a while yet. 


For any nerdy readers, these are the mods: 

1. VCO Sync switch.

2. VCO2 FM Level pot and socket, plus raw output (the selected wave)

3. VCO1 saw, triangle and pulse output sockets.

4. VCO1 PWM input socket 

5. VCO Mixer. Two additional pots and sockets.

6. EG2 positive output and (minijack) V-Trig out

7. Change colour of all LED to green and dim brightness.

8. Filter Mode select switch.

9. VCA & VCF envelope source switches.

10. VCA gain pot. (Odyssey drone mode)

On a regular MS-20 the sustain level interacts with the decay at fast decay times which changes the shape of the decay at different sustain levels. But this one doesn't any more. The Korg also produces an EG2 output that centres around the sustain level. Rarely useful - so it's defeated here. Interesting MS20 factoid: EG1 actually goes from -5V to 0V.  Had to compromise on a couple of mods due to the lower power of the newer MS20s but these will do nicely.


Hmmm seems we're sticking to inverse video ;) Anyway that's the Audion cover test with my playing my Pipe. Should do an all-green gig with MS20, System 8 and Pipe.

Wrote objection letter for housing development on the basis of the increased risk of flooding. Pat off to get new cooker as ours was on fire last night.






Solstice...
Tim and I drank in the sun, met an SAS guy, you know how it is.





Hellvellyn tomorrow (via wimpy old man route)











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Sunday, 19 June 2022

Five days of beer & curry

 As Pat takes Margaret to Centerparcs. 

Monday

Went to get beer, bread, tonic water and soup, which should mean I don't need to go into a shop again this week. Took Broc a decent walk so he'd be chilled as I turn Monday afternoon into Friday. Ate rest of the awful takeaway for lunch and sent Alan at Audio some pix to choose for the interview. Had I thought I'd have got Tim to take some studio poses but it's been so long since anyone needed any...


Yes that's a lot of RK Dining's finest, might have gone overboard with a couple of large ones but what the heck. Got the first of several early tracks I did with Andy but misplaced - Lemon Turtles Hurtling. Hope to get more (from Kev Somers), rather good. Afternoon: novel work and jolly enjoyable it was.
Monday evening, it occurred to me, looking at the vast pile of curry, that I might have bought too much. 

Tuesday

Took Broc a decent walk in the morning so he'd be happy - seemed to work well. Ate some of the curry for lunch - only chance of getting through it is if I have two meals a day. Heh. Some rancid shortbread and beer fueled a drone which I've sent to Martin. Seems quite cool, the Lyra adding quite a bit of noise that I think I'll filter through a Eurorack module. Gonna rig up that little mixer too if I can find a 12V power supply. That way will be able to put stuff properly through 505. Weird I actually suggested they put pan controls on the new model. Drone is the same but varied - discovered the Blofeld Shift button is fucked so managed not to save the patch I made (actually lost before recording so made another which wasn't as interesting as the one designed to go witht the mad sequence I did. Oh well. Sun is out now and I'm downstairs keeping Broc company. More novel stuff I think as I'm in the mood.
Splendid day, finished the Life Aquatic, ate curry in the sun, had a walk, all good. Painting tomorrow is the plan with a full 'Friday on Thursday' to round off my four days of mayhem. 


Wednesday

Excellent day. Took Broc a decent walk then painted all afternoon. Small moments of novel and lots of sunny bliss. Listening to old shit and thinking some of it's ok. Phew! Rick's violin begins as I type this, I shit you not!!  

Thursday
Walked before it got too warm, plan to do music all afternoon although it could be a bit muggy. A lot of curry left so divided it between lunch and tea. Bought more beer, but for the weekend when Tim gets back, honest. I still have my two Desperados ready for this afternoon, which should meet my needs. Been a good week, hope Pat has done OK and Marg not too hard to handle. 

Newt pond looking rather manky - no newts around today. I see the tadpole have back legs now so I'll fish out some of ours and compare. Two old gentleman fishing despite the notice it's a wildlife area and fishing prohibited. Had a few choice words but it's the same mentality as Brexit with these old cunts - fuck you, fuck everyone, I'll do what I want!





Will have to clean up the mess before Pat gets back. 

Very good afternoon (Thursday), recorded an ambient thing that stands fine alone but which has lots of space for Martin to weave some of his fine sounds, perhaps. 
https://soundcloud.com/smokyfrog/ambientthang_dayfourdescenttomellowville_ste-084

Broc happy and now chuffed I'm downstairs with him again, will go for a walk when it cools down a bit, Cracking day, did I say that? The extra sacrifice of a dark, hot studio seems to always pay dividends, probly not ideal for slob on beer and curry diet - for a week, honest! I ate like being on holiday on the 'eat and drink and just be adrift. Anyway.

Dunno what Friday was all about, sorry.

Saturday was fab - Tim brought his guitar and we found ourselves at 147BPM. 




Saturday, 11 June 2022

Sold a pup?

 Well, it's my theory anyway, that Broc isn't a full Jack Russell but has some Daschund in him. It would explain the longish body, dwarfy legs, weird big floppy ears and the wavy nature of his coat. In better news there's to be a vote of  'Confidence' in the fat arrogant lying slacker. Not been much hope since the EU referendum and he already owns too many to lose, but this might be the first slim chink of sunlight. Anyway, Monday morning and it sounds like our Dawn has chickenpox (edit: just a heavy hay fever thing - sent her some of my fave whisky which always helps me). 

The week has mostly gone now with minor novel improvements to show for it but not much else. Once again we have a rat problem so I'm doing the poisoning thing, which I never like doing. Broc not old enough to tackle them yet but he's keen. Tony's van wouldn't start on Thursday so I drove - a claggy climb up Robinson but Robinson didn't care. With the price of fuel, strikes me that we might be going rather to the arse end of the Lakes at the wrong time. Next week Pat & Marg are going to Centerparcs so I will have lots of time to write, paint and play. No walkies though and Tim in Scotland - gonna stock up on RK's best and have a very stinky week!







 Was probably something else that happened but can't think what. Oh, my Irish passport came back to that's a relief. 


Sunday, 5 June 2022

June, time to change my tune?

 Here's a thing: I just discovered a recording of the Leeds Brudenell gig where I, perhaps naively, tried to combine JIC and Binar. It's sounding pretty good so far and could, with a bit of boosting, be worthy of release, assuming Andy doesn't mind. Weird given I was just talking about all this stuff in that interview. Also found a CDR of a JIC gig from Bradford, I think we were upstairs in the new chill space but I'm not sure. It's pretty good though, definitely on good form that night, whenever it was. 

Great walk up Red Pike yesterday. Knees and ankles on fire so that's good, eh?

Dave Smith has died, which was unexpected. He always seemed so healthy and full of  life, a true gentleman and a delight to talk to whenever I had any of his gear to review. He always listened and considered new ideas and even implemented a few of mine  (e.g. on the Evolver). Think I first met him at one of the MusikMesses and had the occasional chat afterwards at Superbooths. My first synth of his was the awesome Pro One, which finally gave me that powerful American sound I'd been missing from my weedy Korgs and Yamahas. And MIDI was a remarkable achievement in 1983 - and remains vital to me today. RIP sir!










I think they're basically the best of those that I didn't post on farcebook or twatter. 

Pat away now for a few days, hope she not stuck in traffic. I expect it will be beer and curry and such nonsense. Got Broc to look after, of course, so perhaps not a sit-down curry after all. 

Thursday Tim and I did sqoogle, which sounded remarkable at the time, featuring the dual monkey approach to mellotron playing and reel selection. Broc behaving nicely, good day. Pat safely there. Had curry, watching random shite on TV. Had something else to write but forgot it. Was drunk and went to bed reasonably early. Sqoogle should get another, more coherent mix I think. Today (Friday) I'm gonna work on that track of Don's and see if the Binar/JIC gig is actually worth putting out. Only other plans could be Synthi and more curry.

Put gig out here think it OK, just boosted levels so I could hear everything better. Gave up trying to get my audio out of the phone, no idea why my dropbox reverted to the old link/identity but sod it. 

Have spent a while ironing out kinks in novel, time well spent I think as it is starting to have an actual shape that is far better than before. Sunday now and I'm tossing up between painting, writing, music and slobbing...


Headshock really are splendid gentlemen, don't you think?


Tuesday, 31 May 2022

May slipping by

 Well, it is. I'm re-reading the Many Coloured Land series and realising how shallow and infantile my own writing is in contrast. I can see how I could improve but I'm quite lazy and set in my ways. Installed a 19" rack drawer beneath my Synthi (but above its keyboard) so I can slide the Lyra in and out. I'd wanted to put her somewhere near but lacked the space - then I remembered that slidey thing. Once the MS20 is back that corner becomes a perfect little musical environment with a very particular flavour. Looking forward to that. 

Played with some of the new paint yesterday, particularly taken with the gold. Soon I'll be ready to order another canvas but these tiny squares are keeping me amused and I've only used 10 of the 25 so lots to go. 


It's raining this morning (Wednesday) so I might get into the studio, but first I'm going to have another search for that missing Antarctica CD - I have the case but the CD ain't in it!

Bought a load of Hawkwind albums for a pal in the States who wanted them in 24-bit 96kHz format - sent them then discovered the format was slightly wrong and he has no way to convert them. So doing that this morning (Tuesday, 31st) and sending again. One of Tony Sawford's suggestions was the marvellous EZ CD Audio Converter which can do anything to anything. 
What else to record? Well, I did that interview for Andy G/Audion then revised it a few times, probably cos it's so rare anyone asks me questions these days that I wanted to give quality answers. Made me think too, which is good. Was our 34th wedding anniversary and mum's 82nd birthday. Mum, Janet and Lisa drove to Workington to look at a grave but I really didn't feel like over 4 hours in the back of a car while someone else drove, not given my vomit record lately and the volume of my family's chat.
Did a bit of work on novel too, not new chapters but a first run through some recent ones to make sure everything lines up. It seems to be working well at the moment with only a few outstanding questions I hope to resolve on the next pass. Some Synthi fun and work on a piece for Don but otherwise not much in the way of music produced. Pat going down for some Jubilee shite on Thursday, which will give me lots of lovely free contiguous time (and curry).  I think we're walking tomorrow. 


Tuesday, 24 May 2022

RIP Vangelis

 Oh no, it just gets worse. I hope Roedelius is feeling OK as I really can't bear to lose another musical hero right now. Vangelis was the absolute master of expressive symphonic cinematic majestic anthemic music and a performer like no other. I'm currently playing Mask, which I never managed to get on CD. The vinyl has held up pretty well - the few small patches of fungus not doing any great damage... also managed to get hold of the Tegos Tapes, which I never thought I would, but turns out Tony Sawford had it, of course. I also ordered Dragon on CD even though it was £30. Mad eh?
No reply from Picko yet but hopefully he's just mulling and may send in a track, would like to think so.

I heard the Vangelis news whilst on top of Glaramara, which was better than hearing it on top of Kate O'Mara, I imagine. Here are some pix. 





And the inner shot from SOS 

Hmm, a couple of crackles on Mask side 2 but still not too bad. Dear old vinyl!
Got a reply from Picko and a copy of his fab new album. Turns out we're both on that AWAL distribution thing, although I know almost nothing about it still. Hoping he'll do a track for the Tony thing - sent him mine, which is becoming a bit too complicated now. May go back to mix 3 ;)
Pat getting some progress with specialist so we're hopeful things will start to improve over the next 6 months. Booked to see Suzanne Cianni in June with Paul L and John Hickey, Tim not fancying it or working. Another nice trip into Manchester on train. Dunno where we're walking this week. Should work on novel and try out new paints but doing a lot of sitting around...