Posts Tagged ‘electronic’

Afternoon Tunes

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

Control

Tune in to Radio Control every Friday 2pm-4pm (NZ time) to catch me and Felix from SODA BOYZ playing some of our favourite tunes and chatting about fun stuff.

I realise I haven’t done a 2014 post so I should probably do some shout-outs right now to make up for it. Last year was full of many exciting things, new friendships, adventures, music, laughter, and lots and lots of food.

Massive thanks for the inspirations everyone, especially: Buska Dimes, Big Friendlies, Vera Williams, Given Names, Fantails, Slower Motion, and all the people at PBS (Melbourne) and Radio Control (Palmerston North) who introduce my ears to music I hadn’t heard before.

The next 11 months will be mostly Maths and Physics. There will be more music but for now I must go shove my head in some books so I can try to make sense of the universe.

Remember, go outside and look up.

Peace x

Me and The Beatles

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

All my music is produced at home. My set-up is very basic and I have limited knowledge about sound engineering. This suits me fine (for now) as I am not rich and I prefer minimal/rough sounds. It also gives me the opportunity to learn more and to retain complete creative control over the final tracks.

I’d like to share a story with you about some work I’ve been doing recently on the new single Milk And Water:

The lovely Simon Askew (well-known BBC producer and engineer) has very kindly been offering me some advice about production. In April I sent him links to The Angel EP and also a rough draft of the new single.

Many people have listened to The Angel and I’ve had a lot of great feedback but nobody has said this:

“…The first thing is both that mix and the Angel EP is all in mono! Is this deliberate? If so I think it’s wrong!”

No Simon, no. This was not deliberate.

Full disclosure: I didn’t actually know.

Through several weeks of email exchanges I rewired and panned and sweated and screamed, and continued to hate the massive gaps in my music technology expertise.

Finally ready to export the track to send a new version to Simon, I noticed a small drop-down box giving the options to export in mono, stereo split or stereo interleaved.

That’s right folks, a small drop-down box in the middle of my screen. I had seen this menu on everything I’ve ever mixed for the past 2 years and at no point had I thought: “I wonder what that’s for…”

Seriously. I am an idiot.

Like The Beatles, my recordings up until now have been in mono. This has the potential to go down in history as one of those hilarious early music making stories. Or perhaps not. Maybe I could pretend I intended it that way and release my own boxset.

Go ahead, listen to The Angel EP on Spotify or Bandcamp with fresh ears. Mono.

Me and The Beatles in Mono.

Cool.

[please note the new single will be in stereo, like I'm a normal person]

2010 6 (The Angel)

Monday, April 26th, 2010

This is the sixth in the 2010 series of tracks. This song has developed from an idea I had over a month ago. The writing and building of the track has been a slower process than the previous 2010 songs for various different reasons that I am happy to go on and on about if any of you ask.

I have also added my version of Chris T-T’s Ankles to the Music Player.

—-

To hear 2010 6 (The Angel):

Music Player

—-

LYRICS:

2010 6 (The Angel)

Clipped wings and sapphire eyes

cover woe – flawless disguise.

Locked away, swallowed the key

as a preference to being free.

From inside looking out through glass,

distorted scenes are photographed

by a man-like shape, statue-still.

Angel of the castle, castle on the hill.

Stacked around the walls are skeletons,

mortals misunderstood his burden.

Rock and earth and stick and stone

branches criss-cross skull and bone.

Self-inflicted wingless watcher

spies Beauty but he will not touch her;

for he knows his yen to kill.

Angel of the castle, the castle on the hill.

Disenchanted wood casts shadows in the breeze,

Beauty calls while dancing between trees:

“Oh, Angel do not lock yourself away

for there are many tasks for you to do today…

…Souls across the world have gone astray

and there is fun outside and games to play,

for you alone can heal their ill.

Oh, Angel of the castle, castle on the hill.”

Come out to play, Angel. It’s a lovely day, Angel. Let your wings grow again, you will be whole again.

Come outside we’ll walk, Angel. You can laugh and talk, Angel. Let your wings grow again, you will be whole again.

The spirit in his home, the tower,

overlooks science and nature.

Vantage point, truth exposed,

Devil inside the details transposed.

Running fast through the Banquet Hall.

Cut his hair, clothes they fall.

Drank the water till he had his fill.

Angel of the castle, the castle on the hill.

Outstretched wings and fierce eyes

cover woe – flawless disguise.

Locked away until ready;

repairs his heart, prepare his body.

From inside out the shattered glass;

upon the wind flew the photographs

and that man-like shape on window-sill.

Angel of the castle, the castle on the hill.

Strength and grace and majesty

trust self-powered prophecy.

Hear the voices, see the smiles,

shades and colour of Beauty’s wiles.

Eyes aglow as he takes the leap,

faith’s easy to find but hard to keep.

He is brave enough to feel the thrill.

Angel of the castle, the castle on the hill.

Angel of the castle, the castle on the hill.

—-

Victoria and Jacob

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Had a great day today, wrote some new lyrics and did a couple of my favourite things. I’ve stuck by my resolution to do at least one favourite thing each day. It’s great and you should all start doing it (no matter how big or small the thing is, do something you really enjoy every day).

In the evening I went out to The Flowerpot with 2 Hackney Family members to see Victoria and Jacob. This pop duo has a fun mainstream electro sound and a very accessible look. They are both adorable and I want to keep them in a box in my sitting room.

I liked what they did musically, although it was a bit samey (I tuned out after about 3 songs). Sometimes I do feel as if I’m the only person left on the planet who likes the sound of raw, dry vocals, particularly in electronica. Victoria was using delay on an already reverbed up mic which for one or two songs is great, especially when she played with the fx but was a bit much when it was every song. I think it frustrated me tonight because she really has a lovely voice and I wanted to hear more of its true sound.

I liked the beats and the way the duo’s musicality worked together. The gear was impressive without being ostentatious and their use of stage awareness was good.

G’Night

x

5 Days To Go…

Monday, February 15th, 2010

HOOOOAAAAAH!!!!

5 days to go, only 4 more sleeps…

I hope you’re all listing and categorising your own crushes in preparation for The Crush List at Ladybird (Fbook Event).

Remember, you make your own rules!

To get y’all in the mood, here’s my extra special Spotify playlist which will (if I can get it to work at the bar) be played between acts on Friday night: The Crush List. Ask questions if you have them!

Patches are uploaded, lyrics are (almost) learnt, trainers are packed, glamorous assistants and I are ready to dance! See everyone there.

x

Magnets and Electricity

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

I’m getting a bit behind with my blogging because I’ve been so effing busy lately doing loads of stuff I want to blog about but don’t have the time to *vicious circle* – if you feel the urge to keep up to date (and I know you do) then follow me on Twitter

After spending Friday night seeing some art and pretending I knew what I was talking about, Saturday night was spent watching two bands.

Magnets played a rare London gig at the Wilmington Arms. This Folkestone band is great, the songs are strong and they are all very talented musicians. It’s core two members are the same two guys who run Club Buff and promote live gigs as well as club nights around Kent.

I really enjoyed their set. They have good onstage chemistry and aren’t trying too hard to ‘be’ anything. They opened with what should be their single release if they have one: Here Be Monsters. It is a storming track with a strong catchy chorus and is definitely my favourite of their current material.

The only downside watching them on stage was the layout of the band. This band stands out because of the distinctive lead vocals, lush harmonies mixed with solid songs and long jam sections in each track. I would place the vocalist in the middle of the stage and the newest member of the band who plays guitar with props such as a bow and a drumstick more to one side or further back – they wouldn’t have to do anything differently as performers. As an audience this would reduce any feeling that the props were a gimmick or trend and the band would seem more led by their strongest asset, the vocals.

Otherwise, the gig was storming. There’s a real current following for Kent based artists so I hope Magnets break out and let more people hear them.

Next was a dash to Pangea Project, it’s a tiny artsy cafe/bar in Stoke Newington (very poetry night/alternative artists kind of a place).

I was there to see John John Slave. This electro disco pop group consists of two guys doing electronics – a mixture of synths, laptops and other stuff – and a girl doing dancing and vocals. Their stuff is cool and fits nicely with the trend for upbeat electro pop. Their singer has a good voice which you can hear clearly when she’s not dancing (but I loved the dancing!) and I really like their tracks. The two guys are very skilled and rush about swapping from one bit of kit to another which creates more energy than your usual laptop musicians. I’d like to see them again in a different venue with a larger crowd and without any costumes or props.

Will tell you soon about the rest of my week…

Robotics and Anansie Spider

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Can’t sleep because I am so excited for Saturday, (solo gig number 4); it is an amazing experience for me to be playing at a Lexapalooza event and the line-up is awesome. I still can’t quite believe I’m on the bill – I am half expecting to arrive at the venue with my gear and someone to go “what’s all that stuff for?  you’re not playing here”

This week has been very busy. I’ve been working my boobies off getting a wonderful Limited Edition CD together for all of you lovely people. It is called Robotics and has some home recordings and a couple of live tracks. There’s only going to be 150 in existence. A good friend has done some gorgeous artwork for the front and I’m really pleased with how it all sounds.

The best big brother in the world took me to see Skunk Anansie on Tuesday night in Brighton. It was a small warm-up gig to their big reunion tour and it was amazing to see them performing. Apart from the blokes looking a little older, you couldn’t really tell that they’d been away for so long and they played a couple of really good new songs as well as playing all of their main back-catalogue. One of the new songs we didn’t like (but the crowd seemed to so that will probably end up being a single or something). It was a really great gig. Some of you will already know how significant their music was to me during my teenage years (especially those of you who had to live through my awful attempts to sing their stuff!) so it was brilliant to get to see them live now.

The support band was a bit weird – A Human. The drummer and keyboard/backing vocalist were good musicians but the frontman was like something straight out of some early 90s band. He looked, sounded and danced as if he wanted to be in The Wonderstuff/Ned’s Atomic Dustbin/Sultans etc etc. He even did a really awful Brett Anderson impression for a whole song.

Hope to see you all on Saturday! Do come and say hello – (mine’s a vodka & diet pepsi).

xx

The Skoog

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

This afternoon I got to try out a brand new bit of gear. The Skoog was originally designed as a piece of Assistive Music Technology but has the potential to be used within any setting.

It is basically a big foamy brick just smaller than A5 square with a brightly coloured raised ‘nubbin’ on each side. At first glance it’s something exciting to play with, squeeze, hit. It does look a bit like a child’s toy. It even looks a bit spacey – which obviously appeals to me!

The software (Mac/Windows compatible) has its own sounds specially built for the Skoog. These sounds are better than samples, they have been built using digital modelling, which means they have the actual attributes of the real instruments. For instance, you can adjust the sound of the lip positioning if you’re playing a brass instrument, the breath control if it is woodwind, the sustain if you’re playing strings or a piano etc. The sound is affected if the instrument it is designed to be has wooden parts, metal parts or strings etc. It is brilliant. Plus with its MIDI compatibility and the option to just use it as a trigger as well (although I don’t know why anyone would want to) it has universal appeal.

The real masterpiece though, is the gorgeous, tactile hardware itself. This is a truly exciting instrument which is easy to get a sound out of but takes skill and practice to master. The Skoog is completely touch sensitive (the sensitivity is adjustable); you can even add vibrato to the sound (not through the computer but by actually shaking your hand as you would on a violin).

And now we get on to my very favourite thing about it. The ‘Twist’ function. The Twist means that as you twist or tilt or shake the foam in your hand the sound is affected.

For example: If you are playing a flute solo you can ‘Twist’ the foam and it will bend or overblow the note. If using a trumpet, the ‘Twist’ action creates a rasping blow sound. The differences are dependent on instrument choice and actually sound like the real instrument.

The cost of the Skoog is £500 per unit, this will go down in time but for now I hope you all club together and buy one for me ha ha! I’d also like one of these Ice Kube speakers with it please ha ha!

You can keep up with the Skoog blog here.

xx

GIG-a-bites

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

On Monday 10th August I played Blang! at London’s infamous 12 Bar Club. I was blown away by the response. For those of you who couldn’t be there, why not?!! But here are some clips of the night. Enjoy. x

Blang @ 12 Bar Club

Monday, August 10th, 2009

I’m playing tonight at the Blang night at 12 bar on Denmark Street and I’m mega excited. It should be a really good gig. I’m playing a couple of tracks I haven’t played live before and I’m also looking forward to hearing Kinkajou, Sergeant Buzfuz and a late set from Steve Espinola.

What they say about me: “Playful biotechfolkmusik that time-travels in a hollow tube between nursery room pianos, hologram vocals and Warped atmospherics.” I quite like that description!

xx

My next wish is that I’ll get to take my robot music on the road.