Tuesday, 22 December 2009

He's Back In The Bland!

Yeah yeah I know, I've been away for a while but I'm sure nobody dropped down dead (except Vic, almost) in my absence. There's been some excitement to report. We spent the night (last Sat) in A & E, Fundee. We went to see Paranormal Activity. We've been sledging. I saw my son do his Nativity play before going to Stirling. I went to Stirling (nr Tillicoulty, nr Sterling, nr Dollar etc). We played some Bluegrass. Oh, I had to get a working bass cab in Fundee with 15 mins to spare on the day of that gig too. SDO reunion went pretty well BTW.

First up, I just want to say that Paranormal Activity was deeply over-rated. Not pants but very over-hyped like the Blair Atholl Project. The scariest moment was when some sick usherette wifey (large, wearing black-out clothes) decided it was a good idea to poke her arm round a corner and tap a lady on the shoulder to tell her her feet shouldn't be up on the seats! Oddly enough the poor wifey screamed like my cousin Peter in 1995 when he saw the T.Rex appear in Jurassic Park, i.e - very loudly. I got a fright, actually. Ok, so maybe there was some tension in the room after all.

Saw my son in his Nativity play. He was the donkey. He looked really bored. Christianity, huh?

He'll probably be a pagan or a member of a Shinto cult by the time he's 14. I can't wait.

We went sledging too. That was fun until last night when we out in the dark full of mullered wine & I practically broke my back & found the sledge broken in two at the the bottom of the hill. All gigs are off again. I blame Vickers. Oh yeah, & last week Vicky fell over a drain before we set off hitching (at midnight from Dundee!) and smashed up her face & inhaled some gravel. We got to sleep in a waiting room for a few hrs while she waited to see some bored looking specialist. At least it got us out the cold while we waited for a train at 7am.

So, yeah, music ...yeah? The music is going just great, don't you worry about that. I've done loads of ..er, bluegrass bass practice and run around buying cabinets with money what ain't mine. It's all good. I probably won't be blogging any more til just after Xmas. Bet you can hardly wait.

P.S - Captain Geeko (KC's drummist in waiting) was telling me how easy the bass was, having only 4 strings and all that so I went out and got a 23 string bass to shut his fat stupid face up. Haha

Sunday, 6 December 2009

The Wizard's Electronica Sleeve

Ok so this has been a tough first weekend. Hard to be creative when you can barely stand up or you keep being sick on/in your instrument(sorry). Did my bluegrass practice like a good little boy. Quite good fun & surprised myself by remembering some of the keys/chords/structure. It ain't rocket science though. The thing with bluegrass is (I once read) that you can play at any level - you can join in with a basic accompanyment or go off into solo noodling. I can't be arsed with that so less is more seems to work for me. Anyway back to the project - I've decided to work more with my 8-track recorder rather than my PC. I'll still use the PC for editing but I like the simplicity of the 8-track. I dug out another abandoned song from my computer & it basically needs to be started from afresh. It pains me but it's just too complicated & has been edited to death & sounds unnatural as hell. Dance music might work well done like that but acoustic stuff not so much. I need to ditch the umpteen vocal tracks & maybe get some proper performances down on the 8 track. Oh, & how do you replace drum sounds and still keep the groove of the original track? That's the next thing I need to work on. Maybe I should have paid more attention in electronica school.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Blurghhh - No blog today, (I mean even less gubbins to report than usual) cos unfortunately we got loaded in Fundee by mistake. I took over a busted bass amp to get fixed & Vicster did some shopping & we had a coffee in Borders as it crumbled to a sales dust around us (sad). We then went for a pint which weirdly turned into 4 or 5 as we kept missing trains. Then we got off the train and accidentally fell into The Golf Tavern & got more crunk & now I've got a mahoosive headache & no 100 blog/work done. I promise I'll do a couple of hours today/tomorrow...whatever. Is it gyro day?

Friday, 4 December 2009

Glitch Repair Man

Today I woke up and hundreds of marauding buddhist terrorists were attacking our house. They weren't really all that bad - fairly ill-disciplined & a bit sh*tey. I easily repelled them but not before they got in some well-aimed shots at my head using bags of talcum powder & MDMA.
(LOve bombs apparently) So anyway tonight I did a lot of listening. I listened to Vicster throttle some chords out of my electric guitar after forcing her to accept a lesson. She was a good pupil and afterwards showed me how I had contradicted my own teaching 14 times - a new record!
So yeah, I listened back to some tracks I've been working on & then the real work began which involved fixing a glitch on my song "Polyamory Blues". It turned out to be on the bass track...quelle surprise! It took literally minutes to fix. I felt smug - like a lazy genius. Here's some pictures of us :- (me repelling one of the Findhorn Fundamentalist Transcendentalist Mentalists & me, erm...rubbing out mistakes on my bass)#

# - It's conceptual, ok?

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Exciting Day 3

Ok so today I got up and bungee-jumped off the Blackpool tower-sized monstrosity across the road. Ok, that was a lie - I was supposed to re-do those guitar recordings in the duvet studio but I got distracted by a french film. I did however practice some more & worked out a structure & scribbled it down on paper. Vicster# saw me do it. Ask her. As promised, here is a nice Athena print of a cute kid.

# - Vicky did loads, absolutely loads of guitar practice too, she sweared it.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Day 2 Vocal Mixing - It's a Gas Gas Gas!

Ok so tonight nearly didn't happen. I was tired after a day with the kid & Weds is my telly night. I nearly cheated (GASP!)! It was disappointing as I left things too late to record with my son & then he was too tired after tea to record noises with me.(Child labour laws exist for a reason, I guess). The takes from last night were pants just as I said they might be. Not Magic Pants, no, more like MC Hammer's crab-dancing pants, i.e really bad. They sounded good...but the playing was gish. Shame. On the positive side, I put aff the goggly box (Cast Offs) & vowed to get my hour done before bed. I went back to an ancient cover of a famous (he shall remain nameless) fence guy's song.* I have tried to master/ re-master this with new non-sibilant vocals & I've never got it right. Basically I sing like a cat & my girlfriend lets me know this by going "Oooooh....Oh, oh dear.. etc". That kind of thing. So I got an old version of the song and synched up the newer vocals but kept them real real quiet. It worked! I was pretty chuffed as well cos I got it done within the hour. I think I'm starting to like this crazy idea!
Since I don't have any nice pics of me & the boy singing into mics I've put up a sinister piece of dadaist artwork for your infotainment. Tomorrow - lovely Athena prints, I promise.

* It's ok, the album won't have any illicit cheatery covers on it.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Day One

Ok, so I am bad. I know this. It's meant to be day one of the 100 day self-improvement thing & yet I start about 10 at night and don't even sign up for it til well after nine. Doesn't bode well, you might think. Anyway I am working towards a full CD (or 3) of completed musical works so I aim to record, write or mix every day for an hour. I figure even if away from home I can still work on lyrics or record somebody with a field recorder (erm..in a field?) or borrow a guitar or what-have-you. So tonight I practiced my new tune (an instrumental thing on 5-string* acoustic guitar in an odd# tuning) while watching Gordon Ramsay getting a roasting from some thai chefs. Then I switched off the telly, converted the living room into a make-shift studio, plugged in a mic & rattled off a couple of takes of instrumental semi-improvised muzak. I should really have a structure but how do you write down chords you don't know the name of? The takes may turn out to be pants but hey - I've done my first hour!

* - why 5 strings? - oh I dunno, I'm skint and my bass fingers operate on some weird minimalist setting.

# - I haven't figured out what this is but two of the strings are kind of the same note & played open it sounds like a Captain Beefheart song I like.