Friday, September 24, 2010

Scam D

Here is 'Scam D'.
The digital version of 'Scam A'. I spent two weeks on both tracks so it's a fair result either way. Had I not written 'Scam A' and gone through the process of doing things manually then this track could have been quite different. What I learned from writing this track is that planning and production rule in the digital world. In the analogue studio a lot was left to chance and that benefited the track. Here I wanted to calm my first version and I think I've managed to do that despite all the extra bells and whistles.
I'll leave it to you to decide which version you like best. As for me I loved the process involved in each and I've learned a lot by doing a side by side comparison. Maybe that's taken away a bit of soul from this track but having completed both I now know how to avoid mistakes I've made along the way.
Anyway, enjoy the track and comment should you feel the need. If you visit the Internet Archive then you can find all my music and best of all it's free to download.
You've got nothing to lose.

A New Method

This photo was taken on my new Sony Ericsson Elm phone.
I then mailed it to myself and picked up the email on my iPod Touch. I messed with it in an app or two and I'm posting it from another.
Will I miss my iPhone?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


So far so good.
Scam D is musically all there. Maybe a fill or two to add but nothing major. On Thursday the serious production work starts. I have to name everything properly, sort out ordering, panning and levels and that's before I start work on the channel automation and then there are the effects and then mastering.
It's looking like the weekend before this monster of a track is finished. My time in the analogue studio has tought me to think ahead and work for a result. To that end the work in the digital studio has doubled but I know I'm going to end up with a better track.
I'm having a rest day tomorrow.
I'm going to need it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dem Bones

So here we are.
The basic song structure for Scam D. With everything in place I can start adding, taking away and experimenting with the sounds in my head and finding out if they sound as good in real life.
For me this is where the real work begins but it's going to have to wait until next week. This is unfortunate but will give me plenty of time to think.
And a pair of fresh ears.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Funkin' Bass

It's taken hours to get right.
Having said that Loose Ends or maybe Scritti Politti would be proud. I'll admit to spending more time getting the bass right than any other part of a track. It took a lot of tweaking to get the sound right and a lot longer to sequence the part. Considering that this is the downtempo part of the track I've got my work cut out with the uptempo parts.
Where the Panjabi rhythm will fit in I do not know but it's going to be one of those tracks that only works in production.
At least I hope so.

Monday, September 13, 2010

On The Dhol

I spent most of my driving day listening to Panjabi radio.
One of the joys of living in Leicester is that there is a world of music and it can be tuned into on FM. I thought programming an Asian beat would be difficult but it gets so much into your head that you just know when it sounds wrong and adjusting takes only a little tweaking. I love the epic songs that are such a thumbprint of the Panjabi sound and I wanted to create my own backing rhythm for Scam D. I think I have what I want and I haven't even started the track proper.
One thing I have learned from my analogue session is that you've got to do it for yourself, no cheating, which is why I've got 9 tracks of secondary rhythm and not a sampled loop.
Scam D will sound better for it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Scam A

So here it is.
It's not a great track but at least you get to hear what I've been up to for the past week.
Over the next two weeks I'll be working on the digital version which will sound very different but I imagine you'll be able to tell the two tracks had the same idea as a start point.
As usual let me know what you think, good, bad or indifferent.
All comments welcome.

Finished. Almost.

The above picture is of my retro tape creation turning digital.
It had to happen at some point. Over this last week or so I've had a fine time recording this track. I'm as rusty a musician as ever but I'll blame that on too much time spent in my digital studio. Am I pleased with the result? To be honest not as much as I'm pleased with going back to the old ways and re-learning my craft. I'll be happier with the electronic version but I'll also apply some of my new techniques to the second incarnation.
Time to get the track mastered in digital.
And think of a name.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It's A Syn

So that's the synth added to the mix.
The eagle eyed among you will spot the sound I used. All that's left is a guitar solo type thing and it'll be ready for a bit of post production.
I've also decided that when this track is finished I'm going to write it again in the digital studio just so you can see how different it all could have been. I think the comparison will be interesting.
And oh so very electronic.

Friday, September 10, 2010


And dirty guitars at that.
One thing I've learnt about multitracking that I seem to have forgotten over the years is that when you record on tape you have to play. Sure, you can have multiple takes but if there's no ability it shows through. So, in conclusion, tape makes one a better player. And that's where we've gone wrong. Digital studios will make you technically brilliant eventually but they won't make you a musician. Obvious really but I thought I'd point it out having woken up to the truth that I need to play more and program less.
I can smell the coffee once more.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Tape Expectations

Programming complete.
From tomorrow the track with no name yet will start to form on tape. The new TDK SA90 will come out of its clear plastic case and come to life in the 424. I have a L/R mix coming from the QY100 which will be recorded onto two tracks then bounced down to one.
I always look forward to Friday evening but tomorrow is going to be special.
I get to be 17 again.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Repeating Myself

My track may not have a name but now at least it has a structure.
I've just spent some time arranging the very basic pattern changes in this track. Next comes the bass changes but that will have to wait until at least Thursday. With the bass changes I can start the real creative process. Once that's done the multitrack comes into its own as I start recording 'live' tracks and doing a bit of bouncing. That's what I'm looking forward to the most, not because I'm any great musician but I'll have a go and I have the tools to approach this track away from a monitor.
I think that everyone should take a step back, in time, and write on a production tangent, not least because it really is a lot of fun.
I'm having a fine old time.

Monday, September 06, 2010

One Step Back

I've decided that my next book will be Fatherland by Robert Harris.
Sometimes a good novel is what is needed. An escape into fiction is what I want at the moment. That and a little R&R, well, at least for tonight. I didn't sleep well last night and I wouldn't do any justice to any music programming tonight. I'll get back to the music tomorrow. For now The Sweeney and Minder and the promise of a new novel is all I need to relax.
Simple is essential sometimes.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

I Understand

Real bread is so totally different from stuff you buy in the shops.
Proper bread feeds you, it tastes good and is substantial. The stuff from the shops makes a decent sandwich. That's about all.
My bread is a bit of a revalation. I'm so glad I made it. It's good to create because it's the only way to understand.
The second batch is in the oven.
Here's a new start.


So here they are.
My first two loaves. A complete success. I have to let them cool properly then I think some hot buttered toast with beans and eggs will be on the menu. While there may be some programming to do tomorrow I think that a second batch is on the cards. The new years resolution is done.
What will next years challenge be? Complete the album?
Quite possibly.

Happy New Year

For about the last five years I've made a new years resolution.
Until today I've broken that resolution by the time the next year rolls into view. That resolution is to learn to make bread, by hand, the traditional way. No machines involved. As I type my first ever batch of dough is rising in a bowl. There's nothing left to do but enjoy a glass of wine, and wait.
I'll tell you if I actually end up with bread a little later but for now...

Thursday, September 02, 2010

I Am Your Master

The last piece of the puzzle arrived today.
My TDK SA90's were retrieved from the Post Office and I think I might have to calendar one of them tonight ready for a recording session at the weekend.
While they are 90 minutes each I will only get just over 22 mins because I can only use one side and I'll be recording at double speed. Despite using older gear I'm still aiming for the best quality recordings I can make.
Time to get a song sorted.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

So Where Next?

Having just read Benny Hill's very interesting biography I'm unsure what to read next.
I think I might stay with non-fiction but I also have a few good novels I could quite happily delve into.
Maybe the best idea is to sleep on it.