Today marks the return of the X-Files. To mark the occasion, I’ve come up with a chiptune tribute: ‘toads just fell from the sky’.
The truth is out there.
The Mayor of London is something of an anachronism, both charming and disturbing all at once.
The infamously bumbling Mayor of London has rugby tackled children, sought to deploy water cannons and then volunteered to be sprayed by one when their use was banned, and single handedly cleaned up the streets of the British capital with his brush the day after the riots.
Here is my 8-bit salute to him.
Over the past couple of years I’ve hardly written or recorded any music. Part of this is because I’ve been so busy doing other things: moving flat, grappling with the UK immigration process, getting married, and travelling a lot. On top of that though, was the lack of any dedicated space where I could leave my recording gear set up, ready to be used whenever.
The time has come to do something about it, and I’ve reclaimed space in a corner alcove that previously was home to our washing and a couple of bikes.
Behold, the new studio:
I’ve set up the Kaoss pad, along with the mixer and Gameboys – all illuminated in some bright LED lights. It’s amazing what having a decent area set aside for making music can do to your motivation.
Unsurprisingly, I ran into a whole host of new issues when I went to record some tracks – both related, and in addition to the ones that I listed last year.
It does make you stop and wonder why the hell you go to all this bother to use vintage hardware rather than sticking in some samples and being done with it, but there’s just something so satisfying about using the Gameboy that it’s all worth it in the end.
Everything is coming together nicely now though, and I’ve got some new gear to experiment with too: A Pocket Operator PO-14 (the Sub one), and probably an Ableton Launchpad. My plan is to dive into the MIDI side of things a bit deeper, as it’s something I’ve never really understood that well. Time to change that!
Hopefully this dedicated space will make a big difference. Watch this space.
It’s been a long time since I did anything musical… about two years infact. Life had overtaken in many ways, leaving no room to fiddle about with Gameboys. In the interim I’ve moved house, got a new job, completed my Masters, and even got married. Yeesh.
Now that things have settled down, I’ve been dusting off the equipment sitting in boxes to get back into the swing of things. It’s not been that straightforward a task. I’ve gone through two new Macbooks since I last recorded anything, which has brought a myriad of issues.
Here’s some of the problems I’ve run into:
So that’s it so far. There are other small annoyances, like how I need to re-solder some bits and pieces in some of the Gameboys, but that’s something I can procrastinate about.
Now time for the good stuff:
Hmm, I thought there would be more to that list, but oh well!
Listening back to some of the older albums, I really love some of the stuff, and am really indifferent about others. Going forward I might try stripping things back a bit so they are less fuzzy and distorted, and concentrate on the chip structure instead. We’ll see how it goes.
Way back in April 2012, intrepid musical explorer Ash Cooke – aka Pulco – got in touch to ask if I’d be up for contributing to a collaboration inspired by some of the many desolate tube stations that lie under the City of London.
Having worked on a host of projects with Ash before, I knew how dedicated he was at coming up with really unique and experimental ideas, so agreed without much thought.
Fast-forward to 2013, and the release is finally (almost) upon us – penned in for the 30th of September.
The format will be limited edition C30 magnetic cassette tapes, each with 3 full colour numbered postcards, a credit sheet, as well as the digital download (obviously). There will only be 30 copies available. Ever. Full stop.
Here’s what the official press release says:
‘Songs For Abandoned Tube Stations’ is an EP of
songs by RELYCS (Ashley Cooke, Adam Leonard &
Stephen McLeod Blythe) inspired by the sights,
sounds and ghosts of the dozens of closed,
unused, or only-travelled-through-at-speed
Underground tube stations beneath the streets
of London. The EP contains 3 tracks – ‘Aldwych
Branch Line’, ‘Lord’s Station’ and ‘Down Street’,
recorded by Ashley Cooke (AKA Pulco), Adam
Leonard and Stephen McLeod Blythe (AKA
Unexpected Bowtie) respectively. The music
literally travels from Cooke’s complex and highly
evocative subterranean soundscape, past
Leonard’s dark, dripping platform of ominous
organ music, terminating at Blythe’s wonderfully
simple yet affective[sic] chip tune Nintendo Gameboy
programming, like the music from some
uncreated ‘Super Mario London Underground’
game. Mind the gap and enjoy your journey…
Aside from my burbling chiptune sounds, the other guys are great at what they do.
For more info on them, check out their respective sites:
Adam Leonard – www.themessagetapes.com
Ash Cooke – www.pulcomusic.com
The EP will be available from Monday 30th September at http://pethaugarw.tumblr.com/
An 8-bit only version of ‘vital signs’ from Pulco’s ‘Man of Lists’ album.
So many wires.
I need to get a bigger room.
As weird as it seems to be announcing the release of one record whilst having worked on a totally different one for the past few weeks, that’s the way it goes in the life-cycle of things.
This is an awesome split EP of the 8-bit inspired chiptune electronic variety, with The Wet Dreams taking the first half of the record; myself the second. We took a basic melody for one of the tracks, and wrote our own versions (tracks 3 and 4) which made it all the more interesting.
Click through to the music page for the relevant links and all that.
For those of you not so enamoured with the chiptune side of things, watch this space – there’s other creations in the works.
Look what I found in a Glasgow museum the other day.
I’m not sure what to feel about this.
Since we’d already posted up the album cover for habeas corpus, here’s the back cover/inlay/whatever you call such things in a digital-only release.
Another fifteen tracks of music in handy downloadable/streamable format… although if you loved the first set, we can’t guarantee you’ll feel the same about this.
Click on through to get your hands on a copy. Or two. Or as many as your bandwidth can carry.