Whoahoahoah what’s going on

I haven’t posted in a while, but that isn’t as a result of a lack of activity… quite the opposite. It’s been a fairly busy couple of months. I head over to Japan for 3 weeks shortly, so before we go on a short hiatus, here’s an update on what’s been going on… complete with lots of pictures.

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My grunge pish band released our debut album, which was recorded in just three days in a cottage in the middle of nowhere. It got partly funded via Kickstarter, and we have vinyl on the way, which is pretty exciting. You can order a digital/tape/vinyl copy by clicking on the artwork below…

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and if you are supremely lazy, then you can stream below… right from this page:

We have our album launch gig on Saturday in Glasgow at the 13th Note, with the awesome Ex Wives. Come along if you happen to be in the area… it should be a good one. Click through on the poster for the Facebook event.

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The stage will look something like this… but smaller.

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Eurorack

I was always totally confused and intimidated by the world of Eurorack, but I suppose it was inevitable that I would end up getting involved at some point. I started out by getting a single 3u row skiff case, and a few modules…

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and ended up progressing to a wooden 6u rack cabinet…

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and eh, this is the current state of affairs…

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The whole thing is helping me understand synthesis and signal flow a lot better, which is definitely a good thing. I am still investigating how best to incorporate the wonderful sounds that the various modules create in my music… but it’s just a matter of taking the time. I suspect it will form part of a cup fungus┬árelease in future, though the possibilities are (dangerously) endless. The lights and… tactility of the whole thing is irresistible, and I’m looking forward to devoting some attention to it after the Japan trip.

One cool module worth mentioning is the SID Guts. It uses a C64 chip for producing sounds, which of course is something I had to try out. I ordered a chip from some ‘specialist’ seller on eBay, and it was so badly packed that it turned up like this…

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Needless to say, I was not happy. I sent it back, and took the opportunity to get an 8580 SID from elsewhere. I’ve got 6581 chips in both my TherapSID and the actual C64, so good to try out a bit of variation.

Despite all of my Eurorack desires, I’ll be stopping at two rows for now. I have a third row all planned out, but it’s probably wise to take a step back and release something based on the gear that I already have before plowing ahead any further.

Moar GameBoys

Because you can never have too many. I finally got my act together and finished up a project that I’d had on the back burner for a while – an all ‘white’ DMG, complete with white backlight, frosted white case, white case LEDs, and glow in the dark buttons. I even used white wire on the inside. It looks pretty awesome…

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So what’s next?

Once I come back from scowering the various second hand electronics shops in Japan, I have a bunch of different projects that I want to pull together:

  • A new, full length unexpected bowtie album, written on LSDJ.
  • A mini album, written entirely on Houston Tracker 2 – using a calculator.
  • A compilation of remixes and b-sides.
  • A new cup fungus release.

So plenty of things in the works.

 

Hungover music making

On Saturday night a few of us headed out (full of rum) to belt out classic power ballads for a few hours. It was good times.

We didn’t feel all that great on Sunday though. Normally I’d just lie about and eat rubbish all day, which eh… I did anyway. But Lee aka radiomoths┬ácame round and we recorded the base of a new track with a bunch of different pedals, synths, and the C64. It’s all de-tuned and sounds a bit like the soundtrack of some robot death march from a film. Lee also took photos that I’ve stolen from his blog.

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After we were done, I ate some more rubbish food. Not too bad a way to get through a hangover.

 

The past week I’ve become immersed in a whole new world of exciting sounds – that of the chiptune. You’ve probably heard about people making music with gameboys and old computers.. It’s something that I’d dabbled in years ago, but never quite had the creative energy or enthusiasm to carry through to any worthwhile end.

However, unexpected bowtie is the perfect place to experiment and see just what a Commodore 64 sounds like when played alongside a musical saw. I’m pretty sure that can’t be a combination that’s been brought together that often before, surely? It’s actually pretty wonderful to see how things can interact. A tune that I’d just written up today electronically came out of something originally composed on the accordion, which I then ported over for quite a different feel, and even having the accordion playing the bassier notes in the background. Quite a shift about from what it was in the first place.

I had been concerned that it had all gotten a bit guitar-led and folky round here with the last release, so this new venture just proves (even if just to one’s self) that it’s really all about experimentation in all its kinds, rather than being stuck to any set of defined limits. Like has been said elsewhere – I keep forgetting that there’s no rules.

Either way, the dizzying amount of cables and different technical things that are required even to just hook up something like an Amiga 600 to a modern LCD screen is pretty daunting, but I’m managing to get my head round it all (well, maybe). Despite the minor hiccup of having err.. ‘misplaced’ my old C-64, it should mean that within the next few weeks I’ll be fully kitted out to record directly from the old sound-chips and see just what can be done.

In the meantime (and before I possibly electrocute myself in the noble pursuit of sound), you can listen to a track that lasts a whole sixty seconds – composed on the Gameboy, and filled with guitar and musical saw. Nice.

bees are prisoners