Back in November, Lee came to stay with me for a week or so while he was looking for a new flat. We decided to make the most of the time by collaborating on a new side project.
In between making food, walking the dog, and working from home, we took turns writing and recording parts of what turned out to be a five track EP. Lee focussed on the drums, guitar, and bass, while I added the vocals and electronic parts. Both of us helped shape the structure and feel of the tracks, and Lee did some kind of production wizardry to make it all sound fantastic.
Gear wise we had a pretty simple setup, despite what the pictures below suggest. Lee had a basic audio interface for the instruments, I used a cheapy Behringer condenser mic for the vocals, and the synthy parts were almost all based on a single Eurorack voice (utilising a C64 SID chip). Listening back, it’s pretty crazy to think that the songs can sound so huge when they were literally all recorded between my kitchen and living room.
One of the coolest bits about the project for me was the collaborative part though. It’s easy to get stuck when you are working alone. Here though, whenever we hit a block, we would just pass what we had on to the other person. More often that not, they would hear the potential in what we thought sounded crap, which helped push the process along. A healthy way to produce, and truly collaborative rather than combative.
Here is the result:
Artwork by the fantastic Ghostvoices / Jake Brown.
You can download the EP for free over on the Cow Tongue Taco Records label page. It will be available to stream on Spotify etc from the end of the month, and there will also be a limited cassette tape version available too.
Last week, my friend Al came round for a couple of beers, and brought with him some of his beautiful synths: a Korg Arp Odyssey, and a Dave Smith OB-6.
We played about with them for a while, and then hooked our setups together for a wee jam.
The result came out pretty well, and we ended up recording a couple of tracks. The first – Ikebukuro – is below, filled with big swirling synthy sounds right out of the 80s.
Here’s a direct link for posterity, incase Soundcloud goes bust like they are threatening to.
unexpected bowtie (and friends) is an album that started in 2011 as a means of collecting different sounds from some of the hardest working, most creative, and most pleasant people that I’d come to know in music.
Taking everything from ambient guitar noises to crazed loops of a Welshman throwing rocks into a wheelbarrow – I pieced them together to produce this jaunty beast.
Despite having been finished almost 2 years ago, and with most of the tracks previewed already, the whole thing has never been quite ready – partially because I still have some samples left over from one band that I’ve just not been able to work out what on earth to do with. (down to my musical incompetence, not theirs!). Hopefully these will make their way into something astounding sometime soon, but the time for this release to make its way into the world is well overdue.
Click on the accompanying artwork above to take you to the new shiny shiny unexpected bowtie bandcamp where you can download the whole thing for free for the first time.
Man of Lists Profile – PulcoMusic.com
A while back my good friend Pulco aka Ash Cooke asked me to take a couple of poems that he’d recorded and destroy them.
This I did, and they’re appearing on an album along with the far more musical efforts by other people soon. Have a click through to read a wee feature on me, and more about the album itself.
It’s good; I’ve heard it.
no more villagers
Here’s a spaced out new track which is made up primarily from bits sent through courtesy of Calamateur (pictured below), as well as some completely mashed up guitar from Reading’s Yer Beauties (pictured above), and some crazy distortion donated by Lee from Everyone an Army (not pictured).
When I was about 16 I went on a rather screwed up weekend that I had at the Greenbelt Festival in Cheltenham, as I travelled along with a band called Poor Old Ben.
Out of the several vivid memories I have from those few days, seeing an acoustic guitarist with a particularly amazing voice by the name of Andy Howie aka Calamateur play in a wee room up the top of the racecourse stands out on its own. I even remember the way he slung his guitar carelessly over his back and disappeared down the stairs in front of us afterwards.
Calamateur takes a whole host of strange sounds and bits and pieces and moulds them into some haunting, beautiful tracks. He’s been good enough to record some things for me to butcher apart, and has detailed exactly what over on his blog.
You can check out the rest of his stuff (most, if not all of it for free) via that link too, but I’d suggest starting with the ‘Son of Everyone EP’, as that’s the one I remember from that weekend at Greenbelt.
Life has crashed in and taken over just now… slowing everything down to an almost complete stop, but hopefully we’ll have something to show in the new year.
degrading into a party, and nothing respectable
This is the face of Lee, aka Citizen Tank, aka noise-maker in Everyone an Army. Not only is he a fine musician, but he also let me (along with a pile of others) crash on his couch whilst on tour. Not just that, he even cooked breakfast in the morning.
What a guy.
It is him that came up with the beautiful piano playing on the most recent track to be finished from the whole collaborative ditty. You can listen below.
degrading into a party, and nothing respectable by unexpectedbowtie
this is all we’re offering
Pulco’s back for the newest collaborative track with his barrage of sketchbook samples… with a much softer feel to the last. Lee from Everyone an Army also played some of the guitar swooshes featured, but there’s more to come from him, so we’ll hold off introductions for now…
this is all we’re offering by unexpectedbowtie
the economic benefits of individual contraction
So far there haven’t been too many elongated track titles on this collaborative jaunt, so the time is right; the time is now.
Delay Trees are a ‘dream-pop’ foursome from Helsinki, Finland. They have all the delicate nature and sing-songy delight of the rather good Iain Archer, and they provide the ambient background to the latest track. There’s an interesting mix of Gameboys, mandolin and other effects to be found. Drums come courtesy of Keith Grantham, who’s already been introduced.
You can find more of Delay Trees at their Soundcloud.
the economic benefits of individual contraction by unexpectedbowtie
Collaboration Preview – Track 3 – ‘marks for effort’
with Burning Buildings
This track is a much softer, less grizzly track than the last one that involved Pulco. It comes with a piano melody courtesy of Manchester’s Burning Buildings. They’re awfully nice chaps, and probably slightly unhinged… but the end product is one that I’m really personally pleased with. Sometimes there are melodies that just fit your vocal-style to a tee, and for me this is one of them. Hopefully you might like it too.
You can find some of their tracks for free over at Bandcamp, tweets on Twitter, and a review over at Artrocker.
marks for effort by unexpectedbowtie