Buy me a beer

I have a hard drive full of half finished songs, modular synth jams, and other bits and bobs that I haven’t (and may never) release. However, there’s a whole bunch of cool stuff in there, and I’ve decided to give folks that are interested the chance to peek behind the curtain if they are really interested by creating a members’ only area on https://www.buymeacoffee.com/allmyfriends/ to share these b sides and oddities.

Along with music, I’ll be sharing samples taken from my tracks, or recorded using my myriad of weird and wonderful instruments. Some will be free, some for members or supporters only. I think that there’s a particularly Scottish inclination to avoid sharing things out of a fear they’re not good enough, so I’m trying to get over that. None of this is stuff that I would post ‘officially’ anywhere else, so I’ll still continue to blog and post here and on YouTube etc as I usually do. Click through for more.

2020 Update: The Reprise

studio portrait

Back in March I wrote an update on what I’d been up to lately, and what I planned to do over the coming months, which seems oh-so-very hopeful now. Given that it is now the end of the year, and we are still just as ravaged by the Coronavirus than we were back then (if not more so), it seems like an update is in order.

ease and desist

I started out writing tracks for a single ease and desist album, but the styles varied so wildly that it seems like this is more likely to become a few different releases. One of them is focussed on hip-hop, which was a surprising development. Almost all of the composition work is done, I just need to put the finishing touches on some of the tracks, and get the final mixes together. This is proving more difficult than it seems, as I don’t really have any experience with mixing hip-hop vocals. Here’s a sneak peek at the potential artwork…

ease and desist album

Hog Wyld

Hog Wyld bass
Photo by Lee Jones.

The Hog Wyld album has been delayed a number of times, thanks to the ever changing set of restrictions which have prevented us from getting into the studio together. In retrospect, recording almost 20 tracks for a 10 track album was also probably an overly ambitious target. Either way, the main tracking is done, and so now we are onto the mixing and tweaking stage. In addition to the album, we finished up a bonus release, exclusive for our Kickstarter backers, which has a whole pile of covers, remixes, and other bits and bobs. That was truly a slog to get through, and I never want to record a cover ever again.

We had a wee Japanese tour in the works, with gigs booked for October, which was unfortunately cancelled thanks to the virus. It seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime type thing, but hopefully we will find a way to make something similar happen again in the near future.

Closet Organ

My other band have been plowing ahead with writing, and we just released a festive single, called: ‘Prepare for a Digital Christmas’. It was played by Jim Gellatly a few days ago, and you can find it on Spotify and Bandcamp (and wherever else our distributors send to).

Closet Organ - Prepare for a Digital Christmas

We are slowly but surely recording new tracks, and will be looking at putting out some kind of release in 2021.

In Progress

That’s the main news so far from my more ‘organised’ projects, but what else am I working on right now?

Synth Jamming

I realised that I wasn’t making quite as much of my own individual music over the past year or so because I felt like everything had to be put towards some kind of release. I haven’t put anything out in so long on my own that there was self-imposed pressure there, and for me pressure doesn’t usually equate to creative satisfaction. The most productive times I’ve had in the past have always been linked to experimentation and curiousity, so I’ve spent some time setting up my studio space to get back into that mindset, and been really enjoying just playing about. I’ve been uploading some of these home jams to YouTube:

Numerology

Despite normally being allergic to computer based sequencers, I’ve (re)discovered something called Numerology, which is a really interesting sequencing tool for Mac. It’s been inspiring me to write a bunch of new stuff, and I put together an explainer video over here:

Kosmo modular build

Inspired by my friend Michael, I’ve begun to start building out a new modular rack in the Kosmo format, created by Sam Battles (aka Look Mum No Computer). It’s already become a huge pain in the ass, and I’m remembering why I stopped doing DIY builds a few years ago, but in the end I think it’ll be worth it. I don’t want what little time I have to be completely sucked up by this project, but it is also cool to dig out the box of components again and see what sort of weird noise devices I can put together. It’s also impressive just how much I’ve forgotten since I last tried something like this. I have various circuits on breadboards kicking about that I have literally no idea how they work, so… that might take some work.

other…

studio portrait

I have a whole bunch of tracks written and in various stages of completion (or collaboration). Finding the right collection of tracks that will work together as a release, and under what moniker, is proving tougher than it has in the past. Perhaps I have higher standards nowadays… or perhaps I’m just crippled by indecision. Whatever it is, I’m hoping that is one more thing that will change in 2021.

New Album: Cup Fungus – Vaguely Nefarious

Cup Fungus - Vaguely Nefarious

Today I am releasing a new album; the second under the ‘Cup Fungus’ moniker.

vaguely-nefarious.jpg

Here is the blurb:

‘Vaguely Nefarious’ is the second release from cup fungus, and continues to be ‘bonkers and disturbing’, with powerful synth-soaked electronica. An exploration through dark dreams and sinister places.

The music itself was written mostly with a collection of different hardware synths and effects. There is almost no Game Boy on this one… but there is a bunch of C64 on there if you listen closely.

3.jpg

The album is available right now to stream on Spotify, or to buy as a digital download via Bandcamp. For those of you who like something physical, there is also a very limited edition run of 15 cassette tapes on Cow Tongue Taco Records. Anybody that pays cold hard cash for the release will also get an additional four tracks as a ‘b side’ release through Bandcamp.

Awake Elsewhere

I’ve gone from feeling fairly unproductive, to wrapping up a lot of different things all at once, which is nice.

The other night I decided to spend some time with the Monome grid controller, as I hadn’t quite gelled with it yet. It turned out pretty well, so I recorded a video:

I took the live recording and mastered it a bit, and have uploaded it to SoundCloud:

More to come.

2016.

With the death of what seemed like a disproportionate amount of highly admired famous people, and a number of disappointing political outcomes, it’s probably fair to say that many people will be glad to see the back of this year, and the ‘curse of 2016’.

Without commenting much on any of that, I’m going to take a look back on the past 12 months from my own perspective. Musically, 2016 has been a great year; a year of re-awakening after a four to five year drought. I’ve built up my home studio, getting back into electronics and falling down the Eurorack hole; written, recorded, and released 3 solo studio albums, plus one EP; properly reformed my band Closet Organ and released our first ever full length album on vinyl; started up my DIY label Cow Tongue Taco Records; and played my first ever live gigs as unexpected bowtie – first in Osaka, and then in Glasgow.

It can be too easy to forget what you’ve managed to achieve over a 12 month period, so I think it’s good to look back and reflect a bit. Here’s some of the highlights:

  • January 2016 – Started recording music again, and released the ‘really something‘ EP.
  • March 2016 – Released my first full length album since 2012 – ‘drouth‘. Also set up noisepedals.com, which now has over 1,000 followers on Instagram.
  • May 2016 – Set up my DIY cassette label, Cow Tongue Taco Records.
  • July 2016  – Released the ‘bonkers and disturbing electro’ album ‘defame the dead‘ under the alternative moniker cup fungus.
  • August 2016 – Released ‘drouth (reprise)‘, with guest vocals from some awesome fellow musicians.
  • September 2016 – Closet Organ release ‘5318008’ on vinyl, cassette, and digital download.
  • October 2016 – Closet Organ album launch party, and played my first ever live gig as unexpected bowtie, at the Space Station in Osaka, Japan.
  • November 2016  – Released the fifth full length unexpected bowtie album – ‘Tokyo‘.
  • December 2016 – Played my first ever Glasgow gig as unexpected bowtie, and finally signed up for an unexpected bowtie Instagram account.

Not to mention upping my video game with a new camera. Here’s a sample from the other night:

Of course, there’s not much use in simply looking back and neglecting what you want to aim for in the future. Aside from writing and recording as much music as I can, I have some specific things I want to make happen:

  • Release an unexpected bowtie album composed entirely on a pocket calculator.
  • Listen to more music than I did in 2016.
  • Release a new Cup Fungus album.
  • Play more gigs as unexpected bowtie, both at home and abroad – with the possibility of a mini tour.
  • Look into a Closet Organ tour.
  • Release a bunch of different artists on the Cow Tongue Taco label.
  • Produce a lot more video content for YouTube.

Let’s see how 2017 goes. Happy New Year.