Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Day in the Studio... with output!

I spent Friday in pleasant creative flow, in the studio. It's been a while, and I had a project I'd started way back which I wanted to complete.

In the process, I wanted to upload some stuff to SoundCloud, where I've had an account for an age and not had any sounds on there at all. I want to start an audio CV with some recent work, something which showcases some bass, I hope.

Aside from the dodgy solo in the outro, I'm fairly happy with the result, as it gave me a great opportunity to learn some new Cubase skills I haven't used before, automating mixdown with the MIDI desk I've got (it's actually a 16 channel live desk that has a MIDI mode, I defined MIDI mapping configs for Cubase control). Great learning experience - effect inserts, panning, automation in general. Weird to watch the desk (it's automated and motorised) fiddling around with its own levels during playback.

If you're interested in the outputs, you can check my soundcloud stuff out here - this was the track I made a first mix of.

It's not bad but it's rough and ready, and that solo section is all over the place.

But I got something finished: that's desperately important.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Working on Chromatic Fantasy again!

I've reached page 3 of the transcription... it's coming together, slowly but surely, like one of those promises you made yourself and never quite managed to follow through on. I intend to be able to play this thing through at least once!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ski tracks app - sweet

Ski tracks generates some excellent data you can plus straight into google earth. Was just reminded when is started it on the iPhone just now and got this excellent map of the last day's epic trek last march:

That's a fully zoom able and twist able map. A really nice keepsake of an excellent ski holiday.

Oo, that's got my appetite up.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Turning down a gig? Me?

It's true - I got an offer through the excellent Tony of Phat Tone Studios in Reading (his studio's a cracker) of a dep gig in London, expenses paid, hotel, etc. I turned it down after some deliberation.

The bands name is "the Gentlemen of Distorted Sound" (GODS. - look them up on YouTube, they're pretty impressive onstage.

Thing is, this gig was important for them. The chance to support the Quireboys, apparently, rested on it. But their bass player's wife went into labour, so they needed a stand in who could get the songs quick and run with it. I _could_ do that OK.

Thing is, look them up on YouTube, especially live; they're definitely part GnR, part leather-waistcoat-no-shirt-grungeglam. I would simply not fit it, not look right - and these guys have a look as much as a sound and songs.

Simple truth - If I did the gig, they'd sound great, but look hamstrung by the gimp on bass. I can't cause them not to get the gig, it's not fair to them or me. We'd both feel awful.

So I turned it down! Do you think I did the right thing? Let me know with some comments.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Old classics and revisited gems

Dug into bits of "Permanent Waves" by Rush last night: very enjoyable.

I've also been spending time trying to sight read more of jaco pastorious solo pieces, as these may form a great batch of warm-ups instead of using my rather mechanical regime (which I've been using for years).

In amongst all this appreciation for very old stuff, I've got a Moog softsynth for the iPad, which sounds just beautiful! Introductory offer: £0.69. Utter, utter bargain and sounds phenomenal.

My ex-bandmate Terry Collie appears to have had fun last Sunday finding open nights at pubs in London - twickenham / George was apparently very well organised. Rocky styles apparently, but well organised cuts it with me.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Thomann tryouts (again, first for a long time...) - tuning peg frenzy

Been a long time since I ordered anything on Thomann. I've put in an order ( €79.00 including postage ) for no less than 10 tuning pegs. It's time a couple of the beasts got some well deserved care and attention to the mechanicals.

The Tobias really does need new pegs - I replaced several a few years back, but my stocks are out, so I'm swapping all 6 of them out for Warwick ones. Here's hoping they fit.

The other 4 are silver ones to replace all the pegs on the Crafter acoustic bass I have - I was saddened by the quality of the pegs on it, they're out of character with the rest of the bass which has a quality well beyond its price tag. It sounds great, but the tuners have basically just eaten through the cheap metal the gears were made of. Not impressive. So it's warwick ahoy for them as well.

The fitting will be a damn sight simpler than the car seat was yesterday. Found that control knob, finally - another £6 to add to the pile, but the job is complete (bar a damn good leather clean and feed for the seat itself - it'll come up a few shades after that I'm sure!)

Also think I've worked out how to grease the seat. No euphemism intended.

Of cars and mechanics (sort of)

For the first time in a long time, I got the tools out in earnest and completed a much put-off job. My wife has a rather nice diesel estate car which has done us fantastic service zooming around France, but it has one niggling annoyance for her - the drivers seat. The car has leather upholstery, which is nice, but it's the basic model so the seats were only adjustable in a couple of dimensions.

Her previous vehicle had been a top-line company car, custom spec BMW 320d, with full electric seats, and she likes to drive with a lot of support under her legs, slightly pitched backwards. This was impossible with the stock seat.

I found an eBay listing a few weeks back for an 8-way electrically powered version of the same seat, so I secured it (and later, the switches, which the breakers yard had removed, the cheeky bastards - they got another 30 quid out of me for that and I still have to buy one of the switch tops) and it's been with us for about 3 weeks or so.

Last night I got home and decided there was enough light left to go for it, so I did a little investigation, established that the plug under the seat for the supplies had a full set of cables (there were 15 cables and the stock seat only had 3 plugs so I made the assumption that the car has a stock loom which will take all the optional extras), and went for it.

It was great to dig out the tools again, get my hands dirty, and figure out how to remove the seatbelt assembly (another piece the bastards at the breakers yard had taken off and neglected to mention in their listing!!!) and transfer it to the new seat - this went off without a hitch, each element under the seat actually had a physically notched removable plug so they couldn't be inserted into the wrong slot in the plug unit.

Best of all, the seat is in fact the right colour - so, although it needs a good clean and feed, I don't need to remove the upholstery and transfer it across.

The forward-backward motor sounds a little tired, I suspect the tracks need grease, but otherwise it's working fine and she now has the driving position she wanted.

I just have to find that switch knob. Grr.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Possibly the oddest Gig I've been to... Roger Waters does the Wall at the O2

Good gig: huge venue: enthusiastic performer: political content as subtle as a sledgehammer (and bang up to date, including plenty of recent footage from our current war fronts): a spectacular audiovisual experience.

But the audience... weird. Half-dead suits who have dug out an ancient T-shirt (or worse yet, have bought one at the venue): fat, bloated versions of their earlier, more energetic and visionary selves, suddenly half-reanimated like Jackson's backing dancers (and just as jerky in their motions).

Seriously, I sat near a fat bastard who nearly ripped the seat out with his catatonic rocking motions.

And at points, the whole floor audience stood up, and then in the next track realised they were quite tired and really needed to sit down again, but did it very gradually so they didn't look too old.

I spent a good portion of the time laughing at the audience!

Oh - and prostate problems and roving Becks beer sellers create CONSTANT TRIPS TO THE BLOODY LOO!

Gawd, these wispy remains of men...

Great gig though.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Best laid plans of the long weekend...

Well, a combination of things meant I only got a small amount of what I had in mind done. I got the studio set up, but then got myself exhausted moving crap gravel...

On the plus side, I think the project I started a while back is going to arrange itself into a nice trippy piece of 80bpm big-beat bentley rhythm ace / ethereal crossover.

I got experimenting with the GR50 and the 6-string, and started messing with pad13 - a 5ths heavy reverb flute pad affair. After a little low C bass and some heavy big beat, it's morphing nicely.

Today was a 12 hour day in work, so I've been restricted to a half-hour aerobics session on the Warwick. This turned out to be reassuring - fast fingers tonight.

I think the hard work over the weekend paid off - that, and the screwdriver work out I had this morning trying to dismantle a 6th high crate which arrived from Frankfurt... Pulled 8 "screws" out of the marine ply and pine before I realised they were actually a form of nail. Then I used a massive 8mm flatblade screwdriver as a crowbar and split the bastard from stem to stern. Very cathartic.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

1st May Practice and musings

Breeze are playing O'neills in Oxford tonight. Get down there and suck up the sticky goodness.

I've got to mind the fort here at home, so it's 6 string practice time this evening.

25 mins of warmups with doubled finger warmups and some additions to the hammeron/pull off exercises.
Today's scale was A - majors, minors and arpeggios with triads and 7th chords.

Use some Jamiroquai to warm up the funk muscles. Decided on a stamina session so played:
- revolution 1993 full-on, all 10 mins 16 seconds of it. This one will work out your left hand, it's got a lot of B work down at the low end. Feeling pretty good at the end, can still pop around the fills.

Now we'll move onto a song for the day - analysis and catching some new vibes. My big list has some good tracks on it, all on the iPod. The idea here is to try to get some new ideas into the playing, maybe some new rhythmic influences.

Today it's "talkin loud" by Incognito. A challenger. That'll see me through to about an hour and a half of work.

Tomorrow should be a good studio day, if things are willing...

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Another Nigerian bank scam

But this one is simply hysterical. Have a read. It came through to Nic as a JPG which I presume gets around spam filters.

Anyone know what a "suspense account" is? I don't think Hitchcock had trouble, but this fella has no idea.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The evening's work

All the usual stretch exercises, 15 minutes.
Spiders for 10
Hammeron and pulloff stuff for 5, finger isolation LH
3 octave Arpeggios for 10 across all 6 strings.
Right hand dexterity, all 3 finger workouts: both directions with lead and drag of alternating fingers.

Then some cover band work on 6 tracks, paying attention to the rhythm of the baselines on "smooth" (Santana) and checking the outro in particular.

Should have had a jam this afternoon but the drummer's in Armenia... How random is that?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Great night at the White Horse

Great night last night - White Horse, Emmer Green, Caversham, Reading.

The pub was packed - great atmosphere, like pubs should be, a lot of happy, friendly, chatty people.

The house band is the function band I'm working with - sounded pretty good for a first stab at public playing: lots of funk too. I think these guys could have a go at some original material... Hmm!

18th March is the next one; come on up and get a seat early - the place is jumpin! My last post shows how quirky the stage area is. It's total 80s front room chic!

<<<<<< Posted While Roaming / Gigging >>>>>>

Location:Emmer green

Stop Giving Me Choices

Bless the Hoosiers, they've given me something to think about.

A lot of the best creative work comes from constraint; star wars with physical models and the film print-though matte tech which Lucas and his team perfected still look better than the modern equivalent; they had to create something because they didn't have much choice.

Modern life has created industries who exist only to give choices of approach and tools; apart from the danger of paralysis this creates (which tool? argh)

<<<<<< Posted While Roaming / Gigging >>>>>>

Shot from White Horse

Meant for illustrative purposes. The venue feels like a living room! It's like TFI Friday all over again...

YouTube Video

The iPhone's not bad but loud stuff still overloads it totally.

<<<<<< Posted While Roaming / Gigging >>>>>>

Monday, February 14, 2011

18 years and counting

Nic and I have been together 18 years, and romance ain't dead yet. Isn't love grand?

Got to make the effort, so I forewent(?) the customary flowers for a "I live hunting chavs" card and a tomtom satnav.

Yep, an old romantic, me.

Dinner is special though.

Love ya Nix

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Best spam ever?

Read through this. It demonstrates that crap software even afflicts those who spam us. Can you spot the error?


Dear Lady or Gentleman!

Do you want a prosperous future, go up in money earning power, and the admiration of all?

Today only:
We can assist with Diplomas from prestigious universities based on your present knowledge and professional experience.

Get a Degree in 6 weeks with our program!

~Our program will help ANYONE with professional experience
get a 100% verified Degree:


- Just think about it...
- Realize YOUR Dreams!
- Live a wonderful life by earning or upgrading your degree.

This is a best way to make a right move and receive your due
benefits... if you are qualified but are lacking that piece of paper. Get one from us in a Hi, Tom, Just sending you the information you’ve asked me about. Lora and me used to sleep in separate rooms, as I came home too tired to be good in bed and finally my wife lost the interest too. We needed something really efficient to spice up our love life and we found it at last. Dan time.

If you want to get better - you must Call 7 days a week! to start improving your life!



You must leave us a voice message with your phone number with country code if outside USA and name and we will contact you as soon as possible.

It is your chance...
Make the right decision.

Best regards.

Do Not Reply to this Email.
We do not reply to text inquiries, and our server will reject all response traffic.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

To browse lists of accounts related to your interests, just look for the "Browse interests" button on your new Twitter homepage.
User research typically is focused on how an individual uses a computer or device.
We already had some great sessions with entrepreneurs in Montreal building a community among small businesses; members of New York City’s art scene sharing a world once confined inside museum walls; and, folks at @WhiteHouse and on Capitol Hill providing a view into the inner workings of government and how they use Twitter to demystify it.
I am most satisfied while pushing product direction. Building things is my passion, and I’ve never been more excited or optimistic about what we have to build.
Follow our adventures @OnTheRoad.