Tuesday, October 23, 2012

eBay tales

I've had an original line6 Bass POD for years - its seen me well for live shows for at least - what - 7 years or something? The floorboard controller for it does a great job, tuner, wah, volume, all in one.
When the PODxt came out I was interested, especially as it didn't have the annoying gap while changing patches, but the cost of a replacement system - bass PODxt plus the FBV short board - always seemed to put me off enough not to bother.
Well, fast forward to now, and there are good deals to be had on eBay! Fortunately, the gear is well built and often spends its life in studios: total cost on eBay (I was amazed to win both first time with a reasonably high max bid) was a very reasonable £170 including P&P.
I even had the chance to fix the FBV a bit - switch replacement. I can recommend Doctor Tweek on the web - fast, great communication and he's got the right parts for the job: after desoldering the old switches, easy job, completely fixed. Satisfying - an irony is that this means I now know how to fix it later, and also how solid it is.

Great new project, built new equipment for it!

New project: I've got hooked up with a truly talented, enthusiastic vocalist - She's had stuff released before.
Great energy in her songs, and a new genre for me: reggae, but with a lot of other styles thrown in. She loves her crossover - she's into loads of styles, and regularly likes to flip between them.
With that in mind, this time around I finally knuckled under and made up the monster live studio PC in a flightcase I've always wondered about... Net result, a machine which runs ableton live, with a behringer MIDI floor controller to kick off the scenes and modify tempo.
We've tested it, and it seems like it'll do the job - the drummer's got great tempo, and the gear is reliable.
All I need now is a better audio interface than the old 2x2 I'm using... Anyone got a MOTU 828 I can have?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Unsolicited Ambulance chaser claim SMS text FAIL

Look what I received:


Sent by unregistered version of SMSCaster: FREE MSG: We have now had the £3150 compensation released by the insurer for your accident. To claim this now reply '


Now THAT's tragic. Pathetic on sooOooooooOOOOO many levels.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

When you're not funkifising

Zen-chill out growing 10ft tall tomatoes.

When you grow your own food, you feed your soul as well.

Just lashed them all up properly. Needed doing.

In other news... Fantastic new musical project starting, big bass and BIG tech.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Chicken Soup Mix 1

Chicken Soup Mix 1

Just wanted to re-share chicken soup. It's in need of some remixing at the end, I think... but I'm pretty happy with it.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Solo bass pieces and meditation.

I've had the itchiest fingers last couple of days... Went to a wedding over the weekend, which was fun, but I didn't take a bass (just a grip exerciser). Managed to tear a calf muscle dancing, which is a minor limp now (healing fast, I think).

The itchiness, though, developed into a sort of dark, sleepless yearning. I've got to play, play new things, write new things. Weird, out of character things. New sounds from research, radio 1, Maybe buy a Novation controller at some point, abandon old band concepts, shrink the personnel, programme a lot: expensive synth strings, horns, drums...

So to calm the beast, tonight was declared "dig out old tap pieces and start learning a new meditative solo piece" night. Other people's work, all, but something to still me before bed.

Satriani's "midnight" and "day at the beach" work surprisingly well on a 4 string, although the warwick's too heavily strung. The rhythm for Midnight took time to come, but the familiar alpha waves hit me and that sense of continuity, stillness, chronological nowness - it came to me, fleetingly, leaving that same beautiful feeling of being "at one" with something, anything, instead of the terrible otherness of day jobs.

New piece to learn is "Jacob's Ladder" from 100 degrees and rising, by Incognito. It's a beautiful piece, with a mainly Latin feel behind some wonderfully articulate gentle slap and fingerstyle, all light, feather-touch and playful. Things I'd rather be!

Overall, a good start, I've got the main A-E part right, along with the higher register piece which breaks it before it heads to F-B flat. It's so fast I think I need the Aria Integra, with the light 30s on it, to get the feel right. Beautiful piece, the strings towards the end are really nicely done. The whole album's got some great moments on it, they rein in the worst excesses of the strained female vocals on nearly all the tracks they appear on.

Keep playing, world. It's important.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Anxiety dreams of a Bassist

Wow, Freud would run screaming from this morning's little oddball moment. I suspect I'd stopped breathing again (last night was pretty rough) and from what I remember the dream had points in it where my left hand had been replaced with a transplant, which kept going numb and powerless until I took time to flex and work on it.

At one point, very lucidly, I was thinking this would stop me playing permanently, and I started remembering how to play Donna Lee in my head. After this, the fingers (previously looking pale and lifeless, and unable to clasp at their tips as if broken halfway down) came back to life and appeared to be fine again.

I woke up gasping, as usual - not a function of the dream, more me not breathing. Yipe.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Creative acts with paint

Horrible, horrible helmet:

Plus Altern-8 style painter:

Equals primed helmet,


And finally, shiny shiny.

Much better.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The benefits of daily metronome practice... strength.

It's weird how quickly you start to get strength and definition into your playing when you're regimented in your practice, even if you can only get 45 minutes of bass aerobics and a quick play along to some Madeon (his stuff's so good i tend to slap all the way through it, trying to embellish the excellent bass that's there already).

My right thumb has that self-guiding feel you get when something is starting to really "work", you know?

Also - found a bunch of guys on Diaspora who are running a collaborative music project, a lot of them are using soundcloud for it, so what the hell, I'll stick some low end noise on there!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Stashing parts for fixing stuff later - planning for the apocalypse

Well, maybe not the apocalypse. I've been stashing some parts for the car, mainly suspension bushes and other "consumables", while they're plentiful and cheap, as I want to keep the car for 8-10 years if possible (it should last that long, I reckon). I've now decided to do the same for my iPhone 3GS: I've got about £70 of spares and tools from http://www.AppleiPodParts.com/ including a complete OEM re-case (including the silver front bezel and internal attached parts) and a new OEM battery. These will now get stashed for use in approx. 2 years to recondition the phone completely when things start to wear out. I'll probably pick up a new digitiser / front button panel at some point as well - about another £30 or so. That should hopefully ensure a long and useful life for the iPhone. I daresay iOS for it will be deadended somewhere in 5.X long before I stop using it ;-) Fix your own stuff: it's the only way!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

And at last, BlogPress came back up... google apps account using a virgin email address?

Non-music post - on the iPhone / iPad I've used a tool called BlogPress in the past - pretty good multi-platform blogging tool. Not the cheapest, but it's got reasonable integration of pictures and, more crucially and interestingly, video. It's been unstable under iOS5 and the last straw was when it simply wouldn't log in any more. I stopped using it and have been waiting for an update which Apple were apparently slow to approve. Installed the update yesterday (I'm sneezing and coughing my way through the first - and I hope only - cold of 2012) and couldn't get it to work - logging in seemed impossible... Turns out my google apps account wasn't keen to let me log in with my email address: this may well be an argument with my virgin net account, as they're the same, and Virgin have moved to using google mail. If I log in using an application specific password (google thing to allow one-step auth when your account has 2-step enabled) against the **username** I've associated with the account instead of the email address, everything works! I suspect there are other "clashes" like this out there... anyway, it's all good. I'm back into blog territory. I think I've even got twitter to log in...

Monday, January 02, 2012

New year, old music...

Here's some FunkyBass recorded live in Oxford's Bridge club, circa 2005/2006: from the Janeiro / Tempa Tempa era. Great track, this - Jake Carter wrote it, it's a classic. Jake can now be found online at http://www.jake-carter.com/. Do Your Thing - TempaTempa by Andy Basexperience Watt