Wow… can’t believe this much time has passed – the Firestations album really took over for a bit there, along with loads of other projects competing for my time. You can see on the discography page what I’ve been up to recently and I’ll be adding more soon as more stuff gets released. Highlights are the aforementioned forthcoming Firestations album, working with Dan on the new post-Dark Captain project Astronauts, going to Richard Formby’s studio (him of Wild Beasts production fame) to play on the new Left With Pictures album, playing live with Chin of Britain and starting the recording of his second album, and doing a lot of songwriting and inevitable admin as well.

Lots of things. A brain full of banana but still somehow sluggish. A Monday morning stream-of-consciousness excerpt then:

Chin of Britain is a monkey here. Remarkably close to how he looks as a human, but infinitely wiser.

chinofbritain2

Been tweaking the new COB album and now it is definitely finished (no more bass boosts or last minute stereo widening). To be unleashed on the public in September. Three part vocal harmonies meticulously panned.

Wielding a camera and some speakers, heading down to the docks with a tall ginger man at low tide on an early spring day can get results. Rusty old boats and ropes, large tyres embedded in sand.

I sometimes go in for a spot of art and theatre and I did my bit for interdisciplinarism (an ism?) by recording ambient city noise from a Barcelona apartment for use in a dark comedy about suicide, and am currently trying to make an unmusical piece of music for an art installation.

barc

Charly Morris sounding good at her first gig in a year last weekend. Happy to be working with her on new stuff soon.

Charly

There was a 50 piece choir at the Union Chapel at the weekend and I learned about the joys of using a ‘Decca Tree‘ microphone set up.

Here ends this disjointed update. Until next time.

Can’t believe it’s March already – time flies when you’re often drunk (I mean having fun, of course… : )

Since the beginning of the year I’ve been doing an audio production/mixing course which is now sadly nearing its conclusion, just two weeks to go. It’s been great learning the technical reasons why you intuitively do certain things in mixing (and do certain things just because you think you should), and I’ll definitely be able to make more informed choices now, backed up with hard pyschoacoustic science. It’s really made me think about the way I listen to music and how I can relate the work of other mixing engineers to my own – I’ve realised that overall EQ balance and the illusion (or reality) of space in a mix are really very important things for me to concentrate on. Andy Diagram (a.k.a. Andy Perkins) is a knowledgeable guy and a good teacher.

I went to see a film earlier this week called The Ghost of Piramida. It’s about how a band, Efterklang, travel to an abandoned Russian coal mine in the middle of nowhere and immerse themselves in the environment, making field recordings and getting to grips with the fascinating history of the place. I thought it was ace, both in terms of how it looked and how it sounded. It’s only a matter of time now before I shell out on a (semi) decent portable field recorder and start attempting to sample the ‘vibe’ in my local woodland area. I will be doing this, and also listening to the Efterklang album which, judging by the songs in the film, is very good and makes interesting use of the sounds they gathered at Piramida. Rather than just background atmospherics, they’ve integrated the sounds, especially percussive samples, and made use of in-situ reverberant spaces -something I’d really like to get into.

Blathering on a bit now… slow Friday…. suffice to say that everything is going nicely and I’m happier than ever with the mixes I’ve done recently. Getting really into Ableton again at the moment, finding it much quicker in terms of workflow than Logic – although sometimes the interface is annoying for recording and editing audio. Hopefully Live 9 will take care of this – either way I think I’ll have to buy it.

Anyone want to buy me an English Reed Harmonium? Played one recently and they have a lovely sound, but good ones are pretty expensive. If my ears aren’t deceiving me, a harmonium was used to great effect on the King Creosote / Jon Hopkins album.

That is all.

P.S. If you get a chance have a look at Waltz Time Records. We’ve got some lovely releases coming up from Chin of Britain and David G Cox, as well as a full-length from Firestations before too long.

I won’t apologise this time, although I know that so many people are awaiting my contemporary nuggets of pure genius!

It looks like 2013 is starting as 2012 ended: full of musical projects. 

Me and a pal are currently setting up a DIY label called Waltz Time Records (http://waltztimerecords.com/). This will be a home for Firestations, Bit Cloudy and Chin of Britain and will hopefully gather momentum as the year moves on. Currently getting involved in sorting out some online distribution as most of the music is currently bandcamp bound. Exciting, daunting and also just a bloody good laugh.

Speaking of Bit Cloudy, I’ve recently mastered his debut LP, which is a beautiful mishmash of ambient electronica and erotic breathing (well definitely the first part). http://bitcloudy.bandcamp.com/

New songs are coming thick and fast for Dark Captain and there’s a concerted move towards a more stripped back folk sound. A new album will be out this year. We played a gig as a duo before xmas at the Lamb in Islington and it looked like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mbmu66E4iU

As for Firestations, we couldn’t quite fulfil our promise of four EPs in one year. I didn’t comprehend the level of effort and efficiency this would entail, not to mention the fact that it would’ve been 16 whole songs! So, as an alternative we’ll be putting out a download single later in the month with an album to follow later in the year.

Happy New Musical Year!

Apologies for lack of updates recently. Have been working hard on the Chin of Britain album which I’m pleased to say is now finished and sounds amazing. I’ve also done a remix for one of the songs. Watch this space for a sneak preview of the album.

I’ve also continued work with Cheryl Freedman and we’re onto the fourth song now. This is all sounding great in an electro-pop with guitars type way and will hopefully see the light of day soon.

Firestations (one of my bands) played at the Union Chapel (Islington, London) recently and I’m going to put together a live EP for that, as the acoustics in there are second to none. (Mental note: must record in churches in future). Have also been writing new material for a third Firestations EP which should be out before the birthday of the Lord.

I’ve got some business cards now and am going to start a Facebook group. Globalise my potential and maximise profit – otherwise known as making some more good music!

Busy times recently  – completed the new Firestations EP and video and website (which you can gaze at here: http://www.firestationsband.com).

Working with songwriter Cheryl Freedman to help her produce an EP. This is a new experience for me, in that I’m playing all the instruments under Cheryl’s direction – does take the pressure off being creative for a bit though.

Also, mixing and mastering Chin of Britain’s solo album. Prog, pysch, overdriven beast with beautiful harmonies. I believe the pseudonym for this is Edward Zephr Gollanz.

Worked with a new band WINWIN on their single ‘Venetian Blinds’ which will be released in late July. Reminds me of Hot Chip, Tune Yards, and the poppier moments of Field Music. Have a listen:

Selected recent exploits:

Recording some new David G Cox songs, fingerpicked DADGAD. You can hear one off his last album here:

Successful Dark Captain drum recording and editing. Thirteen songs in total. Now going to build the tracks from the ground up.

Firestations songs are coming together – will release the EP around the end of July

Currently recording the new Dark Captain album (yet to be titled). We’ve got 17 songs on the go – so plenty to keep us occupied. Shaping up to be a lovely album ranging from Neil Young-esque alt-country to your uptempo dance numbers.

Firestations have a project on the go to record four EPs in 2012. The first one ‘Deletions’ was released in March and the next will be released on July 23rd.

Also working with WINWIN on a song called ‘Venetian Blinds’.