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It is indeed busy. Between 12-13 hour days of day-job, walking for miles and trying to get music done in-between (oh, and get on with life stuff), I’ve seldom had time to update this blog or send mail updates, etc. In fact, where ‘promo’ is concerned, I’ve taken my eye well off the ball. Not that promo was ever a strong suit, but y’know, I did bits here and there. Anyway, screw it, I’m here now.

Been energised, despite workload/fatigue, by some great music, films, interviews I’ve read and stuff. It’s all mostly out there in the mainstream, so probably won’t be a major discovery for most of you.

Firstly, musical ‘hero’ (if I could be said to have any) Richard D. James, aka Aphex Twin released a fairly-well hyped album, ‘Syro’, a few weeks back; his first in 13 years. It’s probably his most accessible to date and it does seem to reflect a certain maturity which has seen him undertake a few well-circulated interviews (a rarity). The music bounces along, acid-tinged and with less atonal/dissonant content. Even the beats are relatively sedate. It has touches of his earlier techno and acid influenced music and some of the music on the ‘Ambient Works’ volumes.

As part of the admittedly fairly-restrained build-up promo, James was interviewed a couple of times. One for Strange Visitor/Pitchfork, one for Rolling Stone and one with Noyzelab. As you may have noticed, the link to the last one doesn’t work and, it seems, the interview’s been pulled. Pity, as that extremely long and extensive  interview was probably the one that gave the most insight into his kit and his working methods.

I have, of course, been working on my own music….a bit frustrating at times, as always, but moreso than normal. I’ve had to re-learn a lot of stuff regarding the way I come-up-with, arrange and record my music. I forced this on myself as a way to change the way I work, so the music would sound different from my past stuff. However, it’s coming along well and each track I record is starting to grow on me. Expect words like: collaboration, quirky, bouncy, synthetic, acidic, psychedelic, analogue and free-flowing. Well, if you asked me to describe it, those are the words I’d use anyway. In the meantime, I’d also recorded a whole load of tracks which were part of the learning curve and were originally intended for the album. However, as the newer recordings progressed, I could see that these earlier tracks didn’t quite fit and were a bit rough around the edges. Still, it seemed a shame to waste them, after all, they’re not that bad! So, I put them up on Soundcloud as free downloads (320kbps MP3). So, if you fancy some free electronic music, help yourself.

Here are some pictures also…..a few are rather pleasant and document the change from summer to autumn inside and outside the studio.

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Steve Kelly (aka Douglas Deep) has been DJing over at Boxfrequency fm (Mondays 10pm) on a weekly basis for a couple of months and his shows are turning out to be crackers, with guest DJs and live performances. Definitely worth checking out at Mixcloud for past shows. Inspiring.

Another former collaborator (and current collaborator!), Marie Craven, has been busying herself with various video projects. She’s taken the words of poets, sometimes reading herself and created little vignettes. She’s been kind enough to include my music on quite a few of these. Atmospheric and quite lovely. Watch Here. (Can’t embed, sorry).

Anyway, just thought I’d share some stuff and all that.

Stay safe, bean-buglers.

Update! What’s Up and New Music

Hullo again, it seems like ages since my last post. I say “seems”, but it actually has been ages.

The new music, to which I’ve alluded on various social media platforms, is progressing very slowly, but progressing nonetheless. It’s a particularly slow process this time around as I’ve rather masochistically decided to change the way I record and produce the music. This has meant that I’ve had to re-learn quite a bit of stuff: new techniques, new methods, new equipment and a new mind-set, I guess.

Why would I do this? You may wonder. While I’ve been happy with my last few albums, I realised that I was running out of ideas and tracks were beginning to sound similar, to me; the same sounds, the same way I structure tracks, the same effects racks. Some people may call that a ‘signature’ sound; but I see it as ‘too convenient’. I managed to partially avoid this on my last album, VTOL, by enlisting lots of help from talented musicians and songwriters. However, a change has to come and I’ve purchased new equipment which will enable me to ditch the laptop and still travel fairly light and also allow performances to be ‘more live‘ (yes, I’d like to do some live stuff eventually).

Another reason things are taking a long time is that I’m back at work and it’s going to be a bit more pressured than usually this year. I’m not very good at ‘stealing’ moments to record; I don’t like finite time-frames to record in as, in those circumstances, I tend to rush things and cut corners. So an hour here and there isn’t going to do it for me. Awkward bastard that I am!

I am also working with a couple of collaborators, one of whom I’ve wanted to work with for some time. The other being Marie, my long time collaborator in Cwtch and contributor to VTOL.

I had made a point of not sharing any of the new finished tracks before the album release (well, a bit of mystery doesn’t hurt)……. but I did want to share one track with it’s co-creators: Marie Craven (the voice) and Rachel Dacus (the words). So here it is (it’s a version, but not the final album version). It’s also a free download. I can’t embed the Soundcloud player when posting from my iPad, so just follow the link.

Anyway, that’s enough from me. Be good.

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These Haunted Spaces – a free to download album.

Well, in lieu of the next album release (which, incidentally, will be around September or October), here’s something unexpected and previously forgotten.

My head definitely was on vacation between January and June. I’d started to record an album during stolen moments in between work and crisis, but had completely forgotten about it! I discovered the album on my harddisk today, but it won’t see the light of day as an ‘official’ release as I’m working on a more important musical project at the moment, for release in the next few months.

So, I’ve posted the unmastered, rough around the edges album up on Soundcloud for free download, but only for Soundcloud people (whom many of you are). It’s nicely lo-fi, gnarly, radiophonic and a bit atmospheric and consists of audio collages and industrial ambient (well, apart from a bit of a banger at the start). Oh, and it’s called “These Haunted Spaces”…..ooooh, spooky!

So, grab it if you want some dark new music; it’s in 320kbps MP3 format. Cheers.

Click here to hear or download. (Requires Soundcloud login)

 

Albums Which Changed My Life #1 : New Order – ‘Power, Corruption and Lies’

I got into New Order relatively early in their career, in that incarnation anyway. In my last year in secondary school, I had been listening to the poppier end of bouncy post-punk: The Specials, The Beat, The Human League, Ultravox, John Foxx, Kraftwerk and, obtusely and secretively, Mike Oldfield.

Then something happened. I had discovered John Peel and, through him, was exposed to the sounds of more marginal bands. In 1983, New Order released ‘Blue Monday’, a momentous single. Coming a year after their first real venture into electronic rock pop ‘Temptation’, ‘Blue Monday’ was a big-sounding slab of electronic funk comprising almost entirely of sequenced synths and drums. Full of riffs and tricks, the track was about 75% instrumental, lasted for 8 minutes and was released on 12″ vinyl only. When I first encountered it in my local record store, I knew I had to have it; the sleeve alone was so seductive….it looked like those mysterious black disk things we slotted into the Commadore Vic20 we used at school in Computer Studies (a 5″ floppy).

It sounded massive, like Kraftwerk on steroids. What’s more, while my friends liked dancing to it and thought it was “awright”, I understood it. Instinctively.

I was intrigued. I was aware of ‘Temptation’ through Peel. I liked its bittersweet pop hook and its skittering synth sequence. But I hadn’t been prepared for the sheer weight and otherworldliness of Blue Monday. A month or two later, Factory released the album with which this single was related.

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‘Power, Corruption and Lies’ seemed to obviously come from the same lineage as Blue Monday with its printer’s colour test barcode and technological allusions on the cover art. However, this time there was no up-to-the-minute cultural reference for the main front cover image. This time it was a seemingly tame painting of flowers (by Henri Fantin-Latour). But coupled with the barcode, etc it seemed unusual and fresh to my young untrained eyes.

Placing it onto my Fidelity Nine stereo deck, I anticipated more slabs of cold electro-disco. What I got was so much more.
Firstly, just let me say that for years, I mean about 20 years, I played the album in the wrong order. I had mistakenly believed that side one started with ‘Your Silent Face’ and side two with ‘Age Of Consent’. It actually was the other way round. Therefore, my take on the album was entirely different to how a majority (possibly) heard it and, for me, the dynamic of the album as a whole was entirely different to that intended. I still listen to it in that order….to the point of having re-ordered the running order on my MP3 version of the album. To hear it any other way now makes no sense to me.

‘Your Silent Face’ is still a favourite NO track. Having expected Blue Monday’s electro muscularity, I was confronted by a delicate, melodic and restrained song oozing with melancholy. The opening arpeggio recalled ‘Endless Endless’ by Kraftwerk, a canonic connection I understood and was aware of even then. Then those strings kick in…oh, those strings. Synthetic but incredibly lush and dense…and beautiful. The song was intense, sad, almost elegiac. It was also human. Something which I’d not really encountered in the two NO songs I was familiar with.

‘Ecstasy’ was a funked-up electro instrumental with chiming metronomic guitars and dream-like vocoded voice. Towards the end the 4/4 beat kicks in proper with a rocky/funky snare and kick combo, as opposed to the near tribal rhythm which Steven Morris hammers out on toms through a majority of the track. The track comes alive and rises to a crescendo before fading into nothingness.
What was beginning to strike me was that this was a band which was successfully merging electronic music (as I understood it at the time, a la Kraftwerk) with guitar-based post-punk (such as bands like Orange Juice and Joy Division, who I was marginally aware of at the time). There might have been other bands around at the time doing similar stuff, but to me this sounded so fresh and new.

The feeling of ‘humanity’ continued in the near-ballad ‘Leave Me Alone’ (which became a bit of an anthem for me in my teenage introspective moments!) and the rather miserablist ‘We All Stand’. The album had many colours and moods, both emotionally, dynamically and tonally.

What makes this album so important for me is that, prior to this, I’d listened to music either as an ephemeral pop fix (The Beat, Human League) or as a means of ‘escaping’ (in my teenage angst!) via imagination and imagery (Mike Oldfield, Kraftwerk). But had never encountered music which contained elements of both…..pop melody and surge with texture and imagery. I loved it and it was on a virtual loop in my head, if not in reality.
It also turned me on to the bass guitar…..I was totally enthralled by Peter Hook’s use of the bass as a melodic lead instrument and the way it contributed to the dynamic and surge of a song. That summer I bought a Casio PT-30 and a very cheap Antoria bass with an amp and started on a journey which I’m still travelling.

Another Chapter

It’s been a while, I know. I’m afraid life took over my creative side for a while and time has been at a premium as a result. So much so, that I’ve hardly been able to post on social media, let alone here. While I’m fairly dedicated to my day job, I do resent the amount of personal time it takes up…..whole weekends of stultifying paperwork and planning, etc. You get the picture anyway….I wouldn’t be a teacher if I didn’t whinge about it once or twice!

But anyway, now’s the time I start to reap the rewards as it’s summer, if you hadn’t noticed. Hope the weather and the vibe is as uplifting wherever you are as it is here.

So, to the meat of the Dementio13 news sandwich. And I say this with relish (SWIDT?): I’m working on new music; a piece of news which has become a parody of itself….the independent musician stating that they’re working on/thinking about working on something new.

But I am and I think it’s important to tell you this in case you forgot about me during my internet silence!

So, what am I doing? Well, it’s an album….or of album-length anyway. Er, so….an album. I have a preliminary title and cover art (now there is a case of putting the cart before the horse!) and it’s mainly going to be a solo effort…though I do have a couple of surprises in store in the form of a tasty collaboration or two on a couple of tracks. People who can really bring something to my music…a different dimension….exciting. Also, it’s probably going to be less ‘song’ and soundtrack orientated and more electronic and repetition-based, if my experiments and demo tracks are anything to go by. Though, of course, as is the way, that could all change!

I’m getting to grips with (almost) an entirely new studio set-up which has been quite a learning curve….lots of hardware synths, analogue kit and voice transformers. In fact I’m almost completely moving away from computer-based composition; only using Ableton to record master tracks and electro-acoustic instruments. It’s all boxes now…silver ones that go bleep and squelch, and hardware sampling.
The music is going to be about nothing in particular…..just rough narratives. That’s the plan anyway.

Anyway, no doubt, now I have some quality time on my hands, I’ll be keeping you informed of its progress via this blog. You’ll be sick of me by the end of the summer, at which point I’ll shut-up again for three months!

If you have downloaded my music, any of it, thanks. Do be sure to share and recommend it to your friends or, if you haven’t got any, your pets.

Take care.

Reviews and No News

Hullo again. There’s nothing like a good review for boosting the ego, is there? Especially when they come from knowledgeable folk who are able to read between the lines and for whom subtext is everything. They really seem to get my music and I’m eternally grateful they’ve seen it fit to actually publish their thoughts on the subject. So, if you were in doubt about what I actually do or what my music sounds like, here are links to the reviews of VTOL so far. Thanks….

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Louder Than War:

VTOL is a post-rock statement for listeners as well as a teachable moment for DIY musicians.
Dementio13 is a hyper-collaborator, working with network technology as much his collection of hardware and software. VTOL is cross-pollination and Dementio13 somehow managed to mix and process seven different musicians and give them a unified voice. While the label of electronica might be off putting to some, the album provides an excellent guide to the future of music production. It’s transatlantic chaos, it’s shoveling bits and bytes, it’s about sharing because you share a vision.”

Unwashed Territories:

“As I’ve said on more than one occasion, the most pleasing thing about Dementio13‘s work is its sumptuous variety: not for him an easily tagged album of trance or synth-pop or drum n bass; instead, you’re likely to find all of these and much more thrown into a pot heaving with vitality and groaning with epicurean delight (‘epicurean’ in the original, philosophical, sense, that is) under a heady mix of disparate ingredients.So, add into the mix a whole load of partners, all of whom make great music in their own right, and you get an even denser, even more desirable outcome.”

Oliver Arditi.com:

“The musical materials are consonant, melodic, even poppy (there are certainly hooks, anyway), but they still invite engagement on a more than superficial level, with complexity emerging in the timbral and textural manipulations which are the mainstay of Dementio13’s musical practice. Another truly superb record from a consistently forward-looking artist.”

Music To Wash Up To:

Dementio13 has now built up a reputation for releasing some truly innovative album projects that encompass the qualities of Krautrock, ambient electronica and pop culture, and pieces them together to create some unnervingly sophisticated music. VTOL on first hearing is, thankfully, no exception.”

Dukla Prague Away Kit:

Dementio13 keeps on keeping on. His latest release is another intriguing sample-ridden humdinger in electro subtle bangers and playful newage disco (and other things of course)”

There’s no other news, to be honest. Other than to say a big “Thank You” to all those people who have downloaded the album. Keep sharing, keep shouting.

VTOL is a post-rock statement for listeners as well as a teachable moment for DIY musicians.  Paul Foster is a hyper-collaborator, working with network technology as much his collection of hardware and software.  VTOL is cross-pollination and Dementio13 somehow managed to mix and process seven different musicians and give them a unified voice.  While the label of electronica might be off putting to some, the album provides an excellent guide to the future of music production.  It’s transatlantic chaos, it’s shovelling bits and bytes, it’s about sharing because you share a vision. – See more at: http://louderthanwar.com/dementio13-various-artists-vtol-album-review/#sthash.WO7unFtM.dpuf
VTOL is a post-rock statement for listeners as well as a teachable moment for DIY musicians.  Paul Foster is a hyper-collaborator, working with network technology as much his collection of hardware and software.  VTOL is cross-pollination and Dementio13 somehow managed to mix and process seven different musicians and give them a unified voice.  While the label of electronica might be off putting to some, the album provides an excellent guide to the future of music production.  It’s transatlantic chaos, it’s shovelling bits and bytes, it’s about sharing because you share a vision. – See more at: http://louderthanwar.com/dementio13-various-artists-vtol-album-review/#sthash.WO7unFtM.dpuf

Vertical Take-Off

The ‘VTOL‘ album has been out for just over a week and I’m very happy with the response so far…..a few good reviews and some radio play on BBC Wales and Dandelion Radio. The album was a good few months in the making (relatively short, especially for a collaborations album) but thanks to the work and efficiency of my collaborators, it all went very smoothly.

Anyway, if you’ve downloaded it, many thanks again. I never expect anything from my albums and I’m always really grateful that people actually like it enough to download it, let alone actually buy it! Having said that, I know my collaborators’ own music is really good (do check them out; see links below), so things couldn’t really go wrong! “Success” is relative and, for me, just getting an album made is an accomplishment.

Please could you keep sharing and recommending, as this has switched-on a few new listeners to my stuff. I rely on that as a means of spreading the word.

Here are links to the VTOL artists:

Douglas Deep – http://douglasdeep.bandcamp.com

Snippet – http://www.snippetcuts.co.uk/news.html

Pixieguts – http://pixieguts.bandcamp.com

Ian Thistlethwaite – http://ianthistlethwaite.bandcamp.com

Nita Disaster – http://soundcloud.com/nitadisaster

Alone – http://alonemusic.bandcamp.com

Alun Vaughan – http://alunvaughan.bandcamp.com