That’s The Sound Of Silence You Hear.

I’ll be honest, I’ve not got much to say. In fact I’ve been keeping a very low profile on social media overall recently. Just the occasional inconsequential tweet, or whatever, about banal stuff or supposed ‘new tracks’ which I’ve been inevitably unhappy with after living with them for a few days. I’ve mainly posted because I feel that I should occasionally touch base with those people who I befriended on various platforms, who I share interests with, who are funny and who have sometimes turned out to be collaborators and jolly decent people.

I originally joined Facebook and Twitter and laterly Ello ( hello?) to promote my music, but ended up engaging with people who I could happily have a pint with. Thus, the half-arsed electronic music cliche of being the aloof anonymous producer/mad scientist was eroded!

But with little music of any note being produced since the last album and a work schedule which is high-pressure and all-consuming; I literally don’t have much to say (except to say that I don’t have much to say!). I also seem to be returning my attention to past releases and occasional minor victories.

Anyway, I’ve decided to let music take more of a front seat again. Time-management and focus will see me making tunes again. It’s a need. And due to life commitments, I’ve let it slip; thus creating a gap, where I couldn’t vent my (limited) imagination. I should have more will-power, so now I’m gonna exert that and get on with it. I have the luxury of being so, er…. ‘niche’, that I can take as long as I want. But this is a bit of a handicap as well, as it means I also have more time to procrastinate. Having no deadline is the worst possible thing for me.

So, anyway, that’s why I’ve been quiet: work and ‘other stuff’.

I’m glad to say that my ever-growing and more refined studio is just about finished and ready for action. I’ve acquired some kit which I used to own in the early days which facilitated some intuitive ways of working, but I had to get rid of them when times were hard or I wanted to ‘upgrade’. These bits of kit (classified as being inbetween ‘vintage’ and ‘brand-new’) have given me new zest. It would be simple enough to knock out some tunes in Ableton, as I know that well. But I want to do things differently as I’ve been tending towards working to a formula. I need to shake it up.

So, if you’re interested….expect some new tracks, no proper previews until release time, a streamlined and rationalised Soundcloud profile and, yes, more silence on soc-net!

Soundcloud will be used for free downloads of session tracks, unreleased stuff, etc so I’ll be taking down all the old album tracks and remixes which are available for sale elsewhere.

Anyway, self-indulgent ramble over. Hope you’re all well and enjoying stuff.

Fate(al) Memory Loss

I’m not a believer in fate. “Fate” denotes that we concede control over our lives, that “whatever will be, will be”, that we cannot accept responsibility as the responsibility is not ours. So, if I was a believer in fate, I would believe that the fact that my synthesisers have decided to lose every track I’ve recorded for the next album recently is actually a strange quirk of chance. I’m not and I don’t.

The fact is that I think when loading a new set of tracks and sounds on two of my little boxes, I think I’ve inadvertently saved the previous tracks and sounds to a new file, which I cannot now find. The intricacies of digital memory and idiosyncratic hardware are sometimes beyond me. Several words spring to mind….all of which consist of asterisks.

Luckily, I had recorded the music, as in audio, as rough mixes. So at least I still have the audio. Reconstructing the tracks will be a right old ball-ache for sure.

The other thing “fate”, as a concept, is good for is seeing the positive side: “It was meant to be, see it as a new beginning. Fate has handed you a new opportunity, etc.” Well, despite being relatively upbeat about it, I don’t think it’s a positive, I assure you.

Maybe I should go buy a ukulele, it wouldn’t hide my music away in some corner. That’s the trouble with technology.

So, 2015; what will it be all about. Well, pretty much the same as 2014 in that I’ll be trying to re-record the aforementioned tracks, refining and improving as I go. The tracks I’ve sent my collaborators can still be used, but they may sound a bit different when they come out ‘the other end’ of the production process. That would’ve probably happened anyway, to be honest. On my last album, ‘VTOL’, an album of many collaborations, one or two tracks started as one thing, went off to collaborators and when they came back it was obvious my music hadn’t done the collaborator’s contributions justice. So, I re-structured the tracks from the ground up (i.e. a complete re-write) to fit the other musician’s input.

Anyway, the goal for 2015, in the short term, is to finish the album by the Spring. It may take longer.

In other news, Marie Craven has been making some lovely montage videos to accompany readings of poetry which, in several cases has included snippets of my music as a backing. In the absence of WordPress embeds on Vimeo, here’s a link to the latest http://vimeo.com/115796426

While visiting family over the Christmas break, I found myself recording one afternoon using my trusty OP-1 (I take it virtually everywhere with me; well, you never know when you’ll get the urge!)

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This is what I came up with. A glitchy, unquantized, free-form ad-hoc cut-up slice of beatiness. It’s free if you want it to download. Loose loops and riffs recorded on a virtual 4-track tape recorder with all the timing idiosyncrasies, mistakes and human-ness included. The vocal snips were recorded on the OP-1’s built-in FM radio (yeah!) and then mapped to the keyboard, arpeggiated and played on the fly. I like it anyway….

So, that’s all for now. Enjoy the remnants of your cake.

A Vat Of Seasonal Cheer

I hope all the Winter festivities are going well for you and you’re fully ensconced in the spirit with family and friends. It’s a time for excess, I guess; it’s a time for making merry with the people you care about and sharing music, art and words. So, I hope that’s all good.

As is the norm, I’ve been reflecting on a few things I’ve done this year musically, etc. The last few months have been busy in an unwanted way and I’m still struggling to balance my work-life (as in “the day job”) with my life as a musician, but I endeavour to try harder in 2015.

There have been a few changes on my music store. The most noticeable being that all my music is now free for the time being. This has been mainly prompted by a change in EU tax law which requires individuals selling digital products in the EU to register for VAT. Independent artists vending through a third-party store are apparently exempt but, in the case of Bandcamp (where my music resides), things are a bit ambiguous at present. To be honest, I earn so little from my music, that I don’t think it’s going to impact on me too much; and, if I’m totally honest, I don’t really understand it all! However, I realise that it will have a massive effect on ‘bigger-selling’ independent artists who rely on this income to survive as musicians, as their ambitions get larger and costs rise. All this, and the extra burden of filling in complicated paperwork, etc.

Anyway, why we all wait for Bandcamp to clarify the situation ( it’s looking increasingly likely that they will establish a system which supports the artist regarding VAT later in the year), I’m taking no chances and have set my phazers to “free”.
So, you can go to Dementio13.com and help yourself. All I ask in return is an email address to pester every 3 months or so with news, etc, and I ask that you share the music on social media with links and embeds.

New music is on the way, but won’t be released until the Bandcamp thing is sorted. It is nowhere near finished anyway!

Anyway, am just touching base, between ingesting lovely food and intoxicating liquor.
I hope you’re having a great time and wish you loads of happiness for 2015.
Enjoy.

Shares

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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