Imperial Decimal (2.00)

All albums are experiments. Even if the musician has just churned out the same old stuff as last time, it’s an experiment in sameness.

But, I always try to do something a bit different than the previous album. Not stylistically, though that sometimes happens. But in the way it’s sold or marketed also.

Anyway, the new album costs a minimum of £2. Is it ‘working’ as an experiment? Well, it’s way too early to tell. The number of downloads are lower than on previous first days, but that won’t tell us anything. It’s only natural that people will download it in more numbers if it’s free music… they’re possibly also more likely to like it!

Anyway, there have been quite a few downloads and that really encourages me. Thank you, people. The album is an experiment, also, as I’ve gone down a less confrontational, rocky road. All I’ll say is, if you do like it, please, please tell other folks and say why you like it. If you do decide to buy it, many thanks in advance.

Here’s the album which Tom Robinson liked enough to play an excerpt from on his mixtape BBC show and one reviewer has said:

“Imperial Decimal” is yet another absorbing collection of compositions and sound sculptures which suggest both the interests and influences of Dementio13.  And one which may, hopefully, encourage the casual listener to follow the lead.” (John Toolan – Music To Wash Up By blog)

Some listeners have said it’s my best work yet…..which pleased me, lots.

Here are some photos from yesterday’s Laurence Made Me Cry gig at Tintern Abbey (lovely place for a gig) in glorious sunshine. I’m on the right.

Tintern Abbey

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photo

Thanks to Rhys Anslow and Basil (Basdriver De Erste) for the pics.

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Douglas Deep – “&U” – New Album

If you actually do read my various missives/rants/acts of self-promotion (have you got nothing better to do?!), you’ll be aware that I have a liking for the music of SK123. His stuff has appeared in various playlists/mixtapes and posts of mine, not just out of solidarity for a fellow DIY music traveller (which is sometimes the case with me, I’m afraid), but because I actually like his music. Take a smattering of virtually every electronic music genre since the early 90s you can think of, add a pinch of eclecticism, throw in some dark atmospheres and eery soundtrack motifs and then layer with club-friendly and varied beats…..that pretty much sums it up. I gave up on ‘dance music’ quite some time ago; but SK123’s music is “dance music+”. So often the term IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) is bandied around, but basically it means nothing. In SK123’s case, ‘intelligent’ is exactly what it is. Coupled with a sense of melody, drama and incredibly deep production (creating the subtlest of sound-scapes at times; or the hardest audio assault at others).
Anyway. What the hell am I talking about SK123 for when the title of this post says ‘Douglas Deep’? Well, SK123 is actually dead. In fact he’s been reincarnated as two distinct, yet unified persona in Macerator and Douglas Deep.

Today, Douglas Deep released his debut album “&U” unto the world and so I eagerly headed over to Bandcamp and downloaded.


If you’ve just hit ‘play’ on the embed above, you’ll already be listening to it, but I’m still gonna try to describe it (in case, y’know…you can’t be arsed to listen, you too-cool-for-skool hipster fool, you).

First off, let me just say that I’m not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to ‘techno’/IDM/club-orientated music. For me ‘techno’ started and ended in Detroit in the late 80s/early 90s along with ‘proper’ acid house; that’s what I know, that’s what I like.

However, what I do know is that Douglas Deep has conjured aural images of this era of electronic music; a kind of futurism which occasionally harks back to Juan Atkins, Mr Fingers, Frankie Knuckles and A Guy Called Gerald, but is basically of the here-and-now. He doesn’t imitate, plagarise or create pastiche; what he does is use ultra-modern production and sound to give you the same emotional rush of the kind I first felt listening to the aforementioned pioneers. “You (Ewe/U)” contains the kind of droning bass and kick combo that became synonymous with Chicago and Detroit 20-odd years ago, but there’s a more relentless feel to it. Darker, perhaps. The beats are crisp and full, but never overshadow the other sonic components. Played loud, it’s devastating.

Also, throughout the album, there are subtle sonic incidentals: besides occasional vocal phrases and gasps, there are bits of found-sound, synth bleepery, background noise and other elements which are normally associated with ambient genres, but are mixed into this context with subtle flair.

The track I’m currently listening to, the epic “Nothing”, consists of a minimal structure but with constantly changing timbres. The word ‘repetitive’ is often used as a criticism leveled at dance music, but here it is utterly essential to allow sound itself to evolve and implant itself in your brain. The simple lead synth line features a repeating set of notes, which similarly to Phillip Glass’ music, gradually evolves in timing, nuance and tone. It starts all monolithic but develops into psychedelicism. Visually, I think of Harvey Keitel in ‘Mean Streets’ weaving nauseously around the bar, trying to stay upright…only in slow motion. That’s as close as I can get, description-wise.

Anyway, suffice to say, I really like this, the first and hopefully not the last DD album. Recommended.

Live on Mixlr (and a bit of ‘geeking-out’)

As you possibly know, I’ve been considering playing some of my stuff live in order to give me (and hopefully, listeners) a new perspective on my music and to promote my tunes a bit more. I also said that I was going to document the process, as I learn and/or make mistakes….so here it is (be warned: this post contains some really mundane info about my…ahem…’equipment’). I’m not sure I’m any closer to actually taking my stuff out to venues yet, but I have, at least, found a way to play my music as a performance.

I’ve recently spent a few days trying to work out some practicalities: how to recreate sequenced parts (about 80% of the music) for instance; without just sitting there and pressing ‘play’. Ableton Live is now my chosen method of recording and, as its name suggests, it is equally adept at facilitating some forms of live performance. That was its whole selling-point back in the day. Another issue was how to route the computer and the live instrumentation (such as Monotrons, my synth and bass guitar) in order to use the multiple effects my tracks rely on whilst being able to retain ‘hands-on’ control for live tweaking. Then there was the issue of streaming the audio to Mixlr.com.

Well I seem to have worked it out. The more technical adept amongst you would probably have a solution to all of this instantly. It took me a bit longer. Two days of re-arranging, trying-out and occasional frustration. But the set-up is now complete, I think. Well, except for a decent clip controller such as the Launchpad (I bought an app for the iPad which purportedly does the same, but its reliability is really erratic….not exactly what you want for a live situation). Anyway, I can’t afford to spend anything at the moment, so the Launchpad will have to wait.

So, this is the primitive and Heath-Robinson-style set-up:

  • iMac running Live (if I ever need to do a gig, I’ll use the MacBook instead, but for streaming from home, I need the laptop to connect to Mixlr at the moment). With clips triggered manually on the fly.
  • Keyboard controller connected to iMac.
  • Monotrons chained together.
  • Alesis Fusion as a stand-alone synth/sampler and for some sequencing duties.
  • Bass guitars fed through the mixer.
  • Multi-fx connected to the mixer’s sends.
  • iPad for Korg MS20 sounds.

All of this is fed through my tiny Behringer mixer and then routed into the Macbook via a Tascam i/o interface. The only issue I’ve encountered is a bit of interference from the Mac (or it could be my wireless router) when using the multi-fx.

So, this gives me the means to use Live and to tweak effects settings/clips and the mix using the mouse (at the moment, though I’ll use the controllers when I get the Launchpad or similar). There’s probably easier, more straight-forward ways of doing this, but it works for me.
This is what it all looks like at present:

The mixer is full to capacity! But this layout does make it easy to twiddle, tweak and play everything from the same spot (while maintaining a degree of tidiness!).

As for Mixlr….I recommend it. At first it seemed a little bit awkward to stream using their dedicated free software (you have to download this if you wish to broadcast. It didn’t display correctly and I couldn’t make head nor tail of it. Then I realised I had some system fonts missing on my computer. Once I’d installed these, the text appeared correctly and it was easy. Not exactly rocket-science….or even GCSE Science…..but it challenged me! The site itself looks very slick and I get the impression there’s quite a bit of beta testing going on, but it works ok. It’d be nice to have more of my networking friends on there, but I hope that’ll come in time.

So, the plan is to present a series of hour-long ‘gigs’ on Mixlr with a different tracklist from my albums for each gig, also some cover versions of my favourite music and anything else I fancy doing…..synthy improv (‘Symprov?’), noise, radiophonic-style stuff, that kind of thing. I am sincerely hoping people tune-in to listen, or I’m gonna feel like a complete dick.

I did a little test (three tracks) which you can listen to HERE. A few mistakes, a bit of sound-balancing needed; but I’m quite happy with the sound quality in general.

 

 

Cwtch – “Silver” EP nothing to do with global sports shock!

Hello,

As you may well know, when I’m not recording as Dementio13, teaching as ‘Sir’, or moaning/ruminating as Paul The Miserable Bastard, I’m recording as Cwtch with my  talented antipodean collaborator Marie Craven. We’ve been really quite busy over the past few months, what with new solo releases and (in Marie’s case) preparing/rehearsing live projects. But we always find time to make some new stuff as Cwtch.

Well here is our latest offering, released to no particular fanfare, with no big promotional ‘build-up’. What can I say about it? Well, we’ve made music which we want to hear. We’ve made the music despite a distance of thousands of miles between us. We’ve taken the best bits of what we do as solo musicians and thrown them into the blender. 5 songs which call to mind music past and present, mainstream and niche.

I hope you can share in this music….and, of course, if you like what you hear, share it with others….. we kinda rely on that.

SILVER

Please enjoy.

Tank Yew

Hello electro-beings. I’m trying to unwind my head from a manic period of work by listening to Kraftwerk’s ‘Tanzmusik’. It is, indeed, bloody lovely: driving, melodic, whimsical, ethereal…

Anyway, it dawned on me that it was only just over a week since I released ‘El Lissitzky’, my 6th album (or, to be more correct, my twelfth album….but one I haven’t deleted!). It seems like it’s always been around, not just sitting on Bandcamp for nine days. Anyway, in those nine days, people have been downloading, tweeting, sharing, blogging about and reviewing it; just as I’d hoped. So, thank you loads, people. You are the glue that holds this independent/DIY music thing together.

I’d also like to thank a few broadcasters who have supported the music and, particularly, played tracks off the album on their shows. These include Mark Ryan at Amazing Radio and Pete Jackson at Dandelion Radio…..both stations championing new, emerging music and I thoroughly recommend them.

Also, whoever has put my music on torrent sites or free download sites……thanks. My music seems to be cropping-up in all sorts of places.

So, what’s next? Well, never one to sit about on my arse, I’ve been busy working on music for my renewed collaboration with Marie Craven, known as Cwtch. At the risk of alerting the self-congratulation police, I am really liking the sound of the new track in progress. Well, I would wouldn’t I? That’s why I make music….to hear music I actually like!!!

The new Cwtch stuff will be available whenever it’s ‘finished’. Early days yet….

Love and Cheetos to you all…..

*This* is Independent Music…

I don’t know what it is about Spring/Summer here in the UK (besides it’s utter crapness, that is! Rain, bloody rain….it’s like living in Blade Runner!), but people have been releasing quality independent music recently, particularly in June! I’m not referring to myself here, of course…..I just do what I do and hope people like it.

No, I’m referring to these little gems of sound (actually that’s misrepresenting them, ‘cos some of these sound MASSIVE!)

The Fierce & The Dead – ‘On VHS’ (‘kin awesome)

Pulco – ‘Man Of Lists’ (bloody lovely)

Jewellers – ‘Lakeswimmer’ (Gareth’s & Gareth’s new one)

Do you like my new, succinct, reviewing style?! Seriously though, it’s best to let the music to do the talking and these are very good releases indeed.

9 Days To Go…..and A Bandcamp Appreciation

Hello. At the risk of repeating myself repeating myself, there are just 9 days to go until the new album’s released unto the world. I’ve been fooling around with Bandcamp download codes, mainly just to see if, and how, they work. First reports have been generally “OK”. As my albums are pay-what-you-want with no minimum price (ie: free, if you want), the idea of a ‘free’ download code is a bit redundant. But it’s a useful feature for sending out preview copies of the music, instead of using a file-sharing site….and it keeps everything ‘in house’, within Bandcamp. Musicians, it really is an awesome site. In fact, the only thing it lacks is the ability to send mailouts through the site (as the rather ‘clunky’ Reverbnation interface allows you to do for free….it’s the only reason I use the site).

Again, repeating myself, but if you’ve received a download code, or if you download the album after the release date (18th June, remember! At http://demento13.com) and you like it, please please share/tweet/torrent it. Your support is more than appreciated, as usual.

Here are some links to videos/previews/etc….. am not going to embed them here, as I have done so already in previous posts and it makes this page slow to load.

Videos on Youtube

Previews at Amazing Tunes and Soundcloud

Just for the uninitiated, what I do is make electronic music. It isn’t earth-shattering or revolutionary. It’s mainly just nice tunes, some odd sounds and some beats. I call it ‘electronic post-rock’, but you can call it whatever you like. The new album is a mix of mildly dubsteppy tracks, some droney bits, a bit of ‘singing’ and some use of guitars. If you were going to compare it to ‘established’ music, I’d say it’s possibly a bit like Luke Vibert/Wagon Christ, Stereolab and early New Order, all mixed up.

Rainy ol’ Town….Rainy ol’ Town….

Well, I’m in the midst of a week away from work and guess what? No, you’re wrong. It’s raining. And it’s grey. And it’s colder than it’s been for a few weeks.

So, as I’m sat ensconced in the warmth and comfort of my domestic bubble, with nothing urgent to do, I thought I’d introduce you to my forthcoming album properly. Not a track-by-track breakdown as such. Just a few wee words to say what, why and how.

Now, I realise that only a fraction of the people who will download the album actually read this (and that the number of people who download it are a mere micron in numbers…. but that’s not the point). The point is that those of you who read this will possibly download the album and that’s enough for me. Besides, you know how I like rambling on about myself and particularly my music….any excuse.

So, ‘El Lissitzky’, what’s it all about Alfie?

Well, firstly, I’ll mention that there’s a shed-load of extras included in the download. A large digi-booklet of the usual sleevenote-type of things, plus excerpts from this blog which have some relevance to the album. There’s a storming remix of one of the tracks, “Hollow Point” by Douglas Deep (aka SK123, aka Macerator, aka the very talented Steve Kelly), many thanks to him for that. There’s an incidental track of mine called “Summerisle”, which started out as a song for the album, then became a more soundtracky kinda deal but then didn’t quite fit in with the overall tracklist, so it’s now a bonus track. Finally, there’s this video for the album track “Fatty Pork” which has had some radio-play already.

So, that’s upped the file size, I know. But I hope it represents some value for money. Or if you’re not paying (which is fine; a download is enough as far as I’m concerned), it represents something for nothing.

So, why the title? Here’s an excerpt form the booklet:

“(El Lissitzky’s) artwork was appropriated by The Wake, amongst others, to illustrate their 1985 album ‘Here Comes Everybody’. And it was this album cover which firmly implanted itself in my teenage mind, along with those of New Order, A Certain Ratio, Kraftwerk, etc. Album covers which shared common themes of technology, mechanization, ‘the future’…
It was the aesthetic of Factory Records and particularly of the early Hacienda which influenced me tremendously; everything from their posters to the yellow and black warning chevrons on everything Hacienda-based.
Way ahead of it’s time, The Hacienda’s architect Ben Kelly and the Factory gang toyed with the iconography of 20th Century modernism and industrialism; something which is common place now but, at the time in the 1980s, was like a replay of the avant-garde, a rebirth if you will. A reaction against the ramshackle and untidy aesthetic of punk, the blandness of 80s populism and against the decay and deprivation of 70s and early-80s industrial cities like Manchester. The Hacienda, and Factory in general, were incredibly influential, not just musically, but aesthetically. As John Robb says in the BBC documentary ‘Factory: From Joy Division to Happy Mondays’,
“…all of Manchester, every major city, ended up looking like the Hacienda. Every flat looks like the Hacienda…”
The exterior of Manchester’s Beetham Tower (this album’s cover image, albeit repeated and layered) being a personification of this.

So, yes, the album’s partly autobiographical. Self-indulgient, most probably.

The music on it bears no resemblance to the music of those Factory bands though….at least, I don’t think it does. It’s more about evoking something (a memory, for me) and getting back some of the excitement I felt for making music in a band and on my own all those years ago. Young people, in their teens and twenties, are so idealistic about their music….there are no grey areas, no unknowns, and the future is not even considered. Well, while I see that as partly naive, partly unrealistic; I also see it as part of the magic and energy of being ‘new’ to it all. That’s what I wanted to experience.

By the way, I’m not sat in a bath-chair with a blanket over my legs, sitting outside the sanitorium, reflecting on a long-lost youth. I just needed to refresh my working-practices and my enthusiasm for making stuff, which admittedly, I’d lost (I had thought about selling all my music kit and taking-up something more…erm….‘sedate’).
Anyway, the album was recorded almost completely in Ableton Live, playing the instruments and recording directly into the computer and using some rather cool virtual synths.

I’m going to stop there and if you’ve read this far, well done. It killed a few minutes, didn’t it?

The album’s available from the 18th June at http://dementio13.com. Hope you can share in the release with me and, if you do download and like it, please tweet the living hell out of it! Thanks…