Another Track i’ve been tinkering with. Still a work in progress, but its going somewhere nice
It seems like such a long time since I released “Acquiesce“, and although part of this hiatus was due to society’s preoccupation with Christmas ( don’t get me started ), I actually spent quite a long time trying to deal with what I see as , a broken music industry. For streamers and file-sharers, the industry is in rude health, but for musicians who have invested time, money, blood, sweat and tears into a lifelong “career”, its becoming increasingly difficult to promote.
I’ve spent the last few months feeling like a very small pin in a very very large haystack, and I thought about how I could improve that, but as yet, haven’t come up with any epiphany about how to solve this.
At one point, I felt so low that I didn’t want to release any more music in public, and it was only the intervention of Martin Boulton ( the mastermind behind the Touched compilations ) that got me back into gear again.
Just in case you don’t know, the Touched compilations were the electronic music community’s version of Band Aid, but instead of helping starving Ethiopians, we were raising money for Macmillan cancer relief, to help people going through the biggest battle of their lives.
Some huge artists on those compilations include such luminaries as Plaid, Orbital, Autechre, The Future Sound of London, Luke Vibert, Luke Slater, 808 State, Richard Devine, and hundreds of others too numerous to mention , plus 3 tracks of my own ( two as 2ndMOUSE and one as Carbinax ) .
Aphex twin “apparently”, didn’t have any music to share, even though a few months later, He dropped 192 tracks on soundcloud for FREE download.
Just one ………..ONE…….of those tracks could have helped raise the profile of Touched, and really contributed to raising some money and helping someone facing the biggest fight of their life.
After contributing just one track, He still would’ve had 191 tracks to dump on soundcloud. I had huge respect for aphex twin at one point, and bought a lot of his music…..even syro, but I won’t be buying anymore.
Some would say I shouldn’t be saying this. because he is seen as a god to some people. I disagree , and I’m calling aphex twin on it, because the manner in which he did it was tasteless and self-seeking. Draw your own conclusions, but …………..regardless of the drama , Touched 2 was hugely successful without his input, and has raised a lot of money and helped some people through a really bad time in their lives. .
So……….. Martin had asked me months ago about doing an EP for Touched, and, being a man of my word, I knew I had to do it, because what a cancer patient is battling is a lot more heavy than my relatively little concerns about the state of the music industry, so……I got to work.
I toyed around with the idea of an explorer looking for lost treasure…….someone like Indiana Jones, scuttling round old tombs, running from boulders, avoiding being barbecued and used as a toothpick, and had decided I was gonna call the new EP ” Arizona Jones and The secret Lost Chords”, but when I thought about it the next morning, it just seemed naff, so I shortened it to simply ” The Secret Chords”, which is a reference to a line in Cohen’s cult classic “HalleluJah”, but also connects to this idea that I’ve had for years that music is a key that unlocks something , and those “secret” chords are those moments when the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and you get some kind of a rush, so the secret chords are about my lifelong search to find / project those moments.
In the course of writing Secret Chords, I’m finding that I just can’t stop writing at the minute and I’ve ended up with double the amount of tracks I need for an EP, so, I’ll be releasing two EPs.
The Secret Chords will be released via Touched and the second EP, will be called “Blueprint” and will be released via the 2ndMOUSE Bandcamp page
More news soon………….
Firstly, apologies for abandoning regular updates here. Its not easy to be a “full time” musician and cram all that that entails into the few hours I have left after doing the job that society and the government tells me I must do.
Its been difficult to find the time to finish tracks, not to mention fully exploring a lot of new software I’ve bought recently such as the fantastic Native Instruments Komplete 10, which, if anyone is interested, is an absolute bargain when it sells for £399 and the combined price of the individual elements would be in the region of £1k………….so, I now have the likes of Reaktor, Absynth, Massive, FM8, Battery 5, Kontakt 4 , Monark, Rounds, Polyplex, Kontour, Guitar Rig, plus a few other 3rd party plugins from Melda Production, Audio Damage, Waves, Xfer records, Kirnu and Xils to play around with in those few hours.
It also doesn’t help the situation when I spend 2 hours 20 minutes every day just commuting on trains.
Anyway, this isn’t a gripe….just an explanation of why i’ve gone A.W.O.L. here and not posted anything from before Christmas, even though there was some really great things happening.
OK…that’s that out of the way……what have I been up to ??
Firstly, and most importantly, I had 2 tracks on the enormous monster of an album that is “Touched 2″, and in so doing, have achieved a lifelong dream, because not only did I contribute to an album whose proceeds went directly to Macmillan cancer relief ( which is awesome enough in itself ), but I also managed to have my tracks on the same piece of virtual plastic as some of the biggest electronic artists in the world. Its a rare honour to share that space with the likes of Plaid, Orbital, The Future Sound of London, Luke Vibert, Luke Slater, and about 250 others…………I KID YOU NOT !
Touched 2 is a 255 track album, and it is crammed with some of the best electronic music around, in all styles and genres.
I think its noteworthy to mention that aphex twin was approached about submitting a track, and never even bothered to respond , and then casually dumped 190 tracks on soundcloud for free download on soundcloud, which nearly broke the internet. He could have given at least 1 of those tracks for touched 2, and helped some people who are currently in a very dark place, but he chose not to , so draw your own conclusions there.
However, 255 amazing artists DID contribute, and DID help in some way, to bringing us to that day when humanity will give cancer the bloody nose it deserves, and it was amazing to be involved in such a bi-partisan event, and I feel blessed and privileged to have been given the opportunity to be involved at all.
You can download Touched 2 here ………… http://touched.bandcamp.com/album/touched-two
Here is the full list of the artists you will find on Touched 2
Since the release of Communique back in April , it’s had a lot of very favourable comments and recommendations , and , thanks to its release on Section27 records , was able to get to places I wouldn’t normally go , or even think of going. Some of the comments were amusing , some strange , simply because by the time I’ve put an album out , it’s already months old , and I’m so used to the tracks , and I’m concentrating on other , newer material. Amongst others , I’ve had a few people telling me they cried ( apparently in a good way ) , and one particular woman having what she described as ” a sober DMT trip ” as she listened to “walking in my shoes” whilst doing yoga.
Today , I was privileged to find there was a mini-review of the album on IglooMag , a blog I’ve come to regard as a quality source of good music , even before seeing the review , so I thought i’d put it here for the simple reason that sites , pages , links , disappear over the course of time , and i’d like to keep a record of it here.
The best parts of the review for me , were being likened to Brothomstates , and being called a “talented musician” , because it just feels kinda strange hearing someone else say that , and is especially meaningful to me because they review a veritable ton of music week after week. Definitely a very nice , and unexpected surprise !!
You can find the review here : IglooMag Review
Communique is still free to download , from HERE
Still working on the next album ” Acquiesce “. No release date as yet. Its dependent on a release vehicle , so even though its largely finished ( 70% maybe ) , it may take time to another good label to release on. More on that as it happens………
It might not seem that long ago since I released the last album “Communique” on Section27 Records , but as Section27s’ release schedule is so long , there was a 2 month wait , and Communique was more or less wrapped up about a month prior to that , so during those 3 months , I’ve been working hard on new material.
I could drop “Acquiesce” in the next week , and it would sink like a stone because wherever I put it , I still have the task of telling people its there , which isn’t my strong suit. I love making the music……..to the extent where I forget about food , drink , sleep , and I can’t stop myself from making it , but I don’t enjoy promoting it , purely because the scene is so oversaturated that even if , I had the best tune in the world , it’s just so difficult to get peoples’ attention now. There’s just so much music out there.
So……..I’m not 100% sure how to proceed.
There is something happening in the background that I can’t talk about yet. It has the “potential” to do good things in a promotional sense , but the parameters of that are completely out of my hands , and its now a snowball rolling down a hill , which could gather more snow and some proper momentum , or , come to a standstill. It may amount to something big , or , as is so often the case in this industry , may amount to nothing…….but , ya gotta at least try.
Anyway…..This is what I have so far for Acquiesce , in no particular order…
1. Wrecking Ball
3. The Logic Hammer
5. Soft Target
6. Seraphim ( new mix )
8. Morgana ( Carbinax Mix )
11. Aqualung Fury
There are a few more tracks that i’m putting the finishing touches to , and making a few pre-release promo videos for , but so far its looking like this will be as big a release as “Expert Tiger , Mediocre Troll” which had 18 tracks
The first “reveal” was Fissure , which isn’t the best track on the album by any means , but I released it just to give people an idea of what would be on the new album. If you haven’t yet heard it , you can do so here…..
Regarding “Acquiesce” , as soon as I know more , I’ll let you know , but , knowing me , I’ll finish it and start working on the next album , cos it never truly stops.
The cover may well change , so this is just a kinda placeholder for now.
Incidentally , If you haven’t yet grabbed a copy of the last album “Communique” ( which is free I might add ) , you can listen to it in its entirety , and download it here if you so wish…
That’s all for now.
Been busy uploading a lot of new material to my Bandcamp page HERE.
Well , I say new , but its actually a lot of older tracks , that were all over the place , so I just wanted to consolidate everything so it was easier for others ( and myself ) to find , and Bandcamps SEO optimization is probably better than the sites that were hosting these tracks until now. , so it made sense to migrate everything
The first thing I wanted to do was have all the unreleased tracks , and what I still like to call , the “B-sides” , loose ends , stragglers etc…and turn them all into archives , and sell them for a pittance. I’ve wanted to do this for a while , and did have a system up and running with Box.com , but it was nowhere near as user-friendly .
My good friend Dave suggested moving everything to Bandcamp , which I thought was a great idea. The only problem was that a lot of the really old material was in mp3 format only. Long story , but basically , a hard drive failure years ago took a lot of old track data files with it , so re-rendering them wasn’t an option. I didn’t think it was possible to up-convert from mp3 to the Bandcamp proprietary standards of wav and FLAC ( lossy to lossless ), but , to my surprize , I found a way.
So in the past week , I’ve uploaded these to Bandcamp
2ndMOUSE Archive Volume 1 ( 55 tracks ) —- FREE download
2ndMOUSE Archive Volume 2 ( 44 tracks ) —- £2 Only
2ndMOUSE Archive Volume 3 ( 46 tracks ) —- £2 Only
As well as these archives which span from 2002 to 2014 , I’ve also uploaded a few older albums from 2009 that have had about 4000 downloads between them , and they still sound fairly decent , given that they’re almost 6 years old at the time of writing.
They are here :
so , be my guest , fill your boots. By the time you’ve finished with this little lot , I’ll have another album ready.
Thanks for reading =)
Its been out for a week now , so i’m a bit late coming to my own party to do this writeup.
It originally started out as a 4 track EP. That was the intention anyway , but , as is often the case with me , I just kept adding and adding to it. It quickly turned into a mini-album , and then a fully fledged album. I’m pleased to say its one of my best releases to date , and is full of all manner of my usual jiggerypokery and just experimenting with things , pressing buttons to see what happens , and committing the results to tape ( or in this case , mp3 )
The album is dedicated to the memory of a family friend called Harry McVeigh , who I had a lot of respect for. Before I started making music , I drew pencil portraits and sold them. Harry gave me my first artistic break , and commissioned me to draw 6 portraits of snooker players to hang in His snooker club. The snooker club is no more , but I believe the portraits are still doing the rounds somewhere , but Harry was the first person to have any real faith in my abilities , so when I heard He had passed away , I thought it would be a fitting gesture to dedicate the album to Him , especially as , in some weird kind of synchronicity , there was already a track on the album called “laid to rest” , before I’d heard of His passing.
In any event , I realised I didn’t have what it took to be a real artist. I could draw a perfect portrait , but to me , it wasn’t engaging the imagination enough. It was just copying , so music gave me that opportunity to create something that hadn’t existed before.
A little about the tracks…..
1. Arc Reactor ( Its not often I make a solid 4/4 track , but this was just me seeing if I could make a track that was actually danceable)
2. Break of Dawn ( It starts off slow , poignant , introspective , but as the track progresses it opens up and becomes much brighter. I had in my mind , the phrase ” the night is always darkest just before the dawn ” , so the first half is the darkness , and the 2nd half is the sunrise , or , if you know my beliefs , the SONrise )
3. Cloud City ( experiments in distortion / saturation. This track very nearly didn’t make it to the album , and its probably my least favourite if i’m honest , but , as someone has already kindly put it on youtube , it seems others like it so thats ok )
4. Inner Afro ( Inspired by the kind of music you would have heard in the 70s , like Shaft , Starsky and Hutch etc….and I wanted to make something gritty and dirty , with an obese Moog-style bassline , with a loose and lazy feel to it. I just thought of Huggy Bear truckin’ around with that ghetto blaster on his shoulder. I also had in mind a track by flux pavilion called “superbad” , which gave me the initial inspiration and impetus. )
5. Laid to Rest ( This one is obvious
6. Omega ( My favourite. It was just ok until I added that bassline which just took it somewhere else entirely. I love the interaction between the bassline , the forward motion of the hi-hats and percussion , and the strong direct melody )
7. Ptuh ( 2ndMOUSE theme ) ( This one has been going for a few years. It wasn’t until I put the 2nd mouse soundbites into it that it became the 2ndMOUSE theme , and then it took on a minor anthemic quality when the 5ths melody pounced on my subconscious mind , and became sorta similar , in essence , to “chime” by orbital )
8. remote view ( This started with the desire to make something a bit like daft punks ” da funk ” , with that strong 4/4 backbeat , but once i put that sample in ” I began to float , up and away from my body ” , it took on a life of its own. Im particularly pleased with how the beats turned out )
9. The path of most resistance ( I find that most people choose the path of least resistance , but those people won’t grow. I’ve chosen the path of most resistance , through my beliefs , and expect persecution for what I believe )
10. Walking in my Shoes ( this is the track most have connected with , and its already been played twice on radio. Not quite sure why this one. Thats always the surprising thing about releasing albums. The track people like is never the one you expected. This was originally called “put yourself in your shoes” , because a lot of people don’t take responsibility for their actions , and blame others instead of being honest with themselves. I liked the idea but the title was wrong , and I started thinking about taking responsibility myself , and was gonna call it ” put myself in my shoes” but that didnt sound right either , so , I just changed it to “walking in my shoes”. Its a challenge to myself.
At the time of writing , Communique has been downloaded over 1000 times in just one week. This is all thanks to the canny promotional prowess of Tam Ferrans ( Head Honcho at Section 27 Records ) , and Barry Forbes ( Top Dog at Up Digital ). Without these guys , it would’ve fallen over like that proverbial tree in the forest that made no sound cos there was no-one there to hear it
To download the album , free , click here to download from Section 27
or here , to download it from my bandcamp , where my other albums are also hosted
Thanks for reading