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October 12, 2010

A (Much Needed) Update…

So, I’m not even going to apologise. Let’s just get on with this!

The last month has been the usual cry of “Lots of writing (or, at least, playing) but little recording!”  And it’s true, of course, but a composer who doesn’t actually produce anything tangible is pretty much useless in this day and age! So, again, I thought I’d give you some demos and rough snippets of some of the things which I have managed to get down on tape, so you can see that I’m not totally full of shit!

First off is a little acoustic guitar idea that I’ve been playing around with, as of yet unnamed. The rhythm brings to mind “And So It Goes” by Billy Joel, and there’s something of Simple Mind’s interpretation of the great Hubert Parry hymn “Jerusalem” about it too. When I first Boo’d it, a friend pointed out it also had a strong Celtic feel to it, so, who knows where it’s going, with a bastard mish-mash of genes like that! Anyhow, I recorded it very roughly on my mobile phone, a Nokia N900, and uploaded it to AudioBoo so I could link to it on Twitter, and here’s that Boo!

If you remember back to So What Have I Been Working On, Part II, you may recall “D-D-Droned”, and I have actually been working on that piece recently. The main riff and chord shapes have remained from the original acoustic idea, but it’s moved to being played on an electric guitar and I’ve introduced some time signature magic (the main riff alternates between 6/8 and 2/4) to bring out a a kind of stumbling march rhythm (which is heightened by using a marching snare drum sample from BFD2’s “BOMB” expansion). Here’s a brief taste of where things have go to so far:

The next piece I’ve been working on is paradoxically-entitled “Bouncy Acoustic Idea, Electric Version”. Although this was originally written on the Taylor, I’m uploading the electric version because the acoustic idea is just the backing, and here I’ve improvised a whole load over it (including tasty bum notes at 2:37) and I think some of that melody may actually survive into a final version. This is just my Thinline Telecaster recorded straight through the Sapphire 56 and into Reaper, with Amplitube3 taking on amp emulation duties…

Next up, another acoustic idea (I am really loving playing the Taylor these days, though you’ll hear in this next recording, it needs a little setting-up. I think part of the buzzing is the string ends inside, and that can be fixed by being more careful when I restring next time, but there’s also some general buzzing that could be sorted with a decent luthier set-up). This track isn’t particularly special as it is, but: a) I like the feel and recording this means I’ll be able to come back to it and try and retain that feel when I get around to trying to record it properly, and b) I’m scrabbling around trying to find as many things as I can to upload for you to hear! So, Another Acoustic Idea:

A similarly nascent sketch is this entirely hammered-on riff, again played on the Taylor and recorded on the N900, and again Boo’d for the edification of the Twitterati. The recording of this idea doesn’t quite convey the swing of the riff, but I’m slowly developing it and it’s really picking up an ebb-and-flow feel, like being on the beach watching the sea come in and roll out again.

So you see – I have been doing something! Admittedly, I am still struggling with the focus required to develop and record fully any of these ideas, or the ideas I’ve been coming up with over the previous few months. It’s frustrating, and that in itself doens’t help, because frustration only begets further frustration – it’s a vicious circle.

Finally, you may have noticed, I’m not hosting these ideas on SoundCloud. This is because I’ve decided I don’t want to fill my SoundCloud account with unfinished and low quality files – I want to keep it for completed tracks, or, at the very least, full length demos. Let me know if you have any problem listening to any of the audio on this page, and feel free to comment on any of the ideas I’ve presented! Thanks!

October 12, 2010

3 Comments on “A (Much Needed) Update…

pcd
October 12, 2010 at 20:52

As ever – the way you express yourself in musical ideas and in words I totally ‘get’. So – re the music –
Time Sigs – Very nice idea – if you don’t mind me saying 6/8 + 2/4 (or sometimes i just ‘do’ 5/4), is SOOO my idea of GREAT.
Bouncy – well it’s as good as it gets! LOVE it!! I wouldn’t say that if I didn’t mean it. Work it up to when you’re happy and get it on SC :) OK?
Another acoustic – sounds like a pretty damn good groove to me.
You know me J – i talk the talk a bit – but the day that i fall out of love (Again) w/ music will be a very sad one. I am 100 % behind you (oi!) – well done my friend! hoot

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john
October 13, 2010 at 10:40

Thanks Paul. I guess the difference between 5/4 and 2×6/8+2/4 is where the stresses fall naturally. I know in this day and age of sequencers and velocity that it’s old-fashioned (and not strictly necessary) to think about time signatures at all, and that you can score for syncopation anyhow, but I learned with a pen and paper and old habits die hard!

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[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by John Sullivan, John Sullivan. John Sullivan said: It's been over a month, but my blog has finally received "A (Much Needed) Update" : http://is.gd/fYRIG (Including some actual music!) #fb […]

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