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March 24, 2011

Confession

“Father, please forgive me – it has been three months, two weeks and three days since my last confession…”

I know you’re used to it by now… I am a sporadic blogger at the best of times, but while struggling artistically, I’m just crap – there really is no other word for it! Still, I hope you’ll bear with me – just knowing you’re out there, listening to me whine – it makes it all worthwhile. Or something…

So, of course I’ve not actually recorded anything new in the last three months. But in that time, a few positive things have happened, musically-speaking – it’s not entirely been time wasted.

First off, I’ve been playing a lot of guitar, and this has lead to two things:

  1. I’m a guitarist first and foremost, and need to face that and focus on that when writing and recording.
    I started out in music playing the school drum kit when I when I was about 14, muddling my teenage way through a mixture of Genesis covers and New Romantic papp-ery. I approached my parents to see if they’d buy me a kit – a friend of a friend had an almighty zillion-piece kit for sale for three hundred quid at the time – but they felt it wasn’t in my, theirs or our neighbour’s best interests to do so. I remember playing the congas in my first band, backed by an old Roland drum machine for want of an actual kit of my own.
    My sister had started, and given up on, learning the guitar a few years before this, and her old cheese-cutter guitar was still lying around, so I picked it up and started fiddling with it, and after a few months, my parents bought me my first, own guitar – a hefty piece of ash bolted to a cracked neck with custom wiring and a sound not totally unlike a strat, if quite different. And it weighed a tonne.
    Anyhow, to cut a long story short (for relevance) – the guitar is the instrument I’m most comfortable with, it’s the instrument I’ve played for the longest, and it’s the instrument on which I’ve at least started most of the pieces I’ve written. In the past I’ve tended to take guitar ideas and try to adapt them to the keyboard to give myself the massive range of options offered by synthesis and effects, but over the last few months I’ve been tending to think I should persist in recording the ideas in the form they were initially envisioned and add other sounds and music (either with more guitars, or keyboards) later. This, I think, will be truer to the original ideas and truer to myself as a musician.
  2. I’ve probably 10 pretty solid ideas now which, if I could just get off my arse and down to recording them, would make a pretty solid digital release. Some of them you’ve already heard on this blog and some are totally new. Some of them are still piano-based (despite [1] above) but I’ve been happening across some really nice guitar ideas too. It’s a good deal of music, I promise, and even just as nascent ideas in my head and my fingers, I’m quite proud of some of them, so I really hope I can finally knuckle down and do them justice on record!

Secondly, I’ve recently been to London for my annual visit and had some interesting and inspirational meetings, not least a fascinating and invigorating lunch with Gareth Jones discussing limitation as a creative tool. It’s an idea I’ve touched on a few times previously – that with too much choice when it comes to instrumentation and effects, I just get lost and produce nothing, but Gareth made some really cool suggestions and I’ve come back feeling quite a bit more energised and positive about the whole thing than I have for a while (hence this blog entry, I guess!)

So, I guess what I’m saying is “Watch this space”, and while I know that what I’ve been saying all along, this time you might actually see (and hear) something worthwhile soon…

March 24, 2011

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