I haven’t been the best at publicising so as a summary here’s a playlist of the project so far:
I decided to play around with a couple of synths, a bit of MIDI, a handmade BEW pedal and see what happened. This is the result.
In the process I taught myself a couple of new things about recording too.
I got to the end of the lyrics and realised I really ought to have rewritten the first verse but time was not on my side. So have at thee.
Guest vocals by Becca Allen.
Entry number 4 in the ongoing compendium is a lovely floaty piece of acoustic art-pop. Should I feel a bit self-conscious in calling it art-pop? Nope! No prizes for guessing my references for the voice parts.
SAWFAY number 3. I tried to use as few guitars and as many basses as possible and this is the result.
I’m quite enjoying only using acoustic guitars in these compositions, especially for the lead or harmonic sections.
I’m still a bit shy about singing though.
OK, 2nd week. I completely forgot to post this here at the time -the 7th of November.
Initially I had a problem with my mix, the whole piece was overdriven once I’d exported it from my DAW. Eventually I discovered that somehow SoundForge is boosting the gain of everything it opens, even the preview feature in the File Open dialog.
This piece is perhaps a wee homage to both Tortoise and David Bedford.
So I think I’m going to do a thing. Like really commit to something.
I’m gonna make a piece of music once a week for the next 53 weeks.
This is my first piece. I’m keeping it rough and ready. This is only the beginning.
Drum loops from Siggi Baldursson.
Meaty glorious guitar solo in the coda by Stevie McKnight: steven-mcknight1
Other guitars & percussion by me.
I thought I’d lost this forever. This is a different version and it’s really badly mixed, but I’m glad I found it.
Hilariously it’s only taken me fourteen years to get this recording this far. Maybe it’ll take less to actually complete it.
Barry, Saul and I are making our live début as ARC at long last. Well that’s what I thought until last night at this event when Saul reminded me that we’d played one of Barry’s Listen… nights in the Menagerie a couple of years back.
But still, that was a long time ago and we’ve changed our approach and our aesthetic quite a bit since then so I’m still thinking of this in terms of début.
ARC are an improvising trio based around drums, double bass, bass guitar and handmade electronics.
We’ve played in public
two three times before. The first second time was as a three-piece to demonstrate the work of ceramicist Andrew Cooke:
Here’s some YouTube footage of that event.
Not a full ARC gig, as we were there to explore the instruments Andrew had made.
second third time was just Saul and I, performing at an art happening (it really was) called Fresh Meat in the Crescent Arts Centre.
Barry was performing at a festival in Brazil at the time but he was there in spirit in the guise of a light-controlled synth right at the front of the stage.
So, again, not a full ARC gig.
This time though, we’ll be kicking it old-school. Barry will be providing instructional/motivational projections and video and we’ll be accompanied by Martin Byrne, one of Belfast’s more prolific sonic artists.
So yeah, roll up roll up for ARCLight at OpenSourceNI, 3-5 Commercial Court, Belfast from 2-3pm on Sunday 4th of May 2014.
I’ve spent an afternoon relearning a short piece I wrote three or four years ago.
I came up with it the usual way, a chord pattern turns up under my fingers, then a second chord that I like, then a kept poking until I find a complete set.
A bit like collecting bubblegum stickers for a sticker album.
I recorded a quick and dirty sketch mainly to work out some harmonies but ended up with synth backing instead.
We used it as one of the pieces we performed with Shane & Terry until that fell apart, but I’ve hardly even thought about the piece since then.
Relistening to it last night I was a little irked at the sloppiness of the playing but mostly I was confounded by how obtuse I’d been in my note choice. I know my ear is a bit rusty and this just underscored that rust before going back over each letter with a biro.
I was deliberate in using chord fragments that don’t play to the usual major or minor & root configurations, and I think this piece is better for it even if the hand positions, the changes and the rhythm of it are awkward to play convincingly.
I tried to rerecord of to a click track once and failed completely, so I may try it again. If I can ever play it right.