29.2.12

Being free

I've made a change to the Spingere bandcamp page. The EP was 'pay what you want' yesterday but today it's just free.

When I'm faced with 'pay what you want' I often feel uncomfortable. The music is often worth more than I can easily afford at the time so, rather than download it for nothing, or next to nothing, I don't download it at all. What I always tell myself is that I'll come back when I'm better off and pay a fair price. This rarely happens.

So, cutting out the crap, you can now get the EP, 'Celestial Spirits in Bondage' for nothing. Enjoy.

28.2.12

Celestial Spirits in Bondage

Around December last year I planned a short album or EP of purely elctronic music. It looked good on paper but resisted being recorded and quickly turned into a huge pile of tosh.

This year I decided to accept the RPM Challenge again. This meant writing and recording 35 minutes of music (or ten tracks) in February. So I made a start with a combination of live instrumentation and elctronica and kept at it until, last week when I had forty minutes of music. One of the songs came about after a drum part came my way and my pal John Marcell agreed to add guitar to it.

But then, after a short break from the tracks, I listened critically and found I had two problems. Firstly, some of the mixes were hopelessly bad. Irretrievably bad. Secondly, some of the tunes were dull and far less interesting to listen to than they had been to play and record.

Instead of editing and re-recording I got the virtual hatchet out and cut out the crap. This left me with just four tunes. The result then is an EP called ‘Celestial Spirits in Bondage’. Yes, it’s a pretentious title, but I love the phrase (taken from Paradise Lost). The tracks are as follows:

Manga Pants: So called because it is a purposely silly piece which needed a silly title. My daughter had reminded me that anything is funnier with the word ‘pants’ in it so, there you have it.

Celestial Spirits in Bondage: As mentioned above, this is from Paradise Lost, which I had been reading in the evenings and it fitted the feel of this track.

That’s Not My Penguin: You can’t have an album with Bondage in the title and be a Frank Zappa fan without making a reference to his tune, ‘Penguins in Bondage’. Also, my front room is littered with children’s books with titles like ‘That’s Not My Pony’.

Vuvvuzelas at the Giant Robot’s Funeral: If you listen to the track this will make perfect sense.

The EP can be found here. I hope you enjoy it.

24.2.12

Small Prayer by Weldon Kees : Poetry Magazine

Small Prayer by Weldon Kees : Poetry Magazine

... is eggs(?)

21st February 2012 by WJCruttenden
21st February 2012, a photo by WJCruttenden on Flickr.

If you judged the time of year by the contents of shops then we’re currently experiencing Easter. In my family we celebrate the egg by making pancakes on a fairly regular basis and if we’re judging the time of year by the scribbles on our calendar it’s just a few days past Shrove Tuesday. The tradition is to eat pancakes (not really a tradition as much as a happy coincidence with us) and then for me to recite ‘Pancake Man’ by poet and wearer of glasses, John Hegley. I can’t reproduce the poem here without breaking copyright law but I urge you to track a copy down.

Having started the month with a head full of music I’m pleased to report that ways have appeared get the mass of melodies, harmonies and rhythms out and safely re-homed. My great pal, Russ, is returned from an incredible journey across Australia on a motorbike. This means our guitar, bass, piano trio can finish its album and start gigging. A chance to play bass in a new project has arisen and I’ll be doing that whenever I can. Meanwhile, the excellent John Marcell’s contribution to my RPM Challenge album has produced the possibility of another trans-Atlantic collaboration. I’ve only got five days to make sense (fix, mix and master) of the RPM album through, so the Texan/Oxfordshire axis will have to wait till March.

Meanwhile, the household has been working through the joys of D&V. This was why I was still up, sitting outside my daughter’s room, reading about poetry at two o’clock in the morning recently. If I didn’t need the sleep I’d recommend this as a great time to read.

Exciting times ahead.

20.2.12

Yet more RPM news.

Last night I finished recording the parts for my RPM Challenge album. It's grown from 35 minutes of music to 42, but then shrank down again today when I changed a tempo or two and edited a longer track to a more reasonable length.

This has been a fun undertaking, mostly because it's being made for no other reason than I want to do it. My previous RPM album was a one man operation. This time I've enlisted help from my daughter (keyboards and vocals) and the amazing John Marcell (guitar). Adding John's parts to a drum and bass backing was thrilling. The resulting tune s my favourite and makes me wish, once again, that there was a handy teleport between Oxfordshire and San Antonio.

There's still mixing and mastering to be finished and the results will be free to download at the RPM site and Bandcamp at the end of the month. Hope you like it.

8.2.12

More on the RPM Challenge

My RPM Challenge music is coming on a pace. I now have the first four tracks and only need to complete two or three more before I realise I've produced the aural equivilent of dog poop and start all over again. Or maybe not. February seems to be getting me down a little this year. This might have something to do with the otherwise wonderful Ableton Live music software behaving like a narcoleptic stunt driver. Sorry, anyone with narcolepsy, no offence meant. I have spent most of a long and late evening mixing music only to watch it disappear and be replaced by an error message. Luckily I've discovered the joys of pantoums and triolets, although even they aren't helping with the frustration of vanishing music.

7.2.12

Hot, cold & something in between.

I am experienceing comedy heating at the dayjob. When the weather was mild the radiators belched out heat at full blast. When the temperature dropped dramatically the radiators switced off. By the time they came back on again the weather was warming up once more. Today, as if to truly mess with my mind, the weather is cold and the radiators are on. You might think that's a perfect match, but no. The radiators are kicking our so much heat I've had to open the window, so now we have great rolling waves of heat and icy gusts IN THE SAME ROOM.

Once more I spot the tell tale signs of needing more sleep and/or needing to get out more.

6.2.12

Chess

It’s as if January never happened. Suddenly it’s February and my list of projects and challenges is as long as ever. The attempt to make myself a better chess player has collapsed though. It seems what I really need is a human being to play with, across a board, not on the internet. To this end I am reminded, yet again, of how much I miss Borders. The Oxford branch of this wonderful shop would keep a chess set behind the cafĂ© counter and I would get a game in whenever my friend, David, and I visited. David’s wife referred to Borders as our club.