More stories about music and coffee

With the two ongoing music projects finally going on it has been fun, for me, to note that despite the radical differences (mostly to do with instrumentation, writing methods and volume levels) one thing holds them together. And I don’t just mean the bald guy playing fretless bass.

For one band the recording process got drastically simplified because we had a list of complex songs that would require multiple overdubs and some studio trickery to complete. When we played them live though they got stripped down to piano, guitar and bass. The process of recording was begun but then a technical problem meant all the work we had done needed to be wiped and re-recorded. Then, when this was at its most frustrating we got a one-off gig that meant learning and almost entirely new set of songs. With so little time we arranged and played the songs simply. This breathed some new life into the band so we agreed to record this set of songs in a similar manner.

So, as we only had a few hours free every two weeks we would get together, rehearse a song and then play it straight to tape. If anything went drastically wrong we'd play it again. If it went very wrong indeed, or refused to come together, we would abandon the song and start a fresh one.
What this did was reinvigorate the band and help us make an album that sounds fresh and uncluttered. Ok, it's not quite finished yet, but the rough mixes sound much better than our first attempt with the earlier material.

With the other band we're still in the stages of creating a set. Here again though, simplicity is winning over complexity. At least it is in terms of playing the music. No computers, sequencers or machines are at work; just three people with instruments and a positive attitude (and quite a lot of coffee).

The older I get and the more I play, the more important it is for music to be fresh and alive. This is an approach that works for me.



Pancake Day

Pancake Day by WJCruttenden
Pancake Day, a photo by WJCruttenden on Flickr.

This year, Pancake Day got celebrated with old-school sugar and lemon fillings. My suggestion of fried onion, salt and pepper had no takers.


IMG_3329 by WJCruttenden
IMG_3329, a photo by WJCruttenden on Flickr.

There wasn't a lot of food in the house over the weekend so, once again my daughter and I dived into her fantastic 1,2,3 cookbook. Every recipe contains only three ingredients, in this case Nutella, an egg and self-rasing flour.


Thanks you x 2

Much to my surprise the letter I wrote to BT got an immediate response. I had a call, an apology and a practical solution to my problems. Thank you BT.

And while we're dolling out praise I should also say thank you to Amazon, who helped me delete my late dad's account with them in the time it takes to make an esspresso.


Daughter with Hat

Daughter by WJCruttenden
Daughter, a photo by WJCruttenden on Flickr.
A snowy day had my daughter digging around the house for a suitable hat. This one comes from the 1970s.



Muffins by WJCruttenden
Muffins, a photo by WJCruttenden on Flickr.
One of the many signs that life is getting back to normal is that baking-for-fun has resumed. Recently we made these breakfast muffins (with raspberries) for a late afternoon snack.



Today I received a copy of the local police newspaper. When I lived with my parents and whenever I visited, the arrival of this paper usually meant a quick check of the obituaries. My dad joined the police in 1948 and people of his generation who worked in that job didn't often make it to a ripe old age. Dad would look to see who had gone this month and often make a comment about "kicking the bucket" soon himself. Reading his obituary was hard and I was lucky to have my daughter close by to cheer me up.