Guitars and synths and recording, oh my…

I realised with a jolt the other day, that it’s been over two months since my last update here…

Well, as you may be aware if you’re familiar with my online presence, I’m hardly ever off Twitter (and, to a rather lesser extent, Facebook), but I rarely have the spare time to write anything much in depth for my “official website” (mmm, like the sound of that 😉 )

That said, to help reassure anyone concerned at my absence from these parts, there now follows a virtual “grab-bag” of items of possible interest, by way of a late-summer update, and punctuated by a couple of leading questions to myself.

Where’s the next page for “The Frets Files”, then?

Awaiting creation by me, basically… amongst other things, it depends on which of my guitars gets shoved forwards to volunteer as the next candidate for a page of its own. [flips a coin] Yes, I think I know just the chap… coming soon!

What happened to that album project, that you “bailed” out of the 50/90 Challenge to work on, then? Mmm?

Well you might ask…

Simple answer: I have been working, sporadically, on what I am presently referring to as “The Prog Album” or, if you prefer “The Proper One”, over the summer. There’s still a fair way to go on it: I have three tracks basically complete (barring further tweaks or additions, but structurally they are “in the can”), and about 15 minutes of “The Epic” (my first attempt at a 23-25-minute song-suite). Essentially, I need to write 20-25 minutes’ worth of further material for the album…

…and there’s the “rub”: I’ve been pushing for most of the summer against the dreaded “writer’s-block”, or at least, a difficulty in coming up with material which “fits” the project in hand, especially on the lyrical front. The block lifted briefly around the end of August, allowing me to pen a completely new song which I’m pretty pleased with… but more than that I will not say, at least for now.

Furthermore, my original plan for the structure album was for a “two sides” approach—i.e. shorter songs in the first half, with the “epic” taking up the second half (rather like “Meddle” by Pink Floyd)—but I’ve reached the just-past-halfway point of The Epic, and am not quite sure which direction it should take from where it currently ends. I was contemplating a “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”-type setup, where The Epic is split into two halves, “bookending” the shorter songs… except then I’d feel as if I didn’t meet my challenge to produce a 23+-minute suite!

Maybe I just need to stop agonising over the details, and just get on with it 😉

Fab. Gear?

Very droll… yes, I have been experimenting with a couple of new acquisitions (all of which, I should point out, thanks to some extremely good offers). Arturia‘s recent 15th-birthday sale (with some crazy discounts) allowed us to “land” their ARP2600V software synth (based on the classic ARP 2600 semi-modular). This is now plugged into Logic on our Mac, and I’ve already overdubbed some nicely spacey ARP tones onto at least one of the “Prog Project” songs (with the likelihood of more to come).

Furthermore, I’m still recording mostly on the iPad, and recently picked up Arturia’s iMini app (based on the Minimoog)—again, as part of Arturia’s birthday sale. This softsynth hasn’t yet found its way onto one of my recordings, but it’s only a matter of time—a terrific-sounding instrument, and all for (when I bought it) the price of a CostaBucksRepublic beverage!

Finally, yet another bargain I picked up via Amazon UK earlier in the summer (well over 50% off RRP…): a Samson G-Track USB condenser mike and integrated audio interface. It works well as a “one-stop shop” recording companion to the iPad (albeit requiring a powered USB hub and Apple’s Lightning-to-USB Camera Adapter to help out), and I’m already recording with it—both, parts for the Prog Project, and a couple of other bits and pieces.

So, at least that project has started groaning forward again after a relatively languid summer… what next, I wonder?

Wait and see… I’ll be interested to find out myself.

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