Mid-2016 update

Just thought I’d drop you good readers a quick line—as we’ve reached the halfway point of 2016, it seemed like as good an excuse as any!

However you’ve reached my site, and are reading my sporadic jottings—search engine, WordPress subscription, RSS feed, etc.—thank you for showing an interest in what I’m up to.

Firstly: if you’ve ever wondered by there are relatively few updates here… I must confess that at this point in time, this site isn’t usually the “centre” of my online activity (although I have no plans to “move out”, and plan to make more active use of this facility in the future). If you’d like to keep up to date more “intensively” with what I’m up to, I’d advise following me on Twitter, “liking” my Facebook artist page or (if you’re more visually-inclined) follow my Instagram.

In the meantime: what am I up to at the moment? Well, “everyday life”, primarily, but in musical terms, a couple of activities are worth noting:

  • A couple of weeks ago, I started writing and recording some new material—I suppose you can think of it at this stage, as “flying kites”, to see what might work. Keep an ear to ground (especially at Twitter and my Facebook artist page) for further news on progress over the summer.
  • I also have a semi-formed intention to “do something” with the demos I recorded for NaSoAlMo (National Solo Album Month) 2015 last November. At present, the “rough” mixes of the demos that I made at the time, can be heard at my SoundCloud page. However, I feel these mixes are… well, rough (!), and if I’m going to do anything else with them, I want to make some better mixes. The good news is, I re-recorded two of the tracks in more “polished” form near the end of 2015, but haven’t figured out what to do with them either (see a pattern?)… so I’m minded to assemble a “complete NaSoAlMo 2015” album, featuring the remixed demos plus the two re-recorded songs. If I do this, it may come together quite quickly—if so, I will let you know via my various “channels” when and where the album will be available (probably my Bandcamp page).
  • And… whilst on the subject of NaSoAlMo: I’m thinking again of entering the challenge, for what would be the third year running. I have four more months (!) to ponder that point, but at present I’m thinking of a largely “acoustic” approach (think: Rick Rubin’s Johnny Cash albums?). Time will tell…

So, that’s where I’m “at”, anyway—thanks again for reading, and see you out there on the Interwebs!

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Instagram-med

To tide you over until I get around to updating you on the last month or two—and I haven’t vanished completely, as you’ll be aware if you follow me on Twitter—I’ll just mention that since my last posting here, I got myself my own corner of Instagram.

Of course, if you’re also a user of said photo-filtering network, please feel free to follow me on there… in the meantime, I’ve added a widget to the sidebar on this site, so you can see the last three Instagram pics I’ve posted at any time.

Sorry I’ve been rather quiet here in recent weeks, but I plan to return to these parts shortly and let you know what I’ve been up to on the musical front, as well as sharing some thoughts on my latest musical acquisition…

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.

Music, etc, update (end April 2014)

Just in case anyone was getting worried about the silence around here (and if you’re that keen to hear from me, my Twitter feed is almost constantly twittering 😉 ): thought I’d pop in and give the place a bit of a flick with the ol’ feather duster…

I’ve pruned a couple of defunct links from “Me, distributed”, and added one for completeness’ sake: my page on Vine, which sees occasional items from yours truly, as well as the odd clip from other users, which I thought worthy of noting. Feel free to pop over, etc.

Otherwise: progress towards my next recording project is… well, progressing, if sporadically. I can let slip that—as ever, assuming it gets completed and/or released—the follow-up to “Conditions Apply” may well lean towards my more “prog” inclinations… certainly, if the first item I began recording for the project a couple of weeks ago, is any indicator. (I’m currently weighing up whether to stick the unfinished piece on SoundCloud—just to whet your appetites—or keep the whole lot under my metaphorical hat… should you have an opinion either way, do feel free to weigh in!)

It’s also the plan, that this project would, effectively, be the first one I’ve worked on since “Lifecourses” during 2011, where I actually allow myself to take time over the writing and recording. Every album since then, has come directly out of the FAWM and 50/90 songwriting challenges, where writing and demoing songs is intended to be a quick-fire, slap-it-down-and-move-on activity.

Nothing wrong with that in itself—I enjoy that approach a lot, and often it’s the only way I’ll actually get something done—but this time around, I’d like the output to have been worked on and, as far as possible, perfected. If that takes months rather than weeks, than on this occasion, so be it… and incidentally, yes, that means I’m sitting out 50/90 this year.

I will let one further “nugget” fall: the next project will almost certainly incorporate some material which has emerged from FAWM and 50/90, albeit in a developed form…

…and there I will take my leave—not least, because it’s time I got back to The Project. See you in due course back here, and as mentioned, on Twitter if you can’t wait that long.

TTFN 🙂

Also available in (on?) Google+

A quick housekeeping note for anyone interested: I have started experimenting a bit more with Google+, and thanks to a little gentle prodding from them, I managed to bag a “custom” URL for my G+ profile page

In truth, I’m unlikely to be quite as active there as I currently am on Twitter (and to an extent, Facebook), but that may change for all I know. In the meantime, I’ve updated the links on this site to include my G+ profile page, and we’ll see where things go from there, eh?

Hello, MakeUseOf readers!

Cover image of LifecoursesJust a quick “howdy” to anyone visiting from MakeUseOfthe site very kindly featured my 2012 instrumental album “Lifecourses” yesterday, as part of their weekly “Sound Sunday” music round-up 🙂

Please feel free to look around, perhaps at my information page for “Lifecourses”, which can be found in the “My Music” section (understandably). On the other hand: if you’d just like to go straight to the album’s page at Bandcamp: it’s that-a-way…

For the curious: “Lifecourses” is a collection of largely acoustic guitar-based instrumental pieces, with a leavening of elements of folk, prog-rock and electronica. It should be of particular interest to fans of artists such as Anthony Phillips, Mike Oldfield, Phil Keaggy, Daniel Lanois and Bill Frisell.

Thanks again for your interest, and I hope you enjoy the album!

Site updates: a new domain at last!

Just a quick note to follow up my last post earlier today (new album pages, etc.): a couple of hours ago, I set up my blog to use a new domain name… yes, as of now, this is “tawalker.co.uk“. For want of a less pretentious description: my official Web site 🙂

I believe the old links will continue to be redirected, but just in case, you might want to update any bookmarks pointing to them.

Now, back to your regular scheduled Saturdays…