The Pattern Store – Moquettes (2014)

This was my first album under a “band identity” (The Pattern Store), attempted as an experiment for NaSoAlMo (National Solo Album Month) 2014. NaSoAlMo is a challenge to write and record, from scratch, an album of material at least 29 minutes in length, within the month of November. No pre-existing composed material may be used (except for one cover-version of the participant’s choice, which they may record if they wish), and the recording must not begin before the 1st, nor end after the 30th. I completed production of “Moquettes” on the 29th, and released it via Bandcamp on 30th November.

Although I have been recording with iOS devices since 2012, this album was the first I have produced from beginning to end on one (an iPad)—all recording, electronic instrumentation, mixing and mastering was done on this one device, with no “external” work carried out. I used a Samson G-Track (a USB large-diaphragm condenser microphone with integrated instrument input and headphone output) for inputting all acoustic instruments and voices and some electric guitars into the iPad for recording.

About halfway through the month, I acquired a Sonuus i2M Musicport (USB digital guitar interface/monophonic pitch-to-MIDI converter), which I used for most of the electric guitar-recording thereafter, and also playing/recording some “single-note” MIDI instrument parts on iPad synth apps. Examples of the latter include:

  • the synth-bass parts (iFretless Bass) on Fog On The Teign and Waterlogged Sunset;
  • the “Moog” (Arturia iMini) solo part on Waterlogged Sunset;
  • the “Mellotron” “flute” and “strings” (Super Manetron) on Fog On The Teign;
  • the solo organ (Galileo) on Last Minute.

A few notes on the apps (software) I used on the iPad:

  • I used Galileo (a tonewheel (e.g Hammond) organ app by Yonac Software) quite a bit on “Moquettes”, and not only for organ-parts (of which there are quite a few). Galileo has a handy trick up its sleeve: if you place it in Audiobus’ “effects” slot, you can process inputs (such as guitars, Audiobus-compatible instruments and… well, any iPad audio input) through the Galileo “virtual-organ”‘s amp and effects, including the “Leslie cabinet”. I used this trick in three places on this album:
    • the “ghostly” effect on the second vocal in Last Minute;
    • the electric guitar on Autumn Anorak; and
    • the rhythm-machine on Waterlogged Sunset.
  • The swooping synth-bass on Golden Age is the “BiggerBass” patch in Animoog, played via the touchscreen interface in iFretless Bass.
  • On The Daily Grind, the “theremin”-like electronic tone is played on E-Theremin MkII.

As allowed in the NaSoAlMo challenge’s rules, I recorded one cover-version for this album: “Lady Jane” by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, originally recorded by the Rolling Stones for their 1966 album “Aftermath”. My cover is a pretty “straight” one, not deviating that far from the original arrangement (I didn’t feel I could really improve upon it), although on my version, I played both Brian Jones’ lap-dulcimer and Jack Nitzsche’s harpsichord parts on 12-string acoustic guitar.

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