Week from Monday 3rd September 2007

I ended the week UPSTAIRS AT BINKY'S, laying down a track or two and trying to figure out a way to convert the contents of his digital Portastudio into a format that can be further manipulated on this here peecee. And - who'da thunk it? - good old MAGIX came up trumps once again, turning the track data into WAV files with hardly any effort at all. I spent quite a fruitful weekend sampling myself, putting together some fine items of what we doctors like to call "DEVIANT/COMMERCIAL". 

I chose the track "Absence" (from "Renaldo & The Loaf Play Struvé & Sneff") as a likely subject for my contribution to THE MUSIC IS TABOO. In the end, I find I have TWO mixes of the aforementioned track:- I discovered that if you take all the little fills BETWEEN the vocals and chain them together, you get a pleasant little instrumental version of the tune. I also added a huge "Day In The Life"-style crescendo, constructed by layering samples of EVERY track on the album (as well as my own saxophone part, recycled from the NAIL sessions). The other piece started with a simple vocoder treatment of the original track's verses, but evolved into a full-blown, drum 'n' bass DANCE track! Crikey! I shall play the results to my 'team of experts', before forwarding them to TED THE LOAF or Charles in Chicago.

This week's DGM HOT TICKLE is a corking version of "FraKCtured", from the Crims' 2000 gig at the Paris Olympia. I've also been enjoying the sound of THE HUMANS via their MySpace - this is a new project featuring TOYAH WILLCOX (who needs no introduction here) and BILL RIEFLIN (frequent collaborator with members of the CRIM extended family). Mr Fripp's sole involvement with the project so far is as caterer!

I've had a bit of a clean up on MySpace. I've discarded lots of things that were slowing the page down (like overlarge 'friends' 'comments'), as well as several things (like the map and the third-party colour scheme) which were frankly useless.

Some Missing MySpace Notes:
Concrète & Verité -
Xenochron[icit]y - Conceptual Continuity = Mathematically Speaking: DADA > Kurt Schwitters = Merzbau = collage> audio montage [/frottage?] = tape manipulation [+ so to sampling, the readymade] + juxtaposition + coincidence + chance = aleatory = C,A,G,E.
"A little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation..." - Saki, 'The Comments of Maung Ka'
"If all the world's a stage, where are all the mike-stands?"
"Get Down And Parody!"
The Prog, The Jazz, The Funk, The Dub
- Bass
The Mode, The Whole-tone Scale and The Hungarian Minor
Minimalism + Maximalism
The Hermetic, The Eremitic, The Eclectic
"[composers] have realised the necessity of banding together and fighting for the right of the individual to secure a fair and free presentation of his work." - Edgard Varèse 1966
"D'ya wanna be in my gang, my gang, my gang, oh yeah?" - Gary Glitter 1973

So DAVID THE DARKENING SCALE LOAF asks me what I think of the new piece that he has reconstructed from the samples I sent him... Huh? What new piece? I haven't heard anything! Tell me more!!

Problem solved... It was lost in the (e)mail during the kerfuffle! I have now received it. It's a delightful little piece, but it took a while before I recognised myself-as-samples! I'm fairly sure he's used my "French Vocoder" patch and there is a bass guitar riff which COULD POSSIBLY be mine. His approach to sampling (which must involve an actual sampling keyboard - an Emulator?) differs from mine in that he constructs melodies and rhythms from the sounds, whereas I tend to come up with textures and chance occurrences. 

His comments about my reconstruction of his "The Aforementioned Lard Rant" were that he preferred the ideas as separate entities, rather than segued together, and he thinks I record "at too high a level". I shall bear this in mind for next time, but it comes too late for my RATL remixes, which are now heading his way via snail-mail.

"A gentleman is someone who CAN play the accordion, but doesn't..."

After a hectic bit of window-signing, I wound down with one of my "POINTLESS TRAIN JOURNEYS", this time to Guildford and back. On the journey out, I lost myself in a long version of the GRATEFUL DEAD's appropriate "Trucking", followed by some GREEKS & INDIANS. What of Guildford? Guildford seems to have one of the better HMV branches I've come across outside of London, with a reasonable selection of 'specialist' fare and back-catalogue. Sadly, the now defunct CHAIN WITH AN ONOMATOPOEIC NAME also had one of its larger branches here, now standing empty, but still recognisable, as some kind of monument. I found a nice independent (i.e. mobile and record fair-frequenting) second-hand emporium tucked away down a side street. But where are the charity shops? Don't people in Surrey go in for that kind of thing? For the journey back, I chose the ever-dependable travelling companions TANGERINE DREAM.

Week from Monday 10th September 2007

IN A SILENT WAY... Farewell Then, JOE ZAWINUL, the funkiest septuagenarian Austrian ever... It is exceedingly difficult with an ELECTRONIC instrument (rather than a proper, organic, blown or plucked thingy that shifts REAL air molecules around) to develop your own unique "VOICE". But Joe Zawinul had a synthesiser style and sound that was instantly recognisable as his own.

And He Wrote Good Tunes.

This week sees the first "SNOW ON THE LETTERS AND SPRIGS OF HOLLY" job of the year (an Xmo leaflet for the Bitterne Beautification Posse). I'm also starting work on the website for a school steel band in Portchy, to be based on Shelfy's ongoing graphics. Tuesday night sees us in Catisfield trying to sell the idea(s) and Wednesday and Thursday sees us UPSTAIRS AT SHELFY'S churning out the product in time for a committee to convene. Doubtless we will have to start all over again next week. Meantime, I'm doing a little R&D to find out the best way of optimising his sizeable video clips for the net.

My remixed RATL tracks met with a mixed reception from DAVID THE DARKENING TED LOAF SCALE. He likes some bits and not others (Same here!). Having tired of HTML construction one evening, I had one more crack at it, combining the best features of the previous two versions.

But I bore easily. Been there, done that, don't really want to have to do it again, it's not so much fun the second time around! I will never get the hang of making music to please OTHER people.

Week from Monday 17th September 2007

On Saturday I went to Southampton, the real purpose being a visit to PC World to 'window(s) shop' for video conversion software. But I inevitably trawled the charity shops before ending up in Borders, where I spontaneously indulged in the recently re-digitised and complete "JEEVES & WOOSTER" box (nearly £50 for an eight-disk set, but what the hey!).

Top of my LISTENING LIST this week has been a concert recording of PINK FLOYD (from 1994, possibly an American transcription disc?) that was broadcast on Mojo Radio last weekend, as part of their "Floyd Weekend". It wasn't the DAVID GILMOUR concert they had been promising and it wasn't the most HI of FI, but it was welcome nevertheless (once I'd edited out "Another Brick In The Soddin' Wall" that is!).

I had a mad attack of nostalgia, digging into the tape archives (What is this 'tape' of which I speak? Ask a grown-up!) for further DELIGHTS FROM THE PAST to share with the eager MicePace world. The 'chorale' version of "THE BUDGIE" has been dusted off, along with one of those bonkers pieces from my most Zappa-influenced "Jazz From Hell" phase and a small taster of "THE BIG OL' ADAGIO", an enormous, drifty, major-to-minor improv from 1990, very much "TANGERINE" in its nature. Already, my 'friends' HERE & NOW have sent favourable comments, along with the [more pertinent] news that they are involved in a benefit gig on South Parade Pier next month.

Week from Monday 24th September 2007

Stop the press! On another part of the tape, I found a delightful version of the aforementioned "bonkers piece" ("NEW TURTLES" aka "ALL THIS SHOULD HAVE WALLS [AS WELL]") complete with additional guitar parts, which I feel should be shared with my adoring public!

This week, THE FREAK ZONE devoted two of its three hours to an at-home interview with ROBERT WYATT, complete with lengthy musical excursions by same. He is also this month's cover star on the acclaimed pop comic THE WIRE. His new album sounds VERY promising indeed.

My third remix of "Absence" has obviously met with a favourable response, as it has now been posted on "THE MUSIC IS TABOO" MicePace - well, on its Flash MP3 plug-in doodah, anyway - along with another [much better than mine!] new mix by someone simply known as Mr Leery. My blog has been updated and my "top friends" have been changed, to reflect this fact (so no more "BEARDS" friend-theme this week!). 

As I had sent the MP3 to David via Shelfy's e-mail account, during work on our STEEL BAND PROJECT, I found there was an e-reply waiting for me on the Mac this week. He does like the remix. 

Meanwhile, back at the STEEL BAND PROJECT, I think I've cracked the problem of converting the variable-quality video originals into MPEGs (online streaming for the use of), having found a couple of bits of FREEWARE that'll do the trick. I just have to add one or two items of text here and there, remove one or two other items elsewhere and then find some nice pictures to fill the spaces left. As usual, we are against the clock... 

...then I shall have the task of demonstrating to the client how EASY it is to upload a website, hopefully without making myself look a tit when things don't work out how I planned!

I've finally ordered my own internet connection (or re-acquired the rights to my old StuporNet account, whichever way you want to look at it), so I should be back in SELF-CONTAINED ONLINE MODE in a couple of weeks - and this DIARY too will be re-launched into space, if all goes well.