June 2017

Donald Rodney's House that Jack built

D R.(the house that jack built) Built on the backs of 75 million black slaves. A glimpse to the past less safer brixton riots and an uphill battle with race, respect and communication

NB - this piece was recommended to me via something Olympic engineer Rod Thear told me. I love Rods recordings of the Rolling Stones & i often remind him just how difficult it is to find an engineer of his class as most of the recording sessions in those days were not included in liner notes or on CD's like today where you read thousands of names. Thanks Rod

LI.1156 - Rodney

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Help needed, i have lost the lyrics

I seemed to be getting forgetful, in 2003 i stayed in a Bed & Breakfast in Truro & wrote a lovely piece of music called "All You Pretty People"
I got the inspiration to pair bluesish chess lyrics with a dance buff baff ding ding buff baff kick drum,
The title came easy but the verses, chorus, middle 8 & outro were left near the kettle on a pad from another bed and breakfast i had stayed in the fortnight before.
Its proving to be a huge job to find the number of the bed and breakfast. I must admit its probably lost now.

NB - the venue could of been in Kent not Cornwall, the silence since writing this post originally probably signals these lyrics will not surface from the dead & next time my neanderthal self will need to write them in stone and post them to myself, then i won't end up like Liam Neeson (historical note neanderthals did not write signs, had they of they would of been Homo Sapiens)

Dhol Recording notes

Yesterdays session recording Dhol a question of effective beater size arose. The 'hook' with which the bass part of the Dhol is played is a L shaped drum stick, smaller than standard 5b or 7b percussion stick.
The question of reflex muting from the skin strike & withdrawal, the longer the 90 degree right angle the greater the chance of muting the intended strike of the drum.
The Bhangra tradition is very old, my google isn't working at the moment so i can't blind you with years and ages but its a case of resisting modernisation to retain tradition. If the right angle was much smaller the chance of mis-hits and accidental muting would greatly decrease.
dhol

Following the fashion.

Sensible here, Sensitive there, to be honest christian, it irritates me when he's not leading the race in the high stakes yoga position fashion

Clowns, clowns, send in clowns, cause the progressive drudgery of jealousy raises the warts and the left and the right playing nonsense through the night

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A review from the past

In 2001, our studio name was "Funky Town Studio" Phil Hutchinson & myself wrote a tune called 'Satisfaction' (latin for enough its derision is hanging in the etymology books we had no reference to the Rolling Stones Marlborro Red ode to the mid-life 50's 60's people hassling them to listen to Mainstream Dixieland or Eddie Condons hot 5 with Red Mackensie or Sophie Tuckers Yanow etc)) When DJ Jamie Richards listened to the acapella , his suggestion was we form a duo and do a Dance 130Bpm mix in style with the line of nightclubs he Dj'd in , Broadway Ealing, Hed Kandi , i don't remember the places they were all sweet based etc. Our first Single as Studio 76 was "Set me free" (vocal from Denmarks Susanne Rye) signed to 1044 records Swindon.

The Original Satisfaction was at 116bpm. It had a drum machine sample & was a different flavour to the Smoking' Beats release. Heres the review from DeepVibes Deutchland

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It's only a short Iambic poem

It's only a tape deck,
its only stereo,
drums to the left.
wash basin to the right

Joseph & Technicolor Tour 2003

What do you do on tour for 6 months when the cast aren't dragging you into any gay club they can find in Sheffield, Grimsby, Turo, Great Yarmouth etc. write songs on the laptop & listen to BBC Radio 5 shows. Here is life in the sunshine, a Roy Ayers themed bizarreathon, recorded only on Cubase 5 on the MacBook i got from camden market for a grand and vocals sung into the internal mic, & keys played on a tiny M-Audio oxygen i used to carry around. The AVH sample loop is from living in danger by Ace of Base & i removed some filtering caused by the internal apple mic with UNFilter. I think this was Grimsby, we had been to chicago rock & i was staying in a premier inn, the Goth night in town was boring, I was sharing digs but went back early for a mooch on the laptop. Couldn't get into the Goth club music, i think its early september time.


Copy + Paste Ranga Janga Ac Guitar & Dhol & Dholiki loops

Very warm today and Preet popped by to record Dhol, & Dholki,
their initial recording and engineering were accomplished, with good convertors, levels can be recorded very low as right now convertors are the quietest in recording history and no noise will be converted into zero's and ones.
this is great until playback on budget devices where the noise floors are higher, in effect creating unwanted noise, rounding off frequencies, clipped low end etc. No issues to report though so a very good day.
Short video of the Dhol being recorded (an indian not turkish origin) (Recording removed pending release)
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white silence & coloured light





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Sopranos ( Lyndia Watts )

The all female opera group fronted by Linda were recommended to me by Vivienne & on hearing about their trouble with German builder Udo mcfontainte ( he offered to build an extension for 7k and requested another 7k plus for material costs ) I had offered to record the ladies for nothing, their Richard Wakeman and Cat Stevens Morning has broken and Ma Baker ( Boney m ) were interesting and freestyle. Apart from a gig with Dame Emma Kirkby i have never experienced recording 3 sopranos with pianist all at once & i found them very surprising, they knew their intricacies and timing inside out. The recording turned out as a fitting tribute to Ladies who have performed from the balconies of the Covent Garden all 5 continents and are amongst 'our most respected and sought after operinastas. ( i'm looking for the track list & if it surfaces i'll post the recordings, the memory of the recording i will not forget :)

Vinyl to Tape to USB memory stick.

This post if for my clients over pensionable age, I often get asked this question, & i often get stared at blankly if i add any technical information into the answer. So i will keep it very very short,

yes you can convert from vinyl to memory stick without using tape or cd.

thats it.

2018 note in a loud possible shouting voice " Yes you will need a computer! "

Vocal Compression

Just yesterday we took delivery of a RND designs 543 to compress lead vocal (channel 8) ratio's vary from 1:1 (tone shaping) through to limit 40:1. One client commented "but i can't hear it doing anything" I placed it on bypass and instantly she recognised the drop in level and presence of the LV in the mix. There are vocal compressors out there that are priced like telephone numbers, & thanks to the nice guys at SXpro.com we now even out our singer with this.

Lots of people like to read a lectionary of compressors with descriptions of this is a sound a like of this or that, daft thing is the people reading from these reviews have not heard a 1176 or 33609 or 2254. I'm not making this post to bore you with marketing or create division within magazine reviews or promote one manufacturer over another, i'm only 'rewarding' you if you like with the knowledge I've gained from owning these pieces.


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String sections

first thing last week, i found a string section recording on our NAS drive that i hadn't reviewed in ages. Cello, Violin & Viiola recorded in the kitchen (for the reflective qualities & refreshing facilities ,it also has the best acoustic double bass sound) a fourth violin was with us, but the jingle we were recording didn't need it or warrant it. All the ad agency had briefed was " something like unfinished sympathy crossed with life on mars , serious, moody plenty of space until the cryptinomicon creation of LOM middle section " the intensity of the copying perhaps over awed the need to experiment but with such little time to complete a finished mix, we hacked away and came up with a half decent mix. Pulling from the transcriptions "borderline" (madonna) the parallels between the substitute root notes, diminished and flat with chords of LOM complimented each other , but as someone once said 'life is not a bed of roses' and the final recording scratched around for a while until sinking to the bottom of the NAS.

From the session i remembered how string players make it look so easy, quoting right hand techniques without bothering to amend crib sheets or explain fully,

we didn't get the deal, or reimbursed for our rather frantic composing, our time or as the string players like to remind me at every chance they get & that i owe them a meal and full drinks at smolenskys (not my choice)

If the phone rang again, i would probably strip away the obvious steerage from Advertising agency & aim towards a mavishnu orchestra progressive fusion, syncopation, 5/4 bars (within reason) and provocative phrasing of Jan Hammer, Rick Laird et al's


One of the most intriguing debates regarding 'modern fusion' is the complete denial of airplay by most if not all radio stations. Freeform compositions, sketched figures, ideas left to develop and cause the album to go over budget, none of these are part of todays ."it kinda works" painting by numbers fashion of a loop from apple and tersh lyrics aimed towards sexualising a vegetable, Cartier jewlerry, Hudson river, Care facility or Hari Krishnar temple or insert anything here.

Sometimes.....

Sometimes one single is all you need to get your musical journey started, of course doing lots of things and gaining approval the first time and creating a unique song. 9 times out of 10 the phone call i get is " I have an idea for a reboot of a degrees in motion / Britney / Rufus / the whispers etc song " BUT " we are going to change the verse on 'oops' to a cher verse and the christian gospel middle 8 into a "work-it" breakdown like an Enrique live track.

YES the pop charts/ hit parade are usually saturated with the likes of jingle jangle tracks promoting 'young love'. If you want to create 'that' music, you'll need to not only copy the sound'a'like music and lyrics, you also need to copy the business plan.

As depressing as rejection by a record company can be…. "Sometimes" all you need is one single, and remember it never "ENDS!"

Vyners Swing Band

found a very old photo must be 1990, unfortunately the whole band are not in the picture, but you can clearly see ex history teacher Mr Perry Parsons, saxophone section & trombonist / Singer , Helen Runkel on the back row. Lyndsey Runkel Clarinet & vocals on her right & Neil Walters on stage left of Perry's hat.



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This is it records

Great having This is it! records label manager Steve in the studio this week. We recorded organ piano and small strings. Slated for mixing in the next fortnight, pressing later. Look out for " I feel you " via Notting Hill Publishing very soon. We wish all at this is it! records the greatest success.

2018 - no further action as of today Friday January 5th, plans to get out on the road are underway.