I’m so very proud to be part of an amazing, inclusive, online community of electronic musicians who put together projects like this.
A few months ago Mark Durham from the Lines Community suggested we put together a compilation of “Longform Ambient”, tracks longer than your normal pop track, for release early this year. When he suggested it I immediately offered a track, as I’ve wanted to record one of my “Ambient//Modular” sessions at Swansea Uni for quite some time now.
This really caught people’s imaginations; usually such compilations end up with around a dozen or so tracks, but Mark has collated these 55 (!) tracks.
That’s 3.5GB… as MP3!
Start listening to this album on Monday morning and you’ll have to wait until your Tuesday mid-morning coffee-break to hear my 35-minute track. You might have just gotten to bed on Tuesday by the time the album finishes.
Sure, it’s long. And I guess that’s some kind of achievement, but more than that it’s consistent.
The album, or as much as I’ve been able to listen to so far, sounds like a community all drawing inspiration from each other, all swimming in the auditory output of each other’s music projects.
This is going to take me all week to get through listening, and I hope it provides a soundtrack of rest and reflection for me and others.
My track, just below, features four, quarter-inch tape loops from my upright piano, fed through the modular along with sounds from the modular itself and my Yamaha CS and Arturia Microbrute synths.
I’d love for you to have a listen.
A film swap is where we both shoot a roll of film, swap the rolls, then shoot OVER THE TOP of each other’s photos.
Here’s a sneak peak of our photos from the project, but I’m sure Lomography will put a bunch together from the different shoots.
Today something happened.
I took a photo and was excited to see how it turned out. This is that photo:
Okay, okay, it’s not a “Good Photo”. It’s not sharp. It’s not composed that well. And to MY horror, it wasn’t shot to film. But I had such a buzz when I pushed the shutter.
And it should be something that happens all the time, but these days, it’s less frequent than I’d like.
I was looking down at my phone, trying to find my way to Nottingham’s Cat Café, trying to work out which I the blue dot on the screen was pointing and I looked up. The overpass, the the people facing me, the lights, the person in a hurry not seeing the traffic… it all came together and almost by instinct I grabbed the small digital camera that was hanging around my wrist and - CLICK.
It was a great feeling.
Not the greatest photo, but a great feeling.
Here’s what I’m going to make sure I get these feelings more often:
Keep travelling. These days there aren’t many places in my home town that surprise me. I love my home town but I’ve lived here since 2002, and know it so well. The familiarity is great and makes for some great photos where I know the framing I want, I know the subject I want and I just have to wait for the moment. But rarely does this experience make me feel… anything.
Shoot on a great camera. Digital is great, and the images are arguably “better”, but I don’t LOVE the experience. But my Leica IIIa… Oh yes. I love holding it. I love the smell of it. I love the mechanisms. I love the cold metal. I love the sound of it. And that’s even before I see a photo!
Keep moving. Today, I was on foot. I could have caught the tram through Nottingham, but I walked, and shot pictures and felt emotions I rarely feel these days.
Anyhow here are some more photos, that excited me less, but may actually be better.
Things I love about the 21st century:
-Creative friends to swap synth modules with.
-The ability to share art stuff at very little cost to me.
-You can totally film a promo video for a sample pack on your phone in like 5 minutes and totally get away with it.
Anyhow, I recently did a module swap and received this rather fetching Bastl grandPA & Spa all in one module thang. It’s great. I’ve wanted one for ages.
Playing around with the samples that were on it, was fun, but UPLOADING YOUR OWN SAMPLES is totally where it’s at, so I sat down with some VST instruments I really like and use all the time. I copied 8 chord voicings over 4 different sounds and then filled the extra few slots with some noise.
One of the most intense memories of my actual grandpa is sitting down to breakfast with him in his conservatory. Every morning he’d eat cold toast and a bowl of Grape Nuts Cereal with a little milk. So when I went about making food for my grandPA sampler, I knew exactly what to call it.
Here’s the sample pack in action:
And it’s free! Please, please share it with anyone you know that enjoys samplers or granular synths - it’ll work on any sampler, not just the Bastl.
Big thanks to Bastl for making such kick ass modules and big love to YOU for listening to my shit.
While it’s totally free, if you find yourself enjoying the sounds and wanted to support more stuff like this, my bandcamp is right here.