Sunday, November 5, 2017

Digital single: Nightrunner

A couple of years ago I entered a competition run by ADAM Audio. The brief was to create a thirty second piece of music based on an image (of which there were five to choose from, if I remember correctly). For more about that, check out my earlier blog post.

I liked what I made so much that I expanded it into a longer track, using the original material as the intro. Nightrunner was completed at Christmas last year, along with a handful of other tracks that are waiting in the wings. But it wasn't until testing some new video equipment that I decided to complete the promo video and release the track.



The b-side is a track called 'Solve It': a quirky synthpop thing I wrote with the Korg MS-20 Mini, an iPad drum computer called 'DM2', the VTech Talking Whiz Kid, and TAL U-No-LX. My original idea was to have a friend of mine help me finish the demo, but he sent me enough material to make an entirely different song! So I finished it off in my own way and will revisit our collaboration at a later date.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Digital Album: Cybersonic: Music 'From A Fate Worse Than Death'

It's with great pleasure that I announce the release of my soundtrack to James Leeper's 'A Fate Worse Than Death.' This is a project that's been in the works since 2011. The soundtrack itself was finished early 2013, but the show didn't see a release until two weeks ago.

'A Fate Worse Than Death' is an original sci-fi thriller set in the Doctor Who universe, featuring ruthless cyborgs known as the Cybermen. I've been a fan of Doctor Who since I was old enough to know what TV was, and the sounds and music from the show are partly to blame for my love of sound and synthesis. So to write music in the style of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (who were responsible for those early soundtracks and soundscapes, and incidentally, have a new album coming out) was a dream come true.

You can hear/download the audio drama here:

Cybersonic adds up to 87 minutes of music. I've also prepared a much-shorter 'sampler' that includes some of my favourite pieces and is free to download. I could rattle on about the production techniques until the cows come home, but for once I'll keep it brief. The digital album on Bandcamp comes with 8 pages of liner notes in the form of a PDF, for those interested in the details.

Bandcamp player:

The music on Cybersonic is released under a Creative Commons by Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (CC BY-ND 4.0). Need music for your sci-fi/horror production? As long as I'm credited, you can use it royalty free. Several cues weren't used in the final show, so you have a few originals to choose from.

No More Cries: Band Announcement.

A couple of weeks ago I became an official member of the local blues/rock band 'No More Cries' that have been mentioned here on this blog. It's one of those things that fell into my lap, so to speak. Being involved with the band in a 'behind the scenes' capacity for almost a year now, my responsibilities have gradually grown. Last week we did a photo-shoot with the four of us for upcoming promotional opportunities and the CD we're hard at work on (see above - that's me bringing up the rear).

As well as pushing my creative talents, being in the band is also a chance to improve my keyboard skills - not to mention take me way out of my comfort zone. In all it's been a great experience so far and hopefully it will continue.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Digital EP: Side B by Disco Antenna

Lots has been going on behind-the-scenes, so let me start with a quick update. Five finished songs for the new Manitou album are in the wings, and I'll be looking at releasing those now that the new Disco Antenna EP is complete. I've also been hard at work with the band No More Cries, arranging keyboard parts for their songs, and working with other local artists at Wild Bill's Studio.

Side B, as the title suggests, is the follow-up to Side A, the Disco Antenna release from last year. In due course both releases will be combined into a full album.

1. Disco from the Stars (suite) is a song that dates back to 2010, when Disco Antenna first became an entity. It was my attempt to write something in the disco style after Jimmy, my collaborator, and I had begun work on his song, 'There To Remind Me.' It existed as a rough demo for a long time, for which Jimmy provided some vocal ideas that eventually became 'Superstitious.' When I came up with a proper chorus for the track I decided the Superstitious vocals weren't really going to work. It wasn't until last year, and the success of the segue format of Side A, that the idea of making the two songs into one came about. There was just one problem ... it was such an ambitious undertaking that it was going to take extra time. But for me, it was worth it. We released 'Superstitious' as a single last year. I've since done some tweaking to the mix for this 18-minute 'suite.'

2. Prayer (suite). When searching the archive of Jimmy's material for another song to include on the EP, 'Prayer' jumped out at me. I'd actually suggested it would make good Disco Antenna material in an old e-mail. Unfortunately, between that e-mail and its rediscovery, Jimmy discovered he'd lost the vocals in a hard-drive crash. But all was not lost: he had the backing track and the original Orion session. It also provided him with an opportunity to write new lyrics for the verses. The demo was something like four minutes, maximum, and it wasn't my intention to stretch it out to 10 while adding my parts. I had, in the back of my mind, the idea to keep each EP under the maximum 24-minute running-time of half a vinyl LP. In this case, I had to go where the music led me.


Instrumentation-wise, these songs include the usual Disco Antenna kit: Synapse Orion, Novation K-Station, Orchestra Silver, Roland HS-60, Ticky Clav, Crumar Performer, our patented secret mix of drum sounds, bass guitar, and tambourine. A Yamaha TG-33 guest-stars on Superstitious, and a Yamaha FB-01 guest-stars on Prayer. Oh, and there's some Minimoog V for good measure.

Digital EP: No More Cries by No More Cries

I'm a bit late with this news, but the debut EP from No More Cries is now available as a digital download, having sold out its first pressing of 50 CDs. This was recorded by the band over the winter of 2016 at Wild Bill's Studio, British Columbia, and mixed and mastered by myself. It contains five original songs from the band's repertoire that best represent their sound.

If you love solid blues-tinged rock n' roll, then give them a spin.