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Sunday, 15 July 2007

Writer's Block

The clue's in the title!

Once again, been a busy boy at work this week, and so my creative process has been somewhat thrown, to the point where I have what some may call "Writer's Block". Which ironically is the name of the track that this is based on.

I've been in the doldrums creatively this week, to the point where I had no ideas for tunes or artwork, or even to go back to the projects I have on the go currently.

I hate going back over ground already trod, but when I finally found an instrumental I was enthusiastic to use, only one track was in my head to match it - Depeche Mode's 'Enjoy the Silence'. I'd already made a track using the 'pella, posted down below, but using it with this one gives the vocal a new feeling, almost puts me in mind of old school Balearic guitar beat bliss. I couldn't even think of a decent title though!

That said, I've had a game and a half pitching the vocals on this - I hope I've got it right, it sounds good to my ear, but it could be slightly out - it needs fresh ears to confirm.

I've also gotten completely bored of my one usual trick of adding a wee bit of stereo-echo to everything, so I've been playing with the FX in Audition instead, which pleasantly surprised me as being really good and very easy to use! Still took me ages to decide on something suitable to this though.

Something was missing though - a quick flick through the obligatory rap 'pellas later and Skee-Lo was perfect.

Here's the final product. Even had a play with the usual colatron-style graphics! Not my fave piece of work, but it's got the creativity flowing again hopefully - in fact, I've made my own instrumental for my next project, which if I can get the right vocal to fit, could be awesome...roll on next weekend...

Writer's Block

Just Jack vs. Depeche Mode vs. Skee Lo
(Writer's Block vs. Enjoy the Silence vs. I Wish)

MP3 Here:

Monday, 9 July 2007

U R Still A Dudu

Just time folks before I head to bed, to post another tune for the weekend, and IMHO it's a perfect tune to end the weekend with, a chilled out slice of r n' b.

I've been toying around all weekend with a few new instrumentals and 'pellas sitting on my PC and at this present moment in time I have about 5 or 6 projects on the go, via Acid Pro. But as always, I blew all of them out as this one came to mind. It's so annoying, I have certain mixes I want to finish but they always seem to get pushed aside as soon as something else fits as a result of playing about.

Anyhow, this one took me maybe 2 and a half hours from getting in from the pub in Moseley - it's semi-inspired by the stereo in the top boozer "The Fighting Cocks" (not the best name for a pub, I admit) where every track they played tonight was so blissfully chilled out, I had to have a go at making a weekend comedown track.

So straight away, I know where I'm headed for - an old CD I picked up about 8 years ago whilst at Uni - Smokedown, this awesome chilled out leftfield compilation I picked up back when I was spending £50 a week minimum on CDs (ironically when I had less money than now) featuring some real way out there electronica. One track jumped out straight away as having a decent easy beat to match a vocal to - Kushti's "U R Still Ahead" - it has a nice mellow vibe too (goes without saying, there's at least another 4 or 5 tracks on there that will be making it on to Acid at some point).

But what vocal to mash it with? Well, from my previous post for "Sometimes I Smile", I was determined to get a foreign language 'pella in the mix, and Tarkan's "Dudu" was top of my list. Tarkan for those who don't know was the dude who came up with the orginal version of Holly Valance's "Kiss Kiss" - a top top track, considering it's pop and I normally hate pop (probably something to do with Holly being cute, the reason I like it :D) - read more about him here

He really is a talented guy, and considering I don't understand Turkish, I can still appreciate a great vocal when I hear it.

But the track needed something else....the silky smooth vocals of the much missed Aaliyah. Now there was a talented girl who left us in tragic circumstances. Still, she left a great legacy of records (and they are ALWAYS played on Freeview channel 'The Hits' which is a good thing) and this was possibly my fave of them all.

Chuck in a subtle sample (you'll probably never hear it, it's that low in the mix) and a hint of my next track I'm working on (featuring Japanese pop megastar Otsuka Ai) and you have a lovely blissed out track, perfect for a sunny summer's day (let's hope it gets rid of this infernal rain here in the UK).

By the way, I normally put a bit of thought in to the covers for my tracks, trying to relate them to the music, no matter how tenuous the link, but in this case, I went for an image I Photoshopped yesterday for my Facebook profile that I just love (and not in a vain way!) - it's my best bit o' image manipulation yet, so I apologise to those who may like to find a meaning in my covers. And apologies for the crap name for this track too, but I'm half cut, and it's getting late, and one of out top clients is in the office in 7 hours so I should really think about bed.

I'll leave it with ya!

U R Still A Dudu

Kushti vs. Tarkan vs. Aaliyah
(U R Still Ahead vs. Dudu vs. Try Again)

MP3 Here

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Perfect Slow Music

The track that very nearly wasn't...

This one caused me a just a few legends of GYBO a few headaches! It's been a hell of a week, what with the shocking situation of hero wrestler Chris Benoit apparently slaughtering his family and then committing suicide (this guy was a hero of mine...I'm still struggling to get my head around it), the crazy terrorist attacks in the UK, the company I work for virtually doubling in size over night (and yet the work does that work?), a hectic stag weekend down in rainy Cornwall, Newquay (more of which later), the smoking ban coming in in England, a blinding gig by The Hours in Leicester on Tuesday followed by some celebrity stalking of the man known as Serge from Kasabian (never did get that photo...dang-it), and my good friend Kirsty's 21st b'day party tomorrow night. Suffering from burn-out at the relatively young age of 28.

Anyhow, the stag do....I gotta thank the lads, and Arkie and Davo in particular for a cracking weekend. There's something quintessentially British about camping in a tent with a load of boozed up lads, in the pouring rain all in the name of love/marriage. Plus then there's crashing a go-kart at 50mph in to a wall of tyres and being shot in the throat by a paintball (I still carry the scars) at less than 20 foot, and if I ever eat another over-barbecued sausage with scotch egg chaser again, it'll be too soon.

But it was a fun time, and led to the creation of this track. Being a rather civilised stag party, I was taken aback by the randomness of some of the groups we saw out and about, and I was taken back to my youth by the pounding poppy techno played in clubs/bars such as The Central and Sailors. I used to love this stuff, and the sight of Brownie's dancing made me realise, I had to make a track that could be played in such a place.

Fast forward to Sunday evening... maybe 8 hours sleep in 3 days and I wasn't going to bed any time soon.

One track sitting on my PC stood out and I just so happened to have the 'pella and the instrumental...hear the cogs turning? Two other 'pellas that fit the bill perfectly and I was on a roll (inspired also by listening to a shed-load of Mark Ronson over the weekend, in particular his mash-tastic boot of Kylie's 'Slow').

My track was finished in probably less than 5 hours, and then the problem came up... a software glitch meant that I couldn't render the track. I kept getting some god-awful corruption 2 minutes in to the MP3. How annoying was that. Probably my tidiest work, and I couldn't share it.

A quick post on GYBO however, and a few days later, and finally I found a shortcut around the issue, slicing the track in to loops, and stitching back together in Adobe Audition 2.0, with the addition of a little intro. I'd like to give a beeeeg thanks to all the guys on GYBO who helped out, especially McSleazy, Riko, Essexboy, Ian Fondue and in particular 10000 Spoons. Good work chaps.

Anyway, on with the show...

Perfect Slow Music

Mason vs. Princess Superstar vs. Kylie Minogue vs. Madonna
(Perfect (Exceeder) vs. Slow vs. Music)

MP3 Here (new link as I've tweaked the timing on the Madge vocal)

PS. I've bit the bullet and sold my soul and signed up to Facebook - have a look for me (or alternatively message me) and join the Circle