A more productive 2008?

If I had to profess some sort of New Year's resolution, it would probably be along the lines of 'be more productive.' So, apologies for the radio silence over the past couple of months or so; I've been pretty much occupied by some festive employment, which will thankfully draw to a close this weekend. I'd like to think that from then on I'll be a little more forthcoming with blog updates and future project information.

But just to let you know I haven't been completely idle, as apart from the Ed Chamberlain remix, I've also been collaborating with the industrious multi-instrumentalist Benet Walsh, whose name you may recognise in electronica circles from his work with Plaid (providing guitar for the tracks Ralome and Eyen, among others). Hopefully we'll have penned a couple more tracks together, in addition to those we've already completed, for release at some point this year.

On the mastering side of business, I've been enjoying some rich and varied projects ranging from Gaelic laments to experimental ambient, house and metal---hopefully this will continue through 2008!

Ed Chamberlain remix

I've recently polished off a remix of Ed Chamberlain's track 'Styge', available at some point in the hopefully not-too-distant future on Baselogic Records. You can hear the remix in its entirety in exquisite 22kHz 96kbps nigh-fidelity on MySpace. I'm fairly certain when it drops it'll be 12" only.

Also, I've finished uploading decent streaming mp3s of A Midsummer Nice Dream to Virb, so you can preview the album there before buying it, should you feel so inclined, from Toytronic (because as far as I can tell, it's one of the few places left where you can still find it on CD and 12"). After all, you can't buy what you haven't heard, can you?

Benbecula Yearbook 2006

Benbecula Yearbook 2006 marks the premiere of an annual Benbecula release retrospective compilation, with a bargain price tag of 99p for all twelve tracks! It's a download-only release in association with Bleep, featuring the track highlights from albums released last year. The artwork is also available here for download in high-resolution print-quality, so you can make your own CD sleeve/insert, should you wish. Purchase here.

My contribution to the release is 'Bluebottles', from my most recent Lemodie album (also available on Bleep, naturally).

Are you on Virb?

Although I'd joined quite a while back, I've only now just gotten round to actually putting some content up there. For those who have no idea what I'm writing about, Virb is basically almost everything MySpace should be yet isn't. The music you upload isn't badly butchered down to a poor quality pale imitation of what you uploaded; nor are the images you upload suddenly peppered with unsightly jpeg compression artefacts. The interface is clean and user-friendly, featuring nice modern shiny web design touches such as AJAX elements, and has a decent straightforward flash music player too (and doesn't appear to limit the amount of music you can upload, either). It also appears to be highly customisable, though I've yet to really test that side of things.

All it's missing is the user base! Time will tell whether Virb can attract anything like the amount of users its rivals can, and whether this will impact its generous hosting terms. But if you're on there, feel free to drop me a comment... and add me! ;) virb.com/ochre

(Ever)Glade Festival

Phew, what a day last Friday was. After taking five and a half hours to travel a route that should have taken no longer than about an hour and a half, I finally made it to Glade, just in time to play my set. So much for the three hour notice! Many were held up outside the venue thanks to a severely flooded road/roundabout and the subsequent rescue operation to fish unfortunate children from the local primary school. We almost literally had to push the boat out when it came to just getting to Glade, as my trusty Polo sailed through eighteen inches of floodwater on many occasions, but I made it to gate three eventually and upon parking in a farm, I hurriedly set off to the ID Spiral Stage to play my set.

Thankfully the rain abated for the rest of the day (hopefully for the rest of the weekend -- I didn't stick around for the whole shebang, as much as I wouldn't mind catching Plaid and Squarepusher) and despite wrecking unsuitable footwear with the fetid sludge that covered the venue on my way to the stage, I managed to quickly set-up and played a two-hour set that thankfully went without a hitch. I was due for just a 90-minute set, but after following artists struggled to make it through the weather on time (understandably) I was asked to continue a little longer. Had quite a lot of material loaded up in my Ableton Live set, so this wasn't a problem.

Thanks to everyone who managed to make to the ID Spiral Stage and catch my set -- I hope you enjoyed it, and continued to enjoy the weekend.

20 things you must know about music online

I've recently stumbled across a couple of blogs that have, as well as make me feel hideously under-productive, also inspired ideas and motivated me, as well as reassure a few inklings of my own.

The first site is New Music Strategies, run by Andrew Dubber, who provides a list of twenty tidbits of information regarding how to present and promote yourself as an online musician. Admittedly it's not rocket science -- most of the posts are pretty much common sense and should be reflexive for any musician with their head screwed on. But it's great to see all these ideas bundled up in a neat list, though not complete or at all definitive -- Andrew has already begun to expand upon the initial ideas present in greater detail, and also presented them in an essential free pdf.

The second site that has caught my eye and made it on to my newly-created blogroll, is Hometracked, a site dedicated to, as the name suggests, all things DIY music production, from production hints and tips to industry news and commentary. Quite a lot of material already exists on the site, but for now I'll continue the theme and link to a follow-up interview with Andrew Dubber, discussing some of the points put forward in his '20 things...' list.

It's nice to see Andrew reflect my personal irk of 30 second track snippets -- it does nobody any favours, and in my experience makes the listener feel short-changed when the full track doesn't live up to the potential suggested by the snippet. (iTunes take note, and congratulations Bleep for showing how it should be done.) Also, it's nice to read about the value of giving away music for free, provided in addition to that for sale.

Both sites are a goldmine for indie musicians. Feel free to discuss below or in the forum.

Contemporary Music Production Vol. 2 DVD out now

I've kindly been featured in the second volume of the Contemporary Music Production series of DVDs, alongside Bookashade, DJ Vadim, Max Richter and Trentemoller, all giving away our production techniques, tips and tricks, offering insight into our respective approach to the music we create. Here's a snippet.

The first volume featured Murcof, Isolee, Richard X, Philip Clemo and Transparent Sound, and is also well worth checking out. Both volumes can be purchased directly through the CMP site and selected retailers.

How much?! Last.fm rakes it in

Spending the last five years nurturing the music community website has paid off handsomely for three London-based entrepreneurs, after striking a deal with US-based radio conglomerate CBS. I'm still finding it difficult understanding how exactly a website becomes worth $280m, but I suppose attracting 15 million users is something not to be sniffed at. The deal is apparently part of a plan by CBS to attract a younger demographic, presumably to re-divert music and video previously snubbed by younger music lovers tuning-out of mainstream radio, in favour of their own custom online playlists. But enough of my wildly speculative conjecture.

Source: BBC News

Track Notes: Zelda Rmx

This remix medley of mine, based on various themes taken from Nintendo's Legend of Zelda game franchise, seems to pop up now and then on the radar of various blogs, so I thought it might be useful to offer a few notes about the circumstances under which it was written. Although I'm a huge fan of the franchise, with many happy memories playing Zelda: A Link to the Past on my SNES, the remix didn't come about purely as a celebration of the game and its music; it was written for a 2003 competition (I think it was 2003 anyway -- my memory's pretty hazy) hosted by UK games mag Computer and Video Games, and sponsored by Nintendo and Turnkey (a chain of UK music stores). The possibility of winning a Gamecube bundled with Zelda: Wind Waker, plus an Access Virus Indigo 2 VA synth, was too good to pass up. So over the course of one weekend I set about writing a little remix medley homage to the music of Hyrule.

As luck would have it, after completely forgetting about the competition, I got a phone call a few months later, from one of the competition organisers notifying me of my win, and a couple of days later I received the Gamecube and Access Virus, feeling like an excited kid on Christmas morning. Somewhat regretfully, I then sold the Virus a month or so after, as at the time I was wholly convinced VSTi synths were all I'd ever need (oops), and that the proceeds of the synth would be better spent purchasing another UAD-1 DSP card, as they were a just couple of hundred quid short of a grand at the time. Ah well, at least I still have the Gamecube (mostly used for Mario Kart!).

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