On holiday and offline

August 1, 2006

I’ve just spent some time offline – a pretty unusual experience for me!

Yve booked me a white water rafting experience in Snowdonia for my birthday last year, but I’ve been too busy at work to take the trip until now.

Rafting in Wales For most of the trip I had bugger all signal on my mobile, and with no access to the net (Yve wouldn’t let me take my laptop for some reason) I actually had a pretty cool and relaxing time.

I’ve never been to North Wales before and I would definitely recommend it as a getaway. The people there were all incredibly friendly and the local beer was great. We spent some time in the forests and up the mountains and I feel a whole lot more relaxed than I did before we went. I might even get around to writing some new music now!

Why make music?

July 7, 2006

It’s a sad fact of life that if I want to get anyone to listen to any of my music, I’m going to have to do a bit more than just posting the files up here! Whether I like it or not, I guess everyone is a marketer in the blogging world, and self promotion is a necessary evil to raise the blog above the background noise.

So, in doing this, I got to thinking why do people make music (or I suppose more accurately why do I make music)?

Well, aside from the astronomically tiny chance that I’ll make a ton of cash, I (and most other people like me) claim to make music for their own enjoyment. I try and capture ideas and sounds that I would like to hear. In reality, that is only part of the reason. Whether or not anyone will admit it, there is a natural human desire to connect with other people and music is a pretty good medium to do that. The thought that someone else gets pleasure from, or experiences on an emotional lever the feeling of a piece is a strong motivator – it gives meaning and purpose to the otherwise seemingly non-productive task of producing noise.

Anyone who has experienced the awesome buzz of performing in front of an appreciative audience will understand the emotion. A great gig is a two-way conversation between the band and the audience – each side can move the other to greater heights on an emotional wave.

Although in a recording you lose that direct link with the audience, I still think that conversation is somewhere in the back of most performers minds. A little thought that is imagining what it would be like to hear the track for the first time as part of the symbiotic performer/audience collective.

I don’t really know how many of my tracks work on that level. Most of the ones I have gigged have gone through a period of organic change in response to audience reaction and now sound very different to the form they are presented here – in particular, the songs that start life as a solo studio project tend to evolve further as real musicians play them and impart their own character and viewpoint to the conversation.

So although I originally started this blog as somewhere to publish my tracks, the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that I have to try and start up that great conversation again. Allow the feedback of the audience to influence the performance. In time I will be re-working some tracks, dropping others and sharing ideas with other lone performers to create a collective work that is greater than the original idea.

What you see here therefore is the embrionic idea – the feedback isn’t as immediate as with a gig, but this Great Gig in the Web has the potential to offer just as much enjoyment.

For both performer, and audience.

Todays track: Download “Troubadours and Fairytales”

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Back to work.

July 5, 2006

Me.

Bleah. Went back to work today, and am completely knackered now. It’s never worth being ill – you just have more work piling up when you go back.

Whilst trawling my archives I found all the gig recordings I made when I was engineering at The Gander (a local rock venue, which alas is no more). It’s really funny, most of these recordings have more energy than I remember – despite the mistakes and slightly off levels (it is *really* tricky to get a good bass sound off a desk submix when you are less than 20 foot away from the front of house), these gigs deserve a listen so I’m currently converting them and splitting them into maneagable chunks.

I’ll post these in bits I think – I’m finding it tricky to think of anything to write. I obviously haven’t been exercising the creative writing centre of my brain recently.

Forever Innocent

July 4, 2006

I wrote this song to perform at the funeral of our 9 year old nephew who died earlier this year in a tragic accident – for some reason, the whole thing came together in an afternoon, with none of the issues that I normally encounter when writing/recording. It just goes to show that sometimes simplicity is best.

It was one of the hardest performances I have ever had to do – I was unable to look at anyone in the room whilst singing, and to be honest I haven’t been able to listen to it since.

Forever Innocent (MP3, 6.7Mb)

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Off sick

July 3, 2006

I’ve been off work sick today. Unfortunately, it’s got to be the hottest day of the year and I am soaking – not to say feeling utterly miserable.

I haven’t switched the computer on all day, so to pass the time I’ve been flicking through the various channels that claim to offer “entertainment” on the TV. What the hell? I’m not a great fan of TV at the best of times, but this brain dead drivel is driving me nuts! What happened to decent telly?

I hate being ill.

why blog?

June 30, 2006

I started by putting my site up many years ago. I’ve never had much traffic, not even when the band I was in was doing pretty well.

Did I care? No, not really. My server on the Web was for me, a place to dump files so I could get them remotely. A place for me to try new code and designs out and a central point for my family and friends to get photos or music I had made.

Someone linked to my homepage once, and I’ve seen my site crawled by various spiders and bots but that’s about it for my online life until now.

Anyway, I signed up for a blog because I wanted to see what blogging services were like. How do the rest of the world do it? People who don’t really want to mess around with running a server, or writing code. So here we are; my WordPress blog.

I’ve read quite a few blogs, but never really got into the whole “blogging” culture. I’ve never really seen the point and have tended to think that most personal sites (to be fair, including my own) suck. What’s the point if you don’t have anything to say? I started thinking about why people blog, and how most blogs are pretty dull.

That led me to thinking of a more interesting question. Why do people read blogs? In looking at a few of these “online conversations” (which incidentally I have read and have been told that joining in on them is the best way of getting your voice out there into the blogsphere), I am constantly amazed that anyone bothers at all.

Scooby

June 30, 2006

ScoobyOnce, we had two dogs – Jasper and Scrappy.

They reached an incredible age and when they died, they left a huge hole in our lives. Such a big hole can only be filled by something equally huge, so we looked around and found Scooby.