I’m currently in the studio laying down some of the final tracks for the long-awaited Blood, Guts & Firetrucks EP, which as yet has no name. Ryan Beveridge and I have been playing together for a number of years, in a few different bands. We formed BG&F when he joined me in Lismore in 2011, with Jack Towers on drums and later adding Aaron Hill. We’ve been playing gigs around the Northern Rivers region, and were lucky enough to play at Byron Bay BluesFest this year.
In the last few months, we’ve been working at putting together a four-song EP with some of our newest material. We have previously recorded a handful of songs on our own, getting some airplay on local radio, but for this release we have enlisted the help and substantial resources of recording engineer Steve Law, recording the bed tracks for the EP at Sunroom Studio in Whian Whian last month.
At the moment I’m listening Ryan recording the vocals for The Wrong Way, and later today I’ll be recording harmony vocals for various songs, as well as some additional keyboard and synth parts. After today’s session, we should be completely finished with tracking and ready to get everything mixed; one step closer to having a final product for release. The whole process has been partly funded by generous friends and supporters – we hosted a fundraiser trivia night earlier this month which helped us get to the end of our budgetary requirements to put this thing in the hands of people keen to hear it.
At the end of last year I submitted a thesis for the Honours year of my degree entitled Exomusicology and Musical Universals. In a 54-page document I explored some of the weirdest musical stuff that I think I’ll ever look at. From musical birdcalls to the music of planetary systems, I created a new tuning system and considered the possibilities of music beyond anything you or I have heard. It was a whole lot of fun, and as part of my research I composed a series of pieces to go with each chapter of my thesis.
This piece is a musical ‘sonification’ of the orbits of planets around a star called HD10180. Putting this data into rhythmic and pitch-based sound helps to hear certain features of the data, like the orbital ‘resonances’ between planets in adjacent orbits, which manifest themselves as rhythmic patterns that repeat at regular intervals. Of course, I took some artistic license in choosing pitches and timbres, making it sound “good”, but the rhythms and rough intervals between pitches are dictated by the data, pure and simple. Check it out:
I am lucky enough to have been playing music with my good friend Steph for quite a while, and around this time last year I recorded her debut EP. We set everything up in her lounge room and went just the right amount of crazy for a few days with guitars, percussion, keyboards, bathrooms, and a Stylophone. What emerged was a five-track EP with four of Steph’s original songs and one cover. I played several instruments as well as recording and producing the EP. Her sound usually has more of a pop/folk feel to it, but she’s dabbled with the funkier side of rock in the past, and our cover of SBTRKT’s Hold On shows yet another side to her musical influences.
Here’s that cover:
To check out what Steph’s original music sounds like, head on over to her Facebook page where you can stream the entire EP!
A couple of years ago I was reading the book Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, the first in a trilogy of books about the initial colonisation of Mars and the struggles that take place there in the following years.
As part of a project for Uni, I wrote a score to a non-existent movie based on the first six-or-so chapters of the book. Here’s a couple of snippets from what I came up with:
A few years ago, Ryan Beveridge and I went into Main Street Studios for a week and recorded an EP. Unfortunately, it never really saw the light of day (we have played a few of the songs with the current band, Blood, Guts & Firetrucks). It was a good experience and a lot of fun to spend so much time on nailing the production of just a few tracks.
Since recording, the band morphed with adding and subtracting of members. All the tracks became easier to perform on stage with more hands on deck, but I really enjoyed playing bass and synth with a pedal-controller the few times that we played this track live in the early days:
Many years ago some friends and I were in a band called Bennie James and the Hesitant Few. I’ve been in one of those reminiscent moods lately, and put the CD on the other night. This was such a fun band to be in!
We have all since gone our separate ways, but It’s great to have something to commemorate the couple of years we spent making music together.