Getting through the squeeze, abstractly

It got really busy at work and I haven't made much progress apart from setting up the SPD-20 on the desk and verifying the signal chain (Midi etc) is all working. Perhaps this holiday season will provide some time to get those drums done. Also I have some ideas for getting the acoustic guitar into the mix.

November 25, 2010 09:52 by colin


Proof that Arturia CS80v can sound like Emerson's GX-1

 256kbps MP3

For some reason, the player widget doesn't like that mp3 file. The link works fine.

October 5, 2010 07:24 by colin


In the abstract

Moving on to the next track: Painting Abstracts. This is a challenge because the current version is pretty much finished and rather good as it stands. However, I want to revisit some of the lyrics, and update the instrumentation.

The first task is to re-record the bass guitar using Guitar Rig 4. 

September 19, 2010 20:32 by colin


Playing with the Big Boys

 192kbps MP3

Notes

This song is made up of three themes that seemed to want to be in the same piece together. Walter and I collaborated on the music and lyrics. As I recall, Walter had an alternative set of lyrics and melody for the the bridge section, but alas, we don't have a recorded version of that.

Although pretty much all instruments have been re-recorded and performed by yours truly, I do want to point out that the D-550 synth solo is Walter's original performance, captured in the MIDI sequencer back in 1990-somthing.

Instruments

From the archives: Early Stages

Diving back into the cassette archives turns up some interesting fragments. I try to do this research before finalizing anything in the project, in case there is something worth recapturing - an odd note, a turn of phrase, or something, that was present in the early versions and deserves to be retained.

However, in the case of this song, I think we got everything we were looking for. These (edited) historical archives are for true fans and paleontologists only:

Themes 1 (1988)

Themes 2 (1988):

Themes 3 (1990):

Instrumental demo from 1990:

Lyrics

I watch them run and jump and play outside my window
I want to go out and join in the fun
Mother tells me no, she says that I'm just too young
They play too rough, and I'll get hurt in the end

      She stops me playing with the big boys
      Playing with the big boys
      Playing with the big boys, is where I want to be

Watch them throw and catch the ball, down in the park
I want to go down, and join in the game
Sometimes is rough, being the smallest kid
When they choose the sides, I'm always left at the end

      I want to play with the big boys
      play with the big boys
      playing with the big boys, is where I want to be

And one day, when I am big and strong
I'll walk through the gate, and feel I belong
And when I get there, will it have to be so hard?
the big boys are playing in another back yard

      Playing with the big boys
      Playing with the big boys

At night, when Mother tucks me into bed
I always dream, of staying up late, instead
In the morning, though I have grown by one day
I'll always be too young, to be a part of their play

music & lyrics © 1990 Colin Nicholls & Walter Nicholls

September 12, 2010 09:07 by colin


Title of Record

I was driving home from Santa Rosa yesterday, admiring the scenery, and in particular, a certain hill with a group of trees clustered at the top. I noticed that the large tree in the center looked a little odd, sort of symmetrical but not entirely, and then I realized that it was probably a very well-disguised cell phone tower.

A short time later, I came up with the perfect title for our first album:

Fruit of the Steel Tree.

I've googled it and it doesn't seem to have been mentioned anywhere else, so I'm pretty sure we'll go with this. Awesome. 

 

August 28, 2010 16:26 by colin


Miss Bossy meets the Big Boys

With the brass section nicely recorded, I am currently fighting the Telecaster which is being very bossy and insisting on replacing all the guitar parts. 

August 22, 2010 13:41 by colin


Brass In the Pocket

Working on the Big Boys: The drums and bass are locked in, sounding great. 

Now I've started re-recording the brass section. Given that I don't have access to a brass section, the trick to getting this sounding realistic is to record 3 separate tracks, independently, using different instruments. The Fantom has a nice brass trumpet patch - I'll use that for Trumpet #1. The Korg TR-Rack has another, slightly different sounding trumpet patch, mellower but nice vibrato: I'll use that for Trumpet #2. Then the bottom line of the chord will be held down with an Alto Sax, not sure which synth module will provide that. I'll have to do some comparisons and see which one sounds best. Probably the Korg TR. 

August 15, 2010 12:37 by colin


New Toy

The Echo Layla 3G is installed in my rack. Still figuring out how to use it. Last night monitoring didn't seem to be working at all, but this morning I read the manual. It helps. The secret is in the console application.

August 12, 2010 09:04 by colin


8 August 2010

I think the bass for Big Boys is done. This week, working with the SPD-20 and XLN Addictive Drums, get them locked into the bass line.

August 8, 2010 16:37 by colin


31 July 2010

I put new strings on the bass this week, in preparation for cleaning up Playing with the Big Boys. Now it's practice time, gotta build up those callouses again.

July 31, 2010 09:17 by colin


The Prodigal Sounds: Fruit of the Steel Tree

About

Our debut collection of songs is now available on CD Baby!

Melodic progressive rock songs and instrumental interludes, a touch of 70's influence but a product of the dystopian Now.

 

"Very smooth, hi-tech sounding delivery..."
- Chris Jemmett, alt.music.yes

"This guy is awesome."
- Dazed, on the Carvin Forum.

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