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If I wait for just a second more I know I’ll forget what I came here for

March 30, 2014

What have I been up to? Not a huge amount musically. The day job has been a bit demanding and long work weeks became very common while holding on for dear life to that endless to-do list.

When I have made time for writing and demo’ing new songs it has been fun even if disappointing because I don’t finish as mush as I would like. Energy levels are low so I get an hour maybe two before I’m flaked and have to stop. Today I am damp-dusting and vacuum cleaning the studio as the dust has been giving me asthma attacks. Nothing like  wheezy vocal to make for a charming demo eh?

With this batch of songs the approach is different and I’m doing it all electronically with software recreations of classic synthesizers and drum machines. Software versions of old Moog, Roland, Korg, Oberheim and Yamaha synthesizers  have supplied the basslines melodies chords and little melodic pieces of ear candy. In the same way I have recreations of those old drum machines that were the pulse of the late 70s and early 80s : Linn Drum, Drumulator, Roland CR78 TR808 Drumatix and so many more.

Studious Studio

The writing process has been different. Now I leave the guitar down and sing the vocal line while trying to figure out the melody on the synth. A simple drum machine beat and a basic bassline usually follow. The subject matter is less about message and making the listener think and more about creating a simple piece of synthpop. The influences are worn loud and proud on my sleeves: Vince Clarke, Alison Moyet, John Foxx, Howard Jones, Thomas Dolby, Phil Oakey, Jo Callis, Trevor Horn and so on….

So… song titles? I’m pleased with “Diary Song” and “Green Light Go” while the rest of the mini-album will feature soon-to-be classics “The Blind Dignity of Labour” , “Toy Soldiers” and “Don’t Push Your Luck”.

With so much technology available to me I have limited myself to using “equipment” that was available up to 1984. Almost like a virtual keyboard rig with a couple of drum machines on the side. I have thought about and almost bought some vintage synths but realised I have been down this road before. Nostalgia is a powerful aphrodisiac and I almost pulled the trigger on buying synths I wanted so badly back in the day but were completely beyond my means.

That said… when I have completed writing the songs and am ready to properly record them I’m going to treat myself to a Fairlight ! Back when Vince Clarke bought his you’d have got an apartment in London for the same price. Now I can get a software version for just over $100.

Have a look at the Fairlight. Recognise the sounds?

 

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