Friday, 2 December 2011


Finally some tunage out and about! I've been waiting to see these come to fruition for a while now, but here they are...

First is a slim EP released by the Jag Harps written by Graham Rutherford. Simon 'Peacekid' Dobson and myself provided some brass on this and it sounds lovely. There's talk of touring it and adding some more tunes so here's hoping! It's called Theta Waves, check it out and buy it here.

Next up is a full album by the Seahawks called Invisible Sunrise. Its's spacey as hell and clearly making some people very happy as it's apparently hit number 29 in Rough Cut Records album charts. I'm credited with wielding the 'space horn' on there due to the crazy effects we were working with, but it's sounding great! You can listen and buy it on iTunes here.

Also played on an album in production for a folk singer called Mr Paddy. Nice sounding stuff that I'll hopfully be able to demo soon.

Lastly, few more of my own up on and I've got some vocal talent coming in soon to lay their skills down!

Hope you like,

Take care,


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Videos ahoy!

Yo readers of the lost ark, here be some videos I done made of me done making music a few days ago. Your life will never be the same after watching me parp around on a baritone sax or show you my lovely samples that I tooted and thusly plonked.

I've been looking to merge my love of electronic tinkering and saxy good times for a while and came up with recording a harmonised line and mashing it about a bit to come up with new ideas. Checkum out here:

Also here's me recording the baritone sax solo in my new offering to the world. It's nice and jazzy and I thought it was a pretty good first take so I kept it and uploaded it. Videoing recording sessions is a great way for me to keep a record of what I've been up to, demo my skills and show you that there still remains a live element to my music even through the veil of electromagic. Go forth and watch:

I hope that was worth a few minutes of your life, come back next time!


Monday, 31 October 2011

Taking tablets and doing art...

I bought myself a present last week for being such a good boy. It's an A6 rectangle of lovely that is the Bamboo Pen & Touch tablet. I can honestly say that it's the most awesome replacement for a mouse the world has ever seen. Not only is it completely battery free, but the tablet canvas can relate to the proportions of the screen letting you pinpoint accurately where you want to draw/click/whatever and of course if that doesn't do it for you, you can always switch to the multitouch interface instead. Mmmmm gestures....

Anyway, to get to the point I've been drawing. In an attempt to keep misery at bay for the remaining two weeks of my good lady's 3 months in India I had a go at sketching a side profile and giving it some digital wizardry. This one was heavily inspired by Diego Fernandez who has far greater skills than I. Still, the Red Baroness seems to like it and that's the main thing. I'll hopefully keep getting better as I get more comfortable with using the tablet, more to come!



Wednesday, 26 October 2011

I've been keeping busy over the past month as I hope the picture (insert) suggests. The life of a wandering minstrel is never a steady one, but as the funk has dipped slightly, other things have peaked.

Monday nights are now spent keeping a finger to the pulse of the student population at Mosaic in Exeter by playing sax to funky house beats courtesy of 4Play Events. It appears that as the weeks go by I bear witness to more and more of the weird and wonderful. After a few sessions getting the feel of the place and putting up with the tedium of in-house engineers wanting to crank every piece of gear to the point of redline I arrive one time to see the entire ground floor covered in turf (yes, really) and another to see snake charmers plying the crowd with their serpentine friends! I'm intrigued to see what's next....

As far as my own music goes, I've been getting my teeth into dubstep in a big way having decided to remix a chilled electronic tune I've been producing with a local singer/songwriter. It looks like the cheeky, wobbly bastard child of UK garage has fallen from favour amongst the punters, but that makes it all the more appealing to me. I've been forced to learn so much about music production in this short space of time and there are so many concepts to get my head around. I also have a couple of Cinematic Orchestra inspired light jazzy tracks almost ready to go apart from needing some soul vocal samples laid down. I've had some interest from a video producer looking for soundtracks, but I'm currently waiting for more info on that one. Check my Soundcloud for more of my work.

In other news The Seahawks album I've been working on has been for trial pressings, the artwork is done thanks to the same dude who does the Super Furry's stuff and a boatload of remixes are already in the pipes. Can't wait to get my hands on a copy!

Lastly, Graham Rutherford, the jazzy swine who dragged me to Bristol to jam on a few of his tracks a few moons ago has been in the studio for the last day mixing the album down. Got a call this morning asking for some last minute additions to a tune in the vein of David McCallum's track 'The Edge'. Some big dark woodwind chords and flute tooting to top it off. I recorded a video of my first go at tacking down some lead stuff on soprano sax to get a feel for what it needed which can be seen here on Vimeo:

That's all for now, take care,


Wednesday, 14 September 2011

A few cool updates...

Hello Internet how goes it?

I've been keeping busy of the past few months getting involved in some pretty neat projects and the payoff should be just around the corner, namely some lovely releases!

First off, our good old friends the Seahawks are on the brink of publishing and album featuring yours truly after some severe low-fi messing. Think decades of reverb and mind bending delays and you're still nowhere near how awesomely sonically massive these tracks are. The guitar/vocoder/sop sax mashing in 2 tracks has paid off particularly well.

Secondly, Bristol based guitarist extraordinaire Graham Rutherford has either put together a fat EP or skinny LP depending on your moral bent and in our debut as the Badcore Horns (mercenary brass section for hire) myself and the rather capable Simon 'Peacekid' Dobson stepped up to the plate and jazzed all over the place. After selling his prize guitar to fund the project, it'll be pressed into the black stuff in a month or so and hopefully we'll hear how the hard work paid off!

Details on the releases will be posted as soon as confirmation is recieved!

Other things to keep your ears peeled for are further appearances from The Badcore Horns once we've locked down 5 players we're happy to take to the studio for demo recording and a possible new sax vs DJ residency up in Exeter to keep the students entertained of a week night!

That's all for now though. More soon.

Peace and tooting.


Saturday, 28 May 2011

Yacht rock, remixing some filth and the death of a legend.

Just a quick weekend update of the DHC world.

The Seahawks Logo
On Friday I found myself at the Cornish basecamp of Lo Recordings working with Jon Tye and his go-to chord monster Alik PD on some pretty far out stuff for their Seahawks project. It's been put into the rather interesting catagory of 'yacht rock' for it's chilled summery vibes which I rather like and it's certainly different to the norm with it's mix of lo-fi delays and reverbs and left field approach to vocals and instrumentation.

This all resulted in a rather tasty recording session, routing my beloved soprano sax, (weapon of choice for many previous recordings with the Lo crew,) through a harmoniser unit controlled by Alik on guitar. We got some pretty good sounds out of it, from a straight up sax with an intelligent chorus behind to some weird breath controlled guitar chords using the sax to trigger them. I'll keep details vague for now as we work some more with it, here's hoping to see that setup used live in the coming months!

On a more personal note, I'm sallying forth on another of my dubstep remixes, this time in response to a challenge from Hoo Ha over at Hoo Ha Fashions who digs the tune Papa's Got a Brand New Pigbag. It's one of those tracks that makes the sax famous and there's plenty of scope for getting grimy so bear with me and check it out when I post it!

Finally, as you all probably know by now Gil Scott Heron has passed on to the great gig in the sky. As an instigator of rap in the jazz/funk genre he's greatly influenced much of the music I've grown to love, big love. He will be missed.


Tuesday, 24 May 2011

So music education doesn't matter anymore?

It appears music in the UK is having a bit of trouble. As a musician in the South West looking for a bit of work via public sector I have found out how much of a PITA it is.

So, a few weeks ago I decided to really try and push the teaching side of my business a bit more. I saw how well some of my colleagues were doing out of private lessons and it's not as if I don't have enough spare time.

I thought that working through an agency or county music service would be a good place to start and definitely look good on the old CV so after doing some research and finding a number of prospective places, I boldy got in touch with a bunch of them via phone and email...

...only to receive; some no replies, a few straight up 'no's and a rather large amount of places telling me that they'd happily put me on their books, but wouldn't be able to take me on in any professional capacity due to funding problems.

At first I thought it was a reasonable start to 'be on their books' until I really thought about what that meant, namely, having my digits scribbled on the back of a bit of paper or in a notepad document to placate me and having them filed away somewhere and ignored. That's great, but of no immediate use to a starving musician with knowledge to push into peoples heads.

After failing with that route I tried going straight to the schools and from that was recommended to contact a chap with a email address that dealt with music in the South West. I briskly sent him an email telling him my woes, and he briskly replied with his own to add to mine. Now this, dear reader, is where my problem lies... He told me that:

1.  Plymouth City Council have placed a moratorium on recruitment.  We are not permitted to take on staff irrespective of any requirement for tutors.
2.  All Music Services currently face an uncertain future as the Government decides the way forward with music in schools.
Now I don't know if it's just me being silly because of my recent investigations, but doesn't that sound bloody ridiculous? I have no problem with the fellow I spoke to, but he seemed like a great guy working for a stupid system.
Firstly, they're not allowed to recruit anyone even if they need them? Great strategy there for sure. Alan Sugar would be proud. I mean, I can understand not needing a few peripatetic music teachers, especially ones encouraging the blowing of noisy tubes, but it sounds like they mean anyone, irrespective of their trade. Secondly, I don't really understand what options there are regarding the 'way forward with music in schools'. I thought that when you were in school you were allowed to pick an instrument and then get to make noises with it for a certain amount of time. If you wished to have lessons you could, if you didn't you still had to spend 45 minutes a week in class being told about other people who made noises with instruments. Your choice. It's not like they're going to remove it from the national curriculum.....or are they?

So what mostly boggles me is where did the money that was being spent on music go? It was doing alright 10-15 years ago when I was a wee lad so what happened? I know, I know, economic downturn....blahblahsnore, but if them folks at city hall have enough cash to get up to no good with expenses scandals, why not do some good too? It's not just music that's suffering either, a whole smorgasboard of other services are getting it in the neck as well. Perhaps downsizing a few things here and there is ok, but when did music become so unimportant? More people than ever will be going to music festivals this summer and the number of tracks being downloaded is still huge so someone out there still thinks music is worthwhile!

So, the upshot is, I'll be looking in the private sector instead and bypassing music services simply beacuse they're only looking to keep themselves afloat in these uncertain times and have no spare time to put into expanding. 

Look out for me in a shop window near you!


Thursday, 3 March 2011

New track: Motion

It's been a while, but you know how it is when you're trying to keep your head above water in the world. Certain things fall by the wayside and unfortunately an online diary of events in my musical world is the least of my priorities. I have recently moved to a new location and finally managed to squirrel away some space for a dedicated studio at home thus avoiding a trip to Band HQ ever time there are some horns to toot.

So yeah, I dusted off my old trumpet and once again set forth to learn it. 'It's not like I play enough wind instruments already' I said to my Self and my Self just grumbled and requested a tea. I could already get a sound from it and pick a few different harmonics on each position, it's just figuring out what note is where. Anyway, a quick skip to the end and instead of sitting down and learning properly, I ended up recording some stuff instead. It turns out that a cheap trumpet, an SM58 and some standard reverb sound quite good with no EQ needed. A complete and rather irritating opposite of my beloved top-of-the-range saxophone.

I then built a track around some of the licks I'd recorded and after a few days tinkering came up with a nearly finished product. I always make a point to learn something or use something new in each work and this is no different. On listening to Flite by The Cinematic Orchestra late one night, I started to home in on the pedalled vibraphone sample and wondered how they had gone about making it sound like it did. I tried to replicate it by recording a series of sax phrases at the same speed of the track but on a faster tempo setting, then slicing the desired parts and putting them into a granular loop player to give a disjointed an uneven yet tempo matched sound. The outcome wasn't what I had intended, but I like the effect and for that reason chose to keep it in. All other instruments are pretty standard, got the usual Rhodes, piano and synthetic/real bass combo with a layered brass secion, some textures behind and samples taken from a CERES TV news broadcast about the 2011 New Zealand Earthquake. All the instruments were played by me.

Here's the linky:

I'll be bringing back the loop work soon after relocating to my new studio and will try to keep improving where I can.