Dance!

Is there anything more human than dancing? Here are a few of my favourite music videos with dancing in them, simply because they make me so damn happy (or other emotions). Also: kick-ass tunes!

 

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Easter, 2016

Another easter weekend draws to a close. For me it has no religious meaning, for many others it does. And for some it means a good point in time to kill many, many children at a playground.

Lahore, we are with you.

I was reminded of something I’ve written and when I looked it up I realised it was written ten years almost to the day now (17/3 2006). My friends, take care yours and yourselves.

Little life sleeping
So heavily in my arms
Little light shining
Where do you go in your dreams?

Little one, breathing
Not moving at all
You trust me like no one else has done
Teach me to trust these friendly people

Soon you wake up
Soon you will laugh
Soon you will leave

So here I sit
Everything that you know
With all this love
Everything in your life

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Montreal Assembly Count To Five

One of the most peculiar pedals I have bought myself in a long while. It is a sort of granular delay/looper with three distinct modes of operation: digital delay, instant looper, instant triple voice looper.

I am not even going to try to explain it in any depth, but in the first two modes you can control the pitch and direction of the playback from one octave up and backwards, to one down and backwards, then to unity pitch+speed, to then increase to one octave up forwards. The “delay” mode has length and feedback controls much like you would expect, the instant looper length and length randomiser. The triple voice looper works much like the instant looper but there is just one speed/pitch for each voice and you control if you want one, two or three voices playing back.

See? Makes no sense in text. You need to sit down with it, guitar plugged in and in hand, to understand how things work together.

For me the CT5 has meant two challanges: firstly, to learn how it works – this I have started to come to grips with; secondly, to learn how to apply what it does – this is the hard part!

NOTE: I tried hard to embed some nice photos and clips from Instagram here but it just didn’t work. You can find them here, if you want.

Rig update

OK, the term “update” is not quite the word when you have never actually detailed your rig in the first place or posted a single word in eight months – but anyway! Here we go.

Pedalboard

The main pedalboard currently looks like this (I apologise for the broken glare protection on my phone):

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Earthquaker Devices Sound Shank v2 fuzz
smallsound/bigsound Buzzz fuzz
Dunlop volume pedal
BYOC Mega Chorus/Vibrato
Strymon El Capistan delay (on loan, M-Audio expression pedal controls feedback)
Fairfield Circuitry Barbershop overdrive (used as a clean boost)
Mooer Trelicopter tremolo
tc electronic Flashback delay

I have been slowly “downsizing” as it is called, taking things off on by one to see if I missed them. Clearly I cannot live without fuzz and delay so far… And I need to get something smaller to put the pedals on as the current board takes up way too much floor area.

Looping section

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After the pedalboard the signal travels here where it first meets the Ibanez LS10 Line Selector which is currently serving as an A/B selector. When the pedal is off, the signal travels to the Top Boost signal on my Vox AC15C1 amplifier and when it is on, the signal goes into the Echoplex looper. The output from this goes into the smallsound/bigsound Fuck Overdrive and the Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Boy delay and then on to the Normal channel on the amplifier. This part is still quite ad-hoc and far more a proof of concept than any final product: I intend to rework it quite extensively in the future.

Guitar

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A 2007 Hagström Swede reissue with a whole bunch of modifications.

Hardware changes: Bigsby B3 bridge (the install of which I have detailed in an earlier post); Dunlop straplocks.

Electronics changes: Fatboy Guitars Super-Dry humbuckers; master volume on lower horn + individual tone controls (CTS pots); miniswitch for master kill; momentary button switch for master kill.

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One music per day

My recording challenge had a difficult start (major equipment issues that took many weeks to finally resolve) and came to a premature stop thanks to running out of space on Soundcloud. I did record quite a bit by my own standards though, so here is the final playlist:

Final thoughts on the project? Things to improve: be better prepared in terms of practicalities; be more disciplined. Positive effects: learning this new, amazing rig I have; having more courage to trust where the playing takes me; reduced recording stress. Finally I really need to have my guitar receive a thorough servicing (including a new fret and probably a new bridge).

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Recording challenge

A challenge, to make myself snap out of a creative funk. It is not a novel solution but I have not tried it before, so here we go – one clip of some kind of newly recorded music to be posted every day. Here is today’s result:

– which in turn gave rise to this:

If you want to follow this, I suggest you follow me Soundcloud (or visit the page regularly if not a member) because I will probably not update here each day.

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Review: smallsounds/bigsounds Fuck Overdrive

I have been wanting to get my hands on one of these for years. For some reason, other pedals were prioriotised (many fuzzes, chorus, looper, the Quest for Compression etcetera) and time passed. And then in 2014 there was a Black Friday sale on the smallsound/bigsound website and I finally took the leap. It came in a limited edition finish and with a t-shirt included, both of which I am a complete sucker for…

A brief overview: it has controls for Gain, High Cut, Volume on the top row which do what you would expect them to; the second row controls the secondary function of the pedal – the Crackle function, activated with the momentary footswitch labled Boost. The On/Off switch controls if the momentary switch turns the Crackle on or off when pedal is activated; Threshold sets how strong signal is needed for the sound to get Crackled; the Heavy/Light switch controls the nature or the Crackle, glitchy/gated death or overdriven tape deck with maintained sustain.

So my journey with this pedal has gone like this: first I started with the pedal in the middle of my dirt section, with the gain set low. The Crackle goes up as the gain goes down, so this was a lot of fun! I then discovered how pleasing the overdrive from the pedal was so I spent a few weeks with the gain pushed up quite a bit – but that lost me the explosiveness of the Crackle (fantastic for looping), which eventually made me take the gain down again. By then putting the pedal last in the dirt section I get all the sustain from the previous drives and fuzzes and as a welcome side effect, the Fuck is absolutely amazing when you stack other pedals into it. The JFET-based circuit has a warm but still quite flat EQ which does wonders for fuzzes especially but firming up the low end.

This has in practice become an always-on pedal for me. I only turn it off when I need really clean, sustaining notes for looping or more delicate and/or funky stuff. These days, whenever I turn on another overdrive or fuzz and this one is not on after it I immediately feel like something is missing. The Crackle function is just the delicious, seductive icing on the cake that is this lovely piece of electronic pastry.

[ there used to be a very nice photo here of the FOD sitting on the very nice t-shirt I got with it but it’s disappeared and I can’t even find it on my computer anymore! ]

 

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Online recordings

I may have forgotten to mention here that I have a SoundCloud account where I upload things. So to correct this: I have a SoundCloud account where I upload things! Mostly it is sound tests, various proofs of concept, there a a few pedal demos etcetera.

This is the link that takes you to the page.

Here are some pieces of actual music I recorded today – I just put the phone down in front of the amplifier and uploaded straight from the SC app. Recording on the phone is not without risk… Sorry.

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The latest videos

Here are the latest additions to my Youtube channel.

First, another example of what happens when you glitch the tempo on a Deluxe Memory Boy delay pedal. Since it keeps changing tempo the delays are constantly pitch shifting. This could very easily be gimmicky and distracting but with this soundscape it works very well.

Next, a demonstration of what the “crush, kill and destroy” function of the Fuck Overdrive from smallsound/bigsound does to the signal from an electric guitar. The real juice starts after the five minute mark!

Finally a demonstration of the types of sounds that can be expected from a Malekko Vibrato. Warning: dog hairs.

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Recent videos

Today I have a Boss VB-2 visiting so I made a very simple demo of it. Sounds lovely!

Here is a brief one from when I was learning the basics of my new looper:

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