Recent Images early spring 2014
All taken with a Sony HX5:
Many thanks Allister !
Originally posted on Make Your Own Taste:
Igneous Flame – Lumen
Veteran prolific ambienteer Pete Kelly returns with yet another instant classic, which was not submitted to me per se, but I wanna mention it. These three tracks are actually quite diverse. The first, “Liquid Emerald”, is eerily close in vibe to the sounds of early ambient pioneers in their heyday, meaning musicians like Manuel Göttsching, Michael Stearns and Kevin Braheny. A lovely piece of classic electronica with vintage celestial sequencing. “Sapphire” is darker, more noctural and driftier and reminds me more of the pieces on Kelly’s last release, which I reviewed and loved, NYX. Lastly, the massive “Lignite” is dark ambient of the most cavernous variety, with booming bass and mysterious windy sounds creating a foundation for moody, ethereal chords. Each of these pieces is different and…
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Somewhat out of step with my releasing plans for this year, I’ve released ‘Lumen’ today.
‘Arising out of a larger project, ‘Lumen’ came together as a selection of three tracks which I felt worked together as a coherent whole. There is a sonic diversity to this release ranging from sonorous shimmerings down to seismic shifts.’
This release is currently a Bandcamp exclusive and is available here:
24 Bit FLAC format
Youtube Montage video:
Phasers were always one of my favourite stomp box effects. I had a few models, but the best (by far) was a beat up Roland Phase II (AP2). It was old way back in the ‘olden days’ !, but it was the best sounding phaser I ever heard – especially after I sprayed it metallic purple (to match a guitar I had at the time in the same lovely colour).
Here’s a video showing it’s sonic loveliness:
Until recently, I’ve not been able to find a decent (let alone good) software replacement. The ‘Phazor’ (free) plugin by Adam Szabohttp://www.adamszabo.com/phazor/ being the best I could find. I recently purchased a phaser library for the Nebula plugin (separate post / review of Nebula to follow soon). This library by Tim Petherick is the stuff indeed ! He has sampled four classic units and they all sound very good. http://www.timpetherick.co.uk/classic-phasers/
A good test for a phaser is on a clean guitar sound, here’s a video I made of such a scenario. For those interested the signal chain is as follows:
PEQII: Flstudio EQ (HF boost)
Nebula compressor: ‘Rayphlex soft II’
Nebula Phaser: ‘Stone Phase HQ fast up’
Valhalla Ubermod: (multifx preset I created)
I love the really transparent chorus / ensemble sound that you can get from something like the mighty Valhalla uber-mod plugin. Conversley, a really authentic phaser is a great sounding thing in it’s own right and both effects together are truly nice !
The Sky as source of inspiration (and for me, the opposite…)
I spend considerable periods of time looking at the sky and I get much inspiration from it. I love to see birds in flight, their grace and and their seemingly effortless motion in all weather conditions is always something to behold. I’m also always amazed to see clouds form, shift and morph. I think their shape-shifting nature is fascinating and again how the weather conditions creates them always makes me realise how much mystery and unknown there is in the world. The light of sunsets and sunrises, ‘halos’ and other light phenomena (particularly red evening skies) are also things of beauty to me. I also love to see gliders from the nearby airfield, their silence and slow arcing flight is so graceful.
Conversely, I very much dislike to see (and hear!) the military ‘war-birds’ polluting and invading the air space where I live. These machines of destruction, ugly and one-dimensional in their thirst for speed and their infernal noise cause me to feel anxious (knowing the purpose behind their ‘training’ troubles me considerably), my hyper-sensitivity to noise (and sound in general) is affected greatly by the high decibel ‘events’ generated by these machines. Though they pride themselves on their power and speed, in contrast to the avian species, their stilted manouvres are primitive and angular. When I watch the birds ‘working’ with the air currents (even in storm conditions), I see the real ‘Lords of the air’ – perfectly at home in their natural environment.
At night, a different vista is present. I’m fortunate to live in a place reasonably far away from the urban light pollution that blights a lot of England, so I can see stars and galaxies (and other weird things too). I found this to be fascinating, as I had lived in cities for most of my life before.
So what’s the point of this blog / mini-rant ? Well, apart from me writing about a primary source of inspiration, it’s also to document my thoughts on something (the presence of this airborne weaponry in the sky) which affects me considerably and isn’t aired very often (or even debated) – that’s my point.
Beyond our land locked world and our obsession with ourselves, (for me) true inspiration comes from the sky.
2014 musical projects news
Still working away on new material here at Flame acres.
New year – new albums to be released. Here’s an update:
My ‘IRIS’ album has been put on hold temporarily while I’m working on a newer project which will be my next release. This album (provisionally titled ‘Ikon’) is a more experimental project than is ‘usual’ for my material. Percussives and a harder electronic sound are the order of the day for this one, there will be quite a range of ‘sonic dynamics’ on this one.
I shall be returning to ‘IRIS’ once ‘Ikon’ has been released. It will be a primarily guitar orientated work and more ‘musical’ in a formal sense than my more abstract other work. Currently I’m hoping for a late summer / august release, but this will be more definite when I return to working on this project.
Time management and artistic output
Here’s a thought (primarily directed at creative types, but hopefully may be of interest to anyone). Imagine that you were able to work on your creative endeavours full-time, how many albums / projects do you think you could complete in (say), a year and then try to look further ahead into the future regarding your intended / expected productivity ? From my own experience things have panned out differently than what I intended. I’ve found that time ‘invested’ doesn’t necessary relate to artistic output. Regarding the maintaining of ideas and inspiration over time, a significant factor is that most artists will have a significant ‘pool’ or backlog of material that they’ve been working on for years which that may be relatively easy to complete, but after that initial ‘push’, what then ?
I’ve been working on my material since 1999, (then part-time) and now for the last 8 years full-time. Thankfully, I’ve not hit a significant artistic block and I’ve been able to release work throughout that period. I should say that from a time management perspective, when I was working part-time on my music, I actually got more done (particularly in 2003) than I do now, in terms of releasing and working on a number of side projects at the same time. I should also say that my circumstances changed significantly as well, which meant I was working almost exclusively in isolation. However, I’m now looking more to the quality side of my output.
One thing that is uppermost in my mind regarding my work, is that I strive for a sense of improvement / new exploration with each release. I’m a fan of life long learning. If I felt everything I released was great, I wouldn’t see the point of carrying on, to be honest. It’s this quest for artistic refinement that is one of my main motivators. I hate to repeat myself (even though I know that I do do this) and I try to change my work flow often to try to prevent this. I try to think about what I’d aspire to achieve artistically. Nothing is ever ‘complete’ – it’s all work in progress for the time period in which it was created. Sometimes I feel I should release more, but in a over-saturated genre, my current plan is to release 1 or 2 albums a year (saying that, each album is getting progressively longer in duration), In a way I’m grateful that I don’t have baying hords of fans expecting 6 albums a year !
As to the future, who knows ?, I’m still highly motivated to carry on creating, as this is something I feel I’ve been working up to all my creative life. At this point, it’s just something that I do (pretty much) every day. I have to say that the thought of not being able to carrying on creating, isn’t one I relish. As I’m currently able to create, I try to be as productive as I can, but as I’ve mentioned here, I feel I could use my time better sometimes. On the subject of time management and distractions, internet time-wasting is my biggest issue and this could certainly be addressed. I don’t watch much TV and I don’t play games (well just a couple of games of chess daily), so other than that, I’ve no significant distractions to speak of, apart from looking after my hound ‘Maxa’ who is increasingly needy in her dotage (which is time well spent, as far as I’m concerned).
So for me, artistic output is not ‘linear’, relative to the time spent – I’ve spent ages working on some things that never worked and very little time on other things that did. I’ve found that there can be a lot going on ‘below the surface’ in terms of experimentation and learning and the actual execution of an idea can be actually quite quick. I’ve also found that the accrued time of constantly working keeps the creative brain ‘well oiled’ and time ‘invested’ is never wasted. Working to deadlines certainly concentrates the mind (I’ve had commissions and the like), but working to your own deadlines (over time) is the key. I find I work much better when I’m at the mastering stage, perhaps as it’s not really creative as such and is more like ‘work’. Overall, I think this is an area where some longer-term thinking is required and self discipline in prioritising time is critical.
So time to get back to that latest track, Pete !