‘Formbank’, remixes and ongoing learning.
I have another recording alias which has been ongoing for almost as long as I’ve been releasing my ambient material. ‘Formbank’ is my quirky electronica side-project. The Formbank thing is a commercial failure, but I see it as an artistic success, in that it allows me to experiment, to learn things and push myself artistically. I’ve learnt a lot about composition, the use of instrumentation and mastering from this project, which feeds into the Igneous stuff.
Reading some reviews, I’ve been described as a ‘master’ of drone textures and the like. While that’s flattering, I’m far from ‘masterful’ at some other aspects of music making. Ambient music can be very easy to create – not so with electronica. Beat-making, song construction and production skills are some of the things that I need to become more adept at and the Formbank thing has pushed me on in this endeavour. I feel it’s important to do new things, rather than repeat the things that come easy. I think that trying to do things that don’t come easy / naturally can be challenging in a positive way. For example, when I was learning the guitar many moons ago, I felt I should learn how to improvise on the guitar in all keys. This certainly turned out to be pretty essential when I started jamming with other musicians. If I’d just stuck to A, E and D (heavy rock background), I would have been a bit stuck !
I’ve released three Formbank albums, all a bit crazy and decidedly uncommercial. They took as long as any Igneous album, which is the primary reason why the project is currently ‘on hold’. ‘Formbank‘, ‘Formbank 2‘ (such title imagination !), ‘Orca’ and ‘Jazz-electric‘ (collaborative). The best place to check them out is here:
Brief Selection of Tracks:
I’ve also done a number of Remixes under the Formbank alias – Mrs Jynx, Saul Stokes, The Horn The Hunt etc. I’ve entered a few competitions (for the experience, primarily) and lastly but not leastly, co-created the collaborative ‘Jazz-electric‘ album with Achromus. I find doing remixes are a great way to fire the imagination and learn (songwriting techniques, primarily) from people who know more about that craft than I do. It goes without saying that I do these remixes for the musical enjoyment as well.
I’ve used FLStudio to create the material throughout the Formbank project and have seen many improvements in the program. I’m now using it for my ambient material too, as it can now deal with primarily audio based tracks almost as well as sequenced based pieces. I think there’s something to be said for sticking with a particular core program.
I also do my Youtube guitar video thing for fun really. I wanted to make some videos that sounded and looked half decent, as a lot of guitar videos on the tube are neither ! It’s not a ‘popular’ channel by any means, so I feel I can do what I like, mostly as some kind of documentation of what I was doing with the guitar at the time. They’re just live takes with minimal editing, to show some techniques and sounds created with my current computer recording setup.