Selection of late summer images 2017 and one of the intrepid beastie…
I’ve just released my new album entitled ‘Sylvi‘, which is an ambient guitar (and fretless bass) work.
The primary instrumentation used was electric guitar, fretless bass, nylon string guitar and the ebow. The ebow was used on the electric and the fretless (which is a somewhat more unusual approach) to create melodic lines and low pitched swells. The electric contributed the main chordal and melodic parts.
Lots of guitar techniques were employed – slide guitar (electric), clean guitar swells (‘violin-ing’ – using a volume pedal).
In compositional terms, I tried to combine individual elements from the guitars and bass on each track, intending them to work as a whole. I avoided ‘noodling’ and playing overtly solo parts, using more restrained figures and lines.
There are some other sourced sounds on the album too, but they are pretty much ‘in the minority’ – the processed guitar parts forming the accompanying drones and textures
The production is somewhat ‘muted’ in terms of the high frequency elements, purposefully. I didn’t want it to sound overly bright. considering the ‘tone’ of the tracks.
‘Sylvi’ is a primarily sonorous work, with a smattering of more ‘oblique’ tracks included.
Brief Equipment used list: (for those interested in such things !)
Electric guitars – Tokai LoveRock, Yamaha 112 (modified), Tanglewood Les Paul copy (on the track ‘Helmi’)
ESP Ltd B-205SMFL 5 string Fretless Bass:
This is a lovely instrument, it’s right handed, but I played it upside down (I’m left-handed), it has ground wound strings on it, which are a nice compromise between roundwounds and flatwounds.
‘Cuenca’ Nylon string guitar (1983)
Used as the preamp for all guitar and bass parts (a Zoom 8080 was also used as well) Very versatile !
Nebula Cabinet libraries (Ownhammer Blufunk):
Used for all the overdriven / distortion sounds (mostly the ebow tones) Still the best thing for these sounds, IMO.
Last but not least – the mighty ebow !
I’ve used the ebow for a long time, it’s a fantastic thing in it’s own right, but I find it needs considerable technique to get it to sound good (not harsh). It’s very dynamic, for one thing.
Finally, the album was mastered using a pair of Shure SE535’s (thanks to Achromus !) and I also used a pair of Parrot Zik 3’s for some ‘out and about’ listenings, which were surprisingly good.
Free Track from Sylvi sessions – ‘Lowna’:
A selection of recent Images:
New Album Update
Work is going well on my new (as yet untitled) album.
This album is something of a departure for me, in that it is almost solely a guitar (and bass) ambient work. It is beatless and features all manner of guitar styles – predominantly ebow, fretless bass, nylon string guitar, electric guitars, etc.
Expect something different !
I hope to have it finished in a month or so. More updates will be posted here.
It’s not quite Summer here, even though there was a recent very warm period here recently. Here’s some recent ‘summer-ish’ shots, all taken locally to where I live:
After a recent update, the Zoom h2.n recorder can now record ambisonic files. I had one of these units some time ago, but got rid of it as I felt it’s mics were a tad noisy, but for field recordings that’s less of an issue (well for sources at a reasonable level, anyway) I have just bought another unit and have started experimenting with recordings and processing them in Reaper. After a bit of jiggery-pokery with formats, I’m getting some interesting results. I think this may be interesting in conjunction with some binaural recordings. I intend to incorporate some things ambisonic in my upcoming albums.
The Zoom isn’t brilliant quality by any means, but it does allow me to experiment with Ambisonics, without breaking the bank having to buy a Soundfield (or similiar) mic. Also, there’s a lot of freeware ambisonic tools now available. It looks like the Youtube 360 VR thing, has finally brought ambisonics to the masses !
Anyway, here’s a montage of ambisonic recordings I made of a stream, converted to binaural (best for headphone listening)
Here’s an image of the woods on the way to the stream that I recorded.
Here’s an image of the Zoom (out in the field !) with the Zoom WSU-1 windshield on: