Archive for October, 2015

Here is a demo recording of a song written by Tommy Gregory a student on CSM . Produced at my home studio we single track recorded everything using a Rode Nt1a placed at the centre of an acoustic guitar and up against a small ‘Orange’ guitar amplifier for the lead. He laid vocals on afterwards. I used some compression and reverb to give texture to the recordings and quickly mixed and rendered it,

After spending time away form this recording and listening again i think the electric guitar could be brought up in the mix a little more and maybe add some strings toward the end chorus

Destiny Sessions @ Work Again… 

This session was supposed to be in Caerleon studios but after finding the amps all switched off and locked up i decided to take Azzi and his brother Tristan back to my house. I set them up in the living room on a corner sofa. They both had acoustic guitars and faced each other. I set up the omnidirectional U8040 in between the centre of the guitar holes and raised it half way between the chins and guitar holes…

Pictures to be added



Performance 1

Posted: October 25, 2015 in 2. Live Performances - 3rd Yr

Performance one is to show the ideas of a song that will possibly be chosen to perform for the Live module in May. This is a relatively new song and the lyrics came after the chord sequence.

The first line ’’Don’t tell me to wait, Cz id wait forever’’ flowed naturally after playing around with the first two chords on the song. ”Pain & Pleasure, or Now is Forever” are the two candidate titles for the piece. The backing track has been made at home using virtual drum kit instruments, I recorded myself on bass guitar, vocals and the electro-acoustic seen in the video. This song has a 90’s feel to it and the tambourine shakers on the chorus are a nice touch. Maybe this song could be performed with a live band.

Possibly a typical stigma with a lot of performing artists but to look back on myself is somewhat off-putting. I am passionate about my music and have no other way of recording the initial ideas without doing it myself first hand.

Some Self Improvement Tips…

  • Learn lyrics of by heart
  • Relax the body more and face the audience
  • Maybe perform the song completely acoustically
  • Warm up the vocal chords before the performance
  • Wear more comfortable clothes

The major project idea is to produce a digital songbook; instead of taking the traditional recording artists approach and officially releasing music over a promoted schedule, I have decided to create a new category on my blog that will document the inspiration behind each song and the production processes.

CSM has inspired me on a journey of re-invention and re-discovery, my music is a great reflection of this. Sometimes the songs written come from a positive and hopeful perspective while other tracks are created from a sense of analytical criticism, political issues, self awareness or philosophical contexts.

Being able to present my creative works in a way that may attract people to my skills for possible future projects is also a motive behind the idea.

As a songwriter not regularly performing currently it has been difficult to place myself amongst other artists due to reasons such as not quite curating my own sound yet. The vocal performance is not as strong as industry standard demands and the live performances need work due to nervousness and lack of performing experience. The idea of the digital platform gives me the space to release my material without the pressures of not meeting ‘industry standards’ as a recording artist. Creativity and production skills are at the forefront of my vocation in music, the idea of the digital songbook provides a good platform and opportunity to demonstrate my skills whilst developing and practicing vocal and live performance.

The target audience for this product would be any music fan and music industry officials. Performing locally to people within the local live music scene and for family and friends would provide the initial steps of promoting the digital song book this could in turn lead to enquiring local musicians looking for studio recording time. The digital song book would be used as content for promoting a ‘portfolio career’ in songwriting and or music production, it will be linked to the Destiny Session Branding.


This video is a montage of recording artists from last years development stages of Destiny Sessions.

Using search engines to investigate similar ideas to the digital songbook provided some good examples of websites that are relevant.

These websites have a similar layout with the song lyrics typed out with the particular instrument chord changes above the lyrics. This is a method that could be used, ideally investigation into a different layout would be pursued to make it unique and ascetically more appealing. The digital songbook would resemble an old story book with each songs lyrics typed on a page with an embedded sound cloud link to a recording or production of that track.

Initial idea of the songbook layout.

  • A set homepage (Front cover of story book/ animated, colourful)
  • A contents page with quick links
  • Each song will have a double page spread, to give an open book effect. Left hand side will show the lyrics and chords the right hand side will have the embedded track and three statements addressing What was the inspiration behind the track? How has it progressed to the final edit? and Production Tips.
  • Each song is typed out with chord changes included and instrument used
  • Each song that is recorded and produced will be embedded into a page
  • illustrations and media will be used to represent the tracks
  • Focus first on 8 original songs, (4 positive & 4 ponderous)

Here is a quick draft in gathering the content together and how it may look.    click the link below

 ( Songbook Draft )

Possible further ideas or advancements.

  • After building the initial the content we could possibly look at a video performance also produced in the university studios and embed on the song book pages.

Currently music is written and produced in my home recording studio there is a selection of around 15 / 18 songs & ideas to choose from so the content is there. Track selection issues have been raised with Matt who has agreed to give me guidance in helping me decide which are stronger tracks and have current with the themes.

Next Steps…

Record as many demos of the content already written for selection process with mentor.

 In efforts to gain a wider vocabulary and understanding of the terminology used in my area of study, i decided to browse over some Ted Talks…

 Michael Tilson Thomas: Music and emotion through time

Music as a window into the Autistic mind | Jonathan Chase | TEDxSalem

The healing power of music: Robin Spielberg at TEDxLancaster

The healing power of music | Nuvi Mehta & Pepe Romero | TEDxSanDiego

Let the music tell you what to do! | John D’earth | TEDxCharlottesville


Today we looked at Lana Del Ray, Gnarls Barkley and a few others as examples for song structure. Generally known as AAB, ABA, ABBA these are the question and answer sections that frame the construct of a song.

Some musicians have a natural ear and ability to write in these methods and some break the rules giving diverse contrast between songs.

Understanding how frequency, energy and vibrations govern the make up of our existence, and they’re relevance to music is where my interests lie generally as a musical practitioner.  Last year my diss lit review was based on four sub headings,

  • Mathematical Construct of the Universe
  • Micro to the Macrocosm
  • Importance of Harmony (528hz)
  • Tuning Methods
  • Holistic practitioner and the 21st century musician.

I do agree with the feedback from my diss lit review being that I could have included more of the sub headings that we learnt throughout the Philosophical Encounters Module. I was advised to NOT ask questions, ONLY review the literature!  I took my tutors advice and done so but to get feedback on the paper saying ‘’I could have asked for questions to formulate an argument” is slightly misleading and annoying.

This year I would like to further my understandings around what is physically happening when we listen to different genres of music. How do we process and react to music/performances and what are the fundamental qualities behind a persons preferred music genre? Does music dictate social equity?

I have already scoped out a range of books and started to book them out of the libraries;

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– What’s working in the performance?
– What’s not so good?
– How does this performance relate to a wider field of practice / genre?
– How does this genre relate to its audience – what does this kind of music do for people? – Is this a current genre?
– Is it contemporary – is it using music as a way of communicating to people?
– Is this genre still capable of creating new audiences?

And then
– Why is this genre relevant to you?
– How does your work relate to the performances you’ve picked? – What is your performance going to look like?

In this performance I particularly like what MTV call the ‘unplugged’ vibe. Electro-Acoustic instruments amped up with as little sound processing as possible. Some panning is included giving depth to the track through stereo imaging, this gives this live recording a sense of the stage layout. Obviously an intense track, talking about a relationship with his surfboard on the ocean waves in the moment, The rhythm and tempo of the track are accelerated and there is held sustained notes at places, almost creating ‘wavy’ feel to the groove of the track. Broken phrases of drums and the cymbals work help portray a feeling of surfing and crashing into the waves. We can’t help but hear his voice break about half way in and then throughout the performance. This could be off putting to some people, it shows his passion for the track and fits the genre of Alt Rock in my opinion. Performing almost near ‘hardcore screaming’ lyrics over an acoustic set up is quite a contrast, it brings the attention of the audience toward the vocal performance and narrative. The track  makes you want to move at least one part of your body! I personally don’t know of any energetic acoustic ‘jivable’ rock at this moment, it appears to me that most acoustic music around Newport is folk singer songwriter based…?  I do think this is contemporary music but just out of the main spotlight of this generations recycled music. Maybe the 18-30+ age group would still be moved by this surf/stoner rock style music providing the performance were  good too. I find this track is a little relevant to me because i am currently trying to bring alive some songs that i have written on the acoustic guitar. Starting with acoustic instruments is the basis for many songwriters & producers and in order to find and curate a sound for that particular track we have to look at the influences behind the inspiration.

The strings are a main focus in this performance, the musicians are playing well together. (59secs in) I love to re-create string staccato phrases using my midi samples. Personally i would have came in with distorted guitars and minimal timpani drums on the second verse to elevate the atmosphere. I say this because this track is an infamous rock anthem and although the spanish style flicks make up the full picture it really has become something else by keeping the acoustic thing running through. I think this is a relevant video because the singer songwriter & melancholic ballad can be a popular hit when performed well live. I believe all music with or without lyrics are ways of communicating with people and every year a new generation is born. By mix mashing everything we’ve ever known we hope to create new versions of art to pass on. Guiltily i admit, as much as his make up is as bad as some tv soap opera’s Bon Jovi is a childhood favourite along sing side many others.  I’ve always looked to artists that played the guitar in there videos, i have also started to compose a track of my own using some methods we have recently learnt on CSM and this track as my reference.