15th October 2006

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? What’s going on, then?

Haven’t worked on anything with Claire since the last update about her – funny how people change and move on, isn’t it? Still, I’ve been working on music nonetheless. A few sketches here and there have been recorded, work on Vacuum Road Songs’ follow-up has definitely begun although that’s so far away it’s not worth talking about, really. Elsewhere, I’m working on some stuff with Ste again. No idea where it’s going, who’s leading the project, what it’ll sound like. Taking in our influences of late, it’ll be anything from britpop to post-punk to post-hardcore/emo to shoegaze stuff. So like I say, no idea.

I suppose I should also mention that some of my stuff was played on BBC Radio 6Music. That, in itself, I thought was pretty great, but it was played by The Future Sound of London. I’m not going to witter about it, simply because having your all-time favourite band and number one influence play your material on national radio isn’t something that can really be explained in words. But hey. They managed to fuck up the title of the song. 😉

Finally, Vacuum Road Songs is seeing a probable release in the new year. For my university dissertation I’m working with Joe, Nate and Andy on setting up a record label, which will include recording bands, releasing CDs, promotion and live stuff. One ofthe releases is planned to be Second Thought’s new album, and thank God!

University is, at last, being really good to me in this way. Also this year I’m studying the origins of electronic music: musique concrete and early synth-based stuff, so far, and recording from a similar perspective; I’m also doing a songwriting module and remixing a track by a not entirely unknown indie band in a more electro style. So it could all turn out very interesting indeed.

xxx

27th January 2006

Last night was the second rehearsal of the year. We were both knackered, so admittedly little was done. However, between us wenow have a melodica (which I kept calling a harmonium) and a ukulele, so the amount of textures available is rising. We began to re-record the bass part of Yorkshire Bank with my new bass, but that sort of cocked up a few times, so a bit of a waste there, really. Claire’s written a harmonium part for the song, though, and we’re replacing one of the synths on Postal Service Song with the harmonium too.

Running through the songs, Claire’s up for adding to a really old 2T track of mine, originally called Struxsture, which is a particularly eerie organ and clicks type glitch thing. Completely out of mood with the rest of our tracks, but the production style’s similar, and it’ll end the EP nicely.

The tracklist is, currently:

001. Yorkshire Bank
002. Ross Song
003. Postal Service Song
004. Jazzy/Spanish Song
005. Claire Song
006. Weird/fucked up organ Song

We might be putting in Bob Dylan Song in there, but maybe not. Still, it’s only a minute long, so fingers crossed and all that.

xx

18th January 2006

First rehearsal was fun, productive and odd. We’re still going down the drinking = good line of things, helping us*cough*Claire*cough* get over certain confidence issues, but hey. We wrote a song which came out rather nicely, starting off with a particularly unusual jazzy guitar part from Claire, which I then transformed into something that sounded more than a little Spanish. Possibly be able to use Andy’s classical guitar for that. Weshallsee. We’ve been totting up the songs, and the tracklist stands at a rather half-finished: Postal Service song, Yorkshire Bank, Ross song, Claire song, jazzy track, experimental track, Bob Dylan song, and one that Claire’s not played yet because she forgot it. That’s eight tracks, though, which is pretty good going. Now to actually get them recorded. Ha.

In other news, The Bassment is now closed, which puts a rather large knife in our plans for putting on a night there, so back to the drawing board.

Have been working on some music with my housemate, Andy, too. There’s a chord sequence he’s been working on for ages, and I worked a chorus round it, and we’re recording that into some sort of song or other. My new bass is on it and everything.

Anyway, more updates soon no doubt.

xxx

6th January 2006

The holidays are over and it’s time to reconvene. Claire and I have discussed one or two things for the future. She’s done some writing over Christmas, so we have a few new ideas on the way. I have a new bass guitar and have done some work trying to get a reasonably decent mix of what’s coming from the Postal Service track so far, so we’ve both been busy. More excitingly, we’re planning on doing regular rehearsals, once a week sort of thing, to run through songs, learn and write new ones (bearing in mind everything so far has been written by one or the other of us, so we decided it would be cool to properly write together), arrange potential live ideas and probably get drunk. So that’s all nice.

Oh, and look out for the word Tangelo.

xxx

11th December 2005

Went to York with Claire today to see Merz. Fantastic guy, fantastic music, fantastic performance. Nice to see the whole guitar/electronics thing pulled off live. Gives us some hope. We also discussed a lot of stuff, largely artwork concepts. Took some photos for press shots, perhaps, and came up with a lot of ideas. We’re planning to have a few drunk guitar playing nights soon to get into the performance aspect of things a bit more, too, which should be good. Arsing around in the studio can have its toll on one’s patience.

“Tail”

xxx

6th December 2005

Tonight’s recording session was cancelled while Claire made progress on writing. This is a good thing, probably, saves us running out of ideas too soon. Busy schedules lead to little free time, so I suppose it has to be shared this way.

That said, I could do with a bit of a break, really, so I’m looking forward to recording again at the weekend. Meantime, the new Sigur Rós album is acting as some pretty nice escapism.

x

3rd December 2005

Another day of recording with Claire. After some initial setbacks, we got going and, in usual fashion, sat around listening to CDs instead of actually recording. But we worked on a few ideas for songs, she’s happy with how Yorkshire Bank is coming along, so that’s all good. We need to make that more structured and do the final vocals still, so it’s not near-finished, but we’re getting there.

We started another song, which is the Postal Service-sounding one. Drums are sounding jaunty, we got a fucking lovely synth recorded and then the guitars. Claire is looking forward to dancing around stage to it. This makes me happy.

She’s working on some stuff, lyrics and things, tomorrow. Next session is probably Tuesday evening. Maybe get some more recorded then. Weshallsee.

x

26th November 2005

Some exciting updates here. First up, the band is on hold, if not over. Some stuff happening with Stephen and myself, which need not be discussed here, have put it on the back burner. The lack of drummer and long-term singer (Claire may well be leaving Leeds in June), a year after we started searching, were signalling an all together pessimistic tone for the project anyway, so maybe it’s for the best.

Talking of the amicable Ms. Taylor, our EP is coming along quite well. No exact titles floating around yet, other than a working title of “Yorkshire Bank” for one song. We’ve got a few little tracks, though. One is sounding quite Postal Service-esque, which normally I’d refuse to do, only I wrote it, so heh. Jaunty beats, bubbling synths and a sickeningly jolly guitar part. There’s something vaguely trip-hoppish about another track, which is pretty moody, and the aforementioned Yorkshire Bank is all skittering clicks, folk guitars and organs. The current plan is to get a six track EP together before the year’s out (probably a bit hasty, given our rather full schedules at the moment), and then start gigging. The gigs should be a lark. We’re thinking costumes and instruments and stuff. I’m also fond of the idea of her standing very still and shy – as she is – and me leaping around with a guitar like a moron as I often do.

Which leaves Second Thought a bit redundant at the moment. The Second Thought stuff is always an idea which I’m compelled to create, something which needs doing, and at times it can be a bit of a slog. And with all the shit that’s happened this year, the whole thing was getting me down a bit. The concepts I’m working on in that department are pretty morbid, so I’m giving it a break. The stuff I’m doing with Claire is so joyous and celebratory and music for the love of it that I don’t need much else at the moment. So that’s darn happy.

I’m playing bass for my mate Liam at an open mic night. Hopefully be getting a bass for Christmas, as it’s a darn sight more fun to mess around with than a normal guitar (unless I have a hundred FX pedals).

x

p.s. An Ending (Ascent) by Brian Eno is probably the greatest piece of pure electronic music ever recorded.