Composer, author, lecturer, guitar teacher

Visions of box-sets

It’s amazing how the time goes. Several months have passed since I last blogged. I’m pleased to report that I have been busy with my own music, transferring four-track and eight-track recordings from cassettes and reel-to-reel onto the Tascam DP32SD. I have had some problems with the infamous ‘sticky shed’ syndrome, where tape reels start to break down. I have tried baking a few using a food dehumidifier with a good temperature control but with limited results. I seem to have about half a dozen reels which are not going to be of any use. Fortunately, I already have some stereo mixes for the songs on those reels.

I’m currently working on polishing a group of about 32 songs which I wrote and recorded around 1997-98 under the name of Rumble Strip. I discovered later that there is, or was, a band called The Rumble Strips, so I may have to use a different name for public release. These songs are mostly uptempo rock numbers with plenty of guitar. I drew on my love of T Rex for these, so if you like the glam/cosmic/wierd/guitar riffery and groove of that band you’ll like these. I’ve recently found a patch within a multi-fx unit which does a great job at capturing Marc Bolan’s guitar tone on tracks like ‘The Slider’.

I’m doing various new overdubs on these songs, partly to fill in the arrangements where I had originally just run out of tracks on the 8-track tape, and also doubling parts where the sound quality on the original has lost its sparkle due to age. I’m currently planning to write some new ones and group the songs into three conventional-length albums of about 40-45 minutes each. All the copying and recording is being done at 24-bit/48khz.

Eventually this is leading hopefully to a box-set in which I will gather together several hundred songs.

Perhaps this is a good moment to remind readers of this blog that my album of finger-pick guitar instrumentals Atlantic Canticles is available for purchase from amazon.com.

Otherwise I’m currently reading a new book on Nick Drake published by Reverb which looks at the theme of Englishness in his music and reception. This week I’m giving a lecture/ talk on conflict and resolution in the symphony, so I’ve been listening to Shostakovich 5 and 7 amongst others and will at some point be reading Julian Barnes’ novel about the composer. I can also recommend Roderick Williams’ re-imaging of William Byrd’s C16th choral work Ave Verum Corpus. I heard this on the radio yesterday morning and its amazing harmonies caught my ear. Wow, I thought, that’s pretty far-out for Byrd, as one chord dissonantly slid over another … was he really doing things like that 400 years ago!? And then came the announcement that it was a re-working by a contemporary composer. It’s available on CD and I’ll be getting a copy.

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