Andrulian's blog

Creating sounds | Making music | supporting fellow musicians | reflections in time

Favourite videos of the week (28/09/14) — September 28, 2014

Favourite videos of the week (28/09/14)

Been a few weeks since the last one, sorry about that but another great selection:

Tilt Japan
The imagery in the video is excellent, the music is by Jemapur – Album Empty – track Civilization Cycle

TILT JAPAN from TILT on Vimeo.

  

Sounds of Sputnik – New Born feat. Ummagma
A great vibe to this song, really like the vocals. The video is really well produced, has a dreamy almost ethereal feel.

  

XTR Human – Monitor
This song has a great sound to it and the video complements it really well.

  

Mingmen – Great Illusion
I really like this song a lot. The Mingmen have a really tight sound and great vocals courtesy of Sway. The video is spot on, really well produced.

  

Culann – All Reverie
Culann have a great sound with great energy in this song. Again the production on the video is excellent.

  

Grace Vardell – Big Jet Plane
This song is just beautifully performed.

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Review of The Movements – Like Elephants 1 & 2 released by Sunrise Ocean Bender — September 17, 2014

Review of The Movements – Like Elephants 1 & 2 released by Sunrise Ocean Bender

The Movements

Like Elephants 1

Like Elephants 1

It’s an inspired decision by Sunrise Ocean Bender to release Like Elephants 1 & 2 together in the USA (limited 300 black vinyl press). The UK release on Cardinal Fuzz has already sold out. It’s a complete musical experience, an epic journey across two albums that defines it’s own sound whilst giving a nod to the great heritage of diverse sounds that define generations.

The albums are very well produced. The sound is great and generally stripped back somewhat which is absolutely spot on. The Movements have a really tight sound, the rhythm keeps the momentum without being overstated, guitar has a great tone and the vocals often have an edge or grittiness. The songs are really engaging, mesmeric at times contrasted by more urgent tempos and vocals. The Movements also evolve and develop their sound between the two albums resulting in even greater soundscapes on Like Elephants 2 which is no mean feat. It is available from Sunrise Ocean Bender

Like Elephants 1 opens with The Death of John Hall D Y which has a great drive and a bit of an edge, could easily see this as an opening scene in a movie. Boogin then continues this sort of sound and feel leading into a great solo section which builds tension gradually, releasing into a chorus and the next song Shady Wind which has a laid back acoustic vibe.

Two tongues is then quite a contrast having an urgency, it’s a much more uptempo song with a great solo. Great Deceiver then slows the tempo a little bit, maintaining a good momentum and edge building into a great solo. All the Lost continues this sort of feel, an upbeat song with great organ playing and a nice edge provided by the vocals and build and release of tension released to echo effects and feedback.

David’s Song then has a much more mellow feel although there is a real angst in the vocals. Like Elephants 1 has a great acoustic opening, quite a sparse sound, really nice guitar tone and playing. Ingenting Kommer Ur Ingenting opens with organ leading into a more pronounced percussion, building tension through the chorus and solo parts building into a crescendo of feedback. It Takes a Spark then has a more mellow vibe, great guitar riffs and organ playing. A great way to round off the album.

 

There’s a different feel to the opening of Like Elephants 2 with Six Feet Under – A cross between white noise and feedback with delayed effects which leads into a really nice guitar riff and great vocals. A great opening track, kind of haunting and evocative, would equally make a great opening to a movie. Stolen Love continues this sort of theme, adding a great solo. Icecold then has a more mellow groove with lonesome sounding vocals which give it a nice edge.

Give it to Me has a drone almost bagpipe sound against a solid groove and slightly laid back vocals. Everybody Needs Something opens with a great riff and distorted tone and has a great edge, almost a call and response between the vocals and guitar at times which creates a great soundscape. Redemption opens with a distorted chunky riff which gives way to a lovely acoustic riff backed up by pedal steel guitar. It’s a very laid back groove, really mesmeric with a hint of angst in the vocals creating a great tension.

Yesterday, Now and Forever is then a great contrast, being an uptempo song having an urgency in the vocals. The song is propelled along by a solid rhythm and great organ playing. Like Elephants 2 has an almost folk feel but with drone qualities. The song has a great groove and vocals. It has a hint of mystery too. Winter’s Calling is a return to a more mellow sound with great riffing and vocals. There’s a great wah-wah solo and building and release of tension. The song ends with a great solo and leads into What Would Happen if I Tried which has a great acoustic sound and shaker rhythm leading into some great effects and feedback type sounds and rounds the album off really well.

Software limitations don’t have to be a block to creativity — September 14, 2014

Software limitations don’t have to be a block to creativity

That sounds a strange thing to say, because after all if you’re using a lite version or demo version of a DAW for instance, a VST or track limit is absolute, right?

Wrong.

Before the release of Caustic 3, the former version 2 had a 6 track limit, or so it seemed. One of the instruments, a pcm synth, allows you to load wav samples and assign them to individual notes or note ranges. I resampled lots of VSTIs in Ableton Live Lite 8 so that I could use them in Caustic but rather than use one pcm synth for one sound, I realised that I could load different sounds into different octave ranges effectively giving me extra tracks.  Version 3 now has 14 tracks so it’s no longer an issue.

Now you’d think I would have tried to apply the same sorts of principles when using Ableton Live Lite 8 for the recent ‘I Improvised’ project but for reasons of time limits and generally forgetting, it didn’t happen.  The process did result in the unexpected release of an album, however that’s a different story.

I have said in the past that the 4 VST limit is really crippling.  But is it really? Even the Live Lite version comes with lots of in-built effects so you may need to comprise on some of your favourite 3rd party VSTs but there are many effects you can use in Ableton.  You could also record chords, loops etc from your favourite VSTI and then load them in as audio samples to reduce the number of VSTs in use.  The 8 track limit is less of a problem, it would be nice to have more to keep things separate, apply individual effects etc but I can easily manage within this limit. I’m sure many of you would just say buy the full version then this isn’t even an issue.  But for a number of people, myself included, this may not be an option for personal or financial reasons.

I only really thought about this again when I decided to take on the latest Cauldron challenge on Soundcloud which is to produce a song using a maximum of 3 VSTs that are rated as 2* on http://www.vst4free.com  Unbelievably, Rez3 by Ugo audio is one such VST but don’t tell anyone it’s my secret weapon.  I really like Rez3 but a big problem is that you can only have one instance for a number of different reasons.  But I want a number of different sounds from it.  And I can, as long as I record the parts I want separately and load them in as audio samples. Or some other cunning ploy I haven’t found out yet that allows multiple instances.  It’s more effort granted, but not much if you can only have one instance anyway or if like me you can’t buy a full licence.  I also have to admit that I’ve only very recently discovered Simpler (sampler) and Impulse (drums) which open up similar alternative options to loading a VST and a lot more potential for creativity.

So whilst these workarounds may take longer to achieve the results you would when using full versions of software, there’s often no reason why you can’t find an alternative way of doing what you want to do, even if it takes a while longer to figure out.

Meanwhile creation of the song is moving along quite nicely, although I do keep finding new ways of doing things which means I keep refining ideas and restarting quite a lot.

Review of Kikagaku Moyo – Mammatus Clouds on Cardinal Fuzz (CFUL023) — September 10, 2014

Review of Kikagaku Moyo – Mammatus Clouds on Cardinal Fuzz (CFUL023)

Kikagaku Moyo

 

Kikagaku Moyo were formed in Tokyo in Summer 2012 by Go Kurosawa and Tomo Katsurada. In 2014 Kikagaku Moyo played what many declared the best live set at Austin Psych Fest. With releases on cult US labels Beyond, Beyond is Beyond, Captcha Records, Burger Records and Sky Lantern Records, Kikagaku Moyo have become one of the most talked about bands of 2014 with all their releases selling out as word of mouth begins to spread on this new cult Japanese band. Mammatus Clouds was previously available as a cassette only edition on Sky Lantern Records. It is now available on Cardinal Fuzz but is selling fast. The 350 limited press black vinyl edition has sold out; the Captcha Records version pre-sale edition has also sold out. However the black / gold 120 limited CD version is still available from Cardinal Fuzz online shop

It’s easy to see why this band is so popular. Mammatus Clouds has a great vibe, in large part to the improvised nature which really allows themes to be explored and developed. There are some really good drone qualities and great use of layering to create different moods from ambient chilled vibes to emerging grooves. At times there is a meditative quality, a beauty in the music often set against a contrasting tension which makes this an engrossing and mesmerising release.

Pond This song is 27 minutes long and comprises side A of the vinyl release. This really allows for the improvisation and development of different themes and ideas. The song opens with strummed sitar against a background drone which is almost a feedback type of sound. The song builds gradually, creating a groove which develops with percussion creating a meditative / mesmeric feel. The groove fades to the drone which is accompanied by sitar creating more of an an edgy feel. This fades too, returning to the drone from which percussion and sitar emerge creating a chilled groove which evolves really well. This has meditative qualities too but also builds tension gradually. This tension is released to some really nice chilled sitar playing to round the song off.

Never Known This song is shorter than Pond at nearly 17 minutes long. It’s got a great chilled vibe, mainly provided by the sitar and accompanying ambient sounds. There is a suggestion at about the 7 minute mark that there might be a change of mood and there is, but it is only subtle. There’s also a suggestion of a conversation in the background, one of those where you can’t quite make out the voices. It has meditative qualities at this point but does very gradually introduce a tension against the sitar. These voices do start to get louder, and there’s a hint of the introduction of percussion but this is very short lived although returns towards the end of the song.

There is No Other Place (International Harvester) is then a really good contrast, opening with the suggestion of a drone but instead a driving beat emerges followed by vocals which have a kind of ethereal quality to them but also create a tension which is added to by feedback sounds which emerge to round out the song.

Boss Cloth – Followers of the Cloth EP on Omniphonic Records review — September 6, 2014

Boss Cloth – Followers of the Cloth EP on Omniphonic Records review

 

Boss Cloth on twitter
Omniphonic Records website
Boss Cloth on facebook
Boss Cloth on soundcloud

Boss Cloth are a powerful 2-piece outfit formed in early 2013. Based in Swindon, Wiltshire, Boss Cloth comprise of Matt Sirrelle – Guitar/Vocals and Rich Cowdry – Drums/Vocals. In the months since their first gig back in 06/13 in Dalston, Boss Cloth have gone on to play headline shows in Bristol and Southampton as well as support slots for the likes of Bite The Buffalo and Oxygen Thief. Followers of the Cloth is out now on Omniphonic Records and is available from iTunes, Bandcamp, Google Play and Amazon.

This 4 track EP really highlights the different sounds and styles of Boss Cloth. Often heavy and high tempo, there’s great energy in each of these songs. The rhythm is tight, guitars have great tone with intense riffing at times. Vocals are varied giving good contrasts.

Lapdog This is a really high energy song which has great distorted guitar tones with intense riffing to open the song. The vocals are intense at times too. Built tension is briefly released before building again to round the song out.

Dancer This song is then quite a contrast, having a completely different feel to the intro. It has more spoken vocals. There is great riffing with nice changes in tempo and sounds to build and release tension.

Woohoo Has a great intro riff leading to a great groove. Vocals sit a bit behind the beat which works really well. Again there is some great riffing in this song.

Me and You Again there is great energy, a great bass riff intro leading into intense riffing and drumming. The vocals suit the song really well, getting really intense with a sudden release at the end of the song.

Review of 3dtorus – Favourite Delusion EP on Mobius Spin (mbsspn005) — September 5, 2014

Review of 3dtorus – Favourite Delusion EP on Mobius Spin (mbsspn005)

 

3dtorus on twitter; Mobius Spin on bandcamp

There’s some really good releases coming out on the Mobius Spin Label. This is one of them and is a release that features songs from its founder, 3dtorus, including a couple of collaborations.

Each song has great sounds and is really well produced. There are glitchy, industrial, minimal and breakbeat elements which work really well in combination without completely defining one particular style. There is a kind of dark quality at times and really good layering of sounds.

Squary Tale feat. Glitchfield Plaines This song has a great opening bassline and sound effects. The industrial sounding percussion works really well, great sounds. Has a breakbeat sort of feel.

From Far feat. Almark This song has great sounding percussion creating a tribal kind of groove. The synth sound has a kind of ethereal quality and sits a little in the background and works well against a bass drone. There are great sound effects and layering of percussion.

Mechwar Ouverture Has a slower feel, a great groove and I really like the bass sound and sound effects. The song evolves really well, orchestral sounds suit the style. Sound effects towards the end sound like a Mechanoid stalking it’s target. This leads into a nice change in momentum, an urgency almost.

Beyond the Void There is Love (bonus) This has a great percussive opening, and has really nice background elements which creates a great soundscape. The song builds tension really well and there are great synth sounds too.

Review of Marys Ruin – Down the Line album — September 4, 2014

Review of Marys Ruin – Down the Line album

 

Marys Ruin on twitter
Marys Ruin website
Marys Ruin on facebook
Marys Ruin on soundcloud

Marys Ruin are a four piece band from West Yorkshire, England comprising of Jay (vocals), Mark (guitar), Paul (drums) and Steven (bass).

Down the Line is their debut album which is available for free download from their soundcloud page and I’ve embedded one of the album tracks above.

Down the Line has got a really good variety of song styles but always maintains a great rock sound quality. The rhythm is very tight, there’s great riffing and soloing with a great variety of tones and solid vocals which together propel each song along. A lot of the songs have that singalong sort of quality suggesting that Mary’s Ruin would be a great live band too.

Give me your Honey Opens with great energy and riffing, vocals burst forth with a loud cry. The song has great riffing and a great momentum propelled along by tight rhythm. Great solo too.

Gasoline Continues the energy and momentum, again great riffing and tight rhythm. The vocals give a sense of urgency. It has a really catchy chorus and another great solo, with a great tone.

Rewind Reload Another uptempo song with great riffing on the intro. Again there is great soloing and catchy lyrics.

Two Thousand Reasons Has a heavier feel to the intro before settling into a more laid back groove for the verses but builds really well into an upfront chorus and great solo.

Universal This song has a great opening, nice wah-wah on the lead guitar. There is a really good momentum through the track which builds and releases tension really well.

Whisky Train This song again opens with great riffing settling into a bluesy kind of feel at times. Not as high tempo as previous songs but still maintains a solid groove and great energy. Great solo, really compliments the feel of the song.

Killer There is a different feel to the intro of this song, great vocal harmony intro leading into solid riffing and rhythm driving the song along into a great solo.

Sons of the Night This song has really good energy, again there is great riffing in the intro leading to a solid groove.

Review of Lantern – Rock and Roll Rorschach album on Cardinal Fuzz (CFUL019) — September 3, 2014

Review of Lantern – Rock and Roll Rorschach album on Cardinal Fuzz (CFUL019)

Lantern

 

I only need one word to describe this release – flipping brilliant. Ok that’s two. Great grooves, great guitar tones, chunky riffs and searing solos. It’s the sort of rock and roll you don’t hear too often anymore – but equally there’s great variety and different styles. High octane, highly recommended!

It was released by Cardinal Fuzz (CFUL019) on transparent gold and black vinyl, each of which comes with a bonus CD which has all the LP tracks plus 4 bonus tracks. It is available from Cardinal Fuzz online shop

Evil Eye bursts into a great groove, there is some great feedback and lead playing. Vocals are pretty bare processing-wise which is exactly how you want it, they really keep the momentum going. High energy is maintained through the track. A great opener.

King of the Jungle opens with a more laid back groove before the lead riff enters. The vocals are more spoken and a bit gnarly which really suits the style of the song. Great lead tone on the solo.

Where Are We Now opens with a bended note leading into a great lead line for this high tempo song. Vocals have that sort of don’t give a shit sort of feel. Great solo playing again, holds back to start with but lets go without losing control. Tempo actually increases towards the end ending with a release.

Rock and roll Rorschach Bit more laidback this one but again a solid groove and great vocals. Saxophone is a great addition.

She’s a Rebel is then a big contrast, having an acoustic intro and very laid back feel. Really nice solo playing, subtle to compliment the song perfectly.

The Conjurer opens with a bluesy groove with some blues harp for good measure. There is also a blues harp solo later in the song.

Out of Our Heads has an opening riff which is a bit reminiscent of AC/DC leading into a great riff, this is a really high tempo song with great riffing combined with excellent solo playing. On the very edge of losing control. Brilliant!

Heart in Your Tongue continues in a similar vein with high energy riffing and great vocals. It even has a horn section. The song builds into a high tempo crescendo to end.

The great thing about being sent the digital promo for review is that I also received the four bonus tracks:

Mr Mars has more of a fuzz type tone, a great groove and solid riffing with a hint of sax. Definite glam rock elements with great soloing.

Rock n Roll Music again has a great opening, tight rhythm and solid riffing. Nice lead lines, great soloing to end the song.

I don’t Know has a different feel, again it’s a high energy and uptempo song with a solid groove. Great lead lines.

Out of Our Heads This is a garage type recording of the song found on the album. It has a really raw sound to it.

Review of Analogue Wave – Casimir album (release date 26/09/14) — September 2, 2014

Review of Analogue Wave – Casimir album (release date 26/09/14)

Casimir

Profile Photo

Logo

 

 

Analogue Wave on twitter

Analogue Wave are Dublin based duo Del (vocals) and Gint (production) who formed in 2012. Casimir is their second album and is, to put it simply, outstanding.

It’s really well produced, has great vocals and synth sounds and great sound layering. There is often great blending of styles, sometimes within the same song. Many of the songs have an edge and/or tension to them and Analogue Wave describe the album as having a ‘harder, darker sound’. For me this is because there’s a lot of experience and often pain in the lyrics which come through the vocals and not only that, you can really relate to these experiences which is what makes Casimir such an outstanding album.

It was financed by a successful ‘Fund It’ campaign and has been produced and released by Analogue Wave with a release date of 26th September (catalogue number TW1203) which is a day before the anniversary of their debut release n.l.g.W.v.

I Feel Hollow feat. The Resistance Choir This is a great opening song. It has great layering of sounds and the use of the choir in the chorus works brilliantly. There’s a great momentum to this song, the vocals have an edge to them and the song has a great simmering tension. You can preview / buy this track now on bandcamp, it’s embedded above.

Salo Has really good sound effects leading to a solid beat. Again there’s an edge and tension to the song.

Dead Cat Bounce Another great intro to this song, it has a really great vibe. There is great layering of sounds and there are subtle dub and middle eastern sound influences which work really well.

Scatter This song has a different feel to the previous ones and is an instrumental. It opens with a brilliant bassline and there is a great reggae / dub quality to the song. Just when you get lulled into a really chilled vibe, the song picks up momentum into a great groove to round out the song.

Levan There are great synth sounds on this song, a really good blending of different elements and styles which works really well.

Profit Again great sounds and there’s a really great reggae vibe to this song.

Half Light This song has a more industrial feel to the opening, it has great momentum and again great layering and vocals.

It’s Never Free There is a great percussive opening to this song which uses great sounds which are really well layered. The song has an edge and tension to it.

Deireadh This song has great percussion and bass / synth sounds. It maintains a drive and that’s a nice touch with the vocals.

Solution This song has a completely different feel to it being more uptempo with reggae elements. Again there is great sound layering which creates a nice tension in the song which builds and releases really well.

Sustain This song has great layering of different elements and sounds, it has a solid groove with momentum. Nice edge to the song.

Review of The Geeky Disco Experiment – Burgerablage album — September 1, 2014

Review of The Geeky Disco Experiment – Burgerablage album

 

The Geeky Disco Experiment on twitter

Burgerablage has a great vibe to it but also some darker and more reflective aspects which provides a really good balance and contrasts. There’s a great variety of sounds and styles with a lot of acid influences but also techno, industrial, minimal and breakbeat. The percussive sounds are used really well and there are great bass sounds, synth sounds and sound effects. There are plenty of great grooves and rhythms and a few surprises in the remixes too.

Acid Soundtrack This song opens with some really nice panning in the intro and a great industrial sounding synth. The song evolves with great percussion sounds and more great synth sounds.

A Collection of Rhythmic Sounds This song has a deep bass intro and really good percussion sounds again too. The title is very appropriate, the song has a very rhythmic groove with great layering of sounds.

Human Dross There is a growly sort of sound which opens the track, I really like the pulsating movement in the background. It has more of a drone feel than the previous songs until a melody and vocals round out the song. Great soundscape.

Death Strip This song again opens with a great synth sound and a punchy bassline which leads to percussion. The song has good layering of different elements with a synth melody sitting slightly in the background. The drone elements give way to a more percussive sound with a great synth lead. Changes in the feel of the song work really well.

Human Nature Divides Us This song has great opening synth sounds leading into a bassline with a great groove. Percussion maintains momentum and there is great layering of sounds. Great old school acid song.

13587 This song’s intro pulses, pans and swells into a rhythmic bassline which is maintained and accompanied by a great lead synth sound.

Mauer This song has a great percussive intro with nice use of effects and glitch or circuit bent type sounds.

Fight Yourself There is a great intro to this song which from the title is kind of like winding yourself up. Very effective percussion again and great circuit bent sounds.

Burgerablage This song opens again with great percussion sounds and an acid lead sound which builds gradually. Again, great layering of sounds and a great minimal feel to this song.

Steckschlussel (Teil 2) This song has a great groove with really nice sound layering.

Contaminated This song has a really cool bass line, in fact the song is largely a bass solo and I don’t get to say that very often. There is also quite an edgy feel to this song.

Acid Soundtrack (Ice nach Spandau mix) This remix is sparser and slower than the original, there is really good use of sounds and sound effects. The remix maintains a solid groove throughout.

Acid Soundtrack (Clrc mix) This remix has a completely different feel to the original. It has a great drone opening, building into some really edgy sounds which creates really good tension in the song.

Death Strip (Clrc mix) This remix opens with a kind of urgency and great sound effects. Quite a harsh sound to this song, great contrast to the original.

Human Dross (Clrc mix) This remix has great synth sounds to open the song. The voice parts sit really low in the mix which is a great idea, you know they’re in there but can’t quite hear what they’re saying. The opening melody continues through the song and works well against the drone. Great percussion, layering creates a really good soundscape.