Andrulian's blog

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

Review of Little Lapin – Remember the Highs Single — February 24, 2015

Review of Little Lapin – Remember the Highs Single

Little Lapin

 

 

Little Lapin on twitter
Little Lapin website
BlueSoapMusic on twitter

UK singer-songwriter Little Lapin has been making her mark on audiences all over the world, from New Zealand where she was based for five years, to New York where she recently performed the last leg of her acoustic tour.

Little Lapin’s highly anticipated follow-up album due to be released later this year promises to deliver more of her infectious indie pop gems. Celebrated New Zealand producer, and ex member of Goldenhorse, Ben King guests on all of Little Lapin’s forthcoming tracks including ‘Remember The Highs’. In addition to performing, he also arranged the electric guitar and synth parts.

This is an outstanding release from Little Lapin, the songs have dreamy qualities at times contrasted with a great edge from the vocals. There are a lot of comparisons to The Pretenders but for me the vocals especially and also the style of the songs remind me more of Sheryl Crow / Lucinda Williams. The production is spot on, the songs have a different feel but each has a great sound from arrangements that haven’t been over complicated and really highlight the talents of Little Lapin.

Remember the Highs A slightly distorted jangly riff to open the song is backed by solid drumming and the song maintains a great momentum throughout. There’s a great edge to the song, the vocals are superb – they’re beautiful, gritty, edgy and create a great tension at times.

Over the Draft This song has a great acoustic riff and vocals to open accompanied by a great tremolo guitar. Drums enter the song to add momentum. The song has a great dreamy quality contrasted with more of an angst feel from the vocals at times. Great layering of sounds, excellent production.

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Creative Commons – why it’s good to share — February 22, 2015

Creative Commons – why it’s good to share

Not that long ago, I wouldn’t have entertained the idea of using a Creative Commons licence on my music. This is because when I’ve taken time to create sounds, used some interesting and unusual chords and maybe some unique effects then I’m happy for you to listen to it but not copy it, so would have used standard copyright.

And there’s the problem. It’s true that a copyright owner in the UK has both economic and moral rights. Economic rights cover acts that only the copyright owner can do or authorise. These include the right to copy the work, distribute copies of it, rent or lend it, perform or show it, communicate it to the public (including making it available online) or adapt it (e.g. making it into a play). Moral rights include the right to be identified as the author, the right not to have a work that they did not create falsely attributed to them and the right to object to the derogatory treatment of the work. Moral rights are rights authors retain in their works irrespective of who owns the economic rights – they can be waived, but not licensed or assigned. (Information courtesy of the Copyright Licensing Agency).

The problem is that if you want to copy, you easily can. There are services that work out what chords a song is comprised of. If you systematically applied the Key structure you’d probably work it out that way too. Listening to the song would help you identify what effects I used and you could easily replicate these. If you wanted to sample chunks of the song, there’s nothing by copyrighting a song that prevents this. Of course this applies to any song by any artist and whilst there are stiff penalties for copyright infringement, it’s not an easy task for an individual or band that doesn’t have the legal backing of a major record label, for instance, to prove or successfully take appropriate action against the infringer.

I’m not suggesting that you should infringe copyright, quite the opposite – as an artist these moral and economic rights are really important to me. But recently I’ve started using ‘found’ sounds, stems and field recordings in my songs that people have generously made freely available and that’s whats really got me thinking that if I make songs out of these freely available sounds, why shouldn’t I allow other people to have a certain amount of flexibility to use my subsequent creations in one way or another? They could easily create something more interesting or apply a fresh perspective which I hadn’t thought of. It would be great to see how such a work of mine could evolve.

That’s where Creative Commons comes in. It’s use has grown from 50 million licensed works in 2006 to 882 million licensed works in 2014. Of course you really need to make sure that you understand the terms of the licensing arrangements and the full implications before you start using them.

The latest version is 4.0 and the six licences are summarised below. I’d recommend appraising yourself fully of the terms and conditions on the Creative Commons website which is where the information in the table has been summarised from.

Creative Commons licences-page0001

So for something you’ve invested your time and efforts into creating, by all means retain the full copyright, that is you’re right after all. But if you’ve used other peoples’ sounds, especially those that have generously been given for free, why not consider using a Creative Commons licence to further enhance and allow the creative process to continue to grow whilst still retaining an element of control to suit the specific circumstances?

Review of Dreifalt Album by Dreifalt — February 20, 2015

Review of Dreifalt Album by Dreifalt

 

Dreifalt on soundcloud; Dreifalt on bandcamp

Dreifalt is a series of 10 singles, each of which builds on the former. Dreifalt built a studio environment as a starting point in which the first track, “EINS A”, was created. After this the finished track was saved a second time, as “EINS B” and then modified and saved as “ZWEI A”. The process went on like this until “ZEHN B” which marks the ending point at which everything Dreifalt wanted to say was said. Dreifalt is an alter ego of Martin K, aka 3dTorus.

To put it simply, Dreifalt is an outstanding album. It has been excellently crafted with great attention to detail over the individual sounds, layering and production. It’s described as ‘harsh dreams in techno’ and whilst it is a techno album, it also has elements of dub, ambient and the cinematic at times which might sound contradictory but it blends different styles brilliantly whilst retaining a focus on the developing themes. The approach to produce two versions of each song is also a great idea, sometimes giving a great contrast and other times exploring similar ideas and themes. At times it is mesmerising and it is a captivating listen.

Eins A Has a great atmosphere to open, a kind of cinematic dark ambience from great swirling sounds and reverb. It has quite a sparse feel, building gradually with the occasional hint of a more defined beat which evolves later in the song.

Eins B Continues with a similar theme but uses a more defined and urgent beat which evolves into more of a defined techno sound and provides a great contrast.

Zwei A Develops a great ambience and has excellent layering of percussive sounds. Again quite a sparse feel building a great groove.

Zwei B Has a different feel, again quite sparse but with a great background drone type of sound with great use of delay as the kick gradually increases in volume as other percussive elements are layered to create rhythms which create a tension against the other sounds resolved into a more defined rhythm.

Drei A Is propelled by a kick drum and has a synth sound with great reverb. A very solid rhythm follows against the repeating synth riff. Brilliant subtle use of delay. The song evolves into more of a tribal type of sound and has great layering and excellent production.

Drei B This version has a similar feel but uses more of an open synth sound which creates more of an expansive feel.

Vier A There is a strong kick drum to open the song against edgy background swirling sounds. It has a great dark feel to the song and great layering of the drone against the bassline. Evolves an industrial kind of feel.

Vier B Although this version has a similar approach, it kind of does the opposite to the first version, starting with quite a harsh industrial sound evolving into a more organic sounding groove.

Funf A The song opens with great swirling sounds against an ominous sounding bass. The rhythm evolves gradually with great layering of percussive sounds. The song has an excellent mesmeric sound.

Funf B This version has a different feel with a driving kick and great synth sound. There is also great use of delay and really nice evolution of the synth riff and rhythm.

Sechs A The song has a great ambience to open with which works really well against the kick creating a great tension. Great evolution of the rhythm, again a really mesmerising sound.

Sechs B This version is then a great continuation with many similar themes but a different feel.

Sieben A The song has a great atmospheric opening, the rhythm builds gradually with really nice changes in feel. There is great layering of sounds again.

Sieben B This version has a similar atmosphere and great layering also but uses different percussive sounds and rhythms to create a different feel.

Acht A The song has a great acid sounding bassline to open. The kick gives momentum with great background sounds also. The song evolves really well.

Acht B This version has more of an urgent feel and a great synth sound that grows, swirls and is used very effectively to build and resolve tension. Great percussive sounds again and nice use of filters on these sounds to give variation and movement to the feel of the song.

Neun A The song has a great percussive opening, building a solid rhythm through excellent layering. The synth sound again has great tonal variations and provides a nice edge to the song at times.

Neun B This version has more of an acid sounding bassline against a kick to open and explores this theme really well.

Zehn A This song has a great driving rhythm, the synth sound creates and resolves tension really well evolving a solid groove.

Zehn B This version has a different feel but explores similar ideas. There is quite a sparse feel to the opening but again evolves a great sound and feel.

Review of SeaWitches – Stars single — February 19, 2015

Review of SeaWitches – Stars single

SeaWitches

 

 

SeaWitches on twitter
BlueSoapMusic on twitter
The Label Recordings on twitter

Based in Liverpool, Jo Herring and Laura Caldwell met in 2007 through friends; a meeting that resulted in an explosion of creativity where songwriting, musicianship and visual art collided to create SeaWitches. 2012 saw Tilo Pirnbaum joining the band on drums and Jamie Jenkin was recruited on guitar in 2014.

The band gig regularly in Liverpool, where they’ve played Sound City, Music Week and the Green Party Conference as well as hosting their own nights supporting other well known bands like Eagulls and Giant Drag.

Stars was released by The Label Recordings on 16th February 2015.

There’s a great sound and vibe to this song, it creates a great tension between the jangly guitar riff and shoegaze feel of parts of the song. The vocals have a laid back feel and create a nice edge.

The song opens with a great jangly riff which is a theme of the song which is propelled by solid drumming. The vocals create a great tension against this jangly riff by having a laid back and shoegaze feel to them at times. There’s also a really nice change to a more uptempo feel in the chorus.

Review of Peur – Hollow Skies single — February 16, 2015

Review of Peur – Hollow Skies single

Peur

 

 

Peur on twitter
BlueSoapMusic on twitter
Ruby Music on twitter

Peur, the French word for fear and pronounced ‘per’, are an alt-rock band hailing from Manchester, England. Ferociously impressive and creating a roaring sound that’s both aggressive and melodic, the band have a real buzz about them with fans welcoming Peur’s new take on traditional alt-rock.

Hollow Skies will be released by Ruby Music on 09 March 2015.

And Hollow Skies is an excellent song with a brilliant drive and energy. The riff acts as a great hook, the vocals are superb with a great edge and it has a really catchy chorus too.

The song opens with great swirling sound effects and almost a drone before bursting into a great uptempo riff and chords. The vocals are superb, really solid giving the song a great edge which has really great changes in feel. There is excellent riffing too with really good changes in tone and a brilliantly catchy chorus with sing-a-long qualities.

Review of The Mysterious ProjektX Album on Factory Fast Records #ProjektX — February 13, 2015

Review of The Mysterious ProjektX Album on Factory Fast Records #ProjektX

The Mysterious ProjektX

 

Factory Fast Records on twitter

#ProjektX is the first of three in this series that has a cool back story about Evil Professor Y’s mass weapon “Germiston” and Secret Agent Z trying to save the world, but who cares about that? This is just a really cool indie rock LP. It is available from Amazon, iTunes, Spotify and GooglePlay and many other online outlets too.

The Mysterious ProjektX is a really great album. It features 7 artists, each of which have their own sound and style, highlighting an excellent variety of indie sounds including bluesy, trip-hop, driving rock, metal and synth pop. The songs are all really well produced – all in all another cracking release from Factory Fast!

01 The Poulsons – ‘Germiston’ This song is a great fusion of synth pop and rock and has a real driving indie sound. The heavily effected vocals work really well. The song has a great solo and is well layered with a really nice contrast between some of the uptempo and more laid back parts.

02 Creeping Volt Club – ‘Time Bandit’ This song has a trip hop type of beat with scratching and a background distorted riff to open with and a great dub type echo on the vocals which have a dreamy quality to them. The song also has some great synth and piano sounds. It has an excellent laid back vibe with great layering of sounds and some great sound effects too.

03 Wild Horse – ‘Get Me Going’ This song has a great opening blues riff and a great blues vibe complimented by the more indie sounding vocals. Great guitar playing with great tones for the riffs and solo, the bass and drumming provide a solid foundation.

04 The Magickal – ‘The Ticket’ Kick drum opens the track accompanied by a great bassline. The song has great layering of percussion sounds, electronic drums and great effects. It has a kind of Synthpop feel, the vocals are really alluring giving the song a great darker edge at times.

05 The Statements – ‘Bad Cilla’ This song has a driving rock sound with really nice changes of feel. It has great riffing with a great wah solo and is backed by solid drumming and bassline. The vocals give the song a great edge.

06 Logain – ‘Motorcycle Man’ There is a great driving heavy rock / metal feel to the song. It has great riffing and solid drumming which propels the song along. Great attitude in the vocals and a great solo too.

07 The Windsor Project – ‘This Is Where We Say Goodbye’ Great opening lead line accompanied by a heavily distorted riff combined with excellent drumming really propels the song along. The vocals are great and there’s an awesome guitar solo too.

Review of The Little Secrets – All I Need single — February 11, 2015

Review of The Little Secrets – All I Need single

The Little Secrets

 

 

The Little Secrets on twitter
BlueSoapMusic on twitter

Liverpool’s The Little Secrets are Kevin Dixon and Stacy Jo. Formed in 2010 after meeting at Liverpool’s world famous Cavern Club, Stacy was singing with another band when Kevin spotted her. Blown away by her talent, Kevin decided on the spot to ‘steal’ Stacy for his new project, and after two years of writing together and experimenting with different line-ups and sounds, the pair found their sound in infectious pop, echoing the likes of Camera Obscura and BMX Bandits with a nod to Phil Spector’s production style.

The single was released on 26th January 2015 by Edge Hill University’s The Label Recordings.

And this single highlights the great sound of The Little Secrets. There are elements of synth pop but also some classic pop sounds and for me this includes some influences from the 50s / 60s resulting in a brilliant, vibrant song.

The song opens with great drumming and has a really nice guitar chug followed by a great jangly riff. The vocals are brilliant and the song has a great groove. The drumming provides a solid rhythm and there’s some great jangly guitar tones too with just a hint of distortion in places to add a nice edge.

Review of Filter Distortion – Transition Album — February 10, 2015

Review of Filter Distortion – Transition Album

Filter Distortion

 

Filter Distortion on facebook
Filter Distortion on twitter
BlueSoapMusic on twitter

Filter Distortion, a four piece electro band from Liverpool, have finally emerged from a self-imposed year of confinement in a windowless room. The band set about producing their finest work yet, and have certainly achieved their aim with debut album ‘Transition’. Recorded using just 3 microphones, the band wrote and produced all the album’s tracks before mastering with engineer and producer Daniel Woodward at Liverpool’s Whitewood Recording Studio.

And Filter Distortion have created an album with a great sound and vibe. It has an excellent synth pop sound with some classic 80s sounds for good measure. The live drumming is an excellent touch and provides a great foundation for the basslines and variety of riffs / hooks on the album. The vocals are also excellent and really add to the vibe.

Transition is available as a digital download and limited edition vinyl from selected outlets including Dig Vinyl, Probe Records, Piccadilly Records and mail order via the band’s website.

Black and White The song has motorbike revving to open with, followed by a great synth riff. There is an excellent synth pop vibe with great vocals. The drumming provides a solid foundation and there is a great bassline too.

Pressure Again there is a great riff to open the song which is propelled along by solid drumming and a great bassline too. The vocals are spot on again and the song has a great momentum.

Resonator Express There is a really nice pad sound to open the song with great drumming. Again there is a great riff, solid bassline and excellent vocals. There are great changes in feel through the song.

Midnight Drive Another great riff and synth sound to open the song. Again the drumming is great and there is a nice momentum provided by the bassline. Excellent vocals again.

Frequency Modulation A great arpeggio and sample discussing FM radio in the background. The song has a really good momentum with great synth sounds and riffs.

Neon Nights The song has a great bassline to open with a kick drum leading to a great synth sound. The vocals again are great and the song is underpinned by solid drumming. There are great riffs and a nice ride cymbal too.

Camera in the Dark The song again has great drumming, bass and opening riff. The vocals have a darker feel than other songs, great contrast and harmonies with the female vocals. Again great synth sounds and really nice riff.

When the Lights Go Out The song has a really nice synth sound to open, there is great drumming and bass again. There are great vocals too and a really nice synth riff. There is a great release in the middle of the song to another riff and the song nicely picks up momentum again.

Lost Boys The song has a great bassline and drumming to open with and a great synth riff too. The vocals again are excellent and the female vocals are a great addition too.

Game Over The song has a great synth and arpeggio riff to open, there is a great vocoder effect on the vocals too. The drums and bassline provide a really good momentum and the song has a computer game feel to it.

Review of the Peacock Affect – The Heaven Smiles / Wallflower double A single — February 7, 2015

Review of the Peacock Affect – The Heaven Smiles / Wallflower double A single

Peacock Affect

 

 

Peacock Affect on facebook
Peacock Affect on twitter
BlueSoapMusic on twitter

Peacock Affect is the music of George Holman who has been writing music from his home in Exeter since he was sixteen. Influenced by Elliott Smith and The Smiths, George’s music stems from melodies that he picks on the guitar and lyrics that flow directly from his feelings. He explains “I don’t really know where my inspiration comes from because it comes through at random times. I write melodies down all the time, sometimes I’ll never play that song again, but here and there an idea will become a song. I draw a lot of my inspiration from nature; the trees, the wind, the sea…”

That really comes through on this double A side. I love the simplicity of the arrangement of these two songs, they are both excellently arranged and produced to really highlight the guitar playing and vocals. Both have haunting qualities but at the same time a laid back, mellow kind of feel.

The Heaven Smiles This is a strikingly beautiful song, the guitar playing creates a haunting feel which the vocals compliment really well. Really good use of subtle distortion to round out the song.

Wallflower This song is embedded above. It has a similar feel, there is great acoustic guitar playing with some really nice harmonics. The vocals really add to the atmosphere, they’re excellent again but have a haunting quality.

Review of The Cable Street Collective – The Best of Times EP — February 4, 2015

Review of The Cable Street Collective – The Best of Times EP

Cable Street Collective

 

 

Cable Street Collective on facebook
Cable Street Collective on twitter
BlueSoapMusic on twitter

Formed in 2012 at the same London open mic night that produced Denai Moore, Cable Street Collective combine catchy tunes with dance-inspired beats to create music that mixes African influences (two of the group grew up in Swaziland and Malawi) with UK funky house and a whole host of other sounds from in and around their home bases in East London and Brixton.

And there is an excellent vibe to this EP, Cable Street Collective create a great sound that’s quite hard to define having some great African influences, solid grooves and great playing and vocals. The songs have a real upbeat feel despite the fact the lyrics tell stories that don’t appear to have much hope, kind of like making the best of a bad situation.

The EP is available now on itunes, Spotify and as a physical release. Can’t Take Me Under will be released as a single on 16th February.

Intro The intro song is a great idea comprising of the tuning in of a radio into the next song which cleverly is their own.

Wasted Hours A live version of the song is embedded above. There is a great groove that opens the song, the vocals are great and tell the story really well. There are some great harmonies and the song has a really upbeat feel even though the situation doesn’t seem to have much hope. The song has a great bass line too.

He’s on Fire This song has a really uptempo opening riff, the vocals have a great energy and the song has great momentum with a nice build and release of tension.

Yin and Prang There is a great reggae vibe to the opening riff, solid bassline and great combination of male and female vocals. The bassline gives a great vibe to the song which is also accompanied by some great percussion and a guitar solo too.

Interlude (Feel it Fall) This is quite a short song but even so it has a great groove, solid drumming and great bassline.

Can’t Take Me Under This song continues with the same sort of groove. It has great vocals with really good harmonies and a really nice touch having a blues harp to finish.

Two Cities Again this song has a great vibe, there is some great guitar playing and great vocals. The song has a kind of urgency to the rhythm against the more laid back vocals. Great changes in feel / tension too.