Naviar Soundbook 005 The Stonecutter

The Naviar soundbook this week was a Japanese folk tale about a stonecutter getting enough wishes to be happy as he was.

The thumb piano came to mind as the chord seemed like one that would accompany the granting of wishes. Something about the shimmery chords makes me think of that.

The rocks seemed an obvious choice. I selected pairs from a small pile of beach stones that I've collected and recorded them with a Rode NT-4. Then I recorded a bass line, moving between verses in F# and a chorus in A. It worked well for outlining chord progressions within the thumb piano loops, which I'd re-pitched.

Disquiet Junto 0172 Digital-Analog Conflater

The Disquiet Junto this week set an interesting task to record in analog and then digital. For me this meant recording the drums acoustically and then as MIDI and then repeating this approach with the guitar, although I captured MIDI at the same time and then added a bass part.

Actually, back it up a bit, I first decided on recording a version of my track Rapture of the Raptor. I knew the high hat would be a challenge for me but I decided to record single takes on each instrument. I also knew it would start to fall apart quickly, so I reworked the riff to be a bit simpler.

The MIDI parts were used to trigger VSTs, a kit of samples from an 808 and the synth Massive. The two drum parts, guitar, bass and synth parts were then given EQ and reverb.

Outpsyjah's Outward Flow アウト

Naviar haiku 066 I Am Evolving

The haiku selected by Naviar Laboratory this week really resonated with me. I liked the idea of becoming transparent and smooth.

I had the idea to write lyrics for a song in response to Haris Strange's poem and it took a few drafts before I was happy.

The chord progression also took a while to develop and was nearly a different one. I settled on an idea I've been riffing for a while then got a bit disco with the bass line.

Disquiet Junto 0171 Oblicardo

The Disquiet Junto this week continued with the One Minute Past Midnight (OMPM) theme, asking for a rework of an existing track based on instructions from the Oblique Strategies cards developed by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt.

Like the Junto, I've been a fan of Oblique Strategies for a while but not used it for recording music. I tend to look at the widget occasionally when I've something on my mind and don't want to ask my partner to get her tarot cards out.

When the Junto email arrived I checked the Strategies and it said "Remember those quiet evenings" and I thought immediately of playing guitar.

As the day progressed, I looked again and got "Go outside. Shut the door" -- which made me think of the second recording I made for the first OMPM project, when I'd set the mic outside and you can hear me shut the screen door.

That recording was the 'safe for work' version I'd made a bit after midnight because I had doubts about using the 'not safe for work' recording. Both can be found here. Last week I remixed the other version and I didn't consider using it for the Junto this week

Then this evening I consulted and found it offered a few new strategies, particularly "Abandon normal instructions" and "Use your own ideas" and "Make what's perfect more human" and "Trust in the you of now" and "Give way to your worst impulse" among others.

It led me to set the microphone outside again and record myself playing the guitar. I don't know many songs and, while I could've improvised something, I wanted to record my song 'Blue Moon'.

I've recorded it a number of times since I wrote it in 2008 by adapting a poem that I remember writing at the Hyatt in Canberra in the mid-1990s. One of my favourite versions is this instrumental take on gated guitar.

The result tonight isn't particularly polished and uses new ambiance from my backyard but it's what the Strategies were telling me to do.

Naviar Soundbook 004 Dreams

The Naviar Soundbook this week offered Dreams by Yu Hsiung, which seemed like one of those shaggy dog stories where it turns out to be a dream. The redeeming feature of the tale is that it's a comment on dreams.

After hearing KlanKman's remix I was in the mood to make a dance track, unlike my orchestra pieces of late. I took inspiration from this Hot Chip tune but lack their skillful arrangement.

KlanKman's Gossamer Park

Another fantastic playground remix from Belgian producer KlanKman, who has previously reworked Dinosaur Park.

Hear the original Gossamer Park track here or Schemawound's percussive remix can be heard here. Below is a track I made when I returned to the material in 2013 with my partner Jo.

Visual companion to Paul's Boutique

Here's a video to accompany the Beastie Boys' album and, while it uses the film clips that exist, it's clever elsewhere in showing imagery to match the pop cultural references in the lyrics.

I'm fascinated by this trend for providing visuals for music, like the Boards of Canada album movie previously mentioned. Part of me admires the work that goes into their production, while another part wonders if some people don't have too much time on their hands.