Tuesday, 28 June 2011

more, not for music lovers.

I'm not over the moon about posting this, but I will, as a 1st try at something different and it was a first try, despite having a cool Digitech Jam-man loop pedal for over 2 years now, I really haven't used it much beyond playing back pre-sampled loops or recording a backing track, not using it to its full potential at all.

So I decided, after watching KT Tunstalls amazing solo version of Black Horse and the Cherry Tree using a loop, to dig it out and give it a bit of respect...Its a fairly simple thing to use but I didn't quite get it right and found myself looking down at my feet at times working out just when to hit the right pedal.

This was recorded in real time onto garage band, through my mixer, and I just wanted to see how it would come out...I messed up the play out though as I was looking at my pedal to try to see how to set the stop on next loop option, which it turned out I cant do while playing, and lost the thread of what I was playing...

Also at the start I messed up the overdub so it takes me a whle to get into the groove to add the staccato chords I wanted to layer into it..you can even hear me pushign pedals like mad and getting nothing back, since I had left the mike on.

In short, it takes too long to get going, and the solo ends very poorly...but..that said, the sound that my Lucille makes here in 3 different tone settings is ....hmmm yummy..I have to work on this a bit more when I have finished all my marking and have some dedicated time to spend on this...but here it is..

DON'T listen if you do actually enjoy music..this may scar you for life. If you want to see a loop pedal being used correctly, click on the video below.


Sunday, 26 June 2011

Mojo has returned

Had a great night of poker, blew everyone away with several huge hands that left me far and away the overall winner.

For once, pretty much every hand was a potential winner, though in my determination to be cautious I dumped quite a few lowish hands only to discover they would have won with straights and trios. Ah well. I won enough, felt good to win again.


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

struck down in my prime.

I'm not well.

The day before Kens last jam session and 2 days before I have to oversee student presentations I have been hit with debilitating man flu....

you can send flowers and candy to the usual address.

Hopefully the last of the UK Lemsips will keep me going till my dirty fighting anti virus genes do their thing...or is that dirty old jeans I can never remember.

must go gotta clean up the snot I just sneezed all over my keyboard.


Saturday, 18 June 2011

What a great night

Myself and 2 collegues, Ken on Bass/guitar and Robbie on drums/bass, had a grown up jam session last night at the Mezz...IT WAS AWESOME.

For the 1st time I can honestly say I felt comfortable and in control of what I was playing, even if I lost the key a few times it was really cool.
I took Gracie, my Ovation VXT and my Fender G-Dec amp so I could play her as acoustic and lead as needed and it worked brilliantly.

Less is definitely more and playing to my strengths of feel and tone rather than speed and rythymn really paid off. We totally rocked at times sounding really brilliant. Even if we often had no clue what we were playing, it just sounded great.

Sadly Ken, who is a very accomplished and supportive musician, who shouted out chord changes as needed, helped with keys and covered up my mistakes with his excellent bass, is leaving us for Abu Dhabi next month, so there's going to be few chances to repeat this awesome night. But we're going to try again next week.

Can't wait!!


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Home recording........maybe

After discovering the joys of Garage band on my Mac Mini, I have rearranged my gear a bit to make more use of it, and finally have found a cool use for my Berhinger Mixer, (another of my impulse, that looks shiny what does it do, buys) I now have my PC, Mac, guitars effects and mics all hook up and in theory at least I can create music, the only probelem being drums, but I have lots of drum tracks for that.
A quick test with a couple of tracks has shown it to be fairly easy, though requiring practice. So I've given myself 3 tasks..to practice my skills and make use of my gear.

Decent versions of
Placebo Pure Morning, which I almost have apart from that annoying clean riff.
Trace Bundy's version of Sweet Child O Mine...there's a reason for that..its awesome
Fleetwood Macs Jigsaw Puzzle Blues. I can just about play it and with a backing track it should be possible.

Once I get the school year over with prep work not withstanding, I intend to steel myself to this and see how well it works out...I will post progress reports here..again not likely to appeal to music lovers, but fun all the same.

There..I've said it, now I just have to do it....gulp.


Almost done

This is my last week of the year for teaching, I have 3 classes to go, then a flurry of mad marking activity before....HOLIDAYS.

I've had a busy year, aside from the 3rd block (when I had nothing to do) and it’s been great, better of course than last year (let’s be honest last year could not have been much worse)

As a fully fledged academic I now look forward to 6 or 7 weeks of downtime, where I won't actually be down...rather I plan to formalise some of my lesson, as I tend to rehash them as I go...It’s time for some more detailed work to be done during the summer to make sure I don't have to re-do things at the last minute, something I have been guilty of this year due to a lack of summer break as such last year.

Going to be an interesting year next year... It looks more and more likely it'll just be me and Bina at home. Jodie is considering going to the UK to do A levels rather than take higher education in Holland. I have very mixed feelings about this, Jodies progress here has been remarkable, she's turned around so much from the horrible child I talked about on this blog before she came over.
Yes part of it is maturity, but a lot also has to do with the environment she's been exposed to and the school we sent her to. I would like that to continue but after an absurd amount of dilly dallying and indecision her dad finally said he would let her stay with him if she wanted. So she's been pondering her options.

I have resisted giving Jodie any opinion on this, other than stressing the importance of making the right decision for her future, rather than taking a perceived easy route. A levels are not easy, and I worry that the break in her education will do more harm than good. But it’s important that she make the choice, and even if I don't agree I will support that.

But on the plus side, not forking out nearly €900 for her schooling and travel every month will mean some welcome financial benefits that Bina and I can certainly work out how to use. I can see a few more nice evenings out on the horizon....maybe a guitar or 2 ;)

Interesting times....but 1st up, Holidays, Bina's favourite subject, after targetting Greece and a few other places, a short tour of middle Europe by car is the current plan....should be fun.

oh wait I better get all that marking done 1st.


Monday, 6 June 2011

Brian's Face

I don't think I have laughed quite so much in ages...Many of my students started a thread on the school forum to create images using a couple of stock pics of me on the net.

The results are here, there are too many to list them on this blog, and they are still coming, but I'll add a few...

Some of the best ones.

There's loads more, and still coming so I'll add them to facebook.

This ones an animated GIF image, so FB does not really show it...

edit....shame, neither does this blog, it only really works on the school forum, and its quite a funny animation.