11
Jul

I caught a late train recently, sharing a carriage with a guy who couldn’t help himself gently pluck the strange looking musical instrument he carried. The soft, etherial but welcoming sound caught my ear with a familiar ring: it reminded me of an album I’d copied (stolen) from the office music server at a company I worked at years ago. I’d never learned the name of the instrument or even the album because the MP3s weren’t correctly tagged, but it had captured my imagination and I loved listening to it.

Emilio playing the kora

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10
Jul

Back in March, Rob Stow & I shared recording and mixing duties for the band Spirit of Play, at Alaska Studios. They rehearse reglar in Alaska’s practice rooms but wanted to make good recordings of two tracks for an online “festival” they’d entered.

The band consists of a drummer, a bassist, 12 string rhythm guitar and three of the band take turns with vocals/backups. They seemed more comfortable playing together rather than individually so we baffled the drum kit after mic’ing it up and did a couple of takes to get a feel for levels and tone. We also found they prefered playing along with vocals so to get the most relaxed peformances we set up vocal mics as well, but didn’t track them ’til the instruments were done. Getting two songs tracked and mixed in the day proved difficult in a 10hour day so we returned for a couple of hours each on two further evenings to finish off the mixes. You can hear both “Geek of the Week” and “Wave or Particle” on their MySpace site, and I’ve included snippets from “Geek of the Week” in my 2sd portfolio.

The songs were entered into the GeekPop festival, and a couple of months after the session we heard that one of the songs was featured in a New Scientist magazine podcast. Well done Spirit of Play!

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10
Jul

Blanco are performing their first gig!

Having sorted out the technical wizardry, visuals, nice sounds and cups of tea, Blanco is ready to roll! The first gig is on Thursday July 16th at The Windmill, 22 Blenheim Gardens, Brixton, London, SW2 5BZ.

The band fuses a stocky pop sound & sharp electronica with Jamie’s finely crafted modern songs & bass, Bob’s hybrid drum-computer rig, Jess’ delightful backing vocals and myself on keys. We sound like the raving ADHD lovechild of David Byrne & Devo with The Chemical Brothers as godparents. We’re supporting the lucious Defend Moscow and it’s gonna rock!