Monday, October 31, 2005

Wielding the football axe...

Jamie and I bought an acoustic bass from e-bay and it arrived tonight. I unpacked it and it seems fine. I've not played bass for a very long time. I was originally singer and bassist in a band around 25 years ago called Capital Models. Jamie joined the band and played bass, leaving me to sing and play synthesiser...and now we have a bass between us again (I think he originally played mine in those days)...

Other than this, the main topic of the day was the sacking of Hearts' Chief Executive Phil Anderton and the resignation in sympathy of Chariman George Foulkes. Anne was, of course, devastated by this latest "Turmoil at Tynecastle" but I tried to reassure her it would all turn out right in the end....

Owner Vladimir Romanov is leaving no-one in any doubt as to who runs the club - but this is a terrible time to be a Hearts fan with all the uncertainty as to whether there is any sinister plan behind VR's actions...

Coincidentally, QoS fired their manager Iain Scott today too...fourth in the 1st Division last year they've won only one of their 12 games so far this season...he seemed like a nice chap too...

I ignored several Trick or Treaters at our door tonight as I transferred the recordings from yesterday onto the hard drive and then compiled an "edited highlights" track of the 15 songs on "Deeperdown". It lasts eight minutes - about the same time as a Hearts director...

Sunday, October 30, 2005

An old friend departs...

Up at four and I do some music work on the computer after sorting out the CD shelf in the living room to allow it to accept all the recent purchases...

Jorg emerges from his room just after 5 and by 5:50 we are leaving for the airport....

I'm sure there's a reason why everything at airports is so expensive. Jorg wanted a cooked breakfast but baulked at paying £7 for two eggs two sausages, a slice of bacon and a tomato - we settled for a latte and a croissant each and before we knew it he was off into the departure lounge and the visit was over.

I had been parked at the airport for around 40 minutes. It cost £3.

I had a great time over the last few days spending so much time looking around the shops and buying CDs and learning about obscure prog bands and it's always good to catch up with Jorg - I hope we'll see each other again fairly soon...

I have a session with Ian Sclater arranged for 12 o'clock and so, after stopping by Tesco for milk and more croissants for a second breakfast at home with Anne, I start making preparations - then I add more dodgy vocals to the Alice Cooper backing tracks...

It's pouring with rain and, around 11, Ian calls and asks if I can come to his to stop him getting drenched - he has four or five new songs he wants to add to the project....

We work from 12 till five, almost completely writing one song and making rough recordings of that and three others for which I will work on actual guitar parts at some point this week...

A productive session...

Back home to an episode of Enterprise on the video and the doorbell goes - it's our good friend James Jamieson popping by while his son Conrad attends a Halloween party...

After discussing the latest Hearts situation (Jamie, like Anne, is a season ticket holder and stands to win several thousand pounds on a couple of bets if Hearts win the league this season) Jamie and I go upstairs for him to see the new set up using the computer to record music. I play him several tracks from the new album and he's impressed. Then he's off again into the night...

Later, Jorg calls from his home in Felsberg - he's back safely and Yvonne and the kids are delighted to see him again...he enjoyed the holiday. We enjoyed having him to stay...

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Alice, packaging and curry....

It's off to Glasgow today...

The intention was to leave early and have breakfast over there but, after last night, we're up later than expected so we breakfast at home instead...

A recent e-bay purchase arrives - an Alice Cooper karaoke disc - watch out for a CBQ Alice Cooper CD soon!

A quick drive along the M8 listening to the real Alice Cooper, and we're parking outside BBC Scotland in Glasgow's West End by 11:30 and it's straight to FOPP on Byre's Road....



Jorg's on the lookout for the big Rock Discography he saw in Edinburgh the other day. They have three copies but they've been lying at floor level and are in pretty bad nick. He defers the purchase till he's been to the main branch in the centre of town....

Meanwhile, I am impressed by the in-store soundtrack and decide to buy it even though I've no idea what it is. Turns out to be an EP by a New York band, Robbers on High Street, called "Fine Lines" - it's modern, loud, rock music with a rough and ready production emphasising the guitars and drums...recommended...

Next stop is Lost in Music, the new and second hand store in DeCourcey's Arcade a couple of hundred yards down the street. Anne takes a look around the non-music shops in the complex while Jorg and I trawl through the huge stock of CDs and vinyl...

He buys Deodato's "Prelude" which I agree to swap for my digipack version (Jorg is Mr Packaging Man remember). He also takes David Cross' (ex King Crimson) album "Exiles" and a Matching Mole CD of previously unreleased sessions from 1972...

I buy a compilation on the Konstellation label, a disc by the California Guitar Trio (this one features Tony Levin on Bass and Pat Mastelloto on drums) and the brand new Robert Fripp soundscapes album "Love Cannot Bear"...

As we exit the arcade, it's started to pour with rain so we find somewhere for lunch before heading into Glasgow's centre on the underground...

Anne goes off on her own to look at things she likes while Jorg and my's first port of call is Missing Records. I pick up the latest Pet Shop Boys album, their soundtrack to the silent film "Battleship Potemkin" while Jorg buys a CD, the name of which escapes me...

The main FOPP holds Jorg's interest for some considerable time but has no copies of the book he's wanting. He does however succumb to two 2CD sets of recent concert recordings by prog stalwarts Caravan and Focus...

I have a brainwave as we walk towards Buchanan St to meet with Anne and we go into Waterstones. They have three brand new untouched copies of the book and it's £2.50 cheaper there too. Jorg flashes his Visa card once more...

Then he goes off to jewelry store he's seen earlier to buy a bracelet and ring for Yvonne...

We meet Anne and she advises Inverness are beating Rangers 1-0 at half time and perhaps we ought to take the train back to the West End before the crowds emerge from Ibrox. The Edinburgh derby Hearts v Hibs is also happening today, 0-0 at half time....

In Starbucks we partake of some of their excellent latte, carrot cake and dutch biscuits. Tasty...

Anne texts her brother to find Hearts have been beaten 2-0 away at Hibs, the end of their unbeaten run and Celtic are now poised to take over pole position on goal difference if they win tomorrow...

We drive home and Jorg watches as I add some vocals to a couple of Alice Cooper tracks and then we surf the net before we order an Indian Takeaway to end the holiday on a high - Jorg is now whisky, packaging and curry man...

Not an early night, despite that fact that we need to be up at 5 tomorrow to go to the airport...the clocks go back tonight to give us an extra hour...

Friday, October 28, 2005

The elusive Mr B...

Up at 7 and first task of the day is to convert Ian Sclater's backing tracks to MP3 so I can e-mail them to a percussionist he has located and whom he wants to include on the album...

After some time spent uploading and e-mailing, rather frustratingly, the mail bounces back from the address Ian has given me for the drumming man...

I await further instructions. In the meantime I update the blog and transfer all recent acquisitions into the jukebox...

Jorg rises and comes through to the computer room to show me various prog rock sites. I draw his attention to proto prog band Touch, who's first (only?) album was mentioned recently on Sid Smith's site as possibly the first prog album...

Jorg is impressed and will no doubt seek it out in the fullness of time...

He plays me an edit from an album by Canadian band Addison Project. It is good. I go to ebay and am now tracking said album which currently sits at $9.99 plus $5 postage to the UK...

As yesterday, much surfing the net and mouse sharing ensues, followed by a very late breakfast before we head uptown...

Here's Jorg on his way to the bus...lovely blue sky today again...



First stop is the "other" Fopp in Rose St. I buy Mahavishnu Orchestra's "Visions of the Emerald Beyond", which I thought I already had, and even bet Jorg I did when he suggested yesterday I didn't. Luckily he declined the bet...

And so now my Mahavishnu collection is complete...

Jorg partakes of some Slapp Happy - their 2nd and 3rd LPs on one CD - and the 2005 release from Bowie's ex guitarist, Reeves Gabrels, "Rockonica"...tasty.

He thinks about the smaller, hardback edition of "The Great Rock Discography" ("because it has Caravan in it") but decides to wait instead of trailing it around with him all day...

Then back up Cockburn St and to "Fopp 1". We notice they don't have the discography. We both leave empty handed...

Then to the Whisky Shop at the top of the Royal Mile - where, after much humming and hawing from Herr Whisky and translating from yours truly, we exit with a bottle of Bladnoch, Jorg and Yvonne's favourite...


Herr Whisky

A whisky shop on the tourist trap that is the Royal Mile brings to mind the words, money, print, license, barrel, fish and shooting...

A late lunch at 3 in an empty Kebab Mahal, an excellent traditional Curry House in St Patrick's Square, is followed by a return visit to yesterday's Art/Poster shop...

After much more humming and hawing from the Jorgmeister, and the consideration of a vastly overpriced £95 colour skyline of Edinburgh print, I convince him to take on two rather stylish/modern (and considerably more reasonably priced) B/W prints, both taken on the tower at the Royal Museum, where I stood a few weeks ago and took some not quite as good photos on the old digicam...

The two chosen photos are the one on the left precariously perched on top of the others - and the middle one on the right...my favourite...



He is pleased, I am pleased...

And now the bus to Haymarket to meet with the elusive Alan Brodie - the invisible Creek member...

Jorg hasn't seen Alan since he accompanied me to Kassel in 2002 for the Documenta Modern Arts Festival (next one's in 2007 - we'll be there!!)

But, before we get there Jorg asks that we dismount at HMV and pay one more visit.

Consequently, we are late at Cuba Norte the Cuban Bar on Morrison Street but Count Brodski is already there and we quickly wire into some San Miguels...

By the time Anne arrives just after six, Alan and I are already steaming and he has called his girlfriend Penny to advise he will be on a later train - he is set to visit her in Dundee...

We have a great time in the bar telling various stories to Jorg which Anne has no doubt heard hundreds of times before. Jorg tells us the one about the Werder Bremen manager who's career was ruined by a DNA test on his hair which proved that, although he was innocent of whatever the German press had been accusing him of, he was, in fact, a cocaine addict...

We accompanied Mr Brodie to Haymarket - but only after I had insisted on speaking to Penny on his mobile and then called her back to apologise for saying I'd only ever met her once and arguing with her on the point - but how could I have forgotten our first introduction at the Stockhausen concert?

A cab takes the three musketeers from Haymarket to The Raj in Leith. I am annoying in my complaining about the route. That's what I do when I'm in a cab after too many pints of San Miguel...

At the Indian the food is great. I foolishly eat two raw chillis with the Poppadums. I am burning up....but two lovely Indian beers soon take care of that....

After coffees, I start questioning the bill as the San Miquel and Indian Beer rule my brain...it is, of course, quite correct...the coffee obviously has had no effect...

We leave around 10:30 and head to The Shore Bar for some live jazz - to find it only happens on Tuesdays and Saturdays...

We decide to head home but, instead of another taxi, on my insistence as I am drunk, we take the rather entertaining (at this time of night on a Friday) number 22 bus up to Lothian Road and, from there, a number 26 bus home...

I am drunk and, therefore, take a photo of Anne on the bus...



Back home, Jorg leaves a pile of CDs out for me to copy tomorrow morning...

Another good day...I will not be drinking again....until the next time...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Mental on CDs...

Up at seven to finish off the new CBQ CD. This involved splitting the master track in the correct places to produce a CD with individual tracks on it....

Finished around 9:00 and then listened to it back on the headphones - Jorg was up as I could hear weird blues music coming from his room...

At 10, it was downstairs for a leisurely breakfast, lashings of coffee, toast, holey cheese and vegetarian bacon bits - listening again to CBQ, this time on the main HiFi in the living room (Jorg's favourite track is "One Last Show" - the loudest and most raucous), then doing a washing and washing up the dishes....

By 11 we were ready to go uptown top ranking for some shopping etc...October has been a rather quiet month on the CD front...

It's a lovely sunny day (turned out to be the hottest 27 Oct on record..) A day ticket for the Borg and I use my OAP Bus Pass....

Up the Royal Mile and down Victoria Street - Jorg wants to look in whisky shops...

Then pop into the library where Jorg gives me some recommendations and I end up borrowing:-
Pharaoh Sanders - Black Unity
Weather Report - Sweet Nighter
Scolohofo (Scofield, Lovano, Holland and Foster) - Oh!
Tony Williams - The Joy of Flying

Off my own bat, I choose:-
Esbjorn Svennsson Trio - a live in NY CD
Donald Byrd - Freeform
LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem (which Alan Brodie recommended a while back)

Jorg has a huge collection of Jazz - his favourites are James Blood Ulmer and Miles Davis...

In the summer of 1992, he visited us in Edinburgh and hung out at our record shop. He'd never heard jazz. An Oscar Peterson album was playing....from that day, his bank balance has taken a battering....

We pass the "Bazaar" on George IV Bridge - a shop dedicated to bellydancing and the Indian Subcontinent's arts. Jorg's wife is a bellydancing instructor and, after much picking and choosing and humming and hawing, he buys a 2 hour long DVD of the world's best dancers live at the Folies Bergeres in Paris...

We head, via the University, for Avalanche but stop by the Mosque for lunch - superb curry for a mere £3.75 each. We sit out in the open with lecturers, students and mosque attendees enjoying the sunshine and the cuisine...recommended...

Into Avalanche and Jorg snaps up the Van Der Graaf Generator Box Set while I buy a disc of the complete Oboe Concertos of JS Bach, a 3CD box of Schubert's songs and The Very Best of Sandy Nelson - pop drummer extraordinaire...

Then to a few art shops and jewellery shops looking for presents and souvenirs and to Forbidden Planet for a Spiderman doll for Ansem...in the end nothing is bought but we'll be back tomorrow no doubt...

Our DVD is knackered and I source a replacement at Richer Sounds - Jorg scoffs at how little cash I am willing to pay for the player...I will buy one soon...

We stop off in the Royal Mile again for a well deserved drink and a rest, before heading to Cockburn Street to Fopp and Avalanche...

In Avalanche, Jorg picks up the new 2CD version of Miles Davis' "Round About Midnight" and I get The Tempatations "All Directions" which includes the great "Papa Was A Rolling Stone"; the best of Ohio Players (see track 9 : "Fopp" - I wonder if this is the origin of the Record Store Chain's strange name....and a Marc Moulin CD from 1975 - apparently a jazz classic...

And so to the strangely named Fopp....

Much browsing ensues...at one point, I realise I have far too many CDs in my hand - Jorg is a bad influence - I put back two 2CD sets of "Miles Davis live at the Blackhawk" and a Ben Harper 3CD Box...

I end up taking just two to the counter - the new disc from Grandaddy, "Excerpts form the Diary of Todd Zilla" and another recommendation from the Jazz Man, Larry Coryell's "Spaces", recorded in 1969 with John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Miroslav Vitous and Billy Cobham but, strangely, not released till 1974. So, members of Weather Report, Return to Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra on the same album - has to be a good one, surely?

Jorg tries to get the staff to reduce the luxury box set of Miles' "Complete Jack Johnson" from £50 to £30 to reflect the price of the standard long box. Not surprisingly, his overtures are rebuffed...

Instead he settles on two Japanese Roxy Music pressings, "Manifesto" and "Flesh and Blood" - he is a real sucker for special packaging - he'll take a digipack over a jewel case, everytime...

On the bus home, I call Anne on the mobile and find she's been trying to call me - my phone is on vibrate but in a pocket which seldom makes contact with my body - probably not the best place for a vibrating mobile phone. Alan Brodie has called and we'll meet up briefly tomorrow evening before he sets off for Dundee while Anne, Jorg and I go down to The Shore for an indian and some live jazz...

Back home we spend the evening drinking and listening to our new CDs - Anne enjoys most of the music. The new Dar Williams CD has arrived via e-bay - I play her version of the Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" and then we watch the Floyd at Live 8 - Jorg didn't see it happening. He complains that an extra guitarist is present. I resist the temptation to reveal to him the obvious use of backing tracks on "Comfortably Numb"...

I copy a couple of concerts for him - one by John Scofield, Joe Lovano, Dave Holland and Al Foster and one by Vietnamese guitarist, Nguyen Le...

After watching the highlights of yesterday and Tuesday's footie it's bed time...

Today we went mental on CDs alright....

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Hand on mouse makes all the difference...

Jorg went into Edinburgh on his own today, to get reacquainted with the place. I met him in the late afternoon and we came home together. Anne was off out to the Hearts Kilmarnock match, which, until Monday, I was to have attended too.

Jorg and I listened to some music from my collection of his choice and then we went on the internet to surf for weird japanese pressings of little known jazz CDs - as he is wont to do apparently...

We took some photos...and I added the four or so I took uptown and produced this collage...



Eventually, I got a bit bored with the surfing - it's not as good when you're not working the mouse is it? - and went back downstairs to listen to some more tracks and watch the Hearts game's progress on teletext. Another win. Still unbeaten. Anne was in a good mood when she got home after 11...

Jorg bought a CD by someone called Tacuma....

I forgot to mention that, yesterday, I bought an acoustic bass guitar for Jamie and I to use on future recordings - we're paying 50/50....

It should arrive by the end of the week...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

An old friend arrives...

It rained heavily all day yesterday but today the weather has cleared.



I listen back to the supposed final mix of "Deeperdown" again today and quickly re-record the lead vocal for the title track which developed a glitch during yesterday's digital editing...and then realign the final running order, slightly amending the cross-fases and track changeovers...

Then it's off to the airport to pick up Jorg...

It's nearly two and a half years since we've seen him and, just after we last parted company in the Mosel Valley in 2003, both our fathers died...

He's looking good and brings us delightful pictures of his and his wife, Yvonne's three young children, Xenia, Ansem (to whom we are Godparents) and Teja...

After dinner we sit around drinking beer and talking about, mainly music (Jorg has the largest record collection of any one I know) but also the current , almost desperate economic situation in Germany...

Things have changed quite a bit over the last 25 years since we first met up with Jorg in a small village close to what was then the East German border....

Monday, October 24, 2005

No time to listen...

Tonight I watch the first of the two "Coronation St" episodes - I need to keep asking Anne questions as I seem to have lost track of it slightly. I avoid "Eastenders" - unlike 13m other people in the country who tune in to see the return of the Mitchell brothers. When ratings fall, turn to old "stars" - I've lost count of the number of people who've left Eastie only to return a few years later...it's rubbish compared to Corrie...

Anyway, after Corrie, I spent three hours on the computer doing the final mixes of the new CBQ album. I broke off at 11 to watch the highlights of Saturday's Hearts game and then returned to the console to finish off the running order and track changeovers/crossfades....

Finally finished around 12:30 only to find one of the lead vocal tracks seems to have been corrupted somewhere along the line - so just that to record and it's done...

Another call from Germany tonight - Jorg's coming tomorrow and staying till Sunday. Looking forward to that, even though it's late notice....

It means I can't go with Anne on Wednesday night to see Hearts v Kilmarnock, and she calls her friend Lynn to take my place...

With all the work tonight on the album, I only had a chance to listen to one of the six Blue Note CDs I bought today in a spending spree at Fopp...no doubt I will listen over the next couple of days with Jorg...

Coincidentally, five of the six were recorded in 1964 - here's the full list:-
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers - Free For All
Blue Mitchell - The Thing To Do
Hank Mobley - High Voltage
Jackie McLean - Action
Andrew Hill - Judgement
Anthony Williams - Lifetime



Tasty...

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Close to completion...

I should have been carrying on the work on Ian Sclater's album today.

Ian was due to come round to do some vocalising over the backing tracks which are now on the computer - last session we spent sorting out all the glitches and timing issues re the recordings made thus far...

Unfortunately, Anne wasn't up for anyone singing in the house after last night (vino rosso etc) and so I had to postpone Ian...

To keep things quiet in the house, I spent all day working on the new CBQ album on headphones - cutting and pasting already recorded vocal lines and backing tracks and trying out new special effects. It all seems to be coming together at last. Not long to go now....

I've worked out all the recording dates for the album and, although it's nearly two years since I started working on it (actually the first programming of any of the songs on it took place as long ago as February 2003), on the days I've worked on it (around 18 different days out of over 700!!), I've worked quite quickly and effectively...

It's really just my procrastinatioin which has stalled the process...the most recent song on the album was written in October last year...

I am really enjoying working on the songs on the computer - I can't believe I waited so long to get round to using this method...

During a break in recording we went to Anne's mum's for tea - everyone was astonished I was no longer a vegetarian. I must admit to feeling pangs of guilt as I ate the chicken and there's talk of a goose for Christmas Dinner...

Highlight of the day was Kitty, Anne's niece, saying my name for the first time - ok she called me "Day Day" but that's good enough for me...

Got a call today from Jorg and Yvonne Sonnenschein, our old friends from Germany. Jorg has been working flat out for about three years now (at least) rebuilding their house and Yvonne wants to send him over to us for a few days well-earned rest....

He's likely to arrive next weekend so I won't be able to continue with Ian's album until after that...but I may well have the recording process for the CBQ album finally finished by then....

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Party time...

OK, when I said I went to bed last night at 2 after compiling John's 4CD History of Popular Music 1955-2005 set, what I meant was, that I had compiled the track listing but not the actual discs...

So, this morning I am up again at 8:30 and start loading the various tracks (51 tracks from 51 different CDs) onto the hard drive, downloading the cover art from www.amazon.com and designing the labels and covers whilst I work - listening to the occasional track as I make my way through...

By 12:30 I am almost finished when Anne appears at the door of the computer room, ashen-faced. "Hmm, perhaps someone has died" I think to myself - but no, it is the news that the bottom has fallen out of Heart of Midlothian Football Club's World - their manager has "parted company" with the club...

I console Anne as best I can and then continue with the task in hand as various journalists and pundits on the radio make stabs in the dark as to what could possibly have happened. Why would the manager of a team which is unbeaten this season and who sit at the top of the league (as they have done since day one) leave the club...

Apparently there's a press conference planned for 6pm...

I take Anne to her mum's for their ritual preparation for their visit to Tynecastle (Hearts v Dunfermline - can the mighty JT's remain unbeaten after playing every other team in the league? - well, yes they can actually, easily thrashing "the Pars" 2-0) then I head off to buy John's birthday card and some wrapping paper...and a lottery ticket - I cunningly buy two extra tickets choosing the numbers on either side of our regular ones - trying to cheat lady luck, boot her in the backside and roll her down the side of the road into a ditch - (Result? £10!!)

Back home I work on a couple of the tracks for the new album for a couple of hours, recording one new vocal and adding sound effects to another track...

Then back to Anne's mum's to pick Anne up and listen to the press conference. Nothing is revealed - parted company - mutual consent - irreconcilable differences - mutual confidentiality agreement...

So it's back to the speculation...

I finally put John's CDs together, burned, labels printed, covers printed, cut and glued and into plastic sleeves, and, last but not least, the overall cover, of which I'm particularly proud as it's my first attempt at doing such a thing - it looks like a 5" single now...

And we set off to the wilds of West Lothian to John and Ali's new house. It's old on the outside, modern on the inside. The party has been going on since early afternoon and both John and Ali's extended families are there - loads of babies and kids of various ages....

Also in attendance are many OOTB regulars (John is chairman, Ali, secretary) and singing soon breaks out....

But only after one of the CDs we've given John is loaded onto the sound systemn - luckily I manage to turn the volume down a bit for a particularly raucous track by the Mahavishnu Orchestra from 1971...

Anne comments "that's not exactly background music" as "Siberian Khatru" by Yes blasts forth...

The food is excellent, the booze is flowing - Anne partakes of quite a few glasses of the old vino rosso but, as I'm driving I have one can of lager and then refill it continuously throughout the night with sparkling mineral water so I still look hard and street and cool in front of my peers....

Tommy Mackay starts off with a couple of his comedy songs, including "Zoinks a Tenner")...

Then the cover versions start (no one is allowed to do covers at OOTB)...

Jim and Nelson from Flowers For Algernon do a couple of Beatles numbers - Fraser Drummond sings "Paddy McGinty's goat"...

I pick up a guitar and start the riff for "Louie Louie" by the Kingsmen - eventually someone, Tommy Mackay I think picks up on what it is and soon everyone's singing and playing along (it is the easiest song in the world - hence me playing it!)....

We murder Simon & Garfunkel's "The Boxer" - Fraser Drummond plays the chords - I am half a second behind him watching his fingers closely to see what comes next...

Lindsay Sugden gives us "Yesterday"....

"My Generation" takes a hammering....

"Gloria" sounds more Patti Smith than Van Morrison...

Scott Renton delights us with his popular song about pigeons (don't ask)...

No Impossible Songs are played due to the inebriated state of the band members (understandable as they've been drinking nd partying all day)

John and Ali's kids played along on various percussion instruments - I am beaten with a drum stick by one of them...

Anne can't understand why people aren't just talking to each other like at "normal" parties...but this is the musician's way...if a guitar is present , it will be played...

A rendition from me of "Very Small", complete with the usual errors, and then I'm off to the kitchen...

We leave around 12:30 (taking the pics below of a very drunken trio Anne, John, Ali) ...

"One more song Cloudy" they cry..."Sorry" I say "I really must actually learn my songs (and a few cover versions too!) if I'm going to go to these parties"



A good day (apart from George Burley leaving Hearts of course and QoS being thrashed 3-1 at home by St Johnstone....)

Friday, October 21, 2005

Munching, viewing, reviewing and compiling...

The usual Indian takeaway tonight (veggie madras for me, steak lovers).

And two episodes of Gene Simmons' "Rock School" - last week's on video and tonight's live.

Earlier on, much entertainment from "Coronation St" which seems to get more comic by the episode...

Took an hour and a half to write up the OOTB review from last night then mailed it to the Committee for issue to the "fan-base".

Then I set about compiling a history of music from 1955 to 2005 for a 4 CD Set to give to John from Imposible Songs tomorrow night - it's his 50th Birthday, which is, of course, a bit special, and he and Ali are having a combined house warming/birthday party as they've just moved too....

I dug out my old back up discs from when the computer got frazzled earlier this year and found my chronological CD listing - which is now a wee bit out of date re recent acquisitions but did the job nonetheless, as I went through my collection year by year, selecting one album to represent each...

I didn't seem to have any from 1955 but found out that three tracks which appeared on Miles Davis' "Round About Midnight" album in 1956 were actually recorded on 26 October 1955 - so that's close enough for Jazz as they say...

Here's a collage of the 51 albums I chose...every 14th cover is the cover of one of the four CDs John will be getting...



Off to bed at 2am...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Short notice...

Today I agreed to go along to Out of the Bedroom tonight to write the review of proceedings....

I hadn't been there for 10 weeks - last time, I played with Jamie and Andy and it was really good....

I hadn't played my guitar for 8 weeks (except for singing a couple of songs in the back bedroom around a month ago). So perhaps it was a mistake to think I should play a three song set tonight at some point but, to be honest, I never like to go to OOTB without playing....

And so, I spent all of 15 minutes running through bits of various songs from the new album trying to decide what to play. Then I had the idea of taking along words and music to all fourteen and asking the audience to shout out numbers and I'd play songs by chance (it crossed my mind that I could pretend my three "favourites" just happened to be the numbers chosen)...

During the evening I abandoned this stupid plan and got the fourteen down to a shortlist of six - "Half a Lifetime Away", "Very Small", "Still We Doubt You", "The Gardener", "Anything But Ill" and "Where Are You"...

Throughout the evening there were quite a few songs re lost love etc etc (as you'd imagine) and so I plumped for the three of the six on the list which have nothing to do with that in any way - "Still We Doubt You", "The Gardener" and "Anything But Ill"...

My performance, from my perspective, was not great, although the reception was. It took a minute or so to get the guitar in tune - the two OOTB house guitars are very expensive, good looking machines but they are notoriously easily knocked out of tune...

So the factors which counted against a good performance were:-

Out of tune guitar
Lack of practise
Fingers which, through lack of recent playing, quickly became sore
Sore left arm (I fell up the stairs the other day due to ill-fitting sandals - don't ask - exacerbating a chronic condition)
My inability to hold a guitar properly whilst sitting down
A rather high action on the chosen guitar in comparison with that which I'm used to on my own guitars
General rubbishness...

Despite all this, since the audience was so generous, I still enjoyed it....

Next time though, I should give myself a bit more notice....

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Slipping through my hands...

I listened to music today. The new CBQ stuff (obviously), Lisa Paton, Lindsay West and Iona Marshall. The last three are all so good, both from a songwriting and guitar playing perspective. They can all play really well - where as I....well let's just say "I get by". This is a problem I have when playing at open mics - there's no opportunity to hear what my music is really like unless you hear the "full-band" recordings...

In the evening I returned to the 5-a-sides, after last week's visit to the opera, having once again picked teams which I thought were balanced. For the first time in a long time, I was on the same team as Jim Park. But I had badly miscalculated the situation. 15 minutes in we were 8-0 down - indeed we were 3-0 down after around two minutes, the third of which, a nightmare slowly rolling ball slipping through my hands and into the net, may well see me nominated for "Goalkeeping Gaffe of the Year" at the next awards night!!

It took us around 40 minutes to score our first goal - in fact I got the first two - that's how bad our team's finishing was. Jim added a further two and then our young star player, Gary added a few more. In the end we were beaten 13-8...

So we won the second half 8-5....

Finished off the night with a couple of episodes of Law and Order on video and in bed by 11, which is an early night for me...

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

One last drink...


I've now been working on this album on and off since around October 2003 and I'm glad it all seems finally to be coming to fruition...

I'm up early this morning and quickly record the vocals for the last three songs, "The Gardener", "The Day You Went Away" and "Where Are You". I now have a version of the full album - of course, as all the vocals are virtually first takes, there may be parts which need re-recording but I am now in the home straits...

After last night's crisis of confidence, I listen again today and decide the crapness was due to it not being loud enough at that particular hearing!!

Tonight Jamie and I attend Out of the Bedroom's latest Acoustica night - to see, in particular, Lisa Paton and Lindsay West. These two, along with Iona Marshall, are probably my three favourite OOTB regulars and I bought both Lisa and Lindsay's albums tonight to add to Iona's, of which she very kindly recently sent me a promo....

The venue is noisy and probably unsuited to both girls' work but we sit close the front and enjoy each set nonetheless...

Other OOTB regulars are in attendance and we chat with John Barclay of Impossible Songs and Scott Renton..

After the gig I take Jamie to his local bar for "one last drink - I'm on holiday!"

Of course I have the latest version of the new album in the car and Jamie is so taken with the new including-backing-vocals sound that we end up sitting in the car outside the pub while he intones "play me just one more"...

He likes it...

This is a boost.

A good night.

PS Jamie also advised he likes the proposed joint live album and so this will be the next Crispycat release. Andy is moving to Yorkshire in a week or so, so there won't be an opportunity for him to add overdubs - it'll be a true record of the night back in July...

Monday, October 17, 2005

One step forward...

More work on the album today - I feel I'm on a bit of a roll with it and manage lead and backing vocals on another six tracks today, "Snowfall", "The Beauty of a Foreign Land", "One Last Show" (including some rather devillish sounding backwards bits), "Keep Living", "Anything But Ill" (I decide against BVs for this but nothing's set in stone) and the full band version of "Very Small"...

When I finish the tracks each day, I burn them to a CD and load them into the jukebox for repeated listening to judge what works, what doesn't and where things need to be rethought, re-recorded etc etc...

I listen to them during the night in bed and tonight suffer a crisis of confidence as, suddenly it all sounds really crap....

Hmmm

Whilst not particularly entertained then by my efforts, Jack Dee and Julian Clary did make me laugh earlier on...

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Home to work...

Up early and down to breakfast then packed, paid and out to the car for the drive home to Meg the Black Cat (Jane and Ollie have been visiting her while we've been away).



We head out into Glencoe (above) and the journey home is an uneventful drive through the beautiful countryside. I stop off at Rannoch Moor again to take photos to replace those wiped by my lack of foresight re charging up the Digicam...but the weather's not as good today as it was on Friday...we'll see when we get the pics back from Jessops...

We arrive home just after mid-day and, probably rather frustratingly for Anne, I immediately fire up the computer as I have work to do on the new CBQ album....

I am using Cakewalk to record the vocals straight on to the hard-drive and this allows me to record up to 48 tracks. Of course I don't use this many, but I do take the opportunity to try out as many ideas as I can re backing vocals.

By 10:30 pm I've recorded first draft lead and backing vocals for six songs, "Love and War", "The Crocodile Song", "Half a Lifetime Away", "Still We Doubt You", "Deeper Down" and the piano version of "Very Small". I am pleased with the results. The backing vocals add a whole new dimension to the sound...

Progress

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A long road for a short cut...


Here's a photo of the Hotel, featuring our room - it's the one above the front door and has excellent views out over the loch. For more go to www.ballachulishhotel.com - I swear I am not being paid to publicise the hotel...

After a buffet breakfast we drove off in the car to Fort William to get our lottery ticket (back to normal tonight as only one number comes up)....

Despite some pretty houses and good views over the water and Ben Nevis in the background, I have to say that Fort William is rubbish...

We then walked up the side of a hill to a waterfall at Inchree half way between Ballachulish and Fort William. Spectacular views and we need the exercise after yesterday's excesses...

Back to the car and over the water (Corran Narrows) to Corran on the ferry which took around 3 minutes if that. We drove on to Strontian - again the scenery was breath-taking. There we had a small lunch (toasties mmm) and met the local dog, Holly, who approached every visitor to get them to kick her small rubber ball around for her to fetch...

On the way back we decided to drive around the coast rather than take the ferry - a detour of around fifty miles...

All in all I drove for around three hours today and we arrived back at the hotel around 3:45. I know this because it was half time in the big game between Hearts and Celtic in Glasgow. We sat in the old library drinking coffee and Anne listeend to the Hearts match on her portable radio while I listened to music on the trusty Creative Jukebox...

Hearts got a draw and have now completed the first quarter of the season unbeaten - a quite amazing achievement. Icing on the cake was the first win of the season for Queen of the South - a last minute goal against Airdrie secured all three points and took them off the bottom of the league....

Dinner was excellent again - in fact possibly a bit better tonight as we weren't so drunk. Once again I ordered steak, rare...

No longer veggie....

Friday, October 14, 2005

End of an era....

Today's our wedding anniversary so we're off for a couple of days up north to stay at The Ballachullish Hotel. Last time we were there was in March '02 - Crispy Cat had just died and I was suffering from a viral infection I'd had for a couple of months so it was good to get away from it all...

It takes around 2.5 hours to drive there from Edinburgh and the scenery is superb if you get the right weather - and we did. Here's a photo of Rannoch Moor, which is off the road that takes you through Glencoe...


Unfortunately I forgot to charge up the old digicam before we left and so it scrubbed my photos - this is someone else's stolen off the net....

Since I stiole it I suppose I should advertise the site it's from www.webshots.com ... they have photos of almost everywhere there...almost no need now to take a camera with you..

We stopped for lunch at Tyndrum and sat at a window table which had a bird watcher's chart on it, as the proprieters had set up around 5 or 6 bird tables outside and there was quite a variety of small birds eating there....

An hour or so later we were at the hotel. We'd heard it had changed a little over the last three and a half years but, if anything, it's better....

One great improvement is that it's completely Non-Smoking. Roll on March 2006 when all pubs, clubs etc will be like this too...

Our room had been upgraded and they gave us a free bottle of champagne...can't say fairer than that...

Stayed inside other than a short walk along the beach opposite the hotel and stroll by a nearby golf course...

We sat in armchairs in front of a roaring wood fire in a huge old lounge for almost the entire afternoon and rather a lot of drinking was done (champagne, cider, gin and red wine) - suffice to say we were pretty smashed by the end of the day at which we enjoyed a lovely meal....

For a while my vegetarianism has been under pressure - especially when we are on holiday. I have no excuses though. I am no longer a veggie. I am now one of those people who are very annoying to veggies, who say "I don't eat very much meat"...

Apologies to everyone who has gone out of their way to meet my vegetarian needs over the last sixteen and a half years....you can now feed me anything you want and I won't put you out any longer - just don't include Goat's cheese in that....

Thursday, October 13, 2005

We are the lucky ones...

We won the lottery last night....

£10...

Ya dancer....

We've been doing the same numbers since it started perhaps 10 years ago? I checked the stats recently and our numbers hadn't come up for the last 180 draws so it must be about 200 by now...

Truly we are the lucky ones...

Other than this, it's our Wedding Anniversary tomorrow and it's our good chum, Stu Cobley's birthday today and my sister Sheila's Wedding Anniversary today and finally, after three days in the dim autumn/winter dark, it was bright enough for me to take some photos - and here they are...



Tonight I've been listening to the rather excellent Creek album "Somewhere Between" - it's great...

Buy it...

Now...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Hitler's favourite...

Tonight Anne and I went to see Welsh National Opera's production of Franz Lehar's "The Merry Widow"...

We were guests of the sponsors and enjoyed a champagne reception and pre show talk from the Company's directors, more drinks and canapes between the Acts, and a buffet with the cast after the show...

We had forsaken 5-a-sides and Scotland's ill-fated World Cup campaign to attend (Scotland won 3-0 away to Slovenia)...

It was a good show. I wouldn't call it an opera as such - and neither would anyone else, as it's an operetta - which is really more like a play with music and song...

I think it would've worked better just as a play to be honest - the music didn't do much for me...

I wouldn't have paid to see this yet, there we were right slap bang in the middle of the Grand Circle in the most expensive seats in the house...

Someone told me during one of the breaks that this was Hitler's favourite opera....

That says it all really...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

From Green to Blue....


A parcel from e-bay today contains Uriah Heep's "The Lansdowne Tapes". This is the first CD I've bought this month though I also count the McCartney album as an acquisition as I physically have a disc with the music on it...

Before I could listen to the new disc, Anne and I drove out to Loanhead through torrential rain, to visit my mum. On the way, we stopped by Jamie's house to deliver his copy of the proposed new CD. I await his comments....

My mum was in good fettle tonight, though, as usual, she had a few grumps regarding her aches and pains. Despite an operation around a year ago now, which the surgeon said would remove the constant pain she was experiencing in her legs, it's still there...

She takes painkillers everyday...

She's getting an MRI scan in November to see if she needs a further op to free up more nerves in her twisted spine...

The weather was dreadful and wintry and it made me a bit sad to think of my mum hobbling about her house on her stick with her low level energy saving lighting...

But she's not got it too bad I suppose, compared to some her age what, with cancer, Alzheimer's, heart attacks and dying etc etc...

Back home around 10:30 and I listened to the first half of the Heep CD before going to bed....

The sleeve notes are correct in their assertion that, without the mighty Heep, Queen would not have been the same band, such was the influence of the former on the latter...

This is especially true with regard to the layered vocal tracks which are evident here even on the pre-Heep tracks recorded under the name Spice....

Spice's first bassist was a guy called Barry Green who went on to become early 70's two hit wonder Barry Blue. Great name change there...

OK that's enough trivia for now...

Monday, October 10, 2005

Oldies but goodies...

A kind of usual Monday evening.

Spent some time looking at various studio programmes on the computer - I was trying to find a way of splitting the finished 48 minute wav.file of the CBQ & JJ Live set to make a master disc and to burn a copy for Jamie...

Eventually ended up using Sony Acid Studio, which allows the placement of track splits and burning directly from the programme - very good....

So for six months now, I've been sitting with various help-in-music-making type programmes on the computer hardly using them and in several cases, never having used them, and within the last week or so I have used around five or six different ones in the digital editing of this CD. This is progress...

Depending on Jamie's thoughts the new disc may still just end up being an EP....

When Ian Sclater was round yesterday he had the new Paul McCartney album with him and I took the opportunity to copy the tracks onto the hard drive....

After burning two copies of the CBQ/JJ set, I burned the McCartney tracks to a disc and assembled a makeshift cover from pics copied from the net....

It's his best album for a long time in my opinion. Apart from some guitar from ex-Jellyfish man Jason Falkner (who's two solo albums I would highly recommend - if you can find them) he plays almost all the instruments himself - just as he often did in The Beatles - and the overall sound is reminiscent of his best work with that band....

However....

This is a dilemma facing many of my favouirite artists. They are approaching their 60's (or, as in McCartney's case, are already over 60). Their seminal work is long behind them. Yet they keep plugging away producing a new album every couple of years only to have it hailed by their Record Company PR as "the best thing since ...enter name of famous album from the 60s or 70s here..."

It must be daunting to be in the middle of producing a new album, full of songs you think are great, but knowing that, when you tour, you'll only be able to fit a couple of them in amongst your greatest hits because that's what the audience expects and that, for the tour following this one, none of these songs will be well enough remembered to figure alongside your classics...

The only, ahem "classic" act I like, who don't seem to be in that position is King Crimson because they steadfastly refuse to play older material, viewing audience expectation as a cage in which they'd rather not be held captive...

Next month we're going to see Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel. They have a new album coming out. I read recently that their intention, within a 3 hour show, is to play the new album in its entirety. Good for them....

The McCartney album is good by the way and much recommended if you liked his Beatles work and his early solo and Wings stuff....

Anne hates McCartney but I have a soft spot for him...

Highlight on TV tonight was Jack Dee Live at the Apollo with guest Rich Hall and a newcomer I'd never seen before. All three were excellent...

Sunday, October 09, 2005

More music....

Up at 6:45 and straight onto the computer to prepare for today's session with Ian Sclater....

We started recording an album together back inMarch/April and today is the first session since the summer. Ian's been busy moving house and travelling around the world...

I work for three hours transferring all the backing tracks we've recorded so far onto the hard drive for further work, which will all now take place at Crispycat....

I break for brunch around 11 as Ian's due here at 12. In the event, he's running late and arrives around about 1:45...

So, while I wait, I finish off the digital editing of the individual tracks for "CBQ and James Jamieson Live at the Roxy"...



I work for 3 hours or so with Ian - today we are mainly taking stock of what we've done to date and we need to edit glitches, copy and paste parts of songs etc etc. We have around 42 minutes of material and the project will continue now in a couple of weeks...

After dinner (takeaway piza - mmm mm), it's back to the studio to finish off the final edit of CBQ & JJ (with a brief 30 minute break for "Arrested Development")...

It's sounding good and, once I've run it past Jamie, we may release it as is, without using any overdubs...

A productive day...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Another Saturday gone....

Up at seven and then three hours working on editing the live tapes of CBQ and James Jamieson from the Roxy back in July - got quite a bit done but still not finished...

Then out and up to Bruntsfield to get a bouquet of flowers for Anne's sister, Jane. It's her birthday party tonight round at her house...

To a deli at Cannonmills and we purchase two lovely cakes and some lovely bread and while Anne goes to Tesco for Cat Food and Litter I do the dishes and prepare lunch..



Afterwards it's back to the computer and a frustrating afternoon trying to get the multitracking recording studios working...

Anne gives me updates on the footie while I work, and get more and more annoyed...

Scotland lose 1-0 and so are finally out of the World Cup...

I shut down the machines and take a break...

Then I fire them up again and for some reason, clarity takes me to the gubbins of the system and I sort it within a couple of minutes....

But by now there's no time left to do anything as it's time to go to Jane's party...

Much drinking and a huge chinese meal for the 14 attendees - not counting the kids, Ollie and Kitty, who manage keep Jane and her husband, Bobby, nice and fit by making them run up and down the stairs to investigate the various cries and coughs transmitted to the dining room via some kind of baby-listening walkie-talkie device...

My advice would be to switch it off and leave the kids to it... but then I am not a parent...

Home in a taxi by 1:30..pished

A frustrating day, disappointing football (which I didn't watch), a moment of clarity and an enjoyable evening...

Another Saturday gone....

Friday, October 07, 2005

Procrastination...

Good news - nothing too seriously wrong with Meg the Black Cat - she needs to lay off the dried food and has had a whacking great £30 odd injection of antibiotics and steroids to get her quickly back to normal...

I am a procrastinator...


Do I have a fear of finishing the job?

This evening I fired up the computer and loaded up various tracks into various programmes but, frankly, I was overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do to produce anything of any import...

This has to do with my decision to totally re-record my latest song based album from scratch...

It's daunting to think of having to go back through all the songs and try and load up and sync or completely redo all the different parts currently sitting in what are probably quite fine (but recorded in a less able to be manipulated format) backing tracks which, at present just need lead and backing vocals added....

But I do need to do this....

I think...

So I ordered an Indian Takaway instead and watched Coronation Street then compiled the "Now That's What I Call A Good Album...August" and "Now That's What I Call A Good Album...September" CDs - one track from each of my top ten CDs acquired in those months (see them all here: http://www.monthlytoptenalbums.blogspot.com/)....

Then I watched some more TV whilst listening back to the CDs....

Rock School with Gene Simmons was good...

I should have been working but basically wasted my time...

I am a procrastinator...

Before going to bed I took a few badly lit shots of all the stuff (including a newly-well-again Meg the Black Cat) lying around in the back room....

I need to get down to things tomorrow...(procrastinator's motto)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Bad and not so bad....

(a) Tonight bad news in that Meg the Black Cat seems unwell. So it's off to the vet for her tomorrow. Nothing too serious though I hope - but it brought back bad memories of when Crispy the Cat was unwell before she died...

(b) Stayed in and watched telly mostly. Emmy (why??), Eastie (double why??), The Culture Show (still can't understand what people see in Franz Ferdinand quite frankly), All About George (which I gave up on after 15 minutes pronouncing it too twee and went upstairs to the computer and ended up having a webcam conversation with Craig without any sound, typing the "soundtrack" on MSN Messenger) then back downstairs for Mike Bassett : Manager and, finally Spooks...

(a) bummer
(b) not such a bummer

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

It's in the genes....

I am turning into my Dad...

Not content with resembling him, I also seem to have inherited many of his traits via his genes.....

Of course , one of these traits involves the existence of a falling-asleep-in-front-of-the-TV-and-being-woken-up-at-3am-by-an-annoyed-and-sleepy-partner gene...

Today a package arrived re a recent e-bay purchase - "Bottom- Mindless Violence" is a "clips" DVD containing all the violent bits from all the Rik Mayall/Ade Edmondson shows over the last 25 years...



Rather foolishly, after exerting myself (ok my fellow players may laugh at that) playing 5-a-Sides earlier in the evening, I made the rash decision to start watching this DVD at around 11:30 pm...

After much (subdued as Anne had already retired for the evening) hilarity, next thing I knew I was being shaken awake at 3am with the DVD menu screen repeating over and over on the TV - even this involves a certain amount of violence complete with sound effects and it may have been the constant noise of this that eventually woke Anne up...

My dad was famous for falling a sleep in front of the telly after everyone else had gone to bed...and that was in the days when there was nothing on during the night...and before the invention of video recorders...this begs the question, what exactly was he playing at??

I managed just one goal tonight - my initial shot rebounded to me off of Jim Park's legs and I slammed it home with an unstoppable toe-basher - which of course bashed my toe, leaving me to "underperform" for the rest of the game due to the discomfort...

My goal ended up not counting as we'd started 4 v 5 and , when the 10th man finally arrived the scores were reset from 3-1 against my team to 0-0 - we ended up winning by one goal so, for the second week running, the final score was not the true score. We should have lost but we won and no one can take that away from the triumphant black T-shirted team...

On the music front, Edward Spark's EP is released on Monday and I got word back from Stu Cobley that he wants to re-record parts of the proposed Creek releases, which is not a problem as Alan Brodie needs to overdub in any case. I spoke to Jamie and he agreed to the proposed live CBQ/JAmieson EP with the addition of Andy Wilson on keys if this can be arranged...

Yesterday I mostly listened to Uriah Heep - today I mostly listened to Gentle Giant...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Getting stuff out there, man...erm, or not...

Today, I drew up a release schedule for Crispycat....

Then I analysed it and realised we have only two items ready to go...

The first out of the starting blocks will be Mr Edward Spark's debut EP, "She Don't Like Techno". A simmering slice of electronica from the enigmatic Spark who came to the label via Craig....

Here's the cover...




I've never met the guy, even though I'm doing a collaborative album with him....but we may meet soon as he wants to work more closely on the project rather than just e-mailing each other MP3s to work on individually...

The Cloudland Blue Quartet Soundscapes EP will be next - I think this will be a 12 minute or so taster EP, followed in due course by a full album which may or may not be different recordings from those edited on the EP. This will be the follow up to "04 04 04" from last year, with which I was particularly pleased. The new album will feature the Loop Station....

Next in line will be a live EP from CBQ and James Jamieson, of course this needs the ok from Mr Jamieson and I need to do some work on the raw tracks which we recorded when we played live at the Roxy back in July. I think I will invite Andy Wilson to overdub piano and strings onto this, a la our line up at the Fringe sets we did...

Then the new Creek EP - a session recorded back in June. I sent MP3s of the 3 tracks to Stu Cobley for his comments and for him to ok the release. Our fourth member, Alan Brodie, wasn't present at the session and we'd hoped he might overdub a contribution to the tracks but he's been out of contact for so long now....I need to contact him and arrange something....

The new CBQ song album, "Deeperdown", should be ready by the end of the year. I have no definitive recording yet. I have a lot of demos. I am struggling to put this beast to bed if the truth be known. It will be such a relief to finalise it, put it out there and move on...

And hot on the heels of "Deeperdown" will be the new 2CD Anthology featuring songs and soundscapes with one track per year from 1977 through to 2005 - hmmm, maybe I should wait till January, record a new track then and make it 1977-2006 - Thirty Years!

Finally, after the recent aborted attempt (actually recorded in Oct 04 but recently edited), the CBQ/Edward Spark collaboration is back to the drawing board....

We should also record a new Creek album in 2006.

So the likely release order will be four singles...

Edward Spark - She Don't Like Techno EP
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Soundscapes EP

.....followed by...

CBQ & James Jamieson - Live EP with Andy to be added
Creek - 06 06 05 EP with Alan to be added

....and then four albums...

Cloudland Blue Quartet - Soundscapes Album
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Deeperdown
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Anthology 1977-2006
CBQ & Edward Spark Album

Other than this, I took a few pics today of car headlights and lit lamposts in the early evening gloom. But when I went to upload them, the camera had wiped itself for some reason. Very annoying...

In the evening, I purposefully avoided the computer and spent the night in the living room with Anne and Meg the Black Cat (who likes to play with Crispy's old fish on a string - I can't believe there's any catnip left in it...)....

We mainly watched telly - Corrie (on video), Emmy, Eastie, Property Ladder, Love Soup, Law & Order and, in between, I did a pile of dishes whilst listening to "Uriah Heep Live 73" very loudly...

Monday, October 03, 2005

More musicking....

Mostly working on music (and computers) again today....

I e-mailed MP3s of tracks from the various scheduled new releases on Crispycat to Craig Sutherland, co-Creek member and my Webmeister, for comments and suggestions....

I spent quite a bit of time sorting computer problems (as best I can) as the system was running incredibly slowly and kept kicking me out of Hotmail....

The Crispycat website had to be moved to a new (and, according to Craig, better) server, as our host company has been hacked by some Turkish extremists who have replaced many website pages stored on the Company's server with propoganda slogans. Don't know if they were in Turkish...

Crispycat wasn't hit but Craig's site was, so better safe than sorry...

In the evening, after having listened back to the CD of yesterday's "Triple Mix" of "Deeperdown" during the day, I realised some of the songs are a lot louder than others, so spent some time working on sorting this...even though these versions will never be released...

I also spent some time transferring various basic and not-so-basic backing tracks for "Deeperdown" onto the hard drive in preparation for working on these and adding to them....

Finally I created an 11 minute mix of the loops for the four latest soundscape pieces, and this (or something like this) will form the basis of the Soundscapes EP which is in the release schedule...

So two days in a row spent on music - and still no singing or playing any instruments....

Where would we be without computers?

Other than that, "Jack Dee at the Apollo" was on the agenda tonight - becoming a Monday night staple - and of course the highlights of the Scottish Premier League football from Saturday and Sunday...

Hearts lost their 100% record on Sunday in a 2-2 draw with newly promoted Falkirk. They were down 2-0 and had had their goalkeeper sent off, so coming back to get a draw was a good result...

It's results like these that Rangers and Celtic usually get and it's results like these that keep teams at the top of the league. The next game is against Celtic, now their closest challengers - however, as long as Hearts don't lose by three goals, they'll remain in pole position...

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A day spent musicking...



Other than a trip to Patisserie Florentin for Breakfast (the above snap was taken as we made our way to the car), an early evening shop at Tesco, watching this afternoon's episode of "Enterprise" on the video, the highlights of today's English Football on Match of the Day 2 and an episode of US comedy show "Arrested Development", I spent all day today working on.....music!

Firstly, I listened back to the CD I assembled yesterday by CBQ and Edward Spark - five tracks, 61 minutes. With hindsight, it's disappointing. I need to put more work in to it...

Here's Edward Spark's opinion:-

"Have listened to the CBQ/ES stuff now and here are my first impressions...

-- I'm still reasonably happy with the musical elements of each track, but I think it could be fuller in places. There are some parts of the music I don't like anymore and think are a bit cheesy. I'm hoping to twist your arm for me to re-do the music in Cubase, then bring it along to yours where we can work on each track to make them sound better constructed around the vocals i.e. verse, bridge, chorus. What do you think? Perhaps some keyboards to go along with the guitars?

-- I like a lot of the words from your vocals, yes ok there are areas where it could be better, but on the whole very cool. My only observation is that in these recordings the vocals seem detached from the music... not part of the song... they don't feel part of the song? D'you know what I mean?"


I have agreed we need to start again..

So that's back to the drawing board with that one....

Then I worked on the new CBQ Soundscapes album, putting together a "less obtrusive" version of the CD I compiled back in August. I took out all the solo stuff played over the top of the long loops and just left the loops....

This sounds good...

I then found I couldn't transfer the work I'd done into a wav.file so had to go into another programme and work it all out again...

Which was very frustrating....

Eventually I managed to burn a CD and gave it a listen...

It sounds good....

This could turn out to be a 2CD set....

Finally, I turned my attention to "Deeperdown", the new song-based CBQ CD which I've now been working on for two years (although if you added up the actual time I've spent writing and recording within that period, it's probably more like four weeks all told!!)....

What I was doing today was taking three different recordings of each song and synching them up together to give a quasi-wall of sound effect. It's interesting to note that in all three recordings (21 November 2004, 17 July and 21 July 2005) my vocal phrasing is almost identical around 90% of the time...

This was a long and laborious task but one I thought worthwhile doing...at the end I burned a CD of the results - a couple of the tracks are too quiet and need to be boosted somewhat...

I am bursting with ideas as to how to take this project forward...

I have not discounted totally re-recording absolutely everything, which may well take me into 2006...

We'll see.

So, I spent practically all day today working on my music but I didn't touch an instrument or sing a note.....

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Catching up...

Slept in till 8 having been up till 3 last night...

Went to to Stockbridge and picked up a couple of croissants for breakfast and bought a loaf of bread to try out the new toastie bags at lunchtime...

After breakfast, Anne went off into town to meet her sister and I set about trying to get the journal up to date for the days we were in Austria whilst loading recent CD purchases into the jukebox - I managed three days and still have six to do...

At this rate, by the time I get them done they'll already be in the archive, so I might try and do a couple more tonight...

Then I phoned my mum to find out how she'd got on yesterday at Charlie's funeral...

It all seems to have gone well - as funerals go of course - and mum mentioned that our card had been much appreciated by Pat and her daughters.

Funnily enough, I'd referred to Charlie as a "gadget man" much the same as my dad was, and it turns out the minister at the service also called him the "gadget man", so his propensity for obtaining the latest whizz-bang inventions was obviously well known...

Tasty toasties for lunch...

Then, surprise surprise, I worked on some music...

There's supposed to be a CD in the offing which is a collaboration between CBQ and Edward Spark, with Spark providing the backing tracks and CBQ overdubbing....

I'd done some work on this towards the end of last October and I dug out the tracks from then and decided to try and add something to them...

There's around 40 minutes of useable material that needs to be knocked into shape and that's what I spent a good few hours today trying to do...

I also wasted quite a bit of time mucking about with samples of classical music I thought I might use for future work but all to no avail...

Then I loaded 27 CDs onto the hard drive from an MP3 DVD in preparation for burning them -

Rooster, Scissor Sisters, Basement Jaxx, Keane, Kasabian, Killers, Queens of the Stone Age, Franz Ferdinand, Green Day (x 2), Maroon 5, Damien Rice, Kaiser Chiefs, Eminem, Jem, U2, The Bravery, Kings of Leon, Daft Punk, Outkast, Athlete, Razorlight, Futureheads, Chemical Brothers, Bloc Party, McFly, Interpol...

By this time, the day's football was coming to an end.

Queen of the South were leading 2nd top Ross County 1-0. They could have moved off the bottom of the league. But...

They had two men sent off and lost a goal with just 6 minutes to go...so they're still bottom but have earned what, in other circumstances, would be a creditable draw away from home. As it is, they've thrown away two more points...

Very disappointing...

Before going back to the music work, I watched "You've Been Framed" and a bit of the terrible "X Factor", then took some pics out in the back garden...a good sunset tonight which I singularly failed to capture...



Here's a flower, another plant, a washing line and next door's very stupid and very annoying unused basketball basket...