Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Ghost Trak By Track Part 5 (final part)


The last song I wrote for the album - its in a very odd time signature - the original version was even odder. I must relearn this. The guitars are tuned to drop B. The middle part is a melodica - bit Yann Tierson. The percussion and handclaps are Kev. We recorded this at my house when i couldn't travel due to my back injury. I really like the lead part on this. There is a backwards Glockenspiel on this one, we really got our money's worth with that. More faded in guitar chords at the end. The title is not about the supernatural its about the people you don't notice in society.


Its a bit Nick Drake at the start, tuned down a semi-tone - the only folky thing on Ghost. Glock again on the chorus. I really like the inversions coming out of the first chorus. It all goes a bit metal at the end. Stuart Marshall plays drums - it was recorded at the same sessions at Pinna as the first Fierce And The Dead EP - busy day! I like the solo at the end. It was the last thing i recorded before my back injury got really bad.

Kev mastered/mixed the album next and I approved stuff via the web.

I was really conscious of using only a few different timbres so i tried to get the running order as different as possible, different key signatures and time signatures next to each other to create a feeling of variety. The running order took me ages to come up with - i used a chart with the BPM and Key Signature and put the album together like that. Nerdy but worth it!!!!

And thats how we made ghost. Done. And it only took nearly 2 years.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

My Album Track By Track Part 4 a song for my wife


This is a song I wrote for my wife, it was written around 2005-2006. Its about the way she walks. We didn't come up with the glockenspiel part until when we recorded it, the melody was on guitar on the earlier versions. The chorus part had different chords at first, I added some more inversions, as usual. There is another guitar at the end, a volume faded and looped part, for the fake string effect a bit like at the end of Chasing The Sun off Echo. I played this at our Wedding Reception when i did a little set.


When I was a lad(too long ago) messing around in Spencer Park i got my alarm on my watch jammed at 8.19pm - it would go off at that time every day, I couldn't stop it. In Withnail and I they say even a broken clock twice a day. This song is about people getting stuck in the past. The guitar part is played with an ebow and the guitars are layered up in multiple harmonies. I must TAB this out one day. Kev the producer plays drums in the choruses, the drums at the end is my mate Stuart Marshall playing a drum loop and we cut it up.

This is my favorite song on the album, although that changes from day to day. The noise part at the end is me and Kev both attacking a Squier Jagmaster guitar - we really should have made a video of that. This song has a kind of Johnny Marr/Sigur Ros feel. Some people thought it was in an odd timing but really its the Pixies trick of not looping things in 4's. There is a dirtier version of this on Esoteric.

Monday, 27 September 2010

My Album Ghost Track By Track 3

Burnt Out Car

This is in 4/4 tuned down a semi tone to Eb - the intro is quite Pumpkins/Hendrix riff into a Sonic Youth bit in the middle. Kev is playing hand percussion on this, I think its a shaker egg. It was recorded at my house in the front room with overdubs and mixed at The Map Room, North London. The heavy bit at the start reminds me of Kind Crimson - Larks Tongues. To be honest if you took off the percussion this could have been on my first album although it was written in early 2010 lying on the floor with my messed up back. If only I'd seen an Osteopath back then :)

Lakeman - 4/4 a bit Depeche Mode/Pink Floyd. I really like this one - it was the first we recorded for Ghost towards the end of 2008 at Pinna Studios. The first sounds is a backwards chord on an acoustic guitar.The electro hits and bass are all off the Kaossilator and the Sleigh bells(I think) I'm playing. I remember used to play this live thru 2008/2009. The effects in the chorus were added later its a bit of distort and tremolo then we overdub a Mellodica melody. The Mellotron bits in the middle remind me of King Crimson Starless off Red(2 crimson references in a row) which was a major influence on me but I didn't realise until later, when someone said on Twitter. The Mellotron and the music box are both VST instruments. The drums are a loop of Stewart Marshall that Kev cut up. The solos on this were also created by cutting up longer takes. I'd really like to reassemble this to play it live again. Recorded in late 2008 just after we finished Echo, it took so long to make Ghost, nearly 2 years off and on in dead time at Pinna and at my house.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Classic Rock Presents Prog Review


Sunday Free Noodle 33 - A Rushden Jam

Sunday Free Noodle 32 is:

Rushden Ascension - Live 2010 on UStream

This is a live jam improvised bit recorded on UStream this weekend at the Cafe Noodle live stream event- thanks to all you amazing people who donated money and all those who watched and performed - in total we raised £540 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society - thanks so much. To be honest i get a bit emotional thinking about it!!

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By the way for those who are interested this is the equipment i used at the Livestream(as requested)

Monday, 20 September 2010

Free Live Album and Post Cafe Noodle


Wow - that was an amazing weekend - we raised £515 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society and lots of amazing people played, it was brilliant - if you want to donate you still can here. I will post a full blog soon. In the meantime yesterday I promised if we did over £500 I'd post a free live album of the UStream gig I did over the weekend - the audience were all online - I'm talking to them in the chat room. You can download the album here.

Thanks so much - I was blown away by the generosity and community spirit - wow.

Speak soon


Friday, 17 September 2010

Webstream Festival and a message from the monkey

Thanks to everyone who has blogged, podcasted and even made a video about the Web Streamed festival this weekend. Greatly appreciated :)

Here is video from the the space monkey about the festival:

Updated line-up for the 18 and 19th web streamed festival here with donations in aid of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

The first act will be on at 3pm BST on both days - International times are here

Running Order:

18th Sept

3pm - Nick Tann
4pm - Steve Moyes
5pm - Rainer Straschill
6pm - Tracy Shaun
7pm - Chrissie Caulfield
8pm - Samm Neiland
9pm - Alun Vaughan
10pm - James Sera
11pm - Thanks and running total of money raised

19th Sept

3pm - Tom Slatter
4pm - Usit
5pm - Ernesto Schnack
6pm - Darren Nelsen
7pm - Matt Stevens
8pm - Pierre Masse
9pm - James Corachea
10pm - Stephen Goodman
11pm - Diana Zook
12pm - Thanks and end :)

I can't wait to see if it all works and we raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Speak soon


Thursday, 16 September 2010

Full Line Up for the Ustream this weekend


Finally we have the line up for the Ustream festival this weekend - I'm really excited about this. 14 Performers from across the globe coming together to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society - wonderful.

If you have a blog PLEASE help us by blogging about the event or tweet or tell your mates on facebook.

The full line up is

18th Sept

3pm - Nick Tann
4pm - Steve Moyes
5pm - Rainer Straschill
6pm - Tracy Shaun
7pm Chrissie Caulfield
8pm Samm Neiland
9pm Alun Vaughan
10pm James Sera

19th Sept

3pm - Tom Slatter
4pm - Usit
5pm - Ernesto Schnack
6pm - Darren Nelsen
7pm Matt Stevens
8pm - Pierre Masse
9pm - James Corachea

Today I will be playing live and having a chat a few times today here(no idea what times, check twitter if you want to watch!!) to promote the gig

You can chat to me here:

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Album Number 3 Day 1 - Electric Guitars

Its started again and its tough because I'm still recovering from the back injury but we've started recording again. Album number 3. I just hope this one doesn't take a couple of years like the last 2!

And the first change is we're using this to track guitars - my Fierce and The Dead Telecaster. The song is called Scapegoat.


The time signature is 7/8 then 6/8 for one loop then 7/8 then 6/8 then two more bars of 7/8, then an extra bar of 7. Its really melodic so it doesn't sound too odd thou!

Genius @ work - its that man Kevin Feazey again.


And if you're going to use on pedal, its that one again:

Ghost type photo taken on Sunday in the best pub on Green Lanes - using Hipstamatic on the iphone(not that I'm drinking cause of the pain killers):

I wrote this today for the live unsigned blog - Remixes for musicians.

And I'm getting ready for the ustream festival on Saturday and Sunday to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society - its all very exciting :)

Speak soon


Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Ustream Gig This Weekend and album number 3

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who downloaded my mini album Esoteric in the last few weeks. This means i can pay for studio time so I've started on the next studio album with Kev. This really means a lot to me to be able to keep making this music, I'm going to try some electric guitar on this one but its still loop based.
On The 18 and 19th of September we will be holding a web streamed festival at:

With donations in aid of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Confirmed acts include - Alun Vaughan, Matt Stevens,Nick Tann, Rainer Straschill,Tracy Shaun, Chrissie Caulfield, Sam Neiland, USit, Steve Moyes and many more...

If you could also do us a massive favor and tell your friends and blog about this about this that would be awesome :)

The first act will be on at 3pm BST on both days - International times are at:
Also my second album Ghost is once again available to order on CD after the limited edition one sold out - you can order it here.

See you all at the streaming gig - would be great to have your support and raise some money for a very good cause.
Thanks loads
Speak soon

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

What's your favorite genre of music?

Dunno - i like chords really maybe Pop music - Beatles, Radiohead,stuff like the that :)

Ask me anything

Monday, 6 September 2010

Ghost Track By Track Part 2

Ghost Track By Track - Part 2


11/8 over 4/4 - Glockenspiel melody into quite bluesy soloing for me. We put this together by editing down a 7 minute guitar solo and cutting out the best bits, which I believe is something Dave Gilmour used to do in Floyd. The sounds at the end aren't synths, they are volume swelled acoustic guitars for a fake string sound. A harmony part to the first part comes in at the end, it sounds really percussive but it is tonal. We got the Glockenspiel for £25 in Macaris on Charing Cross road in London before it moved to Denmark Street. Thats a great shop. Its never quite the same when shops move is it?


A tribute to one of my favorite bands Draw. Draw were an incredible band from Northants who i was lucky enough to see live in the early 90's many times. Russ, the guitarist was a major inspiration in his use of delay, he used to change the speed of the delay with his feet. Hopefully me and Russ will be doing a record together, we've been talking about it via Twitter.

This is in 6/8 with me playing bass, drum programming by Mr Kevin Feazey. There was originally an acoustic rhythm part(which if you saw me play live was there). We stacked the lead guitar as a harmony part for the verse then into those ascending chords in the chorus. Thats Kev playing real drums on the chorus. Some of my favorite lead playing on the album is the lead bit at the end of the song over the second chorus(its more of melody really).

This went through many revisions - there is a different version on the podcast feed with Fuzz bass. There are some backwards parts at the end and parts played through my Line 6 Filter modeller, quite Frippy, analogue guitar synth parts. I'm not sure if the end is too long to be honest. There is a school of thought that records are abandoned rather than finished. Thats why its good to have a producer, if it was up to me we'd still be making Ghost.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Sunday Free Noodle 31

Sunday Free Noodle 31 is:

Burning Bandstands(Bootleg Quality) - Live 2008 at Spratton Gathering - M Stevens Guitar and Loops -

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This is a live version of Burning Bandstands from my first album recorded at the Spratton Gathering 2008:

“The Spratton Gathering - The 3rd in a series of events organised by the AFCollective - was a huge success where many friendships were made or reaffirmed and jamming, drinking and joking were the order of the day. This event was done in conjunction with the Spratton Folk Festival - thanks for all your help (” AF Collective
Please let me know what you think of this and if you would like to do a remix or collaborate give me a shout.

More noodles next week

Subscribe to my podcast feed here and get the Sunday Free Noodle every week: subscribe_itunes_a

If you like this you get get my albums as a "pay what you want" download here

About The Sunday Free Noodle

The Sunday Free Noodle project is a free MP3 ever week - remixes, collaborations, live stuff, spoken word stuff and other odd things - for the next year. 52 MP3’s (thats alot). I think it will be a challenge to keep this going and I’m really looking forward to doing it - please subscribe to the podcast feed on itunes to get it free every week and tell me what you think(yes you can say if you think if its crap). I hope you enjoy it.

This project has only really come about because i have injured my back and have had a chance to go through my hard drives whilst lying on the floor with the laptop on my chest. Odd how things happen.

I really it want to be a collaborative process. Let me know - if you are a remixer, cellist, vocalist, percussionist, film maker,trumpet player or visual artist or anything else let me know(although I draw the line at juggling) . Perhaps i could send you some stuff(loops and noodles) to add something to?

Speak soon

Speak Soon


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