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Messages - petekelly

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Everything and Nothing / Constructive criticism
« on: January 09, 2010, 09:41:20 AM »
Following Austere's recent post about their thoughts on recent ambient music. I thought it would be interesting to take things a bit further.

Constructive criticism - do artists really want it ?
I've seen a few comments over the years about the need for constructive criticism in ambient music. I tend to agree, but its a double-edged sword and some people's skins aren't as thick as others. Of course it all depends on who is making the criticisms and if you respect their opinion in the first place.

I'm wondering what the place is for self-criticism ? On one hand, artist 'X' may never release anything as they feel their work will never be good
enough and on the other hand, artist 'Y' wants to get as much out there as possible. Obviously there are various positions between these opposites.
Personally, I'm pretty self-critical and I reject a fair bit of what I do. Incidentally, I've just checked out a bunch of recordings I made onto DAT
tapes about 10 years ago. Cripes ! I'm glad I didn't release them at the time !

Here's an example of constructive criticism and my reaction to it:

My 2004 album 'Oxana' generally got very good reviews, but some reviews referred to a percieved shortcoming in the production of the album. I'II
admit that at first I didn't take it very well, but it kind of stuck. The issue was that the overall sound was a bit 'muddy'. It was true that
there wasn't much in the way of high frequencies on the album. On my subsequent albums, I started to add more HF content to 'fill the spectrum' to make them sound somewhat more contemporary (in terms of production). As time has gone on, I realised that the 'warmer/muddy' sound of 'Oxana' was appropriate for it and that the 'zing' and 'ping' production thing isn't that important to me now.

What I took from this was to take things on board, but to bear in mind that one's own judgement and sense of discrimination are core to creating work in the first place and that these things will change over time. I listen back to some of my material now and find things I didn't do very well, but it was the best I could do at the time.


Everything and Nothing / Re: good old vinyl... yet another article...
« on: January 06, 2010, 08:51:47 AM »
One of the reasons I've not been impressed with the 'glitch' side of things, is that the very sounds that I used to find annoying and distracting on
vinyl when listening to albums such as 'The Pearl' and 'Apollo' are now included (presumably) to have some musical interest or 'ambience'.

I don't miss Static, clicks and rumblings anymore than I miss tape hiss. 

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Best of 2009!!!1
« on: January 05, 2010, 08:24:32 AM »

Thanks to Phil Derby for including 'Harmonium' in his Electroambient Space Best CDs of 2009 (ambient) top 10 list. Thanks also to 'Hjalmer' and 'Ein
Sophistry' for doing so here too.


We've agreed, after much debate, that most ambient musick out there in the last 3-4 years has been shite.

Further elucidation, fellers ?

Everything and Nothing / Re: MySpace pratting around
« on: January 02, 2010, 08:55:10 AM »

Yeah its getting steadily worse. Their spam, other peoples spam, pointless bulletins etc...

Here's an example:
I just got a friend request from an artist, I had a look at their page (as I always do before accepting a request) and there has been 20 profile
views (so its a new profile) and he's already got 230 'friends'. So I'm presuming that a lot of artists aren't aware of this new 'auto-accept'

For me, I think its important to decide who I want to have as 'friends' (and who I don't want either), otherwise its just a pointless cattle-market.
I know that MySpace isn't the 'real world', but low as the SNR is, I've found it to be very useful and have had a lot of communication with other
artists and people who listen to my music through it, so I'm still on there.


Everything and Nothing / MySpace pratting around
« on: December 27, 2009, 01:15:24 PM »
Logging into my MySpace profiles, I noticed some new 'friends' whose requests I didn't remember accepting.

It seems that Myspazz is now setting itself to auto-accept any requests, making a mockery of having any kind of a 'real' profile.
Here's what I did to stop this:

Log in, go to 'My account', then 'Spam' and uncheck the following boxes:

Friend Requests
'Automatically accept all requests'


'Allow non-friends to send me new messages'

Its either a bug or they're losing the plot... ???


Everything and Nothing / Re: We all get old
« on: December 24, 2009, 03:19:29 PM »
Show some respect people,

He's been to outer space and that's no small thing in my book.
Of course, Mirfield's finest (Jean Luc) is the real deal.

Make it so, our kid !

Everything and Nothing / RATM versus X factor clone
« on: December 15, 2009, 08:42:24 AM »

I've never watched the X-factor thing, but from what I hear, its a right load of tripe.
Here's an interesting thing going on over here:


Interesting thread, Mike

I try to use different approaches to different albums. I like to diversify.

I'm currently working on a project with 'Achromus' which is instrumental/beat-based. There's quite a bit of recorded guitar on it and I've really
gotten into how to edit parts in a way I don't do with my ambient material. Its all done in FL studio and I've had to learn it pretty well to do what
I want to do.

I like to do collaborations and reworks - they keep me fresh. Under my 'Formbank' guise, I've recently done quite a few reworks of some tunes by a
British artist called 'Mrs Jynx' (who is great), I learnt a lot from doing them.

Having played guitar for a long time kind of 'roots' me in a way. I'm a rubbish keyboard player ! I very rarely use soft-synths in my ambient work,
as I don't have the interest in editing presets to make unique sounds - I'd rather process sounds instead.

My way of working is almost entirely based on the computer, yes It's a pretty bleak way of doing things and I would imagine that approach won't suit many people.
For me, working on different types of music (hopefully) stops me from going into repetition mode, but saying that I'm a big fan of 're-cycling'
sounds. Taking the output from a process and putting it into another process etc - many times !


Everything and Nothing / Re: Favorite movies
« on: November 23, 2009, 01:20:08 PM »
I haven't watched many recent films. My favourite is still 'Wings of Desire' by Wim Wenders. I found it inspiring.


Everything and Nothing / Re: Our new dog!
« on: November 23, 2009, 10:20:19 AM »

You get the gold star of the week!

Indeed you do John !

Looks a very nice creature. I've always liked dachshunds, someone said the black and tan ones think that they're Dobermans, because nobody told them otherwise.

Cool to hear about your new beastie too, Anthony.


I think this is a great idea myself. Personally, I'd like to hear a Hypnos 'best of' (according to Mike) podcast.
Voiceover is a good idea, but perhaps could do with less reverb and some LF rolloff.


Everything and Nothing / Re: Sound quality still matters....
« on: November 18, 2009, 09:07:12 AM »
Now, using compressed mp3s and your $3 earbud headphones as your one and only listening environment, that's just sad.  It's like saying you admire art, but only looking at paintings in black and white newsprint reproductions.

True, but saying that, listening to material encoded at 320 kbps played on a good mp3 player and a good set of earphones is a pretty good listening
experience nonetheless. When I was looking at mp3 players a few years ago, iPods were generally not recommended from a sound quality point of view.

Interestingly, lots of electronica net-labels are releasing albums at 320 kbps mp3s these days, it seems to be becoming some kind of 'standard' for
good-enough audio quality.


Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: One for the reverb-heads
« on: November 17, 2009, 12:58:02 PM »

Not Heaven, just Hall...

Seriously, I'm finding it useful for 'mega-verb' guitar solo parts and I actually like its simplicity, makes a refreshing change.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / One for the reverb-heads
« on: November 16, 2009, 07:20:27 AM »
Free TC M30 plug-in:

I've just grabbed it and will now find out whether it transports me to 'verb heaven'


Everything and Nothing / Re: Sound quality still matters....
« on: November 16, 2009, 06:47:25 AM »

I remember audiophile cassette decks and the use of metal tape cassettes. How things have changed and no doubt will change

Everything and Nothing / Re: Alcohol at lunch?
« on: November 11, 2009, 04:06:29 PM »
Live and let live.

Sensibility is not for everyone,

I'm no saint myself, I've had a colourful life, so I'm not judgmental.


Everything and Nothing / Re: Voluntary simplicity, or lifestyle minimalism
« on: November 10, 2009, 02:56:41 AM »
I live a relatively simple life by most people's standards here in the UK, but a hugely
'consumerist' life compared a lot of people in the world.

I believe that stuff is there to be used and I try to work 'lean', I've gotten rid of quite a bit of
audio equipment that I don't use in the past few years. I've known people with loads of musical
equipment languishing in an unused studio and I don't see the point of that.

Having the time (and making time) to make music is far more precious than having 10 guitars.


Everything and Nothing / Re: College football 2009
« on: November 03, 2009, 03:47:44 AM »
What is this about Mike ?
No mention of Scunthorpe United at all, or Accrington Stanley

I take it it's not 'the beautiful game'  :)

Everything and Nothing / Re: Tinnitus, part two
« on: November 03, 2009, 03:44:22 AM »
Sorry to hear about your problems Lena,

There's nothing wrong with using headphones for guitar (or anything else). For sure, its very
different than hearing a hefty guitar sound from an amp. I use phones primarily as I prefer the
sense of 'immersion' you can get, particularly with ambient music.

Of course, you have to be careful with the volume levels. In my experience, a worse-case scenario is
electronic music with beats listened to repeatedly when creating a track on phones (and particularly
earphones). Now, that's potentially damaging.


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