Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - petekelly

Pages: 1 ... 23 24 [25] 26 27 ... 43
Listened to my 'Brighter than a Thousand Suns' Killing Joke album on cassette in the car yesterday (it's quite an elderly vehicle), quite a buzz after not having heard it for years - didn't get chewed up either !

As has been said by others, I too have a fondness for tape and the tape era, but apart from as an 'art-object', my nostalgia is offset by their flaws in terms of longevity and sound quality.

Speaking of tape, I'II bet not many people will have seen one of these beasties. I knew a chap who worked at Nimbus mastering in Oxford years ago and this is what was required to get a CD made up from in those days - a CD-R at that, if memory serves me ! This thing was considerably bigger than an ADAT tape and pretty pricey.

I think it may be rather interesting:

An example (?):

'Purple section' - with feeling ! / quiet section (again) / atonal miasma / frogs / lovecraftian nuance / more quiet / space-flutes / frog delay-cloud / etc. etc. etc...

Cassette ! (and other obselete media nostalgia)

My second hand B & O cassette player player finally died and went off to the recycling tip, which made me revisit that big box of cassettes I’ve carted around from house to house for many years. I grew up (musically) in the era of cassette, when the new fangled Sony Walkman was the must have thing of the day. Like everyone else, I recorded onto ‘tape’ and this was my primary listening medium too.

In the eighties, I lived in houses with fellers who were into Hi-Fi, they had high-end cassette decks such as Nakamichi and Denon models, they who would only use premium metal / Chrome tapes and Dolby C, or more esoteric types of noise reduction. It was the best that people could do at the time without spending insane amounts of money on audio equipment. Even though the dynamic range and frequency response of the format was pretty unacceptable by today’s standards, it didn’t stop people recording music and enjoying it at the time.

After my stint of being in bands in the late eighties, I was very keen to record my own ideas, so I bought a very humble Vestax 4 track cassette recorder. This was the start of my ‘home-recording’ activities, I used that thing until it died and learnt an awful lot regarding making the most of 4 tracks. In hindsight, it was pretty dreadful quality wise, but saying that, even so-called ‘professional’ units of the time weren’t great either by modern standards of fidelity. I dare say tape hiss will not be remembered fondly by too many people !
I tried to get the most out of it by using the best quality tapes that I could. I also used a ‘ghetto-blaster’ to record guitar noodlings and jams I had with other musicians and that was even more awful in terms of sound quality, but very useful nonetheless. In the nineties a friend had a studio set-up based around an Alesis ADAT machine, which was a big step up in recording quality and extra had 8 tracks. We mastered onto a DAT machine, as that was considered to be the best format at the time. I recorded an awful lot of material at the time and was very diligent in documenting it and auditioning it, but I came to the realisation that it was just ‘work-in-progress’. None of these (home) recordings were ever released. However, some snippets of the better stuff have been recycled in my ambient work, ‘Colour my World’ from my ‘Hydra’ album being an example.

Four of my Cassette favourites :

Original Text here:

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear Acquisition Syndrome related blog post
« on: September 26, 2012, 07:19:20 AM »
In the spirit of my original post, I've been spending some time revisiting two of my favourite synths - Native Instrument's Prism and Razor.
With fresh ears (so to speak), I found some even more interesting qualities to these synths that I wasn't previously aware of.
The 'sonic exploration' continues !

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear Acquisition Syndrome releated blog post
« on: September 19, 2012, 03:45:03 AM »
Yes Julio,
Perhaps discussion is valuable therapy !. I'm actually thinking of not buying any more new music stuff for a while, I've got to crack on with my next album and the distraction of learning something new might not be such a good idea. I'm saying this after a possible Reaktor purchase, mind you :)

Sonic exploration here we go - it's never considered to be a profession is it ? Musician yes, composer yes, but sonic explorer, not so.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Gear Acquisition Syndrome related blog post
« on: September 18, 2012, 03:12:46 AM »
I think I need a 'purge' ! (Process mini-blog)

I spend an awful lot of time trying to determine as to whether software programs – synths, effects, samplers etc. may be useful (or not) for my musical projects. If I decide to buy a certain program, I spend even more time figuring out how it works. Of course, some things are pretty straight forward, but something like Native Instrument’s ‘Kontakt’ (for example) has an awful lot going on ‘behind the scenes’ as it were, and I’ve spent a significant amount of time with it, trying to figure out how I might find some interesting elements to it which aren’t immediately obvious.

I’m wondering now if I’ve succumbed to that most odious and insidious condition that musicians can be afflicted by – ‘GAS’ (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). I have a relatively humble set-up, which probably cost me less than a half-decent 5 year old car would do. Saying that, I have a LOT of stuff and as I’ve said earlier, I spend a lot of time working with that ‘stuff’.
When it works, it’s cool, in that it gets used in my music and I get to broaden my sonic palette and look at new techniques and ways of working. Also, it keeps the old noggin ticking over, I feel it’s always good to try new things out. Some of my ‘core’ techniques have come out of happy accidents with working with some program or using a program in a different way in which it was intended to be used.

However, I’m starting to wonder if is less is more and do I need to stop looking to new ‘shiny’ things and concentrate on what I have ? I think that marketing people know that a lot of musicians are looking for that killer application that will improve their work markedly in some way. Look at the amount of ‘ambient themed’ sample libraries / synths / loops and the likes that are out there. Whole synths are marketed as making great sounding ‘pads’, for example. My feeling is that you need to spend time with what you know in a lot of cases, to come up with interesting results. I’m fortunate in that I’m quite an imaginative chap, so new ideas are never too far away. ‘Ambient X Super synth’ may yield great results, but there’s a lot of satisfaction in the DIY approach, methinks.

On balance, exploring synthesis and sound-mangling techniques is something I’m deeply fascinated by, so even though a lot of this experimentation never sees the light of day in my material, I believe that the time energy ‘invested’ is never wasted in the pursuit of artistic endeavour and it feeds into the final work, one way or another.

Original text here:

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Igneous Flame September news
« on: September 14, 2012, 01:30:24 PM »
Including information about my upcoming album 'IRIS', Independent artist musings, a mini-review of the Korg microKEY25 and more.

‘IRIS’ new 2012 Igneous Flame Album:

I have a new album in the pipeline, it’s working title is ‘IRIS’ and I’m planning to have it finished and released by the end of this year. In terms of format and duration it could go any number of ways at the moment. A lot of time has gone into the work-in-progress as it stands and there’s still a lot of work that needs doing yet ! I’m striving for something with a more 'colourful' tonal sound palette and some different (to me) processes / ways of working with this album. More information will be posted nearer the release time.

Original blog post here:

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Overrated Ambient
« on: September 10, 2012, 02:17:25 AM »
Well observed Stephen and its great to see some discussion here where people express their opinions, positively and negatively.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Overrated Ambient
« on: September 09, 2012, 08:21:54 AM »
I quite like what I've heard by them, but to me it's 'electronica' and the drums are the least interesting part of their sound.
It would have been interesting if they 'd been brave enough to forego the drum element altogether.

My college years were in my thirties, but the bands I was into when I 'should' have gone to Uni were:

Soft Cell
Killing Joke
Sisters of Mercy

Prior to that Heavy rock pretty much predominantly. David, I saw UFO at Boro Town Hall without Schenker - bit of a disappointment !

Listening: Podcasts, Mixes, and Music Sample Clips / Re: Low Light Mixes
« on: August 29, 2012, 06:58:18 AM »
Enjoyed this last one thanks. So many new (to me) artists !

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Overrated Ambient
« on: August 27, 2012, 02:22:26 AM »
In my view the intentionally 'uber-cool' becomes somewhat dated, rather quickly.

When I look at the cross section on my own Last.FM page, it's all over the map, from 17 year olds to geriatrics. 

Yeah Blake, that's what I was referring to, but I would use the term 'mature listeners' instead. :)

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Ambient – Quiet music for all ages
« on: August 25, 2012, 07:11:15 AM »
Some thoughts on ambient and artists / listeners age, which may be of interest to some folks here:

'I recently watched a documentary about the age of the first generation of rock stars such as the Rolling Stones and other artists of their era, who were still going well into their sixties. It made me think about ambient music and the age of it’s artists and listeners. A few years ago, you could have said that ambient was primarily for middle-aged fellers, judging by the online forum discussions, groups, reviews and the like. I think it’s fair to say that the artists / listener demographics at the time would have shown this to be the case.

However, when I look at my page, for example. I find that a much wider cross section of people listen to ambient music than might have done so in the past. I think this is great, I would much rather have all manner of people listening to my (and other peoples) ambient material and I find it particularly interesting that this trend seems to be continuing. As regards artists, I think this diversity is the case as well, again I can only think this is a good thing. Unlike say, pop music, ambient isn’t defined by a young artist / listener base and I think artists will release for as long as they want irregardless of age and (hopefully) listeners will still want to hear their work.

In my case, I got into ambient at the age of 20, I would imagine that may be unusual case, here’s the background – I was living in a house with some Buddhists in Leeds, we had no TV, so we used to play a lot of records. One guy put on a record that I had not heard the like of before, it was ‘The Pearl’ by Harold Budd and Brian Eno. I was immediately taken by it’s beautiful, delicate ethereality and I was ‘turned on’ to ambient, so to speak. Even though I was a very mentally speedy kind of person, the calming qualities of early Eno ambient works (in particular) were very valuable to me. Now that I’m approaching middle-aqe, I feel I’m slowing down much more in lots of ways and ambient is perhaps more important to me. I couldn’t imagine not creating ambient music at this time in my life and I can now see more subtlety and nuance coming into my material as I get older...'

Full text here:

Everything and Nothing / Re: CDbaby vs TuneCore?
« on: August 25, 2012, 07:03:53 AM »
Interesting points APK and El culto, I buy very little music online but I would imagine most listeners would gravitate towards the big distributors - I could be wrong (?), so why limit the places that your material is available on ?

APK, I agree with you about Bandcamp's coolness in itself, I'm not sure about how it deals with ambient music though. I did a search on music tagged as 'ambient' and I have to say I didn't recognise many artists - saying that I'm hardly on the sharp end of whats out there !

There's also the feeling with these sites as to how long they might be around for. I've seen a a fair few fold, including ambient music based sites such as and Shopsonic.

Everything and Nothing / Re: CDbaby vs TuneCore?
« on: August 23, 2012, 08:44:56 AM »
Regarding this Bar-code fee business, when Cd Baby was a CD selling outfit you didn't need a bar-code, it's for the digital distribution thing. My earlier releases had bar-codes ascribed to them by the company who made the discs, so I didn't really notice it. I don't know if they're being disingenuous about it or not, but it seems you need one, one way or another.

As regards how much of a cut iTunes and the like takes, I would image that they decide how much that will be , not the likes of CD Baby and yes, its a pain and contrary to the interests of the artist. 

Everything and Nothing / Re: CDbaby vs TuneCore?
« on: August 21, 2012, 08:23:21 AM »
From my experience, I recommend CD Baby. I've paid the set-up fee each time I've released an album so it didn't seem too bad, as opposed to (say) paying for 10 albums all at once.

I should say though that, just because an album goes up on iTunes, emusic etc. it doesn't necessarily mean it will sell. I have a side-project called 'Formbank', there's three albums up on all the major download sites from that project and I sell very few downloads from that one. The Igneous Flame stuff does sell, but it has taken time.

Something to bear in mind, is the that if you were to release a pressed CD, you're talking lots of money, limited CD-R runs aren't cheap either, so in the scheme of things I don't think their set-up fee is too bad. Also, as Forrest says, having a back catalogue up on CD Baby shows a commitment to the work (as does owning the barcode ISRC thingy). I would suspect one of the reasons for the proliferation of free releases out there is the reluctance to pay such fees.

Of course the sales are important, how can I run my private Lear Jet otherwise ? - only joking...

Even though I'm not a Hypnos artist, I've got some thoughts on this one:

It's good and bad in my experience, good in that I continue to sell my music in download format long after the discs have sold out. It's bad, in that I very much like the 'Art Object' idea, but it's popularity has waned, certainly for 'Independent' artists.

I should point out that the situation is probably more preferable these days from that artist's point of view - anyone can now release pretty much anything they desire and if they sign up to CD Baby (for example), $59 gets their album up on iTunes, Amazon, emusic etc. in a few days. That's pretty amazing I think.

Or a transcript of an interview where he talks about the songs ? :)


I know this isn't directly relevant to the world of ambient, but interesting nonetheless, in terms of an artist endeavouring to release their work in a different format. I'm quite a fan of Beck and it's cool to see his imagination at work and the enduring legacy of 'sheet music' even today.

Pages: 1 ... 23 24 [25] 26 27 ... 43