Archive for Gideon K

Film Soundtrack: In Deep

Posted in Creativity, Film Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2015 by Gideon K

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I met Keir at a film networking event. Josh was screening his Japanese Doctor Who film and Keir was screening a short film he had made. We got talking afterwards and he was telling me about this film he had shot all in one day with two actors and a soundguy. When he sent me a copy of the film I pretty much told him that he HAD to let me do the music for it because he wasn’t going to find anyone else who got what his film was about as much as I did.

I gave him some kind of bullshit rap about that which was 100% earnest and genuine, but seems kind of funny in hindsight. Then again, I guess it’s important to work with enthusiastic people.

Initially I had this whole other idea for how to go about the music for the film (quite a good idea that I’m not going to divulge because I plan to use it for another project someday). Partly it was based on metamorphosis and diversity since the film is quite long for a short film. Ultimately the initial idea didn’t work, and all that remained from my first sketches was the main theme that opens the film and reappears later on. I ended up pursuing more of that vibe and all of the pieces for this film have that soft, dreamy quality to them in one way or other. The aim was to capture a feeling of space and softness, mostly.

I tried to match the tone of the film in the sense of having two or more, but mainly two instruments weaving in and out of each other and tentatively touching around each other. Also, because of the relative sparsity of notes, I used a lot of tremolo and reverb on most of the guitars partly to try to accentuate the sense of space, light and softness, but also just because I like the sound of them.

Indulgence is ok if it works.

I started recording the pieces shortly after I had upgraded my recording gear, and it was a lot of fun experimenting with recording at home with some of my amps and outboard effects units rather than using just using plugins. I usually prefer the sound of a nice warm tube amp over a VST plugin if I have the choice.

One of the reasons this project took me a little while to finish, is that I have this ‘problem’ if you will, in that sometimes I can’t quite bring myself to make a piece of music that is only the duration of the bit it is used for – I feel like I have to make the segment or section used into a fully developed piece, even if it’s quite short. I don’t like leaving musical orphans lying around in my wake. So some of these pieces are 5 mins long even though they are only in the film for about 30 secs each. I don’t mind that though, because in the end I think film music should work as music that can be listened to on its own as well as with the film, in much the same way as I think often a good film will still work if you take all of the music out of it.

Sadly I can’t share the video of the film at this point in time. There’s a little trailer here (which I didn’t do the music for). But I will share the full film if/when I get the ok from the director.

In the meantime, all of the music below is in the film.

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Velvet Tongue – 26th May 2014

Posted in Me Oh My, Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2014 by Gideon K

Velvet Tongue May 2014

Dear friends and fellow literary assholes,

I know some of you are already aware that I have been leading a double-life for some time now; by day and night I am G-man the acoustic howling fruitcase, Dr Funkenstein of bass, or that skinny dude who writes all those sleazy tunes, and the rest of the time when you don’t see me I’m a fairly sincere and self-indulgent…. this is hard for me to say… writer.

Yes, it’s true, I fell in with the wrong crowd somewhere and started going to poetry events. I think perhaps music and lyric writing was a gateway drug of some kind, but it has developed into something a bit more serious.

I’ve created a monster.

Up until now I have only performed at open mics, and sporadically at that (trying to maintain the illusion that everything was under control), but the more serious lifers have offered me the opportunity to binge a little.

I will be performing and reading at my very first feature-length slot at my absolute favourite literary night, Velvet Tongue on Monday 26th May at Bar Kick in Shoreditch.

Click here for the Facebook Event and further details.

For those that aren’t aware of the night, it’s nothing like the drab, pc, ‘right-on’ vibe you might expect from a poetry event. It’s more of a literary circus, and yet the atmosphere of the room and the people who attend is the most encouraging, friendly, intimate and accepting that I’ve ever come across. Literally, anything goes.

And I have a bunch of new material to unveil too. I’m pretty excited . Aaaaaah yeah.

The only disclaimer I can give in advance is that;

a) If you come, you might find out some things about me you didn’t know or perhaps want to know.

b) There’s more than a good chance you will be exposed to some nudity or other on the night, although most likely it will not be mine.

Happy New Year

Posted in Me Oh My with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2012 by Gideon K

 

It’s about time I got round to writing this and getting back on track with this blog.

 

First off, hello to any and all of you who read this blog, and if you’ve just joined us, welcome.

 

I’d like to wish a special set of greetings for everyone who over the past year has come to my gigs, listened to my tracks, read my posts, watched my videos, ‘liked’ my facebook pages, followed my tweets, shared my content, commented on any of it, given me feedback and generally inspired me to do further work.

In an age where we are inundated with information and we all have to quickly, immediately and almost right off the bat make decisions about what we will or won’t give our time to, it is hugely humbling and hugely appreciated that you have designated any of my creative endeavours and offerings as worthy of your time.

 

Overall, as far as blogging goes I think this year has been pretty good. I know I certainly haven’t pushed this blog as far as it could go in terms of readership, or turning my posts into conversations and interactions with all you people out there, but a good start has been made.

 

I pretty much kept up my end of the bargain. I put up 49 new posts, which since I started the blog in February, works out as just above one a week for the duration of the year. I have also drunk a hell of a lot of tea this year.

 

For a while I was having visions of all the ghosts of teabags from the last year coming back to haunt me and ask me if I’ve made their sacrifice worthwhile.

 

I hope I’ve used their fuel to further my trajectory towards the heart of the unknown blogosphere…

 

 

Here are the top 5 posts that got the most views this year:
1 ‘Art is Work’
2 Top Ten Alternative Queens
3 The Sound of Modern Music
4 Do You Remember the First Time?
5 Why Don’t You Smoke?

 

My most commented on post was Certainty vs Uncertainty.

 

My 5 most active commenters were:

1 opheliacomplex

2 Anna

3 John Clay

4 Miller

5 JB Newman

 

 

Thank you all for your time, wit and wisdom, and to everyone else who commented.

 

 

My ambition was really just to keep the thing up for a year and see what happened. I don’t really know how this year is going to go. All I do know is that it can’t be the same or stay the same, because I seem to be incapable of doing that.

 

I will continue writing this blog and experimenting with different formats for writing posts and sharing ideas thoughts etc. I have a lot of ideas for new things including some fairly wacky ideas about how to expose and embarrass myself online, but I think being uncomfortable is relatively healthy.

 

I’d like to take this opportunity to inform those of you who don’t already know, where all my online content can be found…

 

Primarily, all my online content can be accessed via two main hubs: www.gideonk.com and www.blackhay.com. Each has their own links to separate soundcloud, youtube, facebook, twitter and myspace pages.

 

http://soundcloud.com/black-hay is where all my serious heavy music is at, my sweat and blood masterpieces and what-have-you. It is also where most of my gig listings will be found this year.

 

http://soundcloud.com/gideon-k contains all the other stuff that doesn’t fall under my main project banner – my strange and wacky cover versions, soundtracks, my session showreel and that sort of thing. I might occasionally post some RAAAAAW demos on there for sneakpeaks of upcoming songs and changes.

 

 

 

Thanks for checking in. I hope you’ll stick around. I would love to hear what you people have to say about anything and everything.

 

And finally…

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR PEOPLE!!!!

 

(better late than never, eh?)

 

 

Peace, love and used teabags

 

Gideon

 

 

 

 

It’s Just a Box With Strings On It

Posted in Me Oh My with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2011 by Gideon K

Over the past year playing with my last band, I’ve been privileged to have some great experiences learning from other people.

When Jim, my fellow vocalist and guitarist and I went to Ireland in October to do some overdubs and mixing of our songs, we spent a few evenings up in Tom Newman’s living room huddled round the fireplace, drinking way too much whisky, singing songs and collectively purging our various blues and nursing existential woes.

Tom was reminiscing a bit. The story goes that he was in the studio somewhere with Mike Oldfield, who picked up a fiddle and turned to Tom, standing 10-15 feet away and said “catch”.

He then threw the instrument right at Tom, who caught the instrument simply on instinct, without thinking.

“You’ve just caught a Stradivarius.” Says Mike.

Now, this story alone would give most classical violinists a heart-attack, or at the very least some level of serious trauma. Stradivarius violins are esteemed beyond pretty much any other instruments in tone, respect and above all market value. The price of that little box would’ve been at least a quarter of a million, and that’s back in the 80s or early 90s when this story took place.

Tom said at that moment his perception of Mike Oldfield changed, and he started to think ‘you know, this guy is pretty cool’.

As much as musicians, mythologise their instruments or have fetishes for them, ultimately a guitar or a violin is just a box with some strings on it.

All that matters is what you do with it.

And it was this logic by which Tom managed to convince himself out of having a stroke when the roudy Irishman he was entertaining on this particular occasion started fooling around with a 300 year old, £300,000 Nicolò Amati viola Tom was doing a repair job on at the time, playing it like a ukulele, or using a hacksaw blade as a make-shift violin bow.

(There’s video footage of it somewhere if you don’t believe me)

But that’s another story…

Anyway, it’s just a box with some strings on.

Creation Comes First

Posted in Creativity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2011 by Gideon K

Does anyone notice how in the bible and in most creation other stories, creation came first and commerce came a long time after?

Do you not think that if God thinks it’s a good idea to do things that way, we should consider taking note?

Especially seeing as he’s still (just about) in the game after all this time.

“What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world.” – Albert Einstein

It’s amazing how some people talk about writing a song and before they even have the tune, or a single lyric they are already talking about what they’re going to wear in the video, where on the album it’s going to go or whether they could get ‘X Famous Singer’ to do a version of it.

To me, it seems like that way is very cart-horse.

Besides, as a musician when it comes to the muse I can be pretty superstitious.

If you focus on the creativity part though and do justice to that, I truly believe the commerce side will be much easier – as an after thought.

And you’ll believe in your product because you’ll know it’s the best thing you could’ve done. That makes something a lot easier to sell.

It’s ok to guide or channel your creative flow into a specific direction, but if you’re only doing something because you think you’ll get paid for it I think you warp your natural urges into something else. You put a kink in the hose of your own creativity.

For me, if my primary reason for creation is anything other than a need to dig something up from myself, to perform catharsis, or a quest to find something out, then the result is usually mundane and uninspiring.

Craft and commerce definitely have their place and I’m highly interested in both, but without the other element you’re left with ‘a corpse without soul’ to quote Merciful Fate.

You can take this all with a pinch of salt given that I don’t make a living playing music and am hardly killing it commercially, but hey, do you think God saw any of the royalties from book sales?

Certainty vs Uncertainty

Posted in Creativity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2011 by Gideon K

Who actually wants to know for sure what consequences an action will have?

“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next.” – Ursula K. Le Guin

Personally I get a thrill out of not knowing exactly how my life is going to end up, so I have a kind of rule of thumb in terms of keeping myself occupied, entertained and excited.

In any given scenario there is usually a point at which you have to make a decision about how either to act, or not act.

Example: You’re walking down the street and you see someone with a funny hat or a really cool pair of shoes.

Option 1: Don’t say anything and carry on.

Option 2: Talk to them, tell them whatever you were thinking and make use of that little observation your mind has given you.

If you don’t say anything, you know exactly what is going to happen – you’re both going to keep walking, and your day will carry on where it was going.

Option 1 = Certain

If you do start talking to them, you don’t know what is going to happen. You may find out that you both get along very well. You may find out that the person is a total prick. You may just share a brief moment of laughter, or perhaps nothing at all.

Option 2 = Uncertain

This is a very simple example. But utilizing it can help turn seemingly everyday drudgery into something more… adventurous.

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Let me put a disclaimer here that before taking the uncertain option you should take into account whether the outcome will be either:

a)      Be likely to cause offense and discomfort

b)      Put you or anyone in danger

c)      Contrary to your principles or moral standards

ie you don’t HAVE to tell someone they smell bad, just because they happen to… – it might hurt their feelings.

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How does this relate to creativity?

Well say you’re writing a certain type of song, with a certain kind of feel. You get to a point in the song where the obvious thing would be to end with a bridge and a repeated chorus.

You know what that would sound like before you’ve even written it. That’s the certainty option.

Why not try something else? Try changing the tempo of the song. If it’s a rock song, make it switch at the end to a waltz or a tango. Slow it down, speed it up. The worst that could happen is that it could sound crap and you just move on to the next thing.

Break out of your comfort zone. Certainty is boring.

“Uncertainty and expectation are the joys of life. Security is an insipid thing.” – William Congreve

I hope you find this useful.

London Songwriters Meetup

Posted in Me Oh My with tags , , , , , , on April 1, 2011 by Gideon K

I went to check out a London songwriters meetup event last sunday. I’ve been looking for social events centred around this sort of thing.

Was interesting. I showed up a bit late and missed the collaborative part (well it was a sunday and it started at 1 – come on…) and so ended up talking to one of the organisers.

One interesting topic of conversation that came up was her inability to finish songs, and that this is a common thing I’ve picked from speaking to a lot of people. It’s the difference between those that do and those that don’t, I think – the actual finishing of a piece of work.

Nobody I speak to that laments about being unable to finish things, ever seems to have a solution or forward plan of action in terms of how to get past that.

Then I guess nobody who complains about things ever does.

After the groups played their collaborative efforts, finished or otherwise, there was a section for people to play one of their own songs. I was there, so I put my name down for it. After each person had played one of their own songs, people would write anonymous feedback on little bits of paper for the person.

Everyone had been playing things they’d just written that day so I in the spirit of it I did a song I’d hadn’t played live before. I fluffed a bit of my singing simply through not having my breathing timed properly – need to practice that.

The other thing was that I slipped and became unsteady a few times with my chords, BUT, no one said they noticed it because I kept my right hand playing the whole time and kept the groove going.

I’ve been teaching this to my guitar students recently – the difference between playing it like a guitar student and a person who actually plays the guitar well is down to groove. The whole point of music is to make you feel something. That’s usually down to the motion of it physically moving you – keep the right hand going and the left hand will take care of itself.

Most of the feedback didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know. One or two didn’t get the songs’ meaning. Everyone else seemed to, or thought they did, which is even better.

Unfortunately the group didn’t really stimulate or challenge me that much, and although I enjoyed the conversation with people, I didn’t really learn anything.

It was fun though and everyone was really nice.

I’d like to find more songwriter groups and check them out. Maybe I should just focus more on getting out there and playing to people again.