Archive for Tape

Film Soundtrack: Japanese Dr Who

Posted in Film Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2015 by Gideon K

 

My multi-talented brother Josh has all sorts of crazy ideas now and then, and usually one way or another I get roped into helping out with them. This was one of his more successful bouts of creative lunacy as the video went viral quite quickly.

Summer 2014 he decided to make a Tokusatsu style parody of Dr Who. He has written a bit about it here, and the short film ended up going somewhat viral when he put it out.

My involvement in the film was (aside from driving to the park to shoot and so on,) was doing the sound and voice recording, getting the right kind of ring modulation for the Dalek sounds, and also doing the music, which is the bit that I’m most proud of.

At this point in time, it is the piece of music I’ve made that has been heard by the largest number of people – not a song I’ve slaved away for months writing, not any band recording I spent ages sculpting the right parts for or anything like that, but a goofy bit of trumpet-based rock n roll.

You have to laugh at the strange universe we live in.

It was all based around that little motif that the trumpets play. I didn’t even write that so much as adapt it from this tune Akie kept humming while we were filming. I made a midi track of everything, and sent it to my mate mate Jon, who kindly recorded real drums from the patterns I had programmed, and then. Andy Watts did the same thing with the trumpet parts. Add bass, keyboards, dash of lemon, and there you go.

 

 

One interesting thing about the sound on the video: Josh was going for the look of an old VHS tape, so to try and match that kind of quality (or lack of), I ran the soundtrack and all the dialogue, sound effects etc onto a worn-out cassette tape and then back into the computer so it had the gooey, squishy sound and hiss. The version of the track on my soundcloud is just the mix from the computer.

 

 

 

The 4-Track Tape Trader’s Club

Posted in Creativity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2014 by Gideon K

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I mentioned a little earlier on that I’d been collaborating with various musicians on an experimental tape project. The idea behind the whole thing was to make music for the sake of making music.

I wanted to play with people without any kind of formalities or real responsibilities. It has been hard (in London) to find people who are willing to just let go of their egoic sense of purpose, band, career even and just find the time to make noise for the sheer joy of it. To take the leap and collaborate awkwardly and nakedly with strangers.

I was inspired principally by the idea of double-exposure on analogue film; where two different photographers take pictures over the same roll of film. The results are often chaotic, and either brilliant or a complete mess. I wanted to find a way for that gamble to translate musically, and given the inherent limitations of cheap analogue mediums, my mind turned towards 4-Track Cassette tape. I’d been looking for a way to use 4-Track for a while because of its ease of use, throwaway nature of the results, and to a certain degree the way it has now become almost entirely obsolete.

Of course, there is also a certain romanticism about 4-track tape, especially to someone whose musical adolescence was shaped in a big way by lo-fi independent music made using such equipment, but having learned of Josh Homme’s Desert Sessions, I had been searching for a means of doing something similar for a long time.
The problem is that in London, not many people have access to their own studios for recording a whole band live, and those who do are rarely up for the idea of getting groups of people together to record just for fun – they’ve got bills to pay. That’s understandable.

The tape idea has helped fill this gap to a certain degree. It may not have the immediacy of getting everyone together in the same room (in fact, at this point I still haven’t met some of the other collaborators on this project face-to-face yet), but the hidden blessing is that freed from other people’s presence, gaze, and breathing on their neck, everyone is free to do whatever they feel like within the confines of the tracks they record. It has been very surprising, and a lot of fun.

On a personal level, having spent so much time, effort, and focused concentration making sure all the Black Hay recordings have been ‘just right’, and working in quality studios, with quality equipment, for long hours making sure everything sounds nice, it is a nice relief to be able to rebel against that and against myself in a way, by throwing all of those notions and lessons out the window and just going wild with it. I’m not saying anything against quality recordings or the somewhat laborious nature of studio recording, just that a change is as good as a rest. It’s a welcome and invigorating contrast to be able to lay down such horrible noises, and for them to still sound ‘good’ to my ears.

Here are the results from the first ‘Project’. The second one has been underway for a while, but that particular saga is ongoing…