Showing posts with label music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label music. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

New Music Video: Virna Lindt 'Avant Garde'

You wait ages for a blog post to come along and wehey, another one ... Here's a low-fi motion graphics video I just made for Virna Lindt's new track "Avant Garde".

For this track I was asked to make a simpler kind of music video with a tighter production schedule. I only had the vinyl record and a couple of still photos of the artist Virna Lindt to work with. The track has a certain pulsing shuffle to it, so I used lots of 'dust' and 'noise' in the graphics to keep the imagery buzzing and alive throughout the track.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

New Music Video: Tot Taylor 'Featurette'

Well it's been bloomin' ages since my last blogfession; over a year it seems! I've been pretty busy in the meantime, scrabbling around making a living and not always making things I can write much about.


Here's a music video I just made for musician, gallerist and novelist Tot Taylor. The track 'Featurette' is a somewhat autobiographical number, in which Tot addresses his teenage self circa 1973.

When I first met Tot a few months ago, he told me a story from his teenage years. Like me, (as it happens) he grew-up in Cambridge. As an aspiring pop star, Tot bunked-off school one day with his teenage bandmates and took the train down to London. Armed only with a demo cassette and an AtoZ street map, Tot's band tracked down all of the record companies they could and proceeded to 'knock on doors'. After many rejections Tot's crew ended-up at the offices of Island Records where miraculously they found a sympathetic ear... Amazingly, Tot and his band of schoolmates recorded a session for the legendary Island Records label. But then and there, the dream kind of hit the buffers. Cut to the present day and Tot decided to revive his song 'Featurette' and rework it as a wry 'message to his naive but ambitous teenage self'.

For such a story of retro pop ambition, I decided to make a film in the style of a naive 1970s era teenage film-maker. The animation is rough and wobbly and the live action footage is mostly shot on 8mm and 16mm cine film. Not such a leap as it turned out ;).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bratislava Bound

Last Friday I had a somewhat interesting day out! I was invited by Daniel Greaves (TANDEM films) to accompany him on a trip to Slovakia to record the score for his new short film Mr. Plastimime.

The Slovak Radio building in Bratislava

The Bratislava Radio building is an immense up-turned pyramid building of early '80s vintage. It's a daring futuristic design and I really love it. Inside, there are miles of gloomy 'widescreen' corridors with concrete panelling everywhere. The auditorium was especially impressive, with an immense pipe organ taking up the entire wall behind the stage.

Composer Mike MacLennan records the piano parts for his score for Mr. Plastimime

Dan was there to supervise the recording of his film's score as composed by Mike MacLennan (Mcasso music). Mike Connaris (composer and MD of Mcasso who wrote the closing song used in the film) also attended the session. The mighty Bratislava Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Musical Director David Hernando Rico.

The Bratislava Symphony Orchestra in full effect.

My role was to document the occasion and make another Behind The Scenes video; the seventh episode in the Making Mr.Plastimime series of videos I've been making over the last year or so.

The incredible musicians of the BSO at the recording session.

I wanted to travel light (Ryan Air cabin luggage only!) and be able to move around stealthily, so I took a small bag with my Canon 600D DSLR camera, 3 lenses (11-16mm wide zoom, 30mm and 50mm) , Rode Video Mic Pro microphone and a Tascam DR-07 mkII audio recorder. I also took a Manfrotto monopod, with a small pan/tilt head and some additional monopod legs too.

I'm editing the orchestra footage this week and I think this is going to be a good episode and quite a bit longer than the previous ones. I hope I will eventually be able to share this new film at a later date , but in the meantime here I'm sharing a few stills from the session. 

Most of the previous videos I've made in this series are now publicly available online on TANDEM's Vimeo page. Here are the first 6 episodes of the Making Mr. Plastimime series.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Piano: 'Csikós Post'

This last couple of months in my piano lessons I've mostly been playing Csikós Post by Hermann Necke. This really is the best recording I can get for now...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Piano: 'Georgia On My Mind'

A while back in my piano lessons I was trying to play 'Georgia On My Mind' from the sheet music. I've since then learnt to play the tune just by remembering the chords, so it's something I keep coming back to to have another go at.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Piano: 'Once Upon A Time in America'

This month in my piano lessons, I've mostly been trying to play Once Upon A Time in America by the great Ennio Morricone. I recorded this many times, and this is really is the best take I could get.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Piano Dabblings

I'm not a 'natural' musician, I had piano lessons when I was a wee boy; even passed the grade 1 exam even, but like so many, didn't stay the course and gave up in my early teens... But then, around 3 years ago, as my mid-life crisis approached (and with two kids to encourage) I had the urge to start learning all over again. So in January 2009, I started having weekly half an hour lessons with Diana at the North London Music Centre.
The first lesson was VERY painful, but I was signed up for five, so stuck with it. I'm still sticking with it now. Some Saturdays I play worse than others, but there's always something to learn from the lessons. There's a long way to go...

I had occasionally been dabbling with music-making on my PC sometime before starting the lessons. I made the soundtrack for my film Evo in 2006. But this 'plinky plonky' music is very much pattern-based, it was composed using sequencing software (Cubasis), that doesn't actually require any playing skills at all.

Then in Autumn 2011 I downloaded a trial version of Mixcraft. I enjoyed using this software a lot (It's a similiar editor, but newer, simpler and very satisfying to use). Whilst learning how to record and build the tracks, I made a piece I called Pony Morricone. It's inspired a little bit by Air and the Ennio Morricone music I try to play in the piano lessons. This recording is also highly edited in the sequencer, but at least I played the notes in using MIDI/USB keyboard before tidying them up. (And I tidied them up A LOT !)

Just this week I decided that I might start recording some of my piano efforts (straight from the piano's headphone output to my new TASCAM recorder) for the purposes of reviewing and hopefully improving my playing... So last night I stayed up late, and played this lots of times. It's a real shocker hearing your own playing for the first time, and what I thought was OK, turns out to be really awful. The main thing I've discovered is that I'm not keeping time well at all. Also, I only get the notes right once every few plays.

So this recording has no edits, no cleaning up at all, and it's very short... But it is the best selected take I could get of this from a long session last night... It's my best attempt at the Blue Note jazz classic... The Sidewinder written by Lee Morgan in 1963.

I'll maybe have another go at recording my playing again soon, it's a humbling but ultimately revealing experience...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rockin' Out To The Soundcarriers

Well it's very rarely these days I hear some new music and think 'Just what is that sound, I gotta hear more...' . For your consideration I present The Soundcarriers.
(Super8 fans should also be pleased to see some wobbly small-format goodness thrown into this clip too.)

As the late Victor Kiam would have it, "I liked this so much I just bought the album.".

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

♫ ♪ Sa Vela by Rossella Faa ♪ ♫

Well, after a little hunting I found out that Rossella Faa has a MySpace page.
This makes it possible for me to embed a link here to Sa Vela one of the most beautiful things you'll hear anywhere...

Go on, press this button vela by baa-bà (rossella faa)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Elbow in a church

Last night, (big thanks to my cousin Steve), we got to see the band Elbow play at the St. John at Hackney church. The gig was arranged as part of the Little Noise Sessions in aid of the charity MENCAP.

The band are a really class act and they probably ought to be with this being their 20th year playing together. I was fortunate enough to also see them play at Cambridge Junction earlier this year (thanks again to my cousin Steve), so by luck I saw the band at both ends of their 2011 tour, and both times up-close in pretty small venues.

Seeing a gig in a church seems to be something of a modern trend, and the St. John at Hackney delivered well as a unique and quirky venue with lots of architectural character. The gig was being filmed; there was a fella re-purposing the pulpit as a handy vantage point for some adventurous Polecam shooting. I'd be very curious to see how that footage turned out...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Spins From the Bin

Whilst archiving data off my PC hard drive, I've un-earthed many tests and experimental projects; lots of these are things that never saw the light of day, until now... First up, we have some of my adventures in the field of audio/music making.

Back in 2005 then I was experimenting with Cubasis and playing around with some text to speech software. There's even a little bit of accoustic guitar in here, how rock 'n' roll is that?
Stunned by projectmusic

This second example is also circa 2005. This repetitive piece of plinky plonky electronica became the soundtrack for my 2006 animation film Evo.
Xylofonos by projectmusic

Now to bring things more up to date, here is some 2011 material! I recently downloaded a demo version of Mixcraft and had another go; perhaps some kind of soundtrack piece, maybe for another short film...
Pony by projectmusic

Saturday, November 05, 2011

A Special Slide Show

We went to see The Specials play at Alexandra Palace last night. It was a cracking gig, and I'm still wondering where all of those middle-aged skinheads turned up from, I mean, where do they go the rest of the time?

Anyway, one of the clear highlights of the gig, didn't feature the band at all. Right before The Specials came on, we had John Barry's Theme from The Persuaders accompanied by a projected slide show of still photos covering life in Britain over the past 30 years. The first photo was Margaret Thatcher, the last one was David Cameron, the obvious question being, how have things changed/stayed the same over these last three decades?

The skillfully-sequenced pictures covered every news-worthy triumph and disaster imaginable. From sporting moments to terrorist attacks, the selection of images was spot on: a reminder of just how powerful these editorial stills can be.

The band kicked-off with Gangters, the irresistable ska took over and the Rude Boys (and somewhat fewer Rude Girls) began leaping up and down with increasing abandon; partying like it was 1979.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Magnatune for Production Music?

Around three years ago I posted this film on YouTube...

As I mentioned a few posts back, some fragmentary clips from this film can currently be seen in the music promo video for the new Lana Del Rey song Video Games.

A further development, now is that YouTube have written to me to ask if I wish the video to be considered for YouTube 'Partnership' status. The idea is that if approved, the film will have ads placed on it, and that eventually I might just see some trickle of revenue back via Google AdSense (we'll see how that goes). I was very surprised to be asked about this, because the number of hits the film has received so far, is very modest indeed (around 9000 in 3 years.)

One consequence of the YouTube approach, is that I've decided to secure the appropriate licence on the sound track of the film to enable the agreement to go ahead.

Fortunately back in 2008, I was (and still remain) fairly scrupulous about music usage rights on my films, and I had sought music from Under the terms and conditions they had then, I was able to buy the album and use it for internet distribution of a non profit-making film.

Now that the YT partnership has been offered, I got back in touch with Magnatune last night and got a very speedy and reasonable deal to 'upgrade' to a more suitable licence to reflect this change in circumstances.

I can say that not only is Magnatune a great source for new and varied music, but that they also very much have their act together in terms of enabling film-makers to effectively and affordably gain the licences they need to use the music in productions.

Now, I only wish there was a way of retrospectively improving the video quality of the old YouTube film. Three years ago, there was no HD option on YouTube only something called 'HQ mode' which seems to have been scrapped since then. I'm left with an online video only at 360P size which is very low-res indeed (and also horribly compressed). YouTube don't seem to offer any way of replacing an old clip like this apart from re-uploading and beginning again with no comments or hits etc.
The best quality online version of this film available, is the one over on Compare and contrast the quality of this same online film hosted on the different video sharing platforms... Come on YouTube, we need to be able to upgrade these grotty old uploads from the bad old days...