The Blue Blur

Who likes Sonic the Hedgehog? If you don’t it’ll probably save you a few moments to stop reading here. You can thank me should you have not stopped reading just eleven words ago and reached the end of this sentence.

Hello everyone else! How many of you remember that Sonic project I was potentially becoming a part of? I’m pretty sure that leaves none of you. It all started back in November where I was sent a request to use one of my Sonic cover tracks in a fan made game. Naturally, one thing led to another and I am now helping out as audio engineer and bug tester.

The project is called “The Blue Blur” (fans will get the reference) and is currently still plowing headfirst through the early stages of production, however, some impressive looking/sounding playable demos have made their way into the world (not public yet, unfortunately). If you’re interested in any way, shape or form, go here to keep up to speed with the whole thing. In the meantime listen to this (relevant)!

Please Hold

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before, but I work part-time for the NHS/Virgin Care to help supplement my otherwise modest income from freelancing. Approximately 2 years ago a friend and colleague made an offhand comment regarding the I.T. department requiring hold music for their phone system. “Ah!” I thought, “I know how to music. I’ll come up with something”. And so I did… before promptly forgetting about it.

Two years later a different friend and colleague made an offhand comment regarding the I.T. department requiring hold music for their phone system. “Ah!” I thought, “I’m pretty sure I started doing something for that. I should probably finish it off”. And so I did… genuinely this time. So now our I.T. department has hold music.¬†Go check it out.

Phoenix Album (almost…)

In November Phoenix Chroi went into a studio to record an album. When I say studio what I mean is a rehearsal room with some mics dotted around the place. And when I say album I mean 8 songs. Regardless, it wasn’t bad going for about 5 hours work. Since then I have been working on mixing and mastering the tracks to an acceptable level.

It’s been between 3 – 4 years since the original members of Phoenix Chroi wrote these tracks, and is the first time the songs have been recorded to a sufficient enough level. As such the various members of the band are much relieved that they can finally put these tracks to rest and start working on new material, as well as having something to show to fans and promoters and the like.

Despite this, recording will continue to happen. The mini-album in its current guise is merely a live demo affair, but obviously a fully fledged production is much more preferable. So over the coming months the members of Phoenix will come to my humble home studio and re-record and re-dub with the aim of getting a more professional product.

In the meantime, check out the live demos on my Sight for Sound SoundCloud page! The link for which will also be available on my Sound page.

Finally a big shout out to Keiron Marshall at The Sound Lounge for giving us a place to play and helping us record!

Developments mkII

For those long term followers, of which I’m assuming there are none of you (other than maybe my mum… (hi mum!)), you may remember earlier in the year Red Kites and I traveled to Cheltenham to record a few acoustic videos. Many months have since passed but now has come the time for the creations to be released into the world! As mentioned in a previous post, I was only happy with two of the three videos we recorded and, although I haven’t heard anything specifically from the band, wouldn’t be surprised if only two videos make an appearance. Regardless, the first to be unveiled is a cover of a Death Cab for Cutie song – I Will Follow You Into the Dark, and can be found on Red Kite’s YouTube page as well as my portfolio page. Check it out and keep an eye out for the next video: Salt Water.

In other news, a couple of weeks ago, at the Phoenix Cultural Centre, I was introduced to a self proclaimed jazz guitarist called Stuart Palmer. He plays in a metal band and they are looking for a new vocalist. To cut a long story short, I offered my services, an audition happened and a recording of me singing on one of their tracks has found its way onto SoundCloud. I should point out that nothing has been set in concrete as of yet, the original band may still¬†decide I’m not the right fit for them, but the response has been positive so far so we’ll see how it all shakes out.

Lastly, I was contacted via my Xebec SoundCloud page two days ago by a person who had taken a liking to one of my cover tracks, namely Egg Rocket Zone from the video game Sonic Advance. His original post was simply asking if he could use the track in a fan-made Sonic game but, after a request if they’d like an extra pair of hands on the project, I may now be involved more deeply. At the moment all the information I have about the project can be found here. Though as per my meeting with Stuart, nothing has been made “official” but again, here’s to hoping!

Full Time Phoenix

As a matter of interest I feel compelled to mention that the Phoenix Cultural Centre has its own pseudo house band. That is, the same people who started up the centre are also in a band together and, for reasons unbeknownst to me, decided to use the word phoenix in both of these endeavours. Anyway, over the past few weeks I have been enlisted as a temporary guitarist. This is because the original guitarist is part of various other musical outlets and can’t make certain rehearsals or gigs with the band. However, with me stepping in when needs be, the band is able to perform more regularly and get more of a consistent schedule up and running.

Oh yes, I should probably mention the band’s called Phoenix Chroi (Chroi not pronounced anything like you want or expect).

Anyway, for further reasons unbeknownst to me, Elaine (singer) and Joe (Bassist) decided they would like to recruit me as a full time member of the band. They also suggested that I play keyboard as well as/instead of guitar, as they felt this would add an extra dimension to their sound.

I’ve never played keyboard in front of people before but am looking forward to get the chance to be out and about and gigging regularly again. Phoenix Chroi has a website here and a Facebook here, so if you’d like to keep up with gig dates, news and other general band related things go check them out.

Meditation Recordings

A few posts back I mentioned a friendly couple (Jarek and Beata) who ran a healing bowls and gongs class, as well as partaking in all things spiritual and such. Well, a couple weeks back I was contacted by them in the hopes that it would be possible for me to help them record some meditation sessions – “of course!”, say I.

Now, I am not an afficionado when it comes to spiritualism, so my natural assumption when asked to record a meditation session was, “There’s going to be a lot of unusual instruments. I wonder how many mics I’ll need?”, fully expecting a session to be much like the event I attended a few months prior. It was only after meeting with Jarek that it was clarified to me that meditation only needed a voiceover to some backing music. Much simpler!

Since then Jarek has turned up for a couple of recording sessions and as such, 6 meditations, in total lasting approximately 3 and a half hours have been completed. In time these recordings will find their way onto Jarek’s site here where you’ll be able to preview them and even buy a session or two!

Woking Big Gig (And Other Festivals)

It would appear that every which way you look there are local festivals happening left right and centre: Guilfest, West Byfleet LI:VE, The Sound Lounge Festival, The Westival and Phoenix’s very own Woking Big Gig. Or at least, these are the festivals I am in someway affiliated with. But that’s still quite a few.

First, it would make sense to point out that most of these festivals are over now, and I am well aware of the fact that I really should have been advertising them long before they were due to start. But alas, busy, or some other excuse of that nature…

Let me continue by thanking the, surprisingly few, people involved with getting Woking’s Big Gig off the ground. The day was all put together by the guys at the Phoenix Cultural Centre, of which there was only really 5 of us. So we were all rushed off our feet for the weeks leading up to the event and even more so as it was happening. But the day went smoothly and we were all pretty chuffed that we had managed to put on 7 hours of continual music, without any major faults, to a turnout of a couple hundred people and for many to provide such positive feedback. Not bad for a first time affair!

Then 2 days ago I took up the mantle of honorary guitarist for the band Phoenix Chroi (not a resident Phoenix Cultural Centre band, just got Elaine and Joe from Phoenix in it) as I performed with them for the first time at West Byfleet LI:VE (their regular guitarist is in many other bands and often can’t make shows, hence my addition). I was slightly worried about the whole prospect as the idea was thrown at me quite last minute. This meant I didn’t have nearly as much time as I would have liked to learn 14+ songs after only 1 band practice. Luckily the tracks aren’t particularly challenging to play (no offense guys!) so it all turned out alright. It was also originally planned that the centre would help run the stage but as events unfolded it transpired we weren’t needed. Though, despite not getting paid, this probably was better for us, or for me at least, as we had more time to focus on setting up and working out what we’re doing.

Coming up in the near future is The Sound Lounge Festival, which I don’t know anything about other than it’s in London and Phoenix Chroi is playing there.

Finally, The Westival takes place from Friday 1st – Sunday 3rd August and is an indoor festival at the West End Centre in Aldershot. Red Kites are playing there. And Guilfest is a festival I was due to go to but couldn’t because busy. I think that covers everything mentioned in the intro…