Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Website Improvements

I've upgraded my website hosting recently, so Deserted, the website at, will be getting a bit of an overhaul soon.

I now have more server space and hope to fill it with some sound clips and other goodies...

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Slydee Returns

One of the self-built instruments used by the Deserters in our earlier days was an electronic gadget called the Slydee. It grew from a physics project about transistors where we had to make a circuit to flick between two bulbs. Lee (Newe) and I figured that if we linked this to a speaker instead of a bulb we would get a tone, and we were right. I then added a fader rescued from some old music system or something similar (Tandy, perhaps?) to give a very basic and almost totally uncontrollable keyboardless synth with a character all of its own.

I was wondering about the possibility of rebuilding it some time ago, as I've no idea what became of it, when I heard a radio programme about the theremin. After a bit of research I came to the conclusion that I deeply want one. No, need one!

Theremins (therema?) are controlled without touch. You move your right hand near its pitch aerial and left hand near the volume aerial to control the sound. It at worst it sounds just like a Slydee - at best it sounds almost like a human voice. Some folk use it for special effects, whilst others like Peter Pringle have gained sufficient mastery of this awkward littlecritter to make some wonderful music. I aim to be somewhere in between.


Way back in the mists of time we had a concept for a video for the Deserters' "Renaissance" period which we considered, at the time, to be a turning point for the band. The song was to be called "Reborn" and was to feature a video of the band doing various things in time to the music, but backwards - jumping off walls, dropping things, etc. All very Monkees, had it ever come to pass. Now it's my turn...

The last 3 years of my life have been a bit of a musical desert. I've hardly touched an instrument, and most of my music gear has spent its time in boxes. It's been annoying and difficult, but a necessary evil due to various things going on in my work life - i.e. the stuff that pays to keep the wolf from the door, the children fed and the electricity flowing. Well, the time in the wilderness is coming to an end - 2 months to go and I should be back to living a more normal life where I can actually spend some quality time with family instead of having to schedule them in, I can get on with some of the projects that have peaked my interest over the last 3 years and I can live the music once more.

So - what's new?

I'm refreshing all the Deserters material that I have transferred to PC, and will finally be editing and sticking it onto CDs.

I've dug out my bass from storage and am getting back into the swing (I think) - starting to work on some nice new callouses. Next will come the trusty old DX7 and finally I'll fish out the guitar.

I'm getting together with some local musos to do some jam sessions, which may or may not lead to something better - I hope to report on this next week.

I've also got a couple of experimental music things I want to put together - I'll probably start this in the new year - quite a bit of programming will be involved on the ST (old faithful music computer), which I've not really done much of in the past.

Finally, I want to build a new Yobstick - the last one disappeared during a house-move, and I feel somehow incomplete without it. Perhaps I can encourage my yob-luthier to return to the trade!

Exciting times ahead for me - here's hoping we all enjoy the ride!