Thursday, August 28, 2008

Masters of Song Fu - Update #3 - 100th Post!

Song Fu

The final day of voting for round one is here, and I think I can safely say that it's the end of the road for this song fu disciple as far as the official competition goes. I enjoyed the challenge, though the song is not a great piece of work - certainly it didn't deserve to be in the top of the pile, though I did personally prefer it to a couple of others in the competition. Of course, my tastes are pretty far from normal songwriter fare, so I'll not name names.

So thanks to those of you who voted for my efforts - 1% of the vote may not seem like a lot, but it means that almost 20 people thought my song was better than all the rest, which is fine by me. Or maybe I just got the 'pity' vote.

Whatever the reason, thanks, and you'll maybe be pleased to hear that I'm planning on continuing to follow the challenges even though I'll be out of the official competition. I think it's a good way to keep flexing the old songwriting muscle and building up my Fu for the next time...?

100 Posts

Yes, this is the 100th post to this blog. I'm really pleased how far things have come since I kicked this off a couple of years ago. Thanks to those few of you who pop back for a visit now and again, and also to my family who put up with my musical meanderings.

Have we got a video?

There is now a video to accompany the song 'Choices' from 'Difficult Second'. You can view it in miniature above or at the Lunacy Board site, or click here to see it on YouTube - please leave your comments and feel free to give it a nice high rating!

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Masters of Song Fu - Update #2 - First Impressions

Song Fu logo

After quite a bit of fiddling about I finished the new song last night, and it is now available for download at the Quick Stop voting page.

Don't forget to vote!

The song is called First Impressions and is a "Moon's-eye" view of the Earth and the influence of the Moon on us and vice-versa. The uke part I recorded didn't really sit with the style of the song, so I dropped it, but did keep a gentle little harmonica introduction and outro. I think this is the first time I've recorded a song with the mouth organ - it's not something I play very often, but it sits here quite well and is a little reminder of the portable nature of this recording.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Masters of Song Fu - Update #1

Song Fu logo

Bad planning.

Here we are, two days left to the Song Fu deadline, and I'm away all week with work. South of the border with half a song.

Over the weekend I worked out the music and lyrics, ably assisted by my lovely wife. I laid down drum, bass and guitar tracks, but a bit of a mixing desk crisis on Saturday night put pay to normal working conditions.

A couple of weeks ago I was doing my live sound role at a gig up near Inversneckie, when my car was rear-ended on the way there. The desk was beside the damaged part of the car and suffered a substantial shunt - not enough to write it off completely, but it did stop one main channel from working and apparently dislodged the workings as the channel LEDs all disappeared into the body of the mixer. It was okay to continue for the gig as the room was reasonably small and one set of speakers was enough to fill the room, but far from undamaged. This weekend I used it again, and wasn't so lucky, as within seconds of plugging it in, smoke started seeping out the back. Not good. We got by with an old mini-mixer we carry as a back-up, but the normal desk is well and truly gubbed.

And so, sat in a Midlands hotel room with as much gear as I can pack into my case, which amounts to just the ukulele, a moothie and my trusty boss handheld recorder, I'm embarking on recording the rest of the song as best I can. Sometimes limitations can be creatively inspiring, sometimes a pain in the bahookie... time will tell which in this case.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Song Fu Challenge

Song Fu logo

Fresh from creating a whole album in a day, the latest challenge I've undertaken is the 'Masters of Song Fu'.

Click the logo above for more information about the whole event, but in short it takes the form of a series of knock-out challenges to write songs against the 'Masters' including Jonathan Coulton, Paul & Storm and the RiffTones

I'll be providing updates here where people are welcome to leave comments about the song(s) I submit to the challenge, as well as giving a little bit of insight into the creative process.

The first challenge is to write a song about the Moon at least 1 minute and 45 seconds long. What better topic could there be for a member of The Lunacy Board? Give me a day or two for ideas to form...

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Lyrics Galore

Lyric View

To give a little more insight into the Board's songs, the lyrics from all the songs in the first two albums are now available on the website.

Simply click on a song name on either the Eponymous Debut page or the Difficult Second page to be taken to a more detailed view of each song showing the lyrics and credits for the song. Over time we'll probably add to these details to give some more background about the songs and their inspiration.

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Phew! Back to some state of normal.

The final article - 3 lunacy board albums

I thought this blog would be very busy over the time we were putting together our 3-album release, but in fact the whole process has been so demanding of time that nothing has been posted here about the albums. So over the next week or so I'll try and rectify that with a series of posts about the albums, starting with a quick run through of all three before I go into more detail in the next post.

Eponymous Debut

Some artwork problems (of my creation) created a delay in getting this album completed, and there was some to-and-fro between the duplication company and myself to fix it, but once sorted and the CDs arrived I was very pleased with the results. Thanks to Stuart of Gillies Audio for providing a great service and being patient in the face of my errors.

Difficult Second

There was a lot of preparation involved to make the 'Album-in-a-day' work smoothly, but it paid off and despite a couple of glitches (no sound on the webcast and me falling asleep unexpectedly) I think the results speak for themselves. The finished result is certainly rough around the edges, but we came up with some tracks that I'm really quite proud of that could easily sit beside anything on the first album were they subject to more rehearsal and a less rushed recording process. There are elements of everything from progressive rock, folk and blues through to the avant-garde, music hall and even country all tinged with a bit of a punk spirit.

To mirror the collaborative nature of the first album, we put out a call for guests for this album, resulting in an album with three different theremin players. Gordon Charlton of Beat Frequency and Wilco Botermans added a wide variety of theremin parts, from simple melodic accompaniment to wild and weird sound effects, to six of the nine tracks - thanks go to both of them for taking the time out to join us.


All the music on 'Stockholm' is improvised instrumental music, but some of it was recorded as far back as our second rehearsal on fairly basic equipment, so some editing and noise-removal was required to bring those pieces up to a similar sound quality as the more recent recordings. There are a few tracks for which only a few seconds will be audible in the film of Stockholm, but the whole track is included on the CD for the sake of completeness.

Incidentally, the picture above shows the artwork for all three completed albums in almost all its glory. What you don't see in the picture are the insides of the CD booklets - all three have two pages of liner notes about the songs, including a short extract from the Stockholm script in the case of that album.

Last Chance

And finally, the pre-order offer was due to end on the final release day, but with the delay to 'Eponymous Debut' we decided to let it run until we had sent the first batch of discs out. In that time we got a few more orders for all three discs, so I'm going to let the offer run until the end of this month or until the 'Difficult Second' discs run out (which won't not be long as only 50 were made). Once they are gone we'll not be producing any more, so the only way to get the second album after 31st of August will be by download.

Click HERE to order the 3-disc collection before they're gone.

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