Saturday, 3 December 2011
It's nice to share, as I am often telling the elder of the little Olympicses. This applies not just to letting your baby sister eat your teddy, but to making rockin' tunes as well. This week's hotly anticipated dredgings from the electro canal were knocked up with friends at the turn of the century. We didn't know what we were doing, but we had a nice time.
Switchblade by Ghost Olympics
I did this with an old schoolchum, who went on to pioneer the fashion of playing of two records at the same time (you can call it mash-up if you like). Perhaps we sowed the seeds on this genial afternoon. It's let down occasionally by a leaden, clunky beat (nothing a good bassline wouldn't fix) but redeemed by its liberal use of the eighth best single of the eighties and whatever tunes were at the top of the pile that day. Can you spot them? What I particularly like about this is the casual disregard for maintaining a groove, in favour of wanging in a new bit every 15 seconds.
Crazy by Ghost Olympics
This was the result of a few hours mucking around with my friend, flatmate, and owner of the computer, who shall henceforth be known as The Doctor, cos he is one. (Back then he was just The Nurse). A grungy single-bar loop, lots of mucking about with doing things backwards and upside down and another cheeky sample featuring the twenty-third best single of the nineties. Also eschews danceability in favour of schizoid idea hopping at the end. We must have been getting, um, tired at that point.
Saturday, 26 November 2011
I didn't do a post last week due to being too busy to breathe, but hey, it took me three years to get round to doing this after I decided to so what's one week, eh? Still, lots more people have come by to check out my less banging offerings, and one (1) person has told me that The Rocker was their favourite. As far as I'm concerned these are equal and total vindication; I'm still as chuffed as I ever was to find out that one single person likes what I've done, let alone a few hundred.
Here are some more exclusive outtakes for my imaginary fan to devour.
This Ain't Music by Ghost Olympics
Once I was a carefree young buck who smoked fags, drank frequently and heartily and knew how to accentuate my sensory intake to positive effect through the media of dance, meditation etc. It was during this revelatory era one evening that I happened to find myself at home alone, happily accentuated and with a classic analogue synth* and a borrowed portastudio set up in the lounge. After a short time (somewhere between 2 minutes and 2 hours, I’d say) holding down one note and moving the sliders about on the synth, it occured to me that I really ought to lay this shit down.**
Now, when I smoked it was always a particular pleasure to light up a snout when your favourite tune came on. It somehow helped with the accentuation, the wallowing in sensory delight. Anyhoo, I therefore decided that what I would do would be record this exciting whooshing noise for as long as it took for me to smoke one fag, as whatever came out would then be the perfect length accompaniment to smoking future fags. I supposed this was like a junior version of the Spacemen 3 approach. So that’s what I did. All that remained to do was to knock out a diddy little tune to plonk on top and cut up the built-in drum patterns that came with the portstudio, and hey presto! A rousing hands in the air distorto-gabba anthem for triumphant festival headline sets. That’s what I heard, anyway. Pyramid stage here I come.
If you’ve read my previous posts you’ll have guessed that loud is the best way to hear this.
*Can you tell which one, classic analogue synth lovers? Answers on a Yazoo 12” please.
**On another occasion my flatmate and I experimented by making this synth noise happen over music we’d done on the computer and some My Bloody Valentine records (obviously we experimented with some drugs first). There exists somewhere a tape (a whole side, I think) of the resultant droning, hissing noise mixed with random beats and swooshes and some of the popular hits of the day. I seem to recall that it was actually much more listenable than you have assumed, and certainly beat the first two Cluster LPs hands down. Maybe one day it will go up here. Maybe when I decide I don’t want anyone ever to come here again.
More Wines! by Ghost Olympics
This is really half a work-in-progress, and it shows up the laziness of my working methods. Why use different chords or sounds when the ones you used before worked perfectly well? (Cf: overreliance on the preset 909 handclap sound (well, it’s cooler than the snare sound, and honing of the drum samples has always been very much something to to at the end of the project - which I never, ever reach)). And it's clear here how easy it is with this dancey stuff to just fanny around with the same four bar loop and not bother having a second idea. This is the state things get in before they go into limbo, and as "my studio" is currently occcupied by a baby Olympics, it will stay in this state for a while longer.
I do like the bassline though, so have it.
Lair Of The Worm by Ghost Olympics
This is one of the very first things I ever did on a computer, way back in the last century. Somebody gave me a knocked off copy of Rebirth and showed me a couple of tricks. I twiddled and fiddled for a bit, and made some good squelchy noises and a dirty beat. What more is there?
More of this very soon. I've got buckets of it.
Monday, 14 November 2011
I'm a bit lost for words this week, having had another mention from the even lovelier than before Acid Ted, and also having gone out a bit more extravagantly than usual, which at my age and state of decrepitude takes its toll on the old functionality.
Here's an atonal bit of brutishness to clear the cobwebs out, and something to calm down with afterwards.
The Rocker by Ghost Olympics
Sometimes you start something with some sort of vague aim in mind, then lose your way a bit and decide to come back to it later. Some years later you return and discover it to be just fine as it is.
I really, really think it would help if you played it upsettingly loud though. Can't stress that enough.
Practice Run by Ghost Olympics
And here’s another one for the ladies.
Goodnight, ladies. Goodnight.
Sunday, 6 November 2011
So, it's time once again for another pair of loose meanderings from my furtive musical past, with which to delight my reader (hello darling, can you get some milk on the way home please?).
I've been very chuffed to be mentioned today on the excellent Acid Ted blog, who has been sharing lovely dancey bits for many a year now. Thanks Ted. A little recognition is all we want really, innit.
Thus I am all warmly aglow as I give you these snippets.
Dink 2 by Ghost Olympics
Everyone does a little Kraftwerk knock-off at some point (you don’t? what do you do?). This is mine, bipping and burbling along on an elastic band bass noise with some flutey bits popping up to say hi before I wandered off to do something else.
There is a Dink 1, which is a much more minimal version, ie there are fewer musicky bits. That’s for another day.
Ready for Six by Ghost Olympics
Falling asleep to music is a nice thing. I’ve done it since I had my first Walkman, nodding off under the covers to surprisingly loud music in a decade before this one. So I made a piece deliberately designed to fall asleep to. It’s droney, hissy, bongy and tinkly - all the noises that make the head happily heavy. You can’t just be boring though - I think sleep music needs to engage the brain enough to distract it from the thoughts that were keeping you awake in the first place. Therefore there are some pretty bits and some dreamlike mutation of shapes, yeah? When I first made this I actually used to use it as an insomnia cure. The clunk when the tape ran out would wake me up again though. Maybe don’t play it while driving, or the clunk when the road runs out might wake you.
That had better be all for now, eh? Do come again!
Monday, 31 October 2011
Wooooooooh.... That's a spooky ghost noise, cos it's Hallowe'en, you see. I'm not really a spooky ghost though. I'm a man who does music, sometimes, and has a lot of unfinished business. By "business", I mean "songs", and by "songs" I mean "fannying about with computers, sequencers, guitars and four-track tape recorders making rudimentary dance music and indie fringe-flopping, sometimes at once".
Here are some truths:
I'm quite fond of some of these things. There are some quite good bits.
I'm never actually going to do anything with them now. That includes finishing them.
The internet encourages vanity publishing by its very existence.
And so here we are (are you still here? gosh). I'm going to put a tune or two from my dusty cassette and mini-disc bag up here every week so that someone somewhere can hear them and think "that'll be good when it's finished". They will be mostly dancey (ie not guitary) until I run out of those ones, and if you've come this far you will probably not mind some of it in the background.
Enough self deprecation. Turn it up and it sounds good anyway. Here's the first pair.
Underground by Ghost Olympics
A fairly straightforward techno exercise – four on the floor, a bit of 909 clappy action, a very cheap string synth patch slapped on top, with a bit of crackle to jazz it up. I call it techno, because I’m from the nineties when all dance music was called techno (except house, but by then house meant limp rubbish – techno was anything else with a drum machine on) – it probably falls into some sort of mysterious sub-category now that I’ll never hear of or understand. This was not made in the nineties, anyway , but some point in the last five years. It’s probably very fashionable now, actually. Anyway, pump it up and get the twirly patterns going on your monitor. Hey presto – your own four-minute private rave. Drugs may help.
Spooky Instrumental by Ghost Olympics
Short, sparse guitar snippet, suitable for the closing credits of a poignant documentary about a tree or some boatmakers. Just simple lines, intertwining. A typical case of fiddling around, finding a little idea, slapping it down and putting it away for a rainy day. My wife, Mrs Olympics, thinks it sounds weird. Perhaps she can’t hear the orchestra that starts up halfway through. What do you mean you can’t either?
No-one understands me. I might call it that, actually.
So,there you go. Hope you enjoyed all that. More of this cathartic rambling next week. Come back!