2018 in Review

Well, what a year. New job, lots of mixing, remixing, a few albums for media done and a healthy dose of academia.

My job running the Music curriculum at Confetti is going well. Very big compared to my last position, but a lovely set of staff to manage and some really nice people I share an office with.

Industry Week was a real highlight: a week of industry guests taking over Confetti. It felt like some of the best CPD I’d ever had. The new studios and rehearsal rooms are about done.. and this time next year the whole of the basement will be done… 14 practice rooms, 6 studios and lots of other rooms.

I visited Maida Vale studios earlier this month with some students: really brilliant… the sense of history there is amazing.

Part of my Confetti job is working with TileYard in London : Confetti validate their Masters in Songwriting and Production. Enjoyed visiting a few times : learning loads. Am back in a few weeks. Some lovely staff and students there.

I spoke on a panel at the Brighton Music Conference on production music in April: was terrified, but ended up really enjoying it and holding my own (I hope!)Here’s a picture of me looking like an idiot.

John Meredith - Arms Production Music

I finished two modules in my Masters degree in songwriting. Its been brilliant getting back into academic writing: a main reason for taking it on. So far, so good: 2 distinctions! Am a couple of weeks from my next module being submitted. Loving it.

Arms has come into its own this year: released 5 new albums, but, importantly, had lots of tracks placed in a couple of new series. More significantly, some new relationships with producers and music supervisors which have already yielded some positive responses for 2019. It’s been nice to see the balance further swing to material NOT written by me, but by over 80 composers on the books. People are responding to the fact we aren’t the shiny material that’s out there. Sticking to my guns is slowly paying off.

Gigs….not enough, but saw Matt Maltese a couple times…was great …his album’s a future classic for sure.

MattMaltese_BadContestant

I also saw Father John Misty and Bjork at All Points East ..really great (but very middle class) festival in London in May. Father John was ace. Bjork was magical: it’s been a while since she wrote a chorus, but live she was amazing.

I saw Morrissey for the 16th time back in February. Pretty ropey sound (NEC in Birmingham) but his voice is on form.

Top albums this year:

Father John Misty, ‘God’s favourite Customer’ album was so good….I don’t remember an artist where their first 4 albums are such high quality. Best snare sound ever, too.

Matt Maltese, ‘Bad Comedian’. Great album. Love him and ‘As The World Caves In’ is just gorgeous. Listened to this a hundred times.

The Good The Bad and The Queen. What middle age music fan wouldn’t want Damon’s career? The first albums great and this is a worthy follow up.

Mitski, ‘Be The Cowboy’: Such a consistant piece of work, top to toe. Heartbreaking in places.

Anna Calvi, ‘Hunter’ : Ace production, amazing voice.

Billy Ryder Jones, ‘Yawn’ : Such a gorgeous piece of heartache..so good.

St Vincent, “‘MassEducation’ : Wonderful re-imagining of ‘Mass Seduction

Jon Hopkins, ‘Singularity’ . Wonky and lovely because of it.

BED, ‘BED’: Mini super group, topped off with Baxter Dury’s voice. Some ace stuff on here.

Young Fathers, ‘Cocoa Sugar’. Dark

Low ‘Double Negative’. Dark, distorted and awesome.

Tracey Thorn, ‘Record’. Still one of my favourite vocalists. Some good tunes, too.

Lykke Li, ‘So sad, So Sexy’. The prize for the worst album title of all time perhaps, but that voice carries some lacklustre songs and production. Was hoping for ten ‘Time In A Bottle’s

 

I did a mix of New Year by Sugababes for the Darling Buds. Then a remix of it for them too. Proud moment, that, as I was a massive fan.

Available for free ’til the 2nd Jan

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Got another remix in the bag for them, too: hopefully that will see the light of day in 2019.

I mixed the fourth album for One Cure For Man, out in 2019. He’s a one man army with a great work ethic.

Also, finished mixing an album for Kafka Diva, mainly self recorded except the drums: another example of what you can do with a small budget these days.

I did a load of moderation and marking for RSL Awards, too this year. A great learning experience seeing how centres up and down the country do things.

2019 is the year I’ll finish my Masters degree, release some new music for media albums and once my Masters is out of the way in September time I’ll get some more time to focus on the music for media plan in more of a structured way.

Here’s to a healthy 2019

 

 

 

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Review of 2017

Busy busy!

Lots of recording, mixing and mastering this year, as ever.

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Released a few albums with my music for media company, went to Abbey Road studios , started moderating for RSL Awards , recorded and mixed another album at the Simon Says festival again  , and, it turns out, was my last as manager at Leicester College music and sound department as I move onto a new job running the Music, Music Tech and Live Events department at Confetti in Nottingham: really excited about this: lots going on there: new degrees locally and nationally, new building with 6 studios, loads of practice rooms and new staff and students to meet. It’s worth saying over and over, that my time at Leicester College has been an immense learning experience, but, overall, the best part has been the people: peerless as a team in FE: I’ll miss every one of them.

I got a release on a cassette for a song I wrote for the Dark Outside..it’s now sold out

I decided to start a Masters degree in songwriting: am one term in and I’m loving it. My course leader, Davey Ray Moor is in torch bearing band Cousteaux from the late 90’s. He’s great..I really look forwards to our weekly tutorials. Term one’s module has resulted in 5 songs I’m currently mixing: they’ll turn up in some form on future music for media albums I’m sure either as they are or as instrumentals: it’s been a great excuse to write and record: I’ve loved singing loads. It’s been great knowing I can work to exercises and ‘turn on’ my writing chops when I need to.

This year’s gig of the year was New Order at the Manchester International Festival : it was just perfect

Playing ‘Vanishing Point’ live….it hit me where it hurt and plumbed directly into 16 year old me. Was just amazing. Then you look at the place it was, the stage show as well as the set list..then add in the exhibition at Manchester Gallery and it made for one of the best musical days and nights I’ve ever had.

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Albums of the year: I will forget some , I’m sure, but

Taylor Swift: no irony here, it’s such a great pop album!

Baxter Dury: Loved his last album more, but, the new one’s great

St Vincent: effortlessly cool pop

Morrissey: Hmm….I’m a die hard fan, but need to seperate the art from the artist (he really has said some stupid stuff again this year), El Moz turned in a solid album, and as with the last one, the true star is the production by Joe Chiccarelli

Anna Of The North. Patchy but some good stuff..not as good as Shura’s album last year but treading similar water

Charlotte Gainsbourg : I LOVE the ‘Deadly Valentine’ single.. really great!

Paul at Seamus Wong told me about Protomartyr : some good stuff on their last album: love the fact they’re unlikely rock stars.

LCD’s return was great: a journey through James Murhpy’s record collection (again) and not a disappointment

Father John Misty’s album was great: my favourite album of 2015 : very rare I can listen to an album start to finish , but that album was great. 2017’s Father John Misty’s follow up was not cut from the same lyrical cloth: this time he avoids love…so for me, was harder to get into, but it’s worth the work: he’s a proper headliner now: so obvious when I saw him live in a couple of years ago. One of my favourite gigs ever.

Really love the Nadine Shah album, too if only for this song

Beck’s album was pop-tastic:

Arcade Fire’s album was patchy but had its moments

Bits of Lorde’s album was also great…..I still don’t think she’s the artist that critics see, and God knows how she got Bowie’s patronage , but she’s certainly got ‘something’

Went to Sensoria Pro again: was so good : Chris Packham, Geoff Barrow..and one of our composers won the scoring contest!

Podcasts: And The Writer Is is my new favourite podcast…really amazing conversations between writers at the top of their game.

But, others to recommend:

20kHz 

Song Exploder

Sodajerker

Adam Buxton

Richard Herring

Switched on Pop

Tape Op

Setlist

Sonic Talks

Bobby Owinski

Gear Club 

Edith Bowman

And, for no other reason than rescue dogs are ace, here’s a picture of Arthur, our Lurcher

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I go into 2018 with a real energy and I can’t wait to get stuck in!

All the best!