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

db

 

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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Summer’s nearly gone….

As ever, an extraordinary amount of time has passed since the last log post.

Have been recording for Kafka Diva’s second album…well, I’m recording the drums, they’re recording the rest at their house, then files over to me to mix and master…..we’re about half way through.

Started recording a new Shortwave Fade single last week, and there’ll be an acompanying remix EP that I’ve done for them, too.

Speaking of remixes, I’ve just finished one for a band I really really loved from the late 80’s, early 90’s : they’ve signed it off and ‘love it’….just looking how to release it..I will no doubt shout about it when they do.

I was back at Simon Says festival doing the pop up studio again: was great again…I say it pretty much every year, but it makes up for my lack of recording through the rest of the year. Highlights included The Millmen..10 piece Ska band….10 piece! 4 Mics! 4 DIs! ..really love the limitations and it sorts the men from the boys… also loved catching up with Uncle Frank

 

Books? Finished ALL the Mixerman books now…that’s all the ‘Zen and the Art of...’ series, and the newest Billionaire Apparent one…..they’re all brilliant. The Zen ones make you approach everything with some balls and attitude. He’s streaming the audio version of the ‘Daily Adventures Of Mixerman’ at the moment…so funny ,and so much to learn! Essential listening

Have released a few more music for media albums….more to come..upping the release rate with that now I have more composers on the books and a good co-publsher to do the leg work.

Image result for new order so it goes

Gigs….slow year but made up for it with a gig in Manchester seeing New Order and the Royal College of Music’s synth orchestra.

It was amazing….playing some of my favourite songs from my teens and early 20s..the years you’re most influenced by the music you take in, I think. Vanishing Point was just perfect…but Shellshock stole the show (surprisingly, as its not a strong single)

Albums thus far: Father John Misty’s is great, Goldfrapp’s is great, Mac De Marco’s is good….ummm….can’t think of any other this year so far…

 

25th Oct 2010 Kafka Backing tracks, WAA album and Shortwave MIDI files

Spent some time tweaking the Kafkadiva backing tracks they use for live shows. Got another three to do.

The Shortwave Fade track Im mixing was supplied with loads of effects on the synths.. Ben emailed me dry versions plus I’d asked for  a MIDI file of the main piano so I could try different samples and also so I could manipulate the part. They arrived today, so I dropped those in.

FInally the WAA album’s uploaded to CD Baby. Release date TBC.. around the physical release: that went to the duplicators on saturday, so should be there today. SOme card samples arrived today too… not sue about it.. may be too clean. Despite it being white, I think it needs to be more textured. Some more should arrive any day now. John R is testing out the stickers we’re going to use, too. All in all, bust behind the scenes.

Had a coupe of hours marking, too. Whilst in Munich my level 3 students did a presentation of their business plans: usually I could’ve marked them as they were doing it, and saved lots of time.. as such, it’s eaten lots of time. Enjoyable, tho. Some clever ones.

10th oct 2010. 2 albums put to bed and pastures new

Both Kafkadiva and Jamie Says albums are finished (bar the checking of the CDs by bands themselves) so it seemed like a good time start the next stage of plate spinning and something I’ve wanted to do for years. Last night I sent a handful of emails out to people along the years I’ve worked with who I’d like to contribute to my new and very long term project: a music for media company. Meaning to do it for a very long time. I’ve been doing some background reading on it for a while but nothing more. Unless I started getting people involved and relying on me handling their music , I could see it being another 5 years of silence. So, although theres a way to go, my intentions are focussed. Phew.

Other news: the We Are Altered album is waiting to be duplicated, but til we get know whether a track (called “we’re at our height”) is going to be used for  publisher we can’t finalise the tracks. Ironically one of the reasons for doing the WAA project with John R was to use the material for media, too.. but Lift (our publisher) didn’t want to use stuff that was being commercially released, so that was that planned fucked! Still, it doesn’t matter as the album sounds great and there was so much more to it than just the media aspect…. a real learning curve, and on it goes.

This week: Got Uber tech pioneers Roland coming in to show off at the day job tomorrow, a Jamie Says remix to start, WAA remix to master, and another Shortwave Fade track to mix. Not all of this will happen as I’ve got a short week.

One of the perks (the only?)of the day job is that I get to go to the Apple Training conference in a city in europe. Last two years I’ve been to Barcelona and Paris. This year it’s Munich. Never been. Very excited, and a real treat to end the first and one of the most stressful times of the year for me. So that’s thursday and friday this week…..

Oct 7th Gaps, WAA remix and Bernard Sumner Hot Chip collaboration

Sorted the gaps on the Kafkadiva album, then onto the WAA remix I’m doing. Trimmed the flab from the end and replaced a snare with a Linn snare sample. My favourite snare, fact fans.

Converse are running a series of collaborations at the moment. Bernard from New Order has done a collaboration with Hot Chip. ‘Didn’t know what love was’ is a slice of Electronic era Bernard. In true Hot Chip style, it sounds like a demo…they’ve made a career form it and lovely they are, too. Pretty good tune: best thing Bernard’s been involved with for a while.

Hot Chip have become a bit special to me over the last few years. Love their take on pop. Use of what can only be described as ‘shit sounds’ over ace songs is a winner for me. Even when the sounds aren’t shit, the results can be beautiful

and here’s another excuse to put this video up…….

Oct 3rd – 5th Kafkadiva mastering finished? Depeche Mode and Blue Aeroplane’s new albums (20 years ago)

All Kafkadiva tracks mastered and Drop-boxed to the band waiting thumbs up/down/sideways.

Spent more time on the WAA remix, trying to trim the end to be a little more complete: difficult unless you listen to the other 4 minutes first!

Continued my trawl through the 20 year old music press I inherited from Freecycle. Absolute joy every time I read one. Currently I’m in early 1990 reading reviews of Extricate by the Fall, Swagger by the Blue Aeroplanes, and I’ve just read that Depeche Mode are to release ‘Violator’. Funny.. when I re read that after 20 years I still felt excited, as if it were about to come out now.

That album is one of the most perfectly mixed albums and has stayed with me all these years. Mixed by Francois Kervokian, ‘Violator’ maintains the perfect balance: a glassy soundscape over great songs. Powerful and gorgeous. Arrangements that swell and beat.

‘Swagger’ is on my top ten albums list every time. A friend of my ex introduced me to them. ‘Jacket Hangs’ alone is worth investing time in them

Famously having a million guitarists, Angelo Bruschini went on to be in Massive Attack. Anyway.. listening to ‘Swagger’s mix is another masterclass… all those guitars, but each has its own space. Yum

Fall in love with them.

29th Sept tweaks tweaks. I-Phone Logic App

FInal (I said that last night) tweaks pre mastering of Kafkadiva mixies.

The I Phone app I co wrote Logic Studio questions for was released. Wrong overview.. I don’t train for Amsys, but am seeing about getting that text changed to be , well, correct! Will post a link properly once the text is correct. Proud as punch to have been involved tho. The other two are Logic experts.. Mike Watkinson writes the Apple notes for Sound on Sound. A bit better than me, then.