Floating Off At Dilate Choonz...

I haven't had time yet to post a full report on the Burning Lodge session we did last Saturday (19th Jan) and Brother Oak (the lodge head) - I'll do that later this week. Suffice for now to say that everybody's songs were great, and everybody in the lodge seems to be coming on in leaps and bounds as composers, singers, players, arrangers and producers.

I have posted one track from the sessions, Floating Off the Coast of Lowestoft, at the Dilate Choonz music blog. Done in about 25 minutes - just a patch I had kicking around on the Arturia CS80V and some electric slide guitar (in open minor tuning, bizarrely enough.) It's an ambient take on your basic 2-chord jam. I think I accidentally hit the ring modulation at the end there.

See what you think.


Everything's gone green...

Just to let you know that the initial 'Barney' background colour seemed like a good idea for about 12 seconds, then was trouble. So I've changed it. Much happier with this!


Teeing off...

Hello there all you rock'n'rollers, and welcome to "BTGB". The purpose of this blog, in the first instance, is to talk about making music in an "Immersion Composition Lodge". But what is Immersion Composition and What is a Lodge? The Immersion Composition Society website provides a lot of useful information on this, but for your convenience and entertainment, I will summarise below.

Basically, Immersion Composition (IC) is a technique for writing songs quickly. IC was invented a few years back by two guys in Oakland, California, USA called Nicholas Dobson and Michael Mellender. Faced with a creative block that was stopping them writing songs, they hit upon the idea of spending a whole day trying to write as many songs as possible. Their chosen method for doing this was called the "20 song game".

In the archetypal version of the 20-song game, each participating musician goes into the studio (or the Batcave, or wherever they record music) for 12 hours solid, and attempts to write, record and mix 20 songs. The rules of the game are:

  • The songs should not use any of the musician's previously composed material (although 'found' material like samples, etc. is allowed).
  • The songs can be any style, and any length. In fact 'pieces of music' would be a better description than 'songs', as lyrics/vocals are not mandatory.
  • That's it.
In the strict version of the 20-song game, at the end of the 12-hour session each participant burns their songs to a CD. Then all the participants meet up and listen to each other's output.

An 'Immersion Composition Lodge' is just a group of songwriters who record 12-hour sessions (sometimes called 'day sessions') on a regular basis and then meet to listen to each other's work.

Brother Typewriter is in the Burning Lodge, which began in July 2007 when Brother Oak a.k.a. Ben Dalby made the very, very welcome decision to form his own IC Lodge having begun with the Heater Lodge just a month or so before. Brother Typewriter has been active in the Burning Lodge since September 2007. He has so far recorded 4 sessions, and a total of 26 tracks. Three of these sessions are up on the Burning Lodge website.

This blog will contain the occasional observation about the tracks I've recorded, but to a large extent the results will speak for themselves, for good or ill - and all tracks are freely available on the site should anyone wish to download them. This blog is going to be more about the technical and technological aspects of the recording and songwriting process - so expect to find things like:

  • reviews of, and favourite patches for, VST instruments and effects
  • tips for working with the Sonar digital audio workstation (my DAW of choice)
  • observations on working with the limited set of guitar, effects and synth hardware I've accumulated over the years
  • more general computer stuff - e.g. tips for building your own music computer, should you wish to do that.
  • observations on particular ways of songwriting which seem to have worked well (or badly!) for me.
  • tablature for guitar parts I'm particularly pleased with.
  • thoughts on the relevance of music theory for rock'n'roll, insofar as it impacts on the songs I'm writing.
and so on... you get the picture. Or if you don't, you probably haven't read this far anyway!

To many people this kind of thing will sound incredibly dull, but then I never claimed I was writing for a mass audience. If you're looking for more of a cultural and political grab-bag then giroscope may hold more interest.

Anyway, the next Burning Lodge session is this Saturday (16th Jan) and once that's out the way, I'll post some observations on the tracks I've recorded this time round, which I'm particularly pleased with. Until then... rock on.