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Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond



Two More Contrasting Solo Bass Experiment Videos.

June 1st, 2009 · Comments Off on Two More Contrasting Solo Bass Experiment Videos.

Since Saturday’s upload, I’ve put 2 more videos on Vimeo for your delectation and delight, which contrast the different ways that the Looperlative can be used to either simply provide a loop for a piece of music, or be integral to the way it’s created, and the sound that emerges.

I’m fascinated by the relationship between technology and end result, and by the methods that we as musicians can use to keep our own technical thoughts and experiments subservient to the greater artistic and communicative aims… [Read more →]

Tags: bass ideas · looping · Music News

New Ambient Music Video

May 31st, 2009 · Comments Off on New Ambient Music Video

Having had the aforementioned week away from playing, I sat down yesterday to do some bass-things. I started out on my fretted 6 string bass, and couldn’t really find anything that was particularly interesting to me (though that may feel very different when I go back to watch the video!), but once I switched to the fretless, things got a lot more fun.
This first video is actually the second one I recorded yesterday, and starts out pretty spacey and mellow. There a big healthy dose of fretless melody stuff in the middle – just exploring the emotional landscape of the underlying loops (which are three overlapping loops of different lengths, so the texture keeps shifting, along with the subtle changes in the harmony as the different parts of the three loops coincide to form new chords). [Read more →]

Tags: looping · Music News

More Music Video – New Public Beta experiments + Duo with Theo Travis

May 12th, 2009 · Comments Off on More Music Video – New Public Beta experiments + Duo with Theo Travis

picture of some old book, by Steve LawsonHere are the latest couple of videos I’ve put up. The first is another of the experimental ideas I’m working on for the new album – this time I wanted to try something a little more solidly rhythmic, just to see how the replace functions interact with a percussive track. (the part is played by muting all the strings, and then using a ‘double thumb’ technique, more readily associated with slap bass, to get the percussive pattern).

[Read more →]

Tags: looping · Music News · Musing on Music

Two Contrasting New Musical Experiments (Video)

May 9th, 2009 · Comments Off on Two Contrasting New Musical Experiments (Video)

photo of a painting from the Urban Scrawl exhibition in London, April 09Here’s the two latest bits of ‘public beta test music’ that I’ve put up online.

They contrast a couple of different possible uses of the functions I’ve been exploring on the Looperlative of late – the first being using the replace functions as an ancillary bleepy effect in an otherwise mellow ballad, and the second being a full-on rhythmic bleep-fest, that veers much closer to glitch-core (though the fact that my rhythmic reference point is just a fairly slow ‘four on the floor’ kick-drum style pattern is a little less interesting than you’d expect from something more obviously IDM…) [Read more →]

Tags: looping · Music News

More New Music: Video of a Looperlative Glitchy Bluesy Electronica Experiment

May 6th, 2009 · Comments Off on More New Music: Video of a Looperlative Glitchy Bluesy Electronica Experiment

screen grab of the Vimeo page for the video embedded in this blog post at stevelawson.netHere’s another new ‘public beta’ video – this time, I’m experimenting with some new functions that’ve just been added to the Looperlative LP1. (that’s the looping device I use…)

The new tricks are around the idea of ‘replacing‘ bits of a loop, with other audio, giving it a chopped up, glitchy feel. The main effect I’m using is a ‘quantise replace‘ function, that replaces bits, but switches on on and off on the beat, so when I hit the button it waits for the next exact subdivision of the loop (in this case, 1/96th of the whole loop time) before doing anything, and again to switch off again. [Read more →]

Tags: looping · Music News

More new music – Youtube video of a brand new tune.

April 12th, 2009 · Comments Off on More new music – Youtube video of a brand new tune.

photo of the bed of the thames, taken from a pothole in a boat near Tower BridgeAfter the new tune I posted on Audioboo a few days ago, I’ve got the bug for uploading new tunes. Hopefully it’ll finally kick me into action to make some decisions about the kind of record (or whatever passes for a ‘record’ these days 🙂 ) I want to make.
[Read more →]

Tags: bass ideas · Gig stuff · looping · Music News · Musing on Music

Youtube Vs. The PRS: A very 2.0 Solution

March 20th, 2009 · Comments Off on Youtube Vs. The PRS: A very 2.0 Solution

Screengrab of Coldplay's official youtube channel, tell us we can't see their videos in the UKScreengrab of Coldplay's official youtube channel, tell us we can't see their videos in the UKOne of the biggest “music on the web” stories in recent months has been the breakdown in relationship between the UK Performing Right Society (PRS) and Youtube (owned by Google). It’s over the share of Google’s ad revenue that should go to the writers of the songs in ‘premium content’ videos on Youtube. (for some background, here’s An article from The Guardian, and the PRS’s latest statement).

So, who’s in the wrong? Not surprisingly, both are, at least partly.
[Read more →]

Tags: Geek · New Music Strategies · tips for musicians

More House Concert Adventures.

January 15th, 2009 · Comments Off on More House Concert Adventures.

Steve Lawson with Owen Biddle at a house concert in PhiladelphiaOne of the magical things about house concerts is just how quickly they can be put together. Because there’s no ‘press’ involved, no promotional deadlines to hit, emails can be sent out to friends as soon as the gig is decided on, and an audience can be rustled up in about 2-3 weeks.

Which is exactly what happened to us for Philadelphia. Linda Mills sent me a message on Twitter just before Christmas saying ‘what would it take for you to come to Philadelphia?’ – we swapped Tweets, then emails, and it was booked! Because of Philly’s proximity to New York and New Jersey, a lot of the other twitter and social media friends in the area were up for making the trip, some musician friends were emailed, and a plot was hatched.

The date was picked because it was the day before Lo and I were going to be giving a looping masterclass at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh anyway, so we’d be out and about, and needed to have a car rented for that weekend anyway.

And once again, we were in the now-familiar situation of turning online friends into real friends, getting guided tours of cool cities, and introducing another room full of lovely people on to the delights of house concerts. (and posing for bizarre pics with lovely audience members/friends at the end, like the one above)

The gig went so well – the PA was put together from bits borrowed from Lo’s brother and from the drummer from her old band, Kevin Quickle. So the sound was fab. And Linda’s house has a through-lounge, meaning that we could do the fairly common L-shape set up, with a lovely assortment of sofas and chairs and cushions for people to sit on.

As a reference for how well house concerts work, we sold more than one album-per-person at the gig, including Lo’s first foray into selling her entire back catalogue + rarities on a 1gig memory stick. Definitely something we’ll be exploring further in the near future!

Being an audience largely drawn from the world of social media, the amount of fab technology on show was amazing, from great cameras, to Macs streaming the gig live to Ustream, two Nokia N95s taking pics and video, iPhones tweeting and twit-picking… Welcome to the future; blink and we’ll be onto something new.

We now can’t WAIT for the 3 more house concerts we’ve got in Northern California on the 22nd,23rd and 24th January – it’s going to be a LOT of fun. 🙂

..But before that, it’s NAMM, which starts tomorrow. Except for the ‘social media for musicians‘ session that I’m doing tonight. If that counts as NAMM for me, we start in about 2 hours!

…Oh, and one more thing – if you want the definitive explanation on how looping works, just watch the video below, from the Philly show:

Tags: Gig stuff · Music News

First Leg of The House Concert Tour over…

December 24th, 2008 · Comments Off on First Leg of The House Concert Tour over…

Photo by the fabulous Tracy AppsWe’re back in Northern Ohio for Christmas, having played three amazing shows, (overshadowed by the tragedy before the first of the shows).

The picture on the right there was taken at ‘Divine Word Lutheran Church‘ in Milwaukee on Sunday morning, where Lo and I played a couple of songs and some ambient goodness for the assembled lovelies.

I’ll write more about the third gig soon, but for now, here’s a Flickr slideshow of the gig at Tracy’s, and then the embed of the UStream archive of the entire show!

Enjoy…

…and if you enjoy the show enough, you can still head to LivingRoomSessions.com and contribute to the ‘chip-in’.

Tags: Gig stuff · Music News · travel

…and another video with Michael Manring!

November 3rd, 2008 · Comments Off on …and another video with Michael Manring!

Here’s a second video from 2005, with Michael Manring – this one was filmed the day after the last one, at the Brookdale Lodge, a rather freaky venue in the Santa-Cruz mountains that actually as a creek running through it… and a swimming pool with all kinds of weird tales attached to it – apparently the place was a Mobster hang-out back in the 20s.

Anyway, they now have duelling-bassists to add to their list of weird events, and here’s the video evidence!

Tags: Music News