Sudden business

I have joined a Celtic fusion band on drum machine - oh what fun, and an electro folk band on saxophone - also a great gig.
Suddenly my agenda is being filled with dates, paid work and good times.
At the end of July I'm going to Hull Folk Festival to play drum machine with Aartwork, a Celtic Fusion band. I hope the trad folkies don't lynch me!
In August I'm blowing my heart out with Mista Beat at Maui Waui Festival.
In the meantime I have some ambient techno, solo gigs, actually where my heart is (girl in a gale core work), a constantly evolving set of tracks made in the moment with techno grooves and sonics out of my suitcase of analogue synths (The Smokehouse, Ipswich, supporting Slow Down Missy 19th July) (The Table Restaurant, Woodbridge part of DJ David Freeland's Soul Food Sundays 22nd July 2018).
Festivals are fun, the sub-bass of various stages clashing with sounds, straw hats and cheerful consumers enjoying the performances. Here's a photo by Jerry Tye from Norwich Chapelfield Gardens festival of me playing saxophone with Mista Beats.
Photo: Jerry Tye. Mista Beat at Norwich 2018



Intentional error.

In Springbroke (girl in a gale - Beowulf album) I played slightly haphazard phrases on an electric piano as a way to bring some tension to the piece. My music is not about total control; It is made in an instance of expression and energy complete with intentional and allowed errors.
I dislike music with phrases and motifs rendered too precisely. That is boring. More about a pretentious mastery of the instrument than an ability to play with timbres and feeling.
If music is essentially a dynamic consisting of tension and resolution, then to create tension and resolution too precisely is to actually not understand music, to create false tension, and to be unable to explore the power of "wrong" articulation.
I am lucky because I have played saxophone in drunken jazz bands for decades which gives me a sense of the carefree and the happy-go-lucky.
Music is similar to cooking, after decades doing it you get to know a lot of things that just work. And there is no need to follow recipes, gram by gram, there is only inspiration.
Listen to Springbroke to hear my ideas.

Facebook is a local echo chamber of Likes.

How to distribute your work to a wider population? You've got your music distributed on Apple Music, Google Play and Spotify, feels great - a global audience bound to gain listeners - no, just a postage stamp size site on a moon sized platform. The top 10% of streams on Spotify gain 99% of the streaming revenue. The 90% of artists like you and me have to share that 1% of remaining streaming revenue - the postage stamp.
Example: I sold an album on Bandcamp for £7 and recieved a net £5, doesn't seem a lot until I compare that with streaming royalties from Spotify. 1.78$ over the last few months. Another example: I have set my Bandcamp album prices at £0 or pay more if you wish. Someone purchased an album for £2. I thought hmphh did you really want it and if you valued it enough to purchase, why not a tenner?! But compare that to my Spotify streaming royalties and it's a whole lot more. One album sale for £2 on Bandcamp makes me more than several months worth of Spotify streaming royalties.
So. I will consider my online streaming music as like a business card. One does not ask for money for a business card. Bandcamp is my shop, where fans can take a card - listen for free or download for free or pay a decent amount for an album, to support my work.
At least with Bandcamp I can set my own price and explore the market over time.
In the end it is collaboration, intelligent sharing of content and news, creative marketing and branding (establishing a focused vision and personal integrity of presentation) which gathers interest in an artist's work.
Meanwhile my Facebook "business" Page continuess to p**s me off with how ineffective and restrictive it is in letting me build my work on a wider scale than those dozen local friends who always Like every post I make (because that means I will also Like their locally limited posts of arbitrary works).
The question is: how to reach out to a much wider population of potential customers?
This website is part of that effort. I do not know who the visitors are, but I get a lot more visitors here than to my Facebook business Page and thank you x
And if you really like my music, then please go to my Bandcamp site and give it a gifted listen (I love people to listen to my music - it is the biggest compliment), or even bung a tenner for an album (tbh that trounces the pleasure of being listened to for free :-))

Su loves Hamish. He is with me all the time while making my music. I made a track called TooSu

Track titles are fairly arbitrary but always grounded in the time and location of the music's creation. My dog Hamish lays his head on my feet while I'm playing my synths and drum machine. Dogs sleep around 14 hours a day: producers produce about the same.
My friend Su is that friend who often responds instantly to a suggestion for a nice river or heath walk.
My new album "techno brunch #4 live set" is five tracks of live ambient techno, 48 minutes of improvised electronic listening music. Track 5, previously unreleased, is "TooSu" (click link to listen): a nod of appreciation to my friend who also loves Hamish and the places he takes us.
Such things are important in life: My dog laying on my bare feet, fresh espresso coffee brewing while I'm producing in the Summer, and on my walking boots in the Winter, and that friend Su, who loves Hamish almost as much as I do.
Where does music come from? Simply the dog on my feet, that feeling of animal magnetism, and that friend who loves going for walks and the feeling of being in nature.

Take me to your Ledr.

Techno Brunch #4 live set, has the tracks I played on Ferry Quay at The Caravan Cafe' as the fringe Woodbridge Regatta on 17th June 2018.
I am getting more into the rhythm machine as an instrument. On YouTube I found, long established, Detroit techno guy Jeff Mills doing a 15 minute drum machine solo and like it a lot.
Also a Celtic fusion band have recruited me on drum machine to substitute for their drummer who has become too busy with the band, Caswell, who are doing rather well. I played a gig with the Celtic fusion band, Aartwork, last weekend and really enjoy playing a drum machine live.
My new album, yet to be released (expected 6th July 2018), has Ledr as the first track and the drum machine attitude had already come to the fore by the weekend of Techno Brunch #4 live set (click link to hear) at Woodbridge Regatta.
Instead of the drum parts being a carrier for the melodic parts, the melodic parts are  reduced and mainly there to highlight the drum machine.

He sampled my track, I made a new track with his sample of my track and now he wants to release his sample.

A Sydney based hip hop/beat tape producer, Y 2 D, sampled my track The Messenger (album - "The Messenger" click link to hear the album from 2011) and sent me the beat. I really liked it so made a new track (titled "msg rcvd" click link to listen) using Y 2 D's beat as a middle section. In 2016 "msg rcvd" ended up on my album "Jetsam" (click link to listen to the whole album) and was published and copyrighted to me.
I got a message today from Y 2 D saying he tried to release his sample on a beat tape but his distributors detected my copyright and it was rejected.
So I contacted my distributor to ask for Y 2 D to be added to my track as a co-producer and this will enable co-copyright ownership and also I'll be credited on Y 2 D's work.
Samples are a minefield, I use only a few nowadays but if I do I apply synthesis and effects so they are not picked up by the computer algorithms as someone else's copyright.
The Messenger is a very odd album, I released it only on Bandcamp because I felt it only represented my earliest stage of making recorded music and was not good enough for Spotify and Apple Music etc, but listening again with this current activity around one of the tracks I hear an odd album but one full of naive imagination and originality, some beautiful saxophone and electric guitar loops.

The Messenger cover, released in 2011


Four busy days as a self-employed musician

I played saxophone in a jazz quartet Thursday eve: gave a saxophone lesson on Friday: and, played techno at two festivals on Saturday and Sunday.
In the meantime I was recruited by a Celtic folk-fusion/ceilidh band to do electronic drums - an unexpected musical direction. I went through a folk period in the 80s so I have a feeling for the rhythms and tunes, I wouldn't play in a band which didn't interest me musically and playing live with a drum machine is fun. It is like being a train driver, follow the railway lines and speed restrictions but make it a quality journey. I find a 4-on-the-floor 808 kick and clap on beats 2 and 4 adds the best meter to the fiddle and guitar. Next rehearsal will include the bassist, a strong player, so I have to design my 808 kicks to work without low frequency conflicts by reducing the decay and resonance.
Every situation is a creative adventure, an opportunity.
The Techno Brunch I played today was excellent, through Aartwork's PA (the Celtic folk-fusion/ceilidh band), not too heavy and loud, actual Electronic Listening Music.
Yesterday I played through a massive PA system with subs (bass speakers) as big as cars, and found my ambient techno to be too loud and bass heavy because I perform with the ear of a producer, listening for nuances, balancing sounds and dynamics. I cannot do that if everything is so loud only a rave audience would get it.

June 2018, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday - 76 miles driven, 13 hours worked (plus weeks of practice and preparation), £70 earned. And valuable experience, promotion and contacts gained. Busy days in the actual music business.

And who was with me throughout? My terrier Hamish, adopted 4 years ago. He comes to 99% of my performances. Here is a photo of day 1 with Hamish in 2014.

Sublove

Saturday June 16th 2018 I am playing a live set at Sublove all dayer electronic music festival near Beccles, Norfolk. My set on the Ushti Kusti stage may be at 2pm or 3pm, they want to ensure a good audience for me. I hope my set doesn't clash with Caswell because I'd like to see that and they are much more popular than me so will draw away the audience!
Sublove alldayer, produced by Introspective Sounds, is a tenner to enter, dogs and children are welcome and camping available onsite.
girl in a gale didn't make it onto the event poster but I enjoy being part of the fringe.

Techno Brunch #4

Techno Brunch #4, part of Woodbridge Regatta (Fringe) this Sunday 17th June. The lovely Caravan Cafe' are having me back to make my beat driven electronic music. There will be more in the afternoon with ARTWORK psychedelic folk music. A hog roast, if you're into that kind of stuff, and thousands of people enjoying the river front shennanigans, stalls, boats, ice creams, dogs, children, coffee, coffee and more coffee, then beer and wine.

Sublove Alldayer girl in a gale set on the Ushti Kushti stage

Finally a few days before the event, I have a set time for Sublove all dayer. 2pm on the Ushti Kushti stage. Dogs are allowed on site, great, Hamish is my sideman, for jazz and techno.
We're not camping as Beccles is only 40 minutes drive away and we prefer to be home in time for tea, usually a delicious red lentil daal and a glass of red wine, what could be better?
That's Saturday 16th June. 
On Sunday there is Woodbridge Regatta and a psychedelic folk band, Artwork, are booked to play in the afternoon at Ferry Quay Caravan Cafe'. I am doing a Techno Brunch from 11am till noon and just working out whether to use Artwork's P.A. and gazebo. No-one yet knows whether things have been organised to this level - like is there a power supply, P.A. and gazebo? Basic elements of doing a performance. Of course no mention of being paid, I suppose I'll be offered a "free" hog roast, great, success at last! (unless I'm feelin' the veggy techno vibes strong that day!)
But hey, I'll almost certainly get a cup of coffee, and this is being a musician. It'll look good on Facebook so that's worth a thousand pounds? :-)
My new album, BEOWULF came out last Friday. Track 6, Sun Mor, is a delicious dive into Ambient music, recorded at 11am one calm warm Sunday morning, a harmonic drone with Moog parts surging in and then a soft powerful bass arriving to propel it forward. 
Track 9, Tefi, is the last one and points toward a new Techno confidence. Mainly an 808 type beat with minimal harmonic content entering as a nod to my Ambient Techno basis.
Maybe my next tracks will be deeper into the Techno exploration, more rhythm based, even a 15 minute drum machine piece with no chord structure, just the meter and swing of a drum machine, and the confidence to perform that alone.
Tracks mentioned here can be listened to on my Bandcamp at the links below: Sun Mor
and Tefi
Or search for "girl in a gale Beowulf" on Spotify, Apple Music etc

Playing to Artists

The Artist community of Woodbridge. I did the 3rd Techno Brunch on June 2nd 2018.
A day with a bad weather forecast - thunder storms and 80% rain - but it didn't rain or thunder and I enjoyed my set very much. Susie Hammond sketched as I played.
Her son George suggested I half the hi-hat tempo, I ignored him because I was too involved in playing but the suggestion was good, ta George.
Jan Pulsford liked a particular bass riff, for it's timbre, and I shall investigate what the instrument was and endeavour to use more like it.
Cad Taylor danced, which I am unused to, but thanks Cad for adding your libido.
Artists all adding to an event. The best people to turn-up.The music is getting better every time.

Three friends - Album release. Sublove Festival. And girl in a gale set at DJ David Freeland's Street Food event at The Table Restaurant Woodbridge.


DJ David Freeland
DJ David Freeland puts on shows with cool music and guest artists in a cool food place, The Table restaurant in Woodbridge is that. David asked me to play a live set.

Introspective Sounds are a production company doing events of varied electronic music genres and asked me to do a set at SubLove near Beccles in a couple of weeks in The Chill Out Zone.

On Friday 8th of June 2018 my BEOWULF album is released. It was a result of the cultural event in Woodbridge, The Spirit of Beowulf Festival created by Jan Pulsford and Clare Victoria Perkins (Woodbridge Mayor) to celebrate the famous Sutton Hoo Anglo-Saxon treasures.

Two pieces are directly related to The Spirit of Beowulf: Track 3 - The Whale Road, is a concept track about the sea voyage of Anglo-Saxon immigrants sailing from Denmark to Britain - sounds of sails flapping, shingle beaches and whales: and, Safewater - the feeling of gaining safety after a voyage, arriving at a foreign shore, including synthesized Anglo-Saxon speech.

The rest of the music on BEOWULF is pure girl in a gale ambient techno, one track #6, Sun Mor was recorded at 10am on a Sunday morning and has a delicious calm timbre - that peace you feel as you anticipate the first strong espresso coffee of the day.
And track number 7, Sun Lun, is a bit more active, Sunday lunchtime when the espresso has kicked in.
BEOWULF, over an hour long, is a representation of my musical story in Spring 2018, available on Apple Music, Google Music, Spotify and the rest from Friday 8th June 2018.

The Table, Woodbridge, outdoor music and indoor cosy quality dining ambience.

girl in a gale set in the chill out zone.

album release Friday 8th June 2018

Techno Brunch #3 and Gorilla Glue.

The Ferry Quay Cafe', Caravan Cafe' has me again for a live set of my ambient techno. It is a low key affair, just a 40watt pa system, with cafe' visitors and music fans attending.
The pa system has been repaired, a tweeter had broken loose inside, I'd glued it back in place previously with epoxy resin but it broke loose again, so this time I built a mound of Gorilla Glue around it. That stuff reacts to water, expanding and solidifying into a pad of plasticcy mechanical support.
Ambient Techno is not so much dance music as an artform, not the up-market club scene, more artistic electronic listening music. Nevertheless a consistent 128bpm beat with a 4 on the floor kick for 15 minutes is actually very danceable.
The 4 on the floor kick is an essential human rhythm and takes courage to explore interestingly because there are strong associations with Eurodance pop, hard Tek and rave of the 90s. Ambient techno is more nuanced and sensual.
I'm biased, I grew up with prog-rock (synthesizers) and eventually jazz (harmony, meter, swing and rhythm) which led me into minimal electronic music (repetition as an aesthetic surface and simplicity as a relief from the chronic over-thinking of prog-rock).
My favourite performance this month (May 2018) is a half-hour Facebook Live jam with a drum machine (listen here).
The whole of modern western music culture is rooted in African influences, drums/rhythms are good so at Techno Brunch #3 I shall thoroughly enjoy the part where I do an extended drum machine jam and this is why I love playing music - it's like cooking, not following a recipe' word-for-word but knowing what can be done with a few ingredients.

Notes and pads and drum patterns - imagining the future of electronic music.

I have an album in review by my distributor, I imagine the audio quality and cover image resolution is just fine, and I love the music. So I predict within a day or two it will be approved for the global digital markets.
"Beowulf" is the album title, inspired by my contributions to The Spirit of Beowulf Festival, Woodbridge, Suffolk at the beginning of May 2018, produced by Jan Pulsford and Clare Victoria Perkins. My contributions were a Techno Brunch at Ferry Quay Caravan Cafe'; and an hour live synth/drum machine set by the Woodbridge Tide Mill - a part of a wider public event which turned out, partly due to delightfully warm weather, very well.
Because I am an unknown musician with just one or two Spotify streams daily I have an advantage - I can do what the heck I want. If I wish to make a new album using just a drum machine, I can, because it won't threaten my listeners numbers. If I wish to make an hour set of Moog drones with subtle harmonic resonances, I can, because it won't threaten my fan base. And I haven't got a record contract with executives saying, "We'd like you to make some more music like that track "Brent", because that is gaining more interest than your other tracks".
NO - I'm free to be the musician I am.
I love Brent, but I continue to have a world of music to explore. And Brent was made with that very same freedom of expression. So that's where the good stuff is, not in "Success", but in the musical journey, why do I kind of want some success anyway? When "Success" would pin me down to a particular formula?
 I don't. Thank you.
Meanwhile I shall continue the journey in notes and pads and drum patterns. And in fifty years who knows what electronic music will be like!


If you wish to listen to Brent on YouTube here it is.

Turning down an "opportunity"?

A DJ, who I play saxophone with locally, invited me to a weekend Electronic Music festival in mid-France, to blow along with his House music set. We played together last night in my hometown and it was awesome, but ...
Wow, through the tunnel, so many people to meet, contacts to exchange... but ... .  The logistics are costly. 500 miles from where I live. Camping for the weekend (I hate camping and don't own a tent). Need to put my soulmate dog in kennels for five days. Only a "fascinator" saxophonist with no chance of doing my own ambient techno set. Budget offered would cover about a 1/4 of total costs and as I mentioned there is no opportunity for me to play my own live ambient techno set, so I decided to decline.
Last night's dj/sax gig was excellent, I used a looper, fx pedal and the loops sounded really good. It was almost my own electronic music gig, right or wrong, it turned into a set of funky house electronica, transcending the average Saturday night House set. The tools at my hands - saxophone through looper, delay, reverb and harmoniser put me into producer/remixer mode and the set was fabulous - and fabulous costs more than a few Euros for travel expenses (a quarter of actual costs).

Spotify is drawing my attention

I've spent a few months subscribing to Spotify, a few other months with Google Play Music, but found more music on YouTube. YouTube has live sets where the artist can be seen playing instruments.
Other people have said they prefer Spotify to YouTube because the streaming quality is higher. I thought I'd not noticed a lack of audio quality on YouTube but recently I made a Spotify playlist of my current listening including a couple of my own tracks and during that I definitely noticed the richer audio compared to YouTube.
I'm thinking of subscribing to Spotify again, get rid of those adverts every 30 minutes and make it easier to manage my playlists.
Here is a link to my own work on Spotify, if you have a liking for electronic listening music, ambient techno, then you may like to subscribe to "girl in a gale". Thank you for listening.

Sunday morning podcast - exquisite vibes, improvised ambient techno. Click here to download.

With all the Facebook, YouTube and other social media clamouring for our visual attention my visual field is almost constantly violated, but I find two things soothing: Twitter, because it is what it is, just tweets, easily scrollable and ignorable; and, Podcasts, because my ears do not need reading glasses and I can wash-up, cook, drive, cuddle the dog while passively hearing a podcast.
So I have been podcasting. Here is the 2nd podcast of May 2018, a Sunday morning subharmicon vibe of delicious coffee and waking-up.
Podcast link is downloadable by clicking this post title above, or listenable on Mixcloud below.


Podcast - Going through older tracks, playing them completely differently.

Podcasts have interested me, a chance to listen while cooking or doing the washing-up, or driving, without the need to look at a screen. My tired eyes from years of Facebook browsing need a rest.
A local musician Talvin Singh makes regular Mixcloud podcasts which I enjoy, so I tried one of my own - an hour of live comments on my workflow and equipment between chillout ambient techno and breakbeats.
I had to Google "Breakbeats" because I thought it meant some kind of Trap or Drum&Bass genre but it means 4/4 beats but with distinct variations from the established electronic dance music four-on-the-floor kick. There is the term "broken beats" too where the drums are unquantised to the grid, it is consistently rhythmical but discrete beats are offset - pushed and pulled - to give a more creative edge to the beat.
In this first Podcast my voice is recorded too quietly and I shall endeavour to correct this in the next one. What I find compelling about these hour live sets is they are not an "album" or a live performance, they are a recording of a musician at work.
Because the music is played live there are inconsistencies - a loud surge of bass; a sudden cut of a keyboard riff; drums abruptly stopping. These error messages within the set make it human. Too much electronic music is overly-perfect, having been processed within a multi-track DAW (Digital Audio Workstation): all errors ironed out in a computer.
I am working towards Podcasts, you can listen to this podcast on Mixcloud, link below, or click this post title which will enable you to download the podcast. Next I will learn how to do RSS feeds and distribute my podcasts to the directories. Step by step.




Ambient techno in a barbershop, whatever next!

Local barber, Carl Bowen, asked me to do a live set in his shop. How peculiar, so yes of course I will. The set went nice and I recorded it from the mixer so the quality was good and I released the album, "girl in a gale - live set at the barbershop".
It is on Apple Music and Spotify etc but also Bandcamp. It's a tenner to buy but you can listen for free on Bandcamp Here's the Bandcamp link.


live set at the barbershop - album release. May 4th 2018

Barber Carl Bowen invited me to do a live ambient techno set in the shop while he was cutting hair.

Listen on Spotify