Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Chesterfield Jam Photos

Photos are now online here, as you can see it was quite a tight fit...

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Chesterfield Jam Report

Well the first Chesterfield Jam is all over now and was definitely a fun and interesting, though quite intense and often tiring experience. I think we both learned a lot from working with someone else and hopefully some of the stuff we produced will be worth releasing at some point.

Day One: I packed all my gear on Sunday night and printed off maps and directions. On Monday morning I was up nice and early to load the gear into the car and have some breakfast. I left my house at about 9:15 for the drive to Chesterfield to meet up with Steve at Digital Image Studios. Chesterfield is an easy journey for me as it's just 3 junctions up the M1, but I gave myself plenty of time, as you can never predict what will happen on the motorway. A good job too, as traffic completely ground to a halt for the last 10 miles, making a 30-minute journey into a 45-minute one. Still, I arrived just on time to find Steve had got there just before me. I parked the car and went in to find him chatting with Glen (the owner of the studio).

The Studio: The studio was a new building at the end of his back garden. Before unpacking, we decided to go down to have a look around and plan how we were going to set-up our equipment. We were expecting a room somewhat bigger than what we actually found. In my telephone conversations with Glen he'd said the room would be about 10' by 10' but it actually turned out to be more like 8' by 6'. It was really difficult to tell whether we'd actually be able to get all our stuff in. As we'd both invested a fair bit of time and effort getting our equipment out of our respective studios and were really itching to play together, we decide to give it a go. So then we started on the hardest part, unpacking and setting everything up, which entailed trailing to and fro through Glen's house and up and down the garden path, a job which wasn't helped much by the fact that Glen was in the middle of a major refurbishment/ re-decoration project, with piles of stuff dotted here and there to trip the unwary.

Setting Up: We decided to set Steve's gear up first, as he wanted to be in the farthest corner. As previously stated setting up wasn't much fun and it definitely wasn't helped by a particularly obstinate keyboard stand and an accident that left Steve's Prophecy slightly damaged. What a start! Luckily the Prophecy should be easy enough to fix and a spare part is on its way as I write.

We finally managed to get everything set-up in roughly 3 hours and finished just before lunch, we had a quick jam then went out to Pizza Hut for lunch. After lunch we nipped over to the B&B to pick up our keys, as we'd be finishing quite late.

Recording: We came back after lunch at about 2:30 and then played through 'til about 10 pm, recording 2 80-minute minidiscs worth of material. For most pieces we used a mixture of Steve's pre-prepared sequences (from Reason) and my improvised sequences (generated by MAQ 16/3 and Nord modular). We would usually jam for 10-15 minutes so that we could get some sounds and keyboard parts that worked together, then once happy we had an idea we'd hit the record button and just go for it. We tried to avoid falling into the trap of every piece having the usual structure of ambient bit followed by sequencer bit followed by ambient bit, though we found that we needed transitions between our different sequencer parts. We even worked on a shorter song that may make a good live encore one day.

At the end of the day... We went out for a curry, via the local supermarket to get out some cash to pay for the B&B and studio costs. During the meal we had a chance to discuss the day's events and decide on a plan for the next. After the most excellent curry we headed off to our B&B for some well-earned sleep. Alarms were set for an early start.

Day Two: Up early for a nice cooked breakfast then off to the studio. Got there to find Glen still having his breakfast.

Recording: Headed down to the studio, fired up all the gear and set to work, recording another 2 and a bit minidiscs worth of material. We even managed to get our sequencers to synchronise to each other, though this caused Steve problems as Reason insisted on jumping back to the first pattern set-up in it's sequencers, which unfortunately weren't the ones Steve wanted to use. Hopefully we will be able to avoid this next time we work together.

Packing Up: Finished at about 6:30 for a quick bite to eat and then started packing up at 7, which went altogether much more smoothly than the previous day's setting up. Managed to get everything packed in about an hour, then with help from Glen we got everything out to the cars and packed up ready to leave by about 8:30.

In conclusion: It has to be said that whilst the room was a bit smaller than we had expected and it wasn't that easy to get stuff in and out, Glen was extremely helpful and patient with our seemingly endless traipsing back and forth with piles of gear and said that next time we came we'd be able to use the larger control room, as he intended to swap the contents of the two rooms around.

The Music: From my point of view it was great playing and improvising music with someone else and though it was our first attempt I think that our styles complemented each other. We definitely had some inspired moments where it all came together, though there were also other pieces which were harder work. It was all good experience and hopefully with more practice we will be able to work together even better. It was something we'd both like to repeat, probably early next year. We each took a day's worth of recordings home to transfer to cd and exchange, prior to editing for compilation of the best bits into an album (or two)

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Chesterfield Jam Prep

Well one day to go until it's time to set off to Chesterfield for the inaugural Chesterfield Jam, two days of EM improvisation and jamming with Mr Steve Humphries aka Create. We've hired a little studio at the end of someone's garden to set up our respective equipment and just make music. It will be the first proper EM collaboration for us both and it will be interesting to see how it all turns out. We are approaching it is as an experiment which will hopefully be fun and possibly result in some good music. Everything will be recorded, so from two days of music it's quite likely we will produce something worthwhile.

Full report and photos to follow...

Friday, December 10, 2004

My top 15 EM albums released in 2004

1 Redshift - Faultline
2 RMI - People Would Really Like Space Rock If They Would Only Give It A Try
3 Rogue Element - Premonition
4 Axess/ Maxxess - Contact
5 Tangerine Dream - Bootleg Box 1
6 Redshift - Oblivion
7 RMI - E-Live 2003
7 RMI - Walking on the Sea
9 Create - Reflections from the Inner Light
10 STDM - Binary Motion
10 STDM - Solipsism
12 Omega Syndicate - Analog Waves
13 Ian Boddy - Chiasmata
14 Paul Ellis & Craig Padilla - Echo System
15 FSP & DATT - Passenger 4

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Omega Syndicate and Paul Nagle photos online

My photos from the Omega Syndicate and Paul Nagle gig at the National Space Centre on 13.11.04 are now online here http://public.fotki.com/modulator/omega_syndicate/.
It was a really good gig, Paul produced an excellent set, aided and abetted by Phil Smillie on guitar and atmospherics and The Omega Syndicate, though obviously nervous at the start, produced some excellent music once they got into their stride. Paul and Phil joined Xan and Dave for the encore of Ricochet (part 2 iirc)

Friday, November 19, 2004

New track 'The Eclipse' now online

I've uploaded a new track recorded during the practice sessions for my last gig. Entitled 'The Eclipse' it is available from the music page of my Soundclick site. Hope you enjoy it.

Friday, November 12, 2004

New track 'Sturm und Drang II' now online

I've just uploaded this track, to both the Modulator ESP Music page and the Soundclick site. Sturm und Drang II was the second piece played at my gig at Peggers on 3.10.04 and was inspired by a request from an audience member to play something with choir in. Thanks Steve.

Modulator ESP + Create 7.11.04 gig photos now online

Photos from the Modulator ESP + Create gig are now online at Modulator ESP and Awakenings websites.

Hampshire Jam 3 photos now online

My photos from Hampshire Jam 3 are now online at http://public.fotki.com/modulator/hampshire_jam_3. Enjoy

Monday, November 08, 2004

First online CD sale and last night's gig

Well, minor celebrations are in order as I actually sold my first CD online. Big Thanks to Peter for purchasing a copy of Time Clouds Distant Memory. I had a few teething problems getting set up to receive credit card payments via Paypal, but got all that sorted out and posted it today.

As to last night's gig I think I can safely say that it was the most enjoyable so far, in fact I think I may have got a bit carried away in places. Initial feelings are that it was an improvement on the previous gig, as John said 'That was really good last night, both sets, no boring moments at all, total attention-grabbing. Excellent.' I think it helped that I had some new sounds and tried some old ones that I hadn't used before and it was all quite inspiring. I think I'm getting better at sequencing with the MAQ and tried to vary my sequences throughtout the set. I do think I need to work on my transitions as I really don't like the awkward silences between pieces and I'd really like to do one continuous piece, thus cutting down on the actual talking to the audience in between as I still find that vaguely embarrassing.

It's a good job I had today off work as it was also extremely exhausting. My girlfriend Nereta was my roadcrew for the evening, as Pete was busy getting ready to go off on holiday, and she coped admirably with my instructions to, 'fetch this' , 'hold that', 'put this in there' etc. It all gets quite stressful at times but I think we got through it OK.

Many thanks to everyone who came, especially Steve (Create) who was the support and did an extremely good job, especially considering it was his first gig. Thanks also to Pete, Phil and John and newbies Dave and Ray (who actually came after I gave them a flyer at HJ3)

Don't know when the next one will be, maybe not until next year as I'm going to organise some Awakenings gigs that I don't actually play at to see how that works.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Progress to date

Started work on the pre-programmed sequences for the upcoming gig last night. Programmed a new Combi on the Korg Karma. Recorded a 12 minute improvisation using the new sound and sequences combined with some improvised sequences from the MAQ, so things are proceeding nicely.

Had an interesting conversation with a work colleague today about describing musical styles in advertising in which he decided my music should be classified as 'weird spaced-out hippy shit'. Not sure if that's entirely appropriate, but who's to say :-)

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Quick update - less than a week to go

Well, not much to say really, it's less than a week to go to my next gig, did the handing out flyers thing on Friday night and had a bop around at Spiders, did the going round town putting up posters thing on Saturday. Now it's down to the grind to make sure everything is OK for the gig, I want to program some new stuff into the MMT-8 and try to get a few new sounds programmed up on my synths as that always helps in the old inspiration department. Luckily I've got Thursday and Friday off on leave this week so everything should be done for Sunday.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Hampshire Jam 3

Went to Hampshire Jam 3 last Saturday. The Hampshire Jam is an electronic music festival held in the small Hampshire town of Liphook. This year I felt I somehow contributed in a small way to it's success as I designed the website http://www.hampshirejam.co.uk

FSP were probably the most retro-sounding but in the best possible way and got the event off to the best start possible. It was good to see them having such a good time. Their encore piece was particularly good.

This was my first Airsculpture gig and after a slightly shaky start they built up into an extremely powerful groove with some classic sequencing and great leads. This was some of the most complex multi-layered sequencing I've heard them produce and the sounds they were getting out of their Nord modulars was excellent.

I must mention at this point that the lighting at this gig was extremely effective and complemented Airsculpture's powerful performance. I think they had the best lights of the event.

Schonwalder, Keller and Broekhuis started the evenig session off all dressed up to go in matching white shirts. I'd not heard any of there stuff before and found their music to ba quite a modern take on the Berlin School, at times quite reminiscent of Schulze. One criticism would be that a couple of pieces went on a bit without much variation, but apart from that it was very enjoyable, especially Mario's enthusiasm and interaction with the audience.

Finally, in only there 2nd ever performance and their UK debut ARC produced a set of sublimely beautiful layered EM. Mark's sequencing was less strident than with Redshift at E-Live and Ian was on evidently enjoying himself, bopping away to the sequences, adding his synth percussion, strange textures and ambient bridging sections. Their set was over far too soon and ended extremely climactically with an e-piano piece from Ian and some huge chords from Mark.

Steve Jenkins did his big round of thank yous whilst ARC were setting up for their encore, which was the highlight of their set. Amazing to think they'd only got together the previous Tuesday and it was all new material.

I had a great time at my first Hampshire Jam, let's hope the organiser Steve Jenkins feels the urge to do another as it was well worth the effort. As Phil Booth, the guy sat next to me, said all 4 bands were excellent and I would find it very hard to decide between them as each had their own slant on sequencer driven EM.

Will post photos on fotki in due course

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Monday, October 18, 2004

E-Live, Equestrian Events and a Marathon

Went to the E-Live last weekend (9-10 October), which is an electronic music festival, with John (main organiser of the Awakenings gigs aka 4m33s) and Steve (Create) in Eindhoven, Holland.

Met up with John in a Travelodge near Stansted on the Friday night. As our flight left at 6:45 on Saturday morning we had to be up at 4 am to get there and checked in on time. Met Steve in departures as he had decided to come down directly from Manchester, but was rather delayed by the fact that the M6 had been closed for some reason.

The flight, which was my first, was actually quite exciting though uneventful, wasn’t even long enough for me to drink a cup of coffee. Was a bit disappointed to not get a window seat, but managed to get a look out of the one behind me.

We arrived bright and early at 8:45 and got a taxi from the airport to our hotel in Eindhoven, called De Bengel, only to discover that Steve had inadvertently booked us into the wrong De Bengel, 10 miles away in the town of Earsel. So we managed to rack up some taxi fares going to and from the hotel, but it has to be said it was actually very nice.

We got to the auditorium just as Redshift were unloading their van and had a brief chat with Mr Shreeve. He promised us some 'rocking sequences' and 'not too much ambient stuff'

The festival was well organised and there were quite a few stalls selling stuff. Steve and John bought some bits and pieces but I was holding out for the new Redshift stuff, which was Redshift VI - Faultline, the HJ2 recording and Redshift VII - Oblivion a new studio recording. They also had a Faultline DVD, which was a limited run of 100 copies, which sold out. Luckily the Redshift stall, run by Mark's wife and most probably daughter, were accepting English money as we were all conserving our euros for taxi fares.

Maitreya (aka Simon Lomax of Council of Nine) started the proceedings off in a very mellow vein. It was a bit too mellow for some who rather rudely got up and left during his performance, but Steve, John and I stayed the course. He was doing some improvisation to backing tracks on his Apple using a very small Midi controller, probably an Oxygen 8. John liked Maitreya and even has some of his albums.

Second on was Sunya Beat who apparently sound very Ashra-like, which means nothing to me. They were quite funky and very rhythmic, with a line-up of drums, guitar and a guy on a laptop and 'electronics'. They had some very good visuals, as did Maitreya.

I bought a new camera before going so I'll try to post some pictures of the performers somewhere online at some point. I also got some nice pictures of some quite nice architecture, which might get used if my musical collaboration with Steve, an idea that was born as we wandered round sunny Eindhoven, ever comes to pass.

Anyway there was about a 3-hour gap between the fist two acts and the last two so we got a taxi to our hotel to check-in, then back to Eindhoven for some tea, which consisted of beer and pancakes. I do like savoury pancakes :)

Gert Emmens was on next and he played some very melodic, Berlin school influenced stuff. I recorded his set so will do you a copy. He was joined for the last two pieces and a very unrehearsed encore by Ruud Heij for some more retro BS improvisation, but I have to say I preferred Gert's solo stuff.

The might Redshift were on last, slightly delayed by Gert and Ruud's unplanned encore and they deliver a set of storming sequencing with all the usual weird ambient link sections whilst Mark re-programmed his sequencers and re-tuned, plus lots of ep from James who also ventured in to axe-hero territory, but was no replacement for Rob Jenkins. I have to say Mark was getting some very hard, almost distorted stuff out of the Moog and I think this was a bit off-putting to some of the purists, but it's good to see them evolving.

We spent Sunday trying to work out how to get back to Eindhoven from Earsel without using a taxi, our efforts being hampered by the fact that the whole town was full of visitors for some equestrian event and the road we wanted to catch our bus from being closed didn't help. We eventually found a bus stop outside the town and a bus eventually came to take us back into Eindhoven, where they were holding a marathon. So we spent the day drinking coffee and discussing EM, as you do.

Got a bus to the airport, waited round lots and then flew back, arriving 15 minutes early. As I said before we saw Simon and his girlfriend on arrival at Stansted as well as Mark's wife and gave them all Awakenings flyers. Hopefully this might lead to either Maitreya or Redshift doing an Awakenings gig at some point in the future

Drove home listening to Oblivion on repeat, it's pretty good in a very similar style to the last Redshift studio album, Halo. Now I'm looking forward to HJ3, which is in a week or so.

Apparently Klaus Schulze is playing in Bologna sometime next year and plans are afoot to organise a bit of a trip out there, with Steve, John and myself and another chap called Phil (who was at E-Live with some of his friends).

In other news I have updated and re-designed the Awakenings website

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Gig pictures

Here are some pictures of me at the last gig, courtesy of Pete Challoner

Monday, October 04, 2004

Last night's gig

Well, first of all a big thank you to everyone one who turned up especially John for his excellent support set, Phil and Steve who came down from Manchester, Pete, Martin and Toby for help with setting up and packing up.

Used the MAQ 16/3 sequencer to compose new sequences on the fly, and I think this went pretty well, but I'll wait until I hear the recording before I pass final judgement. Comments on the night were very positive so I guess things went quite well. Will be posting some music if it turns out OK. I have to say this was probably the most nerve wracking gig so far, mostly due to the new setup, but also due to getting Phil and Steve to come all the way from Manchester, so I hope you enjoyed it.

Also noticed a few people in the audience I didn't know, so either they arrived by chance or the advertising paid off.

The only downside to the evening was that as I was trying to pack up my gear an annoying drunken idiot kept trying to persuade me to add vocals to my stuff and make loads of money doing dance music. Not that I've got anything against dance music per se, it's just that it's not what I want to do. I do the music that I do because I love it, not for the money. He just couldn't understand that and just went on and on, only giving up when the landlady told him to shut up and leave me alone.

Now I just can't wait for the next one...

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

It's been a while...

Well, what can I say, it's been about 7 weeks since my last entry so I've got some catching up to do. Since then I've been on holiday to North Wales and was extremely lucky to get one week of good weather, I've bought some more new gear in the shape of a Roland SH-101, I've been learning to use this and the Prophecy and working on integrating them into my current set-up. I've arranged another Awakenings gig, this time I'm performing with a friend by the name of Steve Humphries who is also known as Create. Check out his music, it's excellent.
The gig is on Sunday 7th November at Peggers in Nottingham.

I've been to see quite a few gigs recently including Rush, David Wright & Bekki Williams and Magnum. In fact at the David Wright gig I actually had a chap come up to me to buy some of my cds, so if you're out there Dennis, thanks, it made my day :-)
I've also got a few good gigs lined up, including the mighty Redshift at E-Live in Holland, Hampshire Jam 3 (Arc, Airsculpture, Free System Projekt and Keller & Schonwalder).

Currently I'm very busy practicing for my next gig which is imminent and have decided to break with my usual practice of preparing the majority of my sequences in advance. For this gig and from now on if it is a success I'm going to use my Doepfer Regelwerk to create and edit new sequences as I play, so expanding the improvisational aspect of my performances. At home, in the studio I have found this very inspirational, but it might not work out as well on stage. Fingers crossed :-)

The Leeds series of Awakenings gigs have been expanded and I'm now playing next December on the same bill as the amazing Airsculpture.

I've also been busy writing new music and will probably be posting some after the gig. I might even have some more live stuff to put online if all goes well.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Modulator ESP Music Update

I've uploaded the track Silent Planet to the Music page of the website. this was recorded at my first ever gig on 25.01.04 at Bunker's Hill, Nottingham, UK. It's a large file (about 11.23MB) but I quite like the menacing sequences layered with weird synth fx. This piece is another candidate for re-working for the new cd. Hope you enjoy it.
In other news I've also joined the EMforum.nl which looks like a place for lively discussion on all aspects of Electronic Music. Also in the planning stages for the next Modulator ESP gigs, hopefully later this year. I hope to have support from John Sherwood performing as 4m33s and Steve Humphries performing as Create and will probably do these under the banner of Awakenings. Check out their sites. :)

Sunday, August 01, 2004

minor update

Well it's been a quiet week, all in all, with work being particularly tiring this week. No real music done this week, though I have been playing around with the arpeggiator on my new Korg Prophecy and can see it generating some interesting musical ideas. Also joined the OnlineMusic World forum, which seems to be quite an interesting place. It appears that next year's appearance at the AmbientLive Awakenings concert series is a goer. I will be supporting Dutch electronic musician Ron Boots. My design for a flyer is below, I hope it gets used. It's based on some ideas that the organiser, John Sherwood, posted at OMW.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

no news..

is good news, so they say. Well  it's not quite as bad as that, I managed to get Chromium uploaded to Soundclick today, so it's now available as a low resolution stream for those like me who only have a crappy dial-up connection. Oh that ntl 60 days free trial is so tempting, but I know it will all end in tears. Will the temptation get the better of me - watch this space. Oh and I've added even more stuff to the Modulator ESP website, so go have a look, you know it makes sense.

Monday, July 26, 2004

lazing on a Sunday afternoon...

Well, I didn't get anymore recording done today but I did find an old tune to add to my website, called Chromium  (3:58 - 3.63MB) It's a weird, spacey, ambient track improvised live to minidisc using a Korg Wavestation and a Nord Modular last July. Other than that, as the title of this post suggests, I had a very lazy Sunday afternoon, spending a bit of (rare) quality time with my girlfriend. Then when she went to bed, I set to work trying to find the problem I've been having with Internet Explorer. it kept crashing whenever I loaded the index page of my site. As it seemed to be when it got to downloading the background sound, it occured to me that perhaps this had somehow been corrupted. As it had always been a bit on the loud side I thought I'd make it a bit quieter, in doing so updating the file, then uploaded it to my site. Strangely enough it appears that my hunch was right and this seems to have done the job, for the moment anyway. It was whilst I was searching for a better copy of this sound file that I chanced across the tune that I eventually decided to upload.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

saturday night

Apologies to anyone reading if this seems a bit random, it's the first time I've done something like this so you'll have to bear with me, I'm still in the making it up as I go along phase.
Anyway, even with all my best intentions I didn't actually get any music recorded today, but I have practiced a few melodic parts ready for when I get a spare hour or so.
Did a bit of work on the website as well today, but I was feeling a bit tired all day as I somehow managed to stay up til 5am and then got up again at 11:30, so I've been taking it easy.
Discovered a good website today, particularly if you're a fan of the old TV series 'The Prisoner'. Try walking on the map and going somewhere you're not supposed to :-) http://www.arvincasas.com/prisoner

Saturday, July 24, 2004

friday night/ saturday morning

Hi, just thought I might be able to get a quick post in before going to bed. Had an excellent night at Spiders. Went down on my own and got there for 10:45. Met a nice couple called Tony and Louise. Louise, like most women I know, wanted the DJ to play something he wasn't prepared to play. On this occasion it was the Doors.  Unfortunately she didn't get what she wanted, but he did play a few things that she liked.

Had a most bizarre experience at the bar when a young, rather attractive girl came up to me and said that she recognised me from somewhere. Turns out she remembered me from a while back when I was handing out flyers for the last Modulator ESP gig in March. Said hello and found out that her name was Kim. Later found out that Kim was having boyfriend trouble, but it seemed to sort itself out.

Also met and had an interesting conversation with a young lady from the Czech Republic by the name of Rebecca (though I think her real name was actually Eva). Rebecca (which apparently means 'bitch' in Czech) and I had a very interesting discussion about the cultural differences between our two countries and various other things, particularly her extremely enthusiastic dancing :-)

Time for bed,  said Zebedee
Hangover permitting will try to do some music this afternoon.

Friday, July 23, 2004

friday afternoon

Just about to leave work. Managed to do a bit of editing on my blog template at lunchtime, but there's still a way to go. Updated my profile to include some stuff about me.  Tonight I'll be off to my favourite rock club, Spiders http://www.spiders-nottingham.info/ for some beer and a boogie to some Classic Rock and Metal. Tomorrow I intend to finish recording on Dark Star Voyage and begin work on another track, probably Silent Planet.

this evening

I have been updating the Modulator ESP website,  located at http://www.modulator-esp.co.uk , which is a good place to look if you are interested in me and my music.

I've got some mp3s for free download at http://www.soundclick.com/modulator if you fancy a listen. At some point I shall be getting round to adding a profile and all that stuff and possibly moving this blog to the same server as my main website.

Further info is available from my Faceparty profile here http://www.faceparty.com/jezter which has links to some of my friends. Off to bed now :-)

Thursday, July 22, 2004

my first post

Hi, my name is Jez Creek, I'm 35, live in Nottingham in the UK and I'm a musician and composer. This is my first post to my new weblog for Modulator_ESP, which is the name of my electronic music project. I've set this up as a way to share my thoughts on life, the universe and everything, but particularly stuff relating to music. Hopefully over time it will serve as an interesting record of my journey through life.