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Those good fellows at Tbilissi Recordings have made Miss Pain’s debut single available on bandcamp. So you can buy it on 45rpm seven-inch vinyl, your favourite digital download format, or a bundle of both!

Everyone’s a winner, providing they want to listen to 2 songs which so baffled the NME that they declared us “mentally ill”. (A description which Steve Lamacq thought “quite harsh” when he aired us on his radio 1 show)!

Ah! The memories… Why not give it a listen and decide for yourself. And if you feel your record collection is missing

a) A discombobulating ode to flammable nightwear
b) A Casio-powered tribute to Miss Pain’s Italian aperitif of choice plus other bedsit shenanigans
c) All of the above

Go on and buy yrself a copy (the A-side still sounds nuts to me and I wrote the flipping song!) >> Tbilissi Recordings bandcamp page >>


Here’s a preview of both tracks

 

Seasons greetings! I bring news of special offers on my print editions and my all new online shop…

Both Subversion Gallery and Art Republic are currently running a pre-Christmas price promo, with £50 off RRP on all of my limited edition prints!

Subversion Gallery > are offering £50 off online and instore at their Glasgow gallery on the following 3 prints:
I Think Of You And I Smile
Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll
Home Sweet Home
You can take advantage of this offer (with free shipping) via their website >

Meanwhile, Art Republic > have the above 3 prints plus all three prints from my “bleak postcards” series on offer with £50 off too:
Kiss Me Quick
Wish You Were Here
The Last Bastion Of Hope
You can order at their Brighton gallery or online > also with free shipping.

Why not take advantage of these offers and give the gift of neon this Christmas? But be quick, for the offer will self-destruct in less than 2 weeks.

IN OTHER NEWS
I’ve also set up a lo-fi web shop > offering various products of my creative pursuits including
– A selection of my ‘(Sub)Conscious Drawings’ (with 20% of sales going to charity)
– Some Miss Pain releases
– The last few of my ‘Devil + Idle Hands’ badges
– but no original paintings, these can be perused via my portfolio page > all sales enquiries to info@dominicbradnum.co.uk >, please.

 


DATE:
 Friday 23 September 2016
LOCATION:
Studio 5, BLANK Studios & Gallery, 108 North St, Portslade-by-Sea, BN41 1DG

MISSION STATEMENT
To create a sound piece, within 1 day, in response and homage to the environs of BLANK Studio 5. All sounds to be conjured via a limited array of low-fidelity sound-producing and recording equipment, plus any found sounds and field recordings captured on location, on the day.

EQUIPMENT (all vintage and/or 2nd-hand unless otherwise stated)
Recording: Fostex X-26 4-track cassette recorder (channel 1 input not working); selection of 3 microphones of various vintages; Behringer 4-channel mixer; circa 1960s Park amplifier (low wattage); Headphones; Zoom H1 Handy Recorder (my one concession to modern technology)
Instruments/Sound-producers: Human voice; Human body; Yamaha SU-10 sampler; metronome; Early Learning Centre plastic drum (purchased previously for £1.99 at local charity shop).

ARTIST’S NOTE
In the process of winding down my practice in BLANK studio 5, and packing up my works and materials, I have found the grain of a song idea returning to mind again and again – A Nietzschean slogan that appears on one of my current works in progress: “Everything you need is right here”. Over time it became almost a mantra, a nagging earworm, sound-tracking the hours spent clearing out my paraphernalia. Now and again harmonic counter melodies would suggest themselves, hinting at a choral composition of some kind. And so I vowed to return to the vacant space to compose and record a farewell sound-piece – a Lo-Fi Symphony in 1 day.

ACCOUNT
I arrive, from Worthing, by bike and set-up my arsenal of lo-fidelity audio equipment. First task is to wipe a cassette on high-speed record.

11:15 – I have had my suspicions about the metronome I have brought with me – it seems to be a bit lazy on every 2nd click. But I need a click-track to help me keep time, so I cheat and hook up my phone to the internet. A little trial and error and I settle on 69bpm.

I record a base vocal take – the repeated phrase “Everything you need is right here” holding a close microphone (AKG) with an auxiliary directed mic’ (SM-58) at approximately 1.5 metres distance. Vocal 2 adds a basic harmony repeating the same phrase, mixed down with Vocal 1, with some high and low EQ tweaked.

Following Vocal 3, I realise everything, bar the click track, has been recorded too quietly. If I try and increase the volume, it merely amplifies the hiss – there is “lo-fi” and there is “unlistenable”, so I cut my losses and start from scratch with the click track.

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14.30 – Much better! A cleaner, louder Vocal 1 and 2 are re-recorded (same mic’s and positions) and mixed down to 1 channel. Vocal 3 is added and we’ve clawed back some time. On this 2nd attempt I make the decision to set a structure for the composition: 10 repeats of the full phrase (10 being a multiple of 5. As in studio 5).

Each of the following Vocal takes requires careful consideration to slot in with the existing ones and to add a new colour or tone to the whole. And as each part is added it must be mixed down to the 1 spare channel I have at my disposal. So with every new addition, an individual part is lost (and another bridge is burned). It is a tricky, but liberating route to feel your way through.

Occasionally, one of my additions doesn’t quite mesh with the others – it is discarded and I try something else. Slowly, with each new part and mix, the piece builds to a rather comforting sounding multi-vocal composition. (I have notes for 6 vocal takes, but there may be 1 or 2 more).

I try adding an over-driven a capella bass part – abandoned in favour of a falsetto counter harmony. I then have an idea to introduce a crashing bass-drum sound during the final 2 phrase repeats. First I try various implements (heavy pliers, bits of wood, a fist, a microphone) out on the toy drum I have hanging around from my previous Lo-Fi Symphony – too feeble! Instead I mic’ up the floor and thud my knee twice on the floorboards in sync with my trusty click-track. This is sampled and hooked up to the 1960s Park amplifier. Once recorded, it doesn’t quite have the desired effect, so I mix it across with some extreme (for this 4-track) EQ. Still no good, and it’s getting late.

I draw a line, and listen back to adjust the levels of the amassed vocal jigsaw I have gradually constructed throughout the afternoon: Vocal 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 on one channel, with added Vocal 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 adding extra presence on the 2nd channel.

19.30 – I record a master mix direct to my Zoom H1 recorder; then a second ‘ambient’ version by routing the 4-track to the Park amp, with the Zoom H1 approximately 2.5 metres distance from the sound source. Then I hastily pack away my gear and load up my bike for a hairy ride along the dark coastal cycle way back home to Worthing.

Notes from the recording process:


Post-production: the final Dry mix + Ambient mix were transferred to Logic audio software; the two mixes were then combined and volume levels tweaked for an overall “wet + dry mix”.

 

These songs are the results of a four day recording residency I undertook from 18th to 21st August 2013 (with a few hours remedial work over the following weeks), under the banner of “Lo-Fi Symphonies”.

I finally found the time and courage to re-visit the recordings at the end of March this year. I’ll be honest it was really an excuse to try out an idea I’d had for a homemade space echo spring reverb. Each of the songs was kept in the state I had left them almost 3 years ago, and i mixed and mastered 2 signals from the 8-track: 1 outputted directly to Logic, and the 2nd routed to Logic via my homemade space echo.

I’ve released the four songs under the guise of Sylvania Electric (seeing them as a progression of a long-dormant pre-Miss Pain pseudonym Sylvania). I hope you like them.

 

 

———————————————————————–
APPENDIX (Lo-Fi Symphonies Residency 1)
Rather than wracking my memory over a few overdubs and recording decisions I made 3 years ago, I’m just going to present the notes as a form of appendix – a long overdue full stop to this project.

REMEDIAL NOTES (Summarising work undertaken following the initial recording timescale)


REMEDIAL NOTES (Praying For Time)


MIXING & MASTERING NOTES

Portslade-Aggregate
DATE:
Monday 22 February 2016
LOCATION:
BLANK Studios & Gallery, 108 North St, Portslade-by-Sea, BN41 1DG

MISSION STATEMENT
To create a sound piece, within 1 day, in response to the environs and surrounds of BLANK Studios & Gallery. In contrast to previous Lo-Fi Symphony exercises, there will be no preconceived ideas (sounds, melodies, etc) at the commencement of composition. The day will begin with a blank tape, a blank page and a blank mind. All sounds will be conjured from a limited array of low-fidelity sound-producing and recording equipment, plus found sounds and field recordings captured on location, on the day.

EQUIPMENT (all vintage and/or 2nd-hand unless otherwise stated)
Recording: Fostex X-26 4-track cassette recorder (channel 1 input not working); selection of 4 microphones of various vintages; Mighty Boom Ball mini-speaker (not used); Behringer 4-channel mixer; circa 1960s Park amplifier (low wattage); Headphones; Zoom H1 Handy Recorder (my one concession to modern technology)
Instruments/Sound-producers: Yamaha SU-10 sampler; Boss Dr Rhythm DR-110 drum machine (unused); metronome; Korg Gt-3 chromatic tuner (unused); Early Learning Centre plastic drum (purchased for £1.99 at local charity shop); wooden Teddy-bear marching band jigsaw puzzle with electronic noise chips (purchased for £1.99 at local charity shop)

ACCOUNT
I step off the train at Portslade station into a frigid sheet of grey drizzle. I head off down the high street, trawling the handful of charity shops en route seeking second-hand goods that produce some kind, any kind, of noise… Bingo! A plastic toy drum and the world’s most annoying jigsaw puzzle – it has electronic chips under each of the 6 pieces, emitting an approximation of the sound of a teddy-bear marching band. I am henceforth accompanied by a tourettes-style clatter of tinny noises with each and every step I take towards my destination.

I arrive at BLANK Studios at 11.06am, dump my equipment in the vaulted gallery space and set out with my handheld recorder to capture found sounds

Field Recordings
1. Raindrops in drainpipe (BLANK kitchen)
2. Ambient sounds – road traffic (BLANK hallway)
3. Ambient sounds – hum (BLANK gallery)
4. Ambient sounds – lorry reversing alarm (aggregate works)
5. Ambient sounds – lorry passing (aggregate works)
6. Ambient sounds – machinery (aggregate works)
7. Dripping drainpipe (aggregate works)

At 12.00 I set up and document the equipment I have at my disposal: a motley array of outdated sound-capturing gear. Key items will be a Yamaha sampler; a Fostex cassette 4-track (channel 1 – out of order); a selection of microphones; a budget Behringer mixer; and a circa 1960s Park amplifier of very low wattage).

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I dive straight in with the intention of creating a bubbling rhythm track from a snippet of the ‘raindrops in drainpipe (kitchen)’ field recording. I am still wrestling with the sample of raindrops at 1pm.

I abort a metronomic drum machine overdub just as it builds up and resonates around the gallery. Instead I turn to the plastic toy drum, picked up for £1.99 earlier this morning. It has elastic straps on the sides which twang when you pluck them, and a flimsy ‘skin’ that feels like any child worth their mettle would very quickly beat a hole in it. I place a mic under a wooden plinth, sit the drum on top and proceed with a stop/start rhythm, trying to match the burbling rain-drop backing. In the end I sample each of the 3 sounds – a twang, a tap on the drum-skin, and a bang on the plinth. These, recorded via the Park amplifier with 2 ambient mics (see diagram, page 1 of notes), will drive this lo-fi soundscape and give it some backbone.

— I must have stopped for lunch about here —

The ambient road traffic recording, captured in the hallway, is sampled and edited down to form a repeated swelling motif throughout the duration of the piece.

— at this point family responsibility intervenes, I must catch a train to collect my daughter from nursery. But everything is left set up for my return after dinner —

Disappointed with my progress so far, I sit at the train station mulling over the sparse arrangement that I have created. An off-beat clap suggests itself, and I furtively dictate a note-to-self in the shelter.

20.20: I arrive back at the gallery.

First, I stalk the gallery space clapping my hands looking for a sweet spot where the room’s natural reverb makes a single clap ring out like gunshot. This is duly captured via microphone and sampler.

Let’s see what the Teddy-Bear marching band can bring to the symphony… Lifting each jigsaw piece lets off a clattering, electronic din. And the winner is: the “triangle” player – a tinny, ting-a-ling metallic trill, sampled and ready to trigger.

The off-beat metallic trill and clap are duly added to the mix in 1 take. Running out of time, all parts will be done in 1 take from here-on

I find a 2 metre length of cardboard tubing in the building. This is mic’ed up at one end, with an additional ambient mic close by (see diagram page 2 of notes). A quick run through, then I hit record and begin humming a low, cello-like bowing sound, in tandem with, and contrast to, the ebbing road-traffic sample.

Mixdown: Toy drum sample with Teddy-bear triangle + clap
Mixdown: Raindrops + road traffic with Cardboard tube vocal

I listen back to the now fleshed out arrangement, and as I listen a haunting, whistled melody suggests itself. I listen through again, whistling the tune as I set up microphones and work out where to position myself. I need to nail this in 1 take if I am to get a final mix in the can before the last train.

I stand atop a bench, a microphone held at arms length + another atop a plinth to capture the room-sound and I whistle an eerie, Morricone-esque top-line through dry lips.

The time is 22.30. Time to mixdown to master tape: a dry mix straight from the Fostex outputs + a 2nd mix run via the Park amplifier with my trusty Zoom handy recorder and tripod perched atop a plinth to capture the sound as it fills the room.

I pack up all my equipment, lock it in my studio space and exit the building at 23.16 to catch the 23.26 train home.

Notes recorded throughout the day:


Post-production: the final Dry mix + Ambient mix were transferred to Logic audio software; the two mixes were then combined and volume levels tweaked for an overall “wet + dry mix”.

HastingsMonAmour-flyer

This Friday I will be DJing some vintage French pop, Gallic psyche and musique electronique at >

HASTINGS MON AMOUR
Fri 20 Nov / 7pm-10.45pm / £5 entry
The Observer Building, 53 Cambridge Road, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 1DT

At 7pm prompt there will be a film screening of Truffaut’s Jules et Jim
This will be followed by dancing (possibly) to my L’Amour Electronique DJ set

TICKETS & INFO VIA THE FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE > https://www.facebook.com/events/1075232929153646/

I’ve been hunkered down finishing new paintings for a group show at 45 Park Lane next month. All very last minute, as I was only approached to take part 3 weeks ago. Hence the lack of posts/updates recently.

10 Nov 15 – 07 Jan 16 / Group Exhibition
WAC winners Dominic Bradnum & Kirsten Baskett with 45 Park Lane Artists Group
45 Park Lane, Mayfair, London, W1K 1PN

I will be showing 4 new works, including this one:

Neon Graffiti (For Guy Debord & The Situationist International), 2015, oil and mixed media on canvas, 75cm x 100cm

Later in the month, I have been coaxed out of DJ semi-retirement to play some French records at the inaugural Hastings Mon Amour night. Top billing will be a screening of Truffaut’s sublime ménage à trois Jules et Jim, with my questionable DJ skills before and after.

20 Nov 15 / L’Amour Electronique DJ set
Hastings Mon Amour with film screening of Jules et Jim
The Observer Building, 53 Cambridge Road, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 1DT

I’m also releasing a new print edition in the coming weeks. More on that soon.

Keep an eye on my Twitter feed for ever so slightly more up-to-date bulletins

06:30: I wake up with a headache. Must have been that second glass of wine I had last night. But I have at least had a proper night’s sleep.

The first task of the day is to ‘comp’ the guitar takes I did for My Heart Has Wings; then I record some crisp acoustic guitar for a bright, percussive edge; and another electric guitar overdub to add some extra oomph to the bridges and choruses.

We Didn’t Have Much Time has been re-named Praying For Time.

—————————————————————————

That is the extent of my accounts for the day, as I spent just about every minute of every hour working. I will, instead, attempt to piece the day’s progress together from my written notes, song-by-song.

Praying For Time: at the close of Day 3 my notes show that scant progress had been made – just a click track and a pain-stakingly programmed and sequenced drum track in 6/8 time. As Day 4 went on this was fleshed out into something like what I can hear in my head. It went like this: delicately plucked staccato electric guitar (2 takes) > electric guitar takes mixed with EQ + compression > Morricone-esque Spaghetti Western fuzz guitar solo in verse 3 (2 versions) > in the absence of a bass guitar,  I ran an electric guitar through an octave pedal, which, after a bit of tweaking and practising, I was able to avoid too much stray ‘tracking’ and record 2 takes, which I comped into 1 good take > I could hear synth-bass in my head, so I added synth-bass > at 01:30 I set up a vocal booth in a small WC – I can’t help thinking Joe Meek would approve.

Water Closet = vocal booth

Water Closet = vocal booth

NOTES FROM DAY 4 (Praying For Time)

—————————————————————————

00:30: The hard-disk on the trusty old 8-track is full. This is not good. I go through each of the 4 song recordings and delete anything that is surplus to requirements (unused takes; takes that have been combined and mixed with others; anything that I think I will either not need in its raw state, or that if it came down to it I could record again without too much bother ). I salvage 33 minutes 41 seconds of disk space. From now on I must delete as I go, as soon as non-essential parts have been mixed down – this is called burning bridges and I will have to do it increasingly as the project continues.

—————————————————————————

My Heart Has Wings: having added a load of guitar overdubs in the early part of the day, I continued with the following: wielding a decorators paintbrush, I strummed over the faltering intro > next a lead vocal take in the live room, with an extra ambient mic to capture the room sound (this almost definitely done after 03:00 when there was a break in the planes coming and going) – subsequently deleted > another vocal take belted out through a different mic, recording the verses and choruses separately from the bridge parts to give me some space to breathe > a vocal overdub to fill out certain passages.

NOTES FROM DAY 4 (My Heart Has Wings)

—————————————————————————

05:00 Day 5

05:00 Day 5

The Fledgling And The Moth: In the wee small hours of Day 5 (but actually at the end of a very long Day 4), I loaded up this song, and, feeling that my finger tips weren’t going to feel like they were being stabbed with hot pokers the moment they touched a fret-board, I ran through a few proper takes of the acoustic guitar with a single microphone running via my Joe Meek VC3Q compressor/equalizer. I played until I had a couple of takes I was happy with, but ended up keeping all of take 2 with just the very first chord of take 1 in place, mixed together with a touch of brightening EQ, and finished just as the sun had come up and the rest of the world had awoken.

I took myself off to bed at 06:30 – a full 24 hours work in the bag.

[additional note: When I rose from my slumber later in the morning, I had to do a quick overdub on the acoustic guitar middle-eight, where timing had gone awry on a chord change]

NOTES FROM DAY 4 (The Fledgling And The Moth)

—————————————————————————

NOTES SUMMARISING DAY 4

I am painfully aware that my lo-fi symphonies project has ground to a halt, at least in the public eye. I have found a bit of time to work on one of the recordings to a point where I think it is complete, and I have made a rough mix that needs a couple of tweaks but stood up to scrutiny on the last listen.

I have just been diagnosed with opthalmic shingles, which ain’t the joyride it sounds like it could be. This is hampering progress. Also, there was a holiday, and there is work, and there is family life, and there is childcare. All of which mean that I can only work the odd stray hour or two when I have the energy to do so.

I shall soldier on, and post things when I feel they are ready for consumption.

02:45: Is it Day 3 now, or still Day 2? I drag myself out of bed, neck some breakfast and black coffee, close the curtains, then mic’ up and record a few takes of the piano for The Scars On Your Face; mix two takes together (more judicious cross-fading); then back into the live room for the vocals – recorded watching the sun rise across the field.

Day 3 sunrise 04:42

Day 3 sunrise 04:42

Then the planes started again, and I just about manage to squeeze in the brief verses and middle-eight vocals in the short gaps between take off.

NOTES AT START OF DAY 3
How are the recording notes looking as we creep loudly into Day 3?

I spend an interminable length of time creating 4 combinations of 6/4 drum patterns for We Didn’t Have Much Time, then painstakingly sequence them to fit the composition. I play along on the guitar to check everything is in its right place. Everything swings…

We Didn’t Have Much TIme (guitar/drums) take 1

14:45: A nasty electrical POPPING sound has me rushing into the live room. I unplug everything without any shocks and my heart is racing. I haven’t dared plug most of it back in yet, but there is no evidence of short-circuiting (melted plugs, burns, etc), so I have no idea which piece of gear it was.

I head off for a nap with the intention of rising later in the evening for another late night session.

16:15: I feel a little rested though I haven’t really slept. Might as well get on with some more work then.

One of the things that kept me from sleeping was the tragic sound of a lowing slide guitar accompanying The Fledgling And The Moth inside my head. That, and the aeroplanes and the caffeine. My first task on waking, then, is to lay down some slide guitar, which I combine with E-Bow to vicious, atonal effect.

E-Bow + Slide = atonal + vicious

E-Bow + Slide = atonal + vicious

That electrical POPPING sound I reported earlier: the only evidence I can find is a 9-volt battery which has blown up. I must say it was bloody loud for such a small thing, must have been each of the individual cells blowing…

POPPING battery

POPPING battery

After dinner, I’m back in the live room with the amp turned up to, er, 1, and I record two full takes of the wild west-style guitar, close mic’ed with another mic’ to capture the room sound.

I pack up, fingers sore, but pleased with myself. I phone my wife, poor another glass of wine and take myself to bed by 21:45.

NOTES AT END OF DAY 3