Influences: Allan Holdsworth, Mike Oldfield, Devin Townsend, King Crimson, Jeff Beck, Steve Hackett, Peter Gabriel, ELP, Zappa, Brian Eno, Steely Dan, Yes, Bruford, Dixie Dregs, They Might Be Giants, David Bowie, ZZ Top, Joe Satriani, and there's a big list of other influences in the link immediately below:
I'm an old dude who is absolutely obsessed with music and trying to create tracks that teenage me would have loved.
2021 sees me taking part in my 13th FAWM. I'm still ill; I'm still waiting for surgery (and clearly that's not gonna happen any time soon). I'm still not working, because full-time employment and having a large stone in one kidney and a cyst in the other *really* don't go well together. So I have a lot of time to devote to making music, and since the close of 50/90 and Rocktober last year I've completely refitted my home studio, and I'm averaging an album release a month on Bandcamp (the link's the second icon, above).
I share tips and tricks to help you get better results from your recording setup and generally get sidetracked a lot on Thursdays (19:30 GMT) and Sundays (21:00 GMT) over at
https://www.twitch.tv/headfirstonly - come say Hi!
If you want to see photos of my setup, find out what gear I use, or (god forbid) read a lengthy account of why it is that I've ended up making the sort of music I make and how I do so, it's all here:
"Leonard Cohen meets prog" - PROG Magazine
|#2||Always Crashing In The Same DAW||
|#3||I've Got This @silvermachine||
|#5||Know Your Boulders||
|#6||Fight for you v2 @nadine||
|#7||It Is What It Is||
|#8||Pick Your Influences||
|#9||So Much Winning||
|#12||Leave Your Keys At The Door||
|#14||The Petting Zoo From Hell @ianuarius||
|#15||How It Started - - How It's Going||
|#16||More Monkfish Than Monkish @fuzzy||
|#18||Drummer's Night Off||
|#19||Waiting For My Upgrade||
|#20||A Question For The Curious||
|#21||Things Go Awry In Human Resources||
|#23||Where's The Gravy? @blindkiwi||
|#24||Party Planners (HFO link only) @castledragondreams||
|#26||Björk and Kirk Go to Tesco's @ryako||
|#27||Slave to the Algorithm||
|#28||The Castle Dragondreams Not Quite Annual House Party (HFO link only) @castledragondreams||
Thanks for the comment on Prompt 42. As a FAWMling, it's nice to get comments from an old time FAWMer like you. Nice work with your music. Very impressive production...
Thanks so much for your comments on 'Winter Sun' - I think being worried about the vocals leads me to being a bit timid about them, and that just makes things worse. The feedback I've had on FAWM gives me a bit more confidence that maybe I'm on the right track and just need to practice more and be bolder. Thanks again.
Thank you for your comments on "On The Run". Much appreciated. I am such a slow learner....I have never noticed the recommended option for songs...I will use this to check out some songs. Thanks.
Success! I had to delete a bunch of files and reinstall. Hooray! Now I have to figure out how to actually use it. Hope you're having success!
Thanks for the March listens! I listened and commented on all your tracks in February, so thought I'd leave a comment here. I dropped by and checked out your Twitch show a few times recently; you have a nice presentation and do a great job and I plan to watch some more!
Thanks for the listen on "Compromised". I'm glad you enjoyed it -- I still feel like it was probably my weakest track this year, so I'm pleased you got something out of it. Cheers.
Thanks for your great comments on my instrumentals. I am always glad when they find ears that are into that style. We are lucky on FAWM to have such a kind and diverse audience of listeners/creators.
Heard from NI again and they sent some instructions that might fix it. Will let you know how it goes.
Hi Chris. Thank you for the kind comments, specifically naming those two "Junk Drawer" sketches. It's hard sometimes to evaluate one's own songs, so thanks for your input and encouragement.
BTW, I watched your "Is it Fawm Yet" video, the one with compression basics earlier in February. Cool stuff and informative too. You have a nice British accent and delivery.
Thanks for your nice comment on Épilogue des effraies, as a Mike Oldfield fan it means a lot. I also agree that Unexpected Barnowl would make a great album name, I will have to stick to the initial Dark Sign Of The Mood as it fits better with the whole project.
Okay, heard back from NI and they said my problem is a Big Sur incompatibility issue. Maybe because I upgraded from Catalina.
Tried again to log into Native Access but it just spins. I submitted a support ticket. Hopefully, they'll have a solution cuz this thing is so cool! Thanks!
Still waiting on my Eno book to arrive.
It was supposed to be delivered by last Friday, but the shipment is still stuck at Canadian customs. 😞
Hi Chris, thanks so much for taking a listen to some of my songs and leaving such kind words. Re Guru of the Curfew, I think you might be right about the Dads Army reference. It's funny how these things linger for a while and come out in the end. I hope you manage to get your surgery soon and that we can get to some semblance of normal.
Thx for the review. Re: taking the drums out, I'd have to re-do it entirely if I wanted to do that, because I did it improv-style recording everything at once. E-bow I could add later... but I see your point. I may just revisit this one.
Thanks for your comment! This kind of music was my youth no matter if called Nu Metal, Alternative Metal, Crossover or Rap Rock. Yes don't put music into boxes. Like that sound though. Maybe this all comes back. But we stuck in the 80s somehow.
Thanks for listening and providing tips, I appreciate it!
Hey, thanks again for your wonderful comments. Btw, I tried to download that rather cool Native Instruments thingie but couldn't get past the Native Access step. Wonder if it's the Big Sur OS? Some things do not work with it, including my microphone. Sigh.
ha, you're right- that song of mine 'love creates its own vibration' is way more george harrison-esque then mccartney-esque! (as am I, probably!)
Thanks for the comment on 'Testing water' I totally get what you mean. It came out of a circuit bent Casio like this. The whole thing noise, melody and all. It glitched and then this happened. I thought it was so beautiful and a happy end to this years FAWM so I decided to share it. But it is very noisy even for me 😀
😀 TomS probably meant "BumpyCakes" as a working title only. But he sent ~me~ the link, so ... I wonder how many orders he generated for them? - Thanks for all the great comments on our stuff and on Rick's!
Thanks for your comments on "Snowblind".
Thank you for listening- yes the big foot picture was a fun marriage to the instrumental🤣
Thanks for listening to Wrong. I'm never sure how it's going to sound on other systems (especially the low end). Just cross fingers and hope it sounds ok..
Cheers for listening.
Thanks so much for listening to my fake Eurovision song. That pun was just so obvious that I had to use it... 😻
Lol wait for it!!
Thanks for the comment and the advice, but the repetition there is actually what I want. It's supposed to be a cycle. This is just a demo; as I said in my notes, the final version is going to have some live instruments that will put some variation into it. I don't play guitars. I couldn't make this sound exactly the way I hear it in my head. I did my best to get a guide down for my friend who will play the parts on the final version-- and yes, he will be urged to do his own thing with it, within certain limits.
Also, as I said, the final version will likely end up to a minute earlier than this does-- but I'm planning on using the demo as a guide track in the recording process, and so I wanted it to run well longer than I actually needed it to.
I don't know whether or not you listened to the first part of this song, but the two parts have very different vibes (despite having some elements in common), so I actually feel that Part 2 will be an interesting change after Part 1, and will keep the listener engaged. I'm sorry you seem to feel otherwise.
Arturia Pigments, that synth seems to make it into just about everything I do. Amazing piece of software, with very good presets. 😁
Thanks for your thoughtful comments and enthusiasm for the song. I agree about the video game metaphor. I just hope I don't have to face the Boss level next, I was never that good at video games. 😀
That is not a Zelazny that I know, Chris! Looks like I need to do some research. (And thanks for the lovely comment!)
Thanks for visiting and comments. If you want I can make the Kontakt instrument available to you. I just have to find where it got stored on the computer 😉
Thanks for the comment! I made that pad sound extra spoopy with a plugin called Dumpster Fire, which is a whacked out pitch shifter.
Björk and Kirk go to Tesco’s was absolutely brilliant!
Hi, thank you so much for your kind comment on Aftermath! Much appreciated. And yes, it is a music box! You have lots of very interesting sounds in your songs. I see that you're also on Twitch!
Thanks for your comment about my megaman "chip tune". I really liked your description of what I was doing. So thank you for that!
Thanks for listening to my songs. I appreciate the comments.
Hey, yes, the Sputnik modules that I use are more or less Buchla clones, so you're spot on thinking Buchla.
Wow, seeing Terry Riley must've been an amazing experience!
Thanks for your comment on my track! Yep, I picked the voice with the Australian accent! Partly to be different, because I usually don't hear it in music, but also because she was the one bot who pronounced all the words audibly, lol. I was worried no one would know what "a sailor's mouth" is... I thought it was too old, but maybe it's just American. It means someone who swears a lot. Now I'm wondering if I even made it up by accident out of the phrase "swears like a sailor"...!
Thank you for your comment! I'm stressing out all the time because I don't have enough time to listen and comment songs...
but after two more I'll start. Promise. Super promise. Hyper promise.
Thanx for the comment on "Wake Up Sheeple!" (excuse me, "WAKE UP SHEEPLE!!!").
As a veteran of the aviation industry I am sure you are ONE OF THEM and are covering up the whole chemtrail thing.
YOUR LINK IS LIES.
haha, thanks for listening! i took your advice and started working on a video.. ill post it when its done!
Link emailed to stems
send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I will send it over shortly 👍
Why don't you do vocals on "Where's the gravy?" I will send you the music.
Thanks very much for the comments. I appreciate it.
Oh yes vicious. Not the greatest initial vocals but in mitigation it was very early.
I have redone them now.
Thank you for the kind comments. I’m going to continue work on mixing some of these tracks once February is over. I’m having to mix with headphones when the family are sleeping which isn’t ideal. It’s been fun writing though
Thanks for the detailed and considered comment on 'trust the process'. You're absolutely right about the lyric / melody correspondence - definitely part of the plan for that track after FAWM.
Thanks for the link Chris, Very impressive and inspirational. I struggle to find the time to line up 3 tracks on reaper, Think I need to speed up my retirement plans 😀
Thanks for your comment on lost boys, as a foetus in production I appreciate the tip
Oh wow, really? I got confused them sorry!!! Awesome stuff no less
Wow, thank you for your kind and encouraging words! Yeah, I've been mostly riffing and raffing. Now in February I have studied a lot about song structures etc.
Total kudos to Kristian for his production wizardry . Thanks for the comment matey . As you can imagine , from hearing it with a very sparse piano and me, to then suddenly hear Kristian’s magic was just ... well magical. 😀
Well thank you! 😀
I really enjoy working with your sounds.
Fun and challenging!
Good, I'm glad you like the collab.
I hope it's ok that I posted it before you had heard it. 😀
I’ve been remiss in not stopping by sooner to say hello. Congrats on having such a productive FAWM! I’ll come back in a few days to listen to some more tracks.
I’m so sorry about your continuing health problems. Here’s hoping you can get the surgery you need sooner rather than later.
Now that you mentioned Rock the Casbah I can absolutely hear it. Also a song with a strange juxtaposition of lyrical and musical content.
Thanks for your very kind comments.
Child of the 80s, guilty as charged and also a massive fan of The Clash.
Thanks for the comment. Mix was actually louder than I thought, don't really know what happened. But honestly, I don't even know which is better 😁
Thanks for that insightful comment. That song actually started out political, but quickly veered in a more abstract direction. But your thinking aligns with mine.
OMG my mate just told me about the BBC symph orchestra stuff. I have never attempted brass because its so poor in Logic X but i defo need to download that plugin
Thank you for your nice comment on "At Ya Again"
Thanks for your comment on "Traitor Thoughts". I am pleased to have terrified you.
Hey, I finally got that track finished!
I hope it is worthy!!
Thanks so much for listening to the latest from me and Gordon!
You ain't the first to make a comparison to Pink Floyd, but it's weird that neither of us ever listen to them.
I did when I was at university, but that's more than a year or two ago, so you might think the influience would have worn off by now 😉
Thank's so much for your feedback. And the recomendation-thread also, thank you:)
Yeah piano is played for real. Complete bluesy improv but think it worked. Thanks so much for the comment
Thanks for the comment (a while back) spending the weekend catching up on fawm - yep definitely a bit like a barking dog...think I'm used to hearing mine too much and it creeps in ;->
Thanks for the listen, buddy. Comparing my ending lick to EvH -- well, shucks. 😁
Thanks for the tips on my recording Attempt at Harmonics. I appreciate it!
Thanks for explaining! I did not know now how and when you are pinged / mentioned. Next time I'll reply on the soundboard.
At work now but will take a look later! Thanks!
Well, hey, I was just thinking that the Fani Willis piece needs to be expanded, and Chris Harris would be my first pick to do it! I know you don't need collabs but it would be fun, at least for me. I've thought of two or three other guitar-based people I could ask, but you're at the top of list. Anyway, thanks for listening and for your encouraging words on that and Fruitcake.
Thanks for the comments on Open! I appreciate it.
Thanks! yeah my ears are pretty shot this deep into fawm, especially on the low ends. I've been playing my "bass" too much 😆 I'll probably play with that one later. Doggie does do a better job following pitch than I do, he loves some harmonica, guess I should learn how to play it someday other than toot it to have him sing along haha.
Ha the Tom Waits reference was unintentional. Needed a 2 syllable name, waits wasn't the original action (inaction). I didn't even realize until, I was naming and I typed Thomas Wai... oh.
Thank you for listening to Partir and commenting on my forum thread about music production-mixing-mastering for my first release. I really like your bio "trying to create tracks that teenage me would have loved"
Thank you Chris to listening my music.
For the name, it's a joke ("jeu de mot" en Français)
Hi Chris. Thanks for your thoughtful comment on my song.
You're almost at 14!
That really is a magnificent illustration of where we are with artificial intelligence! Thanks for the link, and for the kind comments.
Thanks for your comment, once again! I seem to be veering always toward the 80's sound, probably because it's the last time the sounds felt like...I don't know, warm? There is a certain coldness and blandness in the post 90s sound. And bringing in a reverbed lead electric guitar takes it of course to the power ballad world. Yes, that awesome world.
Yeah, free Dropbox is great but small. But what do you want for free, right?!?
Same as last time; I'd like play around with the isolated tracks if that is possible
Hi, Chris, I hope you're having a good day!
I have a humble request; may I take a shot at doing a radical remix of "So Much Winning"?
There's something there I think I could work with.
If yes, great!
If no, then no worries! 😀
Really! And I thought it wouldn’t be until March. There goes FAWM - lol! Thanks for the info.
Thanks for the kind comments Chris. Much appreciated.
I think some of the first VSTs I collected from KVR were TAL's freebies, way back when. I keep re-installing them whenever I upgrade my computer but being 32-bit I don't really use them so much anymore. But I'm really pleased with the Sampler and may spring for more of their stuff over the coming year.
Thank you for your nice comments.
Thank you for leaving a comment on my music, as well as informing me on what people generally except on this site. So to that end, I would like to address your insights.
I am generally weary of uploading stuff online. Online culture tends to be on the toxic side of things. Less constructive, more like a free for all.
Be that as it may, I do in fact consider documenting my own process and criticizing my work, as being essential tools of process and thought, to be applied appropriately. So to that end, feedback is something I value greatly, when it is done respectfully and practically. I am aware that the sketches I uploaded here are old. Honestly I wouldn't mind uploading more recent stuff, or even some of my daily sketches, once I grow more accustom to this place.
Either way. Thank you so much for taking an interest. I appreciate it 😀
Thanks! I agree #slothcore is just highlighting my favorite parts about fawm. I did my first one of those as a Jamuary track just drums and MIDI(not posted, but it might be the favorite of mine of the bunch so far) about a week before fawm started so I knew it would be fun to make, but I've unexpectedly enjoyed listening to it as well 😁
How could you possibly think that I'd cast our glorious leader in such a dim light.
The bowed sound was a heavily EQ'd cello patch from Friktion a string modelling synth.
Hi Chris - thanks for the comments - I hear you loud and clear. I have a soft spot for Redcar, being very much like my home town Cleethorpes in the early 70s. Sad to see the lovely cinema shut down. Anyway the character lives in Redcar and I don't, so lucky me.