February 2005

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Tuesday 01/02/2005 - First day of the new month and fittingly I did a little further work on the ending of Where Does the Time Go which I now intend to run into Symi II although Symi II isn't written yet!

Wednesday 02/02/2005 - Did a little more work musically tonight although I intend to settle down and watch the Rangers team in the Semi Final tonight. I wonder what sort of reception Barry Ferguson will receive? I didn't phone my dad tonight, although the excitement will have caused a nose-bleed if anything has!

Thursday 03/02/2005 - Good result last night, although you've got to feel sorry for Dundee United. Nobody deserves to get beat 7-1!! Still trying to get the feel for Symi II, my problem being that I had an original idea for Symi II, but it ran at a totally different tempo to the end of Where Does the Time Go so I'll wait and see what develops. The strange thing for me, is that the harder I try to write and develop an idea (hence more self-induced pressure), the harder it gets.

Friday 04/02/2005 - Reasonable day at work today, although Fridays are always the best with the weekend rapidly approaching! Linda got a further blood test taken today so we'll await the results that hopefully show things as having settled down, as she feels a lot better. I didn't come up with anything musically last night that I was happy with, although a few ideas seemed promising........... before I filed them in the forget pigeonhole! I'm now toying with using a change in delay repeat time to bridge the tempo changes between the two musical pieces, as this will allow me to use my original Symi II idea.

Saturday 05/02/2005 - Re designed the archives section at the bottom of this page today to better reflect a calendar and started recording Symi II (my original idea after all!).I phoned my dad, who is fine regarding the nose-bleeds although he did get the doctor out on Thursday, as he woke on Thursday morning with a sound that he describes as like the rustling of paper coming from his lungs. The doctor diagnosed excess fluid and increased his water tablets to two instead of one (which at least isn't four again!). We'll see how this change now settles down.

I then settled down to watch both the Six Nations rugby matches and felt so disappointed for our team who were so unlucky against the French? The Wales England tussle was a highly charged event too...and great to watch.

After checking the TV schedule for the evening, Linda and I decided on getting a video. We enjoyed watching Garfield (as I only went to the video shop at 20.00 and there was nothing much else left in video format on the shelves!) and had a good laugh at this absolutely no-brainer fun film!

Sunday 06/02/2005 - Started recording Symi II using my original idea. The idea is based around the mechanical resonance that you hear aboard the boat when she is at full cruising speed. Linda and I have spent many departures from the island (before Symi II was used as only a day excursion boat) on the stern of Symi II and she really does make a whole lot of sound when the engines are fully opened up! The metal plates take on the outer characteristics of a bell although nowhere near as musical, with the large diesels somewhere below decks making their presence known! I got the main rhythm guitar part recorded before completing the pilot drum programming and finally the bass guitar part.

Monday 07/02/2005 - Things are coming along nicely with Symi II. I added a lead guitar part that has a section based around the eastern scale (you'll know it when you hear it!) that I included due to the route that the Symi II (and indeed any sea traffic Symi/Rhodes or Rhodes?Symi bound) takes that skirts the coast of Turkey at a distance of around 100 yards! I then added a further three harmony guitars to the outro section tonight.

Tuesday 08/02/2005 - Added a further three harmony guitars to Symi II, with the main carcass now completed. I will do further work on the drum programming before completion and maybe a few guitar parts changes too, although I'm pretty happy with how it's sounding as it is!!

Wednesday 09/02/2005 - Another day at the office and when I got home and listened to Symi II again after a break of a day away from it, decided I was happy with it and it needed no further work done. Clearly, this could still change, with absolutely nothing cast in stone when you have the tools at your disposal on the PC to effect changes at any time! One of the problems that I (and I imagine any other musician with a home recording set-up) encounter, is that the number of quality tools available on my PC can result in a distraction to any song ever being completely finished. This is because your perception of the project or song at any given time is influenced by your current mood and circumstance and although you can end up with an improvement, you may end up only changing it or maybe even making it worse. It can be a fine line that's not always easy to see when you are so deeply in and can't see beyond the blinkers!

Thursday 10/02/2005 - I spent a few hours this evening working on the drum track for Isle of Dreams (Coming Home) before encountering a software problem with the drum software.

Friday 11/02/2005 - Spent a couple of hours this evening trying to sort the drum software problem, before giving up and deciding to leave it until tomorrow.

Saturday 12/02/2005 - Up at 6.00 a.m. and got the software re-installed by 08.20.a.m before continuing with Isle of Dreams (Coming Home). Spent a productive day at the PC and the song is very near to completion and I should have something for you to hear on the Sounds Page very soon. Watched the disappointing rugby!!

Sunday 13/02/2005 - A full day at the PC but didn't get Isle of Dreams (Coming Home) completed. I let Linda hear it and she felt that it was lacking something. There are only two guitar parts at the moment (an acoustic and a chorused electric), although I think that's all it needs guitar-wise. What it does need however, is a definitive hook, so I set about writing a brass stab motif.

Monday 14/02/2005 - My first task was to decide on the brass sounds to use and I set-up sounds for three saxes, a trumpet and trombone. The sounds were OK, although they were orchestral in origin, and a little too refined. I spent the evening writing a five piece section.

Tuesday 15/02/2005 - Continued writing the brass, but it just wasn't right so I gave up tonight.

Wednesday 16/02/2005 - Another stab at the brass tonight, but it just isn't happening. I phoned my father from work today, and he's suffering from fluid on the lungs that they have again increased his water tablets to try and alleviate. He's also had another tablet that he takes changed and this, coupled with his recent tablet regime change was clearly going to take a bit of re-settling down.

Thursday 17/02/2005 - Around last June, I went across to see Ricky and we had a long chat about times gone by etc. etc. I asked him if he could help me in the writing of the Symi album, but he didn't want to be involved in it's writing, although he did say he would be happy to provide keyboards parts for any songs that I came up with. This was a breath of fresh air at the time, since we hadn't spoke since the final parting after the second Denmark tour.

To cut a long story short, I am now at the stage where I have at least two songs in need of keyboards and so phoned Ricky tonight to ask if he could oblige. I was calling him on his mobile with the usual echo delay effects associated with mobile phone technology and the conversation went thus-

Me: Hi Ricky

Ricky: Hello

Me : Hello Ricky, it's Steve

Ricky : How's it going?

Me : It's going fine how are you?

Ricky ; I'm fine

Me : Ricky, I've got a couple of songs that....

Ricky : (aggressively) Look, can I just stop you there, I'm not interested and can we just leave it at that, right!

Me : Yes I suppose we can, goodbye!

I was given no indication of this at the previous meeting, when we had spent at least two hours at his house reminiscing and catching up on the five wilderness years, so was totally stunned, feeling as if I had been punched in the stomach!I feel so sad that this amount of talent is so wasted and it just brought back the feeling that I had endured on too many occasions in the past, when Ricky had just walked of stage mid-set, leaving me to look the prat! There is an inherent instability in his personality that you cannot predict and I'd just been on the receiving end of this again! With certainty, I can confirm that this was the last time, as the opportunity will never arise again unless there is blue snow and flying pigs! I will just have to pursue alternative keyboard sources!

My emotions changed colour from sadness to anger (I suppose green to red!) and I set about finding a good brass patch for Isle of Dreams (note the name change, as I've dropped the (Coming Home) from the title. I started to get a feel for possible brass accompaniment ideas although didn't record any yet.

Friday 18/02/2005 - I phoned a keyboards player I used to work with today but he was on a day off, so I said I would phone back on Monday. I phoned a fellow guitarist (called Sim would you believe!) who stays around three miles away and asked if he knew any suitable keyboards players and he has suggested one that he is going to contact and find out. The keyboards problem may be sorted out very soon. I sincerely hope so!! I did however, get a few good brass parts recorded tonight before retiring to bed, with a view to getting them completed tomorrow.

Saturday 19/02/2005 - Whether I was thinking too deeply about the brass parts or not, I don't know, but I woke at two 'o' clock this morning with some ideas that I just had to 'get down'! I then spent the next eight hours recording them and I'm more than happy with the end resulting brass, which although not awesome or killer, is certainly more than adequate!I intend to get backing vocals down later today, with the final mix-down late afternoon or maybe tomorrow, although you know how fluid my timetables are!

Sunday 20/02/2005 - Worked further on the mixing of the brass parts today and didn't get anything else done

Monday 21/02/2005 - Made a rough mix of all the songs as they are and took them to work to listen to them on the Sony Walkman to check mix levels. I took notes as to the minor corrections needed and will get round to making the adjustments soon. Simi phoned me back this evening to say he had contacted the keys player and that I should give him a call, which I'll do tomorrow.

Tuesday 22/02/2005 - I was working later tonight and didn't get home until after six, when I phoned John, the keys player. We had a long chat about musical backgrounds etc and I arranged to send him Mp3 files of the current songs. I also arranged to meet him on Thursday to discuss things further. I tried to send the Mp3 files, but (due to their size) they were returned as undelivered. I'll have to either re-think file sizes or just take the audio on CD with me on Thursday.

Wednesday 23/02/2005 - I tried again and failed to get the files sent to John and only succeeded in managing to send him Where Does the Time Go. I've agreed to take the CD to him tomorrow.

Thursday 24/02/2005 - Took Marion to get her eyes checked at the eye pavilion today and all is well. John, the keys player, phoned to say that he was going to work in Edinburgh for the day (due to him being unable to go yesterday due to the horrendous snow that fell) and obviously not to bother going down to see him today.

Friday 25/02/2005 - I started a rough pilot for Kali strata Boogie for around half an hour tonight before settling down in front of the television.

Saturday 26/02/2005 - I spent a while trying to be creative with Kali strata Boogie but wasn't getting anywhere fast. I did however get the feel for the main riff rhythm guitar part.I then burned a CD of rough mixes to give to John before watching the rugby matches in the 6 nations championship. John sent me a version of Where Does the Time Go with some keyboard additions and also tied to a drum track. I had initially envisioned the song as almost a lullaby type guitar song, although the drums change it into a pure rock ballad. I'm not sure yet which way it will go, although it 's possible it'll get the full works!!

Sunday 27/02/2005 - During the day I got a rough drum part down for Kali strata Boogie and also a feel for the bass part. In the evening I went down to post the songs to John, thinking that he was working, but he answered the door and we spent an hour listening to some sounds (including his Hammond through a Leslie!). John has offered me the chance to record vocals through his Neumann capacitor mike and so I'll end up re-doing all my vocals again at some point!

Monday 28/02/2005 - Very busy day at work and so didn't do anything musical on getting home. And with that February was gone!!

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