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Read through my latest blog posts and feel free to comment on them if you like.

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Two Tribes 30 years on!

Posted on 28th May, 2014

Today being the 30th anniversary of the UK release of Frankie's Two Tribes, it has made me think back in time (again!).

As part of the class of '84, I can honestly say that it was on hearing Two Tribes for the first time that edged me towards record production rather than just being in a band......?

 

I have always listened to tracks in detail, hearing hidden riffs and percussion parts, etc, rather than just "the song".

 

Two Tribes has tons of depth, and hits you like a sledghammer: It leaves me feeling exhausted after listening to the original 7" radio mix!

This experience made me aware of the impact a song can have, and the role of the producer in this process.

 

The art of the 12" started with TT, as well: amazing to think, I bought a copy of Two Tribes every week for 2 months...! Happy days.....

 

 

My pitiful attempts back in the 80's to create songs / music on a par with the tracks I was hearing around that time resulted in immense frustration!

Thats why I simply gave up, realising I could never get where I wanted to be: I had neither the time nor the money to acquire the necessary equipment to produce such a sound.

 

A decent desk (£50k), a Fairlight (£50k), various synths/outboard, etc (£50k)...and of course, the environment to use it in (...erm, £50k?)...was never going to happen anytime soon....!

 

HOWEVER.....roll forward 30 years, and I now have the necessary equipment in my relatively modest studio environment...for a fraction of the cost, and 10 times more flexible.....

So...my mission now is simply to carry on where I left off: I'm attempting to create what I yearned to create IN THE 80's, and kinda "finish the job", so to speak....?

 

I'm trying to only use sounds / effects, etc, that would have been available then, rather than splattering my creations with 21st century plug-ins, and modern sounds......Dubstep doesn't really interest me, you know.....! :-)

 

I DO use VSTi's / plug-ins, and dont believe in using vintage for vintage's sake...the modern plug-ins are REALLY good: you'd need to A-B them with the real thing solo to tell any significant difference...and in the mix?  Forget it!

 

I have to blame Trevor Horn for getting me here today.......the seeds were sown back in the day, and I reckon Two Tribes was the deal maker for me........?

 

So many thanks, Trev..! :-)

 

I hold Trevor Horm personally responsible for me spending the last 30 years (on and off)

Visage: the comeback..!

Posted on 28th April, 2013

Well, after hearing loads over the past year or so about a new Visage album / comeback, etc, it looks like its 100% happening..!

 

The new lineup looks like its in place, and after hearing a preview of the album, I have to say that it's actually GOOD...!!

 

I must say that after hearing that there were only 2 original Visage members in the new band, I was a trifle sceptical about what the resulting album would end up sounding like.....!

 

However, with a little Magazine, a dabble of Ultravox, a touch of Simple Minds, some foxy female glamour.....oh, and a LOAD of Steve Strange style, it looks like Visage are back in the game with a bang!

 

"Hearts and Knives" offers far more than the time-honoured "2 singles and a dozen fillers"-format: I'd say all the tracks are fairly strong, and, with a few choice remixes, the album could generate 4 or 5 singles.......?

 

Steve is also launching a make-up range, with products aimed at the male contingent as well as the ladies, so it looks like he's gonna be very busy doing all the promo work for his various enterprises......!

 

"Hearts and Knives" is sheduled for release late May: the single "Shameless Fashion" is out already.....

 

Check out www.visage.cc for details...!

Ultravox's new album, "Brilliant"

Posted on 28th September, 2012

As a life-long Ultravox fan, I was, to say the least, a little excited at the prospect of a new album from the "classic" line-up..!

 

"Live" is a good start: with a nice chant riff for the crowd at gigs...! 

Listening through the album as a whole, it is clear that Midge is a much better singer now than in the "classic" era.....this comes across as "rounded" and "polished". Maybe it is enhanced during the production process, but for me, some of the "rawness / edge / grit" is no longer there?

I just loved the Conny Plank treatment...! 

 

Perhaps this is due to Midge's voice "maturing", but listen to most of the "Rage in Eden" and "Vienna" songs for comparison, and you'll get where I'm coming from...... "Brilliant" and "Satellite" in particular, would sound totally different if sung in the vein of "All Stood Still"....?

 

Prior to listening to the album for the first time, I was eagerly anticipating a "Vienna" / "Rage in Eden"- type production, and to that end, I was a little disappointed. That IS a personal opinion, mind you, and the tracks are clearly Ultravox: polished, well-produced, melodic.....all the things we expect from Midge and the boys.....!

 

Its just that we have more of a "Quartet"-onwards Ultravox here...very clean, very polished and most of the songs fit into this bracket. And that's not a bad thing, is it...?

 

When I heard the first few seconds of "Lie", though, I got that 1984 feeling.....!  Now THATS what I'm talking about!

"Lie" actually SOUNDS like an old Ultravox song......hinting at "Dancing With Tears in my Eyes"...? Defo my fave song from the album!

 

What we have here is a good album: considering it IS 30 years later, times have changed, and things HAVE moved on......

I think the band have managed to re-incarnate a good chunk of the Ultravox we know and love: I just wish we could ALL go back to 1980 and do it all over again...!!!

 

The Olympics, London 2012...!

Posted on 8th August, 2012

Now I have to admit.....

 

Over the last few years, the very mention of the above words has made me switch off!

 

The budget cuts, the restriction of use of various words, phrases, etc, the threat of a major terrorist attack, the financial legacy that the "games" will leave on the UK tax-payer, and so on....

EVERYTHING was Olympic-this, that and the other: enough to make you sick at the very mention of the the dreaded "O" word!

 

Couple this with the history of epic sporting failure of everything British over recent years.....?

 

Well, hold on right there!

Personally, I have numerous recollections of disappointment in major football tournaments, being English, and every two years, am reminded of this: and usually the form book is proved right, I must add.....!

 

BUT...

I can also remember, off the top of my head, the following: and I'm sure to have omitted several BIG ones, too..!

 

1) England DID win the world cup! Ok, it was in Rugby...but we did it!

2) We won the Ashes, too, iirc..!?

3) Lennox Lewis and David Haye have both had world crowns in boxing.

4) Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have both been F1 World Champions!

5) Andy Murray reached the Mens Singles Final @ Wimbledon this year...(AND beat Federer for Olympic gold in London!) ;-)

6) Man Utd have been serious Champions League contenders for 15 years, winning it twice. Liverpool have also won it, and Chelsea are the current Champions of Europe...!

7) Sir's Steve R. and Chris H. have both been dominant in their fields over recent years.

8) Queen V has been almost invincible, and now Queen T appears to be taking up where Vic is leaving it.....?

9)..in fact, recently, we've been pretty damn good in Cycling and Rowing in general.......!?

10) We have surpassed our medals haul in Beijing already, with days to go....

 

SO......its not all bad, is it?

 

There: 10 good reasons to be proud to be British!

 

Its great to have something to cheer about, in these times of financial bleakness (I wont use the "A" word: I'm as sick of hearing that as I was the "O" word..!)

 

Well Done, TeamGB!!!! Keep up the great work! :-)

Uk Fav #1...

Posted on 17th July, 2012

So...Bo Rap is the UK's favourite number one record, then..?

Thank the lord for that, is my reaction!

I was worried for a little while that some 21'st century, Autotune-infested junk was going to get the crown...! 

At least Adele has taken her rightful place near the top of the pile.........well deserved, imho.......

And "Billie Jean"......

 

So...the British public HAVE got taste.  ;-)

 

All I have to do now is write something that will make the next countdown!

I'll be happy being #58, or thereabouts, tbh... :-)

July Update!

Posted on 10th July, 2012

I'm currently doing pre-production for my first "proper" video..!

You know...LIVE footage, shot on location, animation, with REAL fx, etc.....! Exciting stuff!

 

The Credits are also intending to do a "real" video for "London's Calling", shot on location around London: this should take place over the coming weeks......

Underway also are my next two production projects: the first is a sort of "mash-up", but not in the traditional sense.....that would be just TOO boring and predictable! ;-)

The second project is my first "serious" venture (up until now, I've merely been testing the waters)!

I'm going more "New Romantic" with this...expect something more "me" than what you've heard so far..... ;-)

Exciting times indeed......

June update: The Credits, etc....!

Posted on 8th June, 2012

Wow!

Its been really busy recently!

The Donna Summer remix is well under way, the new single by "The Credits", London's Calling is starting to fly: I've been busy promoting it for them, so not enough time spent at the console for my liking.....!

But still, mustn't grumble....! Its starting to look quite exciting....

Radio 1 involved, "The Sun" newspaper involved, looking into a possible worldwide ad campaign using the song......its all good, really!

 

I've put the song on iTunes, printed /burned around 100 CD's for promo's, done graphics, a (rubbish) video for YouTube, and registered with PRS/MCPS as a writer / publisher....

 

Also, there's an Ultravox project on the horizon, too....!

 

Busy indeed..... ;-)

Chat Soon..GN

Donna Summer tribute..?

Posted on 18th May, 2012

I've started thinking about some sort of Donna Summer tribute track.....

 

I'm not sure whether to cover / remix one of her classics, or to incorporate her "sound" into one of the tracks I'm currently working on....?

 

Watch this space....!

RIO! Happy 30th Anniversary..!

Posted on 11th May, 2012

Well...what can I say..?

 

Rio: a true classic album! A real "bird of paradise"!

 

This album is unique to me, in that even 30 years after its original release, I STILL play it from start to finish to this day....

 

There are no "fillers": all 9 tracks are masterpieces.

Not many albums can lay claim to this, even going back to the '50's...?

 

Well done, guys: I've been a fan since day one!

 

Fave tracks? Well....its a difficult one, but I reckon if I could only listen to 2 tracks off RIO, I would choose "Last Chance On The Stairway" and "New Religion"....!

 

"What!"  I hear you say! "Not one of the singles?!"

 

THAT just goes to demonstrate how GREAT this album is........  ;-)