Category Archives: Music

Forthcoming Live Appearances

Two exciting live appearances to announce, both at Oriel Davies Gallery in Newtown, Powys as part of the Oriel Davies Open 2012.

Saturday 28th April 2012, 6.30pm
Bwyd Sonique
Live audio-culinary performance. Witness the creation of mouth-watering and olfactory-gland-tingling food and drink while discovering the hidden musicality of the kitchen – the insistent rhythm of stirring, the drones and hisses of heat-on-pan, the chatter and bubble of boiling water. Audiences will be nourished, entertained and enlightened, through a performance that can be seen, heard, smelled, touched and tasted.

Friday 22 & Saturday 23 June 2012, all day
Analogue Web Portal
Real Institute launches its ground-breaking web service with a special interactive performance.
Utilising a team of specially trained experts, two pencils, a large booth and some pointy arrows, we enable you to visit the now legendary INTERNET in Real Time via our specially developed Analogue Web Portal. Someday all internet access will be made this way.

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‘This’ Is My ‘Jam’

I’m not sure what the point of this is, but let’s raise it up the flagpole and see – as someone might once have said – who salutes: http://www.thisismyjam.com/simonproffitt

Update: well, that didn’t last long. File that brief experience under ‘early adopter opts out, doesn’t think application will catch on’

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Cloud Sourcing Experiment

If you are a musician of any description and have at some stage recorded some music, please read on. If you are not a musician or have not recorded any music, then you’re welcome to read on too, but I don’t require your active participation at this time thank you. If you’re going to try and catch me out by claiming that you’re not a musician but that you have recorded some music, then you can read on too, I may require your active participation, and furthermore I question your definition of the term musician.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

Background
This is an experimental project, but I reject the use of ‘experimental’ as a credible musical genre. It might be the case that the album ends up being filed under ‘bluegrass’ or ‘hip hop/R&B’ or ‘2-bit wet-tech physicswave’ in all good record shops, time will tell. But the process is an experiment in the truest sense. I intend to compile an album of non-genre-specific music, and to do this I need contributions from the public. Taking my cue from classic/conventional rock/pop production, I’ll use guitar, drums, bass, vocals, maybe even a splash of keyboard, and maybe the occasional background vocal. You, the general public, will provide the separate components. I will then be responsible for compiling and mixing.

Method
If you have access to separates from your recording session, then great, this is what I’ll be using. The album will be produced in a conventional way by arranging and mixing separate audio tracks from various instruments, only the difference between this project and a normal album production process is that none of the submitters will have heard any of the other submissions. You might send me a 4 minute hi-hat track from your nu-metal band, and I might decide to use that along with a kick drum taken from a country and western ballad, a snare from a free jazz combo and floor toms from a bunch of psych-rock revivalists. That’s none of your business. This might sound like a terrible idea to you, but that’s okay because you’re not doing it. I think it’s a great idea and will sound fantastic, which is why I am doing it.

I’m asking for uncompressed audio separates that fall into the following categories:

1. Guitar (electric or acoustic, lead or rhythm or whatever)
2. Bass (electric or acoustic/upright)
3. Kick drum
4. Snare drum
5. Toms
6. Hi-hat
7. Ride cymbal
8. Crash cymbal
9. Other rhythmic percussion (eg. tambourine, triangle, conga, bongo, handclaps etc)
10. Vocals, lead (spoken/sung/shouted/screamed/rapped)
11. Vocals, other (background etc)
12. Keyboard (piano, harpsichord, analogue synth, computer based etc.)

What I do want:
Good, clean, professional quality audio separates ideally with no bleed-through from other instruments that might have been recorded at the same time. I realise that this is pretty tricky where drums are concerned, in which case I’m after drums that have been recorded with separate mics on each piece of kit, rather than the whole kit being recorded simultaneously with a single mic. If this proves to be too difficult then I’ll settle for whole kit recordings.
Tracks taken from a single credible piece of music.
Anything between 3 and 6 minutes in length (give or take – I mean, 2:50 would be okay, but 25:00 wouldn’t be).
Original music that you own the copyright to.
Material in any genre or style, as long as it fits into one of the categories above.
Tracks from amateurs and professionals alike. Separates are welcome from all.

What I don’t want:
Your solo version of a popular hit recorded in your bedroom on your phone.
Complete stereo recordings of your whole band.
A 5 minute solo jam. As in, don’t just noodle away aimlessly on your Fender Jazzmaster and submit that – I want the audio to have been recorded for inclusion in an ensemble piece, not intended as a stand-alone.

How to do it:
Upload your uncompressed audio file (no mp3s, please) to a third-party file hosting site such as Rapidshare, YouSendIt or Mediafire etc and email the link to me at cloudsource@simonproffitt.com. Or else get in touch for my address and you can post me a CD.

Other info:
In the first instance this is just an experiment. By submitting a track or tracks, you are agreeing to let me use the piece unaltered as a component in a new work, and you will still retain ownership of and copyright to your specific bit. You also agree to let me make the results available as low-quality mp3s. You are not giving me permission to do anything else with it, unless I specifically ask first and you say it’s ok. If it turns out that the results are spectacular (and I strongly suspect that they will be) and a major label wants to release the album in a massive worldwide distribution in multiple deluxe formats (as I strongly suspect they will), then I’ll make sure permissions are sought and contracts are signed and profits are shared. But I’m not doing this to get rich, certainly not at the expense of talented musicians like yourself, I’m doing this because I’m a restless, creative explorer.

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Sexual Ealing

Yet more silly puns celebrating British life through the power of song.

Paignton A Picture : Alice Cooper
People Get Reading : Curtis Mayfield
Powys Slave : Iron Maiden
Purple Hayes : Jimi Hendrix
Push The Burton : Money Mark
Put A Lydd On It : Squirrel Nut Zippers
Quench My Thirsk : Playback
Reach Out (Aberdare) : The Four Tops
Redcar Pet : Duke Ellington
Rhondda Road Again : Canned Heat
Risca Business : Tangerine Dream
Ryde On Thame : Black Box
Save The Leicester Dance For Me : The Drifters
Sexual Ealing : Marvin Gaye
Sheffields Good To Me : Warrant
Sidmouth Be Love : Madness
Silver Langold : U2
Skipton My Lou : Leadbelly
Slough Dive : Siouxsie & The Banshees
Slowly But Chorley : Elvis Presley
So Dawlish-ious : The Fatback Band
Some Day My Prince Will Coombe : Dave Brubeck
Some Day My Prince Will Cwm : Miles Davis
Stoke In The Middlewich You : Stealers Wheel
Street Hessle : Lou Reed
Suffolk-Ated Love : Tricky
Suffolk’d Up : Leaving Trains
SuPurfleet : Curtis Mayfield
Surrey Seems To Be The Hardest Word : Elton John
Syston Addict : Five Star

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The Leader Appears / Follow The Caution

The greatest psych-rock track ever? The greatest hip-hop track ever? This is both of these things.

The Leader Appears / Follow The Caution

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A Forthcoming Live Appearance

I’ll be premièring a new solo improvisation at the Sonic Science festival in Bangor, part of the National Science and Engineering week that encourages people to think about science and engineering a bit more than they currently do. What will I be improvising with? Come and see. Rest assured it involves science.

Sonic Science
Powis Hall, Bangor University

16 March 2011
Starts at 7:30 pm
Free Entry!

More info at Risk of Shock, curators and purveyors of quality musical entertainment.

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Insipid Lyrics With No Real Life Application

Here’s another list. The title of the list is: A Theoretical Album, The Song Titles Of Which Are Phrases That, As Far As I Can Tell, Exist Only In Song Lyrics And Do Not Exist In Conventional Speech Patterns, At Least Not Where I’m From, Which Is To Say That In Writing These Lyrics The Songwriter Must Have Copied Them From Other Songs Again And Again Until They Become Tired Cliché, Sometimes Not Even Pausing To Think What They Actually Mean, Volume 1

1. Lips of Wine
2. Apple of My Eye
3. Rock of Ages
4. (Between the) Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
5. Thief in the Night
6. (Kisses) Sweeter Than Wine
7. Honey Pie
8. Lonesome
9. La la la la la la la
10. Fomentatious perflation hydrogenates your foetal cisterna, coagulating haemorrhage and your congenital hernia

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Love Will Tear Usk Apart

A second helping of hot provincial fun from the Song For Britain archives:

Harlow : Lionel Richie
Harlow Moray Looe (Gott Bay Hart) : Gene Putney
Harrow Dolly : Louis Armstrong
Harrow Moray Looe (Goadby Hart) : Billericay Nelson
Hayle To The Thief : Radiohead
He Was Rayleigh Sayin’ Somethin’ : The Velvelettes
Hillsborough Live With The Sound Of Music : Julie Andrews
Hitchin A Ride : Vanity Fare
Hoole You Run To : Heart
How Dorset Feel : Spacemen 3
Howle In My Shoe : Traffic
Hull Of The Moon : The Waterboys
Huntingdon High And Low : Aha
Hythe And Seek : Howard Jones
I (Hove Nothing) : Tom Jones
I Can Seaford Miles : The Who
I Cannock Get No (Satisfaction) : Rolling Stones
I Don’t Wanna Torquay ‘Bout It : Everything But The Girl
I Hear You Knockin : Dave Edmunds
I Kent Stand It : James Brown
I Still Havant Found What I’m Looking For : U2
I’d Rotherham Go Blind : Etta James
I’m Nottingham Mood To Say No! : Shania Twain
If I Were A Richmond : Topol
Ilkley-munication : Beastie Boys
In The Ayr Tonight : Phil Collins
Industry Stamford : Orbital
Ingoldmells Rock : Bobby Helms
Isle Of My Man : Billie Holiday
Isle Of White You Do To Me : Ike & Tina Turner
It’s Grimsby Up North : The Jamms
Kendal In The Wind : Elton John
Left To My Own Devizes : Pet Shop Boys
Let Derby Drums : Sandy Nelson
Lewes, Mistreated : Radiohead
Lil’ Darlin’ton : Count Basie
Lipglossop : Pulp
Live In Consett : Neil Diamond
Love Doncaster Thing : Jennifer Lopez
Love Is Like An Hitchin In My Herts : Diana Ross & The Supremes
Love Will Tear Usk Apart : Joy Division
Minster Mash : Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett and the Crypt Kickers
Mold-y Old Dore : Lieutenant Pigeon
Mother’s Little Belper : Rolling Stones
Near Whitehaven : REM
Newark Can Say Goodbye : Gloria Gaynor
Norfolk’n Choice : Icons Of Filth
Oban Your Heart : Madonna
Oldham! I’m Comin’ : Sam & Dave
One Thing Leeds To Another : The Fixx
Over Andover : Nana Mouskouri

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Three Minute Pop Songs

Over the past few years I’ve been digitising my CD collection, and I now no longer own any CDs. Seeing all the tracks listed in iTunes made me realise that I have quite a few long tracks and quite a few short ones. And obviously quite a few medium length ones too. So I thought it’d be interesting to graph the distribution of song lengths, just for fun, and see if any patterns emerged. There are currently 35,043 tracks in my iTunes library, ranging from Otomo Yoshihide’s Isuzu, clocking in at a mammoth tenth of a second, all the way up to Vancouver New Music group’s reading of Cornelius Cardew’s Treatise (all too brief at almost 3 hours long). Here’s the chart, truncated at 16 minutes (nothing much of interest happens above this, so including the whole chart makes the peak at around 3 minutes less clear):

We all know about the cliché of the 3-minute pop song – 3 minutes being long enough to tell a decent story in a verse-chorus-verse format, but not so long that our attentions wander and we change the channel on our kitchen radios. Interestingly, the peak in length distribution of my song collection actually occurs at 3:02. I have 155 tracks clocking in at 3 minutes and 2 seconds, but only 127 that are exactly 3 minutes long. But what’s additionally interesting is the demographic of this 3:02 crowd – pop song length is not confined to pop songs. So as well as the usual crowd of indie rock classics, blues legends and easy listening pieces, we’ve got contributions from Russell Haswell, Alvin Lucier, AMM, CM von Hausswolff, Swans, Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, Taku Sugimoto, Tod Dockstader, Hecker, Rehberg & Bauer, David Toop & Max Eastley and Annette Krebs & Andrew Neumann, none of whom are normally known for their chart-topping singles. This perhaps suggests a fundamental human attention span for optimum listening.

Other observations:
– 155 x 3:02 long tracks is 7 hours, 50 minutes and 10 seconds of non-stop music. What an awesome party that would be.
– There’s an interesting little cluster at the 10 minute mark. I suppose this is a result of the double figure of ’10’ being a psychological landmark for musicians – where no obvious verse-chorus-verse structure dictates the end of a song, it seems more worthy to fade out to give a nice big round number than a lowly, inadequate single figure.
– Other little peaks appear above the best-fit curve at other integer values – notably 1 (not shown here, because at 337 tracks it goes off the scale – largely a result of Fällt’s invalidObject series), then 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, but not really 6 or 9 (if you’re going to write a 9 minute drone, might as well stretch it out to last 10, eh?). Again, I’m thinking this is purely psychological. There’s something satisfyingly tidy about round numbers, and given the unstructured nature of lots of my music collection, precise timings are somewhat arbitrary.
– I made similar charts ages ago, back when I only had around 14,000 and 30,000 tracks in the library, and the overall shape of the distribution curve was very similar. At 14,000 tracks, the most common time was 3:06, but with 30,000 it was 3:00 exactly.
– Most interesting of all: the lengths I’ll go to to avoid doing any proper work.

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Musical Follow-ups

Imaginary responses to pop songs, sung by the people referenced in the original song. See if you can guess the original. There are no prizes, not even if you get them all right.

The Burning You Are Experiencing Is Actually Caused By A Viral Infection. I Can Certainly See A Slight Redness and Swelling, But It Is Not Possible For Me To See The Burning Itself – It’s An Internal Symptom Of The Infection, In Much The Same Way That I Can’t See The Pain Caused By You Stubbing Your Toe
Doctor

Boys, I Really Appreciate Your Concern And Your Efforts, Which, I Should Make Clear, Have Not Gone Unnoticed Even Though Sometimes I Don’t Always Seem Particularly Thankful Or Aware Of What You’re Up To, But It Really Is Time I Learned To Start Doing Things By Myself, So I Don’t Want To Sound Rude Or Ungrateful, But Maybe You Could Give Me A Break For A Little While, Let Me Do My Own Thing, See How It Goes
Nigel

Okay, Any Particular Requests? Or You Just Want Me To Start Jamming, Or What?
Mr Tambourine Man

Hi Guys, Yeah, Sorry, I’m Afraid You’re Going To Have To Give Me That Number Again, I Did Write It Down But I’ve No Idea Where I Put The Bit Of Paper
Rikki

Well, Generally Speaking, It’s The Number Of Occurrences Of A Repeating Event Per Unit Time. Is That What You Wanted To Know?
Kenneth

We Did! It Was Us
The Canine Liberation Front

Oh, You Know, Not Much, Same Old, Same Old
Pussycat

Don’t Be So Dramatic, I’m Only Popping Out To Get Some Milk, I’ll Probably Be Back In Half An Hour
Angelina

Yes, Speaking…
Vic

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