Posts Tagged ‘RPMChallenge’

Zero RPM

It’s about this time of year I start thinking about the RPM challenge (make an album of 35 minutes or 10 tracks in the month of February). I’ve been doing this since 2012 and it’s become a staple part of the year for me.

But not this year.

RPM has become a habit – a good habit of course – but it is just a habit and it’s not compulsory.

My main reason for not doing RPM this year is simply that I’m not well enough. I’m not giving out details here but I just don’t have the capacity to write*, record, mix and master an album at the moment. I’ve thought about this long and hard and my time is best spent on getting myself better.

I also have other music projects on the go that need my attention and that have actual audiences to satisfy. There’s the usual orchestra concert on the 16th February, a solo gig in early March and a CSMA one at the end of March. That’s more than enough to be getting on with.

I will do an album this year, but I’ll take my time over it and try and make it as good as “It’s not a game” – which I am immensely proud of. It’s just not going to all happen in February.

*OK, I often improvise my RPM albums, but not always!

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For my 7th RPM Challenge album I’ve take a dystopian theme – yes, even more so than usual.

Due to various personal and domestic constraints I’ve had far less chance to prepare and work on the album this year. In fact I have had no preparation at all, so what is on there is largely a set of layered improvisations. ‘Introduction’ isn’t even layered, it’s a single take at the keyboard. For most of the tracks though, I’ve laid down an ‘idea’ track and worked with it by adding other sounds and instruments to make what, I hope, is a coherent piece of music.

The backing to ‘Restart’ was a late addition when a hard disk drive failed on me (luckily only a backup drive) making a strange a persistent rhythm I felt I just had to work with. So, despite starting this month with absolutely no plan at all I still managed to get 9 tracks totalling over 50 minutes. Oh the power of improvisation … and a 15 minutes ambient drone piece 😉

For those that care about these things here are the instruments I used on each track:

  1. Introduction: Yamaha Montage
  2. Trails of the City: Yamaha Montage, PreenFM2, builder taking my ceiling down*
  3. Cave Work: Octave electric violin with SY-300 guitar synth, Waldorf Blofeld
  4. Escape Route: MakeNoise Erbe-Verb+Mutable Systems ‘Clouds’, Electric violin, PPG softsynth
  5. Robot Dance: Emu Proteus, Yamaha Montage, PPG softsynth, spoons
  6. In my day this all was shoe shops**: Moog Sub37, DSi Tetra, Erbe-verbe, Octave Violin
  7. Restart: Failed hard disk, Yamaha Montage, Nord Lead A1,
  8. The Revolution will be short: Bastl Instruments Trinity Drum,  Nord Lead A1, Emu Proteus, Electric violins
  9. The End: Nord Lead A1, Moog Sub37, Emu Proteus

*I told you it had been a busy time.

**Track 6 was originally going to be called “In my day all this was Tescos” which is a better, and arguably funnier, title but I didn’t want corporate lawyers on my back.

As always, it’s a pay what you want download release on bandcamp.

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