I love my system of working with writers and producers all over the world. When I first started out with esessions I thought that not meeting up with people f2f, not being in the same room, would be a problem for some artists. But I don’t believe the creative process has suffered, just evolved.
For some producers who have asked for an arrangement, I send a st draft, knowing that once they’ve heard something they will be better placed to brief me and advise about what the string arrangement should do. Henry Priestman likes this and so too do Cooper and Ken at ProToolsMixing.com . I send an audio file (and midi) with ideas all over the track, no repeated ideas, deliberately pushing boundaries, knowing that it will be too much, but it will provoke discussion. Then they send back an edited version – musical surgery! When I first listen to the edits, it’s a bit like waking up from plastic surgery (I’d imagine) where you just don’t know what to expect, even though you kind of recognise your features! Often ideas from the 2nd verse are in the instrumental, or the intro is a link or chorus 2 and 3 are swapped round. Then notes get shortened, lengthened and re-pitched so sometimes I just don’t know where they came from out of my original audio.
Communicating musical ideas in words is always difficult so I find this way of working is really effective.
After a long period of work-in-progress, I’m finally achieving some completion! Roger Wickham and Dan Moulah’s project with Malena gave me a fantastic latin track to work on with the most amazing vocal and acoustic guitar. Dia Dia will be one for the showreel, as will something from the new Saville Collective album I hope. I’ve completed 3 arrangements for them.
Henry Priestman is working on a great project but he’s very hush-hush about at the moment. Great fun tunes though and Henry is always game for something quirky in the strings department.
It’s going to get busy in the next couple of weeks with some media work coming in from Simon Brint and Ian Livingstone – heads down.
Finally, after several years of development Samplebase has gone live, with a beta release.
I recorded 2 libraries of riffs and figures a couple of years ago and I’m hoping they’re well received. Samplebase is a new kind of sample factory, where any musicians and producers can submit libraries to the database. It’s sample production for the user-generated-content generation. Unlike the existing big boys of samples, these libraries are quite small and the current retail price is just $39. The project is backed by Ilio so I’m hopeful it will get some good marketing.
The Un-cut album The Un-calculated Sum was a great gig! Darren and Tunde (now producing as Future Cut) were incredibly creative and open to all influences. I came across this remix today that I’d forgotten about. We recorded the strings at Parr Street in Liverpool and the buzz in the room was amazing – we all knew it was going to work a treat. This remix layers many different parts of the arrangement.