Friday, April 2, 2010

Blog reactivated!

Wow, I didn't mean to go this long without posting, and I've had plenty to write about. It's actually been a fairly eventful 2010 so far in the world of Council of One.

First, I wrote and recorded an entire album during February, as part of the RPM Challenge. My album, The February Project, (which you can download for free in high-quality form at my BandCamp site) turned out to be an instrumental grab bag, featuring all manner of jazz, fusion, blues, and rock stylings, highlighting an increased use of keyboards and guitar synthesizer.

Ah yes, guitar synthesizer. Did I even have one of those when I last posted in December? I don't recall. Anyway, I recorded some fake "violin" and "saxophone" solos on The February Project using a Godin Freeway SA synth-enabled guitar and a Roland GR-33 guitar synth module. Turns out that the GR-33 is only moderately usable for involved playing like mine.

Since finishing the album, I've acquired an Axon AX100 Mk. II guitar-to-MIDI converter, which allows me to control real synthesizers from my Godin guitar. It tracks much faster and more accurately than the GR-33, but it still has plenty of quirks and glitches and is a pain to set up.

Enter the You Rock Guitar, which is a new product that is due to start shipping in May. It's both a controller for Guitar Hero/Rock Band and a MIDI guitar, which is certainly an odd combination. Given how cheap it is, many of us MIDI guitar junkies are ordering them, despite the promotional campaign that is heavy on its usability for kids and not so heavy on its use as a serious MIDI tool. I'm getting one. We'll see. Since it's not an actual guitar with strings, pickups etc., it pretty much has to track better than traditional pitch-to-MIDI converters do.

Perhaps inconveniently, at the same time I'm getting into guitar synthesis, I'm also reacquiring a love of playing keyboards. I'm no Chick Corea, but it seems easier for me now to come up with good keyboard parts for my music, and this has opened up vast new dimensions for me to explore. The album I'm currently in the process of finishing, The Structure Creates Itself (which I was working on last year also, but got side-tracked by the RPM Challenge), is all free jazz weirdness featuring just guitar, electronic percussion, bass and a slight amount of guitar synth--no keyboards.

My next album after The Structure Creates Itself will be a hardcore fusion project featuring prominent use of keyboards, as well as my new Roland JD-990 and XV-5080 synthesizer modules. Lots of great sounds to explore. It will be a bit more 'composed' than my recent work, with hopefully lots of crazy guitar work thrown into the mix.

In a final bit of exciting news, I just learned today that I recently sold a CD copy of One Week in December to a random gentleman in Nagoya, Japan. I'm big in Japan, just like Spinal Tap!! :) Frankly, I have no idea how he found out about my album, since I haven't promoted it for over two years, and in fact offered it up for free download at BandCamp when I decided not to be even a small part of the music industry. Certainly brightened my day, though.

I plan to post more often from now on. Hopefully I have interesting things to say.

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