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New Town EP 31.12.21

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Photograph EP 31.12.21

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Also available on:
Deezer
YouTube Music
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The New Town EP contains four re-written/re-mixed/re-worked songs from the musical ‘New Town’ which I wrote in 2017 and which remains unperformed, (although it is licensed via an agent). The idea was that there would be backing tracks for a potential cast (or they could do their own arrangements with the aid of a ‘song book’). The backing tracks were developed over the course of 2017 with the script which was set at the end of the 50’s/start of the 60’s in a – you guessed it – ‘New Town’ in the UK. Coupled with this I created a ‘demo’ of the songs sung by professional vocalists, (meant only to be listened to by the prospective cast to gain an idea of how the songs are intended to be sung).


I was unhappy with the quality of the finished backing tracks – the songs are written in a ‘Motown’/’Stax’ type style and I attempted to create a partially ‘vintage’ feel to the recordings, (not wholly as I wanted to avoid pastiche). As such, I used a drum sample library recorded in the original Stax studio and mixed the tracks as I thought they might sound in the day. This was unsuccessful in my view, because whilst the tracks might work on a pair of speakers in a living room, I realised that higher fidelity is needed if used as a backing track on a theatre stage. I did a partial remix in 2019, during which I remixed the drum section and little else – the tracks were better, but still ultimately not as good as I felt I could achieve. At this point, I weighed up the option of spending even more time on these songs, (at this point at least 18 months in total) or moving on to something else. I moved on….


Fast forward to 2021 and having finished my ‘Standing Hours’ project I was unsure of what to do next and I thought, since ‘New Town’ has remained unperformed and there are some songs in it that deserve to be heard – at least listened to once, I thought I would re-arrange some to see if I could bring anything to them. I took the first six songs. I didn’t like what I did with one song, so after five weeks of working on it, shelved it and another, I felt the performance from the original demo was so strong by the original ‘demo’ vocalist, it was really for her and not for me. I may come back to it.


This left me with four. These are quite upbeat and more reflective of the feel I was searching for and….‘mixed better’ essentially. I had to change some of the lyrics as they didn’t make sense away from the musical as standalone songs and in one case, (‘By the Way’), completely changed the melody. I kept the lyrics very simple in most cases to maintain the spirit of the song it was originally (with only a few more ‘insightful’ lines…. ‘my head is speaking in tongues’….).


After living with these songs for a year in 2017 and then coming back to them again and then once again, over an elongated period (6 months essentially to remix/rework four songs), my patience waned and I did not contemplate attempting any of the remaining songs.


At some point in the future, I will go back to it the New Town backing tracks and remix all of the of them so they are of higher fidelity/mix quality for the purposes of live performance backing tracks . I doubt I will rework any more of the songs as I have done with this EP. It’s a one off and in a way, a bit of a conclusion to ‘Standing Hours’ which had elements of soul/funk, in a fairly roundabout, odd way.


Working on the New Town songs again, became laborious very quickly. These were not new songs to me and so I was quite bored of them (after already spending well over a year on them) and progress mixing was slow.


Recording new tracks i.e. live bass for the first time was a lot of fun, but the mixing stage became quite ‘bogged down’ due to transferring files and so on.

For some light relief I experimented on a few new, instrumental tracks – completely improvised, sometimes transferring tracks to an external tape machine, slowing the sounds down and processing them, transferring back to the computer and processing further.


I played a sampled piano on a full-sized keyboard just for the experience of playing – recording it and then responding to the music with a Rhodes piano emulation and other instruments. I even used one track to create environmental sounds i.e. rattling things, wobbling things etc.


This was a thousand times more enjoyable than laboriously working through the New Town tracks and felt much more expressive in some ways. It was definitely an escape and a lot of fun.


The atmospheres created have a lot of intensity and I really enjoyed that – the silences between the notes, etc.


Anyway – these two EP’s are available to listen to and download – they are kind of polar opposites and are a nice conclusion to 2021. Both are released on Spotify, Amazon, Bandcamp etc. on 31.12.21


Have a great 2022!


Steve

I don't always get to know these things at the time, but as a result of some distribution deals I did a few years back, 'On the Air' has featured on the 2017 'Rock Blues Rhythm' compilation by PDSD record label.



'This is the Year' is my new video. The song came from a challenge by my step-son, Tom, to create a EDM track/song. I took the parts I thought worked well and then added more traditional elements, so it's a kind of hybrid between a standard pop or rock song and a more electronic orientated track. There is a remix which leans more toward EDM, so that will see the light of day at some point too. Click here to see the video. From July 8th, you can buy the track (along with the other 9 tracks from 'Standing Hours') from;

Amazon

Tidal

Bandcamp

Deezer

Napster

Apple Music


& stream it on Spotify.