Apr 9 2012

#soloalbum3 Update and Artwork Preview…

Happy Easter everybody!

Just thought I’d drop a quick post here to update you on the progress of my latest solo offering. Up until now it has been skulking under the Twitter hashtag #soloalbum3, but today I can reveal the album will be officially called [un]plugged, for obvious reasons.

This will be a digital-only release like The Knowledge of Things To Come, but rest assured I shall be using the wonders of Bandcamp to make available the absolute best-quality downloads. At some point the album will also be available on iTunes and Spotify etc for those of you that prefer the UI, but I would seriously recommend the Bandcamp route. For everything actually…

The entire album was recorded using my new Breedlove acoustic bass and the Looperlative LP1. I used the Pod X3 Pro but not quite to the usual extent. I programed three variations of the same basic acoustic patch and cheifly used those throughout the album so as not to mask the natural sound of the instrument.

The tracking was finished last week and today I shall be doing a bit of housekeeping and exporting the tracks ready for mastering with Steve Alexander hopefully during the week. Assuming my car doesn’t blow up in the meantime and leave me stranded at home…

So here’s a little treat for you. I have spent a lot of time on getting the artwork just so, and here it is to whet your appetites (to a small non-musical degree)

I’m really excited to get this album out there so watch this space (and Twitter of course) for updates. If all goes to plan [un]plugged may well be out by the end of the week. I hope you like it ;)


Jan 31 2012

Bandcamp Tips: Embedding Bandcamp Players On Your Site

Hello folks,

I had a rather fraught evening last night when I discovered that my lovingly-crafted website front page, with all it’s cunningly placed Bandcamp players, did not display properly on certain mobile devices. Now I am a bit of an Apple fan and thus only tested the page on my iPhone and iPad 2. I have no way of testing it on an Android phone or Opera etc, but seeing as though a huge proportion of us use various “iDevices” to browse the internet I thought this was issue enough to take immediate action.

Yes, I am a big geek and this post might not be of interest to many of you; but if like me you use Bandcamp as the major distributor for your music then this issue may well affect you too. The embeddable players are one of the best features offered by Bandcamp and one of the many reasons I chose to go down that route to distribute my music.

After a bit of digging around and a call for help to the lovely people of Twitter (@basdriver, @solobasssteve and @alunvaughan were all very helpful) I think I discovered the root of the problem. I was using the original Bandcamp embed code, which looks like this:

<object width=”400″ height=”100″ classid=”clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000″ codebase=”http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0″><param name=”quality” value=”high” /><param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”always” /><param name=”allowNetworking” value=”always” /><param name=”wmode” value=”transparent” /><param name=”src” value=”http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer.swf/album=&lt;iframe width=” /><param name=”allownetworking” value=”always” /><param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always” /><embed width=”400″ height=”100″ type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” src=”http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer.swf/album=&lt;iframe width=” quality=”high” allowScriptAccess=”always” allowNetworking=”always” wmode=”transparent” allownetworking=”always” allowscriptaccess=”always” /></object>

Now it looks to me like this contains a Flash player link, which iDevices do not support. Plenty of people have Flash-based websites which simply do not display on iPhones, iPads etc. That would drive me round the bend by the way…

The newer embed codes (and the default code when you click the “Share” button on Bandcamp these days) does not contain a Flash link. They look like this:

<iframe width=”400″ height=”100″ style=”position: relative; display: block; width: 400px; height: 100px;” src=”http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/album=2386594114/size=venti/bgcol=FFFFFF/linkcol=4a4a4a/” allowtransparency=”true” frameborder=”0″><a href=”http://music.simonlittlebass.com/album/the-knowledge-of-things-to-come”>The Knowledge of Things To Come by Simon Little</a></iframe>

So all you need to do is go through your site and replace any old embed codes with the new version. Simple as that really.

Also, in case you wanted to center the player on your page like I did, you’ll need to wrap the embed code with <p align=”center”>code</p>. In case you were wondering…

Sorry for the geekfest, but my previous post on Bandcamp image maps proved rather popular and if I can save you the hour or two of frantic Googling that I experienced last night, my job is done.

Good luck ;)

ps. If you haven’t heard my latest solo album The Knowledge of Things To Come (shame on you), then here is said Bandcamp player in all it’s glory (cunningly centered too by the way!). Feel free to embed it somewhere for your friends and help spread the word. You have instructions now so no excuses…


Dec 24 2011

Quick Pre-Christmas End of Year Roundup!

Good evening folks,

Thought I’d sneak in a quick blog post before Christmas is officially upon us. It’s also my first attempt at writing the blog using the WordPress iPad app(lication). It’ll be interesting to see what a hash I make of the formatting if nothing else. I apologise in advance if it comes out looking like a dog’s dinner and littered with typos.

I’m sitting here watching the excellent Victor Wooten Groove Workshop DVD which arrived this morning. Yes indeed folks, I am a proper bass geek.

It’s been a fantastic year. The quiet first few months gave me time to record my second solo album The Knowledge of Things To Come (and the 5-track Rejectamenta EP)and put it out via Bandcamp and CD Baby. When things get busy there just isn’t enough time to concentrate on my own music so this year I’ve learnt to embrace the occasional ‘gig drought’ and make the most of my time…

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As well as touring with Clare Teal and Lea DeLaria I’ve been lucky enough to play for two shows at the National Theatre this year. In the Spring I was playing the Double Feature in the Paintframe with Ben, Phil and Mark from the Duke Special band. We had a great time and it was amazing to play in such a special venue. I wrote a whole post on the Double Feature earlier this year. Obviously, the Paintframe theatre isn’t there anymore (they started tearing it down straight after our last show) but I reckon we’ll be hearing from the band sometime next year. Watch this space…

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A couple of months after finishing the Double Feature I was called back to the National for Dominic Cooke’s production of The Comedy of Errors, which opened in November. We’re currently right in middle of our run of over 80 shows in the Olivier (back in on Boxing Day!). We had some fantastic reviews and he shows are selling out so if you’re gonna come; book your tickets sooner rather than later folks…

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Aside from playing and writing I also got quite involved with the fight against Westminster Council’s plans for evening and weekend parking charges. I had conversations with the Musicians Union and the BBC. I wrote about it extensively on my site and Twitter. I even spent one rather wet night in the street outside Westminster City Hall with a load of musicians and bikers (!) handing out leaflets. I have never done that before…

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Well, having postponed the charges until January (supposedly so as not to ruin Christmas) Westminster Council has now decided to wait until after the Olympics to implement their ridiculous plans. Although apparently there are Council elections in May so hopefully we’ll have seen the last of them by then. Why anyone would vote Colin Barrow back in after this is beyond me. I shall keep you posted…

So I accidentally bought two new basses this year. First was the Fender 60th Anniversary Precision bass which has already seen plenty of action this year. About a month ago after much searching I bought a Breedlove acoustic bass. Having been playing an ABG for The Comedy of Errors I’ve gotten used to idea and actually really started appreciating he sound (if not the action!). So I’ve decided to record a new solo record next year entirely on acoustic and was therefore forced to buy one. Honestly. There was no other option. This afternoon I put the Breedlove through the looping rig to see how it recorded. This is the first demo, a quick improvisation on the acoustic…

Breedlove Acoustic Demo #1 by simonlittlebass

Well that was a long post. It’s been a great year and I’m looking forward to 2012 and all the exciting new projects that are coming up. Little Alex and Triage are both set to be doing all kinds of good things next year. And I’ll eventually have another solo record for you. You lucky things…

Merry Christmas everybody and have a happy new year!

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