Dec 6 2012

New Trio Record Preview Track!!

Hello folks,

Yesterday I got together with Jez Carr and Mike Haughton to work out what we’re going to do with the trio project.

We’re going to release an album very soon. It’s going to be called Foreground Music, Vol. I. As soon as it’s mastered by Jez we’re essentially good to go so watch this space for the release announcement. We’re going to put it out on Bandcamp. As it stands the album runs at about 72 minutes of freely improvised music over eight tracks. We’re all so pleased with the way it came out.

So, what does this music sound like? I hear you ask. Well, as a special treat for you all here and on Facebook and Twitter, here is a little preview track from the album. It’s mixed but not mastered. This will be the closing track from the record and is a lovely piano/saxophone feature. Not much bass on this particular track boys and girls but fear not; there’s all kinds of bottom end action to come.

Also, you’ll be glad to know that Jez has recently rejoined the world of Twitter and is now fully tweetable (!). You can find him at Jez Carr. He has also added his wonderful duo album with bassist Steve Lawson Conversations to his Bandcamp page. You should all check this out while you wait for our trio record. Here’s the handy player so you can have a listen…

So watch this space and Twitter for the release announcement. It could be as early as this weekend if it all goes to plan. Exciting times. Hope you like the preview folks!

Until then…


May 14 2012

The Lowdown On The Artwork…

Hey guys

Well, you asked for it so here it is. This post does once again come with an Amber Geek-Alert. You have been warned…

Since I released my latest album [un]plugged a few weeks ago I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the artwork. This is the third release for which I’ve put together my own cover art. So for those of you that wondered; here’s the process I used this time.

Those of you that know me well or follow me on Instagram (@simonlittlebass) will be very much aware of my little obsession with iPhoneography; that is, the art and technology of iPhone-based photography and photo-editing. So it will not surprise you that the [un]plugged cover was almost entirely put together on my iPhone. Only the text was added separately using Gimp for Mac (a free and rather excellent image editing program), and that’s only because I haven’t found the right iPhone app(lication) yet…

1. I started out with an image of what is left of Gotham City Hall in Six Flags New Orleans. Hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the site is set for demolition. I edited this image with the fantastic iPhone app(lication) Snapseed to give it a more gothic feel and darken the sky. I always start with the crop and auto-correct functions, then play about with the Tune Image settings and Drama filters. I think I may have also used the Tilt-Shift to add focus to the centre of the image. The first stage looked like this…

2. I then put this image through Tiny Planets. This is a fun little app(lication) that twists an image one of two ways into a circular pattern. I mess about with this a lot. The results are pretty haphazard at best and you have no real control over the final image but occasionally it comes up trumps. The resulting image looks like this:

3. It was at this stage that I transfered to my laptop and added the text to the bottom right corner. Gimp also allows use to match the colour of text with a colour from the image itself. I went with one of the grungy grays from the building.

4. I then immediately went back to the iPhone (!) and put this image through ScratchCam. This is an excellent app(lication) if you have time to fiddle with it and download all the extra filters (which are all free but not included in the initial download). I tend to use the random button to generate a few different options as a starting point and then edit in more detail from there. This is how I got the folded and torn look…

5. Now, as you can see here, the image became rather washed out in ScratchCam so I went back to Snapseed and essentially repeated the steps in mentioned earlier; mainly using the Tune Image and Drama functions to bring the colours out once more. The resulting image is the final cover art which we all know and love.

Hope this answers some of your questions regarding the artwork. I love the fact that you can manipulate images to this degree and sophistication on a mobile phone. I’ve been playing around with the applications a great deal over the last year and am only just starting to scratch the surface. As for the musical applications, well that is another post entirely…

Hope you’re all enjoying the album and don’t forget to tell your friends and help spread the word.

Just out of interest, here’s a couple of other images I put through Tiny Planets so you can get some idea of the possibilities. Out of the applications I use regularly, this one is the least consistent but often comes up with the most surprising results (Both these images were heavily edited in either Snapseed or Iris before being run trough Tiny Planets)…

Until next time…


Apr 28 2012

[un]plugged Album News & Mandala Update

Hello folks,

I’ve been getting some great feedback about the new solo album [un]plugged, which was officially released on Tuesday. I thought I’d drop a quick post for those of you that missed the big announcement.

I’d been working on an acoustic album since the Autumn when I started A Comedy of Errors at the National Theatre.  I was playing an acoustic bass guitar for the first time and really fell in love with the instrument. Well, not that particular instrument but the acoustic bass guitar in general! I went in search of my own bass and eventually found a beautiful Breedlove bass which I decided to use for the album.

Since I put the album out I’ve sent off a few copies to various reviewers and music writers; hopefully I’ll have some reviews out and about soon enough. I shall of course Tweet all the links so you can check them out.

The album is available in glorious 24-bit audio via Bandcamp (click on the Music tab above). This is better than CD quality. The album is now also available (as of yesterday) on iTunes, Spotify etc if you prefer. You can only get the hi-res version at Bandcamp though. You know what to do.

So, it’s over to you now folks. If you like the record; spread the word! The most difficult thing at the moment is letting people know the music is out there. So you can share the player above, you could Tweet about it, post about it on your Facebook pages, blogs, Tumblrs. The possibilities are endless! I’m sure you’ll know better than I who amongst your friends would be into this kind of music…

As a treat and to celebrate the release of [un]plugged, I’ve made the digital version of my first album Mandala available as a pay-what-you-think-it’s-worth (including free) download on the Bandcamp page. If you’re buying your copy of [un]plugged, do feel free to grab a free copy of Mandala whilst you’re there. And the same goes for the Rejectamenta EP whilst you’re at it. Of course you can still buy the Mandala CD from the same place. If you want it signed, let me know ;)

I’m really pleased with the reaction to [un]plugged so far and I’m looking forward to seeing what you all think too. It is quite different to my previous albums, but the new direction seems to be quite popular.

Until next time…

Simon x

#soloalbum3 #unplugged