Jun 6 2011

Preview track from the new album & live looping #101

Hello folks,

I thought it was time to let you in on some of the new music I’ve been working on this year. Most of you probably have Mandala by now, or have at least heard it on Bandcamp. And you will of course have checked out the latest Rejectamenta EP, which consists of tracks that didn’t quite fit on the new record but were recorded during the same period.

Yesterday I posted an unmastered preview track from the new record The Knowledge of Things To Come on my Soundcloud page. I had a great response over Twitter and Facebook from a number of people and thought it should be posted here on the blog.

I also thought this would be a good time to talk about what it is I do when I’m playing solo. Many people who bought Mandala have asked me whether I played all the instruments on the album. They were surprised when I told them it was just me playing solo live and I’ve found it is quite difficult to explain to non-musicians the concept and process of live looping without the music in front of me.

So I’ve annotated the track on Soundcloud with their rather useful timed comments utility. This had allowed my to provide you with a running commentary as the track plays through, explaining what is occurring musically and technically in real time.

Here it is…

the music of chance (unmastered preview) by simonlittlebass

Obviously this is one of the simpler tracks from a live looping perspective. A lot of what I do is a kind of musical plate-spinning exercise where I’m both playing and steering the arrangement live with the Looperlative. All the sounds on this track were produced wit the Pod X3 Pro going through the LP1.

The new record should be ready sometime over the next couple of months. It just needs mastering now. I also posted a preview of the album artwork via Instgram last night; got a good response for that too which I was really pleased about. The main image is by the excellent Icelandic photographer Johann Smari and the cover design is my own.

I was lucky enough to be invited by the excellent bassist and educator Lee Pellington (@Guerillabass on Twitter) to give a masterclass at Leicester College on Friday. We talked about what it means to be a freelance session musician and what you need to know to make it on your own. We also talked briefly about the solo bass project and I performed a few short live looping improvisations for the bass players in the morning. So, seeing as we’re looking at the process in today’s blog post, here’s a short video of one of my improvisations filmed that morning. The sound isn’t great and the noise of me pressing buttons is louder that the music, but you get the idea…


Hope you like it. It’s also up on YouTube if you want to share the link. Watch this space for news of the new record. As soon as it’s ready I’ll be sending out advance download copies to a few bloggers and music writers for reviews. If you are a music blogger, reviewer, podcaster or radio host and would like to be included in this select bunch, then drop me a line here and I’ll put you on the list.  Phil and Oliver, you are at the top of the list…

Until next time 🙂

Mar 9 2011

Little Alex Blog #2: The First Preview!!

The time has come…

It’s all well and good me babbling on about my new project with Steve Alexander Little Alex, but what does the music sound like? I hear you ask… Well hopefully now we can give you some idea.

We’ve been spending a lot of time jamming out new ideas and recording our efforts at Chez Alexander and we had one rather successful live session at Terminal Studios. I’ve been getting used to my new Line 6 setup and programming a whole new sparkly range of sounds, whilst Steve has been torturing his thumbs on the kalimba (see the bottom of the page!) and getting to grips with his brand new Maschine.

At our last writing session we recorded one track of live bass that we quite liked as it stood. So Steve took it away and programmed some drums with the Maschine…

Ladies and gentlemen; here is the first sneak preview of things to come:

The Littlest Alex by simonlittlebass

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Remember you can sign up to the mailing list at Reverbnation and ‘Like’ us on Facebook (that sounds so naff, but that’s what they call it nowadays). Feel free to leave your comments here on the blog; in fact you can even click on specific bits of the track and comment in time with the music. Oh yes indeed folks; it’s all very technical here.

I’ll leave you to ponder the forthcoming joys that Little Alex has in store for you. And just for a laugh, here’s the video I shot of Steve hammering away on the kalimba from the same writing session. Just watch the concentration on his face…

Until next time 🙂

Apr 29 2010

The ‘I Really Should Update This More Often’ Post…

I do check back to this site on occasion and it occurred to me on my last visit that I haven’t updated the blog for a couple of months. How very slack of me dear readers.. I do apologise..

And it’s not that there has been nothing to write about. In fact, the last few months have been pretty busy with various projects. I started serious work on the solo bass album. I now have six tracks finished and am going to change tack for a while to put together a few more edgier sounds. I posted a rough version of a track on my podcast a while ago to give you an idea, and I’ve just uploaded it to the wonderful Soundcloud so I can embed it right here for you all…
This week however, I find myself with a lot of new music to learn so I’m taking a little break from the solo bass project. I’m hoping to have the album finished by the time I’m out on tour with Clare and Maggie in the Autumn so it’s available at their shows. Watch this space…
Duke Special will be starting his UK tour this weekend. This tour will feature music from The Silent World of Hector Mann and the Mother Courage & Her Children albums. You can buy these albums in his wonderful The Stage, A Book & The Silver Screen boxset, available at the Duke Store. Unfortuantely due to prior commitments, I won’t be joining the Duke until the Irish leg of the tour (27th May-12th June). Until then the Duke bass will be in the more than capable hands of Mr Jon Kensington. The Hector Mann material is fantastic and I’m really looking forward to playing it live with the boys. I’m joining them for their last day of rehearsals tomorrow. Expect the usual extensive bloggery on my return and you can of course follow my deluge of updates on Twitter if you’re that way inclined (and let’s face it; who isn’t these days?!)
Next week I am schlepping up to Glasgow for a couple of days rehearsal with Maggie Reilly. We are off to Denmark on the 13th May for a festival. Don’t ask me where it is or what it’s called; frankly I don’t know! This show will see the return of the marvelous Steve Alexander on the drums and promises to be a very special show. Can’t wait for this one! And it looks like we’ll be on tour in Germany later on this year so once again, do keep your eyes peeled for upcoming dates on my MySpace page.
And it’s been a busy couple of months with Clare Teal too. Our Great British Songbook tour continues on apace. We’ve been up and down the country playing a wide variety of venues from the Stables in Wavendon right up to the Byre Theatre in St. Andrews. At the beginning of March we went into Air Studios to start work on the album with the fabulous Mr Jake Jackson at the helm. We spent two days laying down the band tracks and doing a few overdubs. It sounds absolutely beautiful so far and promises to be a great album when it’s finished. The album will feature the current touring lineup of Grant Windsor on piano, Ben Reynolds on drums, me on bass with the addition of guitar-monster Femi Temowo. Here’s a few shots taken by Jake during the session…

And the tour continues this weekend when we will be playing Bristol St Georges Hall on Saturday and the Redlett Centre on Sunday. Be there or be square, as they say..
As many of you will be aware, there has been exciting developments in the Divine Comedy camp. Our new album Bang Goes The Knighthood will be released on May 31st. Tim and I recorded our bits in Dublin with Neil in January last year (!) and the album is finally ready. I’ve had the promo for some time now and let me tell you; I reckon this is the best DC record to date. The songs are fantastic and it sounds great. And as many of you have seen, it has a great cover!
Just yesterday, Divine Comedy HQ posted the video for the new single At The Indie Disco, which will be released for download on 23rd May. So I thought I’d better post it right here for my loyal readers to have a sneaky peak. Enjoy…

Neil will be performing shows solo this year. I’m sure we will be joining him at some point in the near future and I will of course keep you posted as to when and where.
But in the meantime, I will be joining Mr Hannon and the lovely Mr Walsh AKA the recently Ivor Novello nominated Duckworth Lewis Method at a one-off performance headlining at the Meltdwon Festival at London’s Sounthbank Centre on June 17th. This promises to be a very special show and I’m expecting that tickets will sell out pretty quick so if I were you I’d get booked up right now to avoid crashing disappointment…
This post is becoming a bit of a monster. Serves me right for leaving it so long. So what else? The sitar is going very well indeed, thanks for asking. I really am intending on blogging more about this fun and exciting little journey into the weird and wonderful world of Hindustani classical music, but I fear this post is already far too long. Next time I reckon. Until then, thanks for reading and do leave your comments below and of course let me know when you’re coming to one of the shows so I can come and say hello.
Cheers! 🙂 x