Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Wrong Button

Here is my album "The Wrong Button" which I am making available for the first time since its' completion three years ago. That is not to say it hasn't been heard by anyone, indeed, Darian Sahanaja, (Brian Wilson Band member and the man responsible for getting Brian to finish SMiLE) said it was one of the best things he had heard for years, which I took as high praise coming from someone who has access to The Beach Boys tape vaults. Nelson Bragg and Probyn Gregory were equally enthused. I had also put three songs on the Garageband site, and "Talking To Myself" had reached the top five of their chart. All of a sudden I was recieving many emails requesting a copy of the album.

So what happened?

I was offered a record contract, which turned out to be a tad dodgy so I didn't sign. Also my wife had just fallen pregnant and I lost my job. In desperation I sent a barrage of emails to Darian and Nelson, demanding they help me out. Suffice to say they stopped responding. Now I could say I lost my faith in my album at that point, and there would be some truth there, but to be honest I am one of lifes great procrastinators, and I missed my moment.

So here finally is "The Wrong Button", the third part in a trilogy of albums which take a comical look at the effects of marujuana and LSD on a fragile mind. I will release the entire trilogy in reverse, what can I say, I am a child of George Lucas (not literally).

If the album proves successful, (i.e. more than ten downloads!), I will gladly write more about the history and multiple meanings in my teenage symphony to drugs, but for now a little background will suffice.

"The Wrong Button" took seven years, off and on to record. The bulk of the album was recorded in my home on a Roland VS840 8 track recorder, a seriously cranky old digital machine which ran on Zip Disks. I had no preamps or anything like that, so I had to be quite creative with my recording techniques. How I hate working with digital sound, bring back tape.

The album documents my final, horrific LSD trip, alone in a house in the Yorkshire Dales on, believe it or not, September the 11th 1996. (I was convinced for a time that I had sent my bum vibe five years into the future, but I'm feeling much better now) In all seriousness it was the most terrifyingly dark experience of my life, all alone with only my trusty dictaphone as a companion, and it is these recordings which form the backbone of "The Wrong Button".

Music wise, my biggest musical influence on this and all my recordings, is the music of Brian Wilson, in particular, SMiLE. I have been listening to this wonderful music since 1988, back when I was 16. This was a time when it was seriously uncool to like The Beach Boys, but I have turned so many people onto his music and like to think I played a small part in his rediscovery during the nineties.

Anyway, it's time to laugh with me, cry with me, and nearly die with me. Download if you dare...............

The Wrong Button by Stephen Newcombe

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lesson 1 - Structure

Hello, are you ready for your first musical instruction with the man once descibed as "a legend in his own room" ? Well here we go.
There are five aspects to tonal music. Melody, Harmony, Rhythm, Counterpoint and Structure.
Now, a piece of music does not need to contain all five aspects, a solo melody or a rhythm tapped absent mindedly on a table can be called music. Why, even an Oasis record is music! Music does not need harmony to be music, much so called dance music does away with melody altother, and counterpoint is sorely lacking in most modern (last 50 years) music. The one aspect that music needs, to be considered music is Structure. Structure is what turns random noise into groovy sounds. Now I bet you didn't know that did you? Well you do now.
Please don't be late for my next lesson, "Naught but the Sound of Numbers" in which I enlighten you to the fact that music is mathamatics, and I will attempt to prove that judging music to be good or bad is objective not subjective, i.e. opinion is worthless, there is only right and wrong.

Thank you, Stephen