D4 – it’s been out a little while…


Exciting things have happened in my life and I’m a bit lax doing other things at the moment, but I’ve got 5 minutes spare so I’m going to share our latest band product with you.  It’s D4, our latest EP/album of many/no names.  You can get it for streaming or download in several places, the major ones being:

Go give it a listen.

And watch this space as something else will happen soon…

Advertisements

Day 1: Good times had by all! 

Well, day one is over and done with and it was brilliant! I couldn’t have imagined how easy and enjoyable today could have been! Rob the engineer is an amazingly approachable chap with so much in common with ourselves we couldn’t have chosen a better guy to record our little songs! We managed to get the five tracks down, a run of overdubs done and the vocal tracks down. All the vocals are first time takes. We listened through to the tracks and I think they are sounding very good indeed. (all the practice certainly paid off). Tomorrow will be adding good anything else we need to the tracks and final mix. Can’t wait to hear the final results!

Space Cowboys Under The Sea Of Japan

SpaceCowboysUnderTheSeaOfJapan_Booklet_300_FrontOur third album, Space Cowboys Under The Sea Of Japan was released to the unsuspecting world on December 7th, 2015.  Previously grunge/alt-rock, we expanded our sound with the creation of CowProg-SpaceFunk for these songs.

Tracklisting:

  1. Village Of Dolls
  2. Deep Within The Sea It Sleeps
  3. The Oyster
  4. Corrupted Tranquility
  5. Snow Bones
  6. Seahorse With no Names
  7. Clementine
  8. The Noise
  9. Fractions Of A Fish
  10. Electric Eels
  11. I Heard You Calling But Alas I Did Not Answer
  12. DogZilla Versus The Under-Sea Bass

(Yes, 12 tracks rather than 13!)

Where, I hear you ask, can you get this wonderful music?  Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, Microsoft, Amazon, eMusic, Tidal, SoundCloud, and probably some other places.

What’s that noise?

SpaceCowboysUnderTheSeaOfJapan_Booklet_300_FrontThe third track we’re looking at is called The Noise. Pete has said reminds him of a Cure track. It does have a bit of the lullaby about it at first listen, but it’s much more than that. There are layers. Synth bits, an ending/second half that is far more twisted (does that sound right? Is it twisted? It’s not the same as the first part that’s for sure) than the first. The drums all work really on this track. It’s spiky but supple at the same time. I feel it lends itself to electronic drums well and the end result sounds clean and considered.

This song started as an idea demo’d by Rob. I believe there was one verse and the basic chord sequence. The ending is a result of jamming out for a few minutes (maybe more than a few minutes) and then chopping it back down in the edit. Although I think we kept everything in the end and moved the order of some parts around a bit. The vocals for part one were worked out and written down, and for the jam bit at the end I just improvised some words I had from the ideas folder. We added a lo-fi type of effect to them to give it a distinction from the first part. The lead guitar pops and darts around and takes the the song to its end without it ever sounding repetitive or laboured. Bass, as usual, is right were it should be giving the song a strong back bone.

Again, it’s quite a long song. Maybe this is a product of the ‘record what we come up with and worry about setting it in order later’ method of writing. I think it did open up a new way of playing, a freedom, and I think the the songs all reflect this.

The voyage continues…

SpaceCowboysUnderTheSeaOfJapan_Booklet_300_FrontNext on the list of tracks to talk about, The Oyster. A bit of an odd ball this one. A bit rocky. A little funky. Some unusual vocal frills. Lovely bass riffing that pushes the track along with a guitar track that can do no wrong. I can’t imagine any part of this different to how it is. Everything fits nice and snug, just like it should and at a shade over five minutes it’s a good length. Not quite sure where the idea came from originally, I think it started from a jam? Maybe the other parts of HMD can help out with that. The over all concept, from a lyric perspective, is of a life lived, but not loved.(Feeling indebted to the queen/her/she above). A life of normality and function, but not of adventure or fulfilment. (I found the oyster, but not the pearl) An existence of conforming to what you feel is expected, but not showing who you really are. (I am faking a little longer. I fake myself to pass through unaware).

Why do a lot of my lyrics turn out to be downers? (Challenge for next album, 100% bunnies and sugar?)

I think the drums work quite well in this track. Although it has a bit of funk about it, the electronic drums don’t detract from the feel and everything comes across as being fluid. I’d have to agree with something both Rob and Pete have picked up on in the past week, that this album as a whole feels like musical progression of the last. It’s the third album from HMD and in listening to this and the first back to back I can see the development. Flesh Reunion glued both together perfectly. Also, as a side note, I managed to get all the electric guitars I own on a least one track on the album. RESULT! (Now that should be a challange! Each of us has to get each instrument on at least one track in the future. Might be easier from some than others. Just remembered the drum kit. Damn!)

So very very close…

SpaceCowboysUnderTheSeaOfJapan_Booklet_300_FrontIt’s nearly time to share the fruits of our labour. The songs we have written. The music we have played. The mistakes and bum notes we’ve recorded. (Find them if you can, like a musical where’s Wally.)

Looking back its quite a mixed bag of songs. Different styles and different approaches. Different influences and different time signatures.  (Sorry. I blame Pete and his prog influence.) Lets look back at the tracks in no particular order, but starting with the first one we commuted to digitalness, Village of Dolls.

How many bass parts is there here? I’m pretty sure we all played at least one. We started writing this based on a news article Rob brought in about a village in Japan where the population had decreased so much that a resident had started to make dolls to replace the people. Simple enough ideas and abstract at the same time (I doubt it would’ve gotten Mr Cowell’s approval). I think this came together pretty quick. We didn’t come up with a structure of parts and instruments and we just chucked stuff at the mic to see what held. The result I think is a little unusual. Starts busy and full and reduces in complexity towards the end. Not a shouty loud song but one that teases you along till the end finally comes. It certainly gave us something to build upon through the coming weeks and inspired us to carry on the ‘hot pot’ approach of writing on the fly for a few tracks. A lovely start to recording Space Cowboys Under the Sea of Japan.

Flashback – HowManyDevils1

HMD1_Booklet_HiRes_Front
We are very, very close to (i.e. months of tweaking mixes away from) releasing Space Cowboys Under The Sea Of Japan.  Our third full length album.  I thought I take a look back at the first (which is streamable on SoundCloud), HowManyDevils1 or as it was known at the time HowManyDevils.  The obvious thing that has changed in the nearly 20 years that have passed is that we’ve got more imaginative with the album titles.  We’ve also lost a drummer, the career path has paralleled Spinal Tap in that respect.  Technology has changed: in 1998 we recorded HowManyDevils1 in an old factory in Sheffield squeezing 6 tracks out of two four-track cassette machines, in 2014 we recorded Flesh Reunion with near unlimited digital tracks on a laptop.

Have we changed musically?  I’m the not the right person to answer that, listen to Flesh Reunion on SoundCloud and tell us if we’ve changed!  I’ll have to ask the others about their influences then and now.  I know at the time the significant bands to me were Nirvana, Manic Street Preachers, Mansun, Placebo, and a little bit of Nine Inch Nails snuck in.  Simon was probably listening to Smashing Pumpkins, Hole, and Babes In Toyland.  From a 90’s point of view I know Pete was in to Pearl Jam, but Pete always had broader tastes that just what was happening at the time.