I figure that if Ludwig van Beethoven had been around today, he’d have been a shred-metaller. You know – a guitar virtuoso who churns out 500-note-a-minute solos on top of complex polyrhythmic backings built around augmented minor chord progressions. Think Yngwie Malmsteen. That’s basically how Beethoven’s stuff was viewed back then by a generation bought … More I figure Beethoven was a shred-metaller. No really.
I’m intrigued by how quickly we get used to music and sounds. Just about every track we listen to these days has electronically-generated content, and even the analog elements are usually processed. Thanks to digital signal processing and software originally developed for the oil industry, singers can even fix pitch and timing. But that wasn’t … More Why nobody notices synthesisers any more
What music do you listen to when writing? Can you listen to music at all? It’s one of the most powerful tools writers can have at their disposal – especially for unsticking the muse. Put another way, you’re pretty much guaranteed to write something different while jouncing along to Katy Perry than if you hurled … More Using music to defeat writers’ block
Instruments I have played the ‘Smoke On The Water’ riff on: 1. Various pianos, except a Bosendorfer 91-note grand, on which I played ‘Louie Louie’. 2. Moog Modular Model 15 (lead only, I don’t own this one, it’s the modular they produced in a suitcase for carrying around gigs, but I DID once tyre-kick my … More The Smoke On The Water riff vs my vintage synthesiser collection
Does anybody listen to British folk-rock? Stuff that flourished, really, in the late 1960s on the back of the counter-culture and some of which floated away on a cloud of Tolkien influences into the 1970s. That wasn’t surprising. In its British incarnation the counter-culture took on overtones of ‘Merrie England’, the nineteenth century sense of … More Tolkien and folk-rock and us
New Zealand’s ingenuity seems limitless these days. Back in 2012 a graduate student at Victoria University, in my own city of Wellington, invented a robot bass guitar. Awesome or what? Here’s the instrument – MechBass – playing ‘Hysteria’: Soon, the same machine is going to perform as part of an ensemble: http://www.qtheatre.co.nz/plot-twist-bass-guitarist-robot That’s extremely geeky … More Human creativity always wins – for now
I went into a coffee shop the other day intending to buy scones – which they make and sell on the premises. The place was filled with techno-elevator music at shattering volume. I asked for the scones. And then the fun began. Music: THOP THOP THOP THOP Counter goon: Worb blurb wob with your coffee? … More The dangers of talking around loud music