Elliott’s Album

Last academic year, we had a visit at college from Elliott Morris, a ‘locally grown’ artist who is up and coming, constantly touring and sharing his blend of folk and pop sounds on a variety of acoustic stringed instruments. His guitar technique on some songs goes in the direction of John Gomm or Newton Faulkner meets Steve Vai, with a folk twist. At other times, it is more understated, with occasional sharply executed riffs thrown in between rhythmic strumming. I’ll admit it, I was jealous… his ability to provide his own percussion using the body of the guitar as a drum made my finger-picking style seem somewhat lame in comparison. This unlikely Michael Jackson cover is the proof…

Elliott got in touch this week to let me know that he is going to be making his first full length album (he’s already made some EPs) which he’s going to be funding via Pledge Music, in order to afford the studio time and getting the resulting music printed to CD, etc. Getting a full album recorded professionally is quite a major undertaking, so if you like what you hear here, please do consider supporting the project and/or checking out one of his upcoming gigs.


Failures and Successes

So, it’s been a few weeks since I posted here. I was trying to throw myself into Tune A Day June, but my efforts basically fell apart after about 11 days because I was super-tired at the end of the college year, and then needed to focus my efforts to prepare for the end of year gig on 1st July at one of the local pubs*, which is great at supporting the arts and especially music.

I was finding that because I was tired, it wasn’t a great time to be trying to write music, and I was not finding the deeper creative streak I wanted to reach.  What I really wanted to achieve was to write some more songs with lyrics, as I’ve focussed a lot on instrumental music during this year. But I was finding that in order to meet the requirement to make something every day for Tune A Day, I was going for the default option of writing a tune without lyrics, rather than approaching writing from the song’s meaning, taken from words. It wasn’t working and it was actually demotivating to be ‘failing’ like this. After taking some time out from forcing creativity, I’ve written some meaningful lyrics that I want to make use of at a later stage. It took a while before I started to find some natural creativity again, as I was beating myself up a bit (not literally, don’t worry!) for not being more productive, even when I had stopped pushing myself to make something. Stopping and just thinking about life and – critically – slowing down enough to observe have helped me find motivation.

The other important thing that I’ve started to do during this time – apart from helping my Dad out with some chores – is to learn more about how Ableton Live Lite works, after having had a brief introduction earlier in the year to Ableton at college and stewing on thoughts of how I might use Live Lite, its cut down version, for a while. This program should be very useful for my live performances, so I have also begun to transfer the songs that I played on 1st July into this new format so I can start to rehearse for a gig in September that I’ve been asked to do. (This gig request came from a friend who has persistently encouraged me to start doing Stoneygate gigs… and who helps organise a regular electronic music event.*)  Working in Ableton Live Lite looks like it could be more flexible and better suited to my music than working on the college’s Maschine unit I borrowed for the 1st July (at least in the way I was using it), and it looks like I’ll be able to make my live performances sound more similar to the recorded versions of my tracks with how I have started to work.

*If you would like details of future Stoneygate performances, so you can attend, and other significant news, please join my mailing list.