Friday, 21 December 2012

Gannin' down the Scotswood Road

Well it's been quite a while, but here I am back again in music-making mode.

About 18 years or so ago I was in a band. I've been in several bands of various kinds - this was a Soul/Rock band called "Heart & Soul" and I was mostly the bassist, but occasionally I fronted it and sang. I wrote a few songs for it too.

I wrote this one song, called "Guilty" - it was about being trapped in behaviour patterns you cannot break even though you know they are wrong, and unhelpful. Musically it was the source of many arguments between myself and our drummer. I wanted it to be in "a very fast 6/8" and tried to describe what I wanted. He claimed it was impossible. I claimed it wasn't and eventually in frustration played him a live version of Shadows In The Rain by the Police which had exactly what I wanted. He muttered something non-commital and continued to claim that it wasn't possible. We did eventually master it, a breathless rolling train of a sound with a very particular bassline.

And now the rythmn and the bassline are seeing the light of day again. And probably the tune.

I have been working on the last section of the album, which represents my commute home. I had had a crazy plan which was to strap a video camera to the bonnet of my car, and film my commute home. Then I was going to speed up the video until it was 4 minutes long, and then I was going to set it to music.

Instead one day I decided it would be nicer to use "Guilty" - it has a frantic urgency, and it's not a bad finisher for an album, rollicking with high energy. I would also reprise some of the ideas from teh album, and maybe a motif or two from previous albums. I would finish with the sound effect of going over the bridge that the album opens with.

So I've found the speed, worked out how long it is (12 bars) and therefpre how many times through teh pattern I can go (8). I have a snare roll introduction and then it breaks into the frantic hurrying. So far I have programmed the drums (probably needs humanising) and I spent a long time doing the bass. My fingers are a bit sore. I'm quite happy that there is a bass focus again, this seems to be a feature of this album and I like it - given that it is probably my best instrument.

I have also added some electric guitar, following the same pattern. There is one section which will be electric guitar soloing, and I have done 4 bars of that, which is identical to 4 bars used a few times in the "Electricity" section on teh last album - a bit of a cross between Jesus Christ Superstar, The Magic Roundabout and something by Thin Lizzy, and uses three guitars in harmony.

So after the guitarring my fingers are even sorer. Oh how I suffer for my art! Still, that's most of the rythmn track down now, tehre's more guitar, some piano and some trumpets to go. I think.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Lost in a paperwork desert

..which is the title of the most recent section to be worked on.

A little bit of purple history is called for to give context. On the first album, 11 Bells, I created decided I wanted a single-instrument section (sections were 5 minutes long) and opted for Piano. I introduced a particular musical motif (taken from the guitar part for a song I wrote years ago called "behind the storm"). For reasons lost in the mists of time I called this section "Lost in a Moonlit Desert".

On the second album, Under A Binary Tree, I decided that I would once again have a single-instrument section. This time it was electric piano, and because the first half was all white notes and the second half all black notes, I called it "Lost in a monochrome desert". Once again it featured the same motif, but modified.

By the third album, B:M:S, I seemed to have developed a habit, this time I opted for classical guitar, and the name "The Lust Of The Eyes (Lost in a nylon desert)". While it focused primarily on musical plagiarism, I managed to effectively steal from myself and use the same motif again, as well as many others.

So here we are on album no. 4. I have a hard habit to break. I had already decided that this section would be called "Lost in a paperwork desert" and would represent the insane amount of paperwork I seem to have to deal with at work. At some point I decided that an appropriately "dry" (although not hugely papery) sound would be a Marimba (which is a kind of wooden xylophone). So there is a 4-minute marimba section, and yes I do use the same old motif, briefly at the end.

In fact the section wanders (as is appropriate for someone lost in a desert) through several motifs. It start with a few chords, and then launches into a pattern inspired by rhythmic tapping that I sometimes do. I like tapping interesting rhythms, and this is at least the second such tapping motif that has made it into the music. This gets faster and faster. Then there are a few harp-like arpeggios and next we have a bass-line like boogie-woogie piano and similar to one I used on the first album. After developing that there is a brief glissando and then I use a motif in 15/8 which appeared on the last album. Finally we meet the habitual lost in deserts motif, but backed by the funky bassline which will appear in several other places on the album.

And you can use this widget to hear a rough mix of it... I hope! Apologies it is mixed a little quiet.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Many, many little sessions, one section

The will to blog has been blighted of late by the fact that my sessions of music-making have been piddling and small. But on the whole, it would seem numerous.

Let's see if I can summarise. Or something.

The first section of the "at home" track is now more or less finished. It features a baslline "refrain" followed by stylistic "verses".

The first verse is sort of kind of Jazz, with a walking bassline, swing-ish drums and introducing electric piano. It starts as kind of cool jazz, but deteriorates into "what time does the tune start" kind of quickly. The brass stabs bring us back to the next refrain, in which the electric piano keeps on.

The second verse is sort of kind of Reggae, with off-beat guitar, organ and E-piano, bassline missing the "one" and typical triplets on the snare. This verse features organ playing a sort of tune, but may have a (real) trumpet added. Back to the refrain and the organ is featured

The third verse is sort of kind of Bluegrass, with a C&W - sounding guitar, a drum pattern stolen from "Lay Down Sally" by Eric Clapton, Country-style bass and... banjo. I had to go looking for a banjo sound on the internet, and found a reasonable "sound font". These are basically sample patches that were designed to work with a wide range of instruments. They don't seem to be as popular as they used to be, but I have a nifty sound font player, and it sounds pretty good. it is rare for me to use samples for a fretted instrument, but I cannot justify buying a banjo. I really wish I could find somewhere I could rent instruments!. Anyway, back to the refrain and the guitar is featured.

The last verse is sort of kind of Space Rock, the more mellow and spaced-out end of Prog rock, featuring wibbly synth and tambourine. Real tambourine (of course, a lot of my percussion is real). The final refrain features the synth and the tambourine.

Altogether I seem to be using a lot of different sounds, and this section has felt like a mini-project all of it's own. I started it way back in September, it's now November. Progress has been slow because I've only had nibbling small sessions mostly, and also because i lost hearing in one ear for about 2 weeks. It's coming back now.

In the meantime I have had some more musical ideas, which I need to make notes of as they seem to fit some of the themes for sections I have.  I'm not entirely sure, but I THINK I now have an idea for each of the 16 sections. I also have 3 sections broadly done, but am hoping to get guest musicians in for 2. I need to decide if I will do guest musicians all at the end or a bit at a time.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Tidying and other stuff

Well I've done some stuff which is mostly not directly making music. Most importantly I have been Tidying Up.

I have a nice little room here where I do my recording, it's really not possible to call it a studio, it's more of a box room. It houses the PC, a chair and a keyboard, and a guitar rack. Most of the other instruments are squirrelled away elsewhere. If I want other people to come into this room to do some music for me it needed to be a good sight more tidy than it was. It now is, 2 sessions of tidying, sorting and (shock) hoovering later and it is presentable. One more session should involve some reorganising, swapping a keyboard and installing the new printer (it's shiny) and we should be all done. My lovely wife has installed a blind so we can even shut the sun out on a sunny day.

The other thing I have done is some sound recording using a little "zoom" handheld audio recorder I borrowed from work. I have recorded quite a bit of the kids playing in various circumstances, and the ambience in church before a service, and the sound cars make as they go over the Ovingham bridge - a sound I want to use as the opening to A View To The Bridge.

Speaking of that section, the only bit of music I have done has been working on some brass stabbs at the beginning of the section (after the bridge moment) and which will be used as puctuation for the section.

So progress, but mostly not direct and totally not interesting.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Transference and basics

Well, dear blog-reader, we left off last time with some guest keyboards.  In this session I took the keyboard  MIDI parts from the project at 144bpm and transferred them to the one at 192bpm. There was a small problem in that all the MIDI on events had the same velocity (this sometimes happens in my setup) so I did some humanising, and a little bit of tweaking to manipulate the notes - shortening, lengthening and occasional timing (but hardly any, the notes were wonderfully consistent in timing!). All in all about an hour went into the importing process and then I added some more drums earlier on and then some bass. SOunds simple but it all takes time - I don't seem to have any juicy details to give you. That was the first session this afternoon, and that section is just about ready apart from some guest violin (I hope)

This evening I have worked on a different section, the first section of the album (probably) called "A View To The Bridge" (which is a play on the play entitled "A View From The Bridge" by Arthur Miller, and is a reference ot the fact that we can see Ovingham Bridge from our house, down the hill in the valley) This section is based on a bassline I have been playing with which I can best desctibe as "rich and fruity" - it's similar to one used on 11 Bells, but in 8/8 rather than 9/8. Kind of Funky. The whole section will be bass-focussed, and will feature "refrain" bits (using the aforementioned bass riff) and "other" bits where different styles are introduced. Probably Jazz, Reggae, Disco and spacey. Each time before the refrain there is a stabby bit such as James Brown might have used (brass) which I am going to use as a sort of "call to order" after going off-topic with the "other" bits.

Anyway, tonight I have done the bass for the refrain bits. It's not the easiest but I like it, it sounds nice. I'm actually (unusually) using the bass "naked" rather than sending it through Guitar rig, but I am using one of the rather more way-out guitar rig settings as a "send" (I bleed a little of the sound out to the effect instead of putting the whole thing through) which gives me background spacey weirdness, kind of like a delay crossed with a flanger, and almost exactly what I was hoping. The bass comes through clear but there are little twittery spaced-out echoing things happening like moths floating around. It's a beautiful thing!

So I'm done for the night.

Monday, 27 August 2012

A Purple First

For the purple project I have had several principles that I have worked to. There are probably some I don't realise, but some of the ones that are deliberate include no singing (entirely instrumental, maybe some odd speech or SFX) and a focus on a certain kind of music. Another principle has been that I have done everything myself.

I have broken that principle.  I intend to break it good and proper on this album and have guest musicians in several places. The first has actually happened - my wife has played some keyboards for me.

This is still working one the set of folk tunes (this section is taking some time) and I want alongside the mandolin to have accordion and fiddle. My wife did the tunes for me on a keyboard for the accordion sound. Accordion is one of those instruments where a MIDI keyboard and a sampler do a really realistic job, partly because it's a keyboard anyway on a piano accordion so it sounds like it's played naturally. You can't get so much nuance of squeezing pressure but these are fast tunes anyway.

My one-handed jeyboard playing is not too bad, and I could ahve learned to play them myself, but my wife is a proper piano player, and significantly for this is good at the changing hand position thing - these tunes have lots of that and that was what I was finding difficult.

Anyway that's it for this session

Friday, 24 August 2012

The Bad Blogger

That's me - I've not been as good as I could be in my blogging - I have had a couple more sessions on the music - three I think since I last blogged. I have been working on the same section - the folk tunes.

Session 1: I have firstly added some strummed mandolin, and some strummed and picked acoustic guitar to the first tune (The Beech Grove), and some strummed Mandolin to the last tune (Bob's Your Auntie). I did this "at speed" (192bpm)

Session 2: I added some electric guitar - heavy rock overdriven guitar to the second tune (Daisy Chain) and that continues into the 3rd tune, but after the first time though changes to a less rough "skaga" sound (like slow Ska). The middle tune is going to be pretty heavy rock. This also was all done "at speed".

Session 3: Drums. First of all I spent some time choosing an appropriate rock drum kit sound, and then  I programmed drums for tunes 2 and 3. Tune 2 is heavy drumming, starting with tom fills (I extended the number of toms in the kit for this), then stabby kits to go with the chords I ahd recorded and finally becoming a fairly consistent heavy rock beat. What makes it heavy rock? Well the pattern for one, but I also have discovered that half-open hi-hat gives a loose rawness to a rock pattern (it's something one of the drummers did in church one Sunday). Lo and behold, combine that with the guitar and it sounds pretty rock-like, which is interesting when the tune us being played on mandolin - in fact it' s coming out as a nice rock/folk hybrid right now. Moving into tune 3 the drumming tightens and lightens somewhat, switching to ride cymbal to give a more "rolling" feel (that's what I always feel about ride cymbals instead of hi-hat, they make the sound push on or roll along better, possibly from association with swing jazz), and then into the second time through switching to a light reggae-like beat to go with the skaga guitar. This is turning into something altogether interesting, a coming together of Ska and Folk - unlikely combination I know.

A really standard rock beat in 4/4 is to play bass drum on beat 1, snare on beat 3 and hi-hat on all 4 beats. There are lots of variations and stuff but that's the basic "back-beat" rhythm. To get a "light reggae feel" like I described above I basically use the same thing, but the hi-hat only plays on beats 2 and 4. This give a completely different bouncy feel (and is really easy).

Now all of the drumming here has been programmed so far, so I have been through doing some humanising of volume, I will also (but have not yet done so) "humanise" further by introducing slight variations in the positions of the beats. Cubase can do that for me with random variations (not enough to make it feel wrong, but enough to loose the metronome-like feel that programmed drums can give)

Friday, 10 August 2012

Tunes from the garden

Not a lot has been done on the music in the last couple of weeks - but there has been some progress.

The first important thing to tell you is that I got a mandolin at Christmas. I have played it for real a few times now in the ceilidh band I am in, and I am not doing too badly with it.  It is after all strings, frets and familiar stuff like that. It is tuned differently to a guitar, which makes the adjustment interesting (it's actually tuned like a violin) and I have started to work out some tunes on it.

So I have written a few tunes on it - broadly ceilidh-type (folk) tunes, most definitely suited to the mandolin of course. On BODY:MIND:SPIRIT I had a section which was three ceilidh tunes I had written, and would like to repeat the feat. I wrote the first one and half of the second one day while in the garden with the family. My wife suggested I called the first tune "The Beech Grove" which is a nod to a famous tune called "The Ash Grove". Nice naming. I have named the second "Daisy Chain", partly because we were making a daisy chain when I stated writing it, partly as a reference to my daughter's middle name (Daisy) and partly because it's a round of sorts.

The third tune was written more over the past couple of weeks, mostly in the Sitting room while twiddling. I wondered about calling it "Peggy-Oh" or even "Our Peggy-Oh" because it has a lot of arpeggios in it, but have decided to call it after my sister-in-law who has been staying with us for most of the time while it has been written, so it is called "Bob's Your Auntie".

"Daisy Chain" has had a lot of work done on it to make it work properly as a chain/round - initially I wanted it so it could change harmony as it progressed - it doesn't really do that, I think because it was too hard a thing to attempt. I still quite like it though.

And some work has been done towards recording, namely I think I have the mandolin parts down. I have cheated, in that I recorded it at 144bmp and have sped it up to 192bpm which is quite a lick, but sounds good, It also helps me fit all three tunes into 4 minutes. I got a surprise when I found the tunes were of different lengths, but that's all good actually.  I did all of the recording so far to a click track, with many, many takes (the hardest bit is the last line of "Bob's Your Auntie" - it doesn't have the most notes but it has the most string changes). I have pretty much mapped out how the three tunes are realized over the four minutes. I will also have in accordion, and I hope violin. This will be the first time Purple has used other musicians, but I am hoping to use a fiddle player from the ceilidh band. Oh and there is the small matter of accompaniment to sort out.

All this will be the last section in the track that's all about my home life, broadly because it's tunes written at home.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Fisrt section "done"

...Well "done" is of course a relative term, done subject to me deciding it's good enough, that bits of it don't need re-doing and any changes that need making so that it integrates with the sections before and after it, and of course it is not properly mastered at all. I'm going to have to say this every time I get to this stage with anything so please take it as read that "done" means stage 1 is done and it is by no means finished.

However, excitingly, I think I can post it in here in a lovely widget so you can hear it...

Hmm it doesn't seem to be playing in the preview, hopefully that's just because it's a preview. Look, in case I've not got this technology going properly yet, there is alsoComScore a link to it here.

So what have I been doing in this session? Lead guitar playing of the final verse and outro. Many, many takes (about 1.5 hours-worth) to get it "just right", especially focussing on getting it expressive, which I'd like to think it pretty much is. My fingers hurt but it's worth it.

I'm happy to read any comments on it from anybody, the point of posting it up is to get feedback, give me the benefit of your ears people, be part of the process :)

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Getting into the swing

So I've had a bit more happen on this section, and should be not too far off giving you lovely nonexistant readers something that you can not comment on.

I've started with the tune (Water is wide/when I survey) on the electric guitar, I have 3 verses down and 1 to go. For the reason that it just happened this way, the tune was the first thing down, but this is OK (I did it to a click track) because the tune is the focus.  The real reason I haven't done the last verse, is because at the end of it there is some "noodling" to be done to fill up the 4 minutes of time, and I find noodling hard to do without the chords in the backing.

So the next thing into the mix is some electric piano. There is a huge variety of sounds you can get in an electric piano, and I'm not a great expert, but this is what I think of as a "plummy" sound - deep and mellow but with a slight edge. I played it using the keyboard (rather than programming it) and it took many, many takes to get it right. I basically did the first verse with it.

Then the drums - now these are sampled and I did program them. I do have an electronic kit but my confidence with it is a bit low at the moment, so I may get into the live playing later. I'm using a sampled kit I've used quite a few times in the past, a "pop kit" which has a nice, meaty bass drum, and the drumming is pretty simple. The drums come in in the second verse, and then the third verse pulls back right down to a bass drum kick (this is a very quiet verse). I need to do something to it to get deep reverb in that verse.

So then came the electric piano for the 2nd verse, which I did separate hands on separate tracks. I might change my mind later, but right now I am thinking I am going to as much as possible completely demistify the process of recording. I use a lot of "tricks" to produce things that I couldn't do "for real". In my defence I (so far) do it all myself, and if you are going to complain that any kind of "trick" is cheating, you need to draw a line somewhere? I mean, is taking several takes cheating? Is overdubbing cheating? My philosophy is I will do anything in my ability to produce something that sounds good and that I am proud of. I don't consider myself a virtuoso on any instrument, but my abilities include quite a variety of recording tricks. I wouldn't want to program everything as that tends to sound quite antiseptic, and I am aiming for a more organic sound. I guess my reluctance to reveal how I do things comes from a desire for people to think I'm a better musician than I really am.

Then came acoustic guitars, verse 2, as often is the case, one for each ear. A few takes (not many)

And then paddy strings. Despite being a fan of such things generally, I don't seem to use them often. I think there is the danger of things becoming too saccharin, and so they need to be used carefully, but I have been listening to a lot of ELO recently (somewhat depressing from the recording point of view because they were so carefully engineered!) and so maybe that has brought string parts to mind more than usual.

Now I've got a problem with the track that I have been wondering what to do about. I'm using Guitar Rig to get the guitar sound, which basically is this amazingly versatile piece of software - you plug your guitar in and it simulates a wide range of effects, amps, speakers and microphone setups. It's one of those "where on earth do I start?" things because there is so much variety and versatility. The thing is, it's simulation is so realistic, that if you choose a noisy "amp" it simulates the noise as well - even in the quiet bits when you are not playing. The sound I have got for the lead guitar is well noisy, It's not too bad when lots of other thigns are playing, but when you want a quiet verse that pulls back to almost nothing, and you play really quietly, the noise is... annoying. It turns out though that even a very quiet bit of strings backing as I played it is at just the right frequencies to mask the noise. Result!. I am probably therefore going to leave the string backing in all of the three verses I have so far.

And that's where I'm up to - I'm about to start another session so there should be more soon. The other thing to say is that I was in am usic shop today, and was trying out a rather nice Ibanez electro-classical guitar. and I have guitar envy. It did have a problem, one of the strings was buzzing, but a plug-in classical is one of the two remaining guitars I am craving, the other is an electrified Dobro. Anyway, I bought a kazoo. I bought a kazoo for the last album but it got very lost somewhere.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

A small start

Well not only have I declared that I have started, but I have actually made a real start - maybe. Not the one I intended to do. I thought "lets get a good guitar sound for (a particular section)" and while fiddling thought "this might be a good sound for (a different section)". So I had a play around and eventually thought "you know what, I could try recording this".

So the first section has been started, and already I am plagiarising. Well not really because I will give due credit. I am using a folk tune often known as "The Water Is Wide", but is also used as an alternative tune for the hymn "When I survey". Although there is no words or singing, it is the hymn that is in my mind. It feels odd to record the tune before the backing, and for the last verse I want the backing in before I complete the tune.

So I did the playing to a metronome track. I hope it works, but if not I can re-record it. The guitar sound is a slightly crunchy sound withe heavy tremolo, which to me is reminiscent of Ry Cooder.

So as I write I have outline ideas for (I think) 14 out of my 16 sections I need. I am definitely more planned than ever before, and I seem to have an almost fear of getting going. A "can I really do this" fear. I have already done 3 albums - it's a bit late in this game to be having this sort of doubt.

Friday, 22 June 2012


Yes it's official, I am making a start on the next album, titled "Windows". I will be blogging the full process right here (as before with BMS), along with thoughts, feelings, philiosphies and aspirations. For the full experience click on the button to follow this blog.

I had intended to wait until September before starting the album, but it has been more and more on my mind lately, and I have got to the stage where the pressure of ideas in my head is getting too much and I need to open the valve and let it out.

I have some aspirations for the album. it's the fourth album so the number 4 will of course feature obsessively. There will be four tracks, each will have 4 sections of 4 minutes, making a total of 64 minutes of music.

The reason it is called "Windows" is that each track will be a window into one of my worlds: my home life, my work life, my church life and my gaming life. I already think that the album cover will be a break from the normal countryside scenes and will feature a wall with 4 windows, each styled appropriately for the world it is looking into. Of course the guitar will feature too. This will be a shorter work than BMS was, and deliberately more personal. Musically I intend to pull back a little from the more progressive elements and  have more straight rock, but this may change as I get into it. Also there has been this progression in the past. 11 Bells was a fantasy, and the titles for sections were inspired by the music. Binary tree was conceptual and it was more the other way around, with the music being created to echo the concepts. This was taken even further with BMS where the whole structure and concepts were mapped out before work started. With Windows I intend to pull back a bit on that and let musical ideas just be themselves for their own sake more, but not entirely (sections will still have concepts, probably). Believe it or not, I am already partially formulating plans for Album no. 5 in which I will go completley back to the music being the starting point rather than the other way around.

Technically, for BMS I decided that I would put in 150% of the effort into perfecting it that I had done previously. I feel at the moment that I have pushed this as far as I want to, I am broadly happy with the quality (things can ALWAYS be better) but towards the end of the process I was getting somewhat sick of it, and so I don't intend to step up the production quality perceptibly. Of course thsi still means I am aiming high and constantly stretching my abilities as a musician and producer, but I will let about the same level of imperfections stay as I did with BMS. I'm also scared that if I push any harder on technical quality I will start to lose "feel".

Which brings me to the next thing to say - my aspiration for this album is to make it feel even more "real". This is always a challenge for a multi-instrumentalist project like this, getting music that breathes organically in the same way liave music can. I would like this album to be more rockin' more boogie-like and more emotional than ever before. This will probably mean I need to be ready to emotionally invest more in the process than ever before. I am after all aiming for a "personal" album.

Finally, with all that in mind, I am intending to be more brutally honest and open about the creation process. As far as I know there are occasional readers of this blog (maybe 1 or 2), there are about 100 FB followers ( and an FB post typically reaches about 25-30 people. There are 441 twitter followers thanks to the efforts of my temporary publicist last Feb - I don't know how many people read tweets. Oh, @PurpleBMS if you want to follow. I intend to make public (or as public as this gets with these parameters) as much of the process as possible, musical ideas and motifs, rough mixes and so on for comment. The full process comes here to this blog. Although, ultimately I am making this music for my own sake, for my own enjoyment, and am still very hesitant about any ideas of making money out of it, I WELCOME ALL CRITICISM AND COMMENTS.

So I was intending to actually do something on the album tonight, instead I have had some website changes (arrgh, I need to upload!), a small bright blaze of publicity and this blog. The first phase of the process this time is "pre-production" - getting ideas and settling them in order and place. This is fundamentally less ad-hoc than previous albums, but mostly is because I am bursting with musical ideas right now, so I want to spend some time mapping it out, maybe having plans for almost all of it before I start recording for real. I will need to do some test tracks, some bashing down of ideas and so on in this process,

So this is is, a crack from the starter's pistol and we're off, back down the track, heading for another finishing tape called "album release", probably sometime in 2013. I must enjoy this process, otherwise I wouldn't be doing it for a fourth time.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Discovery 17: Colosseum II Loving the nimble fingers. Guitarist: The Gary Moore. An older band but a new discovery for me.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Discovery 16: Carptree Synthy neo-prog from Sweden, a little reminiscent of Genesis. I like.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Discovery 15: Campo Di Marte Prog, but in Italian. There was quite a lot of it in the 70s but this bunch is one of my faves

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Discovery 14: Neal Morse @nealmorse

It's impossible to get the full idea of Neal from one track, his Concept album "Testimony" is an excellent exploration of his Christian Conversion - personal, honest and musically to die for. Who says prog has to be clinical and unfeeling?

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Discovery 13: Bruford @ThePlayerSchool

Jazz/Rock/Prog fusion by some of the unsung luminaries of Prog: Bill Bruford, Dave Stewart and Jeff Berlin - and some guy on the guitar.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Discovery 12: Black Country Communion

@bccommunion  Not exactly unknown, not exactly prog, but utterly, utterly worth a listen.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Discovery 11: Glass Hammer


This band deserve much more recognition! And this much effort for a University gig? Well done guys!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Discovery 10: Änglagård

This is proper prog - symphonic, complex, enchanting. Reminds me of The Enid

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Discovery 9: Ambrosia

Just love the tone of the vocal harmonies! Verging on spacerock.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Discovery 8: Amarok

Not to be confused with the Mike Oldfield album, Amarok are a folk prog band from Poland. This track is quite afro celt.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Discovery #7 Amagrama Intricate and enchanting, this band from Argentina are being proggy for proggy's sake. Love it.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Discovery #6 Ain Soph

Intricate and beautiful symphonic prog from Japan

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Discovery 5: A Triggering Myth

For those who like their Prog with a touch of Jazz and thoughtfulness.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Discovery 4: Ayreon

King of concept albums, musically excellent, lyrically somewhat overblown at times. Well-known in modern prog circles, but maybe new to some.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Discovery #3 Pain Of Salvation

An excellent Swedish "progressive metal" band. First Abba, then Roxette, now this. Thank you Sweden.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Come to Facebook

Come and like Purple on FaceBook! ( When we get 200 "likes" we will release higher quality mp3s of BODY:MIND:SPIRIT, still for FREE

Don't Forget

Don't forget you can get the new Purple album FREE through

Discovery #1 The Tangent

The Tangent are a beautiful modern band that harks back to classic 70s.

New series

Now that this blog is being piped (albeit not perfectly) automatically to Twitter (@purplebms) and Facebook (Purpleproject), and in the gap before the next album is made, I will start some series of "interesting" posts. Next up: The discovery series - lesser known prog that I like and admire.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Saturday, 7 April 2012


Another test. Sorry. test

Just a test post: from my blog, should repost to twitter and FB automatically. I just love thw web.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012



Go forth and enjoy.

Friday, 27 January 2012

A few more days..

Just a couple of more days left until the album is released! As you can see, the website is gearing up for release with a competition to win various BODY:MIND:SPIRIT swag. Hope to see some new visitors on Feb 1st!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


And so, launch is only a week away. I have a "campaign manager" organizing my viral marketing campaign, I and I have a website to change, files to upload, statuses (should that be stati? to update. Roll on Wednesday when we announce, and let's see if anybody's listening!

Coming to all media outlets for purple - the Viral Marketing Game, courtesy of Phil Young. Mega.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

After 21 months....

It is finally finished, totally and officially, recorded, tweaked and mastered, and just in time to get a 2011 copyright notice. By about 2 minutes. I wonder if it the last album of 2011 to be finished.


There's a whole load more to be done before release on 1st Feb, but all that is about packaging and promotion. The real work is finished. It's all about the music.