Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Out of 2012, into 2013

Well what a year it's been!!!

I can't complain as lot of good and really cool things have happened, I quietly hope that 2013 might be more of the same.

2012 saw a lot of changes in and around the GTK Studio as I began a very slippery downhill path towards the inclusion of hardware. I started off by purchasing a couple of signal generators and running them though the VST effects on the GTK Studio Computer, but it wasn't working quite as I had hoped. The PC was old and was really struggling with everything that I was throwing at it, so I bought an Alesis QuadraVerb multi-effects unit off of a fellow muso. This proved to be quite a good buy so I began adding to it and over the course of 6 months I eventually ended up with no less than six synthesizers and six effects units. During this time, I also purchased a new PC to replace the poor seven year old computer I had been using. This was a huge and somewhat advantageous step to take as I now have a computer that is significantly faster and more powerful than the previous one. I also upgraded my 32-bit Behringer audio interface to an amazing Lexicon Omega audio/MIDI interface which allowed me to take full and proper advantage of the new computers 8GB of memory. For both music and photography, this has been a very sound investment. I also managed to obtain an electric guitar for nothing, which I renovated and also I recently enjoyed the bargain of the century when I sourced and bought a massive 24-channel Peavey mixing console. This completed my total refit of the GTK Studio, all in time for the coming New Year.

I spent some time in early 2012 with my very good friend David Wright, working on base material for a new Code Indigo album which will see a 2013 release. Much of the Summer months were spent sorting out and preparing my little GTK Studio, I managed to complete a couple of brand tracks, a track called "Girl Friday" for an AD Music compilation called "After Midnight" and a piece called "Encounters" for a free album called "Electronic Encounters". I started writing material for a new project called Neil Fellowes and the Impossible Men, something I am doing with my son Callum and friends Dean Burnett and Peter J. Dagg. I had hoped to get it finished by the end of 2012, but the studio refit really cut into my time. I've also started work on the fourth Geigertek album, to be called "Hollow Sun". Again the studio refit has affected how much time I have been able to dedicate to it.

It's been a good 2012 for photography as well. Earlier in the year I visited the workshop of leading UK synth technician, Kent Spong, meeting the modular synthesizer that has provided ambient sounds for some seriously big Hollywood movies including the latest "Batman" trilogy and" Inception" to name just a very few. It was a pleasure meeting Kent and he has become something of a friend who I like to visit when I am in his neck of the woods. I also got to visit the studio of another prolific UK composer, Kevin Kendle. Again, another fine gentleman who I have kept contact with and continue to enjoy his excellent music. The start of the Summer saw the second Bungay Bash, as organised by the label that releases my music, AD Music. It was a great line-up and the day was a success. On the bill was a gentleman that I had been wanting to meet for the last few years, namely Jez Creek aka Modulator ESP. Jez is a synth wiz of the first order and a master of live improvisation, something which has continued to inspire my collection and use of hardware synths, effects and noise-makers and I got some great pictures of Jez's live set up. I met up later in the year with Jez again when I attended the Awakenings All-Dayer electronic music event in Burton-On-Trent. A thoroughly enjoyable day and a great chance to meet a few names who nave been resident on my Facebook friends list. Another highlight was visiting the hallowed workplace of one Stephen Howell, a marvellously mad, angry and talented Welsh sound designer/programmer who is the head honcho of the Hollow Sun software house. It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of HS products, so it was a sheer pleasure and delight to meet the creator of some of my most favourite software and photograph his surroundings. One hugely surprising result from this visit was a picture we put together that was something of an homage to the great surrealist painter, Rene Magritte - it turned out better than we expected and has garnered a lot of positive interest. Other photographic highlights were getting to photograph the stage set of my musical heroes Ultravox in October when they played in Ipswich as part of their "Brilliant" tour. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to lighting designer Chris Curran of Prism Lighting for making that possible and also his help in securing a photo pass for Gary Numan when he played the UEA in Norwich at the beginning of December. Two massive opportunities that really put the icing on the cake of what had already been a good year.

My weekly "Man of 2 Worlds Radio Show", aired on One World Radio came to an end in August. I was finding it increasingly difficult to find enough time to do the type of show iIwanted to do, in amongst my other projects, so I made the decision to quit. A shame as I really enjoyed doing it and it did seem to have gotten itself something of a small following which was really nice.

I need to do a bit of a shout out to a few names, people who really made the year what it was. First up, my good friend David Wright who helped me with the set up of my studio and provided me with some seriously cool pieces of equipment. To the lovely Bekki Williams for being a laugh and for her very kind donation of two fab synths to the GTK Studio. To Bryan Stewart for his very kind  donation of a cracking additive synth and excellent e-mail conversations. To Duncan Goddard of Radio Massacre International for the oscilloscope and patchbay, as well as great advice - looking forward to purchasing the Revox VERY soon. To the brilliant Chris Curran for his support and interest in my photography and for getting unequalled access to the Ultravox stage set and a photo pass for Gary Numan - how do you repay that???!!! To my very good friends Adam Haines and Dean Burnett - new kids on the block, but both of whom have been great mates in so many ways. To Stephen Howell for letting me into his surroundings, his magnificent hospitality and numerous bits and pices of his brilliance that have ended up n my e-mail Inbox!!! To my fab offspring Alannah and Callum who I adore for being both a joy and a pleasure as well as a complete pain in the arse - exciting times ahead with those two, I can tell you. And lastly to the one beautiful soul that lets everything happen, that encourages, supports and continues to push me forward, my wonderful plus-one, Anne, who I love dearly, though at times you'd never think it.

And so to 2013. No resolutions, no carved in stone plans, just things I want to do. Completion of the Impossible Men project and getting that out live, the next Geigertek album, some live performances at the Bungay Bash and Awakenings Evening (more if I can get them!!!), two very interesting collaborations, some new photographic challenges (which will hopefully involve a new camera) including at least a couple of gigs and anything else that I've said I was going to do but have forgotten to mention at this time :-)

Here's to a peaceful, prosperous and healthy New Year.

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