February 2023 blog post: Computer breakdown, BTTB and Jabun project updates, Christmas fun and new gear, music/videos and podcasts to share, reflecting on 2022 and more goals + a sneak peek at Jabun's June22 EP album artwork for the $10 patrons & more!
Hi everyone and hope you've had a great start to 2023!
It's been a while since the last proper update what with the computer breakdown and everything (see the Patreon post here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/77232796) but while my old laptop of 14+ years is sadly now completely out of commission, all data has been recovered and transferred to my desktop and all project files (with some tweaking as necessary) have been put into a fulling working state again which is a huge relief! In other personal update news, on top of the computer troubles I've been quite unwell recently too for various reasons and in and out of hospital but don't worry I'm on the mend or at least getting there to figuring out exactly what the problem is! There's lots of cool updates and things to share this month building up from the lack of update last month too so let's get to things!
First of all, some project updates! After a longer than expected break from things, I'm back to working on the upcoming Better Than The Book album, and now that the projects on my more powerful desktop, I've been taking the time (while less physically well enough for intensive recording) to work on adding some production extras to these 14 tracks I've been working on the past few years! 5 tracks are now just awaiting vocals, while the other 9 still have just a few little production extras left to go as well. It's slowly but certainly shaping up and I'm really pleased with how this album is sounding so far! Hopefully not too long until I can start sharing the tracks with you but it's still quite the road to go!
Meanwhile I've been busy with the last bits of prep work for the upcoming Jabun EP which if I haven't revealed before is going to be called "June22" and will consist of 2 live ambient performances from June 2022! As it currently stands (as I write this), all artwork for the release is finalised and complete (more on that in a moment), and a set of master track exports has been made but still needs final checking and finalising. Admin prep work is going well too and I'm hoping for a tentative March 2023 release date so hopefully it'll be in the next set of Patreon rewards! We shall see!
Onto other updates, at the end of last year I was busy fixing up any troublesome studio equipment ready for a New Year of working gear and after some troubleshooting and time with a soldering iron amongst other things, everything is in full working order again, including my now-no-sticky-buttons MPC1000, a Monotron Duo synth with a working resonant filter again, a very (mechanically) quiet homemade Leslie cab, and I even got to do a mod on my Jaguar I've been meaning to for a while! There's still a little more I'd like to play around with on that Jaguar, but it's dealing some delicious new tones and functionality now. Horray!
And moving onto more updates from the end of last year, I recieved some amazing music related gifts this year for Christmas! From Eva, a custom water bottle with the Jabun logo on it which looks super cool, and from my twin Eamon, a super cool synth from Roland, the Aira Compact J-6! One of my favourite synth of all time is the Roland Juno-6 (or Juno-60) and I use a plugin emulator of it in much of my work as both BTTB and Jabun. If the Juno-60 is a full set of all the oil paints you could want, then the J-6 is like the super compact 64 colouring pencil set with included sketchpad and stencils/stationary. It's a lovely more condensed synth engine with a super powerful chord library + sequencer + extra pattern/arpeggio generator, something I wasn't even aware existed in hardware! No doubt it'll be making it into some new music soon! On top of that Eamon made me ANOTHER amazing mash-up EP and holy moly it's a fantastic one. 6 tracks, around 16 minutes and it's coming to YouTube week by week now! Check it out on Eamon's channel as it comes out (should be 3 out so far):
And check out the opening track now:
Track #5 I think is some of Eamon's best work ever (especially if you've seen the Cyberpunk Edgerunners anime) so be sure to check that out in Feburary! Thanks so much for the amazing and thoughtful gifts Eamon and Eva!
In other news, Tales of Zale now has an animated music video for the credits music to the Flickering Lights short film I did the sound mixing for last year! Check it out below and a huge congrats to Sif, Marquette, and Matthew on the release:
Meanwhile a brand new season of my friend David Klein's FanScape Podcast has just started and the first episode featured Better Than The Book's Meteor Shower playing on the radio in a Slenderman horror story! 2 episodes are out as I type this and things are getting super tense! Check out episode 1 below and support the podcast on Patreon if it's your jam:
Finally I thought it'd be cool to set some New Years music goals and reflect on the year just gone! Let's start by seeing what I set this time last year:
1) Keep doing what I do, and keep getting better at it!
2) Make 2022 the best financial year (for JabunAudio?) yet! (As always I can only try)
3) Release Jabun's 4th album
4) Release or at least finish recording Better Than The Book's next album
5) Play the first BTTB live gig (still hoping)
And overall, I think I did pretty well! It's difficult to measure, but I definitely think my skills are improving which can be reflected in the achievements of the year (see below), especially the Tales of Zale Flickering Lights short film, and various album releases! Speaking of which, Jabun's Tides was released so that's done, and it DID happen to be my best financial year in general ever too, with it also being one of JabunAudio's best years yet, though not quite the best ever. We can try! Although I didn't manage to finish recording the upcoming Better Than The Book album, progress has been made (Horns are finished) and I think things are slowly but surely getting there! BTTB gigs are still on hold unfortunately too, but we'll see if things can change in 2023. Life is tricky to work around these days...
Achievements-wise though, since the start of 2022, despite the craziness in both the world and my personal life, it's been a super productive year seeing the release of the 3 track single "Revolt" with World Beyond, the Patreon exclusive "Mouth (Season's) Greetings" mash-up EP which I made for Eamon last Christmas, Cyberdevil's "INK20" mixtape, Jabun's "Tides" album, Sif Savery's "Tales of Zale: Flickering Lights" animation (and more), another INKtober collaboration with Cyberdevil "A Lemon Leaf Breeze", and finally World Beyond's "Blindsight" album! Phew!
On top of that, it's been a super fun year with studio updates too, with the aquisition and modding of a vintage BOSS OD-2r Turbo Overdrive pedal, the building of my very own Leslie rotary speaker cabinet, a Fender Mini Twin amp (as cute as it is functional) from Eamon, and the recently gifted Roland J-6 synth (also from Eamon)! I'm really starting to run out of room here, though I'm still on a lookout for those elusive Yamaha BP-1 Bass Pedals to go with my YC-25d organ. I wonder what the new year will have in store!
Setting goals-wise, I'm not sure that the new BTTB album is going to be released by the end of the year but I'd like to set:
1) Finish recording the upcoming BTTB album (at the very least)
2) Release the Jabun June22 EP
3) Get a BTTB live performance done?
Along with all the usual self improvement stuff! We'll see how it all goes and wish me luck!
Looking at December's monthly goals here's what I set:
1) Finish the masters for the upcoming Jabun EP (Some progress made but still not finished)
2) Finish melodica parts for Better Than The Book
3) Finish cellos for Better Than The Book
And although 1) is pretty much done, I didn't get around to any BTTB melodica or cello recording, mainly due to illness, external pressure and other things. While I will be preparing for the June22 EP release this month (ready for a March release), I do plan on getting back to some more BTTB production and recording when I can too which should be fun. With wedding planning and other things going on in my life at the moment, I've decided to no longer set any public monthly goals for the foreseeable future. It was a fun experiment over the past few years, but I think I've been putting enough (or maybe a little too much) pressure on myself without the public announcements over the last few months, so I'll just be taking things at my own pace, and trying not to beat myself up too much if things are slower than I hope. Progress will be made where I can though, that I can be sure of! Thanks for sticking with me all these years, and I look forward to sharing lots of new music with you soon!
That about wraps things up for this post unless you're a $10 patron in which case you have a sneek peek at the album art for Jabun's upcoming June22 EP to look forward to! I hope you have a grand February to come and I'm super looking forward to sharing with you the new Jabun EP soon as well as any fun updates in the next post! Until then, thanks as always for supporting my projects however you can, enjoy all the music and take care! All the best and wishing you a happy, healthy and amazing 2023 to come!
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Nick Standing; Better Than The Book; Jabun!
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