Back from Climbing Mt Snowdon (and more), more guitar recording for World Beyond and Subu Nomo, a secret Reface CP Piano(?!) + sharing a track from Oakwood I mastered last month!
Hello everyone and hope you've all had a great 2 weeks since the last blog post! Things have been fairly hectic over here for a number of reasons, but there's still a lot to tell and share this week, so let's get straight to it:
Firstly, and although this isn't really about JabunAudio at all, I had a lovely time in Wales on Holiday last week. I was hoping to do a big post about it like with the Norway trip last year, but I haven't had time to sort out photos, so I'll just do a quick(ish) post about it. Those who know me personally will be able to find pictures on my personal Facebook, but they're other people's posts so I shan't share them here.
Onto the holiday: The first big challenge was climbing Mt. Snowdon which was a great day out. The weather couldn't have been better; sunny but cool, and the walk itself was challenging but no way near as difficult as climbing Galdhøpiggen last year. The lack of snow definitely helped, and that it was much less to climb. Having said that, it was no walk in the park either. There was a fair amount of climbing over rocks as well as the well trodden path, and even a small slip had the potential for disastrous consequences. To illustrate this clearly, we passed 2 people needing to be airlifted off the mountain during our descent and there was even reports of someone killed a few weeks back on the mountain. Definitely something not to underestimate and I was glad we prepared well for it (and remembered to bring sun tan lotion!). Like Galdhøpiggen, there were a couple of different routes to the summit, 3 of which actually started at our chosen base camp so we ended up taking the "Pyg Track" up which was mostly rocky and up the mountain but gave some fantastic views, and the "Miner's Track" down which was very steep down to begin with, but then mostly flat following a number of mountain lakes leading back to the base camp (definitely glad we did it that way around). Our team this time consisted of everyone from the Norway trip apart from my aunt's sister, though unlike last time, we all reached the summit on this trip. The view from there was simply spectacular! You could see so far that you can actually make out a HUGE amount of the outline of the Wales coastline in the distance. Simply incredible! Legs were a bit achy from the ~7 hour walk afterwards, but no way near as much as the 15 hour ordeal of last time (no sun burn either). Overall no one was particularly mentally scarred either which is always a plus! I'd definitely recommend climbing Mt. Snowdon if you're up for a nice but not over-ambitious challenge, though remember to make sure you're fit, get the right footwear, pack plenty of fluids and the right kind of snacks, do your research and you should be fine. The mountain rescue team was fantastic too and will surely have your back if anything goes amiss, so grab your boots and enjoy the day!
That I suppose was the main highlight of the Holiday (apart from being reunited with my parents, twin brother and aunt and uncle for a week), though we had a great time on the other days taking the mountain steam train from Porthmadog to Caernarfon, visiting an old slate mine (some crazy eye opening stuff there), visiting and exploring Harlech Castle (not recommended for people with a fear of heights... you'll prefer the mountain I guarantee it) which was really cool, and walking along the Harlech beaches where I saw some of the biggest jellyfish I've seen in my life (I didn't even know we had jellyfish here!). The Aberdunant hotel was fantastic too, especially the food! My recommendation would be the rib-eye steak, medium-rare with pepper sauce, chips, onion rings, mushrooms and tomato: simply mouthwatering! Overall a wonderful trip and I'm already looking forward to the next one. I wonder what will be next to climb? Ben Nevis perhaps? We shall have to see, but I imagine I've reached my mountain (and steak) quota for the rest of this year. 2018 here I come!
And now back to normality and the usual JabunAudio news! What's been happening this week? Well pretty much as soon as I got back I was busting out guitar solos for the oldschool metal collaboration with Subu Nomo, which is progressing well. I think that's actually the last of the recording I need to do for it, so now it's in Subu's hands to make it sound awesome. Looking forward to hearing how it all goes. And while we're on the topic of guitars, the last few days have also been spent recording more guitar for World Beyond's upcoming album. There's still more to do next week so I'll be keeping busy with that too. Not sure how much is left, but the whole album's certainly coming together and sounding awesome! Looking forward to sharing these with you as and when. Feels like it's been a while since I was working on the new Better Than The Book album (and I'm also craving more Jabun music too), so I should find some time to get back to those when I can. Hoping to finish the BTTB writing by the end of the year, so I've gotta crack on if I want to get this album out in good time. We shall see.
Next, and this was a major highlight of my week, I found out an amazing secret about one of my instruments! I've had my Yamaha Reface CP electric piano for just under a year and a half and I must say, on top of it being my first portable keyboard instrument (ie: not a piano, organ or midi controller) it's one of my favorite instruments to mess around with. The Reface CP was one of the key elements in the Jabun Daydream album's soundscape and is known for it's great emulations of the Rhodes Mark I & II, Wurlitzer and Yamaha CP electric pianos as well as the Clavinet and Toy piano and it's great and hands-on effects section. 6 amazing pianos and studio's worth of effects in one neat portable package right? Wrong! There's a secret 7th piano! Many users while loving the Reface CPs great EP emulations were a bit disappointed that there wasn't an acoustic piano setting to play with. In fact, I spent a long while experimenting with various effects to get a more acoustic sound from the CP setting (you can hear the results of my efforts in Anxiety and Palindrome on the Daydream album). Well while you can't see it on a surface, there's a secret acoustic piano setting hiding in your Reface! Unfortunately it's only available when you switch on the instrument, so if you want it again after using the other emulations, you'll have to quickly power off and power on the instrument to get it again. I discovered this in a YouTube video comments sections while looking up about the Rhodes Piano Bass (I've been in a very Rhodes mood lately. Lots of interesting history I've learnt this week too. Feel free to look it up!), and while I was skeptical about it at first, a quick try of the method had me speechless:
And the amazing thing is it's not a "meh" piano, it's very dynamic and sounds great! Not a grand piano type sound, more the brighter type of piano you'd expect to play in a band to cut through the mix, but nothing a little reverb and EQ/compression could help with if you want to further tailor it to your needs. You can still use all the effects too (apart from drive which makes sense as the acoustic piano would be miced rather than amped or D.I.ed) and amazingly, this piano is stereo too with a realistic 3D soundscape. Yamaha haven't released an official statement on it, and there are a few theories to why the piano is there and/or why it wasn't made part of the main instrument settings, but whatever the case, my mind is blown and I'm thinking, why the heck didn't I know about this sooner! If you have a Reface CP go ahead and try this thing out! It's awesome and it'll give you yet another piano to play with on your Reface. Bonus tip: Try running the Rhodes Mark I setting clean though a clean Marshall amp with spring reverb; Loooovely! Enjoy!
Finally this week, I just wanted to share the electro house track I mastered for Oakwood last month. It's not often I get to work on this genre of music and it was a heck of a lot of fun! Warning, colourful language and banging bass ahead, but I hope you enjoy it! If you're in need of any music mastering in any genre, please don't hesitate to give me a buzz and I'll see what I can do!
And that about wraps things up for this week. Things are a little hectic at the moment, but I imagine I'll be doing some more guitar recording for the World Beyond album at some point next week amongst other things. Hope you enjoyed this rather long blog post, hope you have a great week until next time, and as always, thanks for supporting JabunAudio and my collaborative projects. All the best and see you in the next blog post!
Nick Standing; Better Than The Book; Jabun!
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