New Cyberdevil collab: "Away Fear", Yamaha YC-25D Combo Organ finally repaired 100%, Mr. Knife featured in Newgrounds.com's Tank Tribune & Halloween Phonograph playlist, Bandcamp Friday, setting and reflecting on goals + a tonne of creative updates!
Hi everyone and hope you're all doing well and staying safe! It's been a few weeks since the last blog post and man has it been a busy time since then. Sure, the whole UK is in lockdown again (with my area being locked down in tier 2 for over a month now anyway) but that doesn't mean there isn't any good news to share with you today! Some quick updates before I get on with the main bits of news this week: After a long wait and much admin to sort, this year's new Jabun album has finally been approved for worldwide distribution! More details to come when I announce the experimental album in all its glory next week and hope you're excited for then! Meanwhile I've been busy with a long overdue collaboration as well as writing and recording more Better Than The Book demos, making some Jabun artwork, and finally fixing my Yamaha organ! More news to share on top of that so let's start with that mystery collaboration!
First of all this week, I have a long-time-in-the-making hip hop collaboration with the one and only Cyberdevil to share with you, a brand new track called "Away Fear"! For the past 2 years, CD's been taking part in his own version of the Inktober challenge where he writes, records and releases a new acapella track each day and every day throughout the whole of October, (with the occasional collaborations for good measure)! Last year I created an experimental 808 based instrumental for what was going to be the Halloween grand finale of last year's batch, but due to various circumstances it ended up being placed on the back-burner despite all being written at the time. When I heard that CD was taking part in the tremendous challenge again this year, it seemed a great idea to reignite that collaboration, but since it was all written last year (and keeping true to Cyberdevil's daily writing challenge), we decided to give what was going to be a more rough and ready production the FULL Jabun production treatment, going all out with this revamp of last year's collab that was never released! With hypnotic distorted 808s and vocal editing, thunderous distorted bass guitar slides and of course Cyberdevil's signature intense rap flow, I'm super pleased to present to you our first collaboration since 2016 (?!) "Away Fear"! Head over to Newgrounds to hear what CD had to say about it and if you enjoy it, it's completely free to download on SoundCloud and Newgrounds too! Check it out below and I hope you enjoy "Away Fear"!
There is the possibility of more Cyberdevil related collaborations coming soon, but I'll be keeping that on the down-low until everything's set in stone! Enjoy the new track in the mean time!
Next on this weeks news, after months of research, planning, hard work, and waiting for packages in the post, I've finally 100% fixed my vintage Yamaha YC-25D combo organ! After exhausting all the UK sources I could find for one obsolete IC that was keeping me from fixing the last 6 dead notes on the lower keyboard, I finally found someone in the USA who had a few of the rare ICs spare from salvaging from a different broken Yamaha synth. Deals were made and I was keen tracking the parcel as it made its way from The States across to Heathrow and up the country, only to find they wouldn't deliver it due to customs charges... After waiting for Royal Mail to send me a grey invoice card, I walked to the local depot (after checking the opening times online) only to find that they were closed (covid precautions) and I'd have to pay online and get it redelivered. A medium hit to the wallet and 2 more days wait and the package arrived, but the IC unfortunately hadn't come with a socket as requested (although I wasn't charged for it either so no loss, just delay). A quick eBay order, and the suitable socket arrived the next morning and I got stuck straight in with my soldering iron! Moment of truth as I plugged the incredibly rare 2nd hand LM3211 IC into the newly mounted socket on the organ's divider board and stuck in some probe wires to check the signal flow, and huzzah! It worked! Quickly plugging the organ into my MPC and monitors and sure enough all those lost notes were back, with no further breaks in the circuit to investigate! Amazing! With the creation of my own service manual as well as learning how the organ worked, fixing this old analogue tech has been an amazing project to partake in and I'm so pleased and relieved to have it working at full capacity as I'd hoped when I initially bought it back in May. Super excited to show you all what it's capable of and you'll definitely be hearing it in the next Better Than The Book album (and the upcoming demos for those in the $10+ Patreon reward tiers!). More updates on that in a moment!
Next on the news this week, a super cool press feature to share with you today as an old Nick Standing classic track "Mr. Knife" was featured on Newgrounds.com's Tank Tribune Halloween Special (and the Halloween Phonograph playlist)! Big thanks to NG and The Tank Tribune for having me on and I hope you enjoy this old track of mine! Check it out below:
The Tank Tribune:
Mr. Knife is available on the Nick Standing Bandcamp page, and I'll be adding it soon to the Patreon back catalogue as we explore my Nick Standing and soundtrack work next year! Hope you're looking forward to it and if you can't wait until then, check it out on Bandcamp below:
And speaking of Bandcamp, in support of musicians impacted by the coronavirus, Bandcamp is once again waiving its revenue share fees on the first Friday of the month from midnight to midnight PDT (that's tomorrow)! That means that if you purchase anything from Bandcamp this Friday 6th of November, the artists you support (including myself) will get more of the sales revenue than usual since Bandcamp doesn't take its cut, and you'll be able to support the music you love more directly than ever on the platform!
If you've been thinking of picking up Better Than The Book's "Hopes and Dreams" or grabbing Jabun's "Daydream" or one of my other tracks or albums (Maybe "Mr Knife" perhaps?), now's the best time to do so! Feel free to check out the Better Than The Book, Jabun and Nick Standing Bandcamp pages below and thanks again for supporting my music in any way you can:
Better Than The Book
Nick Standing (< The sillier old stuff)
Finally for this blog post, it's the beginning of another month and time to reflect on goals and set some new ones as usual! Here's what I set for October:
1) Finish the master audio for Jabun's 3rd album
2) Create at least a first draft for the cover art for Jabun's 3rd album
3) Write 3 more Better Than The Book demos or until the demos reach 39 minutes total
4) Finish first draft lyrics for 5 of the Better Than The Book demos
5) Fix the organ 100%
6) Finish the makeshift service manual for the organ
7) Fix my mpc1000
8) Update the Patreon page
(And I wanted to keep up with my personal BTTB live practice too)
And overall it was a pretty successful month! Apart from goal 1) which I was waiting on some feedback for, everything else was sorted! For 2) the cover artwork for Jabun's 3rd album is actually fully complete now including all exports! I have possible plans to make some extra art as a sort of liner notes thing, but that can wait until later. 3) as mentioned last month I wasn't sure whether it would be 2 or 3 more BTTB demos to tip over the run-time total to 39 minutes, but it turned out to only be 2, which worked well. 4) is all done with 7 lyric sheets left to finish by my count. 5) as you've read above was complete and is sounding amazing and with my homemade service manual even being featured on combo-organ.com, 6) is complete too! 7) MPC fixed and working perfectly again, 8) also done, and although pretty demotivating considering all future BTTB gigs have been either indefinitely postponed or cancelled with no new gigs able to be booked, I have been keeping up with my BTTB practice (though admittedly it's the bare minimum at the moment). With the waiting on feedback and the release of the new Cyberdevil collab taking up much of my production time this month, I think I can forgive the lack of completion of goal 1)!
Going back to the Better Than The Book writing goals, I thought it'd be cool to share this quick update about how it's all going! So at the moment, I have 11 very rough song demos totaling to just over 39 minutes with 4 of those being what I'd call "complete rough demos" (basically meaning they have drums, bass, guitars, finished first draft lyrics / vocals + any rough horn / lead organ parts recorded), and 5 first draft lyric sheets finished. My intention is to have that become the next BTTB album which I'll likely be starting to record properly next year, once all the demoing is finished. I've also got a further 2 demos which I intend to be bonus tracks for a bonus EP with mainly alternative versions of songs from the album but one new track too! There's 2 more alternative version bonus tracks I'd like to explore for that EP for a 4 track "Extras" bonus project, tied to, but separated from the main album. Sounds like a fun new exploration for the project and we'll see where is all goes as I keep writing and the project unfolds over the next few months!
So with all those things reflected on and a more clear plan of where to go with this next BTTB project, let's set some goals for next month!
1) Announce and launch the pre-order for this years new Jabun album (and start the promo)
2) Finish the 3rd Jabun album's Master audio WAV files
3) Finish 3 more BTTB first draft lyric sheets (bringing the total to 8)
4) Write 3 more BTTB first draft horn parts for the demos
5) Write and roughly demo the 2 extra alternative version bonus tracks
And as usual I'd also like to keep up with the BTTB live practice as best as I can. Overall the only high priority goal is just goal 1) but making some progress on the other 4 would be great too and while I'm not sure I'll be able to fit them all in, I'll certainly be giving it a shot! With the possibility of more Cyberdevil collaboration stuff this month, I may be prioritising that, but we'll see how things pan out. Should be a busy month ahead so wish me luck and all the best with your own goals should you choose to share them or not!
That about wraps things up for this blog post! Phew that was a long one but I hope you enjoyed the few weeks of news crammed into it! Next week's gonna be a BIG one (in subject rather than length) as I'll be announcing Jabun's 2nd album! Hope you're as excited for that as I am, and I'm sure I'll be busy with preparations and some BTTB writing in the mean time until then! For the moment though, I hope you all have great weeks to come and thanks as always for supporting JabunAudio, Jabun, Better Than The Book and my various projects! Stay safe and take care!
Nick Standing; Better Than The Book; Jabun!
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