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December, 2011

  1. Every Musician Should Have Heard… 2112

    December 21, 2011 by RedSheep

    In lieu of the date (21/12) It is only fitting that this week’s EMSHH is the Rush game changer 2112.  It marked the beginning of a long journey into the depths of synth and progressive rock not only for Rush, but for millions of fans around the globe.  


    2112 Album Cover

    And the meek shall inherit the earth...

    So good that it’s one of my life goals to hear this live, 2112 is a dietary requirement for anyone with progressive rock in their bones.  30 seconds of synth, A beasting odd time signature intro and an epic tale of dystopia, dreaming and destruction, 2112 is set, oddly enough, in the year 2112 and tells the story of a desolate world where music is gone and one man finds a guitar.  taking it to the elders he shows them the beauty of music, but they take the guitar away and tell him to go on with his life.  The loss of music and freedom leaves the man numb and wishing for a world of freedom, which he can never have.  As the album ends total control over the people is taken.

    The story is only one half of the genius though.  The music ticks every box there is to tick.  It’s got power, technicality, emotion, structure, surprises and it’s all done by just 3 guys, lookup “Power Trio” in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of Rush.  The one thing that I cant stand about the 2112 song is that the total length is 20:34, I mean come on guys!  it’s only 26 more seconds of synth to make it up!!!

    Seriously though a message to Rush:  This album has been a huge inspiration to me.  For everything the album stands for, Thank You


  2. Snapshot of a Developing Musician 1

    December 16, 2011 by RedSheep

    One of the main ways I use this blog is as a place to store my progress, my ideas and a small snapshot of my music as it matures and I improve, hopefully from seeing the problems I face and the different stages of my development you will be able to get a sense of what works well and what doesn’t from my experiences.  If my journey is successful then this will also be my official diary of the road to becoming a professional musician.  enjoy…

    My intention tonight was to continue going through with the Schoenberg book, but It’s taking a lot longer than I’d anticipated due to the sheer depth of knowledge in each section. Chapter 1 was about simple phrases in music, but now we’re on to how to take a phrase or melody, and morph it into all kinds of wonderful shapes. I’ll go into more detail once I do the actual post, but from having a riff that I just couldn’t work out how to develop, I now have 7 different variations based on it and it’s just by changing the rhythm.

    These techniques are brilliant for the times when you’re stuck for ways to develop. They offer masses of possibilities for what you can do, and after exploring some of them you very quickly find something that works, and you can then go forward from there.  The downside is that they take a long time to put into practice when starting out.

    Today though, I sat and wrote a bit of an odd one, I tried writing a theme for a social game my work’s doing. And it was one of those times when the music just seems to flow really well.

    Enough text, check it

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  3. A Quick Hit Of…The Smashing Pumpkins

    December 14, 2011 by RedSheep

    Getting into bands can be tough if the first song isn’t right, here’s a personal favourite of mine from the Smashing Pumpkins


    Geek USA

    If you liked that…

    Check out Siamese Dream, it’s just been re-mastered and can be found on Spotify here

  4. Time to Brush up on some Theory

    December 13, 2011 by RedSheep

    I’ve got £50 worth of composition books and an asston of learning to do, let’s get to it(to it)(to it)(to it)(to it)


    So long story short I’m taking a new angle.  With just my acoustic down in London at the moment and my true love back up north I’ve been forced drastically away from the fun fun world of flangers, phasers and distortion.

    I’ve been listening to alot of King Crimson, Yes and Pink Floyd, all of whom have very powerful sounds, but if  the effects were taken away you’d still have very well structured and composed songs for the most part.  But it goes further than that.  Don’t think that because you’re a guitarist this stuff doesn’t apply to you!  Look at Brian May, Eddie Van Halen and the man himself Steve Vai; all masters of the guitar but also masters of composition.

    too many theory books

    Too Much?

    The book I’ve started on tonight is “Fundamentals of Musical Composition“,  a very theory heavy book with a classical vibe to it. I’m hoping I can take some of the wisdom of Schoenberg and use it to improve my own music.

    First chapter was all about short musical phrases, the ‘molecules’ of music as Schoenberg calls them.He says that not only should melody be considered at all times, but harmony too.  I wrote a very short SATB part to try it out:

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  5. Hidden Gems – StarCastle

    December 7, 2011 by RedSheep

    I started using Spotify a few weeks ago and surprisingly I’ve found songs by even my favourite bands that I’ve not found anywhere else. A few years ago I got a ton of music from my then girlfriend, and one of the songs was an incorrectly-named “fountains of Light” by the band Starcastle.

    after an unfortunate Ipod formatting I lost this gem and thought it was gone from my ears forever. Luckily after spending some time going through the Starcastle discography on Spotify I found the song is actually called “Silver Winds”, and I haven’t been able to find it anywhere online to listen for free, making it this weeks hidden gem.

    Star castle were a progressive rock band formed in 1969 and were mainly active through the 70’s, though their last tour was in 2006. If you’re a yes fan then Starcastle is definately up your street with their clever compositions, soaring melodies and just enough jazz that it’s still rocky

    I only heard the one song by Starcastle until recently, If you want a better review of the album check out