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The Flicker Blog and Podcast

Subscribing to the podcast will keep you up to date with all of the new Flicker material as it gets released.The blog itself will contain all manner of things about music and user-experience design.

Archive for the 'Flicker' Category

The role of sampling in music

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

I’ve just been sent this link, containing a bunch of samples used by Daft Punk on their last album Discovery.

I should start by saying that personally, I’ve never liked the idea of sampling stuff in our releases, and take pride in the fact that every sound originated with us. Samplers are an amazing tool, and offer a huge range of creative possibilities when used imaginatively. We use them all the time to sample and manipulate sounds – not riffs.

Call me a snob, but out and out lifting of the hook of a track, with minimal extra input is not terribly clever or imaginative. Make your own mind up about the examples given here, but I was stunned. Completely.

The first flicker podcast

Friday, December 1st, 2006

Flicker Podcast Album Art

It’s all go on the digital distribution front at this site. First off, there’s a new EP (Minimus) containing five new Flicker tracks, and available exclusively from the iTunes Music Store.

Then, there’s a new podcast, intended to showcase new music from us. In this first edition, you can listen to lengthy excerpts from all tracks included in the above mentioned EP.

We decided that it is important that anyone interested in our material can hear significantly more than the 30 seconds currently afforded by iTunes. This is particularly important with club focussed music, where lengthy intros facilitate equally lengthy and seamless DJ mixes. Slow-build arrangements don’t necessarily reveal the true nature of the track in the opening bars, or in fact, in any given 30 second sample.

It’s always been true that the medium has dictated the format and length of mass produced music (from wax cylinders through to compact discs) but in this instance, the promotional method is creating an artificial limitation – the medium is not at fault. It is as if when writing material, you should now produce the musical equivilent of the elevator pitch to have the greatest chance of commercial success.

Were we to write and arrange our material so that the first 30 seconds gives the casual listener a more representative sample of what’s to come, we would then risk rendering the material less appropriate for the intended context – a club (which of course is creating another restriction on form, but one that we choose intentionally). Anyway, all this technology is supposed to be about creativity and freedom of expression, right?

So, subscribing to this podcast will allow those interested, to hear representative samples of all the available music, and stay up-to-date with all of our future releases. Enjoy.

Why I didn’t think of this before, I’ve no idea (thanks to Ian for the suggestion). So, here is a tracklisting, and links to all of the tracks included in the podcast:

Track 01. Minimus. Buy this track via iTunes

Track 02. Bring You Two. Buy this track via iTunes

Track 03. Dumb Key. Buy this track via iTunes

Track 04. Key Dumb. Buy this track via iTunes

Track 05. Skidmark. Buy this track via iTunes

For what it’s worth – The music in the intro is an old (unfinished) track called ‘It’s Over’, dusted off for use because it somehow seemed right in the context. Who knows, maybe one day it’ll turn into a fully blown track itself.

Beer, Sellotape & Gareth

Thursday, May 26th, 2005

Beer, Sellotape & Gareth, originally uploaded by Paul Crowley.

This is what happens when you mix Gaz, beer and sellotape.

Saturday night, Sunday morning

Sunday, September 19th, 2004

Met with Mazi at Plastic People last night to go and see Francois K play. This was before Mazi himself had to go and do a set at Fabric with Jay Tripwire.

Being as I’d been awake since 6:45am Saturday and didn’t get away till 6:30am this morning, I don’t think that today will be one where I make a great impact on the world – more likely the sofa! Still, you’ve gotta do it every now again!

Key Dumb. Again!

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2004

Gaz and I have just spent the long weekend struggling to finish a track (Key Dumb) to go with Dumb Key.

On Thursday last week, Graeme came around and recorded some lyrics for us*. I spent all day Saturday cleaning them up ready for when Gaz came down in the evening. Frustratingly, we didn’t get the track finished. It’s definitely starting to come together, but it’s not ready to go out the door just yet.
It’s exhausting spending 3 days solid listening to the same thing over and over, but hopefully, the end result will be worth it.

There’s a label in Chicago (KG Beats) already interested in Key Dumb, and another label in New Orleans (Sugarcane) chasing some material from us. I really need to get on with this stuff! Sometimes things just come together really easily, other times we have to really work at them.

*The lyrics are actually based on some stuff that Graeme wrote back in the early 90’s for our band at the time ‘Scrape.’

Mazi to remix Little Bit

Monday, March 22nd, 2004

Today must have been positive feedback day – or something like that.
I actually received something approaching fanmail via our site – someone had bought Demon Tweaks and took it upon themselves to hunt down our other releases and find our site – the power of google!

(Note to self – try to improve the sites’ google effectiveness! A search for ” Flicker Demon Tweaks” no longer brings up On a positive note, there are a lot of listings though.)

I also heard from Mazi regarding Perfect Portion/Little Bit. He’s already stated that he wants them for Gourmet – but he now wants to remix them too. In many ways, that’s very flattering – meaning they inspire ideas. In others, I can’t help but feel that this means they’re somehow less than perfect (like perfection is somehow attainable).

Enough with the paranoia already! It’s standard practice across the whole industry. Anyway – it’ll be interesting to see what he (or others) do with the tracks.

Key Dumb Part 2

Monday, March 1st, 2004

I guess it was kind of inevitable. After two weekends of heavy boozing and music making, both myself and Gaz appear to have run out of steam. Yesterday went really well, and we worked well into the night, drinking heavily and enjoying the productivity.

We both took a day off work today so that we could attempt to finish ‘Key Dumb.’ We’re both knackered and hungover, and unfortunately, the roll we were on yesterday seems to have halted. Progress has been made, but if I’m honest, I think we need to leave the track well alone for a few days to regain some objectivity.

It’s always frustrating when we can’t complete a track in the time we’ve set ourselves, but nonetheless, it’s still a good start. I promised to send Gary LaCosta (of KGBeats in Chicago) a CD of the new material after this weekend. I’m still going to do this (having decided that Gaz and myself get too close to what we’re doing, and that we should seek input from interested parties).

Just as I don’t feel today that the track is quite there, in a week’s time, I might love it – who knows? In the meantime, a CD is traveling across the Atlantic and is now completely out of my hands!

Key Dumb

Sunday, February 29th, 2004

What did I tell you! Gaz is here and we have indeed drunk huge amounts of delicious Stella Artois!

It’s been a pretty productive night – ‘Key Dumb‘ the counterpart to ‘Dumb Key’ that we’re working on is going very well indeed.

At the moment, we think it’s possibly the best thing that we’ve done to date. But then, we always think that when things are going well. Whenever we’re working on tracks, they always have this honeymoon phase. More often than not – in the cold light of morning, there are plenty of things to remedy.

On blogging

Saturday, February 28th, 2004

Funny thing about this blogging lark – the more that goes on in your life, the less time you have to write about it. Actually, this week’s not exactly been crammed with exciting events. It’s just involved an awful lot of writing (and clearly not here). I’m hopeful that I will continue to find the time to write here on a regular basis – but it’s not likely to be daily.

I spent most of last weekend working on a new track called “Dumb Key” which sounds to my now weary ears, pretty unusual compared to our normal stuff. As ever, I find the whole process rewarding but draining. The nature of the music production software we use (or is it my nature?) tends to involve looping small elements over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

After a couple of days of this you really do feel that a part of your brain has been worn down by the continuing march of sounds across it. Simple activities (like socialising) become quite hard until you’ve reset your brain with a good nights’ sleep.

The point I’m making here is that last weekend was very busy, and tiring (seeing Mazi on Sunday night didn’t help). This week’s also been crammed – spent much of my free time working on the application for a course at work which a has a pretty competitive selection process. Clearly a different type of writing to that which I’d do here (why is it so hard to write about the positive aspects of oneself?) but writing nonetheless. And very time consuming. So here I am, making excuses to myself for not posting more frequently!

Tonight, Gareth will be down to work on more music with me. I predict another tiring weekend involving the consumption of much Stella Artois. Hopefully, it’ll be a productive one. I’m really keen to try and get more stuff out the door and signed (as ever). The release of Demon Tweaks has reminded me that if you generate any kind of buzz, you need to sustain it. Otherwise, it’s more click than buzz.

Random thought #001 – Cycling home the other night I wondered why the indicators and hazard lights on cars are one and the same? To be able to recognise that a car has it’s hazards on, you need visibility of both sides of the car. In London, that’s pretty rare. So, whilst pushing through the driving rain on a cold, wet February evening I wonder “Is that car about to pull out in front of me, or is he unloading?”

Mazi at the AKA

Monday, February 23rd, 2004

Should keep this short – I’m so tired!

Last night was a late one. Went to the AKA Bar to catch Mazi play. Had a very enjoyable night, which happened to top off a weekend of heavy boozing. I’m paying for it today however.

It actually ended up being a great end to a very positive weekend. On Friday, Demon Tweaks got a great review in DJ Magazine. On Sunday, Mazi tells me he’s really into Little Bit, and wants to sign it! All in all, not bad as weekends go!